15 APRIL 1938, Page 30

ALARMS AND EXCURSIONS By Lieut.-Gen. Sir Tom Bridges

Sir Tom Bridges' light-hearted and amusing reminiscences of a soldier (Longmans, 12s. 6d.) are full of interest. He was commissioned as a gunner in 1892 and retired in 1922 to become Governor of South Australia, He was in Nyasaland when the South African War broke out and quite irregularly left his post to serve under Buller in Natal and later to take part in the relief of Mafeking. From 1910 he was Military Attaché at Brussels. In 1914 he went to France with the 4th Dragoon Guards ; his squadron had a Skirmish with Uhlans" at Soignies which was the first British action of the War. He describes very clearly the confusion at Antwerp before its fall, and the battle of the Yser. He commanded the 19th Division at the Somme, and his frank comments on the waste of life there are worth noting. He was sent with Lord Balfour to America in 1917 and went there again in 1918 to hasten the despatch of the sorely-needed American troops. He confirms, what is all too well known about their lack of guns and aircraft. Later he went to Salonica, just in time to see the break-through that heralded the end of the War. He witnessed the collapse of Denikin's White Army in Southern Russia and also the advance of the Greek army from Smyrna before Mustapha Kemal was ready to turn and rend them. Sir Tom Bridges touches lightly on these grave events but does not conceal his contempt for the muddling of the politicians. His brief chapter on his uncle, Robert Bridges the poet, is of great interest and might well have been expanded.