UMTY-IDDY-UMTY: THE STORY OF A CANADIAN SIGNALLER IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR
William G. Ogilvie.
Volume 11 Number 2.
Umty-Iddy-Umty is a very personal account of one soldier's war. The author enlisted in the Canadian army in the spring of 1916, at the age of seventeen. His story follows his life for the next three years, through training in Kingston and in England, through the battlefields of France and Belgium, to his discharge and return home in May 1919.
The story is told in the relaxed conversational style of an old soldier telling his friends or family his story. There are some gaps in the account due to the effects of time, but the clearest memories are of the moments of the greatest personal involvement of the author, his friends, and comrades.
Ogilvie describes the situation of the two great armies and how his unit fits into the large picture, so that the reader can understand what was happening; but most of his time is spent on the experiences, the hardships and the camaraderie, the frequent frustrations, and the occasional joys of the common soldier.
Physically, the book is appealing. It is oversize (8½ x 11 inches) and contains many pictures, mostly of a personal type showing the author and his comrades. They support the text well.
Umty-Iddy-Umty is an interesting story. It would be of interest to libraries with a large World War I collection, but as a source of personal accounts, most libraries would want to obtain one of the good collections of experiences, such as My Grandfather's War,* first.
*Reviewed vol. X/2 1982 p.98.
Neil Payne, Kingston C.V.I., Kingston, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
Young Canada Works