Tracks in the Sand - a railwayman's war


We somehow missed this extraordinary book when it was first publsihed, but it is here now.

Tim Foster was a North Eastern railwayman who enlisted early in the first world war, was sent to Gallipoli where he contracted typhoid fever, and repatriated to England to recover. Returning to the Middle East, this time as a soldier/railwayman, he was in charge of the El Kubri Light Railway, then on the Sinai Miltary Railway, stationmaster at Jerusalem, and finally on the Hejaz Railway.

Two things make this book completely different from most railway books - firstly when he went to Egypt after recovering Tim took a camera, and recorded everything he saw, with railway operations being in the majority. Secondly, having got engaged when he went off to war, Tim and his beloved Pollie wrote to each other on an almost daily basis. Many of his letters are included here and have vast amounts of detail on his work, life in the front line and local customs, as well as making plans for getting married, what they would do when the war ended and so on. The letters give an intimate glimpse into what life was like during the First World War for both soldiers and their loved ones, and the photographs give a good look at the railways and areas Tim was posted to.

The photographs and the letters survived and passed down Tim's family, and this book has been edited and published by his grandson.

200 exceedingly well produced pages. 245 images. Hardbound.

Obviously highly recommended!