There cannot be a book with a more tragic history than Battery Action! It was started by Hugh Kay at Christmas, 1916, to serve as a record of the 43rd Howitzer Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Kay recorded the characters in the unit, and the entertainments of The Boys. Unfortunately Kay was killed at Passchendaele in 1917. His manuscript was found in his backpack, and the project was continued by George Magee. Magee died of wounds in September 1918. Once again others continued the work, and in 1920 the book was finally finished.
Yet the book is far from tragic. It is full of humourous anecdotes, details of daily life, and serves as a testament to the character and courage of the men of the 43rd Howitzer Battery. There is no indication the authors were working with the shadow of death hanging over them. Battery Action! gives an exceptional view into the lives of the artilleryman on the Western Front, and is a unique contribution to the literature of the period.