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The Monocled Mutineer

The Etaples Mutiny

John Fairley William Allison



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Souvenir Press
01 September 2015
History; European history; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; First World War; Mutiny
Percy Toplis was WW1's most guarded secret, the ringleader of the Etaples mutiny. In 1917 British, New Zealand and Australian troops stationed at the Etaples Training Camp in northern France protested against the inhuman conditions. The mutineers commandeered the camp's weapons and marched into Etaples, holding the town for three days, attacking military police and the commander of the training camp, General Thomson. Several of the mutineers were executed, but Toplis remained at large for three years. The Army immediately covered up the mutiny, thousands of the participants would die shortly afterwards in the Passchendaele offensive, the survivors remained silent for over fifty years while all records of the Etaples Board of Enquiry were destroyed. Only when John Fairley and William Allison tracked down survivors of the mutiny, and relatives and friends of Percy Toplis, that this story came to public attention. The Monocled Mutineer became a national sensation when it was made into an acclaimed, and controversial, BBC drama in 1986, starring Paul McGann. The Monocled Mutineer asks: was Percy Toplis an anti-establishment hero, what made the monocled mutineer the most wanted man in Britain?
By:   John Fairley, William Allison
Imprint:   Souvenir Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   2nd Revised edition
Dimensions:   Height: 200mm,  Width: 130mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   185g
ISBN:   9780285643109
ISBN 10:   028564310X
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   01 September 2015
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

William Allison worked extensively in Fleet Street and at BBC television news. John Fairley is the chairman of Highflyer Productions.

Reviews for The Monocled Mutineer: The First World War's Best Kept Secret: The Etaples Mutiny

This is the 2nd and updated edition of The Monocled Mutineer, which includes a new introduction and epilogue that expand on newly discovered information about the events of the mutiny and the government's response to it... Historical accuracy is never easy to obtain, especially where records have been lost and where there is a limited number of sources to compare one against the other. In this case the main sources of information are the personal accounts from the veterans as they remembered them many years later. And the picture they paint is a most remarkable and shocking one of the brutal and inhuman conditions which were in operation at the camp... Maybe more information will be available in 2017 when the files are opened and a fuller picture of what happened will emerge. -- Books Please Blog An important part of the history of the Great War. -- Cumberland & Westmorland Herald This book has completely opened my eyes... It doesn't really romanticise him [Percy Toplis], or the mutiny, but it does really give you a feel for the emotion and the people behind it, which I don't think you get a lot when you watch war documentaries... I loved it, it was incredibly accessible to read, incredibly enjoyable to read, it's not slow in any way. You really are fascinated by Percy Toplis. -- Laura Blumenthal * Booktube * The authors have undertaken a huge amount of research with this book over many years, tracking down surviving soldiers who had experienced conditions at Etaples... It will be interesting to see what records will be released in 2017, but this is a fascinating book indeed. -- The Garden Window Blog First revealed the shameful secret of Etaples, and the incredible story of protagonist Percy Toplis. -- Derby Telegraph Gripping... Covers the colourful career of Toplis... The authors worked hard to track down survivors of the mutiny. -- The Morning Star A colourful chapter in First World War history... the book's new edition, now expanded to include Etaples stories which have only recently come to light. -- Mansfield Chad First revealed the secret of Etaples, and the incredible story of conman and killer Percy Toplis. -- Nottingham Post A shameful, secret story which, for so long, the Establishment had tried to hide. -- Daily Mirror

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