'A Lack of Offensive Spirit?' is a companion volume to Alan MacDonald's recently revised book 'Pro Patria Mori - the 56th (1st London) Division at Gommecourt, 1st July 1916'. The attack of the 46th (North Midland) Division at Gommecourt on the first day of the Battle of the Somme is one of the most controversial incidents of the Great War. The men were effectively accused of cowardice ("A lack of offensive spirit") and of being drunk and the Division was the only one subject to a Court of Inquiry into its conduct. Their commander, Maj. Gen. Eddie Stuart Wortley, was the only General sacked as a result of the catastrophe of the 1st July 1916, a day when the British Army suffered its worst casualties in a single day in its entire history. 'A Lack of Offensive Spirit?' tells the story of Stuart Wortley and the 46th Division from the opening of the war, through the tragedy of the Hohenzollern Redoubt and then, day by day, through the preparations for the attack on Gommecourt. The attack itself is described using the dozens of eyewitness reports collected after the battle as well as official documents and post-war recollections and memoirs.The German perspective on the battle is also extensively covered with information drawn from numerous German unit histories.
The conduct of the Court of Inquiry and of Stuart Wortley's desperate efforts to clear his name are covered in detail as well as the tragic fate of the hundreds of officers and men missing, dead and wounded. 'A Lack of Offensive Spirit?' is fully indexed, contains over 20 maps and plans, 45 photographs and contains extensive appendices (including a Roll of Honour of both British and German dead).