Skip to Main Content

A Doctor in The Great War

Unseen Photographs of Life in the Trenches

Published by Atria Books/Marble Arch Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

The extraordinary true story of a young medical officer’s time in the trenches of the First World War from 1914-15, as seen through through the lens of his camera. Written by Fred’s grandson, Andrew Davidson, and interweaving contemporary narrative with 250 captivating, previously unknown photographs taken at the front, it is a must-have for history and photography enthusiasts alike.

Fred’s War tells the extraordinary story of the 1st Cameronians, who achieved notoriety for selling the Great War’s earliest front line photographs, and Fred Davidson, their 25-year-old medical officer, one of the first doctors to win the Military Cross. His pictures are seen here for the first time, alongside those taken by his friend Lieutenant Robert Money and fellow officers.

Using a unique approach blending 250 original photographs with contemporary narrative, the author, Fred’s grandson, pieces together the story behind the pictures that have passed through his family for three generations: describing the men who fought with Davidson, the conditions they served in, the battles they saw and the horrors they witnessed.

From the parade ground at Glasgow’s Maryhill to the brothels of Armentieres, the book offers an unusually intimate portrait of life among a band of brothers – the same men who later proudly dubbed themselves ‘Old Contemptibles’.

Andrew Davidson is an award-winning journalist and author of the Sunday Times business interview page from 2003 to 2012. His previous books include Bloodlines, an anatomy of daily life at St Thomas’ Hospital, and Smart Luck, an anthology of his interviews with well-known entrepreneurs.

"An intimate snapshot of history that puts the Great War firmly into focus."

– The Express

"Remarkable... A deeply affecting account of men struggling to keep hold of their sanity amid a ceaseless round of daily horrors."

– Daily Mail

"An incredible story."

– The Scottish Express

"A treasure trove of photographs offering a unique insight into the grim reality of life in the trenches."

– Press and Journal

"Using an inspired and original concept, [Andrew Davidson] blends 250 original photographs with a crisp, contemporary narrative to give us a new and amazingly intimate perspective on the danger, hardships and playful camaraderie of a dismal, deadly battlefront. If you only buy one book about the war, make it this one."

– Lancashire Evening Post