Category: Modern First Editions

COMRADES Stock code: 13746


London: Elkin Matthews. 1916


Second printing of the October 1916 first edition. Presentation copy. Publisher's original blue cloth with gilt titles to the upper board and spine. Portrait frontispiece. A very good copy, the binding square and firm showing a little rubbing and some discolouration at the extremities. The contents are entirely complete and without loose or torn pages, with a few foxing spots throughout but no inscriptions or stamps. Scarce.




Inscribed by the author's brother "To Miss Salmon / with best Xmas wishes / from Dr. [Niven] Robertson". The first of two posthumous volumes of poetry by Alexander Robertson, all of which were written whilst on active service. The Scottish born author took up the post of Lecturer in History at Sheffield University six months before the outbreak of the war. Answering the call to duty he volunteered as a private soldier, joining the 12th York and Lancaster Regiment in September 1914. His battalion served in Egypt in 1915 and was then sent to France in March 1916. Unwell with jaundice, Robertson spent three weeks in a military hospital in Marseilles before rejoining the battalion, which was on the front line near Albert by June, and was deployed in the opening attack of the Battle of the Somme at the village of Serre on the 1st of July. Robertson, along with many of his comrades, disappeared on that day, and with his comrades, is listed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. In a letter, his brother Dr Niven Robertson wrote: 'It was his greatest joy and a great solace to him to express his soul in [the poems], as army life was far from congenial to a man of his character'.