This website is a platform for the military history interests of three published authors, all of which revolve around the Great War of 1914-1918. Jürgen Schmieschek and Andrew Lucas (your host) are interested primarily in the Royal Saxon Army (Königlich Sächische Armee), the quasi-independent armed forces of the Kingdom of Saxony (Königreich Sachsen) - the third largest state of the federal German Empire. Andrew's father Michael is interested primarily in the British Army, mainly on the Western Front.
Andrew Lucas was born in 1975 and grew up in Ramsgate on the Kent coast. His maternal grandmother is Saxon, and Andrew was brought up with German family traditions as well as his father's passion for history. His interest in the German experience of the First World War was fired by family photos of his Great-Grandfather Arno Bierast at the front as a war volunteer with 4. Kgl. Sächs. Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.48 (from Dresden), and by his grandmother's memories of her father. Andrew's research led him to study German sources, and to collect original photos and postcards from the regiment and other Saxon units. He met Jürgen on a popular online auction website in 2008, beginning the voluminous, illuminating and increasingly friendly correspondence which ultimately led to this book. The two collaborated on research for Andrew's father's book The Journey's End Battalion, followed by a series of articles for Stand To! leading to a book deal which resulted in Fighting the Kaiser's War. In addition to his writing, Andrew is active in the WW1 living history scene, representing his 'family regiment' FAR 48 as part of the 1914-21 Society. He is a member of the Western Front Association and the Arbeitskreis Sächsische Militärgeschichte e.V. Dresden.
Jürgen Schmieschek was born in 1959, has lived in Dresden all his life and works as a layout artist. His first visit to Flanders in 1994 inspired his interest in the Great War, particularly as experienced by his fellow Saxons, and he began amassing the extraordinary collection which forms the basis of this book. In his own (translated) words:
"It is a strange but uplifting feeling to hold these almost 100-year-old photos, diaries and letters from the field in one's hands, and naturally I am anxious to find out more about these people, their experiences and the places and circumstances in which they lived and died. This includes visiting the old theatres of war. I'm particularly fond of Flanders, although there is more left to marvel at elsewhere, e.g. the Vosges or the Masurian Lakes."
Through his collecting and researching he has made friends in many countries, and contributed to book projects in German, Flemish and English.
Michael Lucas was born in Surrey, read history at the University of Sussex and worked for the NHS for 38 years, mostly in Kent. His long-standing interest in the Great War was given an extra dimension when he discovered, around 2003, that a great-uncle had served three years on the Western Front as a private soldier with 9th Battalion / East Surrey Regiment.
He subsequently wrote a history of that unit from 1914 to 1920, The Journey's End Battalion, and edited the letters of the battalion medical officer Captain George Pirie as his second volume, Frontline Medic. Michael has also had numerous articles published, chiefly covering 1914-18, including in Stand To! and has given talks based on his research at (among others) the Surrey History Centre and the National Archives in Kew.