These for Remembrance
When John Buchan wrote These for Remembrance and had a few copies printed for family and friends in 1919, it was never intended for general readership. Fortunately for readers interested in the wide scope of Buchan’s writings and for those desiring an intimate look at a sample of the cost of the Great War, these personal memoirs were published in a general edition in 1987.
Addressed to his four children, Buchan’s preface movingly sets the stage for the six profiles that follow. ‘In these short chapters I have tried to set down how those friends of mine appeared to me… I am convinced that few men have ever had more lovable, more brilliant, more generous, more gallant friends… So I want you to cherish the memory of the war because of the price that was paid for victory-victory for you.’ The friends he paid tribute to were Tommy Nelson, killed in action at Arras in April1917; Bron Lucas, shot down over enemy lines in November 1916; Cecil Rawling, killed in action near Ypres, October 1917; Basil Blackwood, killed in action near Ypres, July 1917; Jack Wortley, killed in action at Bullecourt, March 1918; and Raymond Asquith, killed in action on the Somme, September 1916.
In commemorating his fallen comrades, John Buchan also gives a revealing portrait of himself, enriching and deepening the image readers may have of him after reading his novels. Rarely in more than one hundred books did he give us such glimpses into his own heart.
Sylvia Jones, 2003