Merry Hell is the only complete history of the 25th Canadian infantry battalion, which was recruited in the autumn and winter of 1914–15 and served overseas from spring 1915 until spring 1919. Author Robert N Clements, who served in the battalion throughout that period and rose from private to captain, wrote the story many years after the war, based on his personal memories and experiences. As such, his story reflects two unique perspectives on Canadian military history – the remarkably fresh recollections and anecdotes of a veteran, and the outlook of a man eager to share what his generation contributed to the nation’s history, character, and identity.
Professional military historian Brian Douglas Tennyson buttresses Clements’s story with a valuable critical apparatus, including an analytical introduction that contextualizes the history and notes that explain unfamiliar points and people. Merry Hell is a captivating tale for those who enjoy stories of war and battle, and one that will entertain readers with Clements’s richly colourful anecdotes and witty poems, none of which have been published before.