The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection Lancelyn Green Bequest

Treasure of the Month - February 2013


Conan Doyle visiting the Italian Front

British criticism of the Italians? retreat from Trentino in May 1916 led the Italians to feel that they were not being given adequate credit for what they were doing, and to look for someone who could put their case in print. Conan Doyle was suggested for the role. Arthur had, in fact, been looking for an opportunity to visit and write about the Western Front from firsthand knowledge, and was able to persuade others to let him visit other parts of the front so that he would be able to compare the situation there with what he found on the Italian front line.

In France, in addition to visiting the front opposite the Loos and Ypres Salients, and the devastated city of Ypres, he was able to meet his brother, Innes, and his son, Kingsley. He then travelled to Italy and stayed the night at the British Mission in Udine. The next day he was taken to see the Italian Front and afterwards drove part of the way to Monfalcone before turning back under heavy shellfire. He spent the following day seeing mountain warfare, and the final day in Trentino.

On his return home he wrote three articles which were later published in pamphlet form as A Visit to Three Fronts.

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