‘The Battle of Dorking’ and Combat Trauma

The unnamed narrator of Lieutenant-Colonel George Chesney’s invasion scare story, The Battle of Dorking: Reminiscences of a Volunteer (1871), is a complex character. His war-experience, recounted to his grandchildren in 1921 before they emigrate to a ‘new home in a more prosperous land’,[1] contains several details which should elicit readers’ sympathy – or, at the very least, pity. After he volunteers to defend Britain from German-speaking invaders, the protagonist experiences several distressing ordeals in 1871. At the titular battle, he

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