A conversation about creative writing on Publish It.




Talking about the craft of travel writing on Publish It.

Podcast interview with David Krut Projects

In this Podcast Justin Fox tells us all about his process, ideas, experiences, even the personal challenges of pursuing a concept and the confidence it requires.



An older law



* Live blog from the trenches, T+100 years *

21 September 2017

Grandpa Albert (Bertie) Fox was mentioned in despatches by Field Marshall Haig, signed by Churchill, a citation that hung in a big black frame above my bed throughout my childhood. I understood none of it. Now, I think I partially do. What horror, what futility. Grandpa suffered from shell shock all his life, and died from its affects before I was born. If those loyal Welch fusiliers had not dug him out on that fateful night in 1917, my family would not exist today.

Me at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, standing beside the names of fallen Royal Welch Fusiliers, Grandpa’s band of brothers.

Grandpa Bertie Fox in the 1940s.


* Live blog from the trenches, T-minus 1 minute *

20 September, 1917:

Midnight. Grandpa Bertie has taken shelter in a dugout in Imperfect Copse, Klein Zillebeke (36 on the map). The barrage of a German counterattack rains down on his position. A shell explodes in the doorway of the dugout, killing or wounding most of his men. Bertie staggers to his feet, but is buried alive by the next shell.

Soldiers manage to dig him out five hours later. The Battle of Menin Road is his last act in the war. Bertie will spend the next 8 months in hospital in Britain being treated for severe shell shock. He’ll be sent back to South Africa in June 1918.

A reconstructed dugout at Passchendaele today.

A soldier is dragged from the rubble after shelling. (photo: d.ibtimes.co.uk)

Imperfect Copse lies just to the left of the number 36 on this trench map, housed in the British Library, London.

I planted this cross of remembrance to Grandpa in a field outside Klein Zillebeke, near Ypres. The trees of Imperfect Copse are visible in the background.


* Live from the trenches, T-minus 4 hours *

20 September 1917:

7.30pm: Dusk. Battalion headquarters has been established in Imperfect Copse, position I36d4.3, with ‘C’ Company in reserve. The positions are to be held through the night. Battalion casualties for the last 24 hours:

officers – 3 wounded

other ranks – 21 killed (including 7 died of wounds), 73 wounded and 12 missing

Aftermath. (photo: IWM)

I’m still here to protect you. (photo: Pinterest)


* Live blog from the trenches, T-minus 9 hours *

20 September, 1917:

2.30 pm: ‘D’ Company reinforces front line on right of ‘B’ Company. German counter attacks underway.

In the firing line at Passchendaele, we repulse repeated Bosche counter attacks of great violence. (photo: http://www.irishtimes.com)

Repel the counter attack! (photo: Canadian War Museum)


* Live blog from the trenches, T-minus 11 hours *

20 September, 1917:

12.30pm: The Hun has been routed: the BLUE LINE is taken! ‘B’ Company reinforces the front line at Hessian Wood, P1c2.8.

Taking the BLUE LINE! (photo: Pinterest)


* Live blog from the trenches, T-minus 18 hours*

20 September 1917:

1.15am: Assembly is completed.

5.40am: ZERO HOUR.

‘Fix bayonets!’ The clink and scrape of blades. Your tongue is dry. The fear lies so heavily upon you that you might not be able to climb the ladder. The air is sucked from your brain. Somewhere deep inside you, the booming of your heart: the excited organ’s last hurrah? Lips unkissed, babes unborn, a life unlived.

All along the line, officers wait, whistles at trembling lips. ‘Closely follow the barrage. Don’t let anyone fall behind. One foot in front of the other. Men of Harlech.’

Whistles rip the air.

‘Attack, boys, attack!’

You clamber out into the salmon dawn, suddenly aware of sky and air and openness after the warren of the trenches. You lean forward to the task, your body braced for puncture, flesh pressed softly against a uniform that will be the first to greet the arriving lead. A flash of sunlight on bayonet, the thud of feet on earth. The land is gun-flash filled, adrift with smoke. Your battalion moves in artillery formation, company by company, drawing through the barrage as if on parade.

And the Hun is yielding!

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkKKTLbvatk

‘Into the breach, lads!’ (photo: Pinterest)

  • Buy Whoever Fears the Sea

    Buy Whoever Fears the Sea by Justin Fox
  • Buy The Marginal Safari on Kalahari

    Buy The Marginal Safari
  • Buy Under The Sway on Kalahari

    Buy Under The Sway by Justin Fox
  • Buy Cape Town Calling on Kalahari

    Buy Cape Town Calling edited by Justin Fox