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The Secret Great War Diary of Jack Martin by Sapper Martin

posted Jan 29, 2014, 3:04 AM by lf lf   [ updated Feb 24, 2014, 1:52 AM ]


Albert John (Jack) Martin was a thirty one year old Admiralty clerk when he was called up into the army in early 1916. Throughout his service with the Royal Engineers (the Sappers), he wrote in secret because men at the front were forbidden to keep diaries. When he returned home he told no one about them and they remained undiscovered in the attic until his grandson found them in 1999. 

 

The diaries are written in a clear, elegant, often humorous style and present the reality of the Great War with heartbreaking clarity. From the Battle of the Somme to the offensives at Ypres and the Armistice, we see World War One as it was lived and fought by the ordinary Tommy.

 

Martin describes life at the front; the ever-present fear of death, the loneliness and the appalling conditions in which the men lived and died. However, he also details the support of friends and the joy at the arrival of parcels from loved ones at home. Through it all Martin maintains a humanity and tranquillity of spirit, underpinned by a wry humour.


Recommended by June

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