//Diary from World Struggle I found in barn, recounts bloody Battle of the Somme

Diary from World Struggle I found in barn, recounts bloody Battle of the Somme

A British soldier’s battered World War I diary recounting the bloody Battle of the Somme has been found in a U.Okay. barn.

The diary, which was written in pencil by Non-public Arthur Edward Diggens of the Royal Engineers, begins on Feb.13, 1916 and ends on Oct. 11 of that 12 months. His diary entry for July 1, 1916, describes the primary day of the Battle of Somme.

“One thing terrible,” he wrote. “By no means witnessed something prefer it earlier than. After a bombardment of every week the Germans mounted their very own trenches and the infantry reckon that each German had a machine gun.”

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“Our fellows had been mowed down,” Diggens added.

The diary entry for the first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.

The diary entry for the primary day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.
(Hansons)

Hansons Auctioneers within the U.Okay. might be auctioning the diary on March 20.

The battle, which lasted till Nov. 18, 1916, was an enormous joint operation between British and French forces that tried to interrupt by German defenses on the Western Entrance. Greater than 1 million British, French and German troops had been killed, wounded or captured within the motion, in keeping with the Imperial War Museum in London.

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The museum explains that the primary day of the notorious battle resulted in additional than 57,00zero British casualties, of whom 19,240 had been killed, making it the bloodiest day in British navy history. Public sale home Hansons notes {that a} soldier was killed each 4.4. seconds in the course of the preliminary assault.

The battered diary was kept by British soldier Arthur Edward Diggens. (Hansons)

The battered diary was saved by British soldier Arthur Edward Diggens. (Hansons)

Diggens’ diary was in a field present in a barn in Leicestershire, which is in England’s Midlands area. Different unrelated navy objects had been additionally within the field, in keeping with Hansons. “The owner had no idea who any of the items related to but said his mother had been the recipient of old family heirlooms,” stated Hansons’ skilled Adrian Stevenson, in a press release. “It’s a complete mystery how this Somme diary ended up in the Midlands, particularly as Arthur was born in London. I’m just relieved such an important piece of military history has been found and can now be preserved.”

After its discovery within the barn, the diary was delivered to a Hansons valuation occasion. Stevenson stated that, when he noticed that the diary ended abruptly on Oct. 11, 1916, he feared the worst for Diggens. “Because of this we feared Arthur must have been a casualty of the conflict but my research proved otherwise,” he defined. “Not only did he survive the First World War, he returned to his loved ones in England and became a husband and father.”

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“Happily, he went on to marry his wartime sweetheart Alice (nee Phillips) in 1919 and was soon a proud father,” Stevenson added. “Alice gave birth to a son in 1920 – also called Arthur.”

Soldiers from the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916.

Troopers from the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench on the primary day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916.
(Picture by: Picture12/Common Photos Group by way of Getty Photos)

The diary has a information worth of $390 to $521.

Earlier than preventing on the Western Entrance, Diggens took half within the Gallipoli marketing campaign in Turkey, which resulted in defeat for the allies. “Sadly, a Gallipoli diary also penned by Arthur has been lost. He posted it home but it never made it,” Stevenson stated. “We also know why his diary ended suddenly. Alice sent him a new address book which he used as a diary from Oct 1916. That, too, has been lost.”

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Militaria expert Adrian Stevenson of Hansons Auctioneers holds the diary written by British World War I soldier Arthur Edward Diggens.

Militaria skilled Adrian Stevenson of Hansons Auctioneers holds the diary written by British World Struggle I soldier Arthur Edward Diggens.
(Picture by Jacob King/PA Photos by way of Getty Photos)

Different outstanding World Struggle I artifacts have emerged lately, reminiscent of a Bible marked with bullet holes from a German machine gun that helped save the lifetime of a British soldier.

In 2018, uncommon pictures surfaced of American troops arriving in Europe to battle alongside the allies in World Struggle I.

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British soldiers leaving a trench to attack on the Somme, 1916.

British troopers leaving a trench to assault on the Somme, 1916.
(Picture by Picture 12/ Common Photos Group by way of Getty Photos)

Over 700,00zero British troops had been killed throughout World Struggle I and virtually 1.7 million had been wounded, in keeping with British War Office information. Round 6 million British troops had been mobilized within the battle. In whole, the struggle resulted within the deaths of 13 million navy personnel and left 21 million extra wounded, in keeping with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. World Struggle I is among the many deadliest wars in trendy historical past.

Observe James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers