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Thank you for the link, this does look good. I really enjoyed 'Blood and Iron' which was another exceptional diary edited by Jon Cooksey, and this seems out of the same stable.

David

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Quite a popular title, there was another book called 'Harry's War' published by Brassey's in 2002 , it was the memoir of Harry Stinton, a bomber with the 1/7th London

Regiment and contained the authors own illustrations, I thought that it was a reprint of this book when I first saw the thread title. This new book does look like it could

be a very good read, especially as it has the comment " One of the best diaries of the First World War " on it's front cover.

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Quite a popular title, there was another book called 'Harry's War' published by Brassey's in 2002 , it was the memoir of Harry Stinton, a bomber with the 1/7th London

Regiment and contained the authors own illustrations, I thought that it was a reprint of this book when I first saw the thread title. This new book does look like it could

be a very good read, especially as it has the comment " One of the best diaries of the First World War " on it's front cover.

I made the same assumption. I really enjoyed Harry Stinton's diary. Very understated with pictures that we're touching and straightforward. His description of the death of his pal was so moving because it was so simply told. His loss was palpable but largely unspoken.

My copy of the new 'Harry's War' arrived today and has been immediately promoted to the top of the pile and will I hope be started on this weekend. It will be interesting to see how close it comes to that other half ranker half officer memoirs 'There's a Devil in the Drum' which has set the standard for so long

David

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I made the same assumption. I really enjoyed Harry Stinton's diary. Very understated with pictures that we're touching and straightforward. His description of the death of his pal was so moving because it was so simply told. His loss was palpable but largely unspoken.

My copy of the new 'Harry's War' arrived today and has been immediately promoted to the top of the pile and will I hope be started on this weekend. It will be interesting to see how close it comes to that other half ranker half officer memoirs 'There's a Devil in the Drum' which has set the standard for so long

David

I suppose the question is, can a diary be as good as a memoir?, a diary is more immediate but usually less detailed , I notice that the previous 'Harry's War' is described in the blurb

as a diary but it reads more like a memoir as it was written up and added to by the author after the war. The latest 'Harry's War' looks to be quite detailed but I suppose the proof of the

book is in the reading as they (i) say. As i commented in the ' The Devil's Carnival' thread, in this section, i do wish they would reprint some of the other classic great War memoirs, they deserve to be read by a wider readership.

Before the early nineties 'Devil in the Drum' was almost unobtainable to read and only available in a few libraries.

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Harry Stinton's book is quite superb IMHO.

This new book looks also to be "a good'un" having read the first few pages and had a quick flick through the rest of it. Photographs are included within the text and not so clear in some instances.

" One of the best diaries of the First World War " - this comment is from one of those involved in the production of the book so is hardly impartial, but with his experience perhaps it is, so I'll decide when I have read the book through.

edited

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Hello Squirrel,

Browsing the forum today I came across the thread. Just to clarify for the sake of accuracy, the quote on the front cover was by the late lamented Rod Suddaby who was the retired Keeper of the Department of Documents at the IWM. He had nothing to do with production of the book andto my great sadness died before it was published and before I could give him a copy, so I wouldn't want anyone to get that impression.

To give a little background, Harry Drinkwater's diary and a great deal of associated artefacts - including his MC, a scabbard from a German raider shot in NML on 8 January 1916 at Maricourt, an epaulette bearing the number '177', which Harry tore from a German greatcoat during the trench raid in June 1918 near Nieppe for which he was awarded the MC etc - was sold at auction in 1980 and Rod actually represented the IWM that day. The IWM was outbid.

Of course, people will come to their own conclusions about Harry's diary and its relative position in the canon when set against the other diaries and memoirs we have all read and enjoyed. I do hope you find it interesting though.

For the record, Rod Suddaby was one of the most knowledgeable, most approachable and most kindly of men I have ever met in all my years of researching the First and Second World Wars. He was as helpful to the absolute novice as he was to the experienced researcher in the Reading Room of the IWM in his desire that the vast collection of records should be accessible to all. His grasp and understanding of the collection in his care as Keeper was unmatched and he always seemed to be able to dig out material which had hitherto been unrecorded - naval documents being a particular area of expertise.

He will be sadly missed by so many and I fear we will not see his like again at the IWM.

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I stand corrected Jon and apologise for the comment - no wish to besmirch the memory of the late Mr Suddaby who was obviously a dedicated, knowledgeable and much admired historian.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished reading the book - it certainly is a good read, detailed and absorbing. What struck me particularly was the number of hours spent on working parties and mining which are not always recorded in diaries such as these. The editior's additions are pertinent and informative. It is one of the best diaries of the First World War that I have read.

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  • 1 month later...

I have begun reading this and am enjoying it. I am reading it in a 'book'. (An archaic device made from wood pulp and ink - batteries not included.)

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I have begun reading this and am enjoying it. I am reading it in a 'book'. (An archaic device made from wood pulp and ink - batteries not included.)

It'll never catch on

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  • 1 month later...

I've just finished reading this, and here's a review:

Although I have read many books over the years, I’ve never been a great fan of diaries. I think this is because many of them are of the “we did this and then we did that, so and so said this and so and so said that” type, which don’t really tell you anything about the actual person or what they did.

“Harry’s War – The Great War Diary of Harry Drinkwater” is totally different, though, because it is a very well written description of life in (and out of) the trenches during the First World War. It really does make you feel that you are there with Harry and his mates, and suffering along with them.

One of the things which interested me about the diary is that life at the front was, for much of the time, not much concerned with fighting at all. Indeed, although Harry fought at most of the major battles of the war, much of the diary deals with the day-to-day experiences of the men. These seem to be mainly concerned with trench repairing and digging, and trying to avoid getting killed by stray bullets and barrages.

As I have said, it is very well written, and contains many descriptions of occasions where his fellow soldiers were killed or wounded. These are dealt with in matter of fact fashion, but you can tell that in some cases Harry knew the men concerned very well, and was much affected by their deaths.

The book is well served by the editors (Jon Cooksey and David Griffiths), who have added pieces in several places giving the wider picture. Where there is a mention of soldiers dying, they have given more information about that soldier, and where he is buried or commemorated. This puts things into context, and helps with understanding the circumstances at the time.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book. On the front cover, there is a comment by the late Roderick Suddaby of the Imperial War Museum, who says “One of the best diaries of the First World War.” I totally agree!

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About two thirds of the way through, and can wholeheartedly concur with The Scorer's review and Mr Suddaby's comment doesn't seem misplaced either - thoroughly recommend the book.

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