A diary of a First World War officer who served in the trenches is going to auction.
The diary includes first-hand details of the conflict, the loss of friends and the tragedy of war, but with a surprising level of humour.
It was written by an unknown officer who served in the first Battle of Ypres with the Third Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
Appearing at an auction in Billingshurst, West Sussex, the document is well preserved and clearly legible, making the historical item a rarity for writing rescued from the trenches.
Bellmans Auctioneers books specialist Denise Kelly said:
“This incredible diary is so full of detail, I could not put it down, and turning the pages I was instantly transported back to the trenches as if I was standing next to the writer.
“I experienced the close bond and trust between the officer and his men, I felt the cold, endless rain and horrific mud, I heard the endless noise of shelling and gunfire, realising very quickly why the life expectancy of these men was so short."
One of the most shocking revelations found in the diary says that German and British soldiers would warn one another in advance of shelling:
“When the Germans get word from their gunners our trenches are going to be shelled, they sign over to us, and the Brits do the same... General HQ would be pretty sick if they knew this”.
Inside his diary, which is expected to earn £600 at auction, are entries and copies of letters home from August 1914 - June 1915.
Despite the adversity the diary’s author faced, it features a surprising amount of humour - one passage reads:
“Billeted at Rosendaal Chateau, whole place shelled to pieces … had very fine Louis XV chairs to sit in and lovely china … a strange contrast!”
Denise added: “I have no idea how the writer survived as long as he did as I despaired reading endless names of his comrades falling to snipers, being shelled or missing.
“This is a fascinating, moving, historical record of horrific battles fought by very brave men”.