UK

WWI Soldier's Battle Of The Somme Diary To Go To Auction

The 104-year-old notebook is expected to fetch hundreds of pounds at auction, after being discovered in a barn.

A soldier's diary from the Battle of the Somme is expected to fetch hundreds of pounds at auction, after being found in Leicestershire.

The notebook, used by Private Arthur Edward Diggens, tells of his experiences on the frontline where "every German had a machine gun" and shells dropped "just a few yards in front of our billet".

Pte Diggens would go on to survive the battle which saw 20,000 British troops killed.

Military expert, Adrian Stevenson, who discovered the diary at a valuation event at Hansons Auctioneers at Etwall, near Derby, said: "When I opened it, I was amazed – and I had to flick straight to the 1 July entry.

"The fact that both the diary and the soldier survived is pretty remarkable, given those awful statistics."

Mr Stevenson said he believes the diary is an "important piece of military history" which should sell well given its "appeal".

"It's a complete mystery how this Somme diary ended up in the Midlands, particularly as Arthur was born in London," he continued.

The diary is due to be sold in a Medals and Militaria sale at Hansons auctioneers in Derbyshire on 20 March.

Cover image:  Hansons Auctions.