When 19 year old Sergeant Eric Evans embarked on a troop ship bound for France in 1917, he was already a Gallipoli veteran and a seasoned campaigner. But nothing could prepare him for the horrors of the Western Front. During the next two years he was wounded twice, badly gassed and saw countless friends and comrades die in nightmarish circumstances. In diaries that he kept throughout his ordeal, vivid and honest descriptions of life as an infantry sergeant are mingled with an overpowering yearning for his sweetheart Dorothy Wright, patiently awaiting his return to Sydney. His thoughtful writing captures a young soldier's life in all its contradictions. From practical jokes and flirtations with nurses to politics to the misery of life in the trenches, it adds a unique and authentic voice to the annals of war literature.
None of this was known until Fraser Gregg chanced upon a suitcase belonging to his grandfather, Eric Evans. Fascinated by this unknown story and realising the historical value of the diaries he engaged an editor, Patrick Wilson, who prepared them for publication. The result is a book with wide appeal as a personal journey through war and as a testament to the sustaining force of love and friendship.
Patrick Wilson studied history at Manchester University and currently teaches modern history at Bradfield College in Reading. His published books include DUNKIRK: FROM DISASTER TO DELIVERANCE and THE WAR BEHIND THE WIRE, which accompanied a major BBC documentary.