A Sig­naller’s War

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE - by Pte L. El­lis (edited by David Lan­g­ley)

For any­one with a rel­a­tive who fought in the First World War, this is a fas­ci­nat­ing read that you will find hard to put down. Sig­naller Lawrence El­lis kept a di­ary of his ex­pe­ri­ences, from the day he joined up to the end of the hos­til­i­ties and his de­mob back in to civvie street. All of his en­tries were ac­com­pa­nied with won­der­ful, yet crude and child-like, draw­ings that give an in­sight to what went on in the trenches and be­hind the lines.

The di­ary is writ­ten in Lawrence's own words with sup­port­ing text added by David Lan­g­ley, who dis­cov­ered this col­lec­tion by chance.

It's won­der­ful to read of this young boy’s strength and the hu­mour he finds even among the hor­rors of war. The di­ary gives an un­sani­tised snap­shot of this time in his­tory. One of the most dis­turb­ing ac­counts records the pun­ish­ment sol­diers re­ceived when they fell asleep at their posts and were given "Num­ber One Field Pun­ish­ment", where they were strapped to a gun wheel for two hours a day. Lawrence not only de­scribes it but in­cludes a sketch of this in­hu­mane pun­ish­ment. I can­not rec­om­mend this book highly enough.

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