WWI/Militaria: Superb archive collection of three diaries written by Private James Bignell of Eight Platoon B Company 8th Bedfords. The diaries start on January 4th 1916 and finish on the 2nd January 1919. They were written on a regular basis in some cases day by day over his time in the trenches. They offer a fascinating snapshot into the life of a British Infantryman in the trenches. Quotes from the diaries.
3rd Sept. Big push started, awful fighting going on.
5th Sept. Awful bombardment day and night "God help them".
8th Sept. Shelled us today 12 killed.
14th Sept. "Went and found Leslie's Battalion but he had gone up the line".
"God Help him and spare him".
17th Sept. Battle still going on. Saw Leslie coming out of the trenches he was
alright, thank God".
14th Oct. General Wight came today with another General.
22nd Oct. Heard were going away. Bishop of London preached today, heavy
fighting going on. This place is full of troops.
29th Oct. "What a life, all the best manhood of Europe, melting away".
6th June "Air is alive with planes, never seen anything like it".
7th June Big attack today about 6000 prisoners and 70 guns.
8th June The bombardment is awful, terrible, worse and worse.
15th June "Made cold tea for the Prince".
24th June A lot of shelling, 4 killed and 18 wounded, King coming.
6th July "King George came to tea with General Gough".
9th July "A big battle coming off about 15th of this month.
11th July General Gough came to lunch, I cooked it and he was very pleased and ate.
Interestingly Private Bignell was later transferred to HQ and became one of Edward Prince of Wales later Edward VIII batman. The diary also chronicles his worry and later anguish and grief at the loss of his son Leslie in the trenches. Also included in the lot is a letter from Private Bignell's grandson chronicling memories of him and a transcript of the principal contents of the diaries as well.
£1200 - 2000 Click here for details of BP and other fees payable on this lot.