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Soldiers were forbidden from keeping a diary so Harry wrote his in secret, recording the horrendous conditions and constant fear, as well as his pleasure at receiving his officer's commission, the joy of his men when they escaped the trenches for the Italian Front and the trench raid for which he was awarded the Military Cross.
Harold Victor Drinkwater was born on 19 February 1889 in Stratford-upon-Avon. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School, where Shakespeare was educated. A month after war was declared in 1914, Harry volunteered, but failed his medical for being 'half an inch' too short. He tried again and successfully joined a Pals battalion in Birmingham. Harry fought on both the Western and Italian Fronts , receiving the Military Cross in 1917. Harry stayed in the army for two more years after Armistice was declared. He died in 1978. Jon Cooksey is a leading military historian who has written a number of books about both World Wars and the Falklands conflict. He is often asked to write articles about battlefield history for the national press, and has co-written and co-produced several radio documentaries for the BBC on the subject of war. David Griffiths is a collector of military artefacts and acquired Harry's diary in 1980. He became fascinated with Harry's story and has long hoped to see it in print.
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