Widely regarded as one of the most important personal sources relating to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, this World War One diary is a first-hand account by one of New Zealand’s greatest soldiers, Brigadier-General Herbert Hart.
Day by day through the Great War, from Gallipoli to the Somme and Passchendaele, the principal focus of the diary is Hart’s service on the Western Front. Exceptionally well written, it includes gripping descriptions of both combat and life behind the front line and on leave in France and the United Kingdom.
Detached at times, Hart is also a very human observer of the events around him, empathising with the plight of his men, finding humour in the most unlikely situations and noticing unexpected details at moments of high tension.
This image is of an entry from Brigadier-General Herbert Hart’s diary for Armistice Day, 1918.
The entry reads:
11th Nov. At breakfast this morning an orderly delivered to me a pink Army field message form with the welcome news ‘Hostilities cease at 1100 today’. So it is all over at last. Thank God for that. There was no jubilation and no excitement. Parades and routines continued according to syllabus, and each one asked himself and each other ‘Now how soon can I get home?’
Excerpt from The Devil’s Own War, edited by John Crawford.
Image: Crown Copyright © 2008