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Book Review – Miles Barne’s Diary – A Suffolk Countryman at War 1915-1917


Miles Barne’s Diary – A Suffolk Countryman at War 1915-1917

By Randall Nicol

This interesting and well-illustrated book is full of observations noted by a quiet and noble man who served as an infantry officer for two years on the Western Front. It is as searing as it is poignant.

Miles Barne, from Sotterley, Suffolk, was 41 when he re-joined the Scots Guards and in lively, chatty style we learn of his life in all its glories. He never intended his diary should be published but, thanks to editor Randall Nichol and Barne’s own family, a swathe of heartening vignettes is now rightly added to the personal histories archive of the Great War.

It wasn’t just the military actions at Loose and the Somme which informed the honesty of his pen but the countryside, flowers, plants and woods around him were recorded in lively prose. His court martial over the 1915 Christmas ‘truce’ – of which he was cleared – includes reference to his defence by none other than the Prime Minister’s eldest son, Raymond Asquith.

This diary offers a rare portraiture of an officer noted for his intelligence and conscientious attitude to life. Barne was killed by a bomb at Ypres on 17 September 1917.

Publisher: Helion and Company.

ISBN: 9781912390076

Hardback: 328 pages. RRP: £25

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