1917 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF SAPPER FRY'S 'FIRST TRIP TO FRANCE' TO BEAT BACK THE GERMANS AND HELP REPATRIATE THE FRENCH1319
On offer is a super manuscript diary handwritten by British 'Sapper' J. Fry who with no small amount of charm starts his first hand, eyewitness account: 'My First Visit to France by Sapper J. Fry'. One cannot help but smile at the optimism and one cannot but hope this was not his only trip to France. Sapper Fry has used two different sized letter sheets which makes one think that they were disengaged from notepad covers. We have attempted to collate and there are gaps in the numbers and certainly a couple of pages are missing though we feel this may be some loss and some mis-numbering of the sheets as the narrative seems to be pretty fluid. That said, the details are as follows: 45 leaves, 9 x 6.5 inches, almost all written both sides for about 90 pages of narrative, then another 27 single sided 6.5 x 4.5 inches making for about 117 pages of handwritten text. Sapper J Fry begins with his leaving London on March 1917 to go to France and he records almost every thing he sees and does: marching through Chatham to the station singing with the band; records the mood of he and his companions; hours in the dark at the Isle of Wight; his observations of the people of France; meeting troops back from Salonica; guarding German prisoners; going out into no mans land at night to repair wire, wading chest deep in water to repair trenches at night etc., etc. Sapper Fry writes with and intelligent hand and does a fine job of bringing the realities of the First World War to the reader. HISTORICAL NOTES from one online source: A sapper or combat engineer is an individual soldier who performs a variety of combat engineering duties. Such tasks typically include bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences, and building, road and airfield construction and repair. He is also trained to serve as an infantryman when needed. A modern sapper's tasks involve facilitating movement and logistics of allied forces and impeding that of enemies. The term "sapper" is used in British Army, Polish Army or Commonwealth military service. In the United States Army, the term sapper leader has been instituted for elite combat engineers. An ordinary engineer who has completed his training is called a pioneer. The German Army uses the term pionier, while sapeur is used in the French Army. Some water damage and some small loss but overall the pages are G.
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