This site is being produced to publish the recently discovered diary of a private who served with the first Battalion of the Irish Guards. The diary commences on the 4th August 1914 and covers a period of approximately five months. It is a moving document which describes his experiences through Mons and Ypres to his repatriation with shell shock. I believe that it is important that this man’s voice is heard , particularly in this year, 100 years after he wrote it. Over the coming weeks I intend to add what little I know of the man . It is then my intention to commence publishing the diary itself, one day at a time exactly 100 years after it was written.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Leonard’s grandson, David for his support and help in getting to know more about Leonard. He has very kindly asked me to include the statement below. I can only say that it has been my privilege to be able to do this .. it has been a very worthwhile journey.
Without the diligence and integrity of David Marks, the “Diary” would never have been seen or heard of by the family of Leonard Kilcoin or the public.
The credibility and poignancy of the diary is enhanced by letters of Leonard’s family. These letters range from 1910 to 1917 and demonstrate the close family ties that then existed; these flowed between India, England and Ireland.
Apart from the letters, I knew very little of my grandfather, as my parents and grandfather’s generation very rarely spoke of events during the Great War. In this respect David’s discoveries have enlightened me and my family.
David Kilcoin July 2014