A personal diary of a soldier of the Great War

diary 1This 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


3 Responses to A personal diary of a soldier of the Great War

  1. Jim Stapleton says:

    Saw this on ‘The Great War Forum’ Really Looking forward to 4th August.
    All the the very best of luck, and thank you for making this available.
    Jim (ypres)

  2. Shelley says:

    This is amazing to read and see. My grandad is David Kilcoins brother and so this is my great great grandad thank you very much for finding and sharing this. It’s beautiful to read and brings our family history to life .

  3. Bren says:

    I attended your talk in Buckingham this morning and spoke to you afterwards with my wife. I have just read the diary up to today and it is both fascinating ad heartbreaking at the same time. These were incredibly brave and honest men who deserved far better from their political leaders. Thank you for telling us about David’s diary. I have added it to my Facebook Timeline and I will also ask a few people I follow on Twitter to pass on the link. As many people as possible should read this amazing account of an ordinary man doing extraordinary things without question. Thank you again David.

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