It has been 106 years since the discovery of a nurse’s diary containing poignant poems from British fallen soldiers.
Helen Dryerre owned a black leather notebook that she passed to convalescing soldiers during World War I.
Some British soldiers wrote poetry while others illustrated patriotic messages from hospital beds. One even made a delightful sketch of the soldier.
Tragically, the Battle of the Loos saw three of the soldiers in the album being killed simultaneously on the 13th of October 1915.
Helen Dryerre, Nurse Helen kept a notepad in WWI. This allowed soldiers recovering from injuries to write notes and sketches while they were away from battle.
It was a remarkable notepad which has been lost for 106+ years. The auction will take place later in the month.
Some soldiers made sketches, while others wrote poetry or letters to the leather-bound book.
Thomas O’Callaghan, 2nd Lieutenant was one of the authors of the book. He died in the Battle of Loos a few minutes later.
Lieutenant O’Callaghan was killed in the battle with 2nd Lieutenant Basil Mogridge (19), from the Leicestershire Regiment
Some entries date back to before WWI, such as the poem that was written 10 years before the conflict.
These were Guy Russell (22 years old), Thomas O’Callaghan (21) and Basil Mogridge (22) who both served with the Leicestershire Regiment (19).
Later, Ms Dryerre added to the entries their date of death.
Lt O’Callaghan wrote a touching poem about sacrifice and giving your life for King and Country.
The message read, “There is only one task for everyone. Each life has to be given.
“Who is responsible for England’s fall? Who dies if England lives?”
Lt Mogridge wrote of a beautiful but terrible summer’s day’ and said: ‘Life, death and late, hate, homes made joyful or desolate.
Eric Pochin is another soldier who survived World War II. In his entry, Pochin used a Union Jack Flag and Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Widow at Windsor.
He said, “You might hang on the wings at the dawn but you could flop around on the ground until your death.”
“But, you can’t get out of the tune they play To their bloomin’ old Rag overhead.
Others pages feature a cartoon clown and a Scotsman who plays the bagpipes, and a couple sitting together on a sofa. The caption suggests that they are trying to keep the fires going.
The 50-page sketch book is expected to sell for £300 when it goes under the hammer at C&T Auctioneers in Ashford, Kent
Tim Harper, specialist at C&T Auctions, said: ‘There are dozens of entries from soldiers who would been treated by the nurse after being wounded in battle’
A sweet 1916 drawing shows a lady in bonnet wearing a sailboat hugging Lizzie on the deck. The caption reads: “We all love Lizzie…and they all love Jack.”
This album contains approximately 50 pages and was found at a south east England estate.
It is going under the hammer with C&T Auctions, of Ashford, Kent, and is tipped to fetch £300.
Tim Harper, specialist at C&T Auctions, said: ‘There are dozens of entries from soldiers who would been treated by the nurse after being wounded in battle.
“Back in those days, poetry was very popular, so the couple wrote poems, rhymes and sketches in their album, while they sat in bed.
It is very poignant to look at the entries of three officers of Leicestershire Regiment, who died at Loos.
“It is an unusual and sad album that I have never seen before.”
Sale takes place on January 19.
Eric Pochin, an artist who used a Union Jack flag to draw a quote from Rudyard Kipling in The Widow at Windsor.
This sketch from January 1916 features a clown who advises Nurse Dryerre not to ‘look down in the mouth’
This leather-bound book, which was bound in brown leather, was discovered by the executors of a decedent.
Some sketches have remarkable quality and were kept in good condition even though they are more than a century older.
Some soldiers sketched others, while other wrote poetry or added notes to the book.
Harper stated that it was very poignant to see the entries from the officers of Leicestershire Regiment, who died at Loos. This album is something I have never seen, and is very sad.
The book will go under the hammer at C&T Auctioneers on January 19