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Mud Beneath My Boots
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers (New Zealand)
Using previously unpublished letters and journals, author Allan Marriott retells the amazing story of his uncle, Private Len Coley, who at barely 16 lied about his age to enter the army in 1916 and found himself in the trenches at the battle of Passchendaele. Shelled, bombed, shot at by snipers and poisoned by mustard gas, he somehow managed to survive the momentous and infamous battles of Passchendaele, Ypres, Messines and the Somme - and then in 1930, now in his thirties, he revisited France and the scenes of his boyhood terror. Len wrote a journal of his trip back to the battlefields in 1930, drawing on the detailed notes he had kept as a boy soldier from 1916-1919 before the Second World war, and wrote about the memories that surfaced, and the way he was now able to think about things as an adult that had been happening all around him as that frightened young boy His nephew, Allan Marriott, has used Len's extraordinary record to tell the story of life in the trenches from two perspectives - the raw and vulnerable boy and the seasoned man - providing a unique insight into one of the blackest periods of our recent history.
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