'There was a blinding flash and an ear-splitting report and the "prisoner" fell across me. The bullet had caught him full in the chin and passed out at the base of his skull.' In A Tommy at Ypres we see the First World War through the eyes of Walter Williamson. His remarkable diary provides a fascinating first-hand record of major military events ranging from the Third Battle of Ypres to the Somme Retreat - but it is also a moving story of one man's experience of war.
His vivid recollections describe his part in the 118th Brigade's involvement in the Battle of St Julien at the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres, then the Somme, and finally Ypres again. Alongside his diary extracts, his letters to his loving wife Amelia offer a deeply human account of the everyday hopes and fears experienced by the men of the trenches.
Within these pages lies the reality of life for a Tommy: the bravery, the warm comradeship, the gentle humour, the strength of character and resilience, the sadness, the tragedy - A Tommy at Ypres reveals the true spirit of an outstanding generation.
Doreen Priddey (nee Williamson) is Walter's granddaughter. She first read Walter's diary in 1995, regrettably after her 'Grandpop' and her father had passed away, and was enthralled. As a result she decided to compile his writing for publication. Doreen has had a career in entertainment and lives in Anglesey. Walter Williamson was twenty-eight years old when he was called to war with the 6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment in 1916. In doing so, he left his wife Amelia and his two-year-old son, 'Little Jimmy', back in England. His diary and letters tell the story of his wartime experience. Walter died in 1957 at the age of fifty-nine.