Title in English
War diary of Frederick Charles Rawlings
My grandad, Frederick Charles Rawlings, was born on 15th December 1892 in Southwark, London. He was one of the millions caught up in the First World War. I remember, as a child, the stories he told about when he was in France. He was a driver but when the British Army was running out of canon fodder, he was sent to train for the front line in the "Bull Ring". I have no idea where that was but he refers to it in his diary, which I have. On his way to the front line he was gassed and taken to hospital in Blighty. You can read the trauma he went through when he was told that he was being sent back to the front line and the sheer relief when he was subsequently told that he was being sent home after all. The diary was written in pencil and is very small so I have enlarged it when I scanned it in. I can also attach photos of my grandfather as well as letters to and from home.
During the war his brother, William, (born 12th November 1891) was killed. I understand that he was mounted on a front horse of a carriage team pulling a gun when he was struck by shrapnel, which killed him. My mother, who is 86, still has the bent silver cigarette case that he had on him when he was hit. Hence references to "Poor old Will".
Summary description of items
I have attached the diary and two pictures of Fred. I also attach a number of letters written at the time to Fred's sister and his girlfriend/wife. It is rather confusing because they are both called Ethel! Actually one was Elizabeth but she was also known as Ethel.