We have now uploaded the transcript of Raymond Hester’s war diary on to our digital archive.
The diary was written over the December 1915 period when Mr Hester was serving in France before he was wounded. His journey started in Watlington in early December having signed up to the London Irish an informal group that became part of the London Regiment. They travelled to Southampton and then crossed the Channel to L’Havre, then on to Honfleur before travelling to the Western Front in the Bethune area.
Raymond describes life in the trenches as well as time before moving forward. A vivid impression of the atrocious conditions is created as well as the randomness of death: he stood up and walked away from where he was sitting and within seconds a large piece of shrapnel embedded itself in to that very same spot.
Raymond himself was wounded by a trench mortar fired by the Germans when he was using a periscope – he thought they must have caught the mirror’s reflection.
He was sent back home and discharged.