16 Friday June 192003 Kent Messenger (KM) www.kcntm cr.co.uk c.sscn( To advertise: 01622695777 GET THE PICTURE You can now buy copies of your favourite'KM Group photos online .Visit our website www.kentmessenger.co.i8k and click the buy pictures button Diary gives a glimpse of life in the trenches by Helen Fairley &thckm(jroup.co.uk ilcloy hl I IK lost his life in the trenches of tho First World War but almost 90 years after he died Herbert Roots' family still have a rare Insight into his wartime experience. Bvn Gilbert 84 the great-niece of CpI Roots has a beautifully written First World War diary penned by her uncle whom she never met. Tho cherished diary dramatically documents a year of his experiences stretching from the start of the war in August 1914 until shortly before his death. Cpl Roots was a soldier before the war and was originally attached to the 1st Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment. His account starts: “Written from my pocketbook and memory while in Boulogne Hospital, Corporal Roots 1st Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment." After Cpl Roots returned to action he was moved to the 19th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment. This was a pals regiment, made up of friends who had joined to fight together. These regiments often lacked experience so longer-serving soldiers like Cpl Roots were attached to them. Cpl Roots unit went into action on July 11916 the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Although one of Britain s blackest days, with nearly 60000 casualties, Cpl Roots battalion actually took part in one of the days successes and recaptured the French town of Montauban. However on July 30 they fought at the village of Guillem- ont where Cpl Roots was killed inaction. His diary is now being studied by historian Ian McHenry who hopes to turn it into a book. Mrs Gilbert from Offham no longer has any photographs of her uncle but remembers one hanging on the wall of her childhood home. A recent appearance on a news programme led to her being contacted via the Kent Messenger, by Liverpool amateur historian John Makin who has researched her uncles regiment. Much of her uncles life is a mystery to Mrs Gilbert but she does know that her own mother, Agnes was engaged to him before he was killed inaction. On Agnes s behalf an article was published asking for information about Cpl Roots. The article found its way to the trenches where it was read by his brother Fred who ingot touch with Agnes to let her know her fiance was dead. After the war Fred and Agnes met up fell in love and married. JOURNAL EXTRACTS Writing in October 1914 Cpl Roots describes fighting a hiss unite ten red the Vpres area. "We advanced to within 5 0 yards of the German tre chen sin front of which there a few house sand a lot of Germans were concealed In them .We got the order to charge and did so but could get no closer than 15 yards because we were stopped by a high hedge. We had to lie down where we were and upkeep a heavy fire. We were being fired a t from the tre chen sand also from the houses. Several were wounded in that position including both the officers who continued Eva Gilbert with the diary f: to.y give orders although wounded. The Germans were sh o u tin gall sorts of things to u s including ‘do you want to su rre n d er/ and ‘are you E nglishm en'. Every time they shouted w e gave them rapid fire. At last they shouted "Would you Englishmen like so m emu sic?" Again more rapid fire. Then we heard a cornet and listened. The first thing they played was 'Son of my Soul that finished and they played 'The song that reached m y h e art'. The last one they played was the German National Anthem ,and when th a twas finished they turned their machine guns upon us.” Jumbo treat for little lads THESE lively-looking elephants seem to have caused quite astir when thev made How far will you togo beat cancer? RuniUk
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