Screen image of Angela Walker's blog

Retired teacher from Leicester starts blog featuring her grandfather's Western Front diary

Posted on on 23 September 2014
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A Centenary News reader, Paul Wheeler, has emailed us to say that his aunt has started a blog featuring the daily entries of the diary kept by her grandfather - who was posted to the Western Front as soon as the war started and continued working there and in hospitals behind the lines until he was invalided out in 1916. Angela Walker, a retired teacher from Leicester in the UK, began the blog in August 2014.

We contacted Angela, and she sent us the following email:

"My Grandfather, Sergeant Major Henry Albert Bangert of the Royal Army Medical Corps was posted to the Western Front as soon as the war started and kept a diary for the time that he was there from August 13th 1914 until he was invalided out on 14th February 1916.

He wrote almost daily, recording his day-to-day activities, and his work in field hospitals and reporting on the military action that was taking place around him.

Now it’s 100 years since the start of the war I thought it would be interesting to create a blog of the diary, sending out entries to correspond with the date 100 years ago.

He wrote almost daily in his diary, so I’m going to try to post the entries every day if I can - but may have to catch up sometimes.

The diary gives snapshots of his day-to-day life on and off duty as well as giving news of battles, manoeuvres and military action going on around him.

A lot of it is rather mundane and shows that between battles life could be pretty boring. Some of the time it sounds quite jolly…in contrast to the images we see in the media. Often it’s very grim. Henry was never one to show his feelings.

I’m hoping the blog, posted a century after the events took place, will give a valuable insight into how an ordinary person experienced this extraordinary period of time.  

Born 1st Jan 1872, Henry joined the R.A.M.C. at Aldershot on 15th February 1894 and served in Egypt, Namibia, Sudan and South Africa in the Sudan Crisis, the Boer War (1899-1902) and afterwards until 1909. On 11th December 1904 he married Lena, nee Helena Luisa Becker. Although she was born in London, her parents were both German emigres, as was Henry's father, and the two families were related. When WW1 broke out he was stationed in Dublin, the family (then four boys - Will, Harry, Ted and John) with him.

I'm Henry's sixth grandchild, youngest daughter of his second son, Harry. When I knew him in 1950s he lived by the sea in Trimingham, Norfolk and I well remember his military bearing and a cheerful determination to swim in he sea in all weathers, despite stray WW2 land-mines on the beach! Henry died in 1961 aged 89."

Read the blog here

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