A WOMAN has penned a book using her grandfather's wartime diaries to offer a stark insight into the mud and trenches of the First World War.

Tricia Rothwell first learned of the existence of her grandfather’s five volume hand-written diary about 10 years ago, when her uncle passed away. Her father, the eldest son, died in 1967 when she was 12, and her grandfather died a few months later, so the subject of the diary never came up previously.

The Imperial War Museum was offered the diary for safekeeping, which is where it now resides.

Her grandfather, Captain Norman Hall, was born in Bury in 1892.

He was educated at Bury Grammar School and studied chemistry at Manchester University, graduating in 1913.

He later served in Liverpool before transferring home to serve in the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Tricia said: "When I did read it, I realised that it was a fairly unique document. What makes it unusual is that he served for the four years of the war, while many others sadly died or served for less time.

"I feel like he wrote his diaries quite soon after the war because they are very vivid. I found that less is sometimes more. When they were at the front, he says something like 'I knew what my thoughts were but they will be mine forever'."

Initially refused due to his small size and chest measurement, Captain Hall went on to command a company due to his "hard-working" nature.

He was sent to the Somme weeks after the battle there started - with nearly 20,000 British soldiers killed on the first day alone.

Describing it as "very messy", Captain Hall was wounded leading his men over the top on the Western Front and was sent home to recover. He later found out that the doctor who treated him while on the continent was killed in action.

Tricia added: "I have never been involved in publishing any sort of book before, but have had help from a friend who is a publisher of local history books and another friend who is a professional proofreader, both of whom have provided their services for free in view of the book’s charitable objectives.

"I have designed the cover myself, and also produced an index, both things I have never done before. The index contains, amongst other things, the names of over 400 individuals mentioned in the diary.

"Needless to say, the closing stages of the project have made it very easy for me to fill my time during lockdown – and, in fact, lockdown has been a benefit in my case, in that it has enabled me to bring a project to fruition which otherwise might have taken very much longer to complete."

She hopes that the book will be of interest not only to WW1 enthusiasts, but to ordinary Lancashire and Greater Manchester people, who may have had family members serve in the Fusiliers.

She added: "From the book these people would be able to get a good idea of what life might have been like for their forebears on the Western Front, and may even find that my grandad has mentioned them by name."

Among the topics included in the book are the horror and the noise of war, the food available in the trenches, the nervous stress/illness suffered by those at the front, and her grandfather's quite nuanced attitude towards the Germans .

The book is to be published in aid of Combat Stress, an armed forces charity, while Tricia also hopes the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum in Bury will also be able to sell it in its bookshop when it re-opens.

She also intends for it to keep any profits on sales for the benefit of the museum.

A Lancashire Fusilier's First World War is due to be released on November 11. You can pre-order a copy by emailing nhwardiaries@hotmail.com.