In August 1914, after lying about his age, the 16-year-old George Coppard enlisted in Kitchener's army. Serving with the Machine Gun Corps, he fought in the battles of Loos, Somme and Arras, and at Cambrai, where he was badly wounded and won the Military Medal for Bravery. This book is based on diaries that the author kept, against military regulation, during his service in France. It is one of the few accounts of the war to be written by a private soldier rather than an officer, and as such it paints a vivid and horrifying picture of life in the trenches as seen by someone at the very bottom of the military hierarchy.
George Coppard served as a private soldier from 1914 until he was wounded at the end of 1917. After the war he worked as a civil servant until retiring to Tenterden in Kent in 1962.