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War diary with bullet hole to go on display

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 18, 2014

  • Jennifer Brindley pictured with some of the first world war belongings from her husbands late uncle, who died at the age of 20,

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A DIARY with a bullet hole which is believed to have been caused when a soldier was shot dead is to go on display.

Joseph William Brindley, who lived in Biggin, kept the diary while fighting in the First World War.

The diary was passed onto his nephew, David Brindley.

It will form part of a week-long exhibition at the Town Hall, which is to be held in summer.

David, and wife Jennifer, met with the former Mayor of Ashbourne, Caroline Cooper, to help with her research into local men who lost their lives during the First World War.

David and Jennifer have agreed to lend Caroline several of Joseph's personal items for the week-long exhibition, including the diary, his uniform, a periscope, medals and death plaque.

And they believe that the bullet hole in the diary was from the shot which killed him at the age of 20 on September 5, 1918, after serving more than two years in the Navy.

His last two entries made before his death read: "Monday, September 2 – over the top along with Canadians and 37th Division.

"Took Fontaine and Hendecourt, advanced 9km.

"Tuesday September 3 – further advance of about 2km, Cambrai in sight."

Jennifer said: "Joseph was initially posted to Egypt when he was only 18 years old.

"He spent several months there, before returning home briefly because of illness – records show he had 'bleeding lungs', which we suspect might have been because of the gas they used.

"Once he had recuperated he was sent straight back to fight in France, where he was posted in Etaples.

"He was part of the 1st Royal Marines Light Infantry Battalion and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery on August 25, 1918."

The official war record for Joseph states: "His detachment was advancing in the early stages of an attack. Their progress was impeded by the fire of a MG. He went forward and single-handed captured the MG, taking the whole of the team prisoners.

''His gallantry and determination were a splendid example to all ranks."

Joseph Brindley's personal belongings, along with other memorabilia from the Great War, including a display on "Shrovetide in the Trenches", will be exhibited in the Town Hall from Saturday, July 26, until Sunday, August 3.

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