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Brand: Christopher Arnander

Private Lord Crawford's Great War Diaries

by Christopher Arnander

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Private Lord Crawford's Great War Diaries: From Medical Orderly to Cabinet Minister

This extraordinary diary is written by the 27th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, who was an eminent MP for 18 years until the death of his father in 1913 when he was ennobled. His sense of duty drove him to join the RAMC as a Private (a commission would have been easily provided) and he served in a humble capacity in field hospitals in France without revealing his identity. His diaries and letters reflect the stark contrast between his privileged home life and the one he volunteered for in France and Flanders.

Remarkably he is never heard to complain or regret his decision although he is often critical of his 'seniors'. Lord Crawford's pre- and post- war diaries The Crawford Papers (edited by Prof Vincent) describe his peacetime experiences and this book fills in a needy gap. His self- control must have been incredible as he found himself under the direction of far less intelligent and knowledgeable men holding more senior rank.

This is a unique document which throws fascinating new light on what it meant to be a junior rank.

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