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The diaries of a fallen soldier

John Rainsford talks to former BBC producer, Gerry Harrison, about his great-uncle’s secret diaries of the First World War. By John Rainsford   ‘Old soldiers never die (They Just Fade Away)’ says the barrack-room ballad but, with army comrades now thin on the ground, their written legacies are more crucial than ever. The life and death of Captain Charlie May of 22 Battalion, the Manchester Regiment, also known as the Manchester Pals, are surely a case in point. A journalist with the Manchester Evening News, he recorded his private thoughts in the lead-up to one of the darkest days of The Great War. These intriguing insights have now been published by his great-nephew, Gerry Harrison, a former actor and director, who resides in Kilmaley. “Charlie’s seven pocketbooks cover the period from November 7, 1915 to July 1, 1916, and the outbreak of the Battle of the Somme,” explained Gerry. “They also served as a love letter to his wife, Maude, …

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