Illustrated talk by Robin Gregory: Inside the Great War: The View from the Front Line.
“Life on the front line in World War One – as witnessed at first hand” – that’s the intriguing theme of a talk at the Eastbourne Under Ground Theatre, to launch a series of events marking the centenary of World War I.
At 2pm on the afternoon of Saturday July 12, local writer and broadcaster Robin Gregory will be drawing together the diaries of men who found themselves caught up in this “war to end all wars”.
It costs nothing to come in and listen.
The horror of the front line is almost beyond description:
“We were frequently awakened by rats running over us”...
“The water in the trenches was alive with a multitude of swimming frogs. Red slugs crawled up the sides” …
“There were times when we had to scrape the lice off with the blunt edge of a knife”… “
“[With] trench foot, your feet swell to two to three times their normal size and go completely dead” …
At the Under Ground Theatre, Robin Gregory will be sharing experiences of day-to-day life as told by both private soldiers and junior officers: the mud, the deprivation, the snipers.
And the sense, sometimes, that their real enemies were not the Germans, but the senior officers directing operations from afar.
Some of the diaries that Robin has researched belonged to his own father-in-law, Tim Elliott, who served in the trenches throughout World War I and made a diary entry every day.
The remarkable story of their discovery was recounted by Robin Gregory in a previous talk at the Under Ground last year (“Found In the Loft”), and also in his book “Tim’s Wars”, which has since been chosen by former BBC United Nations correspondent Keith Hindell as his “Book of The Year” for the Guardian.
Copies of “Tim’s Wars” will be on sale.
You’ll also be able to buy tea, coffee, soft drinks, and home-made cakes from the theatre coffee-bar, which will be open until 4pm.