I came across this site some time ago and return every couple of days to check for updates.
WWI was a catastrophic tragedy for a whole generation but as it's veterans have dwindled away, doesn't seem to warrant much thought or mention today.
Harry, as he's affectionately known, tells his story through a series of letters from the front. Readers are left to wonder when the next letter will arrive and the site's author doesn't tell you if he ultimately survived the war, so there's a measure of suspense to the whole thing.
Initially its a little confusing as the time lines seem a bit mixed up.
The letters are published to correspond to the same day of the week as they were written. The idea is to give a sort of "real time" exposure as if you were the recipient. As 1918 was a leap year, the letters don't correspond to right date, but try and match the correct day of the week.
If Harry didn't write a letter on the day then no letter is posted (pun intended!) on the site.
All this sounds a bit complicated I grant you, but you soon get the hang of it.
In his first post, the author lays out his objectives for the project:
"From 1st March 1918 the leap year in 2008 takes the synchronicity of the days and dates away. Decision: I will publish letters a day in advance so that the days of the week coincide, rather than the date. During his time in the army, he wrote letters home to his brother and sister. They were kept and handed down to me, his grandson. I have transcribed the letters and added commentary so that references can make sense. What has been produced is a moving and poignant account of an ordinary man's experiences in an extraordinary situation. I have edited nothing. The spellings and grammar are exactly as Harry wrote them. The intention of this blog is to publish the letters exactly 90 years after Harry wrote them. His first letter from the training camp was written on February 7th 1917. It will be published on the blog on February 7th 2007.Each letter will appear on the correct date from then on. There are gaps where no letters are available for several weeks. I have no explanations. Maybe they were lost. I have no idea. If you wish to find out Harry's fate then you'll have to access the blog as the new letters arrive. Please feel free to let me know if you are interested in following the blog. There is within, a fascinating insight into the fate of the ordinary soldier in those horrific times."
To read it like a book (which is how my brain is wired) you need to go to the first post (there's a link to whisk you to the beginning). Crib notes explaining who's who and "non-letter" entries and links, give the whole thing context . Doing this little bit of prep, rewards you with a treasure trove of insight into tragedy, triumph, family relationships and a British society changed forever some 90 years ago. This guy has done a TON of work. How could he possibly have a day job?
I've been working my way through it and its fascinating stuff.
I can see I'm not alone as at last count the profile views registered 150,000. It's been featured on TV, radio and print media and Harry has developed such a big following that there are separate blogs devoted to comments and discussion.
Not bad for a family project huh?
Once again, here's the link; Harry
Harry's on leave at home in England at the moment so the letters have stopped until the corresponding day of his return.
Do something different for a change and kill some time!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Next post from Hong Kong.
Stay safe Harry and enjoy your hols!
Write soon and often!