William Stocker was born in 1892 and, like most men of his generation, served in the First World War. After he died, his family found some three hundred letters written to his fiancée. They present a narrative that will interest specialists in military and social history and also the general reader, particularly at this time of hundredth anniversaries. Their appeal comes from the immediacy of Will's voice. The content varies from the horrors he has seen to the triviality of needing his razors sharpened. We see his increasing discontent and how he is buoyed by his faith and hopes for the future.
The letters are supported by nearly forty illustrations, original poems, family recollections, other papers, and a tape recording made in 1989. Will's is an authentic, and hitherto unknown, voice from one of the most significant and cataclysmic events of the twentieth century.
The letters have been transcribed; events, people, and places identified; and the background to what Will writes has been related to what is happening both in his immediate situation and the wider world.