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The diary gives a vivid picture of the relentless bombardment of Dunkirk from the air, from the sea and from canons situated behind German lines over 20 miles away. The work of the hospital was a barometer of the action at the front and was itself under constant threat. It was moved to a less vulnerable location in the Spring of 1918, following an emergency night time evacuation after bombing. Shortly after this move, the threat posed by the rapid advance of the German Spring offensive meant that they had to prepare for the possibility of leaving Dunkirk altogether.
In the diary Ernest reveals his deep interest in nature and wild life, especially birds. There are fascinating descriptions of French civilians managing to survive in the most unpromising circumstances. Ernest often has responsibility for managing casualties suffering from serious psychological damage. In the final months he moves through scenes of appalling devastation to work in Courtrai, where the patients are largely civilians. The diary is very fully illustrated with original photos, postcards, drawings and press cuttings, collected at the time by the author.read more