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The Diary of Mary Martin

What must it have been like waiting to hear whether your son or husband has survived a particular battle, whether he will ever come home or ever be the same again? I’ve seen many soldiers diaries and many letters written by soldiers to reassure their families back home. Today I came across a diary written by Mary Martin to “her son, Charlie, a soldier with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who went missing in action on the Salonika front, in the hope that one day he would return home and be able to read it”.

On February 27, 1916

The Germans claim today that they have taken one of the outer forts of Verdun but the French say all these forts have been dismantled & that there were no guns there or soldiers.

On March 30, 1916

The long looked for letter from Marie [daughter of Mary Martin] arrived, telling of her interview with Pte C Martin. He told her that he picked up your disc on December 7th when you were advancing, he gave it to Lt Mahony. I wonder is this the reason that your name had not come through. On December 8th he described seeing you in command of D Company & hearing the men shout to you to take cover that he saw you hit in the leg & sit down.

The diary also includes entries with information about the Easter Rising which took place in April 1916. It ends in May of 1916 but it’s not until July 1, 1916 that Mary Martin learns of her son’s death in December of 1915.