Article by Guy Bell: Historic accounts chronicling a father's darkest days of the Second World War have been discovered, 70 years after they were first penned.
Alfie Main stumbled across the wartime diaries of John Main, who was based in Stock, when the older man died more than a decade ago.
The 69-year-old is now telling the tale of his father's recollections, from a soldier's view point on the frontline.
Among his memoirs are accounts of his landing in Normandy and the moment a "bullet grazed his temple".
Alfie, one of John's three children, told the Gazette:
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by John"]I don't think I really knew of the diaries' existence. I didn't go rooting through my father's stuff so they only came into my possession when he passed away. I didn't actually start reading the diaries immediately. I glanced through them only when everybody was commemorating the D-Day landings and that was when I started looking through them properly.[/quote]
Alfie's father, who was originally from Scotland, died when he was 75 and served during the Second World War as part of the Medical Corps.
Having grown up himself in Danbury, after relocating from Scotland as an eight-year-old boy, Alfie was taken aback when he read his father's written recollections.
The former Sandon School pupil said:
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by"]I know he was based during the war down in Stock and he made contact with people in Danbury. I only recently found his first diary and I suppose in a way it surprised me that he kept one. He never actually talked about the gore of the war and he didn't elaborate on the subject while he was in the air ambulance and medical corps.[/quote]
Alfie, who runs a manufacturing business near to his home in Kelvedon High Street, has spent time reading each of John's diaries and transcribing them.
Reading the diaries evoked emotions in me and I am very surprised at what my father had been through. I am also very proud of the man. The overwhelming feeling I had was what a guy he was.
Article by Guy Bell, image sourced from Brentwood Gazette