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Soldier's war diary sells for £6600 at auction

A DIARY kept by a young Edinburgh-born soldier in the trenches during the First World War has sold at auction for £6600.

Private James "Jimmy" Nicol Beatson of the Ninth Battalion, the Royal Scots, wrote the diary aged 24, before dying in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. His niece recently discovered the 149-page document during a search of her attic.

The diary was bought by a private collector at Sotheby's, in London, for more than twice the expected sum.

Private Beatson wanted to create a record of his ordeal in the trenches for his sweetheart, bakery assistant Caroline Wright.

He kept the diary between February and December 1915, the month he married Ms Wright while home on leave.

The document offers an insight into the life of an ordinary soldier during some of the worst days of the 1914-1918 conflict. He describes in detail the terrors of battle and life in the waterlogged trenches in Ypres, Belgium, as well as the hardships suffered by the lower ranks.

The diary describes his crawl through the skeleton of a French soldier and combating rats that had gorged on corpses.

 
 
 

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