The Love of an Unknown Soldier
Publisher: Assembled Stories
Date: January 2011
Duration: 4 hours 3 minutes
‘The manuscript was submitted to me by a young officer of the R.F.A., home from the front on leave...He explained that he had brought with him from France a bundle of papers which he had found in one of the dug-outs of an abandoned gun position.He discovered the papers secreted in a dark corner wedged in between a post and the wall of one of the bunks. There was no indication of the writer’s name or of his unit, and the name of the girl he had loved was never recorded…On thinking the matter over, the officer began to feel more and more strongly that they ought to be given back to that woman...Reading the tattered manuscript I was from the first impressed with its literary value; but as I read on I became deeply absorbed in its poignant human importance…Extract from the Preface by John Lane. Publisher.
Peter Joyce is brilliant at uncovering long neglected gems and making them sparkle. It doesn't matter that mystery surrounds the authorship of this collection of letters written in the trenches by a British first world war officer to the American nurse to whom, during the brief time they had spent together, he had never declared his love. It's a poignant love story, and also a clear-sighted analysis of the reality of war and the terrible devastation caused when decent men are required to kill other human beings.