Drawing Fire: The Diary of a Great War Soldier and Artist

Private Len Smith

The horrors of war in the trenches are brought to life with a rare immediacy and power through the diary of  British soldier and artist Len Smith. Living through battles such as those at Loos and Vimy Ridge, Len survives with a mixture of whimsical humour, bravery and sheer good luck. Enlisting as an infantryman in the City of London Regiment on his 23rd birthday, he kept a journal on scraps of paper hidden in his trousers to smuggle home at the end of the war. At the same time, he added to his thoughts with colour sketches of the people and places he encountered. His drawing skills were put to good use to gather and record intelligence on German army positions which he did under great personal risk; they were later used to help plan military strategy. The diary as a whole creates a tremendous sense of being at Len’s side during his extraordinary experiences. Hard cover, illustrated with Len's drawings, 383 pages.