The History Press is to publish a book based on an original set of sketchbooks and diaries from a signaller in the First World War.
A Signaller’s War will offer an insight into the wartime expriences of Pte Lawrence Ellis, a signaller on the Western Front, through his series of hand-drawn sketches and meticulously kept diary entries, as well as accompanying text from teacher and author David Langley. It will be edited by Andrew Latimer.
History Press commissioning editor Joanna de Vries acquired world rights to the title.
De Vries said: “It takes something unique, something that stands out and also something that touches you to make you want to take it through the commissioning process and champion its publication. Lawrence’s book was just that – it was so real, so raw and covering a not-often told story of a key part of the war.
“I felt that we, as a generation who are taking time to reflect on those events of 1914-18, owed something to Lawrence, and by publishing this work we are allowing the legacy that he left behind to live on.”
The diaries and sketches spanning from 1915 to 1919 were uncovered when a student brought the historical materials into school for a history class ‘show and tell’ assignment.
Born in Tottenham, England, Ellis lied about his age and enlisted, at 17, to fight in the Great War in 1915. He went on to become Private Lawrence Ellis, Signaller First Class, 40th Division (later 33rd Division) Royal Field Artillery.