FOREWORD TO WILLIAM LEE'S DIARY
by the Mayor of Tiverton
The writer of the Diary - Private W A Lee - is a native of North Tawton, Devon, In December 1914, he went with his regiment, the Devons, to India, and was stationed at Wellington, Madras.
In July 1915, he volunteered for service in Mesopotamia and was chosen as one of a draft of 40 who went to the Persian Gulf under the command of the late Lieutenant Stephen Barnes Gregory. They were attached to the Royal West Kent Regiment, with whom they went up the Euphrates to Nasirich, and thence, in October 1915, up the Tigris to reinforce General Townshend's gallant little army then advancing on Baghdad.
They passed through Kut-el-Amara November 23 - 24 and proceeded up the Tigris, only to meet General Townshend's force coming back. They helped to cover the retreat, and then with General Townshend's main force entrenched at Kut, confidently expected to be relieved later on.
Private Lee was wounded early in the siege, and was in hospital until the surrender. When the Turks took possession he secreted the small manuscript book containing his diary, and so got it away with him to Basra, and thence to India and home.
After this introduction it remains only to be said that Private Lee's Diary is printed exactly as he wrote it, and that he is now in England, having made a good recovery from his wound.
His officer, Lieutenant S B Gregory, died in captivity at Mosul on June 3, 1916.
Alfred T Gregory