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Continued from the previous page:

 

Alfred Thomas Gregory was, for many years,  the proprietor and editor of the Tiverton Gazette. Although not born in Devon, he took a leading role in the affairs of Tiverton which he adopted as his home town and was chosen as mayor no fewer than eight times.  He wrote the following FOREWORD to William Lee's Diary and arranged for its publication in 1917 just a few weeks after the death of his only son, Stephen Barnes Gregory.

 

The Diary must have had deep meaning for the Gregory family. Every experience described by William Lee was also shared by his commanding officer - Lieutenant Stephen Barnes Gregory.

 

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

April 1917

 

Alfred Gregory died in Tiverton in 1941 aged 89. It was said of him at the time:

"By Armistice Day in November 1918, Alfred T Gregory had been in charge for 40 years. He had also been mayor of Tiverton eight times, eventually removing himself as a candidate due to failing health. He was awarded the OBE for services to the community and was widely considered one of the Borough's most respected citizens, a fact that never appeared in his newspaper."

 

CONTINUED

 

The text on this page is the copyright property of Mark Bale

 

 

 
 
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