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Diary of an Innocent

by dharker 

Posted: 18 August 2011
Word Count: 673

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5th June

At last were moving! Were on our way to the docks and it sounds like this may be it! The drills, the practice and the secrecy are done with. Were all pretty excited. Itll be good to hit back at Jerry. Its been far too long.

On the ship now and its crammed with soldiers from all over the place. Just been talking with a Canadian who was billeted with the Yanks somewhere Cornwall way. Ive never seen so many soldiers. Jerry wont stand a chance!

6th June

First light and were somewhere off the French coast. Well be transferring to the landing barges soon! Everyone is in fine spirits.

On the barge now and a number of the chaps are being very seasick. Were bobbing up and down like a cork in a mill race. Every one of us is weighed down with about 40lbs of ammo and rations ready for the assault, plus a tiny life protector. Seems a bit pointless really, bearing in mind where we're heading.

7th June

Im alive but God alone knows how. Now the excitements over, Im hunkered down just off the beach. Sporadic gunfire breaks the silence; the hot iron smell of blood mixes with cordite in the air. I have seen sights I would not wish on my worst enemy and I have an urgent need to get the days events on paper.

Looking back I have to admit we were getting pretty excited about it our first taste of combat and all. But then, as the skyline lightened, the shells from the German artillery started to fall and the prayers started. Over to our left one of the barges took a direct hit and went down. Poor sods didnt stand a chance. Then bullets started to fizz across our heads and the front of the barge finally grounded.

It could easily have been the gates of Hell opening; As the ramp went down the entire first three ranks just fell I dont think a single one even drew breath. I hated having to step over their bodies but I had no choice. As I reached the ramp I decided to go off the side and Im so glad I did; Jerry had at least one machine gun trained on us and no-one got to the end of that ramp. At least in the water I felt my destiny was in my own hands.

As I waded away from the barge, bullets and tracer seemed to be coming from everywhere, and all I could do was pray and continue forward. When finally I got to the beach, I belly crawled through the tank and barge defences as quickly as I could. I reckoned if I could get beyond the open sand then I had a chance. Somehow I made it to the grass line and for the first time had a chance to catch my breath. My heart was fit to burst out my chest and it struck me then that I hadnt let off a single shot.

As more and more of us made it to cover, we finally managed to clear the German defences and take stock. I remember looking back at what must once have been a beautiful golden beach, seeing it tainted red; waves gently rocking bodies and detritus all along the shore line.

June 8th

Taking a break with some of the lads on the outskirts of a small French village. Someone said that we should take care, that a Jerry sniper is making a bloody nuisance of himself somewhere nearby. I also hear that the Yanks have taken Bayeaux to the West of us so thats good news.
Looking forward to a well-earned bite to eat and some decent rest. Im so tired. Must get

(Private Edward Davis died June 8th 1944, the victim of a sniper. He had lied about his age and had just celebrated his 17th birthday. When found, this blood stained diary and pencil were still in his hands )

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Comments by other Members

Desormais at 09:52 on 18 August 2011  Report this post
This was truly gripping Dave. It was almost as though I were there, so horribly realistic was it. And very sad at the end, even though the reader knew that this must be coming. I liked the way it changed from a 'gungho, can't wait to get started' bravado into the grim and desperate reality that it truly was - nicely paced.

I think Gerry should be spelt Jerry, but I couldn't swear to it. It was before my time. Honestly!


fiona_j at 11:35 on 18 August 2011  Report this post

This is really good, reminds me of Band of Brothers a bit. It's sad to see the change of attitude he went through.

First light and were somewhere off the French coast. Well be transferred to the landing barges at first light.

He says it's first light then says they'll be moving at first light. I think maybe you need to say "Almost first light" or something to suggest it's a little earlier in the first section.

Do you have plans for this at all?

Fi x

Prospero at 15:50 on 18 August 2011  Report this post
Powerful stuff, Dave. I am impressed. Thanks for the read.



tusker at 06:41 on 21 August 2011  Report this post
This a a great, sad, powerful story, Dave.

A very vivid account of that terrible time. An excellent ending with the start of his sentence that he never got to finish.

Brought a lump to my throat because even now young men are dying in combat and it makes me angry and very sad.


Gerry at 07:33 on 21 August 2011  Report this post

'Yes - it should be Jerry, as in Tom 'n' Jerry. Not Gerry as in me,' said Gerry, trying not to take it personally ...

Really, really good stuff, Dave. I suspected what was coming at the end, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment one jot. Yep - a lot like Band of Brothers.



V`yonne at 12:28 on 21 August 2011  Report this post
A worthy winner indeed Dave. Nicely done.

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