Diary of an undistinguished soldier

I have just bought, a copy of this little book by Martin Cabourn-Smith. It is his story of how. as an 18 year old, he enrolled into the British Army in 1942 straight from school. It is quite funny to read how they tried to make him into an officer, much to his own amazement. MC-S wrote the book 35 years after he was discharged from the Army in the late 1940s. It is a snapshot of how young people hurried to the aid of their country and how the Army sometimes managed to make life very difficult…


I met MC-S and his wife - the Carlota he writes about - some years ago. They had been married for well over 50 years when she died. His family decided to cheer him up and arranged to have the book published. (It is actually very reasonably priced, the p&p doubles the cost…)

So it is a journal of a war, a bit like “Farewell to Arms”, isn’t it?

Perhaps not quite at such an elevated level, but it’s a personal account of a young boy’s having to grow up and mature quickly in the war.

He was in a tank regiment and ended up in Germany, rather than in Italy!

I find it touching because I know him as a distinguished and gentle man in his late 80s’; to think of him as a boy going off to war is extraordinary.

"He was in a tank regiment and ended up in Germany, rather than in Italy! "

Much riskier front!