THE experiences of a Droitwich Spa soldier during The First World War have finally been published.
A war diary of Arthur Holyoake, who was born in the town but was educated at Bromsgrove School and spent his working life as a solicitor in Bromsgrove, has been released under the title The Road to Yozgad: My War 1914 -1919.
The book, released by Menin House Publishers, offers a graphic account of the life of the Worcestershire Yeomanry officer from his enlistment as a trooper in August 1914 to his return to England from captivity in January 1919.
Arthur Holyoake fought against the Senussi in the western desert and against the Turks in Sinai before being captured on Easter Sunday in 1916. He spent two-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war, largely at Yozgad in the centre of Turkey.
Over 150 officers of the British and Indian armies were held there and the book is the most comprehensive account of life in the camp.
He played a notable part in maintaining morale by organising theatrical entertainments and acting as Master of the Yozgad Hunt. He has previously been mentioned in two other books which appeared after the war giving accounts of escapes from the camp – The Road to Endor and 450 Miles to Freedom.
The publication has been described as “a fascinating diary” by Dr John Bourne, the founder of the Centre for First World War Studies in the University of Birmingham.
The book has been transcribed and edited by Douglas Bridgewater. Mr Bridgewater spent time in National Service as a sergeant in the Royal Army Service Corps, serving at HQ British Commonwealth Forces Korea in Kure, Japan. He has a PhD for a thesis on The Great War Letters of Humphrey Humphreys and is an Honorary Research Fellow in War Studies at the University of Birmingham.