The 1916 war diary of 2nd Lieut. Dick Willis Fleming


About this project

This project presents as a weblog two manuscript diaries of 2nd Lieut. Richard Willis Fleming, which were written during the seven months of his overseas service during the Great War. The diaries start on 24 February 1916 and follow the 162 days until his death in Egypt on 4 August. Beginning on 24 February 2012, the diary entries will be published daily, 96 years to the day since they were first written.

Dick was nineteen when he started the diary, which opens as he embarked from Avonmouth for service in Egypt, as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the Sinai Campaign.

Over the next months he recorded his observations about desert wildlife, pursued his interest in photography, and, during leave, visited Cairo and the Pyramids. All the while events were leading towards the Battle of Romani, where Turkish forces attempted to take control of the Suez Canal.

This project marks the present restoration and renewal of the Stoneham War Shrine, a war memorial built to the memory of Richard Willis Fleming and 35 other men of North Stoneham parish in Hampshire, killed in the Great War.

Comments by Captain Mundy
Capt. P C D Mundy published a history of Dick's Battery in 1922, and it is clear that Dick's diary was one of the sources on which he drew. We have added comments by Mundy to Dick's diary entries where they add additional information or a different perspective on events.

With thanks to Phil Gyford of the inspiring, for kindly providing technical fixes. John Furlong for help with editing and publishing.