Leamington soldier's WW2 diaries published - The Leamington Observer

Leamington soldier's WW2 diaries published

Leamington Editorial 16th Nov, 2023   0

A NEW book documenting the diaries of a Second World War soldier from Leamington has been published.

Frederick George Draper was just 20 years old when he signed up to fight for his country after Britain declared war on Germany and its allies in 1939.

Fred was shipped out to war from Liverpool Docks, initially to Egypt, but he saw action across the world before his final posting in the jungles of Burma as a ‘Chindit’.

Although like so many of his generation he rarely spoke about his experiences after the war, Fred kept daily diary entries throughout his years of service which shine a light on the horrors of conflict.

His accounts were kept in an old tin at the back of a bedroom cupboard in his house for decades, but have now been transcribed by his daughter Carol Draper and published some 80 years on from when they were first written.

A Private War: The Diaries of Frederick George Draper 1939-1945, edited by Carol, was launched at Mallory Court Hotel. And the event was sponsored by Wright Hassall.

Carol said: “I discovered his diaries when clearing out his house in this rather wonderful old tin which had been sat there for decades.

“I’ve known about them since I was a child but it was only when I re-discovered them and retired that I thought I must read them. The more I did, the more fascinated I was by his accounts.

“This was a first-hand account of the life of a young man from a small village, who – like many others – was hurled into an extraordinary existence of travel, excitement, loss, pain, and camaraderie.

“Putting the book together has been a real labour of love and has of course had its emotional rollercoasters, but it is something I am incredibly proud of and I am hugely thankful to Wright Hassall and our co-sponsors for supporting the launch.”

Robert Lee from Wright Hassall added: “As a law firm which has been proudly rooted in Leamington since 1846, we are always keen to support initiatives and causes in our local community.

“The Draper family have been clients and friends of Wright Hassall for the best part of 30 years, so when the opportunity to get involved in supporting such a fascinating book came along, it was something we were delighted to do.

“A Private War shines a light on an important period of our country’s history which should not be forgotten.”

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Leamington Observer.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Leamington Observer newspaper.