Somme diary found in Leicestershire barn fetches £2,600

Pilot memorabiliaImage source, Hansons
Image caption,
A collection of World War One items was found in a box in a barn at an undisclosed location in Leicestershire

The diary of a Battle of the Somme soldier that was found in a barn has sold for £2,600.

The journal, written in pencil by Pte Arthur Edward Diggins, contains entries from February to October 1916.

The entry for the first day of the battle reads: "Something awful. Never witnessed anything like it before."

At the same auction, items that once belonged to World War One pilot Lt Stuart Leslie - found in the same Leicestershire barn - sold for £2,500.

Image source, Hansons
Image caption,
Auctioneer Adrian Stevenson said the diary was a "particularly rare" find

These included a logbook, rolls of gun camera photographs and aerial maps that would have been on the pilot's knee in the cockpit of his plane.

The diary of Pte Diggins, who survived World War One and went on to marry Alice in 1919, becoming a father a year later, had a guide price of £300 to £400.

Adrian Stevenson, from Hansons Auctioneers, based in Etwall, Derbyshire, said the diary was "particularly rare", adding: "I have never had a diary that covers the first day of the Battle of the Somme in my 45 years collecting."

Image source, Hansons
Image caption,
Mr Stevenson also claimed the pilot's logbook was an "incredibly rare" find
Image source, Hansons
Image caption,
Lt Stuart Leslie was 22 years old when he was enlisted into active service in 1915

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