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These First World War diaries provide a vivid contrast between the horrors of War and the beauty of nature.
Collingwood Ingram (1880-1981) is chiefly remembered today as a great gardener. His name is synonymous with flowering Japanese cherries, and he is still widely known as Cherry Ingram. Much less well-known is his early life as a field naturalist, yet he was described by the Curator of Birds at the Natural History Museum as 'the best I ever met'. During the Great War he went to France as a Compass Officer in the Royal Flying Corps. His diaries describe his life in the Flying Corps and also cover the Germans' secret retreat to the Hindenburg line in early 1917, the fierce spring battles of 1918 when the War seemed lost, the final advance to victory and the joy of the liberated people. In these desperate times, Collingwood Ingram never lost his passion for birds and the diaries are full of his exquisite pencil sketches of birds, landscapes and people.
Ernest Pollard is an ecologist who has published books on hedges and butterﬂies, and initiated the long-running national scheme to monitor butterﬂy numbers. He is married to the granddaughter of Collingwood Ingram, and holds his journals and sketchbooks.
Hazel Strouts went to school in the UK and Germany, and read History at Cambridge University. She is the author of several books on history and current conflict zones.