There Was A Soldier by David Muir tells the astonishing true story of his grandfather leading up to the battle of Loos in September 1915 and its aftermath.
Of the millions of men who fought in the Great War, this is a story of just one: a Scottish soldier who finds hell on earth in the trenches of northern France. Davey Muir volunteers for the Great War, innocently willing to do his duty. But nothing prepares him for the brutality of trench warfare. Determined to survive the war and return to his wife and child, Davey goes over the top into a fog of smoke, poison gas and a storm of machine gun fire.
And that is just the start of this incredible story. There Was A Soldier is a remarkable feat of creative non-fiction. Both family history and novel, it tells the extraordinary story of one man’s experience of the Great War
“My grandmother thought that she was a widow,” David told New Street Authors from his home in Solihull.
The initial ancestry research, undertaken by a friend, Pete Payne, began way back in 2011. Seven years of research followed, including unearthing his grandfather’s war record. This brief document recorded the dates he was in various prisoner of war camps, details of his joining up, conduct (including an AWOL incident during training), and brief details about his wounds, to his record upon his return. The bulk David Muir’s research included substantial reading about soldiers’ experience during the Great War; listening to interviews with soldiers held at the Imperial War Museum and even more reading.
“After that, I realised I could weave a feasible and authentic story using the handful of facts about my grandfather’s war experience, from volunteering, to the battle of Loos and beyond. I was surprised to find out that my grandfather went AWOL for three days while he was training in the south of England. Goodness knows why or where he went: he was at least three hundred miles from his home in the south of Scotland. I hope that I have used this incident to good effect, in that I have fictionalised a brief trip home during this period off base without permission.”
“With the arrival of the photograph from my uncle in Canada, I felt that I had been handed the responsibility to tell the story of my grandfather and the woman he left behind, my grandmother. I hope that I have done justice to their remarkable story, a story whose consequences rippled down the generations of the Muir family.”
There Was A Soldier is out now in eBook and paperback format.