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A Secret Diary of the First World War

Fact-tastic Stories from Scotland's History

Gill Arbuthnott
Darren Gate


Also available as: eBook

Range: Young Kelpies Paperback 144 pages 40 b/w illustrations 197 x 158 mm ISBN: 9781782505273 Publication date: 26th July 2018
"I'm going to war. I can hardly believe it. Yesterday I was delivering rolls and newspapers as usual, and today I've been called up to go to France and fight."

Step into the boots of 14-year-old soldier James Marchbank to find out what the First World War was really like.

Why was rat hunting a popular hobby in the trenches?
How did parachuting pigeons help win the war?
Why would a really good friend rub whale oil on your feet?
What did it really feel like to be a teenager at war?

Take a journey through time and discover all the most important and incredible bits of the First World War.

Inspired by the real-life diary of a Scottish boy soldier.


'This short, accessible and extremely informative read deserves a place in the library of every school in the country... Essential reading for every Scottish pupil.'
-- Simon Lamb, North of Scotland Newspapers

'A Secret Diary of the First World War is inspired by an actual account of a teenager who fought on the Western Front. Gill Arbuthnott has used his story to make the Great War more accessible to younger readers... He kept a diary and Gill has used it as the basis for her book which also includes blocks of explanation to help modern readers. The book is illustrated by Darren Gate in a very engaging style. I'm very glad to have this book and I'll certainly add it to my collection... This is a book that deserves to be read.'
-- Jane Sandell, Young People's Librarian at Moray Council

Secret Diary of the First World War


Gill Arbuthnott was born and brought up in Edinburgh, but escaped briefly to study in St Andrews and Southampton. She couldn’t stay away, however, and now lives in Edinburgh with her family and Leonard the cat. When she’s not writing, she works as a biology…

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Darren Gate is the 2016 winner of the Kelpies Design and Illustration Prize. He is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Glasgow.

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