A notepad filled with the tongue-in-cheek sketches of a World War I soldier is to be sold at auction as Britain prepares to mark the centenary of the Great War.
Discovered in a Derby house, the black ink satirical drawings are dated 1916-18 and are believed to have been created by an unknown Royal Engineer who was stationed in France.
Commenting on the find, Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire, said: "A hundred years on we can only imagine what was going through the mind of the unknown Royal Engineer."
He added: "It is one man's unique memory, taken at a time when those around him never came home.
The jotter pad will be central to a specialist auction in April, which will celebrate artefacts such as medals, military collectables, and ephemera from the First and Second World War.
The small note pad has a guide price of £50 to £100 and is expected to generate a great deal of interest.
The grave of Private George Ellison is thought to be the last British soldier to have died in the Great War sits opposite that of Private John Parr who is believed to be the first soldier to have died in the conflict.
They are both buried at the St Symphorien Cemetery near Mons in Belgium. Private Ellison was killed just hours after a ceasefire was announced.
Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the Prime Minister's special representative for the centenary commemoration, said it would remember the lives of combatants and civilians.
Streets could be renamed as part of commemorative events to mark one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War.
The Government said it hoped that a vigil to be held in Westminster Abbey would also be marked across the country by churches, faiths and other organisations.
At least £15m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, including a new £6m community projects fund will enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War as the government hopes to see the centenary marked across the UK.
The commemoration events will also include the start of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 2016, and further events to mark the battles of Jutland, Gallipoli, Passchendaele and Armistice Day in 2018.
Maria Miller has said that marking the Great War is way of making sure people understand the affect the war had both at home and abroad.
The Culture Secretary said: "the war itself had an enormous impact not just on the Western Front but also here on the Home Front. I think it's all of those things that had a profound effect on our nation and are at the heart of our commemorative events."
Details of how the centenary of the Great War will be marked have been announced, including candlelit vigils, commemoration services and trips for school children.
The celebrations are expected to run for four years marking the duration of the conflict.
The opening day of the centenary on 4th August 2014 will focus on:
- a wreath laying service at Glasgow’s Cenotaph, following the special service for Commonwealth leaders at Glasgow Cathedral
- an event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium - which has an equal number of British and German soldiers
- a candlelit vigil of prayer at Westminster Abbey finishing at 11pm – the moment war was declared
- the reopening of Imperial War Museum London (IWM) following the £35m refurbishment of the First World War galleries. The IWM London was founded in 1917 to record the then still-continuing conflict.
Other activities in the four-year programme include:
- national acts of remembrance to mark the first day of the Battle of the Somme (2016) and Armistice Day (2018)
- two students and a teacher from each state school in England to visit the Western Front
- projects enabling young people to conserve and share local heritage of the war.
On 4th August 2014 it will be 100 years since war was declared, pitching the nation into one of its hardest and darkest chapters.
Ministers are due to announce how the centenary will be marked over including a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey finishing, with the last candle being extinguished at 11pm - the moment war was declared.
It is understood the Government is in talks with various churches, faiths and other organisations to see if the vigil could be replicated around the country.
The idea to commemorate the start of the war with the vigil came from a remark attributed to former foreign secretary Viscount Edward Grey.
He is supposed to have said on the eve of the Great War: "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our time."