A Soldier's Diary


192 pages
Contains Photos, Maps
ISBN 1-55125-068-3
DDC 940.4'8161





Reviewed by Danial Duda

Danial Duda is an information services librarian in the Queen Elizabeth
II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland.


In this diary of his experiences with the 9th Battery, Canadian Field
Artillery, during World War I, Donald Stuart Macpherson does not dwell
on the horror going on around him. Instead, he writes about the people
he worked with, how often he tried to see his three brothers who were
also serving with other Canadian units, his family back home in Ontario,
and the work he had to do. The diary was his escape from the surrounding
chaos, and writing it helped him keep his sanity.

The first entry is March 17, 1916, Macpherson’s 21st birthday. The
diary takes you through his training in Canada, the voyage overseas, the
training in Britain, and then to the front where here served at Vimy
Ridge (April 1917), Passchendaele (Oct.–Nov. 1917), and Amiens (August
1918) where he was wounded. In between the battles of Passchendaele and
Amiens, he was sent back to England for four months of officer training.
Macpherson also received a military medal for his actions at
Passchendaele. The saddest passage in the diary concerns his brother,
Ross, who was with the Princess Patricia’s when he was killed in
August 1918. The last entry is March 22nd, 1919, the day Macpherson was
discharged from the service.

Although a glossary is provided, not all the terms cited in the diary
are listed in it. Maps would have been helpful to those not familiar
with the geography of the Western Front or of Britain. Recommended for
public and academic libraries, and for anyone interested in the personal
side of warfare.


Macpherson, Donald Stuart., “A Soldier's Diary,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/7156.