My Grandfather kept this journal for the year 1917. It was, of course, the height of World War I and he was serving with a Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion in France.

By his nature, my Grandfather was not a man given to expressing his sentiments. Add to that his having already fought in that horrible war for over a year and any tendency for romanticization or dramatization that he might have had was long gone. After all, caught in the conflict that he was in, I would imagine that his only concern was day-to-day survival and that the best way to ensure this was to keep focused on the events of that day.

So, the resulting journal is a very bare bones account. But, I think that this simplicity makes the journal even more forceful. Also, I think that it's not hard for us to read between the lines and build for ourselves an image of what it must have been like. Can't you see John at the "Bucket of Blood" drinking a few pints with his friends and gambling the night away? Can't you see him in his bunker sheltering from the incoming shells and hoping that the whinnying horses outside haven't been hit?

If you haven't yet seen the pictures of Jumbo, John's favorite horse, or of his brother, Percy, who are mentioned in this journal, you'll find on the Spracklin Page.