“I was standing on the parapet of an old German trench near the guns having a few words with a pal of mine.
A shell burst practically under my feet lifting me some feet of the ground.
My pal was quite 12ft from me at the time and after picking myself up feeling bruised all over as I had been hit by boards, stones and all sorts of debris which had thundered down on me. I ran for cover and collided with him at the entrance of the old German dugout.
He said ‘be careful, I think I’m hit’. Which I soon found to be correct as one of my trouser legs was smothered in blood from him.
I helped him down the steps of the dugout which called for all my strength as he was weakening fast.
At the bottom I lay with him with his head on my knee and the medical officer was soon busy dressing the wounded who were carried down.
To return to my pals case we noticed that his right leg was in a terrible state and on cutting away the trouser leg we found that his thigh had been shot away leaving the bone exposed from hip to knee.
I drew the MO’s attention to his arm which appeared to be twisted in an unnatural position and on cutting his sleeve away we saw that nothing but a shred of skin was holding his arm on.
All this happened in a few minutes and at the end of which time poor young Hoiland died in my arms.”
This is a small quote from a remarkable WW1 diary from a Jersey soldier that has recently been discovered. Clarence Percy Ahier was from Jersey, born in 1892 and served as an artilleryman at the Somme and Ypres in the Great War.
The diary, telling his story from first enlisting in 1915 through to the return to his island home in 1919 is a typically understated British tale.
True heroes do not need to shout about their exploits, they are there for everyone to see. To read more about this remarkable story visit the BBC Website