The chance reading of a random second hand book from a local charity shop caused a chain of events resulting in an historic find. The book happened to be a novel about the First World War, a subject I had absolutely no previous interest in whatsoever. However after reluctantly reading it I was soon gripped by the enormity of the historic events and stories of the blokes who were involved in this 'Great War'.
Just after reading the book I also happened to watch the BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are?' TV Programme. The 'subject' was about some 'celeb' who found out that their great grandad had died in a place called 'The Ypres Salient' during WW1. This kind of got me thinking about my own family history, so I 'started doing some digging'. When I watched the programme I had absolutely no idea that I had any WW1 family connections whatsoever, I'd also never ever heard anyone in my family mention the name Harry Hackett. Before picking up and reading that random book I simply didn't know this 'Harry' person had even existed.
The events and at times uncanny coincidences have since been documented in the book 'Neat Little Rows'. It uncovers the 'finding' of Harry, tells a little about his life in The Black Country (West Midlands) and far more interestingly contains excerpts of many of the letters that Harry wrote to his sweetheart. These were written whilst serving in the Grenadier Guards, many whilst actually in the trenches during some of the most brutal battles of World War One. His most poignant correspondence is perhaps a small tattered postcard written on Boxing Day 1914 after he had met with two German soldiers during what has come to be known as 'The Christmas Truce'.
NEAT Little ROWS by ANDREW MARK RUDALL
"The incredible story of how, by a series of uncanny events, Andy found his relative Harry Hackett. It includes tells of Harry's home-life in The Black Country, his pre-war soldiering experiences, subsequent deployment with the BEF in the early part of the war, his involvement in The Christmas Truce 1914 and beyond. Told in a very conversational, light hearted manner that is easy to read, honest and heartfelt".
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