From Downton Abbey to Helmand

 Photgraphed by Megan Reid

Photgraphed by Megan Reid

Ian Thornton was extremely honoured to be invited to give a talk at this year’s Winchester Writers’ Conference about the recently published book, ‘Helmand: Diaries of Front-Line Soldiers.’  The Plenary Speaker was Lord Julian Fellowes, author of Downton Abbey and Ian followed with an inspirational talk on how the diaries had been collected together to form a gripping account of life on the front line.

……..My Afghanistan tour diary was written on a nightly basis under the light of a red head torch and was very much only ever intended for my personal benefit, so to see that being published is one thing. To be asked to speak here today, in front of so many ‘proper’ authors, is quite another. I think I was actually more comfortable about stepping out of the gate on patrol in Afghanistan!.............

…………When John’s belongings were returned to us we discovered his diary. He had let me read it whilst he was home on leave a few short weeks before he was killed, and so I didn’t feel like I was intruding as I sat down to discover all that it was to be a leader of men in a 21st century warzone. His words leapt off the page and seemed to bring him to life once more. Very quickly I realised his was a story that needed to be shared, and we came up with the idea of amalgamating his diary with those of his comrades from the same tour of duty in order to give the great British public an insight into life on the frontline that they would not have come by in any other way………..

………….The success of the diaries so far has exceeded our wildest hopes and even our most modest expectations. Featured across national press and media, they have received outstanding reviews across the board. Some entries will make you laugh, some will certainly bring you to tears, but all will undoubtedly inspire you and humble you at the untold sacrifice being made by the men and women of our Armed Forces on a daily basis in foreign fields…………

Ian's invitation to be a Guest Speaker was arranged through the wonderful charity Words for the Wounded.  Ian was delighted to become a patron of this great cause and would like to thank Margaret Graham and Tracy Baines for their brilliant support with the diaries.

Helmand:Diaries of Front-Line Soldiers is available at all good book shops and online at Amazon.  Photograph above and the thumbnail image courtesy of Megan Reid

Lord Fellowes & IT
Lord Fellowes & IT