The war diary of Clarence Ahier falls into the second category.The Ahier diary appears to have been taken from notes originally sketched while serving and then written up later. It’s not known if the original notes still exist.The diary has been described as a very important find for Jersey as few service diaries from islanders exist.But more than that, very few diaries and stories from artillerymen exist at all.Ian Ronayne from the Channel Islands Great War study group said that until now it has been very difficult to research World War I from a Jersey perspective.”The first World War in Jersey is an area of our history that is relatively un researched and unknown.”A lot of that is to do with the fact that there are very few primary documents, there are very few publish articles or academic work on the First World War.”In trying to find out about the First World War a book like this, a diary like this suddenly producing the story of a Jersey man during that period is very important and very significant,” said Ian.The diary is a simple old exercise book with a hard black cover and yellowing pages.Inside in careful old fashioned handwriting Clarence Ahier has written up the diary he kept while serving in the trenches.It is now in the care of Societe Librarian Anna Baghiani and she said that it was the human element that struck her most about Ahier’s writing.”The most touching is the human element. He was a obviously very compassionate man, one dreadful incident he helps a fellow soldier in a trench who thinks he is just basically injured.”As the moments elapsed he realised the poor mans limbs are hanging off by a thread of skin and the man dies in his arms.”This story had such an effect on Anna that she decided to track down the family of the injured soldier to tell them their ancestor didn’t die alone.”The reading of that brought me to tears and I was able to go on to the Commonwealth War Graves website and did a search on a couple of internet sites and find the relatives of Hoiland.”Not knowing much more than the fact that they were Hoilands and had obviously lost him as part of their family group.”I transcribed the section that related to his demise and said quite candidly that the evidence was there that he didn’t die on his own, that he was in the arms of a soldier who cared for him even in his last moments,” said Anna.The journal is a fitting memorial for Clarence Ahier and the men who fought and suffered with him in the trenches.And this is surely a better tribute than his only other memorial, an unmarked grave at Mont A L’Abbe cemetery.Photos of Clarence Ahier were taken from his Occupation ID card and are supplied by Jersey Heritage.
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