The diary of a 19-year-old soldier who survived the sinking of the troopship Transylvania in a U-boat attack and fought the Ottoman Turks in the Holy Land in World War One. More
Fred Gubbins’s war was overshadowed by the big bloody battles of The Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele. A country boy born in the reign of Queen Victoria, Fred became a farm worker and later a gardener on a country estate before volunteering in the First World War. He survived the sinking of the troopship Transylvania in a U-boat attack and marched with General Allenby’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force through the Holy Land to capture Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks. On December 21, 1917, he was killed in action just outside the city. The battalion diary records hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets, rifle butts, entrenching spades and fists. In his last letter home to his sister Irene Fred sent a dried crocus. He was 19 years old. A Crocus From Jerusalem is Fred’s story. All proceeds from this centenary tribute go to the Not Forgotten Association.