Saturday, 23 September 2017

Olympic rower’s story told through war diary

THE diaries of a Henley man who fought and died in the First World War have been

THE diaries of a Henley man who fought and died in the First World War have been turned in to a book.

Fred Kelly, who lived in the town during the early 1900s, died at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The Lost Olympian of the Somme by Jon Cooksey and Graham McKechnie reproduces extracts from Kelly’s diary written in the trenches from 1914 to 1916.

It offers a unique look into the Royal Navy’s Hood Battalion, a division of sailors that served on land as soldiers and included some of the leading artistic and intellectual minds of the day, including Arthur Asquith, the prime minister’s son, and the poet Rupert Brooke, whose final hours Kelly witnessed.

A talented rower, Kelly won seven trophies at Henley Royal Regatta as well as a gold medal when the Olympic regatta was held on the Henley reach in 1908.



He also lived and worked in Frankfurt as a musician and composer.

The book’s foreword is by double Olympic gold medallist Steve Williams.

The Lost Olympian of the Somme (£8.99) is available online.



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