“Into The Unknown”,

The Secret WWI Diary of Kiwi Alick Trafford No. 25/469

RELEASE DATE: August 4, 2020. Buy from here, bookshops or online booksellers

"If this is war, then let there be no more."


“World War I (and its aftermath) in the words of a young soldier fresh off a remote New Zealand farm, written with immediacy, emotion and clarity.”(Penguin website).

“A personal account of WWI from the diaries of a Gisborne farm boy, shaped into a gripping narrative by the diarist’s grandson 100 years later. Follow Alick as he moves from his last night on the farm in early 1916, through enshipment and training, then off to the battle fields of France and Belgium, occupied Germany and back home. His treasured diaries covered the tedium, the mud, the fear and sorrow, the discomfort, the periods of leave and the letters from those back home. See the war unfold through Alick’s eyes and learn about his and his companions’ attitudes to the army, to female company, to the enemy soldiers, to the hospitality provided by people under pressure, to the war itself.
And after the drama and tragedy of war, comes the return home and the efforts required to make a living while remaining steadfastly silent about the traumas of those terrible years – an unseen fight that continued and affected generations to come.” (Penguin website).

Please email me for pre-orders. newzealandphotos@xtra.co.nz

“He lies near the top of famous Hill 60, a little way from where he was killed. On one side of him is Sergeant Whitelock, 8/500, and on the other Private Jenkins, 40009, all killed together.” – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Tairāwhiti Museum.

Background Story: Way, way back, my father, Harvey, was bidden by his father, Alick, to find a hidden stash and burn it. It was his World War One diaries, and secretly, they were not destroyed. I have written my grandfather’s words into this book. It seems as if I speak for him and all of our families who were affected by this un-great war. He was a sensitive soldier, and his words are raw and honest. Thanks to Alick, the generous people who contributed to my Givealittle page, Penguin Random House NZ and everyone who helped along the way, this book will soon be on the shelves.

“More and more dead men congest our sunken road. In the afternoon, at periods, I get the chaps to move some of the bodies or roll them and their deathly faces over towards the ground.”  – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Gisborne Photo News.
“…..preparation is crucial to the upcoming New Zealand attack on the fortressed town of Le Quesnoy. This is not a good sector. We are out on a pivot front with enemy machine guns surrounding us on three sides.” – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Tairāwhiti Museum.
“The scene of wounded beasts and men floundering in the slop is an absolute havoc of hell.” – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Tairāwhiti Museum.
“The army has more to worry about winning this war than men yearning for the comfort of women.” – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Tairāwhiti Museum.

“…… the old problem of VD is rather epidemic. The battalion’s quota in the lockup joint is quite serious and I have to give the platoons a lecture on the subject. They listen and take it all right. Thanks to the unpopular agitating by a New Zealand woman, the army has prophylactics available and the naive men need some education.” – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin.Photo source; Auckland Libraries.
Matawai, after the war.
“After four hours’ travel, a homeward-bound Trafford saddled up a horse, rode under looming Mount Misery, forded or swam the Motu River, then negotiated the treacherous bridle trail and bluffs over Trafford’s Hill to home” – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19120725-13-5
After the war.
“Alick’s friends remembered ‘Traff’ as a ‘tough bastard’, but a man too sensitive for war. A new theatre was now set for a further series of strung-out battles — the long war getting to grips with financial hardship, and the unseen forces of suppressed memories and re-emerging emotions.”  – © Into The Unknown, Ian Trafford, Penguin. Photo source; Peggy McConnell.

© Images on this page are under copyright.