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THE DIARY OF A VETERAN

By Sergt. Peter Facey

In 1997/8 the author contributed to the local monthly village magazine of Chittlehampton in North Devon, a series of family trees of local families living in the parish during the nineteenth century, anticipating that there might be some feed back from readers to augment what was already known about the families from traditional sources. A descendant of one such family, the Facey family of Gambuston in Chittlehampton, came forward with the information that a member of that family had a copy of a diary written by a Peter Facey. The diary was said to cover the period from 1803 to 1820 and described his adventures in the Napoleonic Wars. The diary was eventually produced - it was an early photocopy of text in very small writing. It was the diary of Sergeant Peter Facey, although the owner of the diary did not know how Peter fitted in to the family, and he wasn't included on the family tree.

After some research the relationship between the writer of the diary and the farming family of Gambuston was established and that he was a younger brother of John Facey, from whom the owner of the diary was descended.

It is not clear from the text when the diary was written; whether the events were recorded at the time, or if it was produced from memory after he returned from the campaigns - probably a mixture of both. After reading the diary one wonders how a sergeant came by such detailed knowledge of casualties and of stores captured unless he was attached to the military command in some capacity. Also how he came to have the education and vocabulary necessary to write such an interesting account of his adventures.

soldier

In transcribing the diary no attempt has been made to correct his grammar or spellings of place names. There are some gaps resulting from the poor quality of the photocopying, and one missing section (a page had been torn out!). Since the original contained no punctuation marks, these have been added.

For convenience the transcript is divided into seven chapters, each interlinked.

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7.

David Ryall

Colleytown, Chittlehampton.

This page last updated on 15 Jul 2004