'It's the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable. We live in a world of Somme mud. We sleep in it, work in it, fight in it, wade in it and many of us die in it. We see it, feel it, eat it and curse it, but we can't escape it, not even by dying...' Private Edward Lynch enlisted in the army when he was just 18. He was one of thousands of fresh-faced men who were proudly waved off by the crowds as they embarked for France. The year was 1916 and the majority had no idea of the reality of the trenches of the Somme, of the pale faced, traumatised soldiers they would encounter there, of the innumerable, awful contradictions of war. Private Lynch was one of those who survived his time in the trenches. Upon his return from France in 1919 he wrote Somme Mud in pencil in over 20 school exercise books, perhaps in the hope of coming to terms with all that he had witnessed there. Published for the first time, it is a rare and precious find. It vividly captures the horror and magnitude of the First World War, written from the perspective of ordinary infantrymen, rather than officers. Told with dignity, candour and surprising wit, Somme Mud is a testament to the power of the human spirit - out of the mud that threatened to suck out a man's soul rises a compelling story of humanity and friendship.