A Soldier in Bedfordshire, 1941-1942
Title Details

238 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

16 b/w.

Series: Publications Bedfordshire Hist Rec Soc

Series Vol. Number: 88

Imprint: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society

A Soldier in Bedfordshire, 1941-1942

The Diary of Private Denis Argent, Royal Engineers

Edited by Patricia Malcolmson, Robert Malcolmson and Patricia and Robert Malcolmson

  • Description
  • Author
Denis Argent, a professional journalist, joined the British Army in 1940 at the age of 23. He was already writing for Mass Observation, the innovative research organisation founded in 1937.
Denis Argent, a professional journalist, joined the British Army in 1940 at the age of 23. He was already writing for Mass Observation, the innovative research organisation founded in 1937.
During most of his first two years in uniform, when he was billeted in Bedford and Luton, he kept a remarkably detailed and probing diary. He wrote of street life and other aspects of the Home Front in Luton and Bedford, where the BBC's Symphony Orchestra had relocated shortly before he arrived; daily military routine; bomb disposal; transport; women, sex and leisure; his political views and cultural interests (he loved music and was widely read); the crucial importance of leave to see his girlfriend; and his fellow conscientious objectors - he was in the Non-Combatant Corps, though he later chose to take up arms.
Denis Argent had a keen and observant reporter's eye. He was also highly attuned to the modernist intellectual culture of his time. His is a wartime diary that is perceptive, colourful, wide-ranging, sometimes amusing, and very well written.

Patricia and Robert Malcolmson are social historians who have edited several diaries for publication, including for the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, A Soldier in Bedfordshire, 1941-1942: The Diary of Private Denis Argent, Royal Engineers (2009). Their most recent edited diaries are A Shop Assistant in Wartime: The Dewsbury Diary of Kathleen Hey, 1941-1945 (Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 2018) and A Vicar’s Wife of Oxford, 1938-1943: The Diary of Madge Martin (Oxfordshire Record Society, 2018).

Ebook (EPDF)

9781800107762

July 2009

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Title Details

238 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

16 b/w.

Series: Publications Bedfordshire Hist Rec Soc

Series Vol. Number: 88

Imprint: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society