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Exactly 100 years ago this month, Welsh Fusilier Glyn Roberts fell at La Boiselle in the opening incursions of the Battle of the Somme. His battalion, the 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, engaged in an attack, ‘regardless of loss’. Glyn was killed on 3rd July 1916, days before the ensuing battle of Mametz Wood. A collection of moving letters home to his mother and sisters are the inspiration behind the debut novel of Jane Austin, a relative of the 21-year-old soldier. To honour the memory of her great uncle, Jane journeyed with the South Wales Western Front Association to the Somme battlefields for a memorial ceremony on the centenary of one of the bloodiest battles in British military history. The emotional trip resulted in Jane receiving, for the first time, a message that never reached her family at the time, from a mother who lost her son at Mametz. Go to Jane’s website, janeustinofyork.wordpress.com for the full story.

Jane’s debut novel, News from Nowhere, is inspired by a collection of family letters from three brothers as they served on the Western Front. These vividly describe the torments of the trenches and the battlefield and life as a prisoner of war. In the novel, Glyn writes to his sister Bronwyn, and we see the war through her eyes. News from Nowhere will be published by Cinnamon Press February 2017 and can be pre-ordered from www.cinnamonpress.com.

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