“NOTHING very exciting” happened to 24-year-old Bertram Bolt on Wednesday, May 10, 1916.

By then the a 24-year-old First Lieutenant with the King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) had lived through a month on the hellish front lines of Ypres.

So his definition of exciting – as recorded in his diary – had become somewhat skewed.

Within three days of “nothing very exciting” happening – the young officer from Baysham Street, Whitecross, Hereford, was dead.

His death fell within the six weeks approximation of life expectancy for a “first over the top” young officer.

But The daily diary Bertram kept from his enlistment survived.

Now, Nearly 100 years on, its entries are the inspiration for a a special commemorative event.

Twenty-nine Days is an hour of of music and memories and wartime recollections at All Saints, Hereford, tomorrow from 7.30pm and St. Peter’s, Hereford, on Saturday at midday.

Tomorrow’s performance is supported by Hereford Peace Council which is also mounting a First World War of its own at the church.

Twenty-nine Days draws on archive recordings of locals people interviewed by the county reminiscence group, Herefordshire Lore.

“The recollections provide a remarkable insight into life at the time,” says Lore’s Bill Laws.

Bertram – known as Bertie – was one of four brothers from 88 Baysham Street, Whitecross. Their dad, William, had a building firm in West Street.

Bertram’s diary begins with his leaving of Baysham Street for what would would be the last time having enlisted in the KSLI and receiving orders to “proceed overseas”.

Bertram was back home for a two day break from barracks in Shrewsbury before shipping out.

His final day in Hereford was on Sunday, April 16, 1916, and is recorded in the diary as: “Wet. Eignbrook in morning. Short walk with E in afternoon. Left Hereford by 8 o/c train.”

By Easter Tuesday, Bertram was on the Ypres frontline in the thick of battle and facing the terrifying new threat of mustard gas.

The day's diary entryHis diary entry for the day reads: “Tipping weather. Shelled heavily about mid-day for two hours (Casualties – two dead) no officers. Trenches bashed in horribly.”

His diary entry for Monday, May 8 1916 reads: “Rotten day. Gas test in morning then in trenches until about 5pm. Raining like hell the whole time. Patrolled all night. Baker unwell. No casualties though.”

The final entry is for Wednesday, May 10, when the weather was “improving”.

With no rain and six casualties, “nothing very exciting happened” except for the communication trench being knocked in.

From there, A temporary roadside cross recorded him the young officer as having “died of wounds” near the town of Armentieres on May 13.

He is buried at the Bailleul Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Hereford Times: Woodland Trust