By William Langford
For the Somme offensive British Fourth Army headquarters was situated in a chateau at Querrieu on the Albert-Amiens road. In the build up months to Haig's Great Push a steady flow of intelligence was being compiled; captured German documents, intercepted messages, prisoners' letters, diaries and information gleaned from prisoner interviews were entered into foolscap-size ledgers where they could be perused by the planners.
The hand-written journal of intelligence reports upon which this work is formed was originally compiled by a former soldier of the 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, (Accrington Pals), Harry Platt of Burnley. In 1916 he was a sergeant working on intelligence duties at Fourth Army GHQ. He was later commissioned in the Royal Engineers. Harry also served in the Second World War in the Royal Artillery reaching the rank of Major. He was Mentioned in Despatches in both conflicts. Harry died in August 1951 aged 56.In 2002 the handwritten journal was lodged with the Imperial War Museum at the instigation of historian William Turner, military historian and author of books on the Accrington Pals.