THOUSANDS of twitter users are following the front-line tweets of a World War II Scots soldier
During 1940, Ross Selkirk Taylor, from Fife, kept a diary account of his life as a driver in the Royal Army Service Corps and now his grandson has posted the wartime memoirs onto Twitter, captivating a worldwide audience.
The 21-year-old private Taylor’s diary runs from January 1 to December 31 1940, covering his deployment to France to his eventual imprisonment and torture by Nazi forces.
The forgotten hero’s grandson, Chris Ayres, initially created the Twitter page for his friends and family, but now @driverross has gained 4,000 followers worldwide.
Chris, who now lives in America, said: “Everyone seems to be very taken with the almost sci-fi ish idea of a young solder tweeting from 72 years ago.
“What actually makes it work, is the fact that we are not editing the tweets. They’re in their original form, they were exactly the right length.”
The tweets are posted under the twitter handel @driverross, with the introduction reading: “I am a 21-year-old WWII British Army driver. My grandson, author @ayreslive, will be Tweeting the daily entries from my 1940 pocket diary throughout 2012.”
Chris began tweeting on January 1 this year and his followers are currently reading his diary entries from February 1940.
Chris said the tweets will take a dramatic turn in May, as his grandfather was captured from Le Mans, in France on May 20 by a Nazi Panzer division.
Private Taylor had been transporting a regiment of men north from Le Mans when they were ambushed by enemy forces after stopping for a cigarette.
He managed to escape on foot to a nearby farm on a hilltop and watched as German soldiers massacred French woman and children.
He was eventually captured himself by gunpoint.
Chris explained: “This image obviously haunted by grandfather for a long time. A few minutes later, an English-speaking German dispatch rider apprehended my grandfather at gun point. He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner and forced labourer at Stalags in Poland and Czechoslovakia.
“Amazingly, he recorded this first year of this in his diary. Even more amazingly, the diary survived the war, captivity and the journey home.”
Chris said that Twitter captures his grandfather’s thoughts and feelings and has captured the imagination of his followers:
He said: “He was only 21, so these were the private thoughts of a very young man who not only had been forced to confront the horrors of the battlefield, but who was also terribly homesick.”