A Wearside author has released a new book which marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Kev Fletcher, 59, from Chester-Le-Street, has written a book called ‘Visitor from the Somme,’ which tells the story of a young man from Seaham, who fought and died in the battle.
The author, who has already written six books on sport, says his latest book was inspired by a true story he was told by a friend back in 1986.
Mr Fletcher, who is also a guitarist in numerous bands across the region, said: “The book has been released to mark the 100 anniversary of the Battle of the Somme which started on July 1.
“I was told this story by a friend, whose niece said she kept seeing the ghost of a soldier who was talking to her each night. “Her mum just thought it was an imaginary friend, but she would say he would visit her night after night and she kept talking about him.”
The Battle of the Somme which started on July 1, 1916, and went on until November 18, 1916, is one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War which was fought by the British and French armies against the Germans.
On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties, and by the end of the campaign the Allies and Central Powers lost more than 1.5 million men. Mr Fletcher added: “She said he was called John Robert Lowerson, who was a distant relative and a solider during the Battle of the Somme.
“The story really stuck with me and when I was looking for a story for a novel, I tried to trace this soldier and the battles that he was in. “I dug deep and put together a novel based in Seaham and France during the Somme in 1915 and 1916, about this little girl and the ghost.”
Mr Fletcher said the book took him two years to write and he hopes it will appeal to all ages.
He added: “The story always fascinated me.
“The historical part aims to show the horror of the war, which saw young men aged 18 and 19 fight in a war that had no rules.
“I tried to portray just how bad a time it was for the soldiers.”
The book is available online for £5.99 on Amazon or by visiting: www.lulu.com