A bit more on this from the Wirral Globe.........I wonder how far the project has progressed?
Diary discovery to the past
From the archive, first published Wednesday 25th Jan 2006.
AN ESCAPADE on foreign soil, drinking cider and travelling on foot until they found a place to stay for the night may not sound an unusual way to spend the summer holiday for a group of young friends - but in 1912 it was not 'the done thing.'
Today's youth may have thought that they invented the backpacking trip and the gap year but a dusty book discovered in a junk shop in Cumbria has proved that adventuring abroad took place as far back as pre-First World War.
The typed and bound 'Six Nomads In Normandy' was found sitting hidden on a shelf by Rosamund Ridley from Kendal, who immediately became fascinated by the tale told by four men and two women from Merseyside of their trip across northern France.
Mrs Ridley said: "I was actually looking for an unusual present for my brother when I came across the book tucked away in a junk shop.
"It's written as a diary with each of the young people taking turns to write an account. They tell a story which sounds remarkably 21st century. The book includes their own photographs and postcards and an excellent hand-drawn map of the region they visited.
"They describe how they crossed the Channel and turned right from Le Havre, walking through what would later become D-Day country. Astonishing their French hosts they could cover twenty miles and more in a day, on foot.
"They talk of admiring the poppies and poignantly the diary ends with a toast - with Normandy cider - to 'long life and happy, happy days'.
"But what struck me, and my teenage daughters when they saw the book, was how we wondered what had happened to these carefree young men and women when they returned home."
Mrs Ridley, a retired history lecturer, has spent the last year uncovering how the young people's lives unravelled after their return to British shores, studying war memorials and local records.
Having spoken to the families of Alexander Westmore and Fred Pulford from West Derby, Liverpool, and Gladys Gleave and Emma Irving from Wallasey she has been able to put together a picture of the friends and their lives.
Yet she has still been unable to contact the family of Ross Irving from the Lake District and Francis Ramsey Bourne, an employee of Unilever who was born in Spitalfields, London in 1887 but who spent most of his life in Greasby and Birkenhead.
"It was so interesting to find out what had happened to these young men and women and in some ways it was sad too," she said.
"One of the men is on a memorial to the Missing of the Somme while Gladys married Alec who was a stretcher bearer until he was seriously wounded in 1918.
"He wrote his own private account of the war, which I showed to his son Norman. At the age of 81 he was able to read what his father had written in 1928."
Mrs Ridley has now taken on the youngsters' tale and feels compelled to finish the story of their lives. She hopes to publish the story in 2007 with royalties from book sales donated to the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres.