A Forest Town author has released a new book combining the stories of soldiers from a number of conflicts and his own poems.
In Shadows of Soldiers Past Steven Hall breaks away from his specialist subject of the First World War to include sometimes harrowing interviews with soldiers from combat zones such as the Faulklands and Northern Ireland.
But Steven (57), whose interest in the Great War was sparked by his grandfather’s involvement in the conflict, said humour also played its part in the book.
“When you start talking about combat stress and IED injuries it can get quite morbid, so I tried to include some laughs.
“And soldiers have a gallows-type sense of humour.”
Shadows of Soldiers Past will be Steven’s third book - the first two being a collection of poetry called Poems of World War One 1914-1918 and a second book called Tears for the Fallen, 1914-1918.
The first book was inspired by Steven’s grandfather.
“He was born in Beeston,” said Steven. “But spent all of his life after the great war in Blidworth and Fishpool (Ravenshead).
“He was in the 10th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, and was both gassed and suffered from shell-shock.”
“But my father got me into poetry through the likes of Tennyson.”
Steven was commissioned last year to write three poems for the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Victoria Cross Committee and was invited to Golders Green Peace Gardens and Crematorium in London to a service of dedication and plaque unveiling to 14 Victoria Cross heroes.
He read one of his poems before an invited audience of around 500 VIPs, including military, political and religious dignitaries and family members of the recipients.
Steven was also invited to and given a personal tour of Belvoir Castle after meeting the Duchess of Rutland.
The Forest Town man plans to team up with members of the Victoria Cross committee next for a tour of schools and universities to give readings of his First World War poetry.
His books are now on sale at the castle gift shop as well as the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
But if you cannot make it to either they are also available at amazon.com or by order at most bookshops.
As a member of the Royal British Legion Steven donates a proportion of all his books’ sales to the famous veterans’ charity.