Brigadier-General Herbert Hart landed at Gallipoli on 26 April 1915, commanded the Wellington Battalion during the closing stages of that campaign, then served as a battalion and brigade commander on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. Throughout the war he kept a diary, in which he recorded his experiences in the great battles on Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele. Hart's diary is now widely regarded as one of the most important personal sources relating to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Exceptionally well written, it includes gripping descriptions of both combat and life behind the front line and on leave in France and United Kingdom. While Hart can appear quite detached at times, he is also a very human observer of the events around him, understanding the plight of his men, finding humour in the most unlikely situations and noticing unexpected details at moments of high tension.
John Crawford is the New Zealand Defence Force Historian. In 2007 he edited, with Ian McGibbon, Exisle's monumental book "New Zealand's Great War." His other major publications include "To Fight for the Empire: An Illustrated History of New Zealand and the South African War, 1899-1902;" "Kia Kaha: New Zealand in the Second World War;" and, with the assistance of Peter Cooke, "No Better Death: The Great War Diaries and Letters of William G. Malone." John Crawford lives in Wellington.