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Cambridge University assisted with Sassoon archive acquisition

4th November 2009

The University of Cambridge has received more than GBP 500,000 to help secure the personal writings of First World War soldier, poet and author Siegfried Sassoon.

The money provided by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) will be used to buy the pocket notebooks and private diaries that the writer maintained while serving on the Western Front.

The university is aiming to raise GBP 1.25 million to purchase the full archive, which will be housed at the Cambridge University Library alongside a number of other Sassoon letters and manuscripts.

Jenny Abramsky, chair of the NHMF, said the recent death of Britain's last surviving First World War veteran has refocused public attention on the sacrifice made by servicemen and women during the conflict.

'Sassoon's archive - full of fascinating personal accounts of his own experiences at war - provides the perfect tribute,' she added.

In an interview with the Guardian, Private Peaceful author Michael Morpurgo pointed out that Sassoon's work praises the courage of the soldiers while questioning the causes they fight for and suggested that this makes his writing particularly relevant today.

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