THE fascinating diaries of a long-time resident of Bournemouth, Evelyn Shillington, who was a military wife during the Second World War, have been published. It could have been very different if it hadn't been for the keen eye of Shaun Sewell, 'a diary detective', who bought the diaries. They were in an auction along with the archives of the playwright Emlie Clifford, better known as Clifford Mills.

Jacy Wall, who lives in Dorset and worked in the arts sector of the south west for many years, inherited the diaries from her mother who was Eve's cousin. She was aware that Emlie was the well known playwright best known for her work Where the Rainbow Ends but she did not think her the diaries of Emlie's daughter Eve would have any importance.

In 1925 Eve married Captain Rex Shillington and ten years later began to write a diary of her experiences of being a military wife, following her husband around the country with her pet dog Chaser wherever he was posted. Her entries are set against the backdrop of a changing world during the Second World War and after he was stationed abroad when the conflict ended.

Left to her own devices for much of the time, Eve threw herself into every opportunity that came her way and wrote vividly in her diaries about her experiences, including her voluntary work, her fund-raising and about the entertaining, and sometimes famous people, she met along the way.

In 1949 Rex and Eve moved to Bournemouth. Jacy remembers visiting Eve in Erinbank Mansions, Manor Road, East Cliff. Rex died in 1963 and Eve in 1981 aged 88.

Eve's War is published by Sphere and costs £8.99