The beautifully written diary of Ross Gregory

ross gregory.jpg

by Mayukh Ghosh

July 2001.
Auction room in Melbourne.
One lot has an wartime diary, a few old sweaters and some badges and cups won by a Test cricketer.

A hopelessly devoted collector of cricket memorabilia, sitting in his Guildford residence, had decided to send a substantial postal bid.
He wins the bid but has to wait for a few weeks to get his hands on the diary and the sweaters.
He has to go to Queensland to receive the items.
At the middle of the night, he unpacks them all. And then decides to read the diary before going to bed.
At that point he realises that he is lucky to get such a precious diary that cheaply. 
It was beautifully written, by a charming man aged 25.

He had played Test cricket for Australia. 
A.G. Moyes thought he was destined to become the next big thing in Australian cricket.
And Keith Miller once said that he wished he could have been like this young man.

The only Australian Test cricketer to die in action during World War II.
His letters from the war-front were depressing enough to bring tears to the most cheerful of eyes. 
A story of what could have been....

Not known to many, until David Frith decided to write that book based on Ross Gregory's diary.
It contains Frith-esque research, ably helped by many others, including Gideon Haigh.
Haigh got hold of the Registrar's certificate which says that Ross was born on 27th February and not on 28th February.
The leading cricket websites, of course, have found no urge to make amends.

Frith has filled an important gap in cricket's history and was rewarded with the Cricket Society Book of the Year award.

Ross Gregory is still not a well known name.
He will never be.

But his is a remarkable story.
Among those which reminds us about the horrors of war and how it ends promising lives in no time.

Ross Gregory was born on February 27, 1916.