THE stark reality of life on the military frontline can be seen from today (Tuesday, November 11) at the mima gallery in Middlesbrough in an exhibition by official war artist Derek Eland.

And some soldiers' thoughts about losing their charismatic sergeant major Charlie Woods, from Middlesbrough, are also detailed in the exhibition, as Mr Eland joined the 23 Pioneer Regiment, The Royal Logistics Corp just two weeks after Sgt Woods was killed by a Taliban bomb ion 2011.

"Diary Rooms" opened yesterday, on the 96th anniversary of the Armistice, and includes hundreds of diary postcards, written by serving soldiers in Afghanistan in 2011, detailing how they felt about life on the frontline in Helmand.

Former paratrooper-turned-artist Mr Eland, who lives in Carlisle, has already seen the work exhibited at the Imperial War Museum - and mima is its final destination.

He set up diary rooms in the most high risk, dangerous areas in Afghanistan and invited soldiers to write down their thoughts on the blank, uncensored postcards, which were then put on boards for other soldiers to read.

The troops’ reactions varied from the brutal to the mundane, with references ranging from gory combat to the dull reality of daily routine.

Colum McGeown, a former Irish Guardsman who wrote his thoughts on a postcard in 2011 and had his legs blown off by an IED (improvised explosive device) days later, visited Middlesbrough yesterday to look at the exhibition and catch up with Mr Eland.

He said: "I wrote down some thoughts on a postcard and didn't think about it for three years. Then when I looked at Derek's photos from Afghan I realised he had the last photograph of me with legs."

The exhibition in mima recreates the enclosed space of one of the "diary rooms" for visitors to experience, with video Mr Eland shot while on the frontline playing behind. Some of his photographs from the frontline are also on display.