Menus, Munitions and Keeping the Peace
The Home Front Diaries of Gabrielle West 1914–1917
Gabrielle West worked variously as a Red Cross volunteer, a cook and a police officer during the First World War. Her diary entries, now part of the Imperial War Museum archives, note the discrimination she encountered as a woman in a position of responsibility, and the dangers posed by the Zeppelin raids over London. They paint a lively picture of her experience of the British Home Front and are illustrated with her drawings and family photographs.
The Story of Civilian Volunteers in the First World War
The scale of support given by volunteers and charities during the First World War to troops, prisoners of war, refugees and the wounded is often overlooked. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children (but mainly women) from all backgrounds devoted time and energy to fundraising and practical help, many risking their lives on the front line. This history of their efforts, which involved the making and packaging of ‘comforts’, nursing, driving ambulances and entertaining, acknowledges their compassion and generosity.
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in France, 1917–1921
Women Urgently Wanted
Documenting the experiences of the WAACs who served in France, this study follows the women from enrolment to demobilization, notes the part they played in the Spring Offensive of 1918 and the Armistice, and analyses how the army, the general public and the press viewed them.
Around the Village Green
The Heart-Warming Memoir of a World War II Childhood
In this memoir, the author recalls growing up with her coal miner father, mother and siblings in a Derbyshire village and describes how the outbreak of war and the nearby PoW camp and American base changed life for everyone.
Greasepaint and Cordite
The Story of ENSA and Concert Party Entertainment During the Second World War
During the course of the Second World War, the Entertainments National Services Association put on countless productions for the troops across the world, offering everything from music hall turns to Laurence Olivier. The enormous number of shows meant that the talent was spread thinly and performances were often delivered in difficult circumstances and inhospitable climes. Drawing on interviews with surviving ENSA performers, this book tells the colourful story of this most unusual and complex theatrical enterprise.
The Lengthening War
The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode
Having lived in Germany for a time before the outbreak of the First World War, middle-aged, middle-class diarist Mabel Goode knew 'the enemy nation' as many Britons did not, which adds an extra dimension to her contemporary account of the years 1914–1916. She records enrolment, rationing, the collapse of domestic service and the growth of war work, the Zeppelin attacks over Yorkshire, the ever-mounting casualty lists and a growing disillusionment with a lengthening conflict.
Eggs or Anarchy
The Remarkable Story of the Man Tasked with the Impossible: To Feed a Nation at War
Battling unscrupulous dealers, blockades and sinking ships, Minister for Food Lord Woolton was tasked with feeding the nation during the Second World War. Despite Churchill’s misgivings, Woolton – a working-class boy turned business tycoon – rose to the challenge, making a huge contribution to the war effort and improving the health of the nation to boot. Award-winning food writer William Sitwell draws on personal letters and diaries to reveal this previously untold story.
Britain's Wartime Evacuees
The People, Places and Stories of the Evacuations Told Through the Accounts of Those Who Were There
The mass evacuations during the Second World War had a seismic impact on many hundreds of thousands of people – both those (mostly school-aged children) who were sent far away from their homes and families and those who had to accommodate and care for them. This illustrated study is based on interviews with evacuees from across the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar as well as contemporary newspaper coverage and official documents.
Britain's Secret Army: The Munitions Women of World War II
With the outbreak of war in 1939, many factories were turned over to the war effort, while new ones were quickly built to manufacture munitions. Millions of women worked arduous shifts, day and night, dealing with dangerous materials, often after being forced to leave home and live in uncomfortable and unfamiliar surroundings. Based on extensive interviews, this book recounts the experiences of nine 'bomb girls', revealing the hardships that they endured and their often-unrecognized contribution to the Allied victory.
The Huns Have Got My Gramophone!
Advertisements from the Great War
Extolling the virtues of motorcycles for ‘lady war workers’ and ‘absolutely waterproof’ trench coats for soldiers, the advertisements collected and discussed here illustrate how the First World War offered companies new commercial opportunities and fundamentally changed British society.
Peace and War:
Britain in 1914
This discerning cultural history presents a portrait of a nation on the eve of war. While it details the social and political issues of the day, including the Ulster crisis, suffragettes, labour disputes and the anxiety of approaching war, it also highlights the nascent modernism of contemporary artists and poets, including Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, who anticipated the end of the Edwardian era and the ‘cosy certainties’ that belied the social conflicts of a troubled Britain.
Voices from the Past
In the full knowledge that hostilities would end at 11am, some units were still sent into battle on the morning of 11th November 1918, and some soldiers were reportedly keen to fire the very last shots. From the first attempts to negotiate a peace to the final battles and the moment of ceasefire itself, this book tells the story of the conclusion of the First World War through contemporary newspaper reports and the words of politicians, military leaders and ordinary soldiers.
Women's Factory Work in World War One
The appointment of two influential women from the Women's Factory Inspectorate to the Women's War Work Subcommittee during the First World War led to a commission to create a photographic documentary archive of women working in factories across Britain. GR Griffiths examines that project and presents a selection from the thousands of images that covered 19 industries and recorded the working conditions of the women and the industrial processes in which they were engaged.
Stars in Battledress
A Light-Hearted Look at Service Entertainment in the Second World War
Many of the stars of post-war British entertainment cut their teeth in Army entertainment; established artistes as part of ENSA and, braving the front lines, Stars in Battledress using talent drawn from the serving ranks. This book recounts the stories of such members as Charlie Chester and Spike Milligan as well as tales of the post-war Combined Service Entertainment in which Frankie Howerd and Stanley Baxter learned their trade.
Voices of the First World War
A crucially important port during the First World War, the city of Liverpool also reflected the domestic political problems of the day with industrial unrest and Irish home rule both pertinent topics for the large working class and Irish populations. Through letters and diaries, this book highlights the experiences and attitudes of people living and working in the city during the period as well as Merseysiders serving abroad.
We'll Meet Again
Britain at War
With advances in camera technology, photojournalists were able to record everyday life during the Second World War with much more flexibility than ever before and the home front provided them with unforgettable visual material. From bomb destruction and ration queues to evacuees and women working in heavy industry, this collection of 350 photographs from the Daily Mail archive contains many arresting images and portrays a remarkable sense of cheerfulness in the face of adversity.
Our Land at War
A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939–45
Duff Hart-Davis examines how, in farms and villages, forestry land and country estates, the 'old ways' of Britain's countryside were challenged by the demands of war. As well as the profound impact of the need to grow more food and the loss of workforce as young men enlisted, the book examines the effects of the new role of women, the Land Girls and Lumber Jills, the requisition of land and houses, and the arrival of evacuees, Americans and prisoners of war.
Going beyond the familiar stories of children in wartime, usually dominated by evacuation, Longden deals with children as active participants in the Second World War. He tells the stories of child soldiers who lied about their age to enlist, but also of the Royal Navy's 14-year-old boy buglers serving on battleships, teenagers in the Merchant Navy, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides helping victims of the bombing, and the children who stayed in the cities during the Blitz.
When the Children Came Home
Stories from Wartime Evacuees
On 1 September 1939 Operation Pied Piper began, evacuating one and a half million children, pregnant women and school teachers from Britain's industrial cities, beyond the reach of the Luftwaffe. It was a varied experience - children went to British foster families or abroad; some stayed weeks, others years; while some enjoyed it, others hated it; and homecoming was not always easy. Using interviews and memoirs, Julie Summers weaves together evacuees' stories to give a children's perspective on wartime Britain.
A First World War Nurse Tells Her Story
Dorothea Crewdson (1886–1918), a newly trained Red Cross nurse, left for Le Treport in northern France in April 1915. She was to spend nearly four years in France, working in three hospitals and witnessing some of the worst horror of the First World War, yet somehow maintaining her optimism. Dorothea's diaries from those years are a testimony to her indomitable high spirits and offer a rare, intimate glimpse of the heroic work of First World War nurses.
Dogs of Courage
When Britain's Pets Went to War 1939–45
From 1939, when people were advised that if they couldn't send their pets to the country in wartime, 'it really is kindest to have them destroyed', to the Dickin Medals awarded at the end of the war, Clare Campbell tells the story of the dogs' war effort, whether conscripted to serve on the battlefields as messengers or mine detectors, or as rescue dogs working in the rubble of bombed buildings, sniffing out survivors on the home front.