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Unfit for Heroes (Hardback)

The Post-War Struggles of Britain’s WWI Veterans

WWI Social History Home Front in WWI 1918

By Roland Wales
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526740823
Published: 31st January 2023


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RRP £25.00

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In November 1918, an exhausted Britain celebrated victory in a war that had consumed the resources of the nation as never before. Industries had been nationalised, and both rationing and conscription introduced. Over three quarters of a million men had died, while many more had been maimed or wounded. But there were still 4 million men and women in uniform – some still fighting in far-flung conflicts – and bringing them home and putting them to work was a huge challenge. This book is the story of those 4 million men and women, set against the background of a turbulent economy, the continuation of industrial strife, which had been put on hold for the duration of the war, and the failure of the government’s plans for reconstruction. Returning soldiers struggled to find work, even before the short-lived post-war boom came to and end. And the subsequent slump, which began in 1920, would put two and a half million people out of work, and would set the country on a depressed path for years to come. The failure to deliver the land ‘fit for heroes’ after this war would have a big influence on plans for recovery after the next.

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About Roland Wales

Roland Wales worked as an economist at the Bank of England for many years, and then as Policy Director at the Labour Party. He became interested in R.C. Sherriff when his two sons attended Sherriff’s old school, Kingston Grammar, and he became Chair of the parents’ support group for rowing – the Sherriff Club. He produced several Sherriff-themed theatrical nights, and worked closely with the Surrey History Centre in their successful bid for Heritage Lottery Fund support of the Sherriff Archive, including writing a well reviewed play, How Like It All Is, examining the links between Sherriff’s wartime experiences and his subsequent work.

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