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Washington in the Great War (Kindle)

'Whisht Lads'

Local History WWI Towns & Cities in the Great War

By Peter Welsh
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Towns & Cities in the Great War
File Size: 29.9 MB (.mobi)
ISBN: 9781473843288
Published: 3rd November 2014

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WASHINGTON IN THE GREAT WAR is a glance at what was happening to the people of Washington, Harraton and Usworth during the Great War years. What was happening to the men was pretty clear – they were joining fighting regiments and they were getting killed. Death and disaster was not unusual in pit villages so they had experience in coping… but this was on an undreamed of scale. For example, twenty five per cent of men from Harraton Parish who joined the army were killed, as compared with a national figure of around eight per cent. Some stories of those who gave 'the last full measure of devotion' are to be found in these pages.

For those at home; those who knitted, rolled bandages, picked blackberries, collected eggs, had time to write to the papers, worried about the effect of the Belgians on local morality, went on strike, sold sweets at unlawful prices, devised recipes, tried to implement the idea of homes for heroes, searched for sufficient scavengers, got arrested for abusing sentries on the bridge, took portrait photographs of the newly enlisted men, hassled pork butchers of German extraction, appealed against military service, became Munitionettes, played in charity football matches, swallowed Dr Cassell's pills, chewed Dainty Dinah toffee, offered their land for war memorials, tended their allotments, failed to catch fish in the Wear, died of influenza – well, their stories are here too.

Containing over seventy period black and white photographs, as well as modern-day equivalents, and chapters sorted chronologically detailing the area before, during and after the war, this book is highly recommended for social and military historians alike.

What a wonderful way of writing Peter has. For me he has made History readable. Facts about the Great War are given a ‘story’ by putting them into the context of the villagers and villages of that time.

I like the way the book is written, largely in chronological order, with the broad picture of what is happening in the world and what life is like back home, interspersed with information on the casualties of war, the soldiers and sailors themselves. They become real men rather than just names on a memorial.

Having reached the end of the book there was more than a tear in the eye.

Amazon Customer 5* Review

This is a great book. I read it in one sitting.

The writer brings an engaging, thoughtful sense of humour to a very serious subject. The depth of research that obviously went into the writing of this book jumps out of every page. Washington (the original Washington, ancestral home to George Washington's family) was a small, mainly mining town at the outbreak of the Great War.The writer clearly identifies with the young men who ended up on the front, and their families. Photographs, letters, medals, plaques and personal possessions are all used to shed light on the lives of the local men named on war memorials and grave stones. The book prints comprehensive alphabetical lists of the names of the local people who died in the great war together with the name of the regiment and date of death.

Books like this ensure that people will never forget.

Amazon Customer 5* Review

Highly recommended, Peter has a wonderful turn of phase and a way of engaging the reader that draws you into the minutia of not only Washington in the Great War but also the every day life of those left at home. A wonderful project brilliantly delivered.

Amazon Customer 5* Review

This well illustrated book is a tribute to the men of the County Durham villages of Washington, Harraton and Usworth who fought in the Great War... Wisht Lads is just one part of a very interesting attempt to link a community with its own past.

Stand To!

'Washington in the Great War'...has met with an enthusiastic reception both at home and abroad. It includes more than 70 photographs and is full of facts both fascinating and horrifying...

Washington Star

The book is at its most poignant when portraying the fighting men - those who died and those who returned. [The book] captures the character of wartime Washington and its people and provides us with much interesting well-presented contemporary documentation.

Northumberland & Durham Family History Society

As seen in The Journal (Newcastle).

The Journal (Newcastle)

About Peter Welsh

Peter Welsh was a history teacher at Pennywell Comprehensive School in Sunderland. His interest in the subject was sparked when a pupil brought in material relating to the setting up of the South Hylton war memorial, this led to school trips to the battlefields of the Somme. Around 12 years ago, Peter and his teacher wife Margaret began investigating the names on the nearby Harraton war memorial.

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