This website uses cookies. Using this website means you are okay with this but you can find out more and learn how to manage your cookie choices here.
What's On

New book Staffordshire's War examines the impact of WWI on normal lives

Historian Malcolm Goode reviews the book which details the impact of the First World War in the county

Staffordshires War Book Launch with Karen Hunt

We are now into the fifth and final year of centennial commemorative recognition of the Great War of 1914 -1918.

In this capsule of time many of us have had the opportunity to learn more about that period and what it meant to our nation, not to mention the rest of the world, writes historian Malcolm Goode.

The majority of the people of Burton had heard of the Somme and Passchendaele but perhaps not much else with the exception of the Armistice.

I personally have spent a long time studying the bits in between with a passion and thought I knew most of what there was to know.

Staffordshire's War by Karen Hunt

However, something else I have learned and come to appreciate is that victory on the 11 of the 11 was not solely down to the military.

Without the people back home and their magnificent efforts, we may not have won the war when we did, in fact we may not have won it all.

Unlike the military side to that victory, very little if anything had been recorded or documented that could inform us what the "Home Front" did to help bring the Great War to a successful conclusion.

Karen Hunt in her book Staffordshire's War has attempted to make amends for the unfortunate lack of insight by historians of the past who have neglected to record for posterity the role of the people back home, the "Home Front."

Author Karen Hunt launching her new book at the Staffordshire Records Office

I know from personal experience that Professor Hunt has spent many an "interesting hour" pouring over dusty old transcripts, records and archives of local newspapers of that period, including time spent in Burton Library, patiently putting scraps of information about the home front together in order to tell the story of the involvement in the war, of the good people of Staffordshire.

It's only when you read a book like this can you get any appreciation of what people here back at home had to go through, not only to survive the food shortages of 1917/18, but to help their loved ones at the front to win the war.

For many of us we can see possibly for the first time, just what our grandmothers and great-grandparents had to go through every day of their lives in order to survive.

When our country went to war in 1914 there was no perceived need for civilian involvement, other than volunteering to fight in Lord Kitchener's army, after all everyone thought the war would be over by that Christmas...

Historian Malcolm Goode reviewed Karen Hunt's new book

Karen Hunt tells us that those civilians, our grandparents, had to begin to take all manner of things into their life for the good of King and Country.

Although the book speaks of Staffordshire in general in regard of food shortages, volunteering and conscientious objectors to name but a few, everything that Karen has researched and mentioned also happened here in Burton and South Derbyshire.

My grandparents and yours will have had to accept this way of life; they had to.

There is a tendency to think that the term "Home Front" and the involvement of people at home originated from the Second World War, this book dispels that myth.

Show more

The facts learned from Staffordshire's War tells us that our Great War ancestors magnificently made the blue print that our Government fetched off the shelves in 1939.

Staffordshire's War by Karen Hunt is published by Amberley Publishing in paperback priced £14.99. It is also available in Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats.

View full mobile page