The Home Front

The wounded soldiers’ best friend and the Shropshire Mosses

May 29, 20189:10 am

Straddling the border, near Whitchurch in Shropshire and Wrexham in Wales, lies one of the biggest and best raised bogs in Britain. Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses were to play a key part in the First World War. Some 1.7m soldiers from the UK were wounded in the course of the First World War. When […]

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Shropshire’s Hospitality to Refugees

April 24, 20179:53 amJuly 18, 2017 11:31 am

The biggest single influx of refugees in the history of this country was the product of the opening months of the First World War, as Belgian refugees fled their own country (95% occupied by the German armies) via the Channel ports to Britain. For the volunteers scouring contemporary accounts in local newspapers and the resources […]

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The Refugee Express

March 13, 201711:27 amMarch 13, 2017 3:05 pm

‘Black is typical of the terrible days through which our country is passing, and the depth of sorrow into which we have been plunged; red, is the blood that has been shed; but golden is the kindness of the British people, and never can the Belgians forget the generosity and warmth of their reception’.  Belgian […]

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Church Stretton Opened its Gates to Refugees

February 20, 20174:21 pmFebruary 21, 2017 4:23 pm

Just nine months into the First World War, Church Stretton found something to celebrate. “In the presence of a large gathering of townspeople and visitors, the splendid new gates were opened at the entrance of Church Stretton’s Recreation Ground.” The day was Monday 24th May 1915. The other day, in the company of Genevieve Tudor […]

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Women Work on the Land

January 9, 20173:29 pmJanuary 9, 2017 4:19 pm

As more and more men were taken off the land to be sent to the Front, attention turned to women as possible agricultural labourers. As early as 1915 the Board of Agriculture considered this, but it was January 1917 before the  Women’s Land Army, was officially set up. In the Borough of Wenlock, things were […]

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KSLI Regimental Postcards

December 12, 201612:28 pm

Visitors to this website may have noticed the line of weary soldiers trudging across the header of the screen. These figures are taken from a postcard issued by the 6th battalion of the regiment for Christmas 1916. There is a marked difference in tone between this and other, earlier regimental postcards. In 1914 there was […]

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DIGGING IN ON THE HOME FRONT: ALLOTMENTS

November 28, 20162:41 pmDecember 12, 2016 10:08 am

Did even the Government in 1914 believe ‘it would be over by Christmas’? For two years it lamentably failed to address our greatest strategic vulnerability – the dependence on imported food for 60% of the nation’s diet. In 1914 we produced 19% of our wheat (today 83%). The Germans had imposed duties of 33% on cereals […]

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CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS IN DITTON PRIORS

November 21, 20161:02 pmDecember 12, 2016 10:44 am

 The ‘Home Office Scheme’ in July 1916 offered conscientious objectors, whose reasons for objection were considered genuine, an alternative to prison.  This would be a Work Camp where they would live communally, wear civilian clothes, and undertake ‘arduous work’. Ditton Priors Camp dates from March 1917, and was largely forgotten both in the village, and […]

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War-times ABC

August 1, 201610:52 amAugust 1, 2016 11:02 am

A is for armour all shiny and bright that men used to wear when they went off to fight. B is for button that ought to be bright when you fight for your King, your home and your right. C is for commandant whose uniform is red and when a train load comes in she […]

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Olympian dreams and the First World War

July 25, 201610:06 amJuly 25, 2016 12:03 pm

For sixteen days in August the eyes of the world will be on Rio and the finest athletes. There will be many invocations of the Olympic spirit, of fair play and sportsmanship. I expect to be accused of sour grapes when I recall that the Ancient Greeks saw their athletic events as an important preparation […]

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