The Home Front

Wilfred Owen in Scarborough

November 9, 201811:30 am

Courtesy of Roy Field, the retired Shropshire county librarian, I have received a copy of the Free Trail Guide ‘Walk in the Footsteps of Wilfred Owen in Scarborough’. Roy also took some photographs for this piece. After his discharge from Craiglockhart and a short spell of leave, Owen re-joined his unit (the 3/5th Bn the […]

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White Feathers, Railways and Service Badges

August 14, 20189:26 am

It didn’t take long for Admiral Charles Penrose Fitzgerald to blot his copybook. In the month the War broke out, he founded the Order of the White Feather. The idea was based on traditional cock-fighting lore that a cockerel with a white feather in its tail was a coward. The Order encouraged women to give […]

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John McCrea the Wellington Volunteers

July 31, 201811:57 amJuly 31, 2018 12:09 pm

When John Alexander McCrea was born in Wolverhampton in 1874 his parents, a travelling salesman and a washer woman, would not have expected him to become a highly respected member of the community of Wellington in Shropshire. John McCrea, the eldest of two sons, followed his father in becoming a traveling salesman. Although it is […]

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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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