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Wednesday
May252016

Salisbury and the Great War 

How were the towns and cities of the UK affected by the calamity that became known as The Great War? The Military Publishers, ‘Pen and Sword’, have addressed this issue in an illuminating series including the recent ‘Salisbury in the Great War’ by Neil G M Hall.  Thoroughly researched with startling illustrations, interviews with surviving family members – one lady still lives on her own in the house where she was born in 1912 - and drawing on vividly documented records Hall plots the impact of an industrial war upon a sleepy cathedral city. As expected there was much pathos. The mother who advertises locally in an endeavour to find her soldier son only to discover that he is dead – killed in the Gallipoli campaign – is just one example. There is disaster as successful businesses crumble but dollops of humour too. In what circumstances did a very young publican’s daughter learn to sing “Mademoiselle from Armentières”? Interesting – and the reference to why the local fish-and-chip-man escaped conscription lightens the load as does the trial of the animal trainer accused of thrashing his chimpanzee. Did he? Hall invites the reader to discover for himself. Hall also poses a mystery. How did a Canadian’s mascot bear morph into a world famous children’s hero? ‘The war invisibly regulated our lives‘, so wrote a Salisbury resident. Away from the trenches Hall’s skills draw the read into a wider understanding, not of battles and conflict, but the wider effect of war.

ISBN – 10   1473843731
ISBN -  13   978 - 1473843738

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