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The Home Front given a lasting voice
on 3 August 2014
A great book that was recommended to me as a good book to find out about what it was like to live through the war if you weren't a soldier, and were one of the children, or spouses, or parents, of a soldier. The various chapters each take a different aspect of WWI and explore it through oral histories of people, especially the poorest, who lived through it. Of course, all these people are now perished, and this is what makes this book so very special.
My favourite sections included "East Coast Bombardment", "Caring for the Wounded", and "The Year of Hunger". I found out lots about the Zeppelin raids on Britain, the way that VADs contributed to looking after wounded soldiers, and the way that food shortages affected people's lives.
The stories are entertaining, moving, humbling, gripping, and harrowing by turns. One example is Mary Hardie, aged just 4 when her mum got a telegram saying her husband was missing believed killed in 1916: " Of course, everyone was upset, but after two years had gone by, my mother took up with another man who was a tailor and the two of them worked in our house. We were all very happy. Then, right at the end of the war, another telegram came to say that Father had been released from a prisoner-of-war camp, and was on his way home, and would be arriving the next Saturday." The story goes on, and you see that everyone is a victim of the war in a different way.
This is a fitting book to read today as we commemorate the lives lost in the Great War and the terrible price paid by everyone - the people at home as well as the soldiers. I am so glad this book exists and has captured these memories before they were lost.