For those of you that have enjoyed our exhibition and maybe want to dig a little deeper, we’d like to bring your attention to the following book written by Stephen Wynn which is now available for pre-order.
The presence of war was never far away from Brentwood, which had its fair share of military hospitals during the Great War. Forty-three local graves commemorate the young soldiers who were patients of nearby Waverly Barracks’ hospital but died from their war wounds.
At least eighteen other war memorials and rolls of honour dotted around the district highlight just how important village life and a parish existence were back then, when on a Sunday everybody dressed up and went to church. From each of these locations, the individual stories of some of the men who paid the ultimate sacrifice for King and country are closely looked at to outline the sacrifices they made and why.
As the war progressed, local Military Tribunals became more and more utilized. Here, young men could attempt to obtain a certificate of exemption from military service. Some of the men were conscientious objectors; some were genuine, whose families would be met with hardship if their men left to fight overseas; some worked in munitions factories and were already doing their bit for the war effort; and others simply just didn’t want to fight.
Unique primary resources provide a true picture of what life was like in wartime Brentwood, as the town is looked a through the eyes of the local press. The book reveals a strange combination, of people deeply affected by wartime restrictions and their relentless struggle to achieve the normality of everyday life amongst the madness that was unfolding around them.