The Western Kennet Valley in the Great War
Wednesday October 8th in The Three Swans Hotel at 7:30pm
Tickets £7 (includes a glass of wine)
This profusely illustrated work is the first major study of the military’s use of the Western Kennet Valley in the Great War. During the early years of the war the British Army increased massively in size and literarily hundreds of new companies were formed. Because of this rapid expansion it was impossible to accommodate and train all the units at existing depots and as a consequence many were quartered in provincial towns, such as Hungerford and Marlborough.
The book also looks at the local Volunteer Force (the First World War equivalent of the Home Guard), which is examined in some detail, as is the role of the region’s threeVAD Red Cross Hospitals that were largely staffed by local women, who provided convalescing soldiers with comfort and support as they recovered from illness or injury.
The surrounding countryside also played its part and several military sites were established on the Marlborough Downs, such as the Army camp at Chiseldon, the RFC aerodromes atYatesbury and a PoW Camp at Ramsbury. Many miles of practice trenches were excavated in the downland chalk by the Army’s new recruits and route marches of 20 miles or more were a regular feature of their training.
This study also includes the stories of nine men from the region who went off to fight giving the reader an insight into army training and service life on the Western Front.
The Western Kennet Valley in the Great War provides a fascinating insight into how one small corner of England made its own very significant contribution to the “War to end all Wars” and how, in turn, the war made a lasting impact upon this apparently secluded part of rural West Berkshire and North east Wiltshire.
Roger will be speaking about his book and will look forward to taking questions from the audience and signing copies of his book, which will be on sale for a special price on the night.