by: Fay Baker [ ]
The 20th Century was one of the bloodiest in human history, every city, town and village was affected by this most uncertain time and Salisbury was no different. This city in Wiltshire has a rich history, not only is a copy of the Magna Carta kept at the cathedral but also a varied and long history with the military. This area was a staging ground for the troops who were due to be sent off to the front with every likelihood that they would not return.
This paper back book of 192 pages was first published by Pen and Sword Military in 2016, is written by Neil G M Hall and priced at £12.99. This publication contains many period black and white photographs of life in Salisbury and on Salisbury Plain during the early 1900s.
The list of contents are as follows:
Prologue: ‘The World… was very Brilliant’
Chapter 1 - 1914 ‘Now God be Thanked…’
Chapter 2 - 1915 Entrenched
Chapter 3 - 1916 ‘That Long Lamentation…’
Chapter 4 - 1917 Let Them Eat Bread
Chapter 5 - 1918 Pigs, Potatoes and Brighter Prospects
Chapter 6 - 1919 ‘When the Long Trek is Over…’
This book gives an insightful glimpse into the lives of those who lived in Salisbury in the early 20th Century, the businesses and those who ran them, The Hygienic Dairy Society just off Devizes Road, Dean and Burden Brothers (Motor Engines) of Friary Lane to name but two. In 1914 the Canadian Expeditionary Forces arrived on the plain, followed by Australia, New Zealand (who left the Kiwi carved into the chalk of Beacon Hill at Bulford Camp), India, South Africa and the West Indies who had all answered Lord Kitchener’s call to arms.
Life in and around Salisbury is looked at and covered in this title and provides many interesting snippets of information. One aspect of the title looks at many of the local schools such as Bishop Wordsworth which had former pupils (62) that went off to the front never to return to their families, but their names can be found on the roll of honour which is found in the school chapel. Up until 1916 men had volunteered to join the army, but after the Military Service Act came into force all single men aged between 18 to 41 were liable to be called up for military service, but in May 1916 a second Act meant that this was also extended to those men who were married, which meant that all men in the United Kingdom which met the parameters was a soldier.
Neil Hall has filled his book with so much information that it is difficult to just focus on one part of it. This publication shows how Salisbury had supported, adapted and ‘done their bit’ to aid the war effort, and how all too many families had lost loved ones in the defence of their country. Having grown up in Bulford Village living on the plain all my life, having the army on manoeuvres more often than not, and also the planes flying from Boscombe Down it is difficult to comprehend a time when it was just a quiet farming community.
Fay Baker takes a look at a book covering the area where she has lived all of here life from Pen and Sword, this offering titled 'Salisbury in the Great War'.
Copyright ©2021 text by Fay Baker [ ]. All rights reserved.