West Sussex County Council has honoured those who fought and died in World War One by producing a book detailing the impact of war on the county.
‘Great War Britain: West Sussex, Remembering 1914-18’ was the result of an 18-month project involving more than 150 volunteers and the county council’s library and archive services.
The project, which was funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of almost £90,000, was designed to chart the impact of the First World War on residents.
Described by council leader Cllr Louise Goldsmith as “fascinating”, the project saw much of the initial research work undertaken by volunteers who listed more than 10,000 events from local newspapers and researched nearly 100 case studies of servicemen and Home Front topics.
A team of academics, archivists, librarians and researchers all contributed to the book. These included Dr. Caroline Adams, Justin Burns, Martin Dale, Dr. John Godfrey, Professor Keith Grieves, Martin Hayes, Martin Mace, Alan Readman, Professor Brian Short, Katherine Slay, Tim Stanton and Emma White.
There are chapters on: Agriculture and Food, Billeting & Military Installations, Churches, Home Front, Hospitals & Convalescent Homes, Invasion Counter Measures, Local Economy and Morale, Mobilisation & Recruitment, Those Left Behind & Those Who Returned, Royal Sussex Regiment, War Memorials & Peace, and Women.
Professor Gary Sheffield, a leading Great War academic and author, said: “This book is a significant piece in the mosaic which, when combined with the various other local histories, will give us a more balanced understanding of the British experience of the First World War.
“Great War Britain - West Sussex is a fine achievement and could stand as a model for collaborative local histories of this type. I congratulate everyone involved in it, and commend it warmly to a wide readership”.
Cllr Goldsmith added: “It is wonderful to see the project come to fruition with this book.
“It is a genuine community project, which has drawn on the wealth of information brought to light by a committed team of volunteers and the specialist expertise of a dozen authors.
“It is fascinating to read the story of our county’s contribution to the war effort, both on the battlefield and on the home front.
“We are proud in West Sussex to play our part in acknowledging the debt we owe to the generation of 1914-18.”
‘Great War Britain: West Sussex, Remembering 1914-18’ is published by the History Press and is on sale at all public libraries in West Sussex and at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester, priced at £12.99.