Honouring Crawley's World War One dead

Renny Richardson
Renny Richardson

Author Renny Richardson is in print with a new self-published book Aftertones Of War looking at the Crawley soldiers who perished in the First World War.

The book is initially available from Renny on rennyrichardsoncoys@gmail.com but he is hoping to make it available via online bookstores.

Renny, aged 57, said: “Born in the space age, I have become fascinated by the passing of time. Having researched my family tree extensively I wanted to see what could be found of individuals’ lives in this new age of information.

“I am also a great fan of the famous war poet Edmund Blunden, who was educated locally, and his famous memoir Undertones of War. Blunden survived the war but was haunted by memories of it and the friends he made and lost.

“I determined to research the men on the memorials of my home town of Crawley who served on the Western Front during the great war. Details of their experiences emerge for the first time as I found incredible stories of courage and endurance that even the soldiers’ families at the time would never have known.

“What I found is presented here in a linear fashion so that not only can the people of our home town read what happened to the men who once walked the same streets as us but can serve as a general indication of just what was asked of our young men during that dreadful time.

“I had touched on these men’s stories while writing All the Bright Company of Heaven – published in 2011 – and as the centenary of the great war approached I began to feel that I owed these men my best efforts to uncover their experience.

“I have visited the battlefields dozens of times but following in the men’s footsteps added a new poignancy to each visit.

“Where they walked, I have followed a hundred years after they met their fate.

“If only one person gains some insight or gleans some new information from my book then I will feel it has all been worthwhile

“In essence the book is a stand alone but whereas All the Bright Company of Heaven was written from the perspective of a small Sussex town experiencing global conflict, Aftertones of War follows the men of the town into the trenches.

“All the Bright Company of Heaven was published in 2011.

“There are plans for another but it’s far too early in the process to seriously contemplate it. These things have to percolate.

“I started in 2007 because of discovering what happened to a relative of mine, 2nd Lieutenant Richard Edward Cook, during the Great War. He and my family remain my inspiration.”

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