The talk is entitled 'Mud, Munitions and Memorials and is presented by Chris Weir, who is the principal archivist for Nottingham.
"On the 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. The event heralded the outbreak of a war that would cost the lives of millions of servicemen. No village, town, factory or organisation in Nottinghamshire remained untouched by the events that were to unfold across Europe and beyond.
Chris recalls the events of that terrible war through diaries, letters, photographs and other sources of the time, each telling its own story.
Young men, like Joseph Bodill from Hucknall, who became a lorry driver with the BEF, wrote in his diary while on board ship leaving the docks how he feared he would never see ‘Old England's shores again’ or see ‘the Dear old Country’ (M24,251 Nottinghamshire Archives). In his letters home Lieutenant William Denison, 15th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, described how he lived in ‘sunken roads, in funny little cubby holes.’ There were celebrated heroes of the time, like Captain Albert Ball, the flying ace and countless unsung heroes whose names are inscribed on memorials all over France, Belgium and other distant lands and around the county.
The talk also recalls the Home Front. The work of women at Chilwell Munitions and Raleigh, making shells and fuses, in factories and warehouses, ploughing fields and coping with food shortages. Increasingly the war affected local communities. Mrs Cupitt of Trent Bridge, Nottingham, described how whole houses were ‘destroyed’ in a zeppelin raid in October 1915.
The talk includes images from Ypres and other battlefield sites and memorials ranging from the Menin Gate to Crich ‘Stand’ and county memorials that remember those who ‘fell’ in a war that was supposed to end ‘by Christmas’. In the end it lasted 4 years and took the lives of millions."