Life in South Warwickshire during the Great War

At the start of the Great War many of the volunteers were young men who were farm workers. Agriculture had been in recession and the army offered three good meals a day, a warm uniform and perhaps home by Christmas.

In the first few months the press carried stories of volunteers going off to war and in these communities that started to raise concerns about how the farms would be kept going and the harvest got in. It was not only the young men who were going off but also horses were being requisitioned in great numbers for the war. 
It did not take long also for news of casualties to come to our villages and towns and also for encouragement for young men to volunteer. People at home were anxious for news of loved ones and the newspapers would have been eagerly read.
There must have been some chuckles in the villages around about when th story was whispered:
As the end of 1914 approached people realised the war would not be over by Christmas. A lad from Ettington encouraged others to come out and join him. There was the first Christmas in the trenches and the famous unofficial truce never to be repeated. Ashorne man Thomas Bouch expressed in his poetry the bitterness felt about those who did not volunteer.

Edmund enlisted in Canada for a “dollar a day”. His parents by the time of the start of the war were living in Wellesbourne in Chestnut Square. Edmund saw some of the worse of the trench fighting and was to lose his life. if you go to the Wellesbourne page, he is listed as one of those who lost their lives, you can read about what happened to him in the army and also see a copy of his army records. The link above takes you to the transcript of letters he wrote to his parents in Chestnut Square.

(Click Major Bouch to find out more about him)

By 1916 conscription had become necessary.

 These images of recruitment posters are
  by courtesy of Leamington Spa Art Gallery
  & Museum  

Life changed for those back home even school children were encouraged to help the war effort and they collected for the "Over Seas Club" to send money for soldiers and sailors, This is a certificate received by a Ettington school boy.


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