Friday, August 14, 2015

New WW1 publications from Bristol Radical History Group

Bristol Radical History Group have recently published two WW1 related pamphlets:

Class Cohesion versus Spurious Patriotism: A Straight Talk to British Workers, by Fred Bramley (1915). With a new afterword by Kevin Morgan (2015).

Details here:

The Bristol Deserter: Alfred Jefferies And The Great War, by Geoff Woolfe (2015).

Details here:

These go with previous WW1 related titles published in 2014/15:

Bristol Independent Labour Party: Men, Women and the Opposition to War, by June Hannam (2014).

Coal On One Hand, Men On The Other: The Forest of Dean Miners’ Association and the First World War 1910 - 1920, by Ian Wright (2014).

Related records now available on Find My Past (for a fee/sub.) -
British Army deserters and absentees in Police Gazette, 1914-1919
"The Police Gazette published regular lists of deserters and absentees during the war years. These lists can tell you a lot ... including birth year, occupation, last known address and any distinguishing physical characteristics. While desertion was a capital offence during World War 1, some deserters were never caught and went on to live their lives under an assumed name."
For example, a search for the surname Smith returns 248 results, and for Jones, 169.

A RaHN member notes: "During the war years, the [North London] police court was also troubled on a daily basis by soldiers who had gone absent without leave or simply deserted.  Such matters were not of great interest and attracted little attention." - p.98 in David Barrat, The Islington Murder Mystery. Orsam Books 2012. A useful source of incidental information about conditions in London in 1915; non-fiction but may be shelved with fiction in some libraries. 
August 15th 100 Years Ago: In the summer of 1915 an ILP (Independent Labour Party) pamphlet warned of “The Peril of Conscription”; on 29th June a National Registration Bill was introduced by the government. According to David Boulton, the Bill was “almost universally understood to be the first step to compulsion” (Objection Overruled, p.78). When it became law, August 15th was set as the date for Registration of men of military age. As a result, it was found that about 5 million of these men “were not serving with the forces, Subtracting those in vital occupations and the medically unfit, it was estimated that between 1,700,000 and 1,800,000 available to serve had not volunteered.” (Boulton, op. cit., p.79) 

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