When war was declared in 1914, the people of South Dorset were taken by surprise. Initially, there was excitement as the garrison town of Dorchester sprang to life, and Britain's Grand Fleet steamed from Portland Harbour to its war stations in the North Sea. But when the fervour subsided, what was it like for ordinary people? This book describes how they settled down with purpose to a life at war.
Traders made the most of new markets, and women learned to cope not only with food shortages and blackouts, but the constant fear that their loved ones wouldn't return. Many threw themselves into the war effort. An enormous prisoner of war camp was established on the edge of Dorchester; wounded Australian soldiers were sent to recover in Weymouth, where they became firm favourites with the ladies; and soldiers billeted in Portland homes didn't always treat their hosts with the respect they deserved.
Included in the book are the stories of a German spy who slipped through the net at Wyke; a teenage soldier shot dead by his friend; a scandal at a local military hospital; the touching friendship that developed between a nurse and a wounded Belgian; and what everyday life was like at Weymouth Torpedo Works.
This warm account of life in Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland during the Great War ensures that the people at home, who lived through those five dreadful years of conflict, are remembered, too.
Book was very interesting and good value