Wiltshire and the Great War (Paperback)
Training the Empire's Soldiers
The Crowood Press UK, 9781847973559, 208pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Soon after the start of the Great War, work hastily began on a series of hutted camps in Wiltshire for more than 100,000 men, and during the course of the war it became home to troops from Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Britain. With soldiers forming a third of the population the effect on the businesses, farms, and indeed the morals of the county was dramatic. Even after the Armistice peace did not return, with mutinies and rioting in the camps because of frustration at delays in demobilization. Wiltshire and the Great War describes this turbulent, fascinating period in depth. It describes pre-war training, showing how inappropriate it was to future warfare, outlines the pioneering of military aviation in the county and describes the role of railways in moving tens of thousands of troops. There are accounts of shirkers, spies, escaped prisoners of war, prostitutes, the 'landship' that clanked across the county and the wireless station that pinpointed the position of Zeppelins. Also described are advances in military technology, the camp-building scandals that led to an inquiry by a Royal Commission, press censorship, and the blighting of the Stonehenge landscape.