Impact of First World War on Saffron Walden revealed in historical journal

08:46 22 April 2014

The spring issue of the Saffron Walden Historical Journal.

The spring issue of the Saffron Walden Historical Journal.

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The wide-ranging impact of the First World War on life in Saffron Walden is the theme of the Spring issue of the Saffron Walden Historical Journal, a bumper issue of 40 pages now on sale.

The wide-ranging impact of the First World War on life in Saffron Walden is the theme of the Spring issue of the Saffron Walden Historical Journal, a bumper issue of 40 pages now on sale.

More than a dozen specially-commissioned articles are complemented by about 70 illustrations, including many never published before, and numerous photos of the men of Walden who fought in the war, 159 of whom did not return. Photos of some of these men, recently found in a cupboard, are published for the first time.

Starting with one man’s personal account of soldiering right through the war, the journal continues with an in-depth and very perceptive analysis by John Howard of the reasons behind the extraordinary anti-German riot which took place in the town soon after the outbreak of war.

The immense efforts needed on the Home Front are the subject of other articles by Jacqueline Cooper.

As the war developed, military tribunals were introduced with increasing numbers applying for exemption. The conduct of these tribunals and the experiences of conscientious objectors are examined by town historians, Malcolm White and Martyn Everett.

Local residents have loaned some remarkable postcards which reflect what must have been the most noticeable effect of the First World War on the streets of the town – the billeting of thousands of troops in 1915 and other times.

This affected the economy of the town and impacted on children’s education. Saffron Walden’s expert on the First World War, Robert Pike, has contributed a number of articles, while the role played by women in the war is exemplified in Deborah Lowe’s detailed biography of one remarkable nurse.

The issue also has a new look. The journal team has lost the services of former deputy editor, Gordon Ridgewell who has moved out of town.

“We would like to pay tribute to Gordon’s work,” said editor Jacqueline Cooper.

“He has given his expertise, energy and enthusiasm over the past ten years through more than 20 issues, and helped to make the journal an important part of the town’s history scene.”

Martyn Everett has now become deputy editor, with the graphic design now in the hands of Nick Crawley, who has redesigned the journal.

The journal is published by the Saffron Walden Historical Society, and costs £3 from the Tourist Information Office (where there is a special display during the week commencing April 28), Waitrose, Lankester Antiques and other outlets, or by post – see contacts on the website saffronwaldenhistory.org.uk

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