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Report: Doing their Bit – The Home Front in 1914-18

James Brazier, a founder member of The Western Front Society, gave a very interesting and illuminating presentation to members at our last meeting entitled “Doing their Bit – The Home Front in 1914-18”.

His talk was illustrated with a collection of amusing post cards which were published throughout the duration of the Great War and demonstrated the various very important messages which the government of the day, especially the Ministry of Defence, needed to convey to the population.

He explained that the heyday of the post card era had developed from late Victorian – Edwardian times when seaside holidays and had become a popular pastime amongst the working classes and that the artists involved in their production together with other book illustrators of the day were encouraged to help spread war propaganda and appeals in an amusing and popularised fashion.

James showed examples from artists such as Donald McGill, Mabel Lucy Attwell, Thomas Gilson, George Studdy and Dudley Buxton, which cleverly incorporated amusing captions and comical images to encourage people to “do their bit” in many different ways from the famous “Your Country Needs You” image to recruiting women in munitions work and on the land and as the situation of food shortages became more acute, growing your own, digging for victory, the national egg scheme (often including some very inventive recipes).

To complement the First World War theme, the society’s latest publication by John Fishpool “Herne Bay in the Great War 1914-1918” was launched. In his introduction to the book John says:

“As the centenary of the Great War in 1914 approaches… I have attempted to bring together many stories relating to our town of Herne Bay and its inhabitants during that conflict… caring for the wounded soldiers… enemy aircraft raids, food rationing… and the various War Memorials that were erected in the area in honour of the fallen.”

The book is available at A Bundle of Books in Bank Street and the Demelza Bookshop in Mortimer Street for £7.50 or alternatively write to HBHRS 91 Selsea Ave Herne Bay CT6 8SE email books@hbhrs.org or see www.hbhrs.org for more details.
Our next meeting is on Thursday March 6th when Ian Tittley will be taking a Journey Down the Thames with his observations on its history and changing natural history. It will be at the Lower Hall, Herne Bay United Church High Street starting at 7pm, doors open at 6.30pm with refreshments, tea, coffee etc. Visitors welcome for a charge of £2. For more information telephone 01227 362666.

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