top of page

First World War

Please note that I am in the process of moving this material to a new site - 


Read chapters as PDFs

These four diaries - there is no diary for 1916 - cover the majority of the period of the First World War, from 1914 to 1918. They introduce grandad, who was just 16 when war broke out, and also his parents and siblings. Grandad worked in his father's shoe business in Kirkby in Ashfield and the diaries give an insight into his work and family life, including family involvement in the local Primitive Methodist chapel. The diaries provide detail of where the family lived and worked in East Kirkby and also of what grandad and his friends did to entertain themselves, including cycling, cinema trips, the wakes and various forms of music.

At that time, Kirkby in Ashfield, and the surrounding area, were dominated by coal mining and this provides an, often unspoken, backdrop for the diaries. While the diaries are not particularly about national and international events, they do inevitably impinge, as do more local and regional events, particularly those focused on recruitment and fundraising The diaries also cover issues of local and national politics and elections

Grandad did not talk about his views on the war and his diaries do not do this explicitly although some of his views can perhaps be implied. He was certainly interested in what was happening in the war. The diaries do cover some of grandad's personal experiences of war along with those of some of his family and friends and, in particular, they tell the rather poignant story of Joe

Grandad's diary for August 1914 which records that war had been declared against Germany alongside a trip to Mansfield with his friend Willie and to the King's Palace to see Buckingham's Performing Dogs!

06 declaration of war.png
bottom of page