Halifax in the Great War, by David Millichope

Halifax in the Great War, by David Millichope
Published by Pen and Sword in 2015, 296 pages. Paperback (N7898)

Brand New Book

From the rear side cover: Halifax was surprised by the outbreak of war in August 1914, but within days public mood had turned into a staggering display of unified support. Voluntary fundraising organizations sprang up and bore witness to an incredible self-help that supported the troops at the front, their dependant families on the home from the returning wounded.

As the war played out, the people of Halifax came to fear the Zeppelins were forced to retrieve their children from German naval guns in Scarborough and rea­d with horror the stories of local lads gassed at the front. Residents of German descent also found themselves in difficult situations, and Belgian refugees were offered sanctuary.

Struggling local industry was revitalized by government orders for khaki cloth, machine tools and munitions. Halifax can claim to have contributed many imeresting technological items to the war effort, such as bomb release mechanisms flame projectors and Tommy's iconic bowl-shaped steel helmet.

Although Halifax was the garrison home of the Duke of Wellington's (West Ridind Regiment, the area was home to many socialist groups, whose resistance bucked the local norm of war support. Recruitment was perhaps slower than in some areas of the country and no Pals Battalion was raised. Conscription was bitterly argued over, and Local Military Service Tribunals were filled with considerable numbers of local men for whom soldiering was not the preferred option.

In 1917 the food crisis fermented tensions, but by the end of 1918 there was triumph - of a sort. Its aftermath witnessed an intriguing general election contest, the influenza pandemic and brutality stories from repatriated prisoners of war. Halifax in the Great War is a powerful account of how this West Yorkshire town coped with the greatest war ever to be witnessed by this country.