Wesham During the Great War

Ray, Jennifer (2014) Wesham During the Great War. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This study will establish the community characteristics of Wesham prior to the Great War. It will then seek to identify any continuums and changes during and post conflict, comparing these to identified national trends. Considering initial responses, a cursory view would assume that the high number of volunteers was indicative of a patriotic community. However, further analysis will reveal a gulf between those sections of the community willing to enlist and also the extent economic factors contributed to the alacrity with which the men of Wesham rushed to the colours. Examination of the contribution of the civilian population will establish that beneath the outward displays of rallying to the national war effort, social hierarchies not only remained in the parish, but intensified. It will be demonstrated that as the conflict continued, government interventions significantly impacted on agricultural production in the parish. Evidence will confirm that the farmers were pro-active in ensuring their dissatisfactions with these impositions were conveyed to the government. The vexed question of the fairness of military service tribunals will be addressed, illustrating the antagonism the decisions caused within the community. It will be argued that although opportunities for women expanded during the conflict, in Wesham these were limited and temporary. Furthermore, the national increase in working class political awareness bypassed Wesham.

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