(by Brian G. Lawrence)
In the year commemorating the outbreak of the First World War, it was fitting that the Hatfield Local History Society published this comprehensive record of Hatfield’s role in the conflict. This slim volume is a fine demonstration of how diligent work by a local history society can spread knowledge of our heritage.
The population of the Hatfield Parish in 1914 was about 5000. More than 800 men went off to war from Hatfield and the human toll of the war devastating. The book details a number of heart-breaking cases. 172 of those who went to war were killed, and often several were lost from one family.
On the home front, the departure of so many men had a significant effect on local businesses. There was a demand for women to fill gaps in the labour supply, in roles that were previously considered unsuitable for them. People also coped with shortages in ingenious ways. The end brought a great feeling of relief and outpourings of joy. Those who did not come back were not forgotten. War memorials were erected in Hatfield and surrounding villages.
Meticulous work has been carried out by the authors. Every point is well supported, and generous illustrations give faces to the names. This book is recommended to everyone who wants to know how Hatfield coped with and was changed by, the First World War.
An edited review by Jack Kampmeier for the Welwyn Hatfield U3A newsletter No.51 Jan. 2016.Click here to order
Size: A4 paperback