The following paper was presented at the New Forest Knowledge Conference 2017 entitled: New Forest Historical Research and Archaeology: who’s doing it? Below you will find the abstract of the paper and a video of the paper given if permission to film it was given by the speaker.
Richard Williams, New Forest War Memorial Books
To date we have published 17 village-based books, three generic New Forest books and we are shortly to publish
The New Forest and the Great War 1917
The project began in 1998 with Brockenhurst and the Two World Wars as a millennium project for the village. Of a print run of 1.200 copies, 900 were sold in 2000. Five researchers are involved and one proof-reader.
The aim of the research and the books is to discover the impact of war on this small rural area and build a social profile of those men and women who lost their lives through war. By so doing they are therefore remembered as people, not just unknown names on a War Memorial.
The talk will focus on the years 1914-1918 and will cover those 1,009 local men who died in the four years and four months (52 months) of war. The talk will cover three main areas; it will discuss the challenges of who to include, occupations, social mobility, emigration, size of families, class distinction, military service, gratuities and pensions. It will also consider the role of Church, working parties, National Savings, food control and local politics.
Though this is not typical archaeology, it is original research and does help to enhance understanding of the New Forest in what is arguably its most turbulent period since the Black Death. The effects of the loss of an average 20 working-age men per month can still be felt today.