How town was impacted by ‘war to end all wars’

Alnwick in the Great War by Ian Hall.
Alnwick in the Great War by Ian Hall.

An Alnwick man has published a book on the impact the conflict had on the town and its residents.

Alnwick in the Great War, by Ian Hall, is available now and all profits from the book will be going to support the work of the Western Front Association and the Alnwick District WW1 Centenary Commemoration Group.

Soldiers at Alnwick Camp.

Soldiers at Alnwick Camp.

The seeds of the book were sown in 2009 when a series of papers were discovered in an auction lot in Liverpool.

These were found to refer to the little-known invasion precautions that were implemented in the Alnwick area, mainly during 1914 and 1915.

The papers were offered by their new owner, Keith Barron, to the North Northumberland Branch of the Western Front Association.

Following the publication of his first book, Relics of War, in 2013, Ian was approached by a member of the Alnwick District WW1 Centenary Commemoration Group to see if he could use these papers as a basis for a small book about Alnwick and district during the First World War.

The 7th Northumberland Fusiliers marching along the Alnwick Moor road towards their camp at Moorlaws.

The 7th Northumberland Fusiliers marching along the Alnwick Moor road towards their camp at Moorlaws.

The result is Alnwick in the Great War, which covers four inter-related stories about how the Great War impacted upon the area around Alnwick.

The Outbreak of War outlines what happened in the area in the first few weeks after the declaration of war on August 4, showing how all parts of the local community became engaged in the conflict.

The Spectre of Invasion draws upon those recently-discovered papers to describe the intricate precautions that were put in place to deal with a German invasion, how the whole area next to the coast would be cleared in order to both provide a clear space for the defending forces and to ensure nothing was left behind that might assist the enemy.

The Army in Alnwick is about the various Army battalions that were based in and around the town.

The main impact was from the camp that was established on the Pastures, but there were also encampments on Alnwick moor and billets within the town itself.

Attacks from the Air describes the zeppelin raids that occurred in the area and the subsequent arrival of the Royal Flying Corps, who operated from three landing fields around Alnwick.

“There will be much written about the Great War, and especially about the soldiers and the battles,” Ian said.

“But the war impacted on all parts of Britain and it is hoped that this book will provide a new insight into how the war affected the area around Alnwick.”

Alnwick in the Great War is available now, priced £4.50 (including free p&p).

Get it online from www.wildsofwanney.co.uk, where PayPal payments can be made, or by cheque from Ian Hall, 15 Fairfields, Alnwick, NE66 1BT (cheques payable to Ian Hall).