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Sussex Author Ian’s Debut Book Brings The First World War To Life

Sussex Author Ian’s Debut Book Brings The First World War To Life

Sussex Author Ian’s Debut Book Brings The First World War To Life

Since last November’s commemorations marking the centenary of the signing of the Armistice which brought an end to hostilities in the First World War, public interest in the conflict remains high. One Sussex-based author has put pen-to-paper, bringing together more than three decades of experience of history research and writing to help ensure that the conflict is remembered in Sussex.

Sussex-based author, Ian Hilder, who has worked full-time as a freelance genealogist and local historian for more than 30 years decided that he wanted to put into print his research of the First World War after he began researching the troops whose names appeared on his local war memorial.

Speaking about what inspired him to write the book, Ian says: “The inspiration for this book developed while researching the names on the village war memorial. One of the sources I used were local newspapers which contain fascinating accounts of village life during the two world wars.”

Ian’s wartime research led him on journey through a wide range of subjects, featuring a village fundraising football match to support Belgian refugees, a smock-wearing squire who led a battalion of Sussex cyclists, a bankrupt scoutmaster, a village Home Guard and the first Women’s Land Army.

The book has already proved a hit, Ian says: “I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of interest people have shown in the results of my research. I gave a talk to a packed village hall
on the centenary of the Armistice and will do another on the centenary of the peace celebrations this July.”

Great War Barcombe News From A Sussex Village 1914 – 1919 is Ian’s first authored book, although he has previously written articles and writes a regular piece for his local parish magazine, he says of his book: “I have really enjoyed the research process and sourcing images to illustrate the text.”

Whilst the book focuses on Barcombe, the themes are county-wide featuring wartime posters, newspaper articles, advertisements and postcards. The book illustrates how village communities were impacted by the First World War on both the home front as well as
on the front line of battle.

Ian says: “Guns could be heard in some Sussex parishes, drawing the patriotic young men from the rural community to enlist for what they thought would be a relatively short adventure. They looked forward to some time spent with their pals, in an unknown land, away from their daily routine.’

“As that short-lived optimism faded, they were joined, or replaced in the trenches by their conscripted brothers and in some cases their fathers. Their wives, mothers and friends back home in Blighty carried on daily life while waiting for news from their loved ones” Ian adds.

Copies of Great War Barcombe News From A Sussex Village 1914 – 1919 are available to buy from Lewes Tourist Information Centre, or you can buy from author, Ian Hilder, email: 

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