How the experience of war impacted on the town, from the initial enthusiasm for sorting out the German Kaiser in time for Christmas 1914, to the gradual realization of the enormity of human sacrifice the families of Birmingham were committed to as the war stretched out over the next four years. A record of the growing disillusion of the people, their tragedies and hardships and a determination to see it through.
Birmingham’s part in the Great War is well documented from the production of Rifles and Lewis Guns at the B.S.A. to the mind boggling 25 million rifle cartridges produced weekly at Kynochs. Airplanes, tanks, armored cars, military trucks, shell fuses, shell cases, Mills bombs and hundreds of other intricate parts needed to make military hardware. “The country, the empire and the world owe to the skill, the ingenuity, the industry and the resource of Birmingham a deep debt of gratitude,” to quote Prime Minister Lloyd George and former Minister of Munitions.
But that is only part of the story. Around 150,000 Birmingham men enlisted and sadly approximately 14,000 did not return. No story of Birmingham’s war effort can be told without mentioning the wives, moms, sisters and girlfriends who toiled away night and day working in munitions. Four years of local war time newspapers have been trawled through unearthing personal experiences of Brummagem folk in the Great War.
About the Author
Since the publication of his first book Birmingham Pals in 1997, Terry Carter has been an avid researcher of Birmingham in the Great War. For over twenty years he has been a regular visitor to the Somme battlefields and feels honoured to have walked in the footsteps of Birmingham soldiers. He has visited the many graves of those who did not return.