During this four year long anniversary of the First World War, few books have appeared that present the local history perspective of that terrible conflict in quite the way Oxenhope in the Great War does. Norma Mackrell (along with Catherine Snape) has produced a work that is both exhaustive in detail and yet highly poignant in the personal stories it relates – a great achievement. This is a book that does something extraordinary. In a nutshell, it presents in accessible form an entire overview of the First World War, from the Western Front to the Dardanelles to the war at sea, and recounts the exploits of each of *Oxenhope’s men in those disparate theatres of war.
The book provides a lengthy pen portrait of each of these Oxenhope men – more than 370 of them, all with detailed family backgrounds and military records, with photographs accompanying many of them. Many of these are truly poignant – fifty-four of them died in the war, and others were horribly injured.
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*Oxenhope is a village on the moors near Haworth in Yorkshire. The edge of what you might call Brontë country.