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God, Grief and Community:Commemoration of the Great War in Huddersfield, c. 1914-1929

By Anne Christine Brook

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the borough of Huddersfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, during and after the First World War. It examines the creation of war memorials at all levels, from the borough-wide official scheme, through those\ud relating to smaller geographical areas within it, and down to individual voluntary associations. The source material underpinning the study is not primarily derived from the surviving memorials themselves, but on the contemporary evidence of minutes, newspaper reports, and orders of service. Chronologically, the story is taken from August 1914 to October 1929, when the Imperial War Graves\ud Commission erected a Cross of Sacrifice in the town's main cemetery. However, as it emerged that an integral part of the story of the borough memorial scheme was the\ud continuing legacy of the creation of the Boer War memorial, in 1905, a chapter is also devoted to that link.\ud \ud The study demonstrates how post-war activity grew out of the wartime creation of rolls of honour, which were used during the war as dynamic working documents for supporting absent servicemen, as well as for remembering the increasing numbers of war dead. That dual concern for the living and the dead continued into the postwar phase of remembrance. The rolls also played an important role in defining the boundaries of "our servicemen" and "our dead" for each community. Comment is made on the use of public and private space for memorials, and on the shifting\ud position of the parish church and churchyard within perceptions of public space.\ud \ud Memorial inscriptions, and the content of dedication ceremomes, predominantly expressed the grief of the communities involved, with the more simplistic expressions of patriotism playing a much more subordinate role. Words\ud and music conveyed spiritual comfort, through both traditional means and a new emphasis on a continuing fellowship with those beyond the grave

Publisher: School of History (Leeds)
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1475

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