Ive spent the past month or so working hard on writing my next book, ‘Portsmouth’s World War One Heroes’.
Somehow I’ve managed to write almost 27,00 words in less than a month, which is certainly a record for me and I suspect it’s probably a lot quicker than many a historian writes! All this, of course, while working a day job and you can probably see how I only really have time for sleeping and eating besides.
Writing aboutr WW1 is quite a lot different to writing about WW1, more so than many of you would probably imagine. For two reasons. Firstly, there are a lot more records available – war diaries, rolls of honour, more detail on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and so on. Yet at the same time, it was so long ago – nearly 100 years ago – that there are very few – if any – descendants around who have information about their relatives who were killed in the Great War. When writing Portsmouth’s World War Two Heroes I was fortunate enough to hear from many children of people I wrote about; I doubt very much whether that will happen with this book.
I’ve done a lot of secondary reading – I would not be surprised if the bibliography contains 100+ books by the end – but I still have a lot of primary research to do. In particular, sources such as the Portsmouth Evening News on microfilm, Portsmouth Military Service tribunal records, records of corporation employees such as tram workers and policemen, and also official documents at the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum.
I won’t give too much away about the book, but I am writing about:
- Lt Col Dick Worrall DSO and Bar MC and Bar
- The Royal Flying Corps
- Emigrants and Immigrants
- The Military Service Tribunal
- The early Tank men
- Boy soldiers
- Gallipoli, Salonika, Mesopotamia and Palestine
- Royal Naval Division/Royal Marines
- The first day on the Somme
- The Portsmouth Pals
- Prisoners of War
- 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Brickwood
With the wealth of sources available, I have been able to go into a lot of detail about many of the men I am writing about, in particular I have been able to give a fresh insight into the social history of Portsmouth in the period 1914 to 1918, and indeed before and afterwards.