Spies and Trouble Makers

Wales's response to the Russian revolution

In 1917 in Britain, one of the government’s worst nightmares was developing. There had always been a ‘hard-core’ of opposition to the war on political, moral & religious grounds. Over the course of the war this opposition had developed as conscription was introduced. It began to be joined by industrial militancy as working conditions came under attack. With the February Revolution those opposed to the war could see an alternative and a way for the war to end. The authorities understood the […]

The Christmas Truce(s)

From ‘No-Man’s Land’ to ‘Every Man’s Land’

A British sergeant is shot dead almost at the outset, as he stands on the parapet. But this makes no difference. It must be an accident. The supreme craving of humanity, the irresistible, spontaneous impulse born of a common faith and a common fear, fully triumph. And so the grey and khaki figures surge towards each other as one man. The movement has started on the right. It spreads like contagion. Only we officers, the sentries and a few non-commissioned officers remain in our trench. The men […]

Bristol Local History Bookfair 2014

Booksellers will include Bristol Books, Bygone Bristol, Redcliffe Press, the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group and Tangent Books, several independent authors – and more. 10am-1pm Family history advice from the Bristol & Avon Family History Society 1.30pm – Bristol: the City at War, 1914-1918 (Eugene Byrne, co-author of ‘Bravo Bristol!’) As a major British city and port, Bristol played a key role in the First World War. Join Eugene for stories of Bristolians on the battlefield, on […]

Uomini contro – (Many Wars Ago)

Uomini contro (Many Wars Ago) Directed by Francesco Rosi, 100 mins, Italy 1970, Italy 1917 -- society is violently split down the middle over the question of whether to continue intervention in the war. Anarchists and socialists are intent on causing so much trouble that continued intervention is impossible. Railway lines are ripped up, battle lines are drawn. On the Isonzo front a General smells socialism behind the troops reaction to his orders and a disastrous Italian attack upon the Austrian […]

Troubles

By J.G. Farrell
Set in 1919-21, years of conflict when the struggle for Irish independence raged, Troubles is the first in J.G. Farrell’s 1970’s trilogy of historical novels dealing with the decline of empire. Troubles follows the fortunes of Major Brendan Archer who, traumaticised and lacking purpose after serving in the First World War, crosses the Irish Sea to the fictional town of Kilnalough to meet with his fiancé, Angela Spencer, to whom he’d almost unwittingly become engaged following a brief, scarcely […]

Family Letters

My grandfather was one of 6 brothers all involved in different theatres of the First World War: one was in the navy at Jutland, another in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and the rest were scattered around France and India. They all wrote home to their mother who unsurprisingly kept their letters. In the course of time my mother inherited them. In the 1970s my mother persuaded the Imperial War Museum to copy and transcribe the letters, and she then edited selections from the transcriptions and turned […]

Remembering The Real WW1

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. In line with Bristol’s long radical traditions we want to ensure that there are events locally remembering the reality of this war. The British government plans to spend £55 million on it’s own commemoration plans. Comments from David Cameron calling for a ‘truly national commemoration’ stressing our ‘national spirit’ suggest what he has in mind. He has even compared the government’s plans with last year’s Diamond Jubilee […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting #3

This is the third meeting in Bristol to discuss opposition to David Cameron's 'truly national commemoration' of WW1 stressing our 'national spirit'. Nationally there are plans to ensure that attention is given to the real causes and effects of the war, rather than an opportunity for our government to re-habilitate this war in particular or war in general. Bristol has long radical traditions and we know there are groups and individuals across the city who will want to ensure that there are events […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting #2

This is the second meeting in Bristol to discuss opposition to David Cameron's 'truly national commemoration' of WW1 stressing our 'national spirit'. Nationally there are plans to ensure that attention is given to the real causes and effects of the war, rather than an opportunity for our government to re-habilitate this war in particular or war in general. Bristol has long radical traditions and we know there are groups and individuals across the city who will want to ensure that there are […]

Bristol and the Labour Unrest of 1910-14

Bristol and the Labour Unrest Front Cover
1910 saw a renewed outbreak of industrial strife, as significant sections of the trade union rank-and-file began to express their frustration at the lack of progress made in their struggle for better working conditions and a new social order. Strikes reached levels not seen since the ‘new unionism’ upsurge of 1889-92. Workers unrest combined with clashes over Home Rule for Ireland, and the militant tactics of suffrage campaigners, which added to the problems of the ruling class. Confronted by […]

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