This talk considers, from a Bristol perspective, the huge wave of strikes involving tens, if not hundreds of thousands of personnel in the British Armed forces at the end of World War One. Mass insubordination, refusals and in some cases mutiny swept through army, navy and air force personnel in January 1919. Driven by the desire for immediate demobilisation and fears that politicians and military leaders might commit them to the ongoing invasion of revolutionary Russia and other colonial […]
Graham Bottrill will talk about his novel ‘The Sword & the Sickle’ and the research that led him to write it. The novel explores the emerging political consciousness of a working class soldier, Harry Wood, returning from the First World War to confront an archaic society in serious need of change.
“We want out” - Bristol and the British armed forces strikes of January 1919 Roger Ball The massive wave of discontent which swept through the British armed forces at the end of World War One remains a hidden history, hardly mentioned by establishment historians or regimental records. Beginning first in France and Belgium in December 1918 and then crossing to mainland Britain the following month, strikes and protests spread rapidly through the Army, Navy and even into the Flying Corps. The […]
'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity': How Irish Nationalism responded to the Great War Joe Mooney (East Wall History Group, Dublin) This talk will outline the difficulties of the 'Irish question', the movement towards Home Rule and the rise of armed bodies in 1913/1914. How did these conflicting groups react to the outbreak of war - and why did some Nationalist support the war effort while others opposed it? The Irish rebellion of 1916 saw revolutionary nationalists, radical Trade […]
At the start of World War One Bridport was essentially a one industry town: rope and net making. The war brought opportunities to the town but also challenged paternalist employers with a revival of trade unionism and state pressure to improve low wages. With the Armistice, the sense of a collective national interest on the home front began to ebb away revealing long-standing as well as new tensions in the town. This talk explores the origins of these tensions in the war years and the range of […]
This talk will explore the various tensions that existed within the Cabinet’s Industrial Unrest Committee, and its various sub-committees, as government officials sought to confront the different challenges thrown up by the national Railway strike of late September 1919. Reading the files and documents from the National Archives reveals the extent to which Government departments and quasi governmental agencies struggled to contain the strike within its original industrial bounds. In an age when […]
‘Wild Scenes at Cardiff’ reads the South Wales Echo headline; ‘Blacks Hunted By a Furious Mob’ in the South Wales News. In June 1919, Cardiff was the scene of four days and nights of violent unrest that left three dead, many in hospital, and buildings ransacked and burned by mobs that included soldiers and sailors in uniform, ex-servicemen and women, united in the pursuit of black seamen. Who were these rioters and why they were ‘furious’? Who were their victims? Who did what, when and where? […]
Italian Anarchist, Galleanists, Latvian revolutionaries, Bolsheviks, communists, NAACP, Irish cops and gangsters thrown together into a mix with immigration, racism, corruption, strikes, riot and class warfare as a city goes into meltdown leading up to the Boston police strike of 1919. Two main characters are Danny Coughlin, Irish and son of one of Boston’s most powerful police captains and Luther Lawrence, poor and black, and on the run from racism and the mob. While Danny wrestles with his […]