AS a market town and the seat of government of the county authority, Morpeth was significant in the co-ordination of Northumberland’s Great War effort. The town shared a proud tradition of military service with the wider region, reflected in the huge numbers of Morpeth men and women who came forward for service in the military or in roles such as nursing.
It was a recruitment centre, with its own unit of the 1/7th (Territorial) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, and with a wide rural hinterland it played a huge part in the production and dispersal of vital food.
The town also occupied a position on the fringe of the Northumberland coalfield, and many of the men and businesses of Morpeth were engaged in the equally vital work of mining.
Featuring rare images from the local press, many of which have not been seen since the war, the book includes accounts of the struggles that many families faced in coping with wartime policies, severe shortages, rising prices, longer working hours and endless worry. Despite the hardships, Morpethians continued to provide incredible charitable support right up until the end of the war, in addition to their work efforts.
This account offers a poignant testimony to the bravery, self-sacrifice and determination of the people of Morpeth during the Great War, from its first days – when the Territorials of the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Northumberland Hussars assembled in the Market Square to be given a rousing send-off by the mayor and the people of Morpeth – to the raucous celebrations of the Armistice in November 1918.