TYNEDALE IN THE GREAT WAR, by Brian Tilley.Pen and Sword Books. (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk. Tel:01226-734222) £12.99. Softback.

When Kitchener’s call went out in 1914, Tynedale’s farmers, estate workers, pitmen and gentry flocked to the colours in their thousands.

Pitched straight into the front line against battle-hardened German troops just a week after landing in France in 1915, the Tynedale-based Territorials, the 4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, acquitted themselves so well they received a personal commendation from the Allied Commander in Chief, Sir John French.

Extensive research into the impact of the conflict on Hexham and the wider Tynedale district, both on the front line and on the home front, has produced this fascinating and absorbing account of a district at war.

Letters back home from the trenches, soldiers’ diaries and reports in the local press paint a vivid picture of what it was like to face the withering fire of German machine guns, the choking clouds of poisonous gas and to suffer the devastating loss of fathers, sons, husbands and sweethearts, as tales of unbelievable heroism and Northumbrian humour abound.