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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

'Doing Our Bit' New Book.


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Just received my copy of this book written by Martin Purdy & Ian Dawson, which covers Middleton servicemen in the Great War. Middleton is a town near Manchester. I will get reading this weekend but first impressions it looks great. Just thought I would let everyone who is interested in Manchester / North West related Military and Social History know of this.

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Bought my copy tonight direct from Martin.

He tells me that, once costs are covered, a quid from each subsequent book sold will be donated to Lancs & Cheshire WFA branch's fundraising appeal. The appeal is to raise several grand for the provision of direction signs to the 12th Manchester memorial at Contalmaison. So, Pals, a good read and a good cause - so get yer wallets out.

I don't know what direct sales systems the authors have in place, but they can be contacted at middletonatwar@hotmail.co.uk

I've reminded Martin that there is an internet book-seller well known to readers of these pages who might be interested in addign the bok to his list.


(PS: the branch has raised £2000 - we need another £2000)

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Thanks for the mention of the book.

Doing Our Bit is 350 pages long with 8 plates (16 pages) of photos. It includes an extensive roll of honour (800 died) plus dozens of previously unpublished personal accounts from letters and diaries.

It follows the fortunes of the 1/6th and 2/6th Lanc Fusiliers throughout the war and has plenty of letters from Manchester Pals and Bantams etc.

We are donating £1 from each sale to the WFA Lanc and Cheshire Branch Contalmaison Appeal to make sure the lads of the 12th Manchesters are remembered. Basically, nobody knows where their memorial is as it is in a communal cemetery. We want road-marker signs and a plaque telling people what happened at the site.

If anyone is interested in a copy of the book, we have some up on eBay or you can get them by mail order. Send a cheque for £12 (including postage and packaging) to: Martin Purdy, Moonraker Publishing, 45 Eliza Street, Ramsbottom, Bury, Lancs BL0 0AT. Make cheques out to Martin Purdy.

On a secondary (but no less important note to myself), I am still trying to find out where and exactly when my greatgrandfather (Sergeant Frank Williams 431st Field Company Royal Engineers/ 66th East Lancs Div) won his DCM. It was gazetted in January 1918 and I have the details of the action, but war diary doesn't mention it and his military records were destroyed during the blitz. Anybody know how I can find out the actual specific date of the action so that I can then piece together where it was won. Suspect it may have been at Passchendaele, but it's possible it could have been at Newport.

All the best Martin Purdy

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  • 3 weeks later...
I've reminded Martin that there is an internet book-seller well known to readers of these pages who might be interested in addign the book to his list.

In the hope that John meant me, I'm pleased to say that the book was added to my list today. It's an excellent book, very well researched and produced. I have lots of books with a similar kind of "local" interest but this one is up there with the best of them and written in an extremely readable style. I think this would make it an absorbing read for anyone, local or not.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the kind words Tom, And a big thank you for stocking our book. You do a fantastic service for people ourselves, who write a book on their own back using their own money, and give the book a wider audience, cos it can be so hard to sell them through the big bookchains.



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  • 4 months later...

Now I’ve read it, it’s time for another plug.

As they might say in Royston Vesey, first and foremost this is “a local book, for local people”. It tells the story of the War through the letters sent home by the men from this small northern town. But it’s more than that and should appeal to a wider audience than local residents.

Middleton is to the north of Manchester – but not so far north that you’d got to Rochdale. I know the town, as I used to visit it when I was working. But I don’t know it well – it holds no special meaning for me. Nor does its War.

So, can I recommend it to Pals here as a “good read”? Well, yes, I rather think I can. It’s because of the way the authors have weaved the soldiers’ letters into the account that gives a real feel for who many of them must have been. These are not always the sanitised usual letters that researchers often see in the newspapers. You know the sort of thing “Your son died instantaneously. He was a hero. Everyone liked him”. Of course, there’s some of those. But there are others that the authors have come across that are from men writing to other men at home. They are more direct – there is mention of limbs lying around and of the horrors of War that wouldn’t go in a letter to Mother.

In summary, then. Four reasons to go off and buy a copy:

- it’s a good read

- it’s written by two Forum Pals

- it’s sold by third (see Tom Morgan Military Books)

- and, the authors are donating a sum from each copy toward the Lancashire & Cheshire WFA branch fund for new signs at Contalmaison to the 12th Manchesters Memorial.


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