War on Wheels

War on Wheels
Book cover

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The stories of the World Wars need to be told

A century has passed since the end of the most horrific conflict the world has ever seen. Surely it is something to forget. Yet, there can hardly be a family, in this country and the others involved, which was not in some way connected. We all have stories of bravery or tragedy, dogged hard work and suffering: all these need to be told to honour those whom we remember.

War on Wheels and Ordnance tell the story of one small aspect: how the army was equipped. It is a story though that reaches deep into the lives of ordinary men and women everywhere. These were not wars the impact of which was limited to the military; its tentacles spread far and wide.

The wars too are linked. It is probably true to say that without the first, the second may not have happened. Who knows. What is abundantly true is that one particular generation was caught up in both wars: young men and women who survived the first only to bring their wealth of experience to the second. My father was but one.

I found his story in albums my mum had kept of his second world war. With further research and the stories of others this became War on Wheels. It was though clear that much of what he and others did was informed by earlier experiences. This led to my research into the Great War and the second book, Ordnance.

George Dewar wrote, in the 1920s from his first hand experience, about the provision of armaments. In this he declared in 1916, on seeing the number of motor lorries behind the lines in France, that this was a war on wheels. In the first war, most of the wheels were wooden or made to run on rails. Yet in both the British and indeed American motor industries had huge parts to play.

It was not just armaments or vehicles, it was socks, boots, camp beds, tents, periscopes and compasses, so much and so many that involved so many people in their making and supply.

These two books tell the stories that I found. They are available from my Amazon author page 

I hope that others may contribute their stories, and indeed images, for me to post on this blog
The war memorial at COD Chilwell which commemorates those killed in the explosion at the former shell filling factory on 1 July 1918

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