West Sussex County Council take part in a poignant commemoration to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on Monday August 4th. The council joins people across the country to take part in Lights Out which will see people turn off their lights between 10.00 pm and 11.00 pm to mark the hour that Britain entered World War One.
The County Council will switch the lights off at County Hall in Chichester, with just one light left on at historic Edes House as a mark of respect and to reflect on the significance of the time.
Monday will also mark the launch of a major new book about the impact of World War One on West Sussex.
‘Great War Britain: West Sussex, Remembering 1914-18’ has been a massive undertaking by West Sussex County Council Library and Archive services and the book is the culmination of an 18 month project involving more than 150 volunteers.
The project, which was funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of almost £90,000, was designed to chart the impact of the First World War on residents.
Much of the initial research work was undertaken by volunteers who listed over 10,000 events from local newspapers and researched nearly 100 case studies of servicemen and Home Front topics.
A team of academics, archivists, librarians and researchers all contributed to the book. These included Dr. Caroline Adams, Justin Burns, Martin Dale, Dr. John Godfrey, Professor Keith Grieves, Martin Hayes, Martin Mace, Alan Readman, Professor Brian Short, Katherine Slay, Tim Stanton and Emma White.
There are chapters on: Agriculture and Food, Billeting & Military Installations, Churches, Home Front, Hospitals & Convalescent Homes, Invasion Counter Measures, Local Economy and Morale, Mobilisation & Recruitment, Those Left Behind & Those Who Returned, Royal Sussex Regiment, War Memorials & Peace, and Women.
Professor Gary Sheffield, a leading Great War academic and author, said: “This book is a significant piece in the mosaic which, when combined with the various other local histories, will give us a more balanced understanding of the British experience of the First World War.
“Great War Britain – West Sussex is a fine achievement and could stand as a model for collaborative local histories of this type. I congratulate everyone involved in it, and commend it warmly to a wide readership”.
‘Great War Britain: West Sussex, Remembering 1914-18’ is published by the History Press and will be available from Monday August 4th. It will be on sale at all public libraries in West Sussex and at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester, priced at £12.99 – saving £2.00 on the recommended retail price of £14.99.