The Great War and its impact on schools

Lynn author Barry Blades
Lynn author Barry Blades
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Roll of Honour

by Barry Blades

A new book which examines the impact made by the First World War on education, schools and communities, by Lynn author Barry Blades, has just been published.

Roll of Honour is part of a planned trilogy on schooling and the Great War.

Unlike much of the traditional literature on the conflict, with its understandable fascination with the terrible experiences of Tommy in the trenches, Roll of Honour shifts our gaze.

It focuses on how the war was experienced by other key participants, namely those communities involved in the schooling of the nation’s children.

It emphasises the need to examine the ‘myriad faces of war’, rather than traditional stereotypes, if we are to gain a deeper understanding of personal agency and decision-making in times of conflict and upheaval.

The dramatis personae includes headteachers and governors; school masters whose enlistment, conscription or conscientious objection to military service changed lives and career paths; the ‘temporary’ school mistresses in male-dominated institutions; the school alumni who thought of school whilst knee-deep in mud; and finally the school masters themselves, whose ‘campaigns’ added vital resources to the war economy.

These myriad faces existed in all types of British school, from the elite public schools to the elementary schools and reformatory institutions designed for the country’s poorest waifs and strays.

This powerful account of the Great War will be of interest to general readers as well as historians of military campaigns, education and British society.

Barry Blades began his career as a history teacher in secondary schools in London and Peterborough and from 2006 to 2010 he was a freelance education consultant.

Roll of Honour, published by Pen & Sword History, features 16 pages of illustrations, and is priced at £25.