Children in the First World War
Series: Britain's Heritage
- Mike Brown
15th May 2017
The First World War was the first global war and when it broke out in 1914, the civilian population of Britain was exhorted to carry on with ‘Business, as usual’. But the war soon began to affect civilian life. The war brought excitement, danger and fear for Britain’s children: Zeppelins, air raid warnings and the all-clear, drills and shelters in schools, shelters at home and in public places; the blackout – all became chilling parts of everyday life. In the call-up of recruits, fathers, uncles and elder brothers went off to war; some younger boys, lying about their age, joined them. Then there were the invasion scares, in which the Boy Scouts became coast watchers, and guarded railway bridges and other important points. In the sea beyond our shores, the U-Boat assault contributed to shortages of food; ‘No cakes, no jam, no nuffin.’ Children found themselves helping with the harvest and foraging in the hedgerows for food. Many foods, including sweets, would be strictly rationed.
Home Front expert Mike Brown describes what school was like in 1914: the lessons, classrooms, uniforms, and curriculum, and he looks at how children helped the war effort, raising money for the Red Cross, knitting soldiers’ comforts, etc. This book also explores what children wore, how they dressed, what they read and how the rituals of birthday and Christmas were affected.
This book is part of the Britain’s Heritage series, which provides definitive introductions to the riches of Britain’s past, and is the perfect way to get acquainted with the lives of children in the First World War.