Bognor at the time of the Great War was a small seaside town, quiet in winter but full of visitors in the summer. At that time it was barely one hundred and thirty years old, developed from a hamlet by Sir Richard Hotham, a hatter, who wanted to create his own purpose built bathing resort, to attract the nobility to take the sea air and as a rival to other towns along the Sussex coast. In 1911 the population of Bognor had grown to a little over eight thousand, of whom around eleven hundred men answered the call in 1914, around a third of whom never returned. The book tells their stories, not in alphabetical Roll of Honour order, but in real time as it happened. It also takes a close look at those who fought and returned to Bognor, albeit with some badly injured, facing the future carrying the scars of four years fighting. Also included are the local villages of Aldwick, North and South Bersted and Felpham. Wartime life in Bognor has also been included, how the town coped from the influx of Belgian refugees in 1914, a look at the various voluntary organisations, recruitment, invasion fears, conscientious objectors, tribunals, lighting restrictions, Zeppelins, food shortages and the victory celebrations. Queen Victoria, who stayed at Bognor as a child, once referred to it in later life as ‘dear little Bognor’. Some eighty years later ‘dear little Bognor’ flexed her muscles as her young men marched to war.
BOGNOR IN THE GREAT WAR
Introducing Your Towns and Cities in the Great War, describing the impact of the First World War on local communities in the UK.
The series records, through words and photographs, how each year of the war brought a change in the spirit of the populace as the huge battles taking place in Belgium, France, Gallipoli and elsewhere, took their toll on the menfolk.
Knowledgeable authors document the stories of how these cities and towns were affected by the conflict by researching the local newspapers of the day; along with letters, diaries, photograph albums, parish magazines, trade journals and contemporary printed pamphlets etc, located in the local library archives.