A NEW book showing how the First World War affected Swindon has launched, 100 years on from Great Britain’s first involvement in the conflict.
Historian Mike Pringle has researched and written Swindon Remembering 1914-1918, which investigates how the conflict changed the landscape of the town.
Last night, 100 years to the day since Great Britain entered the war, the book went on sale at an event held at Christ Church Community Centre, in Cricklade Street.
Mike said: “It is a exciting time personally but clearly this is about much more than that.
“It is about properly commemorating those that served in the First World War.
“I was determined that the book would be launched on the anniversary as it is my personal tribute to those men and women who went through that terrible period.
“I didn’t want the launch to drift out to some vague date of insignificance.
“The book went to the publishers last year to ensure that it would be ready.”
Swindon Remembering 1914-1918 looks into the effects that the conflict had on those serving and their loved ones who were left behind.
Mike said: “In the book you see the hardships of the men in battle but also the impact it had on everybody back here.
“Throughout all of it you see the inner courage of all the men, women and children involved.
“Swindon typified the outlook across the country as we encountered urban and rural struggles.
“The town was also a major focal point of the start of the war as there were so many troops coming through Swindon on the railway line.”
Mike is a member of the community campaign Swindon in the Great War, which has organised a series of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
On Wednesday, the group is launching an exhibition Swindon in the Great War – One Town’s War at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, in Bath Road, with the display including archive photographers and documents from the First World War.
The exhibition will run until January 31, 2015.
Last night, thousands of Swindon residents joined people across the country in the Lights Out campaign.
The centenary event, organised by commemoration group 14-18 NOW, asked people to turn their lights off, between 10pm and 11pm, lighting a single candle.
For more information about Swindon’s First World War commemorations, visit www.swindoninthegreatwar.wordpress.com