Menus, Munitions & Keeping the Peace, The Home Front Diaries of Gabrielle West, 1914-1917

This is an interesting and entertaining collection of diary entries 
made during WWI. They have been edited by the diarist's great niece 
and provide a valuable addition to our knowledge of the Home Front 
during WWI. A Fascinating account of life on the Home Front. The 
drawings she made and the details she included in her diaries and 
letters whent far beyond superficial detail and potentially could 
have been considered a security risk. As a result, this is a book 
will appeal to a great many people beyond the readership of social 
history and human interest. Strongly Recommended.

 

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NAME: Menus, Munitions & Keeping the Peace, The Home Front Diaries 
of Gabrielle West, 1914-1917
FILE: R2427
AUTHOR:  Gabrielle West, edited by Avalon Weston
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  184
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War 1, The Great War, First World War, World War 
One, Home Front, Great Britain, Zeppelin raids, nursing, hospital 
kitchens, munitions, female employment, policewomen
ISBN: 1-47387-086-0
IMAGE: B2427.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/j36k76a
LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale 
DESCRIPTION: This is an interesting and entertaining collection of 
diary entries made during WWI. They have been edited by the diarist's 
great niece and provide a valuable addition to our knowledge of the 
Home Front during WWI. A Fascinating account of life on the Home 
Front. The drawings she made and the details she included in her 
diaries and letters whent far beyond superficial detail and 
potentially could have been considered a security risk. As a result, 
this is a book will appeal to a great many people beyond the 
readership of social history and human interest. Strongly Recommended.

When the author wrote her diary, she probably never thought anyone 
would want to read it a hundred years later. If so, she was one of 
thousands of educated young women who kept a diary for their own 
record and for family members. Most of these diaries have now been 
long lost which is a great shame because they provided a record of 
ordinary people coping with extraordinary events and would have 
provided an interesting and entertaining read. They would also have 
told us much about the social upheaval that WWI brought and of its 
impact on female employment and equality.

During WWI many thousands of young women flocked to the job market 
to replace all the young men who had gone off to war, many never to 
return. They filled jobs that had only ever been done before by men. 
Some jobs were clean and gentile but a great many were physically 
demanding and very dangerous. A popular job was in nursing and in the 
tasks supporting nursing, but this was a demanding role with long 
hours and more than a little trauma. For most of them this was THE 
great adventure of their lives.

Gabrielle was a Vicar's daughter. That meant a good education and a 
place in society that was generally sheltered and gentile. Initially, 
she joined the Red Cross and worked in two hospitals as a volunteer 
cook. She then secured paid positions in canteens, first at 
Farnborough Royal Aircraft Factory and then at Woolwich Arsenal. 
Having failed a mental arithmetic test to be a van driver for J 
Lyons, she became one of the first women to be enrolled into the 
police. She spent the rest of the war looking after the girls in 
various munitions factories.

Along with many thousand other women, she was simply sent home at 
the end of the war, the jobs either ceasing to exist or being 
returned to the young men who had worked them before going off to 
war. Like a great many of these young women, Gabrielle never married 
and spent the rest of a very long life looking after relatives, as 
was often the duty of unmarried women.

The diaries are a lively account of a young woman, her dog and her 
bicycle, showing her keen interest in all around her but avoiding 
opinion and politics. She has drawn her experiences in words and 
sketches, painting a delightful picture. The drawings are augmented 
with photographs through the body of the book. Some photographs have 
not survived well but their reproduction is meaningful and 
appropriate.

This is a rewarding read.