Dark Hours: 1916 – A Valley at War



Tom Ashworth’s new book, Dark Hours: 1916 A Valley at War explores the way in which global development and tensions wrought their impact on local events in the Holme Valley in 1916. In a detailed, informative and wide-ranging book, Ashworth tells the story of how the strategies and plans of  German, Turkish, French and British government and generals resonated on the streets, workplaces, fields and homes of a Yorkshire valley with Holmfirth, a small industrious town, at its centre. He weaves a story that runs from the laying of the submarine telegraph cable between Britain and France in 1851 to the first war casualty from the valley, Thomas Frederick Marsden of Rock Cottage, Newgate, who died at Gully Ravine in Gallipoli on 4 June 1915. Ashworth delineates the visible effects on the valley, from the blue uniformed casualties in war hospitals to the military tribunals that determined the cost of conscience for those who would not serve. The range of discussion is very impressive, including the impact on sports, on alcoholic drinks and on the industrial and farming contribution go the war effort. Each page provides a new perspective on the months of 1916 as they affected a valley whose ‘isolation’ could not protect it from the steamroller of global war.

Professor Paul Ward, Head of History, University of Huddersfield

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