York in the Great War

Karyn Burnham

Date Published :
February 2015
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Series :
Your Towns & Cities in the Great War
Illustration :
100 Illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781783376094
Pages : 160
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The ancient City of York had been a garrison town for over a hundred years before the outbreak of war in 1914 but although the citizens of York were used to a military presence, nothing could prepare them for the changes that would envelop their city over the coming years.

As Belgian refugees flooded into York during the early months of the war, so enemy 'aliens' were rounded up and held in an internment camp and riots broke out as residents unlucky enough to have German heritage were attacked. As the men went to fight, so the women went to work all over the city, from Rowntree's Cocoa Works to the munitions factories and railways.

When conscription was introduced in January 1916, the Quaker community of York looked to their consciences and decided whether to answer the call of their government, or face the consequences of objecting. The choices they made had a lasting impact on their own lives and those of their loved ones. Later in 1916, the city fell prey to a Zeppelin raid killing 9 people and injuring 27; with parts of the unprotected city in ruins, citizens were, for the first time, faced with the terrifying reality of war.

When the Great War finally ended in November 1918, York was changed forever. As men began to return home, the city began the process of commemoration and remembrance of those who would not return. From the unveiling of a memorial board in the Rowntrees Cocoa Works to the mighty King's Book of York Heroes in the Minster, lasting records of all York men who lost their lives in battle.

Looks at how war impacted on the City, from the initial enthusiasm for sorting out the German Kaiser in time for Christmas 1914, to the gradual realization of the enormity of human sacrifice the families of York were committed to as the war stretched out over the next four years. A huge army camp was constructed on the Knavesmire to prepare for war. Enlistment went on throughout the city and there was a large army presence with men in uniforms everywhere.
Those not in uniform were often considered to be conscientious objectors, and they were given the cold shoulder and a hostile reception.

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