Legacies of the First World War

Building for Total War 1914-18

By Wayne Cocroft, Paul Stamper

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The First World War has been described as the first total war, a conflict in which a country's people and resources were harnessed towards final victory. During 2014-18 Historic England set out to uncover and study the physical remains left across England by the First World War.

The range of what was discovered is astonishing, reflecting how the home front became as important as the battlefront. It was the place to train and equip new armies, to manufacture armaments, to treat the wounded and to grow more food. As millions of men joined the armed forces, women entered the workforce in munitions factories, as tram and bus conductresses and as farm workers.

Archaeological and architectural remains can be found of practice trench lines, munitions works, government factories, army and PoW camps, airfields and airship stations. But England was also drawn into the fighting as German warships and submarines bombarded coastal towns, and Zeppelin airships and later bomber aircraft brought death from the sky. The threat of invasion saw the construction of defences down the east and south coasts. Ships and smaller vessels were lost to mines, torpedoes and gunfire, and on the sea bed work is beginning to explore the wrecks from this almost forgotten battlefield.

This new book reveals how, a century later, many traces of this great endeavour survive.


  1. Introduction - Sir Hew Strachan
  2. The army - Peter Kendall
  3. The naval war - Serena Cant and Mark Dunkley
  4. Defending the coast - Paul Pattison and Roger J C Thomas
  5. The aerial war - Jeremy Lake
  6. The workshop of the world goes to war - Wayne Cocroft
  7. Civic and civilian architecture - Katie Carmichael
  8. Feeding the nation - Paul Stamper
  9. Back to Blighty: British war hospitals, 1914-18 - Kathryn A Morrison
  10. Remembering the dead - Roger Bowdler
  11. Epilogue - Wayne Cocroft and Paul Stamper

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Additional Information

  • Series: Archaeology
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 256
  • Illustrations: 300, colour and black & white
  • ISBN: 97818480228881


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