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Melksham Remembers launches WW1 history book

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LOCAL history group, Melksham Remembers, has published a new book documenting the history of the town during World War One.

The book follows on from last year’s successful exhibition, which marked 100 years since the end of World War One, providing visitors with a snapshot of what life was like for the people of Melksham and the surrounding area during the war.  

Information from the exhibition has been condensed into the book by volunteers from the group. Topics covered include how wounded soldiers were looked after in the town, the effort by the community to send food parcels to prisoners of war, and the royal visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the town.

Bonus information not used for the exhibition can also be found in the book.

Speaking to Melksham News on behalf of the group, Ray Heard said, “When the exhibition was over, we all wondered what was going to happen to all the information that we collected – and there was masses of material not used. So we started work on a book, with the help of Rob Cumming, who produced a similar book about Broughton Gifford.

“Copies of the book can be found in Melksham Library, the Town Hall, Melksham Oak School and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham. The book is also available to buy, priced at £16 plus postage and packing for a hardback copy. A paperback version will also soon be available.

“This book has been made possible thanks to a grant from the town council and the money raised by Darren Crook, who ran between all the local war memorials on the morning of Remembrance Day.”

The group has already started work on their next project, compiling information about life in Melksham during World War Two – and they are appealing to the community for help.

“Information about World War One was easy to find,” explained Ray. “But World War Two is much harder to find. There was blanket censorship during the war – and there were very few mentions of the war in the press. The attitude was ‘careless talk costs lives’.

“We would love to hear from anyone who has stories or photos that relate to Melksham from World War Two. We are hoping to produce another book by the end of 2020.”

To enquire about purchasing a book or to share your story from World War Two, contact the group via their Facebook page – search for ‘Melksham Remembers’.

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