Leighton Buzzard Writers’ new anthology charting local life during the First World War will be released next month.
A Bridge Between Two Worlds: Leighton Buzzard and Linslade in the Great War has been planned and produced over the last 18 months by group and will be launched on Tuesday, November 4.
The launch venue will be Leighton Buzzard Library in Lake Street(7.30pm) and coincidentally the date is the 96th anniversary of the death in action of the poet Wilfred Owen.
A Bridge Between Two Worlds has been the most ambitious project ever undertaken by the writers’ group and they say have been overwhelmed by the contributions, not only from our members, but from other local writers “whose pieces have greatly enriched the content of the anthology”.
The anthology consists of 47 pieces of work, being a mixture of poems, short stories, non-fiction and items of factual information.
In addition A Bridge Between Two Worlds will have more illustrations than previous anthologies, produced by local artists Paul Couchman and Lisa Conway, both members of the writers’ group.
Spokesman Mike Moran said: “Even though there are many different authors, a common theme appears in all the pieces contributed: that of people coping with a war, the scale of which was unprecedented in history, and having to come to terms with vast social and economic changes.
“A Bridge Between Two Worlds is a remembrance of our communities of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade during four tumultuous years in which the course of history was forever changed.”
The pieces themselves cover all the aspects of life in the two towns during those years: the sense of excitement (and foreboding) of the young recruits of Kitchener’s Armies as they join up, train and set off for the Western Front; the anxieties of those left waiting for news, dreading the War Office letter or telegram and the accompanying pain; the forgotten munitions workers risking death and injury; and the women striving to “do their bit” by nursing the sick or joining the newly-formed women’s branches of the armed forces.
Mike added: “What stands out is the sheer determination of those on the Home Front to see the war through to its end, though never knowing when that might be; the very vital contribution Leighton Buzzard and Linslade made to Britain’s war effort; the surreal existence of life in the frontline, whether on the ground or in the air; and the relationships which developed during and despite those four years of war.
“The true heroes and heroines were the people of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade and it is fitting that in this centenary year of the outbreak of the Great War the contributing writers represent the communities of the two towns as they give thanks to the generation that participated and bore witness to the 1914-18 War.”