Chance to learn from the past
HEROISM, Hardship and Victory is the title of a book which was launched this week by the Penrith Remembers group, exploring the impact of World War I in the town and surrounding district.
The book is a collaborative work, with contributors including local historians and others with a long-standing and often personal interest in the conflict and its aftermath.
It makes for fascinating reading. In Penrith — as in every other community across the land — change, suffering and loss as a result of the Great War were felt in every strata of society.
And while soldiers endured unimaginable horrors on the front lines, those on the home front were doing their bit for the war effort — the book documents the role of farmers and of the Women’s Land Army and Penrith’s war hospital, where 1,224 soldiers were treated. It contains many diverse stories, great and small, of the repercussions felt by families and individuals, brought on the winds of war.
This is the second book produced by the Penrith Remembers group, which has worked hard over several years to tell the story of how cataclysmic events being played out in foreign fields shaped life and society in this part of Cumbria.
The turbulent times in which we find ourselves politically and socially are perhaps an apt point at which to look to the past and reflect on the resilience and stoicism shown by our forebears. Books like Heroism, Hardship and Victory are a vital resource through which we can reflect on what has gone before and take lessons for the future.