Monday, 20 February 2017

Manchester Remembering 1914-18 .......... just who does turn up at a book launch?

Now as many know Saturday was the official book launch of Manchester Remembering 1914-18 at Central Ref.*

Pat and Dorothy
It was a great success and for that I have to thank David Harrop who supplied much of the memorabilia that went into the book, Dorothea and Helen from the City Council who helped with the event and Chorlton Bookshop who sold copies of the book.

And then there were the people who turned up including old friends like Keith and Rhona, and Tom, Val and Joe who I have known for years and even older friends like Greevz and John Evans who I first met in the early 1970s.

A moment in the powerpoint presentation
Added to these were some newer facebook friends like Bill Sumner and Martin and Tony who write for the blog.

There was even a nice sense of continuity in that Oliver Bailey who supplied some of the original source material for my first book, the Story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy which was published five years ago and now lives in the south pooped in to support the launch.

But what made the event very special was the presence of Pat, Dorothy and Nicola who I invited because members of their family are mentioned in the book.

Pat and Dorothy had travelled down from the Lake District.  Their father was Harold Wild a conscience objector who kept a diary during the Great War which described in detail his opposition to the war, the meetings he attended and his own experiences in front of military tribunals.

"To the Brownhill family"
It remains a powerful insight into how one man viewed the war and the hardships he endured as a result.

And I was equally pleased that Nicola could be there.  She had handed over a whole suitcase of material from her family who lived through the conflict and from that suitcase I used a replica of the Cenotaph which appeared in the book.

I know there will be someone who I have missed out and for that I apologise in advance leaving me just to mention my old friend Lois who is also a writer and was on hand to follow each research hiccup.

And then finally there is my family, who have lived through the endless progress reports and given lots of encouragement and never once said “enough Dad”.

The book, 2017
So to Ben Josh and Saul who listened and to Luca who came along as the “official photographer” a big thank you and an even bigger one to my partner Tina who not only saw the project through with great patience but was there on the day running the event while I sat and signed books.

But I cannot close without mentioning the very people who the book was all about.

Very early on I had decided I wanted to remember them by writing about their lives and in the course of doing so present them to a modern readership, exploring the sacrifices they made, their differing opinions about the war and the many ways they faced the struggle, from brave stoicism, to humour and much more.

George Bradford Simpson, circa 1918
And near the end I chose to include a photograph of my own uncle along with the telegram he received from the Queen on his 100th birthday.

It was a decision based less on the fact that he was my uncle but more because between the picture of this young nineteen year old soldier and the centenarian was a man who had a productive and happy life, lived out over three centuries of which the Great War was just a small part.

Location; Manchester

Picture; George Bradford Simpson, circa 1918 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and pictures from the book launch, 2017 by ALTOSOUNDS

*Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by Andrew Simpson was published by the History Press in February 2017

Order now from the author, or the History Press, and Chorlton Book Shop, 0161 881 6374

*A new book on Manchester and the Great War,

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