Women’s Peace Crusades 1916-18 | GM 1914

This blog was written by Dr Alison Ronan of MMU about an exciting project that will be taking place in the near future researching the Women’s Peace Crusades.

The Women’s Peace Crusade 1916-1918 spread like wildfire across the country.

So why haven’t we heard of this series of spontaneous demonstrations? Thousands of women went on to the streets to protest about the war and the need for a peace to be negotiated. They carried banners, wore armbands and sung! The Crusades were co-ordinated by women from the Independent Labour Party and the Women’s International League across the country after the Somme and the first Russian revolution. There were over a hundred crusades across Britain and there was a dedicated column in the Labour Leader after May 1917 which was edited by socialist Ethel Snowden and gave news of the Crusade to its readers.

We want to look at local Crusades in the North West in more depth – Manchester, Oldham, Bolton, Burnley, Accrington, Nelson and Blackburn.

Were they reported in local papers?

Are there any surviving…

Source: Women’s Peace Crusades 1916-18 | GM 1914

Shot at Dawn and an appeal for forgiveness – a moving story from Bolton’s archives

GM 1914

James Smith Playcomp

Lois Dean has researched and written this powerful story from Bolton’s archives.

Shot at Dawn and an Appeal for Forgiveness

The brave young Bolton soldier had faced guns before, at Gallipoli and the Somme, but those James Smith faced early on the morning of 5th September 1917 were to be fired by his own countrymen – friends and comrades from his own unit.

James ‘Jimmy’ Smith became the only Boltonian to be ‘shot at dawn’ after being found guilty by a military tribunal of desertion and cowardice.  However, his experience of the horrors of war told a different story, one that led to his pardon nearly 90 years later.

Born in Noble Street, Bolton, in 1891, the son of James and Elizabeth Smith, Jimmy was brought up by his aunt and uncle when his mother died soon after his birth.  At 18, he joined the Lancashire Fusiliers as a…

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