Glynis Cooper

Cambridge in the Great War

Cambridge is one of the most famous universities in the world and its library is one of only five copyright libraries in the UK. At the start of the twentieth century it was a privileged life for some, but many in Cambridge knew that war was becoming truly inevitable. What the proverbial gown feared communicated itself to the surrounding town. Terrible rumours were rife, that the Germans would burn the university library and raise Kings College chapel to the ground, before firing shells along the tranquil Backs of the River Cam until the weeping willows were just blackened stumps. Frightened but determined, age-old town and gown rivalries were put aside as the city united against the common enemy. This book tells Cambridges fascinating story in the grim years of the Great War. Thousands of university students, graduates and lecturers alike enlisted, along with the patriotic townsfolk. The First Eastern General Military Hospital was subsequently established in Trinity College and treated more than 80,000 casualties from the Western Front. Though the university had been the longtime hub of life and employment in the town, many people suffered great losses and were parted from loved ones, decimating traditional breadwinners and livelihoods, from the rationing of food, drink and fuel, to hundreds of restrictions imposed by DORA. As a result, feelings ran high and eventually led to riots beneath the raiding zeppelins and ever-present threat of death.The poet, Rupert Brooke, a graduate of Kings College, died on his way to the Dardanelles in 1915, but his most famous poem The Soldier became a preemptive memorial and the epitaph of millions.If I should dieThink only this of me That theres some corner of a foreign field That is forever England.
153 printed pages
Original publication



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