Christine's new book brings town's history to life

PUBLISHED: 09:19 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 03 July 2019

The names of these soldiers are unknown, but the photo was taken in Riverside. Picture: Sidmouth Museum

The names of these soldiers are unknown, but the photo was taken in Riverside. Picture: Sidmouth Museum

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The 'remarkable' stories of families in the Sid Valley during World War One will be heading to bookshelves with the release of a new book.

Author Christine Hardy is preparing to release a full social history about Sidmouth during World War One. Picture: Clarissa PlaceAuthor Christine Hardy is preparing to release a full social history about Sidmouth during World War One. Picture: Clarissa Place

Author Christine Hardy has spent the last three years researching and compiling the book, which captures snapshots of life in the Sid Valley between 1914 and 1919.

Her book Till The Boys Come Home follows on from the success of her play A Painful Duty. The play was performed in November to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

She wrote the play with Ruth Lewis, focussing on the lives of the Clode and Channing families, and how they coped on the battlefield and at home during the conflict.

The book features more families, photographs and stories about life at home and at the front.

Annie Leigh-Browne is among the residents featured in the book. Picture: Sidmouth MuseumAnnie Leigh-Browne is among the residents featured in the book. Picture: Sidmouth Museum

Mrs Hardy said: "I feel a real connection to the town, the articles are about people with familiar names and they are about familiar faces and not just about the soldiers, it's about the town during the war.

"It was remarkable what happened. Every day life just went on. Sometimes I had to stop because of what I had read."

The author is hoping to have the book available ahead of July 13 which marks the anniversary of Ernest Channing's death.

The oldest of the Channing family survived the war, but in a sad turn of events died from injuries sustained in a collision as he cycled home to Sidford - just three weeks later his daughter was born.

Sidmouth residents and their exploits are featured in the book. Picture: Sidmouth MuseumSidmouth residents and their exploits are featured in the book. Picture: Sidmouth Museum

Mrs Hardy added: "Every week they were raising money for something. People were donating lots of stuff, making clothes for the troops. There was unbelievable generosity and we still have that in Sidmouth today I think.

"It's a piece of Sidmouth history. Its not a formal history, it tries to tell the history of all walks of life in Sidmouth and you get a real sense of what the community was like. I am hoping you get a real flavour of Sidmouth life at the time.

"It was the darkest of times and the courage of people is what is remarkable to keep going and keep Sidmouth going until the boys returned."

The book has been published by the Sid Vale Association and will be on sale from Friday, July 12.

Mrs Hardy will be hosting a book signing at Sidmouth Museum at 10.30am -12pm and 2.30pm -4pm.

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