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New in this week – with up to 20% off RRPs
The Imprisoned Princess Hitler’s Housewives A Hidden History of the Tower of London

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RRP: £19.99

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The History of Gibbeting Authentic Spanish Cooking The Battle of Goose Green

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£12.79
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As featured on the WFA’s Mentioned in Dispatches podcast
The First and the Last of the Sheffield City Battalion by John Cornwell

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Click to listen to Mentioned in Dispatches, episode 148: The First and the Last of the Sheffield City Battalion – John Cornwell.

This is the story of two Sheffield men from very different social backgrounds, who both volunteered in early September 1914 and joined the new Pals battalion (12th Battalion York and Lancaster Regt).

One of these men was Vivian Simpson, a 31 year old solicitor who was well known in the city; partly because he was an outstanding footballer, playing for Sheffield Wednesday and an England trialist. Simpson was the very first man to enrol for the new battalion and was commissioned in January 1915.

The other man was Reg Glenn, a clerk in the Education Offices who served as a signaller in each battle the 12th Bn fought in until the summer of 1917, when he was selected to become an officer.

To his annoyance, Vivian Simpson was kept back in England as a training officer until after the battalion’s disaster on the Somme on 1 July 1916. However, after that he became a most energetic and courageous officer. He was awarded an MC in 1917, but was killed in the German offensive on the Lys in April 1918.

Reg Glenn went back to France in 1918 as a subaltern in the North Staffordshires and was wounded on the Aisne in his first day of combat as an officer. He was never fit enough to go back to the trenches and became a training officer in Northumberland with his new regiment and later with the Cameronians at Invergordon. He survived the war and lived to be 101 years old, making him the last survivor of the 12th Battalion.

The Amritsar Massacre by Vanessa Holburn

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Click to listen to Mentioned in Dispatches, episode 149: The Amritsar Massacre – Vanessa Holburn.

The shocking massacre of 379 unarmed Indians in the enclosed Jallianwala Bath park on the command of a British army officer on 13 April 1919 is considered a brutal example of colonial abuse. Immediately afterwards martial law was established with harsh penalties and punishments. Often considered as the darkest period of the Raj, the massacre helped galvanise the Indian Nationalist movement, making full independence inevitable.

This book examines the context in which the infamous event took place – and asks why something that happened 100 years ago remains so controversial. Did the order to fire prevent further native and imperialist bloodshed in the Punjab? Was enough done at the time to investigate if General Robert Dyer acted alone or with the full support of his superiors? Who was ultimately responsible for the 1,650 rounds of ammunition discharged that day?

Readers will discover how tensions within the region – and political and professional ambitions on both sides – combined to create a chain of events that signaled the beginning of the end for the British Raj.

A selection of this week’s most popular titles
Visitors’ Historic Britain: Norwich and Norfolk The History of Gibbeting A History of Cigarette and Trade Cards Hertfordshire Soldiers of The Great War

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The Mother of the Brontës 2,000 Years of Manchester Siege of Malta 1940–42 Dunkirk Evacuation – Operation Dynamo

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The Berlin Airlift Yorkshire: A Story of Invasion, Uprising and Conflict Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain RAF West Malling

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In the spotlight…

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Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy by Nick Holland.

‘An enjoyable read for any Brontë or history fan!’ ~ NetGalley reviewer

‘A touching tribute to the woman who loved and raised the Brontës as if they were her own children.’ ~ Brontë Babe blog

Elizabeth Branwell was born in Penzance in 1770, a member of a large and influential Cornish family of merchants and property owners. In 1821 her life changed forever when her sister Maria fell dangerously ill. Leaving her comfortable life behind, Elizabeth made the long journey north to a remote moorland village in Yorkshire to nurse her sister. After the death of Maria, Elizabeth assumed the role of second mother to her nephew and five nieces. She would never see Cornwall again, but instead dedicated her life to her new family: the Brontës of Haworth, to whom she was known as Aunt Branwell.

In this first ever biography of Elizabeth Branwell, we see at last the huge impact she had on Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, as well as on her nephew Branwell Brontë who spiralled out of control away from her calming influence. It was a legacy in Aunt Branwell’s will that led directly to the Brontë books we love today, but her influence on their lives and characters was equally important. As opposed to the stern aunt portrayed by Mrs Gaskell in her biography of Charlotte Brontë, we find a kind hearted woman who sacrificed everything for the children she came to love. This revealing book also looks at the Branwell family, and how their misfortunes mirrored that of the Brontës, and we find out what happened to the Brontë cousin who emigrated to America, and in doing so uncover the closest living relatives to the Brontës today.

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