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'Mad with Fright': Trench Warfare and British Perceptions of Courage during the First World War
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking,
    GU21 6ND
Talk with Edward Madigan, Royal Holloway, University of London

The First World War was the bloodiest conflict in British history. Static wars of attrition had been waged before, but never on such a vast scale, over such a protracted period of time, and at such devastating human cost. For the men caught up in the maelstrom of battle, the experience of combat was often stressful, frightening and traumatic. And yet while cases of psychological distress and breakdown were common, most soldiers coped remarkably well with the demands of the trench war. This talk will explore the nature of trench warfare and the ways in British which soldiers responded to the demands of front-line service. It will also touch on the work of the R. C. Sherriff, the author of the play, Journey's End, which is now regarded as a classic of First World War literature, to comment on wartime understandings of courage.

Edward Madigan is Senior Lecturer in Public History at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research combines military, social and cultural history and he is particularly interested in the British and Irish experience and memory of the First World War. His publications include Faith Under Fire: Anglican Army Chaplains and the Great War (2011, 2017), Towards Commemoration: Ireland in War and Revolution, 1912-1923 (with John Horne, 2013), and, with Gideon Reuveni, The Jewish Experience of the First World War (2018).

Tickets £10. Surrey History Trust Members: £5. It is advisable to book early as places are limited.

Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.

Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey library or phone 01483 518737.

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