6th Dec, 2016

Truancy rife in Great War time

Aaron Wise 14th Oct, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A NEW book detailing the impact of truancy from school during the First World War is being launched by the Bishampton History Society.

The new novel, entitled ‘Those that Remained – the Story of the Home Front in Bishampton’, is being launched this Sunday (October 16) during an afternoon tea celebration at Bishampton Village Hall.

The book has been compiled by a seven-strong research team from the society, who have been working over the past two years under the leadership of Carol Wood, an archive assistant at The Hive in Worcester.

The team have combed a variety of sources including Pershore Rural District Council minutes, Worcestershire County Council agricultural committee minutes and school log books to find references to Bishampton, as part of the society‚Äôs Heritage Lottery Funded project, ‘The Great War and its impact on a rural Worcestershire village’.

Children often played truant in Vale villages during the Great War with active encouragement from parents and even the Government, with one boy recorded as being absent from school from August 1915 to May 1919.

Ms Wood said: “Whilst considering those men who went away to war, we began to wonder what life was like for those left behind, such as the experience of women, children and the elderly, who are rarely represented in history books.

“After all, our research had shown some 50 men went off to war, meaning that if nothing else, there would have been a considerable shortage of labour.

“Hardly surprising therefore that parents were left with little option but to get their children to help with working in the fields, rather than send them to school.

“Not once, in the case of Bishampton, was a truancy officer called in to investigate absences, whereas before the war began they visited almost weekly.”

The book launch will run from 2pm to 4pm.

Call Mike Rickard on 01386 462037 or visit www.bishampton.org.uk for more information on the book.