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Durham e-Theses
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First World War Memorials, Commemoration and Community in North East England, 1918-1939

COSS, DENISE (2012) First World War Memorials, Commemoration and Community in North East England, 1918-1939. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines how local variations in economic, political, social, cultural and religious circumstances influenced First World War remembrance in the North East between the wars. It is divided into two parts. The first is concerned with the creation of every kind of memorial, from large county schemes to the smaller projects of villages and institutions. It investigates the people involved, the decisions they took, what they produced and the wider community’s response to their efforts. The second part considers commemoration - that is, the rituals and ceremonies which grew up around memorials, their public messages and private meanings, and how they began and evolved over time. It also considers the responses and attitudes of the veterans and the bereaved to public commemoration.
The thesis finds that although there was a great deal of similarity in the way in which communities remembered, there were also differences. The differences can be located in the ways in which communities drew on their culture and traditions to ‘personalise’ remembrance and made it more meaningful, thus enabling them to return their loved ones ‘home’. However, from the little evidence available it is apparent that the bereaved had mixed feelings about remembrance, and it is uncertain how successful it was at assuaging grief. For the veterans, the experience of war and the difficulties they encountered on their return meant that they felt differently about remembrance and their priority was to reintegrate back into normal life.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Mar 2013 10:28

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