Author(s): Legg, Rodney,
Date of Publication: 16/10/2012,
Pagination: 144 pages, mono illustrations throughout,
Imprint: Dorset Books,
Published By: Halsgrove,
Book Classification: Dorset, Military history, Local history
Dorset’s pivotal role in the Second World War is well known, not least thanks to the researches and publications of Rodney Legg. In this book, he turns his attentions to the county in the Great War – the experience on the Home Front and Dorset’s contribution to the eventual victory.
Covering subjects as diverse as the Dorset Regiments, the vital Naval presence at Portland and Dorset’s War Poets, Rodney Legg also emphasizes that in terms of interest for the reader, “the bonus is that much of what happened in Dorset during the First World War turns out to have been either directly or indirectly due to the ideas and enthusiasms of Winston Churchill,” including the ground-breaking development of the tank.
Packed with information and illustrated with historic images, Dorset in the First World War is a fascinating portrait of how the “War to End all Wars” impacted on what in other circumstances might have remained a largely remote and bucolic corner of rural England, that instead was thrust into the maelstrom of international conflict.
Rodney Legg was one of Dorset’s most prolific authors. His writings expanded from journalism into archaeological and countryside books, mostly about the county, which by the late 1990s had made him Dorset’s premier living historian. He also developed a particular specialism in local war and military studies. Much of his research, for works such as Dorset’s War Diary, was achieved through interviews of survivors and witnesses.
In the last years of his life Rodney turned his attention from the county in the Second World War to its experiences in the First. Nationally, he was chairman of the Open Spaces Society, and was a member of the Ruling Council of the National Trust from 1990 until 2009. Rodney Legg died in 2011, shortly after completing this book.