The First World War, 100 years gone

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, a 100 years ago the guns fell silent on the battlefields across the world. The First World War had, after 4 long years of fighting, come to an end.
2018 marks 100 years since this day, and to commemorate this Hampshire Libraries will have events and displays happening throughout October and November.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields. 

In Flanders Fields, a poem by John McCrae

The red poppy has become a symbol for remembering the armed forces personnel who died. But few know about the other two poppies.
There’s the white poppy, an international symbol of remembrance for all casualties of war – civilians and armed forces personnel – and of peace. And the purple poppy, a symbol of remembering the animals that have died in a war.
We would like you to make a poppy and bring it into your local Hampshire Library, where it will be displayed to commemorate the centenary. A collection of these poppies will then be taken and placed at a local World War 1 memorial.
You can make your own design, or use one of the designs we have put together, you can find the instructions on our webpage.

Inspired by the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary project which has commissioned 100 writers to write 100 words about the First World War, we looking for poems, prose or short stories of exactly 100 words in length as part of a writing competition. The written piece has to be based on one of these four themes:

  • A Hampshire person (real or imaginary) who fought during WW1
  • Life at home in Hampshire during wartime
  • End of war celebrations in Hampshire
  • On the First World War battlefront

The competition is open to all ages and the winning entries along with runners up will be published in a booklet to mark the anniversary. They will also be featured on the Hampshire Libraries’ webpages. If you’re interested in taking part, or know someone who would be, have a look on our webpage to find out more and how to enter.

In conjunction with Hampshire Wardrobe, a nurse’s uniform the First World War will be touring a selection of our libraries. If you would like to see this piece of historic clothing, come along at one of the dates below.


If you would like to learn more about this dark period in time, have a look at these suggested books that are available to borrow from Hampshire Libraries.

1918: winning the war, losing the war edited by Matthias Strohn


In many ways, 1918 was the most dramatic year of the conflict. After the defeat of Russia in 1917, the Germans were able to concentrate their forces on the Western Front for the first time in the war, and the German offensives launched from March 1918 onward brought the Western Allies close to defeat. Having stopped the German offensives, the Entente started its counter-attacks on all fronts with the assistance of fresh US troops, driving the Germans back and, by November 1918, the Central Powers had been defeated.

Advance to victory: July to September 1918 by Andrew Rawson


This is the story the British Expeditionary Force’s part in the opening days of the Advance to Victory. It starts with the contribution to the Battle of Fere-En-Tardenois in July, the counter-offensive which pushed the Germans back to the River Marne. Fourth Army’s attack on 8th August was called the Black Day of the German Army but it was only the beginning of 100 days of campaigning. The narrative follows the advance as it expands across the Somme, the Artois, and the Flanders regions. Time and again the British and Empire troops used well developed combined arms tactics to break through successive lines of defence. By the end of September all five of the BEF’s armies had reached the Hindenburg Line and were poised for the final advance

Women in the Great War by Stephen Wynn and Tanya Wynn

Before the war women in the workplace were employed in such jobs as domestic service, clerical work, shop assistants, teachers, or as barmaids. These jobs were nearly all undertaken by single women, as once they were married their job swiftly became that a of a wife, mother and home maker. The outbreak of the war changed all of that. Suddenly, women were catapulted into a whole new sphere of work that had previously been the sole domain of men.

You can find more books and audiobooks on World War 1 on our website or digital books and audiobooks on Libby.