Writer chronicles sacrifices made by people in conflict

Author Jane Cotter

Author Jane Cotter Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Headington and Marston. Call me on (01865) 425411

A MUSEUM volunteer has put pen to paper to describe the sacrifices made by county residents during the First World War.

Jane Cotter spent a year researching and writing Great War Britain: Oxfordshire.

These included hours at Oxfordshire History Centre, Temple Road, Oxford, and Woodstock’s new Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.

The History Press has published the 160-page book in association with the museum, where the 40-year-old volunteers.

Mrs Cotter, of Woodley Green, Witney, has a personal interest in the project as her great-uncle Frank Waine died from illness while a private in the 4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on May 14, 1916.

He is buried in the Villers Bocage Communal Cemetery Extension, near Amiens, France. Earlier this month Mrs Cotter visited his grave.

Oxford Mail:

  •  Jane Cotter's great uncle Private Frank Waine

The freelance writer of 17 years said: “My interest stems back to my grandfather, Dennis Waine, who grew up in Wolvercote and lost his father and older brother.

“I grew up hearing tales about when he was younger, so that’s where my interest came from.”

The book was published this month to mark 100 years since Britain joined the conflict.

The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry lost 15,800 men from the 12 battalions it raised to fight on France and Belgium’s Western Front, Mesopotamia, Italy and Macedonia in the Balkans.

The book includes stories about the 15,000 members of Oxford University who served in the forces.

About 2,700 lost their lives, 70 per cent of whom were aged under 30.

Oxford Mail:

  •  Private Frank Waine's grave near Amiens, France

Mrs Cotter, a mother of two, said the book had more to offer than just a military history of Oxfordshire in the Great War.

More women in the workplace, the influx of Belgian refugees to Oxford and Banbury’s munitions factory are all topics.

She said: “As well as looking at the actions of the Oxfordshire regiments during the war, the book provides insight into the roles our predecessors played on the home front. People will learn about the role their community played and how war affected ordinary people.”

The book is available, priced £12.99, from The History Press, with five per cent going to the SOFO museum, which opened in June.

The Oxford Mail has launched an innovative way of reporting the war – both on the front line and how the conflict affected our city, towns and villages – in 'real time' using Twitter. We are posting updates and pictures daily reporting events of exactly 100 years earlier, including how the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry are progressing and other home front issues such as fears of German spies roaming the countryside, efforts to support the troops and families and the wounded being treated in the city. Keep up at @OxfordMailWW1

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