New history book about Northamptonshire in the First World War released for charity

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‘I’m absolutely delighted the book has come out so well’

Northamptonshire in the First World War has been eight years in the making, and it’s now finally here. Written by local author Mikesh Mistry, the book runs to 264 pages and is beautifully illustrated with over one hundred rare images. All book sale profits will be donated to charity with 50% going to the Royal British Legion and 50% to Northamptonshire Health Charities (NHS).

Drawing on several interviews of descendants of men who fought in the war and countless hours of research in dusty archives, the book takes the reader on a journey with the heroic Northamptonshire Regiment as they embark on a series of deadly battles across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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The immense impact of the war on society back in Northamptonshire is explored. The book covers the impact of conscription, military tribunals, women at work, a large prisoner of war camp in the county, media censorship, rising social tensions, the local boot industry, food shortages and much more.

Mikesh with Rob Powell from Northamptonshire Health CharitiesMikesh with Rob Powell from Northamptonshire Health Charities
Mikesh with Rob Powell from Northamptonshire Health Charities

The idea of a local history about Northampton came when the author, Mikesh, was just twenty-two years old and recently graduated in 2014. With no car, he would cycle from Kingsthorpe to the Northamptonshire Record Society in Wootton to conduct research with his laptop and camera.

To make the most use of his time at the archives, Mikesh cleverly decided to request as many documents as allowed, and instead of reading them at the archives study room, he would use his camera to quickly photograph pages before transferring the images to his laptop.

A digital archive was built using clever software featuring Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that meant typed documents (such as old newspapers) were searchable. This facility helped Mikesh organise important sections without having to print masses of materials or requiring a large office to store it all.

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November and run-up to Christmas will be a busy period for the author embarking on a tour to promote the book. There’s been a lot of interest in the book across the county, and Mikesh will be speaking at schools, pubs and churches.

There are two standout events currently planned.

On Friday 11th November, Mikesh will be at Holy Cross Church, Daventry. The beautiful 260-year-old ironstone church will play host to Mikesh as he gives a speech on how Northamptonshire was affected by the war and on importance of the war’s legacy. The event will feature live singing, including God Save the King and other favourite British patriotic songs, along with a musical accompaniment. The Mayor of Daventry will be in attendance.

Then on Saturday 19th November, the stunning All Saint’s Church in the centre of Northampton, will host an Evening with the Author night. Mikesh will discuss the making of the book, the challenges and joys of writing it, and will talk about the impact of the Great War on Northamptonshire. This event will also feature living singing by Elise Fairley, a soprano trained at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. The Deputy Mayor of Northampton will also be in attendance.

In addition, Northamptonshire in the First World War is being stocked by shops and museums up and down the county including Northampton Museum, Wellingborough Museum and Towcester Museum.

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The author, Mikesh Mistry, said: “I’m absolutely delighted the book has come out so well. It’s reflective of all the hard work that has gone into it, whether that is writing, researching or designing.

“The response to the book so far has been excellent, and I can’t wait to give speeches about the war in Northamptonshire at Daventry, Northampton and other locations. The events at Holy Cross Church and All Saints’ are going to be special evenings.

“I’m hoping to be able to raise a nice amount of money for both the NHS and Royal British Legions who do so much to help our communities.”

The book is available here:£16.99 inc postage:£19.99: