'Blighty - England, home, away from the trenches where one felt safe and could get hot food, a warm bed and feminine company. A nostalgic memory of happy times before the war or a hope for the future. Above all “a Blighty one” which was a wound, not too disabling but sufficiently serious to get a man away from the trenches and back to England; something most infantrymen longed for. For many men suffering on the Western Front, a day trip or a holiday to Brighton before the war must have been their “Blighty”. A memory of relaxed happy times with no discomfort or fear of impending death. So we called this book “Blighty Brighton”.'
The book also contains material including an account of a Brighton family at war from the scrap-books kept by Ellen Stanford between 1914 and 1918. These books contain letters and documents illustrating the stresses and strains of the long war on a family which had a wide circle of friends and family all involved in the war, worrying about possible German spies in Brighton and writing to the Chief Constable about it.
Another focus of Blighty Brighton
was the use of the Royal Pavilion
designated as a military hospital, specifically for Indian soldiers wounded in France. It was felt the soldiers would appreciate the Indian surroundings. There are stories of men, recovering consciousness amid these unexpected splendours, who believed that they had awoken in paradise. The first Indian expeditionary force began landing at Marseilles in September 1914, and eventually numbered 70,000 in France. The Indian wounded evacuated to England were nursed in special military hospitals, mainly in Brockenhurst and Brighton. The Pavilion, together with the Dome and Corn Exchange, provided 724 beds, and the Kitchener, initially intended for 1,500 Indian patients, later could accommodate 2,000.
The e-book is out in time for the Great War Centenary. This 91-paged book provides a valuable and important source of local history - a must for all those passionate about the city and its historical roots!