The latest in Huddersfield Local History Society’s series of monthly online talks focuses on some of the forgotten veterans of the First World War.
In her talk, entitled Veteran’s Voices: Storthes Hall and the Long Shadow of Shell Shock, Dr Alice Brumby tells the story of some of the ex-servicemen who were being treated at the former Kirkburton hospital as a result of their wartime experiences.
Introducing Dr Brumby’s talk, Cyril Pearce, chairman of Huddersfield Local History Society, describes the story she tells as ‘both poignant and shameful.
It deals with the long-term mental health damage done during the First World War to thousands of British soldiers. What today is diagnosed as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was then called ‘shell shock.’
Dr Brumby, who lectures in Modern History at York St John University, specialises in the history of mental health care in the 19th and 20th centuries. She believes that there is an awareness of the events that led to the breakdown of men during the First World War but says she”‘wanted to find what happened to the ordinary Tommy after the Armistice, what happened to the men who did not recover and were left to pick up the pieces of their lives.”
Using words taken from the men’s own accounts, together with surviving case notes, Dr Brumby tells the story of six of these ex-servicemen and the different ways in which they responded to their hospitalisation.
Dr Brumby’s talk has been recorded on YouTube by Huddersfield Local History Society and is free to view. The link to her talk can be found on the society’s website or through the society’s YouTube channel.
It is the seventh talk in the society’s 2020-2021 season, all of which are available to view. More information about Huddersfield Local History Society’s talks can be found at https://www.huddersfieldhistory.org.uk/