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'One of the best plays ever written about the First World War'GUARDIAN
'To say that it leaves you emotionally shattered feels like an insult to those bygone souls and the horrors the faced, but quietly shattering it is, all the same'DAILY TELEGRAPH
A battalion of 1,000 young men raised in 1914 from volunteers in the Accrington area of East Lancashire go to war. They are destined to see their first real action on 1st July 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, still regarded as the greatest British military disaster with huge loss of life. Not many return to Accrington alive or intact.
Whelan's play traces these men's history through individual stories, but his special interest lies in the lives of the women left behind, battling with their own problems, deprived of their relationships with husbands and lovers, undertaking traditionally male roles, and kept in doubt by the misinformation of wartime propaganda.
Their moving stories interweave in scenes that are often comic, but which reach a devastating climax as the news of the disastrous battle finally reaches them.
Commentary and notes by John Davey.