YP Comment: Remembering heroines of WW1

AS the centenaries of the First World War's defining battles are commemorated with solemn appreciation about the sacrifices made in the name of liberty, these landmarks have also led to increased awareness about the losses on the Home Front.

This was particularly pertinent at a poignant service to mark the deaths of 35 women who were blown up in a blast at the Barnbow Munitions factory at Cross Gates, Leeds. That Historic England has now given this site heritage protection is testament to the importance of its work and the risks encountered far away from the Somme’s merciless battlefields.

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It goes beyond this. At a time when society feels divided, and communities fragmented, an increased focus on social history – and local events which shaped the Yorkshire of today – can only help younger generations from all backgrounds, and faiths, to become more appreciative of their surroundings.

Though school history curriculums have become prescriptive because of political interference, there should be scope for projects on tragedies like the Barnbow disaster. In this regard, the past could, in fact, hold the key to unlocking a more cohesive society for the future.