ELHAS News - September 2017 - Special event to remember the Barnbow Lasses


On Saturday 30th September the internationally acclaimed folk group, 'Harp and a Monkey' entertained a full house in the Heritage Room of Cross Gates library, singing songs reminding us of the price paid not just by soldiers, but by the women who served at home during WW1. The women who served as nurses, some on the front line, those who served in munitions factories and other industries, and most poignantly those who kept the family together at home as they waited in fear of news from the front. The songs reached inside to a time when life was uncertain, long days of not knowing whether your loved one was safe or gone forever, and tears often publicly shed when a letter arrived, either of relief or unbearable sorrow.

Modern generations can only imagine what our recent ancestors endured, but can never feel in the same way they did. They were asked to fight one of the most horrific wars in history and did so out of a sense of duty. When it was all over, unforgettable sorrow and sadness over what they had endured overwhelmed the nation, strangely mixed with pride in that they had managed to win through. Harp and a Monkey echoed these sentiments in music and song. Songs with origins rooted in real life experience of some of those who were sung about. It was an unusual and moving musical tribute to ordinary people who won us our freedom and deserve to be remembered.

Family members of some of those who died in the explosion of 5th December 1916, and who worked at the Barnbow plant during WW1 were present. Afterwards they were filmed and interviewed along with ELHAS members as part of an educational project for the Western Front Association.

Andy Smith, Martin Purdy and Simon Jones of 'Harp and a Monkey' making preparations for the event.





Singing 'The Postman's Song'





The group with ELHAS members Jacki Lawrence and Peter Walls.