An article about Somerville College’s role during World War one is included in the May edition of History Today.

The feature article, which runs to seven pages, was written by Dr Frank Prochaska, a member of Somerville and the husband of the Principal.

The article examines how the College buildings were used as a hospital during the War and recounts the uncertainty some students felt over whether to volunteer for war service of some kind or whether to continue their studies.

Vera Brittain famously chose to serve as a VAD nurse at the front, leaving her studies. In her memoir Testament of Youth (recently released as a film), she summarised these years as “Oxford versus War” and “learning versus life”.

In the other direction came other great writers of the period, notably Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves, whose injuries at the front saw them dispatched to Somerville, since the College had been requisitioned as a war hospital.

The article can be accessed by buying the May edition of History Today (out 23/4) or by purchasing online access through the publication’s website. To access the article online, see ‘An Oxford Interlude‘.

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