A COMMEMORATIVE booklet has been produced covering the heroics and heartaches of Worcestershire people during the first months of the First World War.

Called WW1 Diaries, Worcestershire at War 1914 and priced at £4.99, it has been published by Newsquest and draws on the information and images in the daily war diaries the Worcester News has been carrying every day on Page Four.

Editor Peter John said: "This booklet has been a labour of love for a number of dedicated people both deeply interested in the period and deeply grateful for the sacrifices made by our forefathers and mothers. The scale of those sacrifices are revealed on page after page.

"You can see how the death toll of Worcestershire soldiers starts relatively early in the war and then steadily grows. This was no phoney war, the killing started early and went on and on and on."

However, the diaries also reveal that it was not all doom and gloom. Daily life was affected but still went on, from football and cricket matches to fairs and shows. Pulling all the information together for the booklet has been a joint effort between the staff at the Worcester News and the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, who are responsible for the Worcestershire War One Hundred Project, which draws together the county's part in the conflict and the life and times of the war years.

Among many fascinating stories in the publication's pages is an interview with the last survivor of the Battle of Gheluvelt, the tale of Woodbine Willie, the padre who went to war with cigarettes, how Worcestershire Regiment soldiers won the Victoria Cross, the ultimate award for battlefield bravery, and the work of the VAD girls who ran the volunteer medical detachments.

Mr John added: "We have weekly diaries of what was going on at home and at the front interspersed with special features. It's all here to give a truly comprehensive look at how life was when thousands of young men, many of whom had never before been beyond the county boundaries, waved goodbye to their families in Worcestershire and went to war."