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Darley Dale author writes untold story of World War One

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One hundred years after the start of the Great War, a Dales author has published a book which tells the untold story of how Britain joined the conflict.

Duncan Marlor, of Darley Dale, has written Fatal Fortnight, which re–examines the arguments heard by the House of Commons against British entry into World War One.

“It’s taken me ten years to write this book,” Duncan, a former classics and history teacher, said.

“It’s an amazing story about the start of the First World War. There were quite a lot of MPs who were opposed to it.”

In particular the book focuses on Arthur Ponsonby, who was chairman of the Liberal Foreign Affairs Committee.

“He gathered his people together and they passed are solution to go against going to war,” Duncan said.

He added: “I tried to convey the natural drama that was there at the time.”

The book is the result of years of research on Duncan’s part.

“I’ve been to a lot of libraries, archive offices and newspapers,” Duncan continued. “I have been to Oxford University several times to read Hansard.”

He even visited the ancestral home of Arthur Ponsonby in Sussex and stayed with his granddaughters. While there he was able to look through letters and diaries relating to the time.

The 68–year–old said, prior to going to war, members of Parliament were predicting that many lives would be lost.

“It’s wrong to think that it was unexpected, but these things are forgotten,” he added.

Duncan has dedicated his book to his great uncle and namesake, Duncan Marlor, who was a machine gunner during World War One.

“The timing of the book is just perfect because it’s going to be the 100 anniversary of the start of World War One soon,” he said.

Duncan previously found success with These Wonderful Rumours, an edited collection of his mother’s wartime diaries.

Fatal Fortnight has been published by Pen and Sword. It it is available in hardback, costing £25. For more, visit www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

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