THIS WEEK marks the centenary of the unveiling of war memorials in many towns and villages throughout the Scottish Borders and beyond.

To commemorate the event, a local author has written a beautifully evocative book which provides a wonderful insight into Scottish life at a very particular moment in time, as viewed through the eyes of one small place and its inhabitants over the course of the First World War.

J.J Price has painstakingly researched all forty-eight names on the Earlston war memorial, and discovered who they were, what they did before the outbreak of war, and what their connection was to the village.

The result is a wonderfully evocative social history of life in an agricultural community at the start of the twentieth century, describing traditions and practices that were about to disappear with the mechanization brought about by the conflict.

A Village at War is a fitting elegy not only for those that did not return as well as being a fascinating historical account.

Earlston serves as a microcosm of all the villages in Great Britain that lost men during the years of the First World War, whose names are immortalized on similar memorials throughout the country.

Author Jeff Price told the Border Telegraph: “Whilst working in the middle east I researched my grandfather John Stanley Price who was involved in the last calvary charge of the war whilst serving with Lord Strathcona’s Horse regiment at Moreuil Wood. Since then I have visited that site and other places where the regiment fought. I also visited Ypres where a ceremony is held every night at 8pm at Menin Gate which has a memorial for 55,000 Commonwealth soldiers whose bodies were never found or identified.

“On looking at the war memorial in Earlston I noticed many of the surnames were the same as children I went to school with and realised that they were probably relatives. Most research concentrates on battles instead of those involved and where they came from and that’s what I am trying to convey in the book.”

A Village at War: Earlston 1914–1918 by J.J. Price