The Rutherford Chronicles – Part 1

Joe Rutherford, a young shipbuilder from Jarrow, in the northeast of England, is unusual among his peers. He was fortunate to attend school long enough to learn to read, and becomes an inspiring teller of stories about the current war in southern Africa; stories he has gleaned from the British press. Soon, despite the opposition of their loved ones, he and his friends decide to join the British Army, and set out on an adventure they couldn’t possibly have expected from the newspaper reports Joe has been relaying to them.

Shipped out to join the existing forces after only minimal training, they soon encounter the harsh and terrifying reality of war; the atrocities on both sides, the loss of friends and comrades, and the desperation of holding on to friendships, relationships and romance in the light of what may be a very short life ahead of them. They also learn to understand the commonality of humankind the world over, whether it be found in friends or enemies.


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The Rutherford Chronicles – Part 2

Having served in the Second Anglo-Boer War and, afterwards, in India, supporting the British Raj, Joe Rutherford and his marras, Mike, Jack and Fred return to Jarrow and their old way of life in shipbuilding. They marry and settle happily for a while until WWI erupts in mid-1914. As reservists, Joe and his friends feel duty-bound to sign up again, and re-join their old regiment, shipping out to the Western Front in France.

There they experience the horrors of this terrible conflict, spending a month and a day in the trenches, and charging across open, sodden fields under constant fire. Jack and Fred both lose their lives, and Joe and Mike are captured and taken to a series of POW camps, where they are to spend the rest of the war.

In the camps, Joe resumes his role as storyteller, relating not only his and Mike’s own story but also those of the other prisoners, who arrive almost daily with their own tales.


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The Rutherford Chronicles – Part 3

Peace and prosperity returned to Europe and the British Empire for a while. Joe came back from the war a broken man. His wife was able to nurse him back to strength, and he returned to his pre-war job in the shipyards. But the stock market crashes of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s caused new misery as millions lost their jobs. In this third part of The Rutherford Chronicles, you will share the anguish of these troubled times as the world slides into yet another World War on multiple fronts. You will follow the migration of impoverished North East workers and their families, including Joe’s, as they left their closing mines and declining shipyards for a new life in a burgeoning South.

In Germany, Adolf Hitler was on the rise and leading his people, hungry and disillusioned by the loss of the Great War, out of the Depression and into a rapid expansion of Germany’s economy and territory. Not long after, World War Two began, and once more, the colonies and dominions of the British Empire rushed to help Britain fight this old enemy. 


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