Portland's links to wars are revealed in a new book

Dorset Echo: The annual Sunday Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall The annual Sunday Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall

PORTLAND’S connection with the Cenotaph in London, a soldier who was one of the first to go into action in a tank, and a policeman who saw the devastation at Hiroshima are among the fascinating articles contained in a new publication.

They are all in the 2014 Dorset Year Book, which takes its theme as the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

Published by The Society of Dorset Men, it contains historic and topical articles on the life and times of Dorset people, events, towns and villages, incorporating many interesting photographs and illustrations.

Some of the articles are connected with war and soldiers, such as how the stone for the Whitehall Cenotaph originated in a long-gone Wakeham quarry; the story of Gunner Roy Reiffer who in 1916 climbed aboard one of the first tanks on the battlefield; and PC Bert Beavis who, before he joined the Dorset Constabulary, was in the Royal Navy and witnessed the first atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima.

The year book, the 105th to be published, is the first to be edited by Trevor Vacher-Dean of Weymouth, a former publican and policeman.

He said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to become editor of the Dorset Year Book, following in the footsteps of some very distinguished Dorset people.

“It was a daunting task, but I set about it with a good heart and much enthusiasm. I am ever proud to be a Dorset man and shall do my best to continue upholding the traditional values of this ever popular publication.”

The first Dorset Year Book was published in 1904, the year The Society of Dorset Men was founded and royal surgeon Sir Frederick Treves became the first president. Today, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes holds the title.

The book is sent free to all members but is available for £6 at local shops including Books Afloat in Weymouth, Waterstones in Dorchester and Bridport, Cards & Celebrations at Easton, and Dorchester TIC.

It can also be ordered from Andy Hutchings, 23 Hereford Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 0QB for £7.50. Make cheques payable to The Society of Dorset Men.

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