This, one of my most recent academic articles, is a micro-history of a peculiar series of events in Le Havre during August 1917 and 1918. 
Popular perceptions of 1914-1918 focus on the trenches. Yet, much of soldiers’ time was spent in rear areas and many men never reached the frontlines. By studying life behind the lines it is possible to offer new perspectives on the experience of the Great War. In August 1917 and 1918 the British Expeditionary Force took over the usually quiet paths and lawns of Le Havre’s Jardin St. Roche, which the mayor of the town had agreed to loan to the base commandant. Rather than engaging in battle with the enemy, BEF servicemen and Belgian military personnel, alongside French civilians, were displaying the fruits (and vegetables) of their more peaceful labours. As part of a programme encouraging the cultivation of unused land around the surrounding camps, a vegetable competition was organised in which it was onions, beets, and kale rather than bullets, grenades, and shells that were the produce of war. This article explores the ways in which the organisation of these events can throw light on the broader history of the British Army during the First World War. In doing so, it provides novel insights into the functioning of the BEF and the experiences of the men serving in it.

This is the abstract for this article, which has been accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press' The Historical Journal, Vol. 64 Issue 5 (Dec. 2021), pp. 1355-1378.

You can access the final article here (open access).

This research was showcased in The Times (paywall) and on Times Radio. It also featured on the subreddit r/history.