A NEW book by an Essex University professor explores how families dealt with grief in the wake of the Second World War.

Dying for the Nation by Professor Lucy Noakes looks at grief and bereavement during the 1939-1945 conflict.

The book also explores the national commemoration of the war dead on November 11 and how it represents those killed in the Second World War.

Published by Manchester University Press it uses letters, diaries and magazines and films to see how those who experienced the war felt.

Her book reveals how people had been encouraged to manage their emotions as an aspect of good citizenship during the interwar years.

"This emotional training meant that many who were bereaved believed that they should bear their grief privately,” said Prof Noakes.

“And the legacies of this kind of emotional style are something that we are still living with today.”

Prof Noakes was inspired to write Dying for the Nation after researching remembrance of the First World War during its centenary.

She said: “Death in war matters to the state, which has to convince its citizens that it will look after them, try to prevent death or injury, but care for their bodies, honour their memories, and support their families, should they be killed.

“It matters to communities, who have to find ways to protect their members, support the bereaved and ‘dispose of the dead’ in often difficult circumstances.

"And most of all it matters to individuals, threatened with their own death, or the death of those they love.

“I hope that by showing how death is at the heart of war, people will question the traditions of remembrance that are a part of our national calendar, and realise that they only give us a really partial picture of death in war and its multiple legacies, in the past and today,” Prof Noakes added.