September 20, 1918

Ashbourne Telegraph War Supplement:

A THOUSAND GERMAN PRISONERS

In August alone more than 70,000 Germans were captured in our advance on the Western Front in France. The picture above shows some of the haul – about a thousand of them in one of our “cages”.

Although there were plenty of column inches devoted to the progress of the war this week in 1918, almost all of them were in the pull-out War Supplement which had been a weekly feature of the Ashbourne Telegraph since April.

It may be no coincidence that newspaperman Lord Beaverbrook had been entrusted by the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, with setting up the Ministry of Information which, from March 1918, had taken control of all government propaganda.

Beaverbrook would have been aware of the power of the press and the growing influence of the local newspaper on its readership. The War Supplement was not produced by the Ashbourne Telegraph; it was shared by scores of other local papers. It contained a diet of sanitised conflict updates and pictures of relaxed, smiling troops, positive spin on the progress of the war and other material aimed at maintaining public morale. It was printed centrally and distributed to the host titles, complete with a customised masthead to give the impression that it was a bespoke section.

Closer to home it was reported that a former clerk at Ashbourne’s Parr’s Bank, Randall Allcock, had been killed in action on September 1. Allcock, the paper stated, had been an accomplished organist and pianist who had been ‘ever-ready’ to assist at local concerts. There were no details of where he had been killed, or with which branch of the forces he had been serving.

Given the prominence of the War Supplement it is somewhat ironic that on another page readers of the Ashbourne Telegraph were able to read the Letter from London column by ‘Thought Reader’ which purportedly exposed the massive propaganda effort by British airmen who were dropping not only shells on enemy lines but also hundreds of thousands of leaflets designed to dent morale among troops and civilians alike.

The writer said: “Official despatches tell us day by day of the regularity with which our airmen fly over German territory and drench it with high explosives; but despatches have said little, so far, about the daily drenchings we have been giving it all this summer with printer’s ink.”

The writer acknowledges the restrictions placed on freedom of speech by the Defence of the Realm Act, but asserts that it “is no offence” to make reference to the propaganda campaign.

“Our airmen, it seems, carry leaflets and pamphlets on most of their journeys (printed in German, but not in Germany!) and they rain these down on the German lines and German towns which they attack. Also, we have invented a balloon which sails on its own, when the wind is favourable, and by means of an automatic clockwork arrangement drops its literature at stated intervals in such a way that the material will be quickly found even if it is not seen to fall.”

The jingoistic Letter From London column, was in all probability syndicated or a product of the Ministry of Information itself.

Auction sales of property, household goods and, most importantly, livestock were a significant source of income for the Ashbourne Telegraph, announcements of which normally occupied two or more broadsheet columns on the front page each week.

One such advertisement which would have caught the eye this week in 1918 was Messrs WS Bagshaw and Sons’ notice of the forthcoming Great Annual Shire Foal Sale. The event, to be held over two days in the Shaw Croft, Ashbourne, was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, October 15 and 16. Readers were promised:

“400 valuable Shire colts and filly foals, brood mares, waggon horses and 1, 2, and 3 year old colt and fillies. 200 Shire colt and fillies by the most noted sires in the district and a few valuable brood mares. 200 valuable Shire mares and fillies, waggon geldings and unbroken colts.”

It would have been quite a spectacle. Bagshaws urged potential sellers to register early for a good position in the catalogue and reminded them that the previous year had seen foals making up to 120 guineas, and fillies and brood mares 180gns.

The advertisement also promised £80 in prizes

The Shaw Croft was also the venue for a Red Cross Sale to be held on Thursday September 26. Many of the activities will be familiar to readers today, although perhaps not one of the sideshow stalls listed:

“In addition to the sale there will be numerous attractions in the Shaw Croft, including roundabouts, swing boats, hoop-la, Kicking the Kaiser, goal scoring and rifle ranges.”

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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September 13, 1918

The Defence of the Realm Act, rushed into law within days of the declaration of war gave wide ranging powers to the Government, not only restricting what newspapers could report, but making it illegal to whistle for a taxi, buy binoculars or fly kites. It was also employed to introduce shorter pub opening hours and British Summer Time, among a raft of other restrictions.

Among the Government departments to make use of the Act’s provisions was the Ministry of Food which introduced a dizzying series of measures to control the supply of food.

This week in 1918 a public notice in the Ashbourne Telegraph listed a number of new regulations, including: the Jam Prices Order (No 2); the Rats Order; the Beans, Peas and Pulse Requisites (Amendment) Order; the Poultry and Game (Prices) Order’ the Grain (Prices) Order; the Grocery Syrup (Distribution to Manufacturers) Order and the Canned Salmon (Requisition) Order.

Breaching such orders could be an expensive business. The paper reported that a Yorkshire famer had been fined £112 for selling milk at 6d a quart, when the price had been fixed at half a penny less.

But there was a stout defence of the food regulations later in the paper. Under the headline Coupons or Chaos, the writer argued that it was better to live in a land where there were coupons and regulations, and food, than be exempt from regulation and suffer the consequences – famine and extreme high prices for necessities.

“Coupons and regulations, despite what a few grumblers may say against them and how would-be profiteers hate them, mean equal distribution, fair play in food for rich and poor, and a deterrent to those who are out to victimise the public by overcharging and giving small measure, or quality below the standard required by the Ministry of Food.”

News from the front was scant. Driver Isaac Swindell of the Royal Field Artillery had written to his mother at Station Cottages, Tissington, informing her that he was in hospital in Cambridge, suffering from wounds received in action on August 24.

“He received two pieces of shrapnel, one in the leg and the other behind the shoulder blade, while his head and ear were both grazed by two other pieces, and a fifth piece was stopped by a bundle of letters he had in his pocket.”

The only other Local Military Item was news that Second Lieutenant E Lee of the Derbyshire Yeomanry had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and Adjutant. He was the son of the late Mr JC Lee of Market Place, Ashbourne.

All sections of the community were striving to do their bit to support the war effort. Donations were regularly made to the Red Cross Hospital in Ashbourne and to the Ashbourne Prisoners of War Committee to fill regular parcels for the men being held in Germany. Poultry keepers donated eggs to the national appeal, while all sorts of dances, talks and entertainments raised funds for war-related causes.

One organisation – The Ashbourne Girls’ Knitting League – was formed on September 12, 1914, and over four years had sent out to soldiers and sailors no fewer than “800 woolen articles, 1,153 gifts including handkerchiefs, writing pads, soap, bootlaces, cakes, chocolate, biscuits and 10,065 cigarettes”.

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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September 6, 1918

The death of another teenage soldier was recorded in a single paragraph under the oft-repeated headline Another Ashbournian Fallen.

“We much regret to announce the death in action of Private Percy French, of the East Yorks Regiment who was killed in action on August 16th. Pte French who attained his 19th birthday last month was formerly in the employ of Messrs Lightbody and Bigham, clothiers, Church Street, and was very popular with his companions. He had been out in France about five months, during which he had witnessed and taken part in many severe engagements. The deepest sympathy is extended to the bereaved mother, who resides in South Street and the other relatives.”

A former member of the Ashbourne Telegraph staff, Pte John Broadhurst , had been injured while working in a hospital.

“A doctor and several men including himself were attending some patients at a clearing hospital when a shell dropped against them killing the doctor and several of the patients and men instantly.”

Broadhurst had written to his parents in Mayfield Road to tell them that the injuries to his face and shoulder were not serious.

And the wife of TR Blood, of the Sherwood Foresters, reported wounded and missing in September 1917 had been informed by the Army Council that he was now presumed to have died. Pte Blood was a native of Norbury, where his mother still lived. His wife and seven-year-old son lived in Burton-on-Trent.

A former gamekeeper on the Tissington Hall Estate had written to his wife in the village from his hospital bed in Egypt where he was being treated for malarial fever.

Gunner Partridge, of the Royal Garrison Artillery joined the forces in 1915 and had been on active service for more than two years without home leave.

“You will find enclosed a leaf; it is not much to look at, but [I] should like you to take care of it as I plucked it from the tree under which Jesus Christ was praying on the night of his betrayal in Gethsemane.”

He said he had been very impressed by his visit to the Golgotha where Christ had been crucified and he looked forward to telling her about it when he returned home.

Shortages of coal meant that the Government was urging people to cut back on the amount of gas used for lighting. A meeting of Ashbourne traders in the Town Hall agreed that in an effort to restrict their consumption they should shorten their hours of business. The vote was not unanimous, but the paper reported there were only “two or three dissentients”.

From September 30 Ashbourne shops would close at 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7pm on Fridays and 8pm on Saturdays.

“It was decided that hairdressers should remain open till 9pm each evening, except of course on Wednesday which is the general half-holiday.”

Mayfield School staged a presentation of a Roll of Honour to former pupils who had joined the armed forces to fight for King and Country.

The memorial, which measured five feet by 30 inches bore the inscription:

“Roll of Honour Mayfield School Old Boys who have passed through the school. Presented by the schoolchildren 1918.”

Designed by Bemrose of Derby and London, the document featured the flags of the allies and a lion sitting on the top of a massive column. It was mounted in a polished oak frame made by Mr Andrew Wilson from the village.

The roll listed 214 names, 30 of whom had lost their lives.

When the Buxton and District Agricultural Society held its inaugural annual show in 1914 it cannot have anticipated that in September of 1918 the nation would still be at war. Nevertheless the society announced that its 1918 show on September 14 would include 8 silver cups and 20 classes for shire horses, together with classes for hunters, light horses and pigs, together with butter, cheese, eggs and a large horticultural section for allotment holders.

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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August 30, 1918

Millions of animals ‘served’ in the Great War. By far the most numerous were horses, donkeys and mules, but dogs and pigeons were also used for communications.

The role of the pigeon was the subject of a brief article in the Ashbourne Telegraph which revealed that Derbyshire birds were doing their bit for King and Country.

“Few people realise what an important part the racing pigeon is playing in this war. All the birds in the British section have been given free of cost to the Government by the fanciers and it is worthy of note that Mr JW Burford of Parwich has given about 35 birds and that we have one local resident – Corporal G Ainsworth – serving in this branch of the service.”

It would appear the list published on the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war of men who died in service had not ben complete.

There were three In Memoriam notices for Lance Corporal Herbert Steeples of the Sherwood Foresters’ Lewis Machine Gun Section who died at Scartho Hospital, Grimsby, on August 16th 1917, and was now lying in a hero’s grave.

The arguments over whether men in certain jobs should be called up for military service continued with an appeal by Mr Bendle W Moore to the Derby Appeals Tribunal on behalf of 43-year-old JE Bright, a grocery assistant at Howell and Marsden’s Ashbourne store.

“Mr Moore remarked that the Ashbourne Tribunal seemed to think that working in a grocer’s shop was not of equal importance to making corsets for ladies, according to decisions in several cases on the same day. Bright was employed in the largest grocery business in Ashbourne. The chairman said the corset decisions had nothing to do with the case. They allowed six months’ exemption with leave to appeal.”

Meanwhile, the new military age regulations meant that the local tribunals were hearing cases involving men in their late 40s, including this week: Howell and Marsden’s company secretary, Frank Percy Johnson, 47; chemist packer Herbert Shaw, 49; pork butcher Henry Lumbard, 49; Hairdresser Thomas Sherrat, 49; and 50-year-old JO Atkin. All were granted a six-month exemption.

The Press Bureau-supplied war supplement continued to offer readers a diet of positive war stories and exhortations to do more to support the war effort. This week people were urged to think about ways of saving coal.

“Coal is at the bottom of everything, especially in wartime. It drives our ships, it smelts the iron from which is made the steel for our guns and shells; it is the raw material of most of our new explosives.

The depth charges which destroy the U-boats; the bombs with which our aeroplanes disturb the billets and communications of the Huns and thus save the lives of countless of our soldiers; the shells which’ Granny’ despatches into the enemy batteries all derive their force from coal.”

No opportunity to demonise the enemy was missed. Under the headline Why We Must Use Force a quote attributed to a former director of a German armaments factory read:

“The Prussian of today can only inspire the nations of Europe with a deeper hatred, can only goad them to demonic frenzy. Prussia will rob them all she can, and what she steals she will want to keep. Those whom she has conquered and oppressed will remain forever under her heel. She will force every foreign people to subordinate their civilization to her own barbarism. She believes in nothing but brute force in domestic and foreign politics alike. She recognises no power on earth but compulsion.”

Brigadier-General HA Chandos Poll-Gell sold his 5,000 acre Derbyshire estate, including Hopton Hall, the village of Carsington and valuable mineral deposits to George Key, JP, of Matlock.

And an auction sale at the Green Man Hotel saw nine adjoining houses in Green Lane, Ashbourne, go under the hammer. Although not identical, the properties each featured an entrance lobby, large living room, kitchen, pantry, three bedrooms, bath coal house and garden. They sold for as little as £270.

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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August 23, 1918

The Vicar of Tissington, the Rev Arthur Gage Hall was involved in an extraordinary court case – accused of using abusive language and interfering with the comfort of passengers on a Midland Railway train between London and Derby.

“Mr Turner, for the railway company, said the defendant called Colonel Dalgheish a pro-German, and alleged that he was in league with the Prussians. He also forced his way into a first-class compartment, though he was a third-class passenger.”

The incident happened as he train travelled between St Albans and Harpenden.

Quite how or why the vicar made the outburst was not clear, but he at first pleaded guilty, then asked for an adjournment and, finally, said he would appeal to the High Court.

“The defendant pleaded that he was a loyal subject of the King, and asked for clemency, this being his first offence. He alleged that one of the Army officers threatened to have him placed under arrest at Leicester. He said he did not know under what authority.”

The disgraced clergyman was fined £1 on each charge and ordered to pay £5 costs.

Stoker Charles Fearn drowned when his ship was wrecked ‘somewhere’ on the English coast. No details were given of the location or indeed the cause of the sinking, but the Telegraph said:

“It is thought that he remained in the engine room until it was too late to save his own life. He died nobly doing his duty for King and Country.”

Fearn, who had joined the Navy in November 1911, had served on a number of ships, latterly aboard a torpedo boat destroyer, escorting American troops across the Atlantic.

The 29-year-old had been on home leave six weeks earlier at his parents’ home in Hognaston. Readers were told he had three brothers in the Army and another in the Navy.

A military funeral was held in Ashbourne for Pte W Wyche of the Army Service Corps who died on August 11.

Wyche, who worked at Ashbourne agricultural machinery suppliers Woodisse and Desborough before joining up in March 1917, lived with his grandmother in Tunnel Yard, Church Street.

He was expecting to be sent out to France at the end of June, when he was taken ill with influenza and then developed spinal meningitis. He died in hospital in Orpington.

The funeral cortege was led by the Ashbourne Old Volunteer Band playing the Dead March. Volleys were fired over the grave by the firing party and the Last Post was sounded by Bugler G Collier.

Former Kniveton farmhand David Wheat, 30, a Private serving with the Royal West Kent Regiment, who had been reported missing on October 12, 1917, was posted as killed.

His mother, of Uttoxeter, finally received official notification that he had died on that date.

Pte JC Tully of the Grenadier Guards, who had been seriously wounded by shrapnel while serving in France was married to Miss M Price of Cheshire in a ceremony at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London.  Tully, the younger son of Mr and Mrs Tully of Osmaston Manor Gardens had been incapacitated by his injuries and was now chiefly engaged in guard duties with his regiment.

Snelston Grand Fete and Sports were advertising the Osmaston Band and dancing on the lawn. Among the other attractions were: A Load of Wood Guessing Competition, Pig Catching for Married Women and a Baby Show.

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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August 16, 1918

Although there was an Ashbournian war fatality to report, it was a sensational incident in the town which claimed most column inches this week in 1918.

The story which everyone would have been talking about was a dramatic accident at the level crossing at Clifton Station.

“A motor lorry, belonging to the Ashbourne and District Milk Producers Association, was proceeding towards the station with a load of milk, carrying 25 churns. On descending the sharp incline approaching Clifton Station the lorry apparently got out of hand and the driver, Reginald Melbourne, was unable to stop it before it crashed through the gates of the crossing which were closed against it.

At that instant the passenger train from Ashbourne reached the gates and struck the lorry broadside, carrying it before it for some 15 or 20 yards. The impact was terrific and the churns of milk were scattered in all directions whilst the now twisted and mangled lorry tore some of the platform and damaged the four-foot way.

When the train was stopped it was found that Melbourne was badly injured, and it was with some difficulty that he was extricated from the debris, whilst his companion, T Waring, who was on the lorry with him, was also seriously injured.”

The Station Master and staff called for a doctor and did all they could to assist the injured men. They were placed in a car and driven to Ashbourne Cottage Hospital. Melbourne died on the way.

His colleague, who was suffering from fractured ribs and scalp wounds, was said to be making satisfactory progress.

“Waring appears to have had a miraculous escape, as he was found lying in the four-foot way, beneath the coaches of the train, some of which, and the engine, must have passed over him.”

Unlike today, it was common for inquests into fatal accidents to be heard within days, and immediately below the accident report was a lengthy summary of the inquest held by coroner AN Whiston at St John’s Hall on the Thursday, just three days after the crash.

The hearing was told that the driver of the lorry was just 17 years old and had been working or the company for nine weeks, and only been driving a lorry for about a fortnight. Mr A Willmott, the milk producers’ association manager said had been a very promising young man.

The association’s factory foreman had been at the station when the accident happened and he told the hearing that he ran to Melbourne, who was pinned between the wreckage of the lorry and the locomotive, and the dying teenager asked him if Waring was alright.

“Witness told him not to trouble about him. Witness said to him: ‘Whatever have you been doing to get into this mess?’ and Melbourne replied ‘I couldn’t hold her back’.”

Medical evidence from the doctor who attended the scene was that Melbourne had serious injuries to his stomach and death was due to shock. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Edward Arthur Jourdain of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was reported killed in action on July 29.

Lieut-Col Jourdain was the son of the Rev Francis Jourdain the former vicar of Ashbourne. He went straight to Sandhurst from Ashbourne Grammar School, entering the army in 1888 serving with the Loyal Lancashire Regiment throughout his 30-year army career.

During the South African War, he had been awarded the DSO and he had been serving in East Africa when war was declared against Germany. Jourdain then served in Palestine and, later, France.

There was news of a promotion for an Ashbourne soldier. Sergeant-Major L Marple had been made Lieutenant and posted to the Saskatchewan battalion of the Canadian Regiment. Marple had been in Canada at the outbreak of war and joined up in the early days of the conflict. He had seen action in France for three years and twice been wounded.  His brother Arthur, a second airman mechanic was also serving in France, readers were informed.

There was an honour, too, for Nurse Litt, Matron at Ashbourne’s Red Cross Hospital.

“Amongst the names brought to the notice of the Secretary of War by the chairman of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St John of Jerusalem in England, for valuable services rendered in connection with the war, we are pleased to notice Matron Miss F W Litt, QVJLN (Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute of Nurses), Red Cross Hospital, Ashbourne.

Nurse Litt has been Matron of the hospital ever since it was opened in 1915, and during the whole of the three and half years has worked most energetically on its behalf and also carrying on her normal duties as District Nurse at the same time. The recognition is well-earned and our congratulations are extended to the recipient.”

War news in general was in short supply, but the Wetton village correspondent had a selection of updates for readers.

“During the past month Privates Harold Thompson, H Allcock, FS Thompson, and BV Marsden have been on home leave and have visited their relatives in the village.

We are very pleased to report that Mr and Mrs Wm. Gillman of No. 12, Wetton, have received news that their son, Pte. Leonard Gillman, who was reported missing after the German Offensive of March 21st, is now a prisoner of war in Germany.

We are sorry to hear the Pte Jabez Baker has been wounded in the recent fighting on the Western front, but it is pleasing to know that he is making good progress towards recovery.

Private George Redfern, after doing service for King and Country in Gallipoli and Egypt, etc. has been discharged from the army on medical grounds. Private Redfern has served from the commencement of the war, being one of the ‘contemptibles’, having served through the South African War. We wish Pte Redfern a speedy recovery and hope that he has bright future in store for him.”

Shortages of food supplies were nothing new for the people of Ashbourne as the demands of war continued to have an impact on everyday life.

The latest ‘crisis’ was over the price of jam which was said to be causing dismay amongst householders reliant on shop-bought conserves.

“But it is one of the minor ‘horrors of war’ which must be accepted with as good a grace as we can manage,” argued the Telegraph.

The paper explained that the fruit harvest of 1918 had been disappointing compared to the bumper supplies the previous year and there was a limited supply of jam.

“Naturally those whose need is greatest must be served first. There is no one to whom jam is more valuable than our soldiers in the field, and it would be a very foolish and selfish person indeed who would suggest that the soldiers should go without their jam so that civilians might have a larger share.”

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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August 9, 1918

A crowded audience in the Ashbourne Empire heard a rousing address to the nation from the Prime Minister, read by town magistrate JP Woodyatt.

“The message which I send to the people of the British Empire on the fourth anniversary of their entry into the war is ‘Hold Fast’.

“We are in this war for no selfish ends. We are in it to recover freedom for the nations which have been brutally attacked and despoiled, and to prove that no people, however powerful, can surrender itself to the lawless ambitions of militarism without meeting retribution, swift, certain and disastrous, at the hands of the free nations of the world.

“To stop short of victory for this cause would be to compromise the future of mankind.

“I say ‘Hold Fast’ because our prospects of victory have never been so bright as they are today.

“Six months ago, the rulers of Germany deliberately rejected the just and reasonable settlement proposed by the allies. Throwing aside the last mask of moderation they partitioned Russia, enslaved Roumania and attempted to seize supreme power by overwhelming the Allies in a final and desperate attack.

“Thanks to the invincible bravery of all the Allied armies it is now evident to all that this dream of universal conquest, for the sake of which they wantonly prolonged the war, can never be fulfilled.

“But the battle is not yet won. The great autocracy of Prussia will still endeavor by violence or guile to avoid defeat, and so give militarism a new lease of life.

“We cannot hope to escape the horrors of war for ourselves by laying them up for our children. Having set our hands to the task we must see it through till a just and lasting settlement is achieved.

In no other way can we ensure a world set free from war.
Hold Fast.”

While the world waited for the victory to come, little changed for the men in the field, and news continued to filter back to England.

Lieutenant Charles Thomas Chadwick, of the Royal Garrison Artillery, son of Mr and Mrs Chadwick of Belle Vue, Ashbourne, had been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.

“Whilst with the forward section of his battery, during an enemy bombardment, his contempt of danger set a fine example to the men of his detachment, and later, as the enemy approached within 400 yards of the right flank, he took charge of the men with rifles and held them off. When some of these men had expended all their ammunition he employed them in assisting the guns of a neighbouring battery. He showed a fine spirit and untiring energy.”

The fourth anniversary of the declaration of war was observed in Ashbourne with “marked solemnity”.

The Ashbourne Old Volunteer and Osmaston band led a procession of Volunteers, Boy Scouts and others through the streets of the town, joined along the way by members of the Urban Council.

On returning to the Market Place, after a hymn and prayers, Mr JP Woodyatt asked all present to bow their heads in remembrance of those who had fallen.

He said they were all thankful to those who had gone away to assist in the fighting line and other callings and urged the crowd to do all in their power to “maintain this great empire and her illustrious history”.

“Some of them were too old to go out and fight, but they could all work, and those who were left must do whatever they could.”

Canon Morris addressed the crowd, telling them it was an historic occasion: the fourth anniversary of their entrance into the greatest war the world would ever know. He believed they were beginning to see the light and by next year they would be “clearing up”.

“The only way to deal with a savage tiger or a wild dog is to kill it,” he said, and it was the same way with German militarism.”

The Ashbourne Telegraph marked the anniversary by publishing a stark list of 139 men from the district who had been killed in action or died on service.

The Roll of Honour consisted of two lines of type per man, giving their name, rank, regiment and, where known, the date of death.

“In the following list some attempt has been made to place the casualties in chronological order, but ins some instances the actual date of death has not been announced in our columns. With the object of acquiring an accurate list of the casualties from the Ashbourne districts, the editor respectfully requests relatives to supply him with the missing information where possible.”

Skellern, Pte. George, Sherwood Foresters, September 20th, 1914.
Chell, Pte. Charles, Sherwood Foresters, October 13th, 1914.
Slater, Pte. Owen, Grenadier Guards, October 30th, 1914.
Salt, Corpl. Reginald, Royal Engineers, November 4th, 1914.
Tunnicliffe, Pte. Joseph, Sherwood Foresters, March 12th, 1915.
Blake, Pte. Walter, Sherwood Foresters, April 9th, 1915.
Bull, Pte. F.G., Sherwood Foresters, April 9th, 1915.
Harrison, Lce Corpl. A., Sherwood Foresters, April 9th, 1915.
Woodyatt, Pte. John Gladstone, Sherwood Foresters, April 29th, 1915.
Harthill, Pte. Harold, Sherwood Foresters, May 5th, 1915.
Walton, Pte. H., North Staffs. Regt.
Tunnicliffe, Pte. Thos., 18th Hussars, May 22nd, 1915.
Ford, Pte. Alec, Sherwood Foresters, May 25th, 1915.
Hudson, Pte. Thos., Middlesex Regt., July 24th, 1915.
Kitchen, Pte. H., Royal Engineers, August 12th, 1915.
Hudson, Pte. George Henry, Sherwood Foresters, August 21st, 1915.
Braddock, Pte. C.T., Australian Force, August, 1915.
Wibberley, Sergt. W.A., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Bailey, Lce-Corpl., G., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Harding, Lce-Corpl., A., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Carter, Pte., C., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Thompson, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Bradley, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Wardle, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Hollinshead, Pte., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Hunter, Sergt., Leslie, Vancouver (Canadian) Battalion, September, 1915.
Roberts, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Massey, Pte., N., Highland Light Infantry, October 2nd, 1915.
Johnson, Pte., W., Sherwood Foresters, October 15th, 1915.
Carter, Pte., Thos., Sherwood Foresters, October 15th, 1915.
Deakin, Pte., H., Sherwood Foresters, December 15th, 1915.
Wardle, Major, J. R., Glasgow Yeomanry, January 2, 1916.
Rigby, Capt., F. J., Seaforth Highlanders, January 21st, 1916.
Clowes, Col., H. A., Staffordshire Yeomanry, March, 1916.
Houseley, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, April 3rd, 1916.
Bradshaw, Sergt.-Major, J., Welsh Fusiliers, May, 1916.
Wetherall, Midshipman, G.P.C. HMS “Russell” May, 1916.
Tudball, Lieut., Denzil, R.N., June, 1916.
Swindell, Pte., T.J., Canadian Regt., June, 1916.
Allen, Rifleman, F., K.R.R., June 25th, 1916.
Callow, Sec.-Lieut., D., Sherwood Foresters, July 2nd, 1916.
Boden, Pte., G., Sherwood Foresters, July 5th, 1916.
Wibberley, Lnc.-Corpl., F., Sherwood Foresters, July 11th, 1916.
Kirkland, Lce.-Corpl., J.W., Royal Warwicks., July 18th, 1916.
Melbourne, Pte., F., Sherwood Foresters, July 20th, 1916.
Astle, Pte., W.A., Army Service Corps, July, 1916.
Naylor, Pte., J., Royal Warwicks., July 25th, 1916.
Moon, Pte., F., Cheshires, July 26th, 1916.
Slater, Pte., H.G., Sherwood Foresters, August, 1916.
Gilman, Lce.-Corpl., J., Lancashire Fusiliers, August 30th, 1916.
Moult, Sec.-Lieut. S.W., Sherwood Foresters, September, 1916.
Spencer, Pte., H., Sherwood Foresters, September, 1916.
Thompson, Pte., Adair, Royal Sussex Cycling Corps, September 3rd, 1916.
Colclough, Pte., F., Sherwood Foresters, September, 1916.
Smith, Pte., W., Canadian-Camerons, September 16th, 1916.
Wilson, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, September 13th, 1916.
Forman, Lce.-Corpl., E., Sherwood Foresters, September 16, 1916.
Birch, Pte., F., North Staffs. Regt., September, 1916.
Braddock, Pte., J., Northumberland Fusiliers, September 15th, 1916.
Chadwick, Pte., W.F., Durham Light Infantry, September 16th, 1916.
Stafford, Sec.-Lieut., Owen, Duke of Wellington’s Regt., October 4th, 1916.
Sargeant, Pte., Harry, Lancashire Fusiliers, October 12th, 1916.
Bentley, Sergt., G., Royal Marine Artillery, November 29th, 1916.
Brown, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, December, 1916.
Sellers, Gunner., W.J., Royal Garrison Artillery, January, 1917.
Hood, Rifleman H. G., Rifle Brigade, January 24th, 1917.
Coxon, Pte., W.T., Australian Infantry, February, 1917.
Harding, Pte., Rowland, King’s Own Lancashire Regt., February 9th, 1917.
Wright, Pte., G., Durham Light Infantry, February 11th, 1917.
Jones, Bombardier Wilfred, R.F.A., February 22nd 1917.
Blood, Pte., T., Sherwood Foresters, March 1917.
Barker, Corpl., S., Sherwood Foresters, March 10th 1917.
Silvester, Pte., A., K.O.Y.L.I, April 9th 1917.
Courtman, Trooper Fred, 18th Hussars, April 11, 1917.
Lowndes, Corpl., Gilbert, Sherwood Foresters, April 27th 1917.
Sowter, Pte., C., Lincolnshire Regt., May 1917.
Hudson, Pte., A.E., Sherwood Foresters, April 27th 1917.
Allen, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, May 1917.
Legrice, Pte., Wilfred., Lancashire Fusiliers, May 1917.
Millward, Pte., Fred, Sherwood Foresters, May 1917.
Leason, Pte., A., King’s Royal Rifles, June 1917.
Mellor, Pte., G., Scottish Rifles, June 1917.
Maskery, Able Seaman, Albert E., June 14th, 1917.
Roe, Pte., George, Sherwood Foresters, June 22nd, 1917.
Simmonds, Lce.-Corpl., E., Sherwood Foresters, June 1917.
Hellaby, Signaller., J., Sherwood Foresters, July 7th, 1917.
Hadfield, Pte., T., Lincolns, July 16th, 1917.
Thacker, Pte., W., Royal Garrison Artillery, July 31st, 1917.
Atkins, Rifleman Frank, Rifle Brigade, July 31st, 1917.
Boden, Pte., Claud, R.A.M.C., July 31st, 1917.
Ward, Pte., Charles, Seaforth Highlanders, August 3rd, 1917.
Cox, Pte., F.W., Sherwood Foresters, August, 1917.
Hawksworth, Corpl., A., King’s Royal Rifles, August, 1917.
Taylor, Pte., J. Clifford, Sherwood Foresters, August 19th, 1917.
Faulkner, Pte., Mark, Lincolns, August 26th, 1917.
Wallis, Lce.-Corpl., Frank, Grenadier Guards, September, 1917.
Baker, Pte., Herbert, Sherwood Foresters, September, 1917.
Plowman, Pte. G.W., Royal Scots., September 24, 1917.
Mainwaring, Pte., G., Sherwood Foresters, October, 1917.
Smith, Sec.-Lieut., R.W.S., Royal Flying Corps, October, 1917.
Etherington, Pte., G., Sherwood Foresters, October 24th, 1917.
French, Lce.-Corpl., Frederick T., Leicester Regt., October, 1917.
Courtman, Pte., Henry, Machine Gun Corps, October, 1917.
Allen, Pte., H., Royal Scots, October, 1917.
Hepworth, Bombardier D., Royal Field Artillery, October 21st, 1917.
Stevenson, Lce,-Sergt., J., Sherwood Foresters, November, 1917.
Burton, Bombardier Walter, Royal Field Artillery, November, 1917.
Silvester, Pte., Arthur, Machine Gun Corps, November, 1917.
Kettle, Pte., G.H., Royal Berks. Regt., November 28th, 1917.
Naylor, Pte., F., North Staffs. Regt., November 29th, 1917.
Mellor, Pte., A., North Staffs. Regt., December, 1917.
Twigge, Pte., J.W., Sherwood Foresters, December 1st, 1917.
Avery, Sergt., Harry, Sherwood Foresters, January, 1918.
Moorcroft, Sergt., F., Sherwood Foresters, January, 1918.
Leach, Pte., H., North Staffs Regt., February 27th, 1918.
Lee, Pte., James, Sherwood Foresters, March 11th, 1918.
Walker, Gunner Neville, Royal Field Artillery, March 27th, 1918.
Henstock, Capt., A.F.N, M.C., Sherwood Foresters, March 24th, 1918.
Beresford, Bombardier R.H., Royal Field Artillery, March 24th, 1918.
Potter, Gunner Frank, W., Royal Garrison Artillery, March, 1918.
Harrison, Pte., J., Yorkshire Regiment, March 21, 1918.
Locker, Pte., J.W., Durham Light Infantry, March, 1918.
Gadsby, Driver Bertram, Royal Field Artillery, March, 1918.
Mellor, Pte., G., West Yorks. Regt., April 18, 1918.
Wibberley, Pte., Harry, Sherwood Foresters, April, 1918.
Webster, Pte., W., Hampshire Regt., April 11, 1918.
Oakley, Pte., E.W., Royal Fusiliers, April 15th, 1918.
Bennett, Sergt., G.W., Sherwood Foresters, April, 1918.
Ward, Pte., R., Durham Light Infantry, April 27th, 1918.
Henshaw, Pte., W., West Yorks Regt., April, 1918.
Barker, Pte., R., Labour Battalion, April 27, 1918.
Blood Pte., Frederick, Sherwood Foresters, May 20th, 1918.
Hudson, Pte., W., Sherwood Foresters, May, 1918.
Spencer, Pte., J.R., South Staffs Regt., June, 1918.
Oakes, Pte., W., North Staffs Regt., June 3rd, 1918.

Died while in training:
Haywood, Colonel B.C.P.
Walker, Lieut. P.A.C.
Bull, Col.-Sergt., F.
Leason Pte. H.

The Ashbourne Prisoners of War Committee reported that it had received many letters from Ashbourne men serving with the Sherwood Foresters who had been interned in Germany since 1914 but were now in Holland. The Telegraph reproduce one such letter, from Private Frank O’Connor which thanked the committee for sending parcels which brightened up ‘many a dark day’ during their confinement in Germany.

He said that conditions in Holland were much better, but complained:

“The food here is scarce and not very good, but of course we must not grumble as we are a lot better off than the poor lads in Germany who we left behind.”

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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August 2, 1918

As the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war approached, Ashbourne was preparing to mark the occasion.

The Ashbourne Volunteers, the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides and others were planning to assemble in the Market Place at 9.15am on Sunday, before marching around the town, led by Ashbourne Old Volunteer and Osmaston bands.

On returning to the Market Place there was to be a public meeting with several addresses, prayers led by Canon Morris, concluding with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.

The Watchbox column on page 2 welcomed the steps being taken to commemorate four years’ struggle against the German war machine.

“When it is recalled that we entered into this war, not for any national gain but for the defence of smaller nations, and for the checking of a very ominous intention of a powerful and unscrupulous nation, and when we remember the thrilling heroism of our gallant forces and those of our allies it is as well that such an anniversary should not pass unnoticed.”

One can only imagine the relief felt by Mrs Pegge, of Clifton, whose son Harry had been missing since April, when she received notification that he was uninjured, but being held a prisoner in Germany.

Pte Pegge had written home from Stamm-Lager (PoW camp) in Parchim, Germany, on April 13 to tell his mother he was in good health.

“Pte Pegge, was formerly on the office staff of Messrs. Nestle at Ashbourne and joined the army when he reached 18. He was sent out to France in December last. The last communication his mother had from him was dated March 18th and although exhaustive enquiries had been made concerning him, no information could be obtained until the receipt of the welcome postcard.”

The Allen family of Osmaston, who had already lost a son – Rifleman F Allen, killed on June 23, 1916 – had heard that another son had been injured while serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment. Bert, who had joined up on reaching his 18th birthday in 1917, had been injured by shrapnel in France. According to military authorities he was ‘progressing favourably’ in a hospital in Huddersfield.

A third son had been out in Salonica for nearly three years and had not yet had a period of home leave.

Matlock Police Court heard a charge of bigamy against a soldier. Private Charles Sutor, of the Welsh Guards, was said to have been wounded in France and while convalescing in Darley Dale met and married Miss Mary Hinton of Darley Dale, despite already being married. The court heard that Sutor had married Miss Annie Taylor, a cotton weaver, of Accrington, in 1915. At the time of that marriage he was said to have been a widower. He was sent for trial at Derbyshire Assizes.

Meanwhile in Ashbourne Police Court Blacksmith Thomas Williams was charged with stealing vegetables from allotments at the top of Old Hill, Ashbourne. Constable Brooksbank described how he had seen him pulling up potatoes and when challenged he was found to have some onions as well. Williams admitted the charge.

“The chairman said the bench considered it a contemptible and miserable theft, especially at a time when people were doing all they could to grow food to relieve the present stress. Williams would have to go to gaol for one month’s hard labour.”

The Ashbourne Telegraph continued to carry its Press Bureau-supplied War Supplement, this week illustrated by a drawing of an aerial battle in the skies over France. Before advances in photography this would have been the only way to depict this most-recent form of warfare. This example featured the Red Baron.

“Drawn by Mr Joseph Simpson to illustrate how the German crack airman Baron Richtofen, while attacking a British aeroplane from behind was himself attacked from behind and shot down. The air was full of machines – it was what flying men call a ‘dog fight’.”

Wirksworth farmer and milk-seller Joseph Holmes was fined £7 and ordered to pay £1 advocate’s fees for selling milk containing 33 per cent added water. Derbyshire Foot Inspector William Etchells told the court it was the second-worst sample he had ever taken.

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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July 26, 1918

Ashbourne Police Court heard the case of George Henry Maddison, accused of being a deserter from the Notts and Derby Regiment. The court was told that Maddison had been missing from his command since April 6.

“Sergt. Burfoot stated that at 10pm on Sunday last he met prisoner, who was in civilian clothes on the Buxton Road, Hartington Nether Quarter. Witness questioned him and asked for his registration card, but prisoner could not produce one. Witness took him into custody and subsequently found that prisoner had been missing from his depot in Sunderland since April 6.”

Maddison pleaded guilty and was remanded to await a military escort.

An open air meeting opened War Weapons Week at Rocester and after a ‘stirring address’ from Mrs Tippett money flowed into the fund – far exceeding expectations. The total of £3,600 subscribed was said to be more than enough to obtain an aeroplane and an anti-aircraft gun.

There was no news of soldiers or sailors from the Ashbourne District. The only war content was contained in the weekly War Supplement, which in the benefit of hindsight is clearly propaganda from the War Office, designed to bolster public opinion.

It is difficult to believe that, even in 1918 the public did not see this section as anything more than positive ‘spin’, but from the publisher’s point of view it enabled the Ashbourne Telegraph to increase pagination from four to six pages and give, at least the impression of being, better value for money.

Alongside a “Sheaf of War Stories” with tales of British and Allied forces there were sanitised pictures of British soldiers harvesting fodder for their horses, a Charlie Chaplin look-alike entertaining soldiers in their dug out and a tree shattered by a shell. No pictures here of the battlefields where tens of thousands of men were losing their lives.

Steps to bring the war to an end by agreeing a treaty with Germany had been described as a “Hugger-Mugger Peace” by David Lloyd George, and the theme was taken up by a correspondent writing under the nom de plume ‘Sentinel’.

“Every good workman prides himself of finishing off his job so it will stand the test of time and wear and tear. Only the bad an unconscientious cabinet maker would send out an article full of cracks and splits filled up with putty and concealed with a lick of paint. It is sometimes done, we think, but it is shoddy, gimcrack work.”

A message from Lloyd George was reproduced on the second page of the supplement to help gird still greater resolve among the population.

“Germany has waged three wars, and each time she has added through those wars to her strength, to her power, to her guidance, to her influence; and each successive war she has waged inevitably encouraged her on to the next. If she had had one check you would not have had this war. If this war succeeds in adding one cubit to her stature, or adding a single iota to her strength, it will simply raise the ideal of militarism, for which the world is being sacrificed at this time. The god of brute force must this time and forever be broken and burnt in its own furnace. That is the only way in which you will secure peace.”

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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July 19, 1918

A curious headline on the back page of the Ashbourne Telegraph of July 19, 1918, catches the eye – Save Fruit Stones and Nut Shells.

The text states that all fruit stones and hard nut shells were needed “at once by the Government for a special war purpose”.

That purpose was not made clear, but the article continued:

“Householders are urgently requested by the National Salvage Council not to allow stones and shells to be destroyed or wasted. In rural districts It is hoped that those who are able organise collection of these materials and will do so without delay. It is suggested that ‘Stone and Shell Clubs’ should be formed wherever possible and that the help of very householder should be enlisted in meeting this urgent demand.”

Readers were urged to dry the stones in the sun or a warm oven, and ensure that stones and shells were packed separately, in sacks if possible, and sent by rail to Captain Ricketts at the Gas Works in Southend-on-Sea.

“Every stone and shell collected will contribute to the safety of our soldiers at the front and help to win the war.”

The lack of information as to why such an appeal was being launched may have been because the purpose was well known, but it appears odd not to have made it explicit.

We now known that the German use of toxic gases during the Great War caused asphyxiation, convulsions, blindness and, all too often a slow painful death.

Towards the end of the war it became apparent that gas mask filters using charcoal from burning fruit stones and nutshells were significantly more effective than standard-issue charcoal filters.

The appeal in the Telegraph was part of a national campaign which would see Boy Scouts enlisted to collect the nuts shells and stones.

What we don’t know is whether this appeal resulted in a supply of shells from Ashbourne being converted to gas mask filters and saving lives at the front. It is possible that any collection came too late to deliver safer masks to troops in what was to prove to be the latter weeks of the war.

The editor of the Ashbourne Telegraph, who had sent a copy of the paper to Private A Gallimore,  a former apprentice, by 1918 serving with the Army Service Corps Motor Transport Section, had received a reply.

Gallimore said he had been delighted to read about Ashbourne out in Mesopotamia, which he described as a “desolate and god-forsaken country”.

He related an eight-week voyage, twice crossing the equator before landing in January. The days were extremely hot and the nights bitterly cold, he said, and he described the “awful monotony” of the landscape, with “not a blade of grass or herb to be seen anywhere”.

In February he had sailed 500 miles up the river Tigris in a steam boat, and he described the journey, and the villages he saw on the riverbank.

“Their dwellings are very crude, and the average English poultry keeper would scarcely care to house his fowls in them. But the Arab has never known any other conditions, and is apparently very happy and contented with his lot.”

Gallimore described the noisy scenes in the bazaars of Baghdad and the bartering of merchants and customers; the sandstorms and the “great pest” – insects and flies.

“Boiled rice served at dinner has often the appearance of a current pudding on account of the number of flies which immediately settle upon it.”

Gallimore was writing while waiting for a boat to take him to another front – “nearer Blighty for preference”.

There was the briefest of news of Private J Mellor of Brassington, reported to have been gassed and now under treatment in a London hospital. Privates R and S Swindell, also of the village were both on sick leave while Private Harry Seals was home on leave.

There were a couple of scarcely-credible statistics hidden in an item based on a Ministry of Food pamphlet How To Eke Out The Fat, urging households not to waste such an important source of energy. After promoting the use of dripping for cooking and bone marrow as a replacement for suet in baked and steamed puddings, the advice continued:

“Even with the greatest care in the use of fat there is bound to be a certain amount of waste fat, in the washing up water for instance.  But this need not be thrown away. Large quantities of fat are required in the manufacture of explosives. If every housewife or cook who is visited by a rag and bone merchant could take the trouble to save and sell him the grease from washing up water the total amount of fat thus collected instead of choking the drains would be of great service to the country.”

The story claimed that the fat collected from army camps had produced sufficient tallow to provide soap for the entire needs of the army, navy and government departments and 1,800 tons of glycerine – enough to propel 18 million shells.

A single paragraph on the back page, sandwiched between advertisements for a Buxton agricultural merchants and Nestle’s Milk details one woman’s anguish and loss.

“Mrs Simpson of Leek (Staffs) after travelling to Dover to find her son Sidney had died of wounds received in France returned home and discovered that another son, Fred had shot himself. A third son, Harry, was reported missing 12 months ago and is now presumed dead, and a fourth, Percy is serving in France.”

Advertisers had occasionally used wartime themes in order to promote their wares. This week it was the turn of CH Coates of The Square Ashbourne, whose advertisement on page 2 read:

“Camouflage. Everyone has heard of camouflage in connection with the war, but there is another form of camouflage – In business.

Poor material and badly made goods, camouflaged in order to conceal faults, are being dumped on the public at exorbitant prices.

We are out to fight against this and guarantee that every article passed over out counters gives you the maximum value for the minimum price. An ounce of experiment is worth a ton of theory.

Give us a trial today.”

The rationing and control of food continued with the introduction of the Livestock (Sales) Order of 1918 which dictated to which market farmer may sent their beasts. Introduced under the all-encompassing Defence of the Realm Act of 1914 it made it an offence for a farmer to move livestock into a different market area. Two complete columns of the Ashbourne Telegraph were filled with public notices relating to parishes falling within the areas of Ashbourne, Bakewell, Belper and Matlock markets.

Following a warning that it was an offence to send for sale, or sell for slaughter, to any other market than that prescribed under the order, the notices clarified the rules still further:

“If any owner of Live Stock fit for slaughter is farming or grazing land in two adjoining parishes, which are tied to different market, he must send all stock fit for slaughter to the market to which the parish in which his house is situated is tied.”

  • My fellow researcher and former De Montfort University colleague John Dilley is conducting a similar real-time project with the Market Harborough Advertiser. Check out his Newspapers and the Great War blog
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