Yet another name was added to the Ashbourne Roll of Honour this week in 1917 – that of Lance-Corporal Frank Wallis of the Grenadier Guards.
“The gallant young soldier who was about 22 years of age was formerly employed at Messrs Howell & Marsdens, Ashbourne, and was a prominent member of the Ashbourne Wednesday football team,” the Telegraph reported.
Wallis, whose mother lived in Mayfield Road, volunteered in December 1914 and had been wounded in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. Once recovered he returned to the front line but was ‘dangerously wounded’ on September 13, and died later the same day.
The paper stated that the Daily Mail had recorded the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Robert Manners, DSO, the half brother of the Duke of Rutland had been killed in action in France, serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers. According to the paper Sir Douglas Haig had announced that the Northumberlands had taken 600 yards of trench north west of St Quentin.
Food supplies, or the shortage thereof, was the subject of numerous different items, as the public continued to face rising prices and limited supplies.
Amateur growers were advised when to harvest potatoes – “If the skin is not properly set, it will give way with a very slight rubbing by the thumb, indicating that the potatoes are not yet reading for lifting.”
Gardeners were told how to preserve surplus beans by salting – “Pick the beans when dry, or dry before a fire. Then clean with a dry cloth and put them raw into big stone jar or barrel; add a layer of vegetables and a layer of salt ¾inch thick and so on till full.
“Cover with a cloth resting on the vegetables and on top of the cloth place a piece of board or a plate weighted with stones or heavy weights, so as to press down the beans.”
Each week, readers were told, the cloth would need to be lifted and the scum which would rise to the top removed.
Meanwhile HT Spencer of St John Street was making arrangements to use his window to exhibit bottled and dried fruit and vegetables, with the intention of highlighting the importance of conserving food.
The consumer crisis was reflected in the Notes of the Week column on the front page.
“Whether it was a matter of coals, sugar, flour, bread, meat or other necessity, in the old days, one regarded them from the standpoint of “How much can I do with?” But nowadays the standpoint is “How little can I do with?’ and if householders do not regard it in this light the authorities are doing all they can – and will do – to impress this essential lesson on them.”
The writer proposed that people could manage on less, and that the nation which kept its people reasonably fed and clothed the longest would be the nation which came out on top “in this world of struggle”.
And in an effort to drive his message home he stated:
“Napoleon had a very effective way with those who wasted the nation’s goods – whether they were selfish food hoarders or grasping profiteers – on being detected they were ordered to be promptly shot.”
- 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 Warblog