The armed forces get two significant stories in the columns of the Ashbourne Telegraph this week – but curiously neither of them directly connected to the threat of impending war.
Part of the regular weekly My Sketchbook column, which is accompanied by small line drawings tells of King George inspecting the naval fleet at Spithead, off Portsmouth. The King is accompanied by the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, aboard the Royal Yacht Alexandra.
The columnist observes there are “nine miles of fighting ships” which have been built at a cost of £700 million over a period of 21 years. The Telegraph’s correspondent writes in a low key piece: “The King was welcomed by a deafening cannoncade started by Nelson’s Victory.”
But this was not the local press underplaying the importance of the gathered might of the British navy. The Daily Telegraph reported the events of the previous Sunday on July 20 on page 11 in terms of a gala event: “The men of war were crowded with guests from the shore and in between the avenues of fighting power heavily laden pleasure steamers and graceful yachts were passing.”
The report goes on to describe: “The slanting rays of the sun were touching every detail of the scene.”
The final lines of the Daily Telegraph report states that the display of naval might was insurance for the 440 million subjects of the British Empire. No mention of the Serbian crisis.
The Empire was the subject of the second military report in the Ashbourne Telegraph. The 6th battalion of the Notts and Derby Regiment were on church parade in the town, and the sermon was on the threat to the empire posed by the shortage of territorial forces. Canon Morris, the brigade chaplain told the congregation that the country had been taught a lesson in South Africa, but if trouble broke out in India or Egypt she would be better able to deal with it than she had in the Boer War.
A small report on page 5 recorded the fact that in Paris a Catholic Priest had admitted being a German spy.
Closer to home the paper carries an advertisement offering readers ‘motor char-a-banc’ excursions, while the cricket round up With Bat and Ball and Local Wild Flowers still dominate page 2.