September 25, 1914

Napoleon Bonaparte’s maxim ‘an army marches on its stomach’ ensured the authorities strived to ensure the troops were well fed, but it would appear well-meaning folk back home were keen to ensure the British soldiers should also be able to smoke.

“A consignment of 1,000 cigarettes, 80 packets of tobacco and 46 pipes was despatched by Mrs Dakin of Kirk Langley to the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force in France.” The Ashbourne Telegraph reported on September 25.

“This splendid gift is the result of the untiring individual effort of Mrs Dakin and the village of Kirk Langley has reason to be congratulated on the extremely satisfactory results which will be thoroughly appreciated by our ‘Tommies’.”

Photographic images were still rare in newspapers in the early years of the 20th century, but portraits were published in the Telegraph to illustrate a report that two Ashbournian officers had been wounded in France. The casualties came during the Battle of Aisne, which was said to be still raging.

Major Rudolph Jelf of the King’s Royal Rifles was wounded on September 14th. The paper reported: “A bullet passed through his cheek and out the back of his neck.” Incredibly the report goes on to state: “His injuries are not considered at all serious.”

The second Ashbourne casualty was Lieutenant Henderson of the Royal Scots Regiment who suffered bullet wounds to the face and chest.

lyons' libelEqually remarkably the paper reports: “Like Major Jelf he treats his wounds lightly and hopes to be in the fighting line in a few days.”

It has been well documented elsewhere that during the Great War it was considered defamatory to suggest someone was German, and evidence of this was apparent in the Pages of the Ashbourne Telegraph, as it was in papers across the UK. An advertisement had been placed giving notice of a libel action by tea company Lyons’ against Lipton’s. A judge issued an injunction preventing a repetition of Lipton’s assertion that Lyons’ directors were German and buying their teas was tantamount to assisting the enemy. The advertisement was placed by “An all-British company, with all-British directors, 14,000 all-British shareholders and 100,000 all-British Shopkeepers”.

The Telegraph, which was once again a six-page edition despite again stating it was only four pages on the front cover, devoted several columns to its latest fiction serial The Red Farm by Morice Gerard.

In local news it was reported that Annie Freakley, ‘a married woman’, had been found to be drunk and disorderly and used ‘objectionable language’ to children. The court heard she had between 60 and 70 previous convictions of a similar nature. She was fined 10s and promised to ‘go away’.

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