Although not for the first time since the start of the war, the March 5, 1915, edition of the Telegraph featured photographs on its pages. A first was a picture of some troops serving overseas, though not servicemen from Ashbourne.
“The soldiers in our picture will be readily recognised as British Tommies. These remounts are waiting outside what the rigorous censorship will not permit to be more precisely defined than ‘a continental railway station’. The invariable cheerfulness and good temper of our troops is clearly indicated in their faces, which show no sign that the actualities of war are depressing their spirits.”
It is not clear the source of this photograph but mention of censorship implies it may have been circulated by the Press Bureau.
Also pictured is the wreck of a Zeppelin which the caption informs readers was brought down at the Danish Island of Fanoe and was found to be carrying ‘three machine guns and a pilot room full of bombs’. The crew was taken prisoner.
Since the introduction of the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933 the identities of young people before the courts has been banned from publication. But in 1915 young people in front of the courts were routinely named. So it was that under the headline ‘Uncontrollable Boy’ was a report of James Moon’s appearance in front of Ashbourne Magistrates.
“Mrs Maude Moon, wife of George Moon of Smith’s Yard Compton, appeared before the magistrates and declared she could not control her step-son James Moon 1312 years. The boy, she said, would not keep a situation, he declined to help her at home and was constantly getting into trouble.” Her husband was away, serving with the army, the court was told. It was decided he should be sent to a Dr Barnados home, but he was placed in the workhouse until a place was found.
Smoking was not seen as the unhealthy habit it is today, and there was a report from the London-based Sailors and Soldiers Tobacco Fund. It stated that in order to supply two million men with half an ounce of tobacco it would be necessary to send 28 tons. Five shillings, the article stated, would supply five men with half a pound of tobacco each.
As now, letters to the editor in 1915 were from time to time used to request correction or clarification on matters erroneously reported in the Press. MR CGB Eddowes wrote such a letter to the Ashbourne Telegraph.
Sir, My attention has been called to the announcement in some papers to the fact that my second son, CGB Eddowes, of the 3rd (special reserve) Battalion of the Notts and Derbyshire Regiment has resigned his commission.
A word of explanation is, I think, necessary as no officer is allowed, without good reason, to resign his Commission in time of war, and an unfortunate impression has been conveyed by this announcement, for which – as it is an extract from the London Gazette – no blame attaches to the papers concerned.
My son has been with the Battalion at Plymouth since last September, but a few days ago he was offered by his Commanding Officer a free entrance into the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. This he accepted, but before doing so it was necessary for him to resign his Commission in the Special Reserve.
He will now take a three months’ course at Sandhurst with a view to being gazetted into the Regular Army at the end of that period.
I shall be much obliged if you will in fairness to my son insert this letter in your next issue.
Neither Blanche nor Ernest are common names in the 21st century, but a hundred years ago an appeal went out for people so called to help the war effort.
“Is your name Blanche or Ernest?
To all those ladies named Blanche and those gentlemen named Ernest, an appeal is being made on behalf of the “Blanche and Ernest” Ambulance in connection with Lady Bushman’s Fleet of Motor Ambulances.”
The report states that Mrs Clowes of Bradley Hall and her husband Captain Ernest Clowes were hoping to emulate the gift of an ambulance made by Queen Mary. Everyone bearing the names at the head of this paragraph are particularly requested to contribute.”
Then, perhaps recognising that this might not engender a significant public donation, the article continuesd: “but contributions from anyone bearing other names will be also acceptable.”
Although contribution would be accepted from supporters of any name, the ambulance was to be known as The Blanche and Ernest Ambulance.
“It will be a very comforting thought to any contributor to think they have assisted in obtaining additional comfort for those who are maimed or suffering whilst fighting our battles and defending our homes.”
The front page of the Ashbourne Telegraph, in common with the vast majority of local papers of the time was entirely devoted to advertisements, with the week’s news inside. Among the regular ‘display’ advertisement were announcements of auction sales, commonly of livestock and property. This week there was notice from J Oliver, auctioneer and valuer of Hartington of a sale to be held at The Vicarage, Alstonefield, on Tuesday April 6. Going under the hammer were the Rev CA Langton’s ‘valuable household furniture and effects’.