Ten wounded soldiers who were sent from the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary to Ashbourne received an impressive reception.
A crowd gathered outside the Century Hall where they were to be cared for by the Ashbourne Red Cross long before their scheduled arrival.
“On arrival cheers were given by the crowd, who were all evidently anxious to give a cordial reception to the brave lads in khaki who had been fighting their battles and suffering hardships for their sakes.”
The names of the patients, the first to be sent to the Red Cross in Ashbourne to care for were named and their afflictions listed.
“The men were soon settled in their new surroundings and were soon refreshed with a good, square meal.”
During the afternoon the men were entertained by children from the Weslyan School next door, who sang patriotic songs in the playground from where the patients could see them.
The paper also reported that the Ashbourne Red Cross Hospital had received ‘a most liberal and generous response’ from the town. It listed the gifts, which included an almost endless supply of eggs, but also cakes, oranges, butter, soup and jelly, chocolate, bananas, tea, biscuits, and puddings. There were also donations of cigarettes and tobacco, and loans of a gramophone and phonograph.
The Telegraph noted, however: “Although the gifts are generous, let it not be thought for a moment there will be superfluity, because the Red Cross are strongly of the opinion that a further and probably larger number of wounded will have to be provided for in the immediate future.
“There must, therefore, be no slacking in the flow of comforts, and we are sure our local public – and we mean not only Ashbourne, but the surrounding district, will see to it that the great practical interest will be fully maintained to the end.”
Elsewhere in the paper’s columns it was reported that the Belgian refugee Monsieur Dedyn had offered to teach the wounded men in Century Hall some useful French phrases.
“Simple sentences asking for food, directions of roads, what to say if wounded and such like will be taught on Monday and Friday evenings.” Mons. Dedyn and the editor presumably anticipated the casualties would be returning to the front line.
News had been received that Derwent Christopher Turnbull of the Royal Army Medical Corps, the nephew of magistrate Peveril Turnbull of Sandybrook Hall had died of wounds received while heroically attempting to rescue a wounded comrade. The family had earlier learned of his exploits in a letter:
“He went into the trenches yesterday in daylight at 10.30am in response to an urgent appeal. This is, of course, and exceedingly risky thing to do. He stopped most of the bleeding in the case he went to see, but was unable to deal to his complete satisfaction with the case and he endeavoured to get the officer out of the trench, but each time he showed himself he and his companion were subjected to heavy rifle fire. Consequently he had to stay in a trench three feet deep, half full of water, all day, without food. At 5.30pm they made another effort and this time the handles of the stretcher were smashed by rifle fire.
Trying another exit your son was hit and fell back into the trench.
He asks me to say that he is as well as can be expected and will write you when he can.”
The news in brief column on page 4 reported the death of Lance Corporal Redfern, of Buxton, who was serving with the Ashbourne and Buxton company of the 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, and was killed in action on March 6.
Private Henry Hand, of the Ashbourne Company of the Territorials had sent a postcard home to report that he was in hospital in Leicester having been invalided home, suffering from a ‘strained heart’.
The focus of attention was, understandably the troops serving in the frontline in Belgium and France, others were stationed around the globe. A letter was published the Telegraph from Private EA Smedley who was serving in Allahabad in India. He was writing to thank the ‘Ashbourne friends’ who had sent him a Christmas parcel.
“I have received the parcel today (January 30th) and whatever I say by way of thanks cannot convey my full feelings for the kind and patriotic thoughts which prompted the sending of these most appreciated articles.”
Photographic images in newspapers remained an uncommon sights in regional newspapers, but the Ashbourne Telegraph again devoted space to three images under the heading ‘War Pictures’. This week there is an image purporting to show French forces removing a German frontier post in Alsace Lorraine; a picture of three territorials wearing yokes in which they carry two 18lb shells, and German soldiers wearing spiked helmets and armed with a machine gun behind a barricade, which the caption says was taken in Poland.