A casual reader of the Ashbourne Telegraph dated October 1, 1915, might have missed any reference to the war were it not for the advertisers’ announcements.
In the Pubic notices column on page 3 The British and Foreign Bible Society gave notice of a public meeting in the Town Hall on the subject of The Bible and the War; on page 4 WR Marple and Son of St John Street announced their Great War Sale of ‘drapery, millinery, mantles, carpets and linoleums’ would start on Saturday, while on page 5 grocer Rupert Marsden, also of St John Street, urged customers to seek value for money good under the heading ‘Quality and War Prices’.
Editorially the paper continued with its weekly columns which avoided mention of the war, except for a detailed report of a memorial service held for three Ashbourne men who had lost their lives – brothers Thomas and George Hudson and Sapper Harry Kitchen.
The report reads: “The burden of bereavement was always a heavy one for the survivors, but in the case of the parents of the Hudson brothers it had fallen with unusual severity. Twice within a month had the news reached them that that a beloved son had fallen to rise no more in this world.”
The Hudson’s surviving son had been badly wounded in action, the paper noted.
Much of the rest of the edition is dominated but results of the Ashbourne Shire Horse Society Show, although the back page carried a brief account of a meeting held at Compton Mission Room, convened with the intention of sending a Christmas present to all soldiers from the Ashbourne district serving at the front.
Mr J Hawksworth, secretary of the Ashbourne Prisoners of War Aid Committee said it had been decided to buy a small plum pudding for each man and the meeting agreed to set up a fund to pay for the treats.
It has been noted previously how the editorial columns of the Ashbourne Telegraph were used to promote Zam-buk ointment. Three decks of headline were used this week:
Wonderful Healing Methods
Testimony from the Trenches
Saving both Soldier and Worker
The text below claimed: “While in the Boer War there were thousands more deaths from disease than bullets, it has been a significant fact that in France during the present war this class of mortality has been wonderfully low.”
The piece recognises that this was due to greater knowledge of antiseptic healing, but continues: “The men in the trenches have also borne testimony over and over again to the priceless aid they have received from the handy box of Zam-buk with which many companies are now equipped.
“Cuts from barbed wire, superficial wounds from flying shell fragments and innumerable other injuries have been treated promptly with Zam-buk, and so successfully that ever-feared blood poisoning has been warded off.”
The piece continues in similar vein for a further 300 words or so, concluding “Zam-buk has aptly been called ‘A Surgery in a Two Inch Box’.”
- My fellow researcher and 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