Pressure continued to persuade all eligible men to volunteer to serve in the Army. The Ashbourne Telegraph of December 10, 1915, announced that Lord Derby’s scheme to ‘attest’ all men up to the age of 40 ended this week 100 years ago.
The Ashbourne Telegraph’s columnist asserted that men who did not offer themselves for service ‘had only themselves to blame’ if ‘more arbitrary’ measures were later adopted.
“We shall never beat the Germans or win the war by ‘waiting to see how it goes’.
“A strong determination will hasten the victory quicker than anything,” he said, concluding: “For every British soldier that falls there should step forward two volunteers to take his place. The nation that can show the courage to do this is going to win.”
Under the headline A Four Footed Enemy at the Front, is a report of a plague of rats infesting the trenches, resisting every effort to control them.
“The war rat is a formidable creature, as big as a fair-sized rabbit. The consequence is that every trench has two sets of sentries, one for the enemy and the other for the rats, and four nights out of five the rat men have more work to do than the others.”
This report, reproduced from Pall Mall, continues: “Woe betide the man who lays himself down to sleep with any chocolate or other toothsome dainty about him. A whole army of rats will tear his clothes to shreds to get at it.”
Six more men were featured in the ‘Pro Patria’ panel on page three this week, which the Telegraph promised would build into a ‘most interesting scrapbook’.
Brothers J.H. Gallimore and P.H Gallimore, both Sergeants and members of the Ashbourne Teritorials at the outbreak of war were first on the list. The latter had been working for the Ashbourne fishing tackle manufacturers Foster Bros before hostilities. He was serving at Headquarters in Rouen.
His brother was said to have ‘so far escaped without injury, though he has suffered from rheumatism’.
Private H Belfield was less fortunate. He too was a Territorial and had been mobilised to France with the Sherwood Foresters, but was wounded on the same day that nine of the Ashbourne company were killed by a German mine. A former apprentice of the newspaper’s print works, he was reported to have been moved from the military hospital in Camberwell, south London, to a convalescent home in Golders Green. The paper said he hoped to visit his parents in Union Street, Ashbourne, ‘before long’.
Private Alf Radcliffe, from Stanton, was serving in Serbia with the Cyclist Corps of the Royal Fusiliers.
Driver William Dyche, of Mayfield had enlisted with the Army Services Corps at the outbreak of war, while Lance Corporal JW Kirkland, formerly the manager of grocers Lightbody and Higham in Church Street, Ashbourne, enlisted in January and had seen action with the 11th Royal Warwicks in ‘some of the fiercest engagements’.
Below the roll of honour was evidence that the spirit of competition was fierce between the town’s newspapers:
“Notice!! As the ‘Telegraph’ was the first Ashbourne paper to commence this series of photographs of local soldiers and sailors, we think it only fair to say that we shall give preference to those which have not appeared elsewhere.”
The rest of the page is filled with ‘war time happenings’, a selection of short news items including the appointment of an MP as superintendent of huts and camps in the near east, fears for a Swedish steamer lost in the North Sea, and food shortages in Greece.
Among them is news that the Daily Record newspaper in Glasgow and its editor James Lumsden, had each been fined £10 under the Defence of The Realm Act. The court had agreed that they had not deliberately done anything to injure the country in time of war, and that the editor ‘did not act disloyally’. The offence was connected to a ‘secret code’ although no more detail was given.
Sergeant Ernest Lee had been promoted to second-lieutenant. The former territorial had been serving with the motorcycle section of the Derbyshire Yeomanry in Egypt.
There seems no end to the ills cured by the magical Zam-buk ointment, this week, on page 2 of the Ashbourne Telegraph under the headline Poisonous Pin Scratch is the tale of Mrs E F Ashmore of Carlisle Street, Sheepbridge, Derbyshire, who attests to the efficacy of the treatment for an abscess on her chin, caused by a scratch from a pin, which had prevented her from working. Such regular editorial items in support of advertisers are becoming increasingly common in 21st century news media – now known as ‘native advertising’.
There was a measles epidemic in the UK, and Ashbourne Rural Council heard that the number of deaths in the first half of the year had been 12,000 – the majority children under the age of five.
- 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