January 26, 1917

Gunners of the Royal Field Artillery firing a 18 pounder gun at Saint-LÈger-aux-Bois. Copyright: © IWM. (Q 70189) http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187945

Gunners of the Royal Field Artillery firing a 18 pounder gun at Saint-Leger-aux-Bois.                             © IWM. (Q 70189) http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187945




A tragic coincidence befell an old-established Ashbourne family this week 100 years ago.

Frederick Davenport, who had worked in the family’s brass foundry business, was taken suddenly ill and died a few days later, on Friday January 19, aged 45.

His married sister, Mrs Eyre who had come to Ashbourne from her home to attend to her brother’s funeral, was taken ill on the Monday and died early the following morning, aged 47. Mrs Eyre left a husband and two sons, the elder of whom was on active service in France.

The Telegraph noted: “It will be recalled that only a few weeks ago (December 7) Mr George Davenport, the father of the deceased brother and sister died. The family is one of the oldest and most esteemed in the district and the extremely sad news caused the profoundest regret throughout the neighbourhood.”

Fred Davenport had been a member of the Old Volunteers for many years and as a member of the National Reserve had volunteered for active service in 1914, but had not been accepted.

Two soldiers were featured in the For King and Country column. Private James Braddock, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Alfred Braddock of Pales Farm, Calton, who had been killed in action in September of 1916, aged 28, and Gunner G Fogg of the Royal Field Artillery.

Braddock was the seventh Calton man to fall. He had enlisted in March, giving up his position in the service of Miss Collis of Clifton, to join the Northumberland Fusiliers. He went out to France in July.

Fogg, previously a postman for Ashbourne Post Office, had been in France for six months and was reported to be ‘in good health’.

Although there were news items regarding the deaths of notable residents, such as 89-year-old Nathan Wells, results of the air-rifle club, a court report on a dispute over rabbit shooting rights and the regular Poultry Notes column, it was noticeable that much of the restricted editorial space was filled with national and international items which would have been of limited local interest.

The Telegraph once again carried a notice addressed ‘To Our Readers’ explaining that Government restrictions on the importation of raw materials for paper production and the increased price of newsprint had forced the publishers to restrict the pagination of the paper. The statement said three quarters of the staff of the Telegraph had joined ‘the colours’ and explained they were ‘labouring under exceptional difficulties’.

  • My fellow researcher and former 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 War blog
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