As the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war approached, Ashbourne was preparing to mark the occasion.
The Ashbourne Volunteers, the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides and others were planning to assemble in the Market Place at 9.15am on Sunday, before marching around the town, led by Ashbourne Old Volunteer and Osmaston bands.
On returning to the Market Place there was to be a public meeting with several addresses, prayers led by Canon Morris, concluding with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.
The Watchbox column on page 2 welcomed the steps being taken to commemorate four years’ struggle against the German war machine.
“When it is recalled that we entered into this war, not for any national gain but for the defence of smaller nations, and for the checking of a very ominous intention of a powerful and unscrupulous nation, and when we remember the thrilling heroism of our gallant forces and those of our allies it is as well that such an anniversary should not pass unnoticed.”
One can only imagine the relief felt by Mrs Pegge, of Clifton, whose son Harry had been missing since April, when she received notification that he was uninjured, but being held a prisoner in Germany.
Pte Pegge had written home from Stamm-Lager (PoW camp) in Parchim, Germany, on April 13 to tell his mother he was in good health.
“Pte Pegge, was formerly on the office staff of Messrs. Nestle at Ashbourne and joined the army when he reached 18. He was sent out to France in December last. The last communication his mother had from him was dated March 18th and although exhaustive enquiries had been made concerning him, no information could be obtained until the receipt of the welcome postcard.”
The Allen family of Osmaston, who had already lost a son – Rifleman F Allen, killed on June 23, 1916 – had heard that another son had been injured while serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment. Bert, who had joined up on reaching his 18th birthday in 1917, had been injured by shrapnel in France. According to military authorities he was ‘progressing favourably’ in a hospital in Huddersfield.
A third son had been out in Salonica for nearly three years and had not yet had a period of home leave.
Matlock Police Court heard a charge of bigamy against a soldier. Private Charles Sutor, of the Welsh Guards, was said to have been wounded in France and while convalescing in Darley Dale met and married Miss Mary Hinton of Darley Dale, despite already being married. The court heard that Sutor had married Miss Annie Taylor, a cotton weaver, of Accrington, in 1915. At the time of that marriage he was said to have been a widower. He was sent for trial at Derbyshire Assizes.
Meanwhile in Ashbourne Police Court Blacksmith Thomas Williams was charged with stealing vegetables from allotments at the top of Old Hill, Ashbourne. Constable Brooksbank described how he had seen him pulling up potatoes and when challenged he was found to have some onions as well. Williams admitted the charge.
“The chairman said the bench considered it a contemptible and miserable theft, especially at a time when people were doing all they could to grow food to relieve the present stress. Williams would have to go to gaol for one month’s hard labour.”
The Ashbourne Telegraph continued to carry its Press Bureau-supplied War Supplement, this week illustrated by a drawing of an aerial battle in the skies over France. Before advances in photography this would have been the only way to depict this most-recent form of warfare. This example featured the Red Baron.
“Drawn by Mr Joseph Simpson to illustrate how the German crack airman Baron Richtofen, while attacking a British aeroplane from behind was himself attacked from behind and shot down. The air was full of machines – it was what flying men call a ‘dog fight’.”
Wirksworth farmer and milk-seller Joseph Holmes was fined £7 and ordered to pay £1 advocate’s fees for selling milk containing 33 per cent added water. Derbyshire Foot Inspector William Etchells told the court it was the second-worst sample he had ever taken.
- 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