A crowded audience in the Ashbourne Empire heard a rousing address to the nation from the Prime Minister, read by town magistrate JP Woodyatt.
“The message which I send to the people of the British Empire on the fourth anniversary of their entry into the war is ‘Hold Fast’.
“We are in this war for no selfish ends. We are in it to recover freedom for the nations which have been brutally attacked and despoiled, and to prove that no people, however powerful, can surrender itself to the lawless ambitions of militarism without meeting retribution, swift, certain and disastrous, at the hands of the free nations of the world.
“To stop short of victory for this cause would be to compromise the future of mankind.
“I say ‘Hold Fast’ because our prospects of victory have never been so bright as they are today.
“Six months ago, the rulers of Germany deliberately rejected the just and reasonable settlement proposed by the allies. Throwing aside the last mask of moderation they partitioned Russia, enslaved Roumania and attempted to seize supreme power by overwhelming the Allies in a final and desperate attack.
“Thanks to the invincible bravery of all the Allied armies it is now evident to all that this dream of universal conquest, for the sake of which they wantonly prolonged the war, can never be fulfilled.
“But the battle is not yet won. The great autocracy of Prussia will still endeavor by violence or guile to avoid defeat, and so give militarism a new lease of life.
“We cannot hope to escape the horrors of war for ourselves by laying them up for our children. Having set our hands to the task we must see it through till a just and lasting settlement is achieved.
In no other way can we ensure a world set free from war.
While the world waited for the victory to come, little changed for the men in the field, and news continued to filter back to England.
Lieutenant Charles Thomas Chadwick, of the Royal Garrison Artillery, son of Mr and Mrs Chadwick of Belle Vue, Ashbourne, had been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
“Whilst with the forward section of his battery, during an enemy bombardment, his contempt of danger set a fine example to the men of his detachment, and later, as the enemy approached within 400 yards of the right flank, he took charge of the men with rifles and held them off. When some of these men had expended all their ammunition he employed them in assisting the guns of a neighbouring battery. He showed a fine spirit and untiring energy.”
The fourth anniversary of the declaration of war was observed in Ashbourne with “marked solemnity”.
The Ashbourne Old Volunteer and Osmaston band led a procession of Volunteers, Boy Scouts and others through the streets of the town, joined along the way by members of the Urban Council.
On returning to the Market Place, after a hymn and prayers, Mr JP Woodyatt asked all present to bow their heads in remembrance of those who had fallen.
He said they were all thankful to those who had gone away to assist in the fighting line and other callings and urged the crowd to do all in their power to “maintain this great empire and her illustrious history”.
“Some of them were too old to go out and fight, but they could all work, and those who were left must do whatever they could.”
Canon Morris addressed the crowd, telling them it was an historic occasion: the fourth anniversary of their entrance into the greatest war the world would ever know. He believed they were beginning to see the light and by next year they would be “clearing up”.
“The only way to deal with a savage tiger or a wild dog is to kill it,” he said, and it was the same way with German militarism.”
The Ashbourne Telegraph marked the anniversary by publishing a stark list of 139 men from the district who had been killed in action or died on service.
The Roll of Honour consisted of two lines of type per man, giving their name, rank, regiment and, where known, the date of death.
“In the following list some attempt has been made to place the casualties in chronological order, but ins some instances the actual date of death has not been announced in our columns. With the object of acquiring an accurate list of the casualties from the Ashbourne districts, the editor respectfully requests relatives to supply him with the missing information where possible.”
Skellern, Pte. George, Sherwood Foresters, September 20th, 1914.
Chell, Pte. Charles, Sherwood Foresters, October 13th, 1914.
Slater, Pte. Owen, Grenadier Guards, October 30th, 1914.
Salt, Corpl. Reginald, Royal Engineers, November 4th, 1914.
Tunnicliffe, Pte. Joseph, Sherwood Foresters, March 12th, 1915.
Blake, Pte. Walter, Sherwood Foresters, April 9th, 1915.
Bull, Pte. F.G., Sherwood Foresters, April 9th, 1915.
Harrison, Lce Corpl. A., Sherwood Foresters, April 9th, 1915.
Woodyatt, Pte. John Gladstone, Sherwood Foresters, April 29th, 1915.
Harthill, Pte. Harold, Sherwood Foresters, May 5th, 1915.
Walton, Pte. H., North Staffs. Regt.
Tunnicliffe, Pte. Thos., 18th Hussars, May 22nd, 1915.
Ford, Pte. Alec, Sherwood Foresters, May 25th, 1915.
Hudson, Pte. Thos., Middlesex Regt., July 24th, 1915.
Kitchen, Pte. H., Royal Engineers, August 12th, 1915.
Hudson, Pte. George Henry, Sherwood Foresters, August 21st, 1915.
Braddock, Pte. C.T., Australian Force, August, 1915.
Wibberley, Sergt. W.A., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Bailey, Lce-Corpl., G., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Harding, Lce-Corpl., A., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Carter, Pte., C., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Thompson, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Bradley, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Wardle, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Hollinshead, Pte., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Hunter, Sergt., Leslie, Vancouver (Canadian) Battalion, September, 1915.
Roberts, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, September 30th, 1915.
Massey, Pte., N., Highland Light Infantry, October 2nd, 1915.
Johnson, Pte., W., Sherwood Foresters, October 15th, 1915.
Carter, Pte., Thos., Sherwood Foresters, October 15th, 1915.
Deakin, Pte., H., Sherwood Foresters, December 15th, 1915.
Wardle, Major, J. R., Glasgow Yeomanry, January 2, 1916.
Rigby, Capt., F. J., Seaforth Highlanders, January 21st, 1916.
Clowes, Col., H. A., Staffordshire Yeomanry, March, 1916.
Houseley, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, April 3rd, 1916.
Bradshaw, Sergt.-Major, J., Welsh Fusiliers, May, 1916.
Wetherall, Midshipman, G.P.C. HMS “Russell” May, 1916.
Tudball, Lieut., Denzil, R.N., June, 1916.
Swindell, Pte., T.J., Canadian Regt., June, 1916.
Allen, Rifleman, F., K.R.R., June 25th, 1916.
Callow, Sec.-Lieut., D., Sherwood Foresters, July 2nd, 1916.
Boden, Pte., G., Sherwood Foresters, July 5th, 1916.
Wibberley, Lnc.-Corpl., F., Sherwood Foresters, July 11th, 1916.
Kirkland, Lce.-Corpl., J.W., Royal Warwicks., July 18th, 1916.
Melbourne, Pte., F., Sherwood Foresters, July 20th, 1916.
Astle, Pte., W.A., Army Service Corps, July, 1916.
Naylor, Pte., J., Royal Warwicks., July 25th, 1916.
Moon, Pte., F., Cheshires, July 26th, 1916.
Slater, Pte., H.G., Sherwood Foresters, August, 1916.
Gilman, Lce.-Corpl., J., Lancashire Fusiliers, August 30th, 1916.
Moult, Sec.-Lieut. S.W., Sherwood Foresters, September, 1916.
Spencer, Pte., H., Sherwood Foresters, September, 1916.
Thompson, Pte., Adair, Royal Sussex Cycling Corps, September 3rd, 1916.
Colclough, Pte., F., Sherwood Foresters, September, 1916.
Smith, Pte., W., Canadian-Camerons, September 16th, 1916.
Wilson, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, September 13th, 1916.
Forman, Lce.-Corpl., E., Sherwood Foresters, September 16, 1916.
Birch, Pte., F., North Staffs. Regt., September, 1916.
Braddock, Pte., J., Northumberland Fusiliers, September 15th, 1916.
Chadwick, Pte., W.F., Durham Light Infantry, September 16th, 1916.
Stafford, Sec.-Lieut., Owen, Duke of Wellington’s Regt., October 4th, 1916.
Sargeant, Pte., Harry, Lancashire Fusiliers, October 12th, 1916.
Bentley, Sergt., G., Royal Marine Artillery, November 29th, 1916.
Brown, Pte., J., Sherwood Foresters, December, 1916.
Sellers, Gunner., W.J., Royal Garrison Artillery, January, 1917.
Hood, Rifleman H. G., Rifle Brigade, January 24th, 1917.
Coxon, Pte., W.T., Australian Infantry, February, 1917.
Harding, Pte., Rowland, King’s Own Lancashire Regt., February 9th, 1917.
Wright, Pte., G., Durham Light Infantry, February 11th, 1917.
Jones, Bombardier Wilfred, R.F.A., February 22nd 1917.
Blood, Pte., T., Sherwood Foresters, March 1917.
Barker, Corpl., S., Sherwood Foresters, March 10th 1917.
Silvester, Pte., A., K.O.Y.L.I, April 9th 1917.
Courtman, Trooper Fred, 18th Hussars, April 11, 1917.
Lowndes, Corpl., Gilbert, Sherwood Foresters, April 27th 1917.
Sowter, Pte., C., Lincolnshire Regt., May 1917.
Hudson, Pte., A.E., Sherwood Foresters, April 27th 1917.
Allen, Pte., A., Sherwood Foresters, May 1917.
Legrice, Pte., Wilfred., Lancashire Fusiliers, May 1917.
Millward, Pte., Fred, Sherwood Foresters, May 1917.
Leason, Pte., A., King’s Royal Rifles, June 1917.
Mellor, Pte., G., Scottish Rifles, June 1917.
Maskery, Able Seaman, Albert E., June 14th, 1917.
Roe, Pte., George, Sherwood Foresters, June 22nd, 1917.
Simmonds, Lce.-Corpl., E., Sherwood Foresters, June 1917.
Hellaby, Signaller., J., Sherwood Foresters, July 7th, 1917.
Hadfield, Pte., T., Lincolns, July 16th, 1917.
Thacker, Pte., W., Royal Garrison Artillery, July 31st, 1917.
Atkins, Rifleman Frank, Rifle Brigade, July 31st, 1917.
Boden, Pte., Claud, R.A.M.C., July 31st, 1917.
Ward, Pte., Charles, Seaforth Highlanders, August 3rd, 1917.
Cox, Pte., F.W., Sherwood Foresters, August, 1917.
Hawksworth, Corpl., A., King’s Royal Rifles, August, 1917.
Taylor, Pte., J. Clifford, Sherwood Foresters, August 19th, 1917.
Faulkner, Pte., Mark, Lincolns, August 26th, 1917.
Wallis, Lce.-Corpl., Frank, Grenadier Guards, September, 1917.
Baker, Pte., Herbert, Sherwood Foresters, September, 1917.
Plowman, Pte. G.W., Royal Scots., September 24, 1917.
Mainwaring, Pte., G., Sherwood Foresters, October, 1917.
Smith, Sec.-Lieut., R.W.S., Royal Flying Corps, October, 1917.
Etherington, Pte., G., Sherwood Foresters, October 24th, 1917.
French, Lce.-Corpl., Frederick T., Leicester Regt., October, 1917.
Courtman, Pte., Henry, Machine Gun Corps, October, 1917.
Allen, Pte., H., Royal Scots, October, 1917.
Hepworth, Bombardier D., Royal Field Artillery, October 21st, 1917.
Stevenson, Lce,-Sergt., J., Sherwood Foresters, November, 1917.
Burton, Bombardier Walter, Royal Field Artillery, November, 1917.
Silvester, Pte., Arthur, Machine Gun Corps, November, 1917.
Kettle, Pte., G.H., Royal Berks. Regt., November 28th, 1917.
Naylor, Pte., F., North Staffs. Regt., November 29th, 1917.
Mellor, Pte., A., North Staffs. Regt., December, 1917.
Twigge, Pte., J.W., Sherwood Foresters, December 1st, 1917.
Avery, Sergt., Harry, Sherwood Foresters, January, 1918.
Moorcroft, Sergt., F., Sherwood Foresters, January, 1918.
Leach, Pte., H., North Staffs Regt., February 27th, 1918.
Lee, Pte., James, Sherwood Foresters, March 11th, 1918.
Walker, Gunner Neville, Royal Field Artillery, March 27th, 1918.
Henstock, Capt., A.F.N, M.C., Sherwood Foresters, March 24th, 1918.
Beresford, Bombardier R.H., Royal Field Artillery, March 24th, 1918.
Potter, Gunner Frank, W., Royal Garrison Artillery, March, 1918.
Harrison, Pte., J., Yorkshire Regiment, March 21, 1918.
Locker, Pte., J.W., Durham Light Infantry, March, 1918.
Gadsby, Driver Bertram, Royal Field Artillery, March, 1918.
Mellor, Pte., G., West Yorks. Regt., April 18, 1918.
Wibberley, Pte., Harry, Sherwood Foresters, April, 1918.
Webster, Pte., W., Hampshire Regt., April 11, 1918.
Oakley, Pte., E.W., Royal Fusiliers, April 15th, 1918.
Bennett, Sergt., G.W., Sherwood Foresters, April, 1918.
Ward, Pte., R., Durham Light Infantry, April 27th, 1918.
Henshaw, Pte., W., West Yorks Regt., April, 1918.
Barker, Pte., R., Labour Battalion, April 27, 1918.
Blood Pte., Frederick, Sherwood Foresters, May 20th, 1918.
Hudson, Pte., W., Sherwood Foresters, May, 1918.
Spencer, Pte., J.R., South Staffs Regt., June, 1918.
Oakes, Pte., W., North Staffs Regt., June 3rd, 1918.
Died while in training:
Haywood, Colonel B.C.P.
Walker, Lieut. P.A.C.
Bull, Col.-Sergt., F.
Leason Pte. H.
The Ashbourne Prisoners of War Committee reported that it had received many letters from Ashbourne men serving with the Sherwood Foresters who had been interned in Germany since 1914 but were now in Holland. The Telegraph reproduce one such letter, from Private Frank O’Connor which thanked the committee for sending parcels which brightened up ‘many a dark day’ during their confinement in Germany.
He said that conditions in Holland were much better, but complained:
“The food here is scarce and not very good, but of course we must not grumble as we are a lot better off than the poor lads in Germany who we left behind.”
- 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