Old Ledbury - World War One in Ledbury - Correspondence

World War One in Ledbury - Correspondence

World War One Correspondences

Newent Reporter Newspaper 08 08 1914

The dreaded possibility has now become a fact. England is at war with Germany and the nation must do its utmost in every detail. Every man and every woman must be prepared to make personal sacrifices. So far as can be gathered recruiting for the regular army and Territorial Forces is magnificent, but we must not let it rest at that.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 15 08 1914

At a meeting of the Ledbury and District Medical Society held to-day, it was unanimously decided by the medical men practising in the district to offer our services, free of charge, to the wives and children and other dependants of those men (Reservists, Territorials &c.) who are serving with the colours and for whom no other medical provision is already made, provided they are without the means of obtaining medical assistance.

Sir, - May I ask for the publication in your valuable paper of the attached letter from Lieut-General Sir R. BADEN-POWELL.
I have already initiated the necessary steps and would earnestly trust that the scheme may receive cordial support throughout the county.
Your obedient servant,
County Commissioner.
7/8/1914 ( Copy )
In this time of national emergency comes the opportunity for the Scouts organisation to show that it can be of material service to the country.
The Scouts can now give valuable assistance to the State at home, and for this their training and organisation has already to a great extent fitted them.
Their duties would be non-military, but would in some cases come within the scope of police work, and these would be carried out under the general direction of the Chief Constable of each county where he care to utilise the services of the Scouts.
These duties would include the following :-
(a) Handing out notices to inhabitants and other duties connected with billeting, commanderring, warning etc.
(b) Carrying out communications by means of despatch riders, signallers, wireless &c.
(c) Guarding and patrolling bridges, culverts, telegraph lines &c, against damage by individual spies.
(d) Collecting information as to supplies, transport &c. available.
(e) Carrying out organised relief measures among inhabitants.
(f) Helping families of men employed in defence duties, or sick or wounded.
(g) Establishing first aid, dressing or nursing stations, refugees, dispensaries, soup kitchens &c. in their club rooms.
(h) Forwarding despatches dropped by air craft.
With their ability to rig their own shelters, to cook their own food, and to regulate their own roster of duties in the patrols, the Scouts are already organised in the best practical units for such duties.
(It is assumed that they will be excused from school attendance by the Education Committee and from work by their employers).
The above list does not exhaust all the duties which they might undertake ; it merely gives an outline which Commissioners can no doubt elaborate to suit the local requirements and conditions in their respective areas, after consultation with their Chief Constables and defence authorities.
I am confident of one thing, and that is that all ranks will pull together with the greatest cordiality and energy on this unique occaision for doing a valuable work for our King and country.
(Signed) ROBERT BADEN-POWELL Chief Scout

With reference to the sceme outlined in your last issue in the letter of Mr. A. Roger ROWDEN, we would appeal to all members of the Ledbury and District Air Rifle League to place themselves in communication with the Range Superintendent at the Holly Bush, Eastnor and Ledbury ranges, and take part in the miniature rifle practice which commences to-day.

I enclose a copy of a communication which has to-day been sent to all members of The Land Agents' Society, numbering 1,349. The scheme has had the hearty approval of gentlemen in this neighbourhood actively engaged in the Territorial movement and recruiting for other branches of the Service.

I beg to invite your co-operation in a scheme of Emergency Defence which I have laid before the War Office. The general idea is as follows:

Newent Reporter Newspaper 22 08 1914

I see that efforts are being made in this country to induce civilians to practice rifle shooting, in order that they may help to defend their country in case of invasion.

The authorities intend to confiscate or kill all pigeons owned by alien enemies in this country. This strong action follows upon information supplied to the War Office recently by a pigeon expert.
"The Germans have for years been training pigeons to fly from England," said the editor of the "Racing Pigeon," on Tuesday. "Their Government subsidises lofts of pigeons, which are kept in various places, including the forts. These pigeons have no doubt been used by spies for many years.
"A pigeon has flown 600 miles in ten hours. Every effort must be made to kill a bird seen flying across the North Sea. It might be quite as important for the crew of a warship to bring it down as for them to hit an aeroplane. The ring on an English bird bears the letters 'N.U.' but these letters do not appear on foreign birds.
"During the last few days detectives have visited a number of lofts, and have compelled German owners to kill every bird in their presence. Many birds are worth £10 each."

Kington Reporter Newspaper 22 08 1914 and Ledbury Guardian 22 08 2014

May I appeal through your paper for subscriptions, large or small, for the Ledbury Division of the above Association.

Newent Reporter Newspaper 29 08 1914

Letter to the Editor Rifle Range
I have read with interest, Sir Elliott WOOD's letter in your issue of last week and endorse all he says as to the utter impossibility of unofficial bodies of troops, but as to rifle practice I cannot agree with him.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 05 09 1914

Sidney Francis ALLEN, of The Talbot Hotel, Ledbury, makes an appeal to all owners of fruit trees, to send him fruit which he will be pleased to forward to C Company 1st Battalion Hereford Regiment.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 12 09 1914
CHURCH LADS BRIGADE - Church Lads Brigade
If you have space in your valuable columns, I thought that your readers might like to hear something of the doings of the local contingent of the Church Lads' Brigade, which left Ledbury on Thursday, August 20th, for the purpose of guarding the part of the aqueduct which carries the water supply from Rhyader to Birmingham, a most important duty in the present crisis.

Sidney Francis ALLEN, of The Talbot Hotel, Ledbury, thanks donators, he is still pleased to receive fruit on behalf of "C" Company, 1st Battalion the Herefordshire Regiment, at present billeted at Northampton.

September 10th, 1914
In view of the rumours concerning Mrs. BELL and myself, I shall be glad if you will publish the subjoined letter from Mr. W. A. H. MARTIN.
Yours Faithfully,
J. BELL (Postmaster).

The Editor.
The Upper Hall,
September 10th, 1914.
Dear Mr. BELL,
With regard to the prevalent rumour that both you and Mrs. BELL are of other than British origin, I wish to write to say that I have seen the document you spoke to me about from the Chief Constable of Kendal fully proving there is no truth in it whatever. I can well understand that you both have been very much upset by this rumour, which I hope will now come to an end as well as all the unpleasantness to yourselves, and you can use this letter in any way you may think fit.
Yours Truly,
(Signed) W. A. H. MARTIN
To Mr BELL, Postmaster, Ledbury.

Assists the Wives and Families of men who are on Active Service with any Branch of the Land or Sea Forces of the Crown. Those who are anxious for advice or help should take with them all documents necessary to prove identity, and apply to the nearest representative of the Association, viz., for Ledbury:

In the interests of public health and economy of national food supplies, medical officers in all parts of the country are issuing to the citizens in their respective areas a series of recommendations on "The Best Foods to Buy During the War". Among the practical hints given by the medical officers, who point out that while the Government is safe-guarding food supplies "the women of England can help their country by spending every penny wisely, " are the following : -
Mixed meat and vegetable diets suit most people best.
Dried peas, haricot beans, and lentils contain as much flesh-forming material as meat and are very much cheaper.
"Seconds" flour is more nourishing than white.
Oatmeal is a very rich food, but requires thorough boiling.
Potatoes are best value when cooked in their skins, or steamed.
Onions, beetroot, and carrots are more nutritious than cabbages, but greens and fruit keep the blood in good condition.
Sugar and treacle is useful, but jam not nearly such good value as margarine or dripping.
Cheese, rich in nourishment, one of the cheapest and best foods.
Frozen meat and cheaper cuts contain as much nourishment as "best" meat.
Among cheap, and nourishing dishes recommended by the medical officers are lentil or pea soup, sheep#39;s head pie, suet pudding, macaroni cheese and potato pie, and rice and oatmeal pudding.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 19 09 1914
It must be distinctly understood that the Editor does not hold himself responsible for the opinions expressed by correspondents.
Portland Place, LEDBURY. September 16, 1914

Dear Sir, - Since the commencement of the war, "sugar" has been uppermost in the minds of many, and while several departments of the Government have been giving special attention to the means for securing various trades for the benefit of British subjects, what has been done as regards sugar?
During the past few years many inquiries and experiments have been made as regards growing beet and its manufacture into sugar, and these inquiries and experiments were, I believe, entirely satisfactory as to the quality of beet that can be grown in this country.
Now that the price of sugar has gone up nearly 100 per cent., is it not time something was done. In this district some of the best and most productive land in the world is at present producing thousands upon thousands tons of fruit of all kinds, which has to be conveyed hundreds of miles to the necessary factories for bottling and preserve, and in consequence of heavy rail rates hundreds of tons rot. Now that unemployment will be a grave factor that will have to be dealt with here and elsewhere, what better opportunity than the present is there for the Government to at once build (or arrange for) a sugar factory, and also a factory for preserving and bottling fruit, and so relieve a large amount of unemployment which we shall undoubtedly have to face and deal with in the near future.
We have in this district a large proportion of the necessary material for the erection of factories. First and most important is "land, " of which there is a very large amount in this district let at much less than £1 per acre, which should be available at a reasonable price; (2) There are also brickyards in the district capable of turning out the necessary bricks; and (3) in the near vicinity, viz., Staffordshire Ironworks, where the necessary ironwork can be obtained.
Let the Government then give this matter their early and careful attention with a view to the necessary factories being erected, and so meet the needs of the nation, and also be the means of providing a supply of beet sugar at home without having to rely on an article made in Germany.
I am, yours, etc.,
R. LAWRENCE. LEDBURY, September 14, 1914

Sidney Francis ALLEN, of The Talbot Hotel, Ledbury, thanks donators and assures all senders of fruit that it is very acceptable by all the local men. He is still pleased to receive fruit on behalf of "C" Company, 1st Battalion the Herefordshire Regiment, at present billeted at Northampton.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 26 09 1914
To The Editor of the Ledbury Guardian
Dear Sir - Several people in the town have spoken to me in terms of great appreciation with regard to the public spirit you have shown in the matter of supplying the people living in this place with news concerning the war, by means of the telegrams which you have so regularly exhibited outside the "Guardian" office, and many have expressed to me the wish that it was in their power to let you know how much they appreciate your kindness and public spirit. And as I feel very strongly that your kindness should not be allowed to pass unrecognised, I take upon myself the pleasant duty of writing to thank you, on behalf of many in the town, for what you have done and still are doing. I feel sure that it can only be possible for you to exhibit the telegrams conveying the news from the seat of war, after much trouble and considerable expense and I trust that it may be some little satisfaction to you to be assured that your fellow townsmen greatly appreciate your action in this matter.
Believe me to be yours faithfully,
F. W. CARNEGY, Rector of Ledbury,
The Rectory, Ledbury, Herefordshire,
September 21st 1914.

Sidney Francis ALLEN, of The Talbot Hotel, Ledbury, thanks donators and assures all senders of fruit and nuts that it is very acceptable by our local men. He is still pleased to receive fruit on behalf of "C" Company, 1st Battalion the Herefordshire Regiment, at present billeted at Northampton.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 17-10-1914

The "Spectator" prints the following hitherto unpublished poem by Alfred Lord TENNYSON, which has been forwarded to the editor by the present Lord TENNYSON, who recently quoted one of the three stanzas in the course of a speech. As the editor of "The Spectator" remarks, the poem seems almost as though it were written for the present crisis.

O where is he, the simple fool,
Who says that wars are over?
What bloody portent flashes there
Across the Straits of Dover?
Nine hundred thousand slaves in arms
May seek to bring us under;
But England lives, and still will live,
For we'll crush the despot yonder.
Are we ready, Britons all,
To answer foes with thunder?
Arm, arm, arm!

O shame on selfish patronage -
It is the country's ruin -
Come, put the right man in his place
And up now and be doing!
O gather, gallant volunteers
In every town and village,
For there are tigers - fiends not men -
May violate, burn, and pillage!
Are you ready, Britons all,
To answer foes with thunder?
Arm, arm, arm!

Up stout limbed yeomen, leave awhile
The fattening of your cattle -
And, if indeed ye wish for peace,
Be ready for the battle!
To fight the Battle of the World,
Of progress and humanity,
In spite of his eight million lies
And bastard Christianity!
Are we ready, Britons all,
To answer foes with thunder?
Arm, arm, arm!


Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 07 11 1914
SADDLES - War Relief
Some 6,000 saddles have been generously given in answer to my appeal on behalf of the Reserve Cavalry Regiments. These have now been issued and many more are wanted.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 14 11 1914
May I ask for your valuable aid in pressing forward a scheme for obtaining an official guarantee of milk records. The scheme comes under a grant from the Board of Agriculture, and if accepted by this county will be a lasting boon to the dairy industry and of immense value to a county like Hereford, where a great number of people experience difficulty in obtaining milk. If any person keeping one or more cows will kindly write me and say they are prepared to keep records of milking, then at times an agent appointed for the county will call and check the records and give the owner a certificate declaring the milking value of the recorded cows. The recording of milk is an easy process, once a week the milk is weighed, which does not take two minutes per cow. A bucket on a spring balance is all that is required. A smart appliance can be purchased for a small sum, the enterprise of a local ironmongers will no doubt supply these useful articles. Entirely apart from the value of a milk certificate, any owner of cows will quickly find the value of keeping a milk record. A recent importation of 30 Dutch cattle into this country produced a record average price of over £230 and the price obtained was undoubtedly owing to the Dutch record system which we are asking to adopt in England.
I own cows and am a member of the County Livestock Committee. I am also chairman of the Ledbury branch of this society. The absence of any energy at the county headquarters forces me into the breach. I have had cows giving 1000 gallons within 12 months. I will back my support of this scheme if adopted in Herefordshire by saying that I shall be prepared to give £40 apiece for the first six cows not having had more than three calves that give 1,000 gallons during their period of lactation when under the certificate record system, at the same time the owner would be money in pocket to keep such cattle.
Yours truly,
November 11th 1914

I hear complaints from a few farmers that too many recruits are being taken from the land, and I fear there are some cases where farmers have endeavoured to obstruct recruiting.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 21 11 1914
Few people are aware that it is illegal to sing, hum, or whistle Handel's "Dead March," outside a church or a cemetery. Even to-day a soldier found guilty of singing or otherwise rendering the famous march, except at a military funeral, would be severely censured, and possibly given a term of barrack-room duty. Until about twelve month ago it was illegal to sing or play the "Marseillaise" in Strassburg, and any indiscrete Frenchman found singing it was promptly arrested by the German police. Curiously enough, Strassburg was the birth-place of the French National Anthem, both the words and music being written here during the night of April 24, 1792.

A curious method of recruiting is on record in connection with the siege of Calais by the Spaniards in 1596. When Queen Elizabeth resolved to assist Henry IV of France, she commanded some levies to be raised in England for this service; and the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, having received a message from the Court to raise 1,000 men immediately, proceeded with their constables on Easter Sunday, 1596, to several churches. Fastening the doors, they selected from the congregation the number of men required. These "conscripts" were immediately equipped and sent to Dover. Some years later, during the early part of the reign of Queen Anne, an Act was passed authorising justices of the peace to apprehend such idle persons as had no apparent means of subsistence and deliver them to the military, on paying them the levy-money allowed for passing recruits.

Both English and German soldiers have each a little metal identification disc, so that whatever happens their friends and kin may know at the last. The sailor, whether in King's ship or merchant ship, has the same natural craving that if the worst happens his folk may know. But the sailor's great enemy in peace or war is the sea, and the sea makes little of identification discs. The sailor's identification must be marked indelibly on his body, and that is why sailors go in for tattooing. The fashion of tattooing is not restricted to the lower ranks of the navy and mercantile marine. Lord Charles BERESFORD, in his memoirs, just published, tells us that he was well tattooed early in his career. When he was a lieutenant in the Galatea he had a week's stay in Tokio.(sic) "I was tattooed by the native artificers," he says, "to the astonishment of the Japanese officials and nobles, for in Japan none save the common people is tattooed. The Japanese artist designs in white upon dark, working upon the skin round the chief ornament in his scheme, whereas the English tattooer designs dark upon white, using the natural skin as a background. Both methods are beautifully illustrated upon my person."

Few of those who read and talk about it to-day probably know that Shrapnel was originally the name of a British general who, about a hundred years ago, was begging the Board of Ordnance in this country for some substantial recognition in respect of the new and deadly missile he had placed absolutely at their service, and was being told that the institution in question "had no funds at their disposal for the reward of merit." Henry SHRAPNEL's invention was probably first employed at Surinam in 1804, and was then "favourably reported on," but eleven years later Sir George WOOD, who commanded the artillery at Waterloo, declared that shrapnel had won that famous battle. Without it, WOOD asserted, no effort of the British could have recovered the farmhouse or Lay Haye Sainte. In 1814 the Government granted SHRAPNEL a pension of £1,200 a year for life, but this was interpreted by his paymasters to cover all the inventions SHRAPNEL had given to the Army, including an ingenious gun-mounting whereby the recoil was utilised to bring one gun into action at the same time as another was put under cover. SHRAPNEL was thus placed at a disadvantage though he had the satisfaction of drawing his pension to a ripe old age. He died in 1842, aged eighty-one.

The success of the bayonet in the present war is a tribute to the insight of the British and Russian military authorities. The controversy is an old one. In the purely technical argument the bayonet has had the worst of it, but theer (sic) is a psychological side to every military question. The British view is that, as one eminent military writer puts it, the bayonet is a "comfort" to the men! Presumably the meaning is that when it comes to close quarters there is an instinctive craving for a hand weapon as distinct from a fire-arm. The Russian saying (attributed, we believe, to SUVAROFF, Russia's greatest military genius of the eighteenth century and the Napoleonic Wars) is that the rifle is a fool but the bayonet bites. In the present war our men say that the Germans do not know how to use the bayonet themselves, and run at the sight of it or ask for quarter. Of late, however, there have been signs that the Germans are losing their fear of it and are beginning to use it to drive home an attack themselves. There is some slight doubt about the origin of the word bayonet, or, as it was usually pronounced by the soldiers in Crimean days, bagonet. It has been suggested that it is from an old French word "bayon," meaning an arrow or crossbow shaft, or, again, that it is from the Italian "bajonetta," Which means "little joker." But it is most likely that it is really from the name of the town of Bayonne, in the South-West of France, and that it was first made or used there. The word in English originally meant a dagger, and a short dagger called a bayonnette is said to have been first made at Bayonne towards the end of the fifteenth century. A certain French military writer, a native of Bayonne, says that when he was commanding troops at Ypres, in 1647, his musketeers used a steel dagger fixed in a wooden haft, which fitted into the muzzle of the musket to form a pike. If that is true, it was the first "plug" bayonet, and the bayonet was thus first used at Ypres, the centre of the hotest(sic) fighting just now.

1914 Newent Reporter Newspaper - Herefordshire History
1914 - 1919 Ledbury Guardian Newspaper - Herefordshire History
1916 Tilley's Almanack
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