Old Ledbury - World War One in Ledbury - Recruiting Meetings

World War One in Ledbury - Recruiting Meetings

World War One Recruiting Meetings

Kington Reporter Newspaper 22 08 1914
Colonel SCOBIE
A number of leading townsmen and residents of the district met Colonel SCOBIE by invitation on Monday night on the subject of recruiting for Lord Kitchener's Second Army, and I understand that the town and district has been split into small divisions, and a gentleman appointed to each division with a view to securing recruits. It is gratifying to know that there has been a good response to the appeal for recruits in this district, in common with other parts of the country. The wave of patriotism has found vent in something far more to be prized than mere shouting and singing of songs and consumption of unlimited liquor. We learnt our lesson as a nation a few years ago.

A mass meeting (smoking permitted) with the object of obtaining recruits for Lord Kitchener's Second Army has been arranged by the Local Recruiting Committee at Ledbury and will be held at the Feathers Hotel Assembly Room, Ledbury, on Thursday next at 8 p.m., when short speeches will be given by well known gentlemen, and a short programme of patriotic songs and music will be rendered. All men are invited and smoking will be permitted. The chair will be taken by Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur D FANSHAWE, K.C.B., G.C.V.O., of Donnington Hall.

In connection with the meeting a parade of the National Reservists, headed by the Band of "C" Company of the county Territorial Regiment, will take place, starting from the Drill Hall at 7 p.m.

We earnestly appeal to all men of the town and district to make a point of attending this meeting, especially those of recruiting age.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 29 08 1914
Ledbury and Herefordshire generally have done well in bringing recruits for Lord KITCHENER's new army and other forces of the Crown, but more recruits are urgently needed, and, it was with the desire that not one eligible man should be missed in this hour of supreme importance of our national existence, that a mass meeting was held at the Feathers Hotel last evening (Thursday). Prior to the meeting the local members of the National Reserve, to the number of about 40, paraded at the Ledbury Drill Hall, and marched to the hotel, headed by the Band connected with "C" Company of the 1st Battalion Herefordshire Regiment, the members of which are at present serving their country. The procession was witnessed by a large number of people, who thronged the streets, and the greatest enthusiasm was displayed. The commodious Assembly Room at the Feathers Hotel was filled to overflowing, and the gathering was a very enthusiastic one indeed. The meeting was arranged by the Ledbury and District Recruiting Committee, who are to be congratulated upon the success which attended their endeavours. During the evening short speeches we delivered by well-known local gentleman, and patriotic songs by local vocalists. Although the meeting was held with the sole object of gaining recruits for His Majesty's Forces, it was also a very pleasurable one. The room was decorated with flags, and presented a very patriotic appearance. Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Arthur D FANSHAWE, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., presided, and he was supported by Colonel OMMANNEY, Rev. F. W. CARNEGY, Ref. Dr C HARRIS (Colwall), Mr. W. A. H. MARTIN, Mr. A. R. ROWDEN, Mr. O. N. HOLT-NEEDHAM, Mr. H.W. CROFT, Mr. R. MASEFIELD, Mr. O. S. SMYTHE HOLT, and Mr J. G. HOLT.

Right at the commencement of the meeting the Chairman said he could not commence the proceedings better than by reading the words of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, on Wednesday afternoon. The words Mr. ASQUITH uttered would remove any misunderstanding that might prevail as to the fact that we required every recruit which could be obtained. Mr. ASQUITH went on to say that the most excellent service had been rendered by members of the House and local political organisations in the work of giving information and rousing public attention to the necessity of raising recruits. Mr. ASQUITH said he hoped that there would be no slackening of those patriotic efforts, but that they would be carried on an even more extended scale in the future. His noble friend Lord KITCHENER needed all the recruits he could possible obtain. (Hear, hear and applause). Proceeding, the Chairman said there was impression abroad that only 100,000 recruits were required. This was an entirely mistaken impression, for they needed all the men they could possibly obtain. (Applause).
The Chairman at this stage read a letter from Lord BIDDULPH, who, after expressing his regret at his inability to attend the meeting, said the movement was a step in the right direction. If they wanted to win in the war in which they were engaged, they would have to call up every man between the ages of 20 and 30. He hoped it would be impressed at the meeting that it was with an adequate sense of responsibility that he had supported Lord ROBERTS when people were lukewarm and indifferent towards his proposals, and now they were faced with the consequences.

The Chairman also read apologies for absence from Mr. C. W. BELL, Dr. M. A. WOOD, and Mr. C. H. BICKHAM.

Continuing, the Chairman said the object of the meeting was to make an earnest appeal to the young men of Herefordshire to respond to Lord KITCHENER's urgent request to join the Army. (Loud applause). He (the speaker) had said sufficient to remove any impression, that no recruits were required. It was well known that 500,000 men were required as far as could be gathered from the present situation. Proceeding, the Chairman referred to the situation as it appeared to him at present. Their field Army in France had been splendidly maintaining the traditions of the British Army. (Loud applause). Their Army in France had been placed in point of honour, on the left flank, and at the battle of Mons our troops done excellently well. (Loud and prolonged applause). In a fortnight they had recruited 100,000 men in this country, all of whom would be properly drilled and formed into an army worthy of the name of the British Army. (Hear, hear, and applause). Seventy battalions of Territorials had volunteered to go abroad to fight by the side of our regular troops. (Loud applause). He supposed that 70 battalions represented about 60,000 men. This was what they had been doing at home. Their gallant ally, France, had pressed every man and boy into her service. France could not do more than she had at present. Although they in England had done well they could do a great deal more in the strenuous operations before them. It was their duty to recruit the Army at present serving by sending over more men. The point he wished to emphasise was that England could do more than she was doing at present. France could not do any more. At present the forces in the field were doing their best to hold the great German host back until the Russian masses came forward. So much then for the present. They had got to see this struggle through to victory as their forefathers saw the great struggle with Napoleon through to victory. (Hear, hear). They showed them a magnificence example. (Applause). During the last few weeks their country had acted fully up to the example show by the forefathers. (Applause). No matter what troubles or inconveniences they were faced with it was the duty of every eligible man to respond to his country's appeal. All Herefordshire men would remember NELSON's signal that "England expects every man to do his duty. " (Loud applause).

The Chairman proceeded to read a telegram from Colonel SCOBIE, who was unable to be present. Col. SCOBIE stated that recruiting in Herefordshire had so far been very good.

Colonel OMMENNEY, amidst loud applause, next addressed the meeting, making a strong appeal to all men between the ages of 19 and 30, who had not yet served in the Army, to come forward.

Mr. ROWDEN Also addressed a few remarks and urged those present not to let it be said that our voluntary system had failed. (Hear, hear) Mr. ROWDEN went on to say that the whole of the Herefordshire Regiment had volunteered for service abroad. (Loud applause).

At this stage of the proceedings all men in the room, desirous of serving their country were asked to come forward. There was an immediate response and within a short space of time nearly 30 recruits were enrolled. As they went forward loud and hearty cheers were raised.

The meeting concluded with a warm vote of thanks on the motion of Mr MARTIN, seconded by the Rev. F.W. CARNEGY, to all those who had helped to make the meeting a success, especially those who had joined the " roll of honour"

During the evening patriotic songs were given by a number of local vocalists and their efforts were much appreciated. The National Anthem brought the meeting to a close.

Kington Reporter Newspaper 29 08 1914
Local Men Volunteer.
Herefordshire Regiment Accepted for Foreign Service.

Last (Thursday) night a patriotic mass meeting was held at the Feathers Hotel Assembly Room, Ledbury, which was packed to overflowing with men. Prior to the meeting the local members of the National Reserve, to the number of between 30 and 40 under Colour-Sergt. F W JUCKES, paraded at the Drill Hall, and headed by the Band of "C" Company of County Regiment of Territorials, which played selections of music, they marched through the main streets of the town, which were lined with people. A number of the Ledbury Company of the Church Lads' Brigade and Training Corps were also present under Captain C E BAKER and Acting Captain MOSS. After parading the town the procession drew up in front of the Feathers Hotel, where the Band played the National Anthem, and the Reservists then filed into the Assembly Room, which quickly filled up. The meeting was arranged by the Ledbury and District Recruiting Committee, of which Mr W L TILLEY is the hon. secretary. There could be no doubt of the success of the meeting from the first, as no less a distinguished servant of the King and country than Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur D FANSHAWE, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., of Donnington Hall, Ledbury, was chairman, and he was supported by Mr W A H MARTIN, Mr H W CROFT, Mr A Roger ROWDEN, Mr O N HOLT-NEEDHAM, Mr Reginald MASEFIELD, Mr T W SCORE-SMYTH, Rev Dr HARRIS, Mr J G HOLT, Colonel OMMANNEY, Mr Chas PIGGOTT, the Rector (Rev F W CARNEGY), etc., etc.

The Band under the conductorship of Mr C W JESSETT, played a selection at the opening of the meeting, and accompanied the singing of the National Anthem.

The Chairman, in opening the meeting, read the utterance of the Prime Minister, Mr ASQUITH, in the House of Commons, on Wednesday afternoon, to the effect that they required all the recruits they could get. They must not stop at 100,000 - Lord KITCHENER required 500,000. (Applause).

The Chairman then read letters and telegrams from gentlemen who could not be present. Lord BIDDULPH wrote that if the nation wanted to win in the war they were now engaged in they would have to call up every man to serve between the ages of 20 and 30, and he hoped it would be impressed upon the meeting with an adequate sense of responsibility. He had supported Lord ROBERTS, continued the letter, when people were lukewarm and indifferent; now they were faced with the consequences, and he daresay many of them now wished they had listened rather more than they did to that grand old soldier. (Cheers.) There were also letters or telegrams from Mr C W BELL, Dr M A WOOD and Mr Spencer H BICKHAM.

The Chairman said the object of their meeting that night was to make an earnest appeal to the young men of Herefordshire to respond to Lord KITCHENER's request to join the Army. Recruits were wanted and it was perfectly well known Lord KITCHENER had told them that 500,000 men were required. It appeared to him that their Expeditionary Army had been splendidly maintaining the traditions of the British Army. (Applause.) Their Army in France had been placed in the point of honour on the left flank when the fiercest attack had been, close to Mons. What had they at home been doing during the last fortnight? He thought the nation had done well. They had raised 100,000 men, who would be promptly drilled and trained. Seventy battalions of the Territorials had volunteered to go abroad and fight - (cheers) - by the side of the regular troops. That was a fine thing. They must remember that France had every men and boy in her service actually ready and actually serving. They in England could do a great deal more than they were doing - (hear, hear) - and in those long and strenuous operations - began so happily in many respects for our cause - an Army dwindled, and It was their business to recruit that Army by sending over more men. Our Army must go on gradually increasing if these operations extended. The point he wanted to make was that England could do more and France could not do more. That was the position to-day. The object of these operations going on at the present moment was to hold this great German host, keep them back until the Russian masses come up on them. (Applause.) They had got to see this great struggle through to victory - (applause) - as their forefathers saw the great struggle through with the Emperor Napoleon. In the past three weeks the country had acted splendidly up to that splendid example of their forefathers. No matter what losses and what trials they had to bear and face they must be faced. He asked them not to run away with the idea that they were going to be light. It behoved them as Britons to keep stout hearts, and it behoved them to keep the steady conviction in their minds that they were going to win this great struggle in the end. (Hear, hear.) Never in their lives had they so much reason to be proud of their country as they had today. What did they know six weeks ago as to what would happen? What had happened in this last month? They had received from Germany proposals stigmatised by their Prime Minister as infamous - a proposal that they should give away their French friends and make bargains behind their friends' backs. What led to the war was the action of Germany in breaking the solemn treaty to respect the neutrality of little Belgium. This country sent an ultimatum to Germany to say that if they intended to go back from that word and go into Belgium that meant war. No country ever went to war on a nobler and more just and more honest and fair cause than they had got. (Applause.) It was not only this country, but it was a fact that the great American nation and the neutral nations of Europe had expressed and shown their admiration for the cause Great Britain had gone into this war for, and that showed very distinctly that they were right in what they had done. The alternative was a perfectly clear one. It was thoroughly understood by all of them. This great overbearing, military, tyrannical power, Germany, was endeavouring to force the nations of Europe under its tyrannical heel, probably England following if they had not joined the others. Probably the command of the sea would have gone from them. That would be the miserable position this country would be in if it was conquered in this struggle. The other alternative was that they were to remain a happy, free and contended people. It must necessarily follow that we were to be relieved from the maintenance of excessive armies, the constant necessity for maintaining an enormous fleet, and going to an enormous cost in order that we might maintain the one thing we must have, the command of the sea. That money could be applied to other purposes for which it was desired. They would think it natural that he might say a word to them about the officers and men of the Fleet (Applause.) He wanted to put before them what the officers and men of the Fleet had done since war was declared. The Fleet had blockaded, and absolutely tied the hand and confined to harbours the great German Fleet. The British Fleet had maintained the command of the sea and had they not joined in this great struggle the German Fleet would have had command of the sea. The German Fleet could have moved a great German force on the North Coast of France, which would have made it necessary for a great French Army to be diverted there, and that would have had a tremendous effect. The fact of our Fleet being somewhere in the North sea - laughter) - had prevented that, so far without any battles or anything but small trivial operations. The Fleet had choked up entirely the food supply of Germany from the North Sea is exactly the same manner as the French Fleet, assisted by certain of our ships, had choked up the food supply from the Mediterranean and the Adriatic. The third service the Navy had rendered, was the one they knew was the most delicate and difficult and one that required more care than anything else - sending troops on helpless transports across the sea. They had sent a big Army of something like 100,000 men across with sea without the loss of a single man. (Applause.) The service of guarding the sea was a great one and the Navy hoped to continue to reinforce that Army and keep command of the sea. He hoped his countrymen would realise what it was to be there for weeks, never for one moment relaxing a most vigilant look-out, in many respects a far heavier strain than it would be to go to battle as they wanted to do and would be only too glad to do, with the German Fleet when they came out. (Applause). He felt it to be difficult for an old officer like himself, who had served for 50 years, until the last four years he had spent in Herefordshire - it was difficult for them to understand the attitude of men who were known to be in the kingdom, whom he must describe as shirkers. How could they read the papers and see what their troops and what the officers and the men of the Fleet were doing? How could they read this and remain in their occupations in this happy country? Look at what France and gallant little Belgium were going through. (Loud applause). Look at the blessings we had and ought to be thankful for, and was it not the least thing an able-bodied man could do to go and serve his country when Lord KITCHENER asked him to. (Applause). He was sure he might say that Herefordshire would remember NELSON's signal, "England expects every man to do his duty." (Loud applause).

The Chairman then read a letter from Colonel SCOBIE, regretting his inability to attend, and reporting that Herefordshire had recruited 300 for the Territorials, 500 for the National Reserve, and 400 for the Regular Army. All National Reservists under the age of 42 were allowed to enlist in the 100,000 Army, and such men should apply to the Barracks at Hereford. (Applause).

Colonel OMMANEY then delivered an address in the course of which he made a special appeal to men between 19 and 30 not yet having served in the Army, who had in them the makings of as good soldiers as the nation ever turned out - the best in the world. (Applause.) His strong advice to them was to do what Lord Kitchener asked them to do, and not wait until he told them to. (Hear, hear.) England wanted a million men at least in the next six months. The Field Force must be kept up to its present strength, and at the end of the present war Britain would be in stronger position as a military power than she had ever been, and would be ab le to ensure that the peace which would be concluded would be a lasting one. This was the greatest war in history, and there was a chance for them to earn the new war medal, the best of all war medals, "Germany, 1914." (Loud applause.)

Mr A Roger ROWDEN followed with a speech which roused the audience to a high pitch of enthusiasm, in the course of which he said the speeches they had just listened to must have brought home to them their duty. Lord KITCHENER had asked for 100,000 men and had got them. (Applause.) Lord KITCHENER had asked for 500,000, "and he'll get 'em," said Mr ROWDEN, amid full-throated cheers from those present. He appealed to employers and parents to do their duty and to put aside their personal feelings at this time. The recruiting had been magnificent and Herefordshire and this district could be proud. Up to now they had boasted and they had been able to pride themselves on a Volunteer Army, but he appealed to them not to let it be said at the first national crisis they had that they had got to go to the other thing. (Applause.) He had received a telegram from Colonel SCOBIE in which he said that the Herefordshire Regiment had volunteered for foreign service and had been accepted. (Loud applause.) They had authority to recruit for foreign service men between the ages of 17 and 35. "Hands up for those who will enlist," concluded Mr ROWDEN, amid cheers, and immediately up went 20 hands.

The recruits then marched up and gave in their names to Mr W L TILLEY and were announced by the Chairman, after which the men passed on to Mr T PORTER, the Recruiting Officer. In all 27 men, some of them old soldiers and some married men with families, volunteered.

Mr W A H MARTIN proposed, and the Rector seconded a hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman and speakers, to the National Reservists and the Band for the parade, to Mr HOWELL for use of the room, to the vocalists and accompanist, to the men who had volunteered, and the mothers of the young men.

This was carried by acclamation and the Chairman briefly replied.
An excellent programme of harmony was contributed by Mr H W CROFT, Mr J W TEAGUE, Mr J BACHE, Mr E W REED, Mr H B WHYLD, Mr David SMITH, junr., and Mr Arthur SHARP (Hereford). Mr F A HOBRO and Mr W G DAVIS were the accompanists.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 05 09 1914
Mr. W. L. TILLEY is the hon. Secretary of the Ledbury Town Recruiting Committee.

The Ledbury and District Recruiting Committee are making a thorough canvas of the town with a view to ascertaining the number of men between the ages of 17 and 50.

On Tuesday evening the Army Recruiting Van visited Ledbury and held an open-air meeting outside the old Town Hall. A large number of people were attracted, and pictures of the British Fleet. Etc., were shown. Corporal H. A. HARMAN and Corporal WEER were in charge of the van, and stirring addresses were delivered. The proceedings concluded with the National Anthem.

During the present week recruiting has been fairly brisk in this locality, and quite a good number of men have been conveyed to Hereford in motor cars. More recruits are however urgently needed. On Wednesday evening next a recruiting meeting will be held in the grounds of the Colwall Park Hotel, when it is hoped there will be a very large attendance especially of men eligible for enlistment in the Army. On Thursday evening next a meeting will be held at Dymock. There will be a musical programme.

Recruiting is proceeding vigourously in Ledbury, as in other parts of the country, but there still remains a lot to be done. There are quite a number of young men in the town who have no-one dependent on them who should now realise their responsibilities to the nation. That there are men of this stamp is due to their lack of education or the misdirection of their education which has resulted in an absolute ignorance of anything they owe to their country. There is a class, mainly to be found in country towns whose only aim is to do the best they can for themselves with the least possible expenditure of labour. Their whole outlook on life is one of selfishness coupled with ignorance. For this the education authorities of the last ten years are in the main responsible, but this realisation does not help matters now. That they will be called upon to do their duty they may rest assured. This war is going to cost far more in men and in money than most people have yet any conception of. Up to the present we have had to fight on the defensive, but it must be remembered that the time will come when we shall have to reverse such position and it is then that every man in the country will have to be prepared to do his duty. And if he doesnt he will be made. We have tolerated "do nothings" and "loafers" for a generation, but, now we are fighting for our very life as a nation, these individuals will have to show good cause for their existance.

It cannot be to widely known that complete arrangements have been made at the Drill Hall, Ledbury for accepting recruits for Lord KITCHENER 's Army. The men can be both medically examined and sworn in.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 03-10-1914
Attention is officially drawn in our 'Public Notices' column to the removal of the present recruiting office from the Barracks to the Labour Exchange Buildings, Commercial Road, Hereford after Thursday 8th October. Intending recruits should make immediate note of the address, and also point out to their friends.

Ledbury Guardian Newspaper 14 11 1914
Dear Sir, - 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. It is, I think, generally admitted that there is no more loyal or patriotic class of man than the British farmer, but there are a few --- I think only a very few --- who obviously do not realise the magnitude of the present national crisis. Of course the wheat crop and other food supplies are of the utmost importance to the nation, but they must be produced under emergency conditions, and we must all be prepared to make sacrifices and carry on our various occupations under great personal inconvenience. Eligible men must be spared, and their work must be done by lads of 14 to 16 and men past military age. There is also a good deal of work which can be done by women, and I am certain there are very many women who under ordinary circumstance would not work on a farm, but who would now for the sake of their country come forward and do their share if they were asked to do so. There must also be men usually employed in trades, which have suffered from the effects of the war, who would be glad to find work. Then again there surely must be many of the Belgian refugees who would make excellent farm hands, and are, in fact, skilled as such. The question of language is I know, a difficulty, but that will soon become less. Apart from the national calamity, which would be entailed if we were beaten --- or even did not gain a decisive victory --- in this war (which would be almost to terrible to contemplate), it is worth while to reflect on that[sic] would be the effect on each of us personally. What would be the taxation per head of the population. We ought also to consider what the war costs in lives and money each week it continues. There can be no doubt that the surest way to bring it to a close is to let the enemy see that Lord KITCHENER can get recruits as fast as he thinks it necessary to call for them. They will then realise the impossibility of the task they have set themselves, whereas if they think there is a chance of us coming to the end of our resources they will fight to the bitter end. Everyone who fails to do his utmost in this respect will have on his conscience the loss of thousands of lives and millions of pounds.

No one appreciates the difficulties and trials of farmers more fully than I do, and if they or any other employers will communicate with me if they are in trouble as regards labour, I will see what steps can be taken to meet their requirements. There are plenty of men who are not eligible for military service. The difficulty at present is that of organisation and distribution, but I believe this can be got over if taken properly in hand. The Labour Exchanges could probably assist if they were correctly informed as to where the shortages existed.

Yours faithfully
Hon. Secretary Ledbury District Recruiting Committee,
Eastnor Castle Estate Office, near Ledbury.
November 12th 1914.

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