As the Centenary unfolds, a range of newspaper and other records will appear here to give an idea of how the war was revealed at home primarily focused on Kent for our purposes .... fairly random. If you have other snippets to share, please let us know using the dedicated email account:
The Western Front continued largely "stabilised" from January 1915 to the end of 1916. The continuing mood surrounding events in the Gallipoli Peninsula is revealed by General Ian Hamilton in his Despatch of 26th August 1915:-
"Finally, if my despatch is in any way to reflect the feelings of the force, I must refer to the shadow cast over the whole of our adventure by the loss of so many of our gallant and true-hearted comrades. Some of them we shall never see again; some have had the mark of the Dardanelles set upon them for life, but others, and, thank God, by far the greater proportion, will be back in due course at the front."
Official records in Britain concede that October marked the beginning of a period in which the Germans obtained mastery in the air on the Western Front (due to the Fokker machine). A mastery that only came to an end towards April 1916. This made life in the Allied trenches more hazardous from direct attack as well as from better German intelligence about the disposition of ground forces.
Allied troops arrive at Solonika (3rd October), provoking Greek Government protests, but they retain a neutral stance.
Bulgaria gets drawn into hostilities and received a series of ultimatums from the Entente Powers - Bulgarian and Serbian forces open hostilities (11th) and Britain breaks of diplomatic relations (13th). The opening of hostilities in this arena led to a widening of conflict - France declares "state of war" on Bulgaria (16th) followed by Russia and Italy.
A name that resonates from this period is that of Miss Edith Cavell, who is shot (12th October) in Brussels by order of a German court-martial.
The extent of conflict became increasingly 'worldwide' - everywhere that the main protagonists had an imperial foothold. On 30th October, there was a third Allied attack on Mora (Cameroons), the second action of Krivolak (Macedonia) took place.
The last meeting took place on 30th October of the Dardanelles Committee of the British Cabinet.
From 25th September and through October, the Allied Autumn offensive began - in which our two Doddington men lost their lives on 13th October. Including, the Battle of Loos, 3rd Battle of Artois and 2nd Battle of Champagne. These battles continue until 6th November when the 2nd Battle of Champagne came to a halt.
Reported in the Kent Messenger on 2nd October: "Captain Lord Teynham, who is the 18th Baron and takes his title from the village of that name between Sittingbourne and Faversham, is in the trenches with his Regiment, the 6th Buffs (East Kent Regt.) Lord Teynham, who is 48 years of age, was a Captain in the East Kent Yeomanry for some years previous to the war."
Reported in the Kent Messenger of 16th October 1915: October 9th. at Mill Cottage, Lynsted, Sittingbourne, to Mr. and Mrs. W.G.Croft - a son.
Private Percy FORSTER (of Chequers Hill, Doddington), Killed in action, aged 29 years
Private Harry Victor HIGGINS (of Chequers Hill, Doddington), Killed in action, aged 18 years
An attack on the East Coast and London led to 200 casualties. Comparable events took place on 19th January and 31st May 1915, 19th October, 1917, and 5th August, 1918.
There was widespread reportage and revulsion at the summary execution of Edith Cavell by German authorities in Belgium. The British public first heard of the event through a Press Bureau statement from the Foreign Office:-
"The Foreign Office are informed by the United States Ambassador that Miss Edith Cavell, lately head of a large training school for nurses at Brussels, who was arrested on August 5 last by the German authorities at that place, was executed on the 13th Inst., after sentence of death has been passed on her.
It is understood that the charge against Miss Cavell was that she had harboured fugitive British and French soldiers and Belgians of military age and had assisted them to escape from Belgium in order to join the colours.
So far as the Foreign Office are aware, no charge of espionage was brought against her."
Taken from Lynsted Parish Council Minutes of 18th October 1915: Proposed by Rev T J Sewell, seconded Mr T L Ackermann, the Council resolved - "That the Lynsted Parish Council is of opinion that in view of the extreme scarcity of labour in this district, children of more than 12 years of age, who have bona fide employment suited to their strength & capability should not be prosecuted for non-attendance at school." - this resolution was forwarded to the Faversham School Attendance Committee.
Daily Express of 19th October reported on the change of command for The Dardanelles. NEW COMMANDER AT THE DARDANELLES. SIR IAN HAMILTON RETURNING. HIS SUCCESSOR GENERAL SIR C.C. MONRO. War Office, Monday, 11.55pm General Sir C.C. Monro, K.C.B., has been appointed to the command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in succession to General Sir Ian Hamilton, C.C.B., D.S.O., who is returning to England to make a report.
Pending the arrival of General Sir C.C. Monro, Lieut.-General Sir W.R. Birdwood, K.C.S.I., K.C.M.G., C.B., C.I.E., D.S.O., has been appointed temporarily to command the force.
The "Daily Express" exclusively stated yesterday morning that an important promotion for General Sir C.C. Monro would shortly be announced.
Sir Charles Monro entered the Army in 1879, and is fifty-five years old. He served in the South African war from 1899 to 1901, was chief of the School of Musketry at Hythe from 1901 to 1903, subsequently commanded an infantry brigade in Ireland, and before the war was commander of a Territorial division. He served on the north-west frontier of India, 1877-80, and gained a medal and two clasps. Sir William Riddell Birdwood has had a distinguished military career in India, where he was military secretary to Lord Kitchener in 1905. he previously served as Lord Kitchener's military secretary in the South African war. he served in several frontier wars, including the Tirah campaign. In South Africa he was severely wounded, and was five times mentioned in despatches. Before the war he was secretary to the Government of India in the Army Department. He is fifty years old, and entered the Army in 1883.
Sir Ian Hamilton, whose name will always be associated with the marvellous landing at the Dardanelles, is now sixty-two years old. He was Adjutant-General to the Forces and second military member of the Army Council from 1909 to 1910, and G.O.C.-in-Chief in the Mediterranean and Inspector-General of Overseas Forces from 1910 until the war.
He served in the Afghan war of 1878-80, in the Boer war of 1881, including Majuba, in the Nile Expedition of 1884-5, in the Burmese Expedition of 188607, in Chitral, 1895, Tirah, 1897-8, and all through the South African war, where he was chief of the staff to Lord Kitchener from 1901 to 1903.
At the beginning of the war he was appointed to command the 4th Army.
Early this spring he was sent to drive the Turks out of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Reported in The Times 0f 23rd October 1915: "WOMEN'S WAR WORK.- OFFICIAL SCHEME OF PAY. - EQUALITY WITH MEN.
The Ministry of Munitions has issued the following recommendations of the Munitions Labour Supply Committee relating to the employment and remuneration of women on munition work of a class which prior to the war was not recognized as women's work in districts where such work was customarily carried on.
The Committee is composed as follows:-
The right Hon. Arthur Henderson, M.P. (Chairman), Messrs. W.H. Beveridge, J.T. Brownlie, W. Dawtry, A. Duckham, Charles Duncan, M.P., Charles Ellis, J. Kaylor, Miss Mary Macarthur, Messrs W. Mosses, C.F. Rey, Allan M. Smith, G.H. West.
The Minister has decided to adopt the Committee's recommendations as regards munition factories for which the Ministry is responsible, and also to commend them to the favourable consideration of other employers engaged on munitions work.
Note.- These recommendations are on the basis of the setting up of the machines being otherwise provided for. They are strictly confined to the war period and are subject to the observance of the provisions of Schedule II. of the Munitions of War Act.
(1) Women of 18 years of age and over employed on time, on work customarily done by men, shall be rated at £1 per week, reckoned on the usual working hours of the district in question for men in engineering establishments. This, however, shall not apply in the case of women employed on work customarily done by fully-skilled tradesmen, in which case the women shall be paid the time rates of the tradesmen whose work they undertake. Overtime and night shift and Sunday and holiday allowances payable to men shall also be made to women.
(2) Where women are prevented from working owing to breakdown air raid, or other cause beyond their control they shall be paid for the time so lost at the rate of 15s. a week as above unless they are sent home.
(3) Women shall not be put on piece work or premium bonus systems until sufficiently qualified. The period of qualification on shell work shall not, in general case, exceed three to four weeks.
(4) Where women are employed on piece work they shall be paid the same piece work prices as are customarily paid to men for the job.
(5) Where women are engaged on premium bonus systems the time allowed for a job shall be that customarily allowed to men for the same job, and the earnings of the women shall be calculated on the basis of the men's time rate.
There are several other recommendations of a technical character, the principle on which the recommendations proceed being that on systems of payment by results equal payment shall be made to women as to the men for an equal amount of work done. Any question which arises as to the interpretation of the recommendations shall be determined by the Minster of Munitions."
30th October 1915 - The Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press
Two patrols of the Kent Cyclist Battalion on coast duty near Galloways, Lydd, between 1 and 2 a.m. on Sunday [24th October], saw a man acting in a suspicious manner. They challenged him, but got no reply. They fired a shot, and the man ran away. Two other shots were fired, but although a search was made, nothing could be found of the man.
Between five and six o’clock the same morning, however, the body of a man was found near Galloways, shot through the head. It was afterwards identified as that of Henry Viney, aged 56, a range warden at Lydd Camp, who lived at 7, Wolseley Terrace, Lydd. Underneath the body was found a double-barrelled gun, fully loaded, but having one cartridge discharged.
At the inquest on Monday the evidence showed that Viney’s death was due to a bullet which had ricocheted. The jury returned a verdict of “Justifiable homicide.”
Reported in the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald on 30th October 1915: "RESIGNATION OF THE RECTOR OF LUDDENHAM. The Rev. S. Faithorne Green, Rector of Luddenham, is resigning the living after a stay of little more than a year, and leaves at the end of the present month.
He was inducted to the living from which the Rev. Barrington S. Wright retired in the previous March on August 9th, 1914, prior to which he had been Rector of Charlton, Dover, since 1889.
The rectory house at Luddenham is very old, and the fact that the ground about it is water-logged makes it an undesirable place of residence.
When Mr. Green came to the parish the erection of a new rectory was mooted and settled, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners promising a grant of £1,500 towards the cost. The war, however, has put the project out of the question, owing to the greatly increased cost which would be involved, and feeling that he cannot face another winter in the old house, Mr. Green has tendered his resignation to the Lord Chancellor, who has the patronage of the living."
30th October 1915 - The Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press
TO MY PEOPLE
At this grave moment in the struggle between my people and a highly organised enemy who has transgressed the Laws of Nations and changed the ordinance that binds civilized Europe together, I appeal to you.
I rejoice in my Empire’s effort, and I feel pride in the voluntary response from my Subjects all over the world who have sacrificed home, fortune, and life itself, in order that another may not inherit the free Empire which their ancestors and mine have built.
I ask you to make good these sacrifices.
The end is not in sight. More men and yet more are wanted to keep my Armies in the Field, and through them to secure Victory and enduring Peace.
In ancient days the darkest moment has ever produced in men of our race the sternest resolve.
I ask you, men of all classes, to come forward voluntarily and take your share in the fight.
In freely responding to my appeal, you will be giving your support to our brothers, who, for long months have nobly upheld Britain’s past traditions, and the glory of her Arms.
Illustration from Daily Express of 19th October 1915