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On this day...

RemembranceCommemoration of Casualties from the Parochial Parish of Kingsdown and Creekside.

 

News from the Home FrontReturn to Newspaper snippets from the Home Front

Unknown soldiers - photos of soldiers without known names.

< 1914 September >
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Artefacts ...

- Units of the Army. Numerical strength and Equipment Explained.
- Weight of Territorials' Equipment

- Maps of the Front published in The Daily Express,
- p4,7th September 1914.
- p1, 10th September 1914.
- p1, 11th September 1914.

Despatches from the Front ...

- dated 7th September, covering August engagements.
- dated 17th September, covering period from 28th August.
- dated 8th October, covering the Battle of The Aisne, from 10th September to 23rd September. The emerging dominance of Trench Warfare or "stabilisation".
- 9th and 29th October and 10th November 1914 Despatches describing the siege of German-held Tsingtau.

All Despatches transcribed by the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society

(Updated 20th August 2018)

Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - Home Front News & Snippets.....
September 1914

World War 1 soldier at rest

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:
Parish Records Contact Address

Shaming comparisons: Driving up recruitment in the County of Kent

Reported in the South Eastern Gazette - 1st September: "KENT HANGING BACK.
It is a matter of deep regret that recruiting in Kent so far should compare unfavourably with that in the other counties in the Eastern Command. This, we may say, is the official report, and it behoves every patriotic inhabitant of the country to endeavour to bring about a more satisfactory state of things. There are, we may mention, six recruiting centres in West Kent, as follows:-
Maidstone.- Office in the Barracks. Recruiting Officer, Captain Beeching.
Tonbridge.- Office in Territorial Headquarters. Recruiting Officer, Colonel Rattray.
Bromley.- Office next to Drill hall. Recruiting Officer, Captain Towse.
Gravesend.- Office in Barracks. Recruiting Officer, Captain Bailey.
Chatham.- Army Recruiting Office, Dock Road. Recruiting Office, Dock Road. Recruiting Officer, Major Anderson.
Sheerness.- Office in Trinity Road. Recruiting Officer, Colonel Stallon, V.D.
We are gratified to learn that the high Sheriff of Kent received a letter yesterday (Monday) from Major-General Adye, the head of the home Counties Command, stating that recruiting within the county areas of the command now shows an upward tendency."

Inspiring Stories: Warship arrivals at Sheerness from the Bight of Heligoland

Reported in South Eastern Gazette - 1st September: "VICTORIOUS SHIPS AT SHEERNESS. DEAD GERMAN SAILORS LANDED. The passing to and fro of warships along the Nore Channel is an event of such familiar occurrence that the townspeople along the Sheerness Esplanade about noon on Saturday mingled with those holiday makers who still remain, witnessed the return of H.M.S. Amethyst and the destroyer Laertes almost without realising that they were in the presence of a historic event. The coming into port of these two ships from the scene of action in the Blight of Heligoland had been announced by wireless to the Naval Authorities. The news spread quickly through the Naval Sub Depot, and into the Dockyard, and as the ships approached Garrison Point round after round of cheers were raised for the heroic victors aboard.
The Amethyst steamed slowly up the harbour, followed closely by the Laertes. Apparently the light cruiser had not sustained any great damage, but the Laertes had had one of her funnels badly holed near the deck. Both warships were under their own steam and answered their helm perfectly.
A number of German dead from the sea fight were landed at the Cornwallis jetty."


First reports of casualties relayed home - West Kents Suffer Heavily

Reported in the East Kent Gazette of 5th September 1914. [Supplemented by Daily Express, 4th September]
"THE WAR. BRITISH LOSSES AT THE FRONT. West Kents Suffer heavily. The first returns of British losses in France have been issued and the total casualties (killed, wounded and missing) reported to date are as follows.

Killed 54 officers 179 other ranks
Wounded 135 officers 941 other ranks
Missing 181 officers 8,855 other ranks
Total 370 Officers 9,975 Other Ranks


The West Kent Regiment had four officers killed and four wounded and there is also a return of some of the wounded NCOs and men of the same Battalion. Following is the list up-to-date: Officers killed: Lieutenant C K Anderson; 2nd Lieut M. F. Breadwood; Major C.G.Back(?)-Beresford; Captain W.C.O. Phillips;
Officers wounded: Second Lieut A.A.E. Chitty; Captain G.D. Lister; Lieutenant B.C.C. Seal; Captain R.M.G.Tulloch;
NCOS and Men Wounded: Private G R Barnes 10033; Private H. Brushwood 8118; Corporal M. Catchpole 9607; Private George Dickason 7677; Sergeant H. Futler 7910; Private W. Jeffrey 8111; Private T. Kennersley 7573; Lance Corporal A. Marks 7234; Private J. Nixon 7755; Private F.W. Palmer 7558; Private A. Parker 7758; Private A. Pettett 8022; Private G. Reed 7735; Private T. Smith 7417; Private A.R. Spicer 9367; Corporal A. Thomas 5131; Private C. Tompkins 6691; C.J. Upton 10049; Private C.J. Waghorn 10121; Private F.Wilder 10229.
Lieutenant C.K. Anderson of the West Kent Regiment who was killed in the recent fighting belongs to a well-known Faversham family. His grandfather, the late J.A. Anderson was several times Mayor of the Borough. Lieutenant Anderson who was 26 years of age was the youngest son of Mr. G.K. Anderson, DL, of Bridge Hill, Canterbury."


A.W.O.L. from The Buffs - returned to Battalion

Reported in East Kent Gazette 5th September 1914: "BUFFS absent at Faversham County Police Court on Saturday a number of soldiers were found absent without leave, some escaped. Magistrates ordered two men who have escaped to be arrested. Three more absentee Buffs making six this week were charged at the Faversham police court last Tuesday with being absent without leave. They were George Scott, Samuel Key, and John Read. They were ordered to be detained until escorts arrived."


East Kent Yeomanry up to strength and ready to serve overseas

Reported in East Kent Gazette 5th September 1914. EAST KENT YEOMANRY, The Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles, having reached the necessary percentage of men volunteering for foreign service will go out as a regiment of three squadrons if required to serve out of England. Lieutenant H. H. Dawes, 2nd Lieutenant J R Tylden and the Honourable H. A. G. Upton of the Royal East Kent (The Duke of Connaught’s Own) Mounted Rifles have been appointed Captain, Lieutenant and second Lieutenant respectively. See also 19th September.


"White Feather" Brigade in Kent (Folkestone and Deal)

Reported in East Kent Gazette 5th September 1914: THE WHITE FEATHER BRIGADE. Speaking at a public meeting on The Lees, Folkestone, Admiral Penrose Fitzgerald made the suggestion that the young ladies who were spending their holidays in Folkestone should assist the young men to a sense of their duty to their country by forming a “white feather” Brigade. Every able-bodied “slacker” seen about the town (he suggested) the ladies should present with a white feather inviting him to wear it.
[Editorial Note: There were many recorded cases of serving soldiers, back on leave, being presented the "white feather" by women in the street - a mistake made if a soldier walked about out of his uniform!]

Reported in Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 5th September: "THE WAY TO INJURE RECRUITING. Some foolish women at Folkestone, for the want of something better to do presumably, have this week been stalking about carrying a quantity of white feathers one of which they have presented, or tried to present, to every young fellow they met who did not happen to be in uniform. The idea appears to be that this will induce young men to join the army. Anything more calculated to do just the contrary can hardly be imagined, and it seems a pity that the recruiting efforts should be frustrated by such senseless conduct on the part of women.
---
Similar idiotic goings-on are reported from Deal, where they have been strongly resented by the more sober-minded inhabitants, who feel that everything should be done to encourage young men to join the Army and not to stop them from so doing, as these insults are calculated to do."

 


† - First Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 6th September, British East Africa

Guy Christopher Ottley OLDFIELD (of Doddington), Killed in action, aged 25.
Memorials: Newnham and Doddington; British & Indian Memorial, Nairobi (South) Cemetery
Theatre: British East Africa (Kenya)
Serving In: The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment (attached to Kings African Rifles)
He was the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher George Oldfield, R.A.. Nephew of Brigadier General Jeffreys, of Doddington Place where Guy spent much of his childhood.


Ramping up of recruitment effort in Kent for Lord Kitchener's Army

Reported by the South Eastern Gazette on 8th September

"THE CALL TO ARMS. RECRUITING IN KENT.
MEETINGS AT CANTERBURY [AND MAIDSTONE] SOME STIRRING APPEALS TO PATRIOTISM.

Men of Kent, remember ye
Like your sires of old to be,
Foremost of our English, free.

Great enthusiasm marked a meeting at the Theatre Royal, Canterbury, on Tuesday night, for the purpose of promoting recruiting for Lord Kitchener's Army. The Mayor of Canterbury presided, and he was supported, among others, by Lord Harris, the acting Lord Lieutenant of the County, the Very Rev. the Dean, the Member for Canterbury (Mr. F. Bennett Goldney), Major-General Young, Commanding the Home Counties Division, the Bishop of Dover, and General Sir Charles Warren. The Mayor announced that Mr. G. K. Anderson, J.P., D.L., could not attend, as he had just received a wire than his son had been killed in action at the front. "That," added the Mayor, "brings the war right home to us."
A letter which was read to the meeting from Lord Milner contained the following: "I have tried, as perhaps you know, for more than eight years to induce this nation to take land defence seriously and prepare in time, not waiting till war breaks out, for every-thing except the Expeditionary Force. There was some object in speaking then, because the extent of the danger and of our unpreparedness was not in the least realised. I feel less interested in speaking now, because if the object lesson (written in blood and fire) over all Belgium and Northern France -almost in sight of our own shores - does not rouse people, I don't see how verbs and adverbs can."
Lord Harris, in a stirring speech, moved the following resolution:-
"That this meeting of the citizens and inhabitants of Canterbury and the surrounding district undertake collectively and individually to facilitate and promote recruiting; and to themselves obtain recruits for Lord Kitchener's Armies and all other authorised units of His Majesties forces to the utmost extent of their power."
They might, he said, fairly ask the question in reply to an appeal of that kind - "Why is England at war at all?" They might also fairly ask, "Is the cause just?" In reply he might appeal to the expressed opinion of the whole civilised world - with the exception of their enemies - as witnesses to the fact that their cause was a just one (applause). Looking at the war from the material side, they could see for themselves every day what would be the result of an invasion. Was there anything more horrible, could they imagine, than invasion; to see the peaceful occupation of harvest now being carried on in their happy English homes, tarnished and destroyed by war? Did they want to prevent their seeing in England anything like what was to-day happening on the Continent? Did they want to maintain the proud boast of England that she had not been materially invaded for nine hundred years? ("Yes"). Then they must come forward in their numbers now. They must make no mistake. They were up against a great thing, and they wanted as many men as they could get. He (Lord Harris) considered a check had perhaps been put on recruiting by the mistake of posting up in the first instance that Lord Kitchener wanted 100,000 men. What Lord Kitchener wanted and Parliament sanctioned was 500,000 men at least. Every young man capable of passing the medical test, of shouldering a rifle, and who was able to drill, should come forward. he appealed to employers of labour to see that they retained in their service no eligible unmarried young man capable of service (cheers). He had himself told his own young men that if they were eligible and fit they ought to join, if they were not fit their job was open to them. If they were fit and would not go, then they could find another job elsewhere (cheers). The same thing had happened with the clerks of a large and important business in London of which he was a director.
Mr. F. Bennett Goldney, M.P., who seconded the resolution, read the following telegram which he had just received from Lord Kitchener:-
"I hope and believe meeting in Canterbury will result in large addition to growing numbers of those who are responding to the call of their country."
Major-General Young, in supporting the resolution, referred to the two famous regiments of Kent - regiments which had left their names on the history of the British Empire (cheers) - The Buffs and the West Kents (renewed cheers) - the Buffs and the West Kents (renewed cheers). Although he could not say for certain, there was no doubt that these regiments had played a man's part in the great struggle of the past few days. Was it for those other young Men of Kent to sit down at their ease and not feel that not only was the existence of the Empire at stake, but also the honour of the fair county of Kent (cheers). Were they going to let such famous country regiments say that they were not supported from behind? (cheers).
Over 40 young fellows enlisted at the conclusion of the meeting."


LOCAL NEWS: AWOL from The Buffs to visit Lynsted family

Report from East Kent Gazette, 12th September. "LYNSTED. CAME HOME TO SEE HIS FAMILY. At the Faversham County Police Court on Tuesday [8th September], Hubert Price, who lives at Newberry, Tong, pleaded guilty to being an absentee from the 1st Battalion, The Buffs, stationed at Dover, at Lynsted. He said he went to see his wife and children. The Clerk: Did you ask for a pass? Prisoner: I asked the corporal, and he said no more passes were to be given. The Magistrate ordered prisoner to be handed over to an escort.


Parish-level Recruitment discussed at Sittingbourne - 9th September

Report from East Kent Gazette 12th September 1914
"RECRUITING IN NORTH EAST KENT
A Meeting of representatives of parishes in the Sittingbourne Petty Sessional area and contiguous Parishes was held at Martins Bank, Sittingbourne on Wednesday afternoon [9th September] to consider the best means of stimulating and recruiting under Lord Kitchener’s New Army Scheme. Captain H.H.C. Baird, recruiting officer from The Buffs Depot at Canterbury attended and explained particularly the needs of the Buffs which had already raised a 6th Battalion and is to have another Battalion of a thousand strong and recruit also another thousand men to fill vacancies in the other line Battalions of the Regiment. The representatives present were Colonel Honeyball, J.P. (Chairman of the local recruiting committee), Teynham; Mr A Faunce de Laune, J.P., of Newnham; Reverend F.M. Grapper of Frinsted; Mr W.S. Gonyon, of Bredgar; Mr Alfred Hinge of Borden; Mr Edward Carfall (?) of Lower Halstow; Mr W F Wood of Tonge; T.E. Dennison, J.P., of Hartlip; Mr E Ledger of Newington; Mr T Potts of Doddington; Rev T.J. Sewell of Lynsted; Rev W. Woodruff of Iwade; and FJ Parrett, JP (Hon. Sec. of the local recruiting committee). Notification of unavoidable absence were received from Dr. Penfold of Rainham; Mr R.G.E. Lock, D.L., J.P.; Mr Henry Payne, J.P.; Mr J.A. Walter, J.P.; Mr R.M. Wakeley, C.C.; and Mr J Strouts of Rodmersham. Arrangements were made for a series of meetings in the rural parishes."


More Recruitment around Sittingbourne - Concert and Rally on 12th September

Reported in Herne Bay Express, 19th September 1914. SITTINGBOURNE. Recruiting Meeting. A promenade concert and recruiting rally took place in Trinity Hall, Sittingbourne, on Saturday evening [12th September], the gathering having to be held in the hall - instead of in the Football Ground - on account of the wet weather. Mr. H Payne presided, and addresses were given by Mr. Granville Wheler, M.P., and Mr. G. Blacklocks, B.L., of Herne Bay.


A week of 'Calls to Arms' in our local villages

Reported in Herne Bay Express, 19th September 1914: Calling for Recruits. Mr. F.J. Parrett, J.P. of Herne Bay, Hon. Secretary of the Sittingbourne and Milton Regis Recruiting Sub-Committee of the Kent Territorial Force Association, during the past week has been addressing recruiting meetings at Sittingbourne and Milton Regis, and has taken part in similar meetings at Rainham, Newington, Greenstreet, Lynsted and other places.


Greenstreet Recruitment Rally - Greenstreet Hill, near "The Dover Castle" - 14th September

Reported in East Kent Gazette 12th September: "GREENSTREET. THE WAR – Mrs Boyce will speak to the national crisis, at a recruiting rally to be held on Greenstreet Hill, at seven p.m. on Monday next [14th September]."

Reported in South Eastern Gazette 19th September 1914: "GREENSTREET. RECRUITING RALLY - A recruiting rally was held on Monday evening [14th September] on the Hill at Greenstreet, where an appeal was made to the young men of Teynham, Lynsted, and Norton to join the colours. The Union Jack and the French Tricolour had been mounted, and a numerous crowd assembled. Colonel J F Honeyball, JP presided, and was supported by the Rev. L Goodenough (rector of Norton), Mr. A Faunce de Laune, J (who himself has joined the East Kent Yeomanry), Mr F J Parrett, JP, Mrs Boyce, Mrs Honeyball, and others. Colonel Honeyball said they were holding these meetings as far as practicable in all the parishes, at all events in all the larger parishes, with the object of giving information, of bringing home to everyone, if there was still anyone who did not realise it, the seriousness of the crisis through which this country was now passing, and of pointing out to those who were able – the young manhood of the country – what their duty was. He hoped that this meeting at Greenstreet would not be without the desired result. He did not say that these three parishes had failed in their duty hitherto; on the contrary there was a very large number of men belonging to them who were serving the King in some capacity or other – no less than eighty from the parish of Teynham along. Nevertheless, there were others who had not gone yet and who could go.

The Rev L Goodenough said it might hardly seem possible that at this moment we were engaged in the greatest struggle which the world had ever known. Here we were in this country going about our usual business, getting in our harvests, our fruit and our hops – really, some might ask, what difference does the war make? We might have to pay a penny more for our sugar, and here were exciting things to be read about in the newspapers, but it was difficult to realise that we were at war. We could thank God for the wonderful security of our position – a security which was due to that little strip of water which separated us from the Continent. But we must not trust too much to that security and leave everything to our magnificent Fleet and our comparatively small Army. The burden was laid upon every one of us, and we had all in some way or other to bear our part. We were fighting for the freedom, not only for our land, but for the freedom of Europe, which was threatened with a slavery the peoples did not intend to bow down to – threatened in accordance with a long designed plan on the part of Germany to impose themselves on the whole of Europe. After a reference to the history of the war, the speaker said we must not think because we had had a few successful days we were going to get to the end of the war in a minute. We had to use every single effort to subdue the barbarous German nation, for “barbarous” was not too strong a term to use in view of what the German Army had been guilty of.

Mrs. Boyce spoke especially to the women present. This war, she said, was one which concerned every woman in this country as much as it concerned every man. Women had, therefore, to do their part and not to cry and squirm if their sons wanted to enlist. If they did that she would say shame on the womanhood. The speaker emphasised the remark of the previous speaker that we must not think that we were at the end of the war because we had had one or two glorious victories. It was “a long, long way to Tipperary,” and it was a long, long way to Berlin, but to Berlin we had got to go and secure the terms we should demand. Colonel Honeyball and Mr. De Laune afterwards appealed to the young men present, who could do so, to join either Lord Kitchener’s Army or one of the local Territorial units, and the proceedings concluded with cheers for the King and the Army and Navy."


LOCAL NEWS Items: Recruitment degrades the Sittingbourne postal service

Reported in South Eastern Gazette on 15th September: SITTINGBOURNE. OWING TO THE WAR. In consequence of a shortage in the Sittingbourne staff at the Post Office, through the war, the daily postal deliveries have been cut down from four to two - early morning and afternoon.

------------

"Landrail" Barge Tragedy - Sinking around 15th September

Reported in the South Eastern Gazette 26th September 1914: "BARGE DISASTER – Gillingham losses of life (John White, 19, and Alfred Spenceley. Barge – LANDRAIL.
Thomas William Smith, of Greenstreet, a brickfield labourer, in the employ of Messrs. Eastwood, Limited, said he and other men loaded the barge with bricks, at Conyer, Teynham, and she left Conyer on the 11th instant, bound for the London river, and nothing more was heard."

Updated Report in same newspaper 29th September 1914: "FOUNDERING OF A BARGE - TWO LIVES LOST. The gale that prevailed on the 15th inst. was responsible for the loss of the barge Landrail, belonging to Messrs. Eastwood and Co., Limited, and the drowning of the captain (John White, aged 19 years), and the mate (Alfred Spencleley, 50 years), both of Gillingham. The bodies were washed ashore at Sheerness, the barge having foundered ten miles from that port, while on its way to London with a freight of 30,000 bricks, which had been loaded at Coniger (sic - Conyer), Teynham.
An inquest on the body of the young skipper was held at Sheerness on Wednesday, by Mr. C. H. Harris, County Coroner. The mate's body was recovered on Thursday, and an inquest was held on Friday. In each case a verdict of "Accidently drowned" was returned.


Local Recruitment creating new Service Battalions and Yeomanry Regiment

Reported in South Eastern Gazette 15th September: "NEW WEST KENT BATTALIONS. The 6th Service Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment, numbering eleven hundred rank and file, has now been formed, and one thousand more Kentish men are required for the 7th Service Battalion, besides five hundred for the West Kent Depot at Maidstone. It is hoped that these 1,500 recruits will be forthcoming during the next few days.

A second regiment of the West Kent Yeomanry is being raised, and recruits, with sound knowledge of riding, are requested to present themselves at the West Kent Yeomanry Depot, Drill Hall, Union Street, Maidstone."


East Kent Yeomanry - New Reserves Recruited and leave for training - 19th September

Reported in South Eastern Gazette - 19th September 1914: "EAST KENT YEOMANRY. FORMATION OF RESERVE CONTINGENT. The Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles having reached the necessary percentage of men volunteering for foreign service, they will go out as a regiment of three squadrons if required to serve out of England.
A new regiment of the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles is being established to take the place of the regiment while on active service. Mr. Alured Faunce de Laune has taken the initiative in this movement and has already obtained the names of many recruits from Rainham, Newington, Sittingbourne, Milton, Greenstreet, Newnham, and Eastling districts. The first contingent, consisting of 60 men, leaves the district today (Saturday) for Canterbury, and the next contingent will be sent off on Friday next. If any young men are anxious to serve their country in this crisis, intend to join, they are asked to send their names to Mr. Fred J Parrett, the hon. Secretary of the Local Recruiting Sub-Committee, at 17, High Street, Sittingbourne.
Mr A Faunce de Laune, who has been superintending the patrol of a section of the London Road, is joining the East Kent Yeomanry, as is also his brother, Mr. Edmund de Launce, and Mr C. Hastings Wheler, brother of the Member for North-East Kent."

Reported in South Eastern Gazette, 22nd September 1914: SITTINGBOURNE. RECRUITING. Another recruiting rally and military concert took place on the Sittingbourne Football Ground on Saturday evening [19th September], when stirring addresses were given by Mr. G. Blicklock (Herne Bay), Mr. H. Payne, J.P., C.C., Colonel Honeyball, and other speakers.

Reported in Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 19th September 1914: ROYAL EAST KENT YEOMANRY. FORMATION OF RESERVE CONTINGENT. A new regiment of the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles is being established, to take the place of the regiment while on active service. Mr. Alured Faunce de Laune has taken the initiative in this movement, and has already obtained the names of many recruits from Rainham, Newington, Sittingbourne, Milton, Greenstreet, Newnham, and Eastling districts.
There is room for more, and if any young men anxious to serve their country in this crisis, and intending to join, will send their names to Mr. A. Faunce de laune, Sharsted court, Doddington, or call personally by appointment, he will be glad to see them, to make arrangements to add them to his contingent." Under these circumstances, it is not a surprise that Hubert and his brothers joined up soon after.


LOCAL NEWS: GOLDEN WEDDING.

Mr, and Mrs. G. A. Filmer, of the Grange, Greenstreet, celebrated their golden wedding on Sunday [20th September], when there was a happy family gathering. Read more about this local family. [Reported on 22nd September]


LOCAL NEWS: Employment Dispute Settled - 22nd September 1914

Reported in South Eastern Gazette 1914-09-22: Faversham County Court - William Smith, farmer, Lynsted, was given judgment for 22s. against William Kemsley, labourer, Doddington, who left his employ without giving a week's notice.

26th September updated report in the same newspaper: "LYNSTED. OBJECTED TO BE SWRN AT.-At the Faversham County Court on Friday in last week, before His Honour Judge Short, William Smith, farmer, of Lynsted, sued William Kemsley, labourer, of Doddington, for 22/0, being a week’s wages in lieu of notice. Plaintiff stated that defendant did not come to work after Saturday August 1st. On Wednesday, the 5th, he sent a message saying he should not come any more as he was finished. Defendant said he left because plaintiff was always swearing at him. His Honour remarked that if defendant had stood being sworn at for three years, he could have stood it for one more week. Judgement was given for plaintiff."


ARTEFACTS - Background Records...................


Artefact: Field-Marshall J.D.P. French Despatch about initial engagements and losses - 7th September

A formal report was submitted to the Secretary of State for War [Field Marshal Rt Hon. Horatio Herbert Kitchener] on transport of troops, organising forces on the ground, early engagement with the enemy around Mons, yielding of French and British forces under pressure of superior German Corps, consolidation of positions and large losses. Praises several commanders on their performance. You can read the entire Despatch here.


Artefact: Field-Marshall J.D.P. French Despatches about extensive continuous engagements and the pivotal battle of Aisne - 17th September and 8th October 1914

This Gazette Supplement [19th October] published two reports covering the same period:
(1) a general review, dated 17th September, of the front since Sunday, August 23rd 1914 onwards. Describing the extensive front over which conflict was taking places and losses endured but ground gained. You can read the entire Despatch here; and
(2) a supplementary report, dated 8th October, focussing specifically on the Battle of the Aisne (10th to 23rd September). You can read the the entire Despatch here.


Artefact: Units of the Army explained to those on the Home Front.

Published on 29th September by South Eastern Gazette.
"UNITS OF THE ARMY. NUMERICAL STRENGTH AND EQUIPMENT.
The following information as to what is meant by the terms Army Corps, divisions, and brigades, may be useful to our readers.
A Brigade can be infantry, cavalry, or artillery. An infantry brigade in our Army consists of four battalions each 1,000 strong. In most foreign armies it consists of two regiments each of six battalions. This infantry brigade has its medical and supply service, besides machine guns; but it has no field artillery.
A Cavalry Brigade in our Army consists of three regiments each of three field squadrons. Abroad it consists usually of two regiments each of five or six squadrons. With each cavalry brigade, there are machine guns and a signal troop.
An Artillery Brigade consists of three batteries, howitzers or field guns, each battery of six guns. In France each battery has four guns.
An infantry Division is the smallest tactical unit which possesses all arms. It is normally of 12 battalions and has with it from 36 to 72 guns, besides field companies of engineers, medical, supply, signal, and transport services. The cavalry with the division is usually two squadrons, but in some cases more. The strength of a division is approximately 20,000 men.
The Cavalry Division consists of two to four brigades of cavalry and one to four batteries of horse artillery, besides mounted engineers and auxiliary services. The normal foreign cavalry division has 4,500 men and a combatant strength of 3,500 sabres, 12 guns, and eight machine guns.
An Army Corps consists of two or three divisions, usually two active and one of reserve. The German Army Corps of two divisions has 44,000 men and a combatant strength of 26,900 rifles, 48 machine guns, 1,200 sabres, and 144 guns. The German Army Corps of three divisions is approximately 60,000 strong. The French and Russian Army Corps are practically the same.
The Army consists of two or more Army Corps form an Army."

[Editorial Note: this description changed as the war ground to a halt and required significant increases in numbers. This led later to the numbering of Divisions as they were raised and reorganised, consolidated, and disbanded. The British Expeditionary Force (Regular Army) was hugely supplemented by the Territorial Divisions]


Artefact: A Territorial's Equipment by Weight

Reported in the East Kent Gazette - 5th September 1914. "A TERRITORIALS EQUIPMENT. The actual weight of equipment carried by a Territorial is as Follows:
Ammunition, 9lbs,
Tools 2lbs 9¼ ozs,
Accoutrements 8lbs 4¾ ozs;
Contents of Pack 10lbs and ¾oz;
Rations and Water 5lbs 13½ ozs;
Total 35lbs 14¼ ozs.
The rifle and bayonet 10lbs 8½ ozs;
Making in all, 46lbs 14¾ ozs" [21.3 kilograms]