The Outbreak of World War One in Local Newspapers
Richard Pursehouse and Lee Dent from The Chase Project have created a timeline of events reported in local newspapers following the outbreak of World War One. These newspapers include the Lichfield Mercury, the Cannock Advertiser and the Cannock Chase Courier
(the Cannock newspapers researched by Mrs Margaret Pursehouse)
The Outbreak of World War One in Local Newspapers
A call for the 'Mobilisation of Reservists and Embodiment of Territorials' -an appeal to reservists and territorials to report for duty - was published in the local press. The Marquis of Anglesey re-joined the Royal Horse Guards as a Lieutenant. Large numbers of horses were commandeered from the District and local school buildings were requisitioned.
Despite the onset of war, community events in and around Cannock Chase still went on, including Shenstone Flower show, Rugeley Flower show and the work of Brownhills Horticultural Society. (However, Cannock Horticultural Show was abandoned for 1914 - Cannock Chase Courier, Saturday Sth August 1914)
Cannock Chase Reserves re-joined their regiments with the Territorials virtually fully mobilised.
A poster was displayed on Cannock Bandstand by the Town's Bowling Green 'Rapid Mobilisation' on 4th August.
A meeting was organised for women and girls at the New Hall, Cannock, relating to the work of the Red Cross. Lieutenant Chris Hatton reported a need for additional horses to the Cannock Advertiser.
Local units of the Territorial Force proceeded to Hednesford Headquarters via Cannock Railway Station with their kit loaded on to wheelbarrows and horse and traps.
The 2nd South Staffordshires formed part of the British Expeditionary Force for Belgium. On the 6th and 7th August local vet Mr. Forsyth inspected the horses assembled for the war effort.
The 7th Co-operative Gala took place at the Athletic Ground in Cannock on Wednesday Sth August 1914 involving 3,000 children from around the District.
Entertainment was provided by the Silver Prize Band, Walsall and the Cheslyn Hay Brass Band. (Mr. Richard Pursehouse - Great Grandfather of Richard
Purse house from The Chase Project- took part).
Territorials fell in on 6th August and marched to Walsall commanded by Captain W. Burnett- 114 men left from Hednesford (9 were deemed unfit for
service after medical examination).
A report of the sinking of H.M.S Amphian (built 1911), the first Royal Navy ship sunk in the war, was featured in the local press. Such news would become quickly suppressed as it was deemed bad for morale.
Norton Canes Royal Engineers (Territorials) left Norton Hall on 12th August 2014 personnel with Lieutenant Chris Hatton in command along with 64 horses, pontoon bridges and luggage wagons. They marched via Brownhills to Lichfield.
Newspapers published Lord Kitchener's call for 100,000 men to join up.
A Sunday service was held at St. James's Parish Church in Norton Canes for over 200 Royal Engineer Territorials which included a band under Sergeant E. Morris,
with the Reverend
of St. James's giving
a 'helpful and
The 2nd North Midland Field Company Territorials Royal Engineers left their headquarters at Norton Canes where they had been stationed since mobilisation on Sth August. A large crowd gathered at the Drill Hall to see them off.
On 11th August 1914 a large crowd gathered in Heath Hayes to see the local territorials and wish them a safe return.
A National Reserve meeting was held at the Drill Hall at Tamworth Barracks
which included men from the Cannock area (Whittington near Lichfield was
the local barracks, whilst Tamworth was used by the North Staffordshire Regiment).
Propaganda describing German atrocities in Belgium began being published
in the local press which included a description of the 'Slaughter of Liege'.
A Miner's Fund of £130 was agreed at the Drill Hall in Hednesford for those in
hardship as a result of the War.
Local newspapers reported the magnificent response to the appeal for troops, with Whittington Barracks used to accommodate volunteers.
Reports featured of Staffordshire Yeomanry Horses being stampeded two nights in succession at Bishop's Stortford.
Appeal for volunteers
Local recruits met at Norton Old Hall, Norton Canes. 250 volunteers from Cannock and Hednesford had already signed up
Lord Dartmouth planned to attend a meeting of Cannock Urban District Council on Sth September 1914 to recruit more volunteers and acquire horses, carts and harnesses from the Council's Stable.
Four German spies arrested in North Staffordshire were taken to Whittington Barracks overnight - Frederick Thieff (arrested at Burslem) ; Joseph Shuler (arrested at Burselm); Joseph Shefer (arrested at Hanley) and Arthur Celts (arrested at Hanley).
The local press published a list of the names of 49 local Territorial Force, non Territorial
Force and Royal Navy men from the Conduit Colliery in Norton Canes.
A Red Cross Society detachment was founded for men at Hednesford Mines Rescue Station, joined by 53 local men.
A rifle club was founded for local 17-19 year olds at Cannock Athletic Ground.
The Chairman of Cannock Urban District Council invited householders to accommodate Belgian Refugees.
A Red Cross Ambulance was fundraising in Cannock Chase pulled by Dan the Great Dane. The Ambulance visited Stafford and collected £3 1/8 in Cannock as well as £1 7/6 for the Belgian Refugees Fund.
Belgian refugees from Cannock Chase visited Hall Court Assembly Rooms and Cannock Picture House. Crowds greeted them at Cannock Railway Station and local tradesmen provided refreshments.
Hednesford Sewing Circle sent a second consignment of garments to the British Red Cross Society including 48 shirts, 12 night shirts, 12 bed jackets, 12 shirts for wounded soldiers, 12 pillow cases, handkerchiefs, helmets, 36 pairs of socks, 18 pillows, 3 blankets, 1 dressing gown and scarves. Money was also raised by members of the Sewing Club with contributions from Littleworth Women's Liberal Association.
7th August 1914
8th August 1914
14th August 1914
15th August 1914
21st August 1914
22nd August 1914
28th August 1914
5th September 1914
11th September 1914
19th September 1914
3rd October 1914