The Day War Broke Out

Page 147

The Day War Broke Out

“Few, if any, Worksop people in the summer of 1914 thought that the shooting of an Austrian Archduke in the distant town of Sarajevo would have any effect on their lives. They were aware of the fact, it had been reported in the Worksop Guardian, such things did happen. In the meantime they had their own lives to lead and their own troubles to contend with. Despite the rumblings of imminent war that were sounding ever louder from Central Europe, few Worksop people thought they would be affected by any subsequent conflict. Even if they were, the local territorial’s were ready. From the 31st July the Worksop men of C Squadron of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry were to parade four times in the succeeding five days. The first of these occasions had an ominous ring to it:  the men were to wear their khaki uniforms. Little did they realise that many of them would never ride out resplendent in their green and gold, and that for the more fortunate who did, many years would pass before that happened. Meanwhile as they practised their musketry and carried out mounted drill on the Plain Piece, their infantry fellow townsmen who made up G company of the 8th Battalion of the Notts and Derbys Regiment were away on their annual camp at Hunmanby near Filey. Here they drilled and marched, fired their rifles and took part in field exercises, though it was doubtful if any of them saw a trench, let alone any time in one. This omission would be fully rectified in the months ahead.

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This is how the local people were used to seeing their members of the local territorial squadron of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Cavalry, resplendent in their uniforms of green and gold. On the occasion of this photograph, they were providing a royal escort to King Edward VII as he was driven through the town while on a visit to Welbeck Abbey. The year was 1905 and by then the only northern part of the arcade had been completed.

Throughout the town the bustle of wartime preparations proceeded. The two hundred and eight members of the National Reserve were asked to volunteer for oversees service if required, and sixty five complied. Almost one hundred horses were commandeered for military service. Mr H Moore, local vetinary surgeon, had a busy time checking that they were fit for so drastic a change of employment. Some were provided by the posting proprietors while twenty five came from the stables at Welbeck.

Having waved farewell and dried their eyes, the women of the town did not sit idly down to await events. A meeting was called at 5pm on Monday the 10th of August at the town hall for “Women Helpers, desirous of assisting their country in time of War.”The Duchess of Newcastle promised to preside. The meeting was most encouragingly supported: the Town Hall was packed and at its end over three hundred ladies offered to make clothing, and another ninety volunteered for an ambulance section. Whether the clothing that was produced was for military or civilian use it is not clear. Perhaps both categories were catered for, knitted items for the troops and general articles of clothing for such needy people as the Belgian refugees.”

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Worksop not only erected a memorial to commemorate its dead, it built a road to place it on. It was not until 1928 that both were ready when, on the 9th July of that year, King George V and Queen mary drove along the newly laid out Memorial Avenue to officially open it. This photograph was taken a little prior to that event. The memorial is complete but the road still has to be surfaced.

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