Entries by Liz Davies

News of returning soldiers

Finally, the success of the British blockade of German sea ports and the arrival of American troops began to turn the tide of the war and Germany and the Central Powers had to admit defeat, or at least agree to an armistice. The Armistice was signed on the 8th November and it was agreed that […]

Local men in 1917 and 1918

As fighting continued through 1917 and into 1918, local men were involved in fighting across the world from the Western Front, to Africa and the Middle East. On the 23rd July 1917 the family of George Colbert, of the Army Service Corps., recorded his death in Basra from heat stroke, in the St Neots Advertiser. […]

One local man’s war

Tom Eayrs was the son of a St Neots farmer and butcher, with a butchers shop on the Market Square. Born in 1897, he enlisted just after his eighteenth birthday in 1915 and by October he was fighting on the Western Front at Cloth Hall, Ypres. He continued fighting on the Western Front for the […]

Local experiences at Ypres and Passchendaele

By the summer of 1917 the British had learnt valuable lessons from the disastrous Somme campaign, and were much better prepared: Troops had more shells and ammunition to destroy enemy positions Shells were fired ahead of advancing troops to protect them from enemy fire The target area was smaller and needed fewer troops to capture […]

In the thick of the fighting

Local men at the Battle of the Somme At the beginning of 1916 neither side had managed to break the stalemate on the Western Front, but both Germany with Austria-Hungary and Britain with France were determined to mount a massive attack on their enemy to break the deadlock. The Germans attacked first in February at […]

Changing clothes fashions for women

As the Great War progressed women’s roles were changing. Women had more independence than ever before, many women were now the head of their household, managing their homes, bringing up their children and taking on new jobs as well as voluntary work. The changing status of women was reflected in new relaxed fashions for women. […]

Local women fundraisers

From the beginning of the war women’s organisational skills enabled them to play an important role in raising funds for the war effort. Vast sums were needed to pay for munitions, supplies for troops and new equipment, From selling crafts and homemade cakes, to putting on concerts and entertainments local women work tirelessly to raise […]

The Employment of Women

With the introduction of conscription in early 1916 almost all available men where called on to enlist and gradually women were called on to fill their roles. Despite concerns that women would take jobs from men they were needed urgently to keep the country running. Already by February 1915 articles were appearing in the St […]

A local family from Eaton Socon

By early 1915 most adults were involved in the war effort, as this photograph of the Drake family shows: father, Walter F. ran Eaton Socon Post Office and was a member of the local Volunteer Training Corps., mother, Rebecca was a VAD nurse, eldest son, Robert J. was a soldier with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment […]

St Neots Red Cross Hospitals

As intense fighting continued on the Western Front and the number of injured soldiers returning to Britain rose dramatically, women across Britain volunteered to work as nurses in Red Cross hospitals. Even before the war began the Red Cross had searched for properties that could be used as temporary hospitals if war should come and […]