Entries by Liz Davies

Women and the Great War

Initially, women were only expected to encourage men to enlist in the armed forces, but from the day the War was declared they were keen to do all they could to play their part in the conflict. Within days of the declaration of war local women had set up a working party to make clothes […]

Local links with the island of Malta

News that Sergeant Darlow of Tempsford had died of dysentry after serving at the Dardanelles was reported in the paper on 20th August. This small notice highlighted the number of troops who died from illness while fighting in Turkey and the use of the Island of Malta as a major treatment centre for sick troops. […]

The Dardanelles and Gallipoli

In January 1915 Russia asked its Allies (France and Britain) for help to fight the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungary and Turkey) who were attacking them on three Eastern fronts. The Allies were reluctant to commit troops to the East as this would mean taking them away from the Western Front. Lord Kitchener suggested a naval […]

Trench warfare on the Western Front

By late 1914 both sides had reached stalemate in trenches dug across northern France, but both the British and the German commanders continued to believe that they could achieve ‘breakthrough’ on the Western Front, and crush their enemies. The British commander, Field Marshall Sir John French, and the French commander, General Joffre, agreed that they […]

Early fighting and local casualties

As the German army advanced into Belgium they met unexpectedly strong resistance from Belgian, French and British forces. The first local man to die was Harry Murphy of Avenue Road, St Neots, who was killed in August 1914 during the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) withdrawal from Mons, Belgium, as German soldiers tried to advance. Scoutmaster […]

A new type of industrial warfare

New technological developments in the early 1900s allowed warfare on an industrial scale. By the end of 1916 men with mechanical knowledge were being actively sought by the army to manage and maintain their new equipment. Steam trains and motor vehicles, enabled vast numbers of men and tons of heavy equipment to be moved swiftly […]

Your Country Needs You!

Recruitment, and Conscription Throughout the autumn months of 1914 and into 1915 enormous efforts were made to encourage men aged 19 – 30 to join the armed forces. Young men such as James Malin (Jim), an 18 year old building labourer who lived in Cambridge Street, St Neots, enlisted in August 1914. By June 1915, […]

News from the Front

Before computers, television or the radio people obtained important information from the national newspapers which were delivered by train from London. The local newspaper was the St Neots Advertiser and as the war progressed the main source of news was from local men themselves. Men wrote home to relatives or were able to come home […]

Troops and refugees arrive in St Neots

While local St Neots men were sent to the East coast, the 1st Highland Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery from Aberdeen in Scotland were sent to parts of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire for their training. The 3rd City of Aberdeen Battery of the Highland Royal Field Artillery were stationed in St Neots, many men […]

St Neots on the edge of war

In 1914 the annual Hospital Week Parade in St Neots fell on Sunday 2nd August. With the widespread sense that war was coming a large crowd watched the parade. All the major community services in the town took part in the Parade including the Salvation Army Band, the Scouts, the Red Cross, the Railway Union, […]