Images from the First World War

Discover a rich archive of images from St Neots and the First World War

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 all fighting would end at 11.00am on 11th November 1918.

Many soldiers were killed and injured in the last few days of fighting, including local men such as William Coppock whose death from gunshot wounds was reported in the St Neots Advertiser for 15th November 1918. Others died from their wounds in the coming weeks and many were struck down with influenza which swept across the world at the end of the Great War killing many who had survived the fighting.

As men began to return from abroad they brought graphic stories with them, including some who had been prisoners of war, but many were unable to talk of the horrors they had experienced and never spoke of the war again.

St Neots Advertiser report, 15th November 1918

East Street, St Neots, about 1900

Charles Colbert of Offord Cluny, centre back row, 1915

St Neots Advertiser reports the death of Private Colbert, 13th December 1918

News of returning soldiers, St Neots Advertiser, 6th December 1918

Southoe with the church of St Leonard in the distance, about 1905

A report about Prisoners of War, St Neots Advertiser, 29th November 1918

Postcard of Italian Prisoners of War, 1917

Medicine advert from St neots Advertiser, 29th November 1918

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. In October 1917, Private G. Cropley wrote home to say that he was fighting the Turks in Palestine, and was pleased at the success of the Hunts. Volunteer Regiment in training local men.

Enraged by attacks on New York and the sinking of American ships by German U-boat submarines, America entered the war in April 1917. However, American soldiers needed training and equipping and did not start arriving on the Western Front until early 1918. In April 1918 the St Neots Advertiser recorded America’s entry into the war and in an article about men who had received the 1914 Star gave further details of injuries and deaths.

St Neots Advertiser ‘Roll of Honour’, 27th July 1917

St Neots Advertiser employee, G. Cropley writes home in October 1917


St Neots Volunteer Training Corps., postcard from 1917

La Targette, France, from a 1918 postcard

America enters the war, St Neots Advertiser, 6th April 1917

Local men awarded medals, St Neots Advertiser, 1st March 1918