Slideshow: The First World War - Recruitment
Lucinda Abbott looks back as soldiers left for war.
August 3 1914
Germany declared war on France and Great Britain gave the order for troops to mobilise.
In Harrogate at 7pm on August 4 1914 police posted proclamations ordering the mobilisation of the Army Reserves and Territorials.
The same day, Germany declared war on neutral Belgium, and as a result, Great Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm.
August 5 1914
The Harrogate Herald reported that there was an initial feeling of panic about food prices but assured the people of Harrogate that the country was well supplied with food and that trade routes were still open.
The Harrogate Herald reported that a tremendous crowd greeted the local territorials outside Harrogate railway station en route to York.
In the same edition, the ‘Herald stated: “It is difficult to realise from local conditions that England is at war. Everywhere in our town nature suggests smiling peace.
“Brilliant sunshine, warm air, luxuriant foliage and placid people betoken the normal season.”
The ‘Herald reports that around 60 members of the local National Reserve left Harrogate for service two days before.
The Mayor (Alderman J. Sheffield) wished them well on the platform and asked them to keep fit and healthy.
He also said that while the men were doing their duty away, Harrogate people would be doing theirs at home.
He urged them to obey their commanding officer and he felt sure victory would be theirs.
He wished them “God speed, victory, and a safe return.” Three cheers were given for the King and the train steamed away.”
The ‘Herald reported that the first batch of recruits left Harrogate, departing from Westminster Chambers by motor cars.
The ‘Herald reported: “That the men of Harrogate are enthusiastic for the cause of their country in this war was plain to all in the remarkable scenes in the Winter Gardens on Tuesday night. The notice of the meeting at which Brigadier General Wright CB addressed the gathering read: ‘Men of Harrogate! Your King and Country Need You.’ That was the feeling throughout the evening. They were needed and they were there. They were there in such numbers, indeed, that the Winter Gardens wouldn’t hold them all. And what a sight it was. Row after row of strong, eager faces...”
Another detachment left Harrogate railway station for York by train. The station was packed with friends to see the men off.
The ‘Herald reported: “Harrogate throughout the war has maintained a brave, confident attitude. Even at the time when there were clouds on the horizon, reflected by the trying situation on the fields of battle, our people set themselves to work to do their utmost for the comfort of the fighting men and the wounded.... Harrogate will continue as it began, firm in patriotism, noble in charity, tender in sympathy, and modest in the hour of victory.”
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Have you any old photographs, letters or cuttings from 1914-1918? We will be sharing stories throughout this year, and always welcome reader help and input.
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