Gazette reports outbreak of war

War declared in the ALnwick and County Gazette
War declared in the ALnwick and County Gazette

In this new feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1914 as reported by the Alnwick and County Gazette. We start with the declaration of war announced in the edition of Saturday, August 8, 1914.


War declared in the Alnwick and County Gazette in August 1914

War declared in the Alnwick and County Gazette in August 1914


England and Germany are at war at last – participants in a huge European conflagration. The danger which loomed when Austria and Servia came into conflict has materialised.

Of the nations which compose the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente only Italy has stood aside. All English desires for peace have had to give way before the amazing aggression of Germany. King George V. and the Czar have exerted strenuous efforts for peace, but they were unavailing, and on Tuesday night Britain officially declared war on Germany. The casus belli is Germany’s refusal to guarantee that she would not outrage Europe by violating Belgium’s neutrality, of which she herself is actually one of the guarantors.



Lady Victoria Percy and Dr Burman visited Newcastle on Tuesday, to lay in ambulance appliances and hospital stores. These were brought to Alnwick by motor wagon.

On Tuesday morning the Alnwick “National” Schools were cleared of their furnishings ready for transformation into an hospital under the Red Cross Society, as also were the Assembly Rooms, Lady Victoria Percy being at the head of the organising.

Orders were given in Alnwick shops on behalf of the local Territorial stores for quantities of utensils, in one case 150 shovels, picks and axes.

The Glanton and district “Terriers” were motored over to Rothbury in connection with Tuesday morning’s mobilisation, to leave there by train.

Mr. Rupert Wright, the Alnwick Castle Estate Bailiff, left Alnwick in uniform on Tuesday night to join his regiment in Durham.

On Tuesday night an emergency meeting of the Alnwick Voluntary Aid Detachment was called by Lady Victoria Percy (commandant) at the Assembly Rooms. There was an enthusiastic beat up of both men’s and women’s detachments. The object was the furtherance of hospital arrangements.

The detachments have worked very energetically in fitting up the National Schools as a hospital, and on Wednesday night the arrangements were almost complete. There are fifteen rooms in the institution.

Ambulance men and nurses of the local Red Cross detachments will not be sent out of the county, but will be kept as much as possible to their own towns and districts.

Six of the Alnwick postal staff are called up, thus reducing the postmaster’s assistance at a time of very high pressure, some part of the staff being on duty day and night.

Mr. Cook of Barndale, Alnwick, has three sons called up in the Territorials and one in Boy Scouts troop. Private Ernest Cook received his orders in Newcastle at 2 o’clock on Wednesday morning and was with his regiment at headquarters in Fenkle Street in full kit by 9a.m.

Appropriate war favours –red white and blue sweet peas – were originated and handed round this week by Mr. R. Archbold.

The demand for flour and other provisions in Alnwick and district has been huge during the week. The price of flour at some of the dealers rose on Tuesday from 1s. 9d. to 2s.6d, per stone. Some of the larger provision dealers closed on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon to enable them to dispatch the orders on hand.



Orders were received in Alnwick on Tuesday for the mustering of the Army and Special Reservists and the “D” (Alnwick) Company of the 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Territorials), and a little later for the assembly of the 3rd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Special Reserve), who had only completed their annual course of training at the Moor Laws Camp, Alnwick on the last Saturday in July.