This Day in History Diary Entry, August 20, 1914: Penarthians show their concerns for soldiers

First published in News by

BY AUGUST 20, 1914, many of the letters sent into the Penarth Times were making comment on British Soldiers, some of their behaviour, some of their entitlements as defenders of Britain and adverts sent in were often about rooms for soldiers. It seems that the whole of Penarth was trying to look out for British troops.

To the editor of the Penarth Times

Sir,

Now that the gigantic patriotic funds are being so liberally subscribed, may I ask, through the medium of your paper, and as an old volunteer veteran, if subscribers enough could not be found in Penarth to furnish (through and with the consent of the commanding officer) a pipe of tobacco or cigarettes to our brave defenders and citizens now at the forts of Penarth and Lavernock. This would not be charity, which I am sure is not required but our united confidence with our “Terriers” during this unprecedented national trouble. There are a very great number of people now who are professional beggars for their own ultimate gain, commanding the thousands from the thousands, and I would suggest that should this appeal be approved that all services and acts rendered be entirely gratuitous, and no expenses whatsoever be incurred. I have every confidence that the brave defenders would greatly appreciate the kind thought and consideration of their fellow citizens of Penarth.

Will Workman

32 Salop Street, Penarth.

Solders and Sobriety

On August 5, 1914, Lord Kitchener was appointed the Secretary of State for War. Like the great soldier-saint Gordon of Khartoum, he was unmarried and a non-drinker. He famously told men to simply avoid women and wine.

On August 8 the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed which came in time to affect almost every aspect of the nation’s life. The first target, naturally, was the demon drink. “We are fighting Germany, Austria and drink!” boomed Lloyd-George.

In light of this, the Penarth Times received a letter of concern from “A loyal well-wisher”.

Dear Sir,

In view of the vital importance of the maintenance of sobriety and peaceful conduct in this hour of our nation’s sorrow and danger, those in our town, who know of the disastrous effects of strong drink, are desirous of appealing to the public of Penarth through your well-known paper to avoid the risk of alcoholic drink, which is the arch peace breaker.

It cannot be too clearly recognised that even a small dose of alcohol can disturb control that a person who has taken very little may be so affected as to loose words of hatred and passion that under control would never have been spoken. Words lead to acts so at this time of present crisis it is our duty to avoid at all costs any such feelings. Most of your readers will have seen Lord Kitchener’s appeal, and it is a very well-known fact that his opinion is endorsed by naval and military experts. The Citizens of Penarth will set an example to the nation by making Lord Kitchener’s striking appeal a personal one.

A Loyal Well-Wisher Penarth, August 19, 1914.

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