Friday, 12 December 2014

Cornwall in the First World War

During this month, each weekday I'm posting an image showing Cornwall's First World War. 

Today's guest post is kindly provided by @PoltairHistory, the History Department at Poltair School in St Austell.

How did Cornish people know how the war was progressing? Television and radio were still a long way off and few people were sufficiently literate to read newspapers. Therefore it was the responsibility of the educated to spread the news. In St Austell,  headmaster of the County School Arthur Jenkinson led the way. On 11th December 1914 in the Public Rooms on Truro Road, he gave a lecture entitled “The War”. 

From the school magazine of the time we learn that, with slides and diagrams, he explained the significance of the Battles of Mons and the Marne before examining the stalemate caused by “modern methods of warfare, entrenchments, dug outs etc”.  He then illustrated the progress that the Russians were making on the Eastern Front. Next he analysed the naval campaign, describing the loss of HMS Amphion before talking about the sinking of four German cruisers in the Atlantic.

Learned and well-read, Jenkinson had a thorough grasp of the situation and one that would favourably compare to a modern textbook. Feeling better informed, the audience ended the evening by singing of “God Save the King” and a making a collection for the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance. 

A week later Arthur Jenkinson volunteered for the Royal Fusiliers as a private soldier. Later he held a commission in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, from which he was discharged in March 1919 with the rank of Major.

My book, 'Cornwall In The First World War', is published by Truran. With 112 pages and 100 images, you'll find it in bookshops across the Duchy. It's also available through Amazon:

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