Thursday, April 25, 2013

Newspaper Cuttings.........Sepia Saturday 174.......

This week's theme:
Are Dutch papers ripe for cuttings??
Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. Click here to learn more.

Never assume what you read is true........

"Dancing on the moon" !!  ??.....

I am most encouraged that some of these Dutchmen saw through the falsehood of the moon landing reports and binned their newspaper. Had Youtube been around in 1969 they could have been quite sure.

Now....down to more serious matters....

The theme this week gave me a chance to open something I have wanted to explore for a long time. It is a Newspaper Cuttings book that was from my maternal grandfather William Barnes. The cuttings in in would have been absolutely fascinating a few years ago before the internet enabled us to research anything we choose, at any time of any day.

Unfortunately the "scrapper" made the fatal mistake of taking cuttings and not including or
 writing the name of the paper and the date. My father told me this mistake as a child, 
and it always irritates me when I find a cutting without that most vital reference.
(Own collection)

A rather dull start........

Strangely the first cutting in the book is this apparently rather mundane obituary article which must have been from a 1906 newspaper:

A "Bird Lover"???.... Seriously?? ......In actual fact Harrison Weir is quite an interesting person, I now know thanks only to Wikipedia. Ironically he organized the first cat show in England, at The Crystal Palace, London, in July 1871, and was a well known Victorian illustrator, author and animal fancier.

Harrison Weir
Not what you imagine a cat fancier to look like.
(Courtesy Wikipedia)

His death on January 3 1906 gives me a great starting clue. I am going to guess that this album was a Christmas gift at Christmas 1905, and by early January the donee was desperate to make the first pasting, and knowing of Weir decided to cut that out for page 1.

And then the album was put away for years....................until newspapers started to get interesting !!

Here are just a very few extracts...........

You may think this was a massive story in the papers the next day April 16, 1912, but you would be wrong, it got only 1 column, on page 9 of The Times !!  See below..
(Courtesy Times Digital Archive)

............and I know you thought that bit about the band came from the film...............

"Oh I say Jeeves....We must be British !!"

Another sinking...not so celebrated. RMS Empress of Ireland was an ocean liner that sank in the Saint Lawrence River following a collision with a Norwegian collier in the early hours of 29 May 1914. Of the 1,477 persons on board the ship, the accident claimed the lives of 1,012 (840 passengers, 172 crew). The number of deaths is the largest of any Canadian maritime accident in peacetime.

The start of the Great War

August 1914

It is interesting that as the war started it was already called "The Great War"

The Times, May 8, 1915, the report of the sinking of the Lusitania 

Early reports of gas attacks on the Western Front

Hill 60 was a low rise on the southern flank of the Ypres Salient. It was eventually taken by the Germans following a series of gas attacks between 1 and 5 May 1915. The result was devastating; most of the front-line trenches were overrun when the forward companies were almost wiped out. The 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment lost over 300 men to the initial gas cloud alone, only two officers and 70 men coming out of the fighting. (Source Wikipedia)


Anzac Day April 25th

In memory the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during from April 25th 1915, and all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

The first Times report of the Gallipoli landings.
(Courtesy Times Digital Archive)


June 1916. Lord Kitchener is lost at sea. At the start of the First World War, Lord Kitchener became Secretary of State for War. He is well known for his commanding image, appearing on recruiting posters demanding "Your country needs you!"

Irish Prisoners

The Times. Thursday May 4, 1916

The album cutting below came from my maternal side, but particularly interested me because of ephemera from my paternal side of the family. It is the report of Irish prisoners from the Easter Uprising of 1916 being sent to England, and my great grandfather was clearly most interested in this happening as he made up three full pages of articles.

The Times. Thursday May 4, 1916

The Sherwood Foresters at the Easter Uprising

The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) were of course the local regiment in Derby, and in 1914-18 I had three ancestors in this regiment, Charles Sydney Smith (later Machine Gun Corps), his brother Frank Woolley Smith (later Royal Flying Corps, later The Assam Valley Light Horse), and Harry Aspdin Hewitt. The latter two both served in the 2/8th Battalion. On Easter Monday (April 24th) 1916 the 2/8th received orders to be ready to move to an unknown destination, and at 8.30 am on the 25th they entrained for, as they discovered, Dublin. 

The war diary of the 2/8th goes into detail of their fighting with the rebels in Dublin, which was immediate, they were in pitch battle with the rebels the very day they arrived, April 26th.

Harry Aspdin Hewitt was later awarded a Military Cross, the citation being ...."For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in Dublin on 26th April 1916, when attacking Clanwilliam House. Realising that they were running short of bombs [he] recrossed the Grand Canal Street Bridge, and succeeded in obtaining a bucketful. On his return with the bombs the lower rooms and staircase which was barricaded was bombed, and ascended with some difficulty, the remaining rebels were shot''

Clanwilliam House, Dublin, the remains after April 26th 1916
(from uncredited internet source)

Frank Woolley Smith was, at some point despatched to England in charge of a party of Irish prisoners, and it is this connection with the cutting, which reports these prisoners brought to England. Frank's daughter has a most interesting original document, a copy of which I show below, the receipt for his prisoners at Stafford Gaol.

Lt Woolley Smith's receipt for 203 Irish prisoners. May 9th, 1916
(JS. Jersey. Collection)

Frank Smith probably came to Derby after Stafford, and would have recounted his stories of Dublin to his mother and sisters, and my grandmother. The souvenir for my grandmother was this  Irish Volunteers lapel badge below, I assume he relieved it from one of his prisoners.

The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists, its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland". Irish Volunteers fought for Irish independence in 1916's Easter Rising, and were joined by the Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan and Fianna √Čireann to form the Irish Republican Army.
(Own collection)

Frank Woolley Smith, as a Sherwood Forester
(Own collection)

....and later as Royal Flying Corps.
(Own collection)

Harry Aspdin Hewitt, Sherwood Forester.
(Own collection)

The End


  1. I love this post. What a treasure trove you have in that newspaper album. So many interesting stories. I love it that Weir went from a bird lover to a cat fancier. And that receipt for the Irish soldiers. That conjures up so many stories. Did they become friends on their journey? Is this why he ended up with the badge?

  2. "Did they become friends on their journey? Is this why he ended up with the badge?" That is a very interesting question.
    The natural reaction is to assume the worst, but soldiers are soldiers, and they know their captives are just doing what they believe they should do according to their government/system/beliefs, and soldiers can show remarkable respect for those they fight against.
    This can be masked by stories of awful atrocities in similar circumstances.
    So who knows? Huge acts of kindness and compassion occur in war, and perhaps we should only celebrate these, and just remember we do have a capacity to be unreasonably cruel. Without forgiveness we will self-destruct.

  3. I don't mean to nit-pick ... I wonder if there was a subtle difference between "Great War" and "The Great War," and whether the latter gradually became dominant, before being replaced by the now common "First World War" after the Second World War.

  4. This was an interesting spin on the theme this week! What a collection of news "scraping", history, tidbit by tidbit.

  5. That album is a treasure. I have a file of magazine and newspaper cuttings but nothing to match it. What's more I wonder how many do what I do now - scan and save a page as a pdf. I tend to use WWI and WWII now rather than the fuller descriptions - these don't seem to have the same impact though. Enjoyed this post, Nigel.

  6. Very interesting Nigel. We have the Sherwood Foresters in common as my grandfather was in the 2/7th Robin Hoods battalion and was also involved in the Easter Rising, having enlisted as a 16 year-old.

  7. What wonderful selections - love the post AND it sent me running to check my dad's albums of newspapers clippings which graced on a high shelf in my closet - thank you for reminding me!

  8. Wow, those are some might powerful archives, it's so great to see them. They tie in quite well with the poem I penned

  9. Very interesting collection of clippings. When I first learned of design and layout for printing, there were scads of books of "clip-art," which metamorphisized into the very limited "cartoon-like clip-art" first presented as pictures on computer programs.

  10. Wow - this is a great take on this week's theme. You have inspired me. Thanks.

  11. In earlier times, a newspaper report had a power that diminished with the advent of radio, then television, and now internet. Did a clipping help preserve a more accurate memory of a famous personage or a disaster? Was it a kind of memorial or just a hobby like stamp collecting. I've come across old clippings in my grandparent's effects and wonder at the meaning I am missing.

  12. Amazing. I am in awe. What a wonderful book to have. And yes what a pity that the dates and name of the newspaper were not included.

  13. Like you, I have dozens and dozens of clippings from unnamed, undated newspapers. Unlike you, they were not collected into a beautiful book. It was hard to tell how big your book is but I wondered if perhaps it was newspaper page size because of the one large page you showed. You have beautiful photographs of your ancestors; how wonderful to have the stories and history to go with them.

  14. I like your guess for dating the scrapbook. Good intentions set aside until the news could not be ignored? You have some treasures here. Very interesting post!