Friday 24 March 1916
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George Dalton, better known to readers of the Shipley Times & Express by his pen name Ben Mercato, had taken over as guest editor for the week. For his main editorial comment, he reflected on the war so far and especially the role played by the Empire. Never throughout the centuries has there been a time in the illustrious history of our British race – the Empire upon which the sun never sets – when its peoples were in better accord with each other or more determined to join together as one nation to stand for “right against wrong” – for the triumph of all that is best for humanity at large. Two years ago our enemies, and they were powerful, were plotting and planning in all manner of craftiness and deceit to undermine and disintegrate its several component parts, destroy the fabric of our glorious Empire. Then, in that black August of 1914, the tocsins of war were loudly clanged over central Europe and echoed round the world. The savage soldiery, with all the instruments and impediments of a cruel and ruthless enemy – millions of them – swarmed over Belgium and France. Remember Belgium! To the honour and glory of our land the British joined hands with their Allies, as in duty bound, and we became a nation at war to defend the best principles of our common Christianity. Remember Belgium! We took up the gage of war to succour the poor men, women and children of that little kingdom who were being slaughtered in their tens of thousands by the most powerful military nation in the world – to arrest the massacre of the innocents and the destruction of home and all that they hold dear. The Empire was roused from its centre to its circumference. All internal bickering and strife, parties and politics, ceased in one gigantic effort to punish the enemy and to rescue the weak from the overpowering lust of the aggressor. Our regular army – that despicable little army – stood in the breach, though outnumbered ten to one, as our brave soldiers always fight in a tight corner, until they conquered or died, brave to the last. Remember Mons! Where so many of our veteran warriors temporarily stemmed the tide and only retired
when literally overwhelmed by the hosts of the enemy, after destroying large numbers of the flower of the German Army. Even then, when retreat was imperative, our men gave way stubbornly and heroically contested every inch of the ground. The story of that retreat will be remembered as long as English history is read. In the meantime, all round the Empire were our colonies and overseas dominions begging to be allowed to send men in tens and hundreds of thousands of fully equipped fighting troops. Our brothers or their sons and cousins of Canada made importunate demands to uphold the honour of their fatherland and the mighty flag of Empire. Their militia, a force somewhat like our Territorials, were partly trained. These were sent off immediately to this country. Our kith and kin in Australia, New Zealand and every minor colony were equally patriotic, equally intent upon mobilisation and keen to go the Front. In course of time the South African colonists added their men to swell the forces; and with these our former enemies, the brave Boers, now our friends under General Botha. These Allies have achieved the prodigies of valour in routing the Germans out of South Africa and now are chasing the last remnants of the enemy out of their territory. Then there were the fine fighting men, regulars first, of our famous East Indian Army, amongst the earliest reinforcements to reach the Front. Some of the finest soldiers in the world are they. The native rulers of their States in many cases came over to lead their own men. And not only so but insisted upon bearing their own expenses. Those who could not come contributed lavishly to the war funds. Others of our dependencies, scattered over the wide world, were as liberal according to their means, even the islanders of the Pacific Ocean were to be found amongst our ranks, although they could not raise a full army company.
Our own Reserves and Territorials were immediately mobilised upon the declaration of war and were amongst the early drafts to reinforce our limited regulars. When the history of this war is written, let us hope that due justice will be given to those patriots who, in the piping times of peace, trained themselves for war. Let us remember the “Terrier” and be thankful we had him to fall back upon. Then came Kitchener’s men, the pick of this country’s young manhood, who formed the major part of the additional battalions, brigades, AMC, ASC and other services. For more than a year and a half all these forces have been extending and enlarging their numbers until we now have under the Colours such a tremendous grand army as was never previously known in our history; all under the banner of the British Empire. It is marvellous. Yet men were ready to tell us before the war that our Empire was rotten; tottering to its fall! At the present moment the various portions of our mighty dominions are more firmly cemented in grand phalanx of nations than they ever were before. There is a closer bond and community of aims and interests – a blood brotherhood. Each with the other has fought side by side against the common foe and sealed the compact. Heroes all Over our far-flung battle area, at the Marne, in Ypres, at Neuve Chapelle, at Armentieres, at La Basse, at Loos, in the Dardanelles, in Mesopotamia and many another fierce combat, the British Empire’s forces have shown themselves the bravest of the brave. Heroes all! Nor must we forget our incomparable British Navy. We owe a large debt of gratitude to our Navy. They have held control of the seas in the most trying epoch of our history. Our outlying forces could never have been transported to their destinations without the aid of our warships. Their task was colossal and it is little short of a miracle that they accomplished the work so successfully. We have good reason for being proud of our Navy, the co-defenders of our sea-girt isle and its dominions beyond the sea. We have, indeed, a united British Empire.
For more than a year and a half all these forces have been extending and enlarging their numbers until we now have under the Colours such a tremendous grand army as     was never previously known      in our history; all under the banner of the British Empire. It is marvellous.  Ben Mercato
Empire united against a common enemy
James Smith, a one-legged seaman of no fixed address, was charged with stealing a gent’s patent leather shoe, the property of Mrs Miriam Cooper, a second-hand dealer of 10 Saltaire Road, Shipley, and with using obscene language. Supt Keel told the court that the accused travelled the country with a street organ and last Thursday he had visited Mrs Cooper’s premises and asked to purchase a boot. Took pity on him He said he had lost his leg in the war but this was a lie. Mrs Cooper took pity on him and provided him with a shoe which he put on, leaving his old one at the shop. Afterwards Ald Dunn, a magistrate, had occasion to visit the shop and hearing the circumstances advised the prisoner to pay. Smith, however, walked out. Later, Mr
Dunn saw the man in Westgate and told him he should go back and pay for the boot at which time Smith refused and used bad language. Mr Dunn reported the incident to the police and when P.C. Worth asked him to pay for the shoe, Smith ‘became violent and used filthy and abusive language both to the officer and to Mr Dunn. ‘P.C. Worth deemed it advisable to take Smith into custody and on being charged he said “I didn’t steal it. I took it away and was going to call again and pay.” The prisoner pleaded not guilty and said he was drunk at the time. For the theft he was sent to prison for two months and for using obscene language he was fined 30s or eleven days imprisonment.
One-legged organ grinder jailed for shoe theft
Mrs Georgina Bowman of Baildon was fined 6s for allowing her dog to be at large without the name and address on the collar. P.C. Firth said he found the defendant’s Aberdeen terrier at six o’clock in the evening at Guiseley. When the dog was taken home, Mrs Bowman said the dog must have slipped out.
Dog out without name and address on collar
An article in the gardening section reminds us how different the traffic was and why some members of the public were against road improvements. ‘Manure is scarce and dear and it is a problem how to get enough even for a small garden. Sweepings from the roads which have been tarred should be allowed to become well decayed before applying. ‘’Make a heap and turn it two or three times at intervals and where there is a pool of liquid, watch for the appearance of a film of tar upon the surface. ‘If none is to be seen, it is not likely that ordinary vegetation will be checked or injure by the application of manure.’
How to avoid tar spoiling road sweepings
A special workmen’s wages committee appointed by the Shipley District Council to consider and deal with applications for advances has met this week. In instances where men have not previously had an advance since the outbreak of war, an increase of 2s (10p) per week was granted. The men paid by the hour have also received consideration. With regard to the men employed on the roads, the previous decision of the Council to pay 7½d per hour to able-bodied men and 7d per hour to road-sweepers was confirmed.
Two-shillings per week rise for council workers
Several Bradford League cricket clubs announced they had signed professionals from other northern leagues to boost their chances for the coming season. ‘Undercliffe is one of the latest clubs to sensationally announce the engagement of two cele- brated players in C.H. Parkin and C.B. Llewellyn, who come into the district from the Lancashire League.’ Parkin was a highly regarded bowler who had appeared for Lancashire while Llewllyn was a South African who had played for Hampshire and had been home to play for his country against England. The following professionals have now been engaged by club’s in the league: Barnes (Saltaire), Hobbs (Idle), Thompson (Eccleshill), Woolley (Keighley), Newstead (Lidget Green), Leach (Gt Horton), Parkin and Llewellyn (Undercliffe), Hargreaves (Baildon Green), Grimshaw (Bowling Old Lane).
More pros sign up