“During the last few days the great struggle on the Western Front has died down at most points,” says a report in the June 25, 1918, edition of the Market Harborough Advertiser.
That is good news for the people of Market Harborough because it means there are no local casualties to report after many weeks of grief mounting up as the German Spring Offensive gathered every more ferocious momentum.
The report implies that the enormous sacrifices made by the men of Market Harborough, and other similar communities across the country, have been worthwhile. “While giving the enemy full credit for the various successes they have won during their recent offensive, it is certain they have attained none of their objectives – the capture of Paris and the Channel ports, and the separation of the Allied armies,” says the report.
And even though it is predicted the hiatus may be short, the weary Allies are optimistic about the future thanks to help from across the Atlantic. “Troops are arriving from America at a rate which would have seemed impossible six months ago.”
So that leaves the Advertiser’s editor with a news shortfall. Luckily for him there is some big news, announced by J Wood & Son: “Just arrived this week is another large delivery of Ladies Knitted Sports Coats in the newest shapes and choice colourings,” proclaims his sizeable advert on page 3.
Woods are not the only business that is ploughing ahead: Eaton & Co in the High Street ‘have on stock for immediate delivery’ a range of grass mowers and ‘double action gap frame side rakes’.
And the ever reliable Shindler & Douglas notes that even though ‘Shantungs and Jap Silks are scarce’ they have a ‘very full stock and they are astonishingly good value’.
Readers themselves are clearly getting on with life too as THREE cinemas and theatres vie for their leisure time: The County Electric Palace on The Square in Market Harborough is still showing two performances each night as well as a children’s matinee on a Saturday; the Cinema-de-Luxe in Leicester’s Granby Street, which claims to be ‘the most luxurious theatre in the Midlands’, is showing none other than a Charlie Chaplin film; and the Leicester Palace Theatre has live entertainment from comedians and acrobats PLUS special prices and late trains.
- This column is published every Monday by John Dilley on the Newspapers and the Great War website and will continue until the 100th anniversary of the final armistice in November 2018.
- My fellow researcher and De Montfort University lecturer David Penman is conducting a similar real-time project with the Ashbourne Telegraph. Check out his Great War Reports.
- Check out this week’s Harborough Mail for current news from the Market Harborough area.