In 1914 war broke out in Europe and all the major powers entered the struggle with enthusiasm. The local newspapers supported the cause vigorously.
Those who volunteered were listed and praised by the newspapers. The October 2nd edition of the Scarborough Mercurey printed the following names:-
- Jim Sheader, Naval reserve, 3 Dog and Duck Steps
- J O'Hare, HMS Victoria, 91 Longwestgate
- Robert Wray, Minesweeper, 74 Longwestgate
- F Holmes PO, HSM New Zealand, 19 Trinity House, St Sepulchre Street
- James Leppington, stoker, HMS Portsmouth, 4 Low Conduit Street
- AE Matson, stoker, HMS Edgar, 13 St Thomas Walk
- AE Wood, HMS Black Prince, 60 Tindall street
The Scarborough Pictorial went even further and published photos of sailors and soldiers who had volunteered to "fight and die" for king and country. The Scarborough Pictorial was popular amongst the sailors who had copies. They enjoyed this personal feature.
The Scarborough Pictorial was more of a tabloid style newspaper with lots of photos. It also reprinted many popular poems and songs for the sailors and soldiers. They helped people get into the spirit of the war. Many of the poems reflected real life and often had a sense of humour. The following poem was also published in the Scarborough Pictorial entitled "Our Daily Life" by "A Poet Afloat". It was written by a crew member of HMS Princess Royal:
Its the same old stretch of ocean,
We're churning up each day,
We know by name each porpoise,
Which follows us in play,
We forcast each days weather,
In sky tints pink and green,
But as for bally Germans,
They're nowhere to be seen.
Its the same old daily routine,
The same old lack of news,
The same old daily "spreading",
And close up turrets crews,
The "third days tribulation",
The same old coaling feet,
But not a single sign of,
The German High Seas Fleet.
There were poems for the ladies too which emphasized romance and sacrifice. The 18th November copy of the Scarborough Pictorial published the following poem entitled "The Drowned Sailor" .
Last night I saw my true love stand,
All shadowy by my bed,
He had my locket in his hand,
I knew that he was dead,
Sweetheart,why stand you there so fast,
Why stand you there so grave,
I Think (said he) this hours the last,
That you and I shall have,
You gave me this from your fair breast,
Its never left me yet,
But now it dares not seek the rest,
Because it is so wet,
The cold grey sea has covered it,
Deep in the sand it lies,
While over the long weeds flit,
And veil my staring eyes,
And there are german sailors laid,
Beside me in the deep,
We have no need of gun or blade,
United in our sleep,
Cold is the bed that I lie in,
And deep beneath the swell,
No voice is left to make my moan,
To bid my love fair well,
Now I am a widow that was a wife,
Would god that they could,
What law would rule without the strife,
That robbed me of my love,
[Maurice Hewlett in the Daily Chronicle]
The soldiers and sailors were sent parcels of comforts. These were filled with items to make the sailors feel at home. The shops even bought in items directly for this purpose. The Boyes sale of November 1914, included over £300 of wool which,the adverts stated, was "suitable for soldiers and sailors comforts".
The papers were filled with various photos and features raising money for and supporting the war cause. Typical was the Penny Comfort Fund who raised money for the troops comforts. These were very much appreciated. Four sailors from the fleet F. Ellis, T. Dove , A. Fowler and J. Sheader wrote to the Scarborough Pictorial : - "The splendid parcel of comforts arrived safely this evening, and we feel we cannot thank you enough for your great kindness. The things are grand and are greatly appreciated. Winter is upon us here, everything is white over with snow and very cold". It is likely that these four sailors were with the Grand Fleet which was stationed at Scapa Flow. Those wollen jumpers were badly needed and appreciated up in the Scottish Isles. THe Grand Fleet was stationed in the Scottish Isles ready to engage the German Imperial Navy as it left the Kiel Canal.
- Scarborough Mercury 1861
- The Scarborough Pictorial 4th November,1914
- The Story of the Scarborough Lifeboats by Jeff Morris.