King George V Inspects the Troops Before Gallipoli

The “Leamington Spa Courier scoop”

HM Inspection of 29 Division before embarkation to Gallipoli near Dunchurch on Friday, March 12th 1915.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH352/71/16

Although George V reviewing the troops before Gallipoli on the London Road is now a well-known story, at the time this significant event was not covered in any of the local papers – excepting the Leamington Spa Courier. The edition published on the 12th March did not state specifically the location but much was mentioned of the Dun Cow, and the legend of it roaming over Dunsmore Heath1. Neither did the …Courier say how it came to know of the King’s visit, other than alluding to “special preparations the soldiers had made to be as spick and span as possible”2.

A local competitor newspaper “impugned the patriotism” of the …Courier for divulging the movements of the King and the new Division. In an editorial of the following edition3 the …Courier responded by explaining that a telegram asking it not to report the royal inspection of the troops, had been received from the an “official source” – but not until after the paper had gone to press and therefore too late to withdraw what appeared in that issue! In a reply to the Director of the Press Bureau the …Courier denied identifying military details and suggested that the King was doubtlessly back in London before the paper was on the streets.

1 Leamington Spa Courier, 12th March 1915
2 Leamington Spa Courier, 12th March 1915
3 Leamington Spa Courier, 19th March 1915

This article has been adapted from an exhibition which was curated with help of volunteers working on the Heritage and Culture Warwickshire World War One project: Warwickshire at War. You can explore the database that our volunteers have created of World War One resources by visiting the Warwickshire County Record Office catalogues page.

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