The Outbreak of World War One

Brass band and large group of followers at the outbreak of the first World War. Studley. September 7th 1914.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH 350/2297.

On Tuesday 4th August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany after the German Government rejected the request by the British Government to assure that the neutrality of Belgium would be respected. So, what did that mean to the local people in Warwickshire? Let’s have a look at the Royal Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard to see what reaction was recorded in the newspaper.

The Royal Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard was published on a Friday. In the newspaper published on 31st July 1914, there is little mention of the developments in Europe with only a small column on page four detailing the Government news on the prospect of European war. There is also a small mention under Local News:


The telegram exhibited on the news board outside the Courier Office, on Tuesday evening, announcing that war had been declared by Austria upon Serbia, caused considerable interest. A large number of persons read the news, and many of them stayed to discuss the situation, the one topic being the probability of England being implicated in the struggle.

Directly under the column, the news swiftly moves on to the details of the Leamington and County Flower Show. In between this edition and the next edition, published on Friday 7th August, Great Britain had declared war on Germany. Inevitably, there is a lot more war content in the 7th August edition but it is surprising that the first few pages of the newspaper have the usual advertisements and the war isn’t mentioned until page four.

See the original newspaper article by visiting Warwickshire County Record Office. Click here to find out more about visiting.


Leamington Spa Courier, 31st July 1914, courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office.

Originally published on the Warwickshire at War 1914-1918 Blog.

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