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Yesterday, today and forever on the day war broke out . . .

A 200-year-old regional paper is making sure today’s centenary anniversary of the start of the Great War will not be forgotten.

For the twice-weekly Inverness Courier is painstakingly recording news of the actual outbreak of World War One – to the letter.

As publications across the UK are paying their own tribute to the events of 4 August, 1914 – the official date for the start of the first global conflagration – the Highlands’ main title is offering a unique “back to the future” take on a moment in history.

Its modern-day readership has been treated to an exact reprint of the Courier’s own four-page special edition from 100 years ago –which was published on the day AFTER the start of the conflict.

“Our special supplement was quite an achievement as it was taken from our bound files,” said the Courier’s 21st century editor Robert Taylor.

“It had to be scanned from the files and proved quite a challenge for pre-press production. At one stage we weren’t sure whether we would be able to do it.  But in the end it was a magnificent effort.”

At least the reprint slipped easily inside last Friday’s Courier – as it still retains its broadsheet format from day one of publication back in 1817.

In its early days the Scottish Provincial Press title, which now serves the 60,000 population of the Highlands’ capital city and beyond, was a Friday weekly.

More than a century ago it switched to publishing twice a week to cater for the knock-on effects of its well-established Tuesday market day.

In 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany on Tuesday, 4 August and the Courier’s first edition of the week was already on the streets when news of the catastrophic event broke.

“But it appears the staff of the day worked through that famous Tuesday to put together a four-page broadsheet edition which came out on Wednesday, 5 August,” said the 54-year-old editor.

“It gave the readers all the news surrounding the outbreak of hostilities.” Without the aid of today’s social media, the paper continued to update its readers with extra afternoon and evening editions over the following days.

“We couldn’t let their endeavours go to waste, so decided to recreate the issue for today’s readers,” added Robert.

The Courier has been gearing up for the centenary event all year – asking readers for their family memories. “They’ve been sending them by the shed load,” said Robert, who moved to Scotland seven years ago after spells with the Yorkshire Post and Sheffield Star.

“We’ve every intention of continuing to reflect on World War One memorabilia in the paper for as long as the conflict lasted – in fact, the next four years,” he added.

Today the Courier is a 20-page broadsheet on a Tuesday with a 7,500 circulation and a 40-pager on Fridays with an 11,000 sale.

  • How’s your paper covering the war centenary anniversary celebrations and beyond? Let us know by emailing [email protected] or give a call on 01332 253063.