A host of regional newspapers have brought out special editions to commemorate their patches’ war dead ahead of the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice on Sunday.
Daily and weekly titles across the country have been marking 100 years since the guns fell silent with a series of commemorative issues.
Newsquest titles which have brought out special editions, including the Northern Echo and South Wales Argus, have donated a share of the proceeds to the Royal British Legion.
The Echo’s 112-page special, featuring a wraparound cover and dated Sunday 11 November went on sale priced £1, with 10p from every copy sold going to the RBL.
At the heart of the edition, produced in conjunction with Durham County Council and largely researched and written by the Echo’s chief feature writer Chris Lloyd, are 15 historic Echo front pages telling the story of the Armistice.
Editor Hannah Chapman said: “The stories within our special edition really take you back to the day the Armistice was announced, and it is clear the overwhelming sense was of thankfulness, not joy.
“As the Echo put it that day ‘Many women were seen shedding tears, some because their loved ones would soon be again with them and others because the very gladness of their fellows brought vividly home to them the fact there would be no welcoming home for them’.
“We hope the paper gives a sense of that momentous period in history, as the whole country comes together to reflect on the tragedy of the Great War.”
The front page of this week’s Skegness Standard featured the names of all the men of the Lincolnshire seaside town who perished in the conflict – as well as those from its German twin town Bad Gandersheim, while the Horncastle News featured a poignant tribute to the British ‘Tommy’ on its front page.
And on the cover of its special, the Yorkshire Post ran a picture of British troops in a gun pit trench. The photo was taken at the Battle of Menin Road Ridge, part of the Battle of Ypres, in September 2017.
The Leicester Mercury’s Great War pullout has also been published, and a further 500 copies will be given out for free to attendees of Leicester Cathedral’s Remembrance Sunday service.
The 48-page publication lists more than 14,000 of the Leicestershire and Rutland fallen in the confliict, and was produced in association with the University of Leicester and historian John Sutton.
Mercury deputy chief sub-editor Richard Price, who designed the pull-out, said: “The amount of information John has amassed is truly impressive; not just the names of more than 14,000 men and women, but biographical details, details of their memorials and even photographs.
“We were only able to use part of this in the supplement but we hope it does justice to John’s hard work, to all those who died – and indeed all who served.”
A 96-page standalone publication has been created by Newsquest in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and on the Isle of Wight, while Newsquest Cumbria brought out a 176-page special.
The above cover appeared on the supplements of both the Bradford Telegraph & Argus and York daily The Press.
Other Newsquest titles which produced souvenir editions for the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice were the Oxford Mail, South Essex daily The Echo, the Colchester Daily Gazette, Bolton News, Lancashire Telegraph and The Leader.
A percentage of the proceeds of many of the souvenir editions will go to military charities such as the Royal British Legion.
Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville said: “It’s unlikely there’s a single community that we serve with our news brands that hasn’t been affected by the loss of friends and family in the First World War – and we are glad we are able to recognise that sacrifice with these special editions and a portion of the profits from them going to military charities.”
Oxford Mail editor Samantha Harman added: “Though 100 years may have passed, we felt it still incredibly important that the stories in our archives of sacrifice, life in the trenches and the heartbreak of families who lost their loved ones should be heard today.
“One of my favourite discoveries was that the newspapers – at that time the Oxford Mail was the Oxford Journal Illustrated – teamed up on a Christmas campaign to send tobacco to soldiers.
“An article we found from November 1918 in the Oxford Journal Illustrated stated that the Oxford Times had been running the Tobacco Fund since Christmas 1914. As Christmas 1918 approached, the Oxford Journal Illustrated joined in.
“The reporter gave the reassurance that ‘every penny subscribed [will be] spent in ‘smokes.’ For a crown (5/-) readers could send a soldier a packet of cigarettes a week for five weeks.
“We wanted to be able to re-tell some of these stories, whilst raising some money for military charities. We’ve tried to create a fitting tribute to the fallen, and we hope readers find it as interesting to read as we did to produce.
“Special thanks to our nostalgia correspondent John Chipperfield, who provided much of the content included in the paper.”