The Martinmas hirings are near, and many a young man in Cumberland will be freer than he has been to offer himself for the service of King and country. I am persuaded that we in our quiet country districts in the North have not yet realised what this war means, and how the real issue is not between France and Germany, or Russia and Germany, but between Germany and Great Britain. The Germans envy and hate, which has been nursed against us secretly for the last 30 years, is now seen in all its open madness. It is the blackest and most devilish thing that has been heard of in history. Nothing will be left undone by Germany to compass our downfall, and we who talked of the war being over by Christmas, or in six months, know now that it will probably only then have been begun in real earnest. The issue of the war is life or death of the Empire. To let others fight and fall while we stay at home is as unchivalrous as it is un-Cumbrian. Many girls at these Martinmas hirings will be meeting the men of their heart. Let them take the matter into their own hands, and tell the men straight out that their duty is to join the colours, to fight for right and honour, to save the Empire from ruin, to rid Europe of the mailed fist for ever, and the world from a military domination as ruthless in spirit as it is barbarous in operation. Remember there is not a single male in Germany, with all its millions, that is not trained from boyhood to be a soldier. I believe that Germany will fight as long as she can put a single army corps into the field, or has an aeroplane, a Zeppelin, a battleship, or submarine left her. It is therefore high time that we quiet country folk cease to live in a fool’s paradise, and gave up such idle thoughts as that there are plenty to go to the war without our having to leave home. To the mothers of Cumberland I commend the action of a brave French mother, mentioned in General Joffre’s Orders of the Day, who had given eight sons to the war. Seven of them had fallen in battle, one of them a hero who had been decorated with the Legion of Honour. She bade her daughter write in her name to the surviving soldier son to say that she was handing to him his brother’s decoration to keep, and, said she, “Tell him he is to do his duty.” On the men of Cumberland I urge that the blood of those 600 men of the Border Regiment who, with their eight officers, after an eight days’ battle on the left wing, fell like heroes rather than leave their post, cries from the ground to bid our young Cumberland men fill their places and fight as they fought for home and England.
(Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 6 November 1914, p. 2)