Frank Simpson (1863-1942) was a prominent figure within his native city of Chester. During the First World War he was Quartermaster of the Chester Volunteers formed for home defence in 1914. One of our volunteers has begun to serialise his diaries. Our second instalment describes some of the changes in Chester following the outbreak of war.
August, Thursday 6, 1914
Mobilisation is in full progress men are arriving from all parts of the county, and elsewhere, to the call of arms. At the castle and government house they are working day and night.
August, Friday 7, 1914
The banks opened this morning and paper money is prominent so that gold may be protected for the nation’s use . One pound notes are being issued and postal orders are now to be used as current coin, they are procurable at the post offices free of charge. The Roodee has been closed to the public and is now used for military purposes. Horses are being commandeered and brought in by the score. They are taken to the Roodee, examined, and those suitable branded. It is no use trying to bargain over the sale of a horse. The military offer anything up to £40, you can take it or leave it but they keep the horse.
August, Sunday 9, 1914
The artillery (mounted) marched out of Chester this Sunday morning, and well they looked with arms; they proceed to Shrewsbury. These are no bands this time, little cheering, every man’s face bears the impression of business. The Emperor of Germany has menaced the peace of the world long enough; he must be thrashed, that is the opinion of every person one meets. Everyone is eager to fight or take some part in the struggle.
August, Monday 10, 1914
A special war edition of the Cheshire Observer was published this Monday evening, and sold at a halfpenny per copy. This is the first occasion during the existence of this newspaper that a special edition has been issued other than on the usual days of publication –Friday evening, or Saturday.
August, Friday 14, 1914
Notice has been given to persons who hold contracts on the north Wales line to Chester that from tomorrow, Saturday morning, the lines from Holyhead to London, will be held over for at least forty-eight hours for the transportation of troops and that it may continue until Tuesday.