Shocking toll of the Great War - almost 20 million dead, 25 million maimed
HERE in our regular feature we take a look back at stories in the Rochdale Observer from 100 years ago:
●●THE HORROR OF WARS
SPEAKING at Littleborough on Saturday, in support of the candidature of Mr Crinion for the Royton Division, Mr Ben Tillett delivered a fervid denunciation of the war-making Germans.
We are now, he said, passing through the penultimate stage of a terrible war.
Through it, 42 million men are either dead or have been maimed - with eight soldiers walking abreast, three feet apart, they would make a procession 3,000 miles long, reaching from England to New York.
There are nearly 20 million men dead and at least 25 million men maimed; that is the cost, in men, of the outrage of this war upon civilisation, upon its so-called culture, upon its so-called morality and upon its so-called religion.
As to the rest, imagine our country from London to Newcastle devastated along the whole line of the 300 miles to a depth of from 50 to 100 miles - with all the cities and towns and hamlets wiped out, with machinery destroyed, with never a street or road or a place left so that any old inhabitant could discover where his cottage stood.
●●WOMEN’S NEW POLITICAL POWER
SPEAKING at a women’s meeting in Spotland, on Wednesday, Mr Phillipps said he had always believed that women were quite as well qualified to exercise political judgement as men, and he thought the experiences of the war must have swept away any prejudice that might have existed against admitting women to the full rights of citizenship.
Directing attention to the social problems that would arise after the war, he said that they wanted the votes of the women electors in order to influence legislation for the building of houses and other matters that affected the health and physique of the nation.
They wanted women to help them to get a Bill to give the people the power to say whether they would or would not have a public house in their district.
Another matter in which the women could render great assistance was in relation to the question of motherhood and the care of children.
The Liberal Party had formulated their policy on those matters.
They demanded the setting up in the cities and country, areas of maternity and child welfare centres where advice, medical treatment and supplies of pure milk could be obtained in cases of need, so as to stop the waste of child life in this country.
●●THE SOLDIERS AND THE WIDOWS
IN an address on Monday evening, Mr Phillipps, the Liberal Candidate, pleased for generous treatment to returning sailors and soldiers, especially those partially disabled, and to those whose tragedy it had been to be left widows with fatherless children.
Disabled men, if unfit for their old occupations, must be equipped for some other means of employment which would not merely keep them from want - that was not enough - but provide adequate comfort and enjoyment for them.
These and widows and their children, the nation must treat in no mean ●●DRIED FRUITS SCARCE AT the December meeting of the Rochdale District Grocers’ Association on Wednesday, there were strong complaints about the shortness of supply of dried fruits to local provision dealers.
The President, Mr J. L. Ratcliffe, said the position as to dried fruits and the circulars issued in relation to them was “a complete puzzler.”
People were told that they were to have extra allowances at Christmas but the people of Rochdale were doomed to great disappointment in that respect because the local grocers had not the necessary quantities to sell.
For that disappointment, the people must blame, not the grocers, but the rotten Government which had created that state of affairs. (Hear, hear).
GUNNER Tom Duffy of the Royal Field Artillery, the second son of Mr James Duffy of 31 Syke Street, Newhey, died of wounds in France on November 21st. He was 25 years of age and had formerly played cricket with the Milnrow and Newhey clubs.
Corporal Fred Morris (Machine Gun Corps) died in hospital in France on November 13th from shell gas poisoning. He was 26 years of age and resided at 15 Hope Street, Rochdale.
●●Advertisements from 1918 editions of the Rochdale Observer
Gunner Tom Duffy