England at war!
That was the headline on the front page of the Batley News on Saturday, August 8, 1914 – four days after Great Britain declared war on Germany.
Scenes of great excitement were described as members of the Territorial Army were called back to Batley and Dewsbury by the War Office.
Great crowds surrounded Batley Rail Station as the soldiers boarded trains to the barracks – and into a war from which they might not return.
To mark the centenary of World War I, this year the News will be looking back at the men of Batley and Birstall who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
We want to tell as many of the soldiers’ stories as we can, to paint a picture of the impact the war had on the town and ensure their bravery is never forgotten.
The First World War was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with nine million combatants killed.
Life in the trenches was almost as deadly as the machine gun fire and mortar shells hurled across No Man’s Land.
And back home, fallen husbands, fathers, brothers and friends were mourned by the communities left behind.
We vowed to remember them.
Throughout this year we will commemorate the Great War in the News each week – and we need your help.
While the soldiers and civilians who lived through the war are no longer with us, many people will have grandparents or great-grandparents who were handed the legacy of the war years.
Pictures, diaries, newspaper cuttings, letters and medals can help us to shine a light on what the people of Batley and Birstall endured between 1914-1918.
If you would like to share your family and friends’ stories of the war, on the front lines or back home, contact reporter Samantha Robinson on 01924 487143 or email Samantha.Robinson@ywng.co.uk.