Armageddon 1914: How Some Devon Newspapers Reported the Outbreak of War

Robert Hesketh

South West
Notice Period:
Short (maybe less than one month's notice)
Paid: £45 (£50 after 1/1/19) plus 30p per mile travel each way to venue
5th January 2018
Great War | History | Home Front | Local History

This talk is based on a close study of some Devon newspapers – principally the Western Times and the Express and Echo – from late June to late August 1914. It shows how the fateful events that lead from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 29 to the outbreak of war and the battles of August were reported. News of the Home Front – especially key issues such as recruiting, food hoarding and the requisition of horses – are contrasted with the (heavily censored) news from the Fronts. Editorials and readers’ letters give a strong flavour of a crucial moment when the course of European history was altered forever.

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About Robert Hesketh

Formerly a teacher, I am a freelance writer and photographer with a strong interest in local history (my first degree subject). To date, I have published 45 Devon, Dorset and Somerset titles (see and written numerous illustrated articles for The Countryman, Dartmoor Magazine, Country Walking and other publications. I also contribute West Country landscape and people photographs to photographic libraries, see and . Since 2002, I have been giving talks to local history clubs, Women’s Institutes, societies, U3A and Probus Clubs on Devon themes

Please contact me if you would like further details or to offer me a booking. All the talks are illustrated with high resolution digital images and last between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on what the audience wants. Questions from the audience are always welcome. I can supply the projector, projection stand and projection screen. To see my profile please visit my website

Adrienne Hesketh (my better half) is a talented musician who also gives talks and live performance. She plays piano and recorder and her contact details are the same as mine. She has her own website

Charges: £50 (£55 after 1/1/22) plus 30p per mile travel each way from Bovey Tracey.

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