PRIVATE A. V. SIMPSON
2nd/ 6th Battalion (T. F.)
The Duke of Weellinghton's
(West Riding Regiment)
England was so unprepared for the war that he had to have an appeal for cast off clothing for the troops. (…) No khaki uniform available for us for some time, and regulation decreed that a man using his civilian overcoat was to be paid three-pence a day clothing allowance, and six pence a day if he used his civilian suit. The nation's offering of old clothing...
Collective euphoria and excitement in the streets and squares of Europe accompanying the declaration of war and military mobilization.
In Britain, where the conscription was voluntary, the enthusiasm for the war and the indignation for the German atrocities in Belgium moved in a few months hundreds of thousands of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish to enrol in the Army. Only in early 1916 the sharp decline in the number of volunteers prompted the government to introduce a forced conscription.
The invasion of Belgium showed to the world the destructive power of destructive weapon. But it was a propaganda war mostly, involving the informations apparatus of the two coalitions. The fire of the ancient library of Leuven aroused particular reprobation. The news of the fall of Antwerp, appeared on the Kölnische Zeitung, was misunderstood to the point that among the countries of the Entente spread the legend that some members of the belgian clergy had been hung by the Germans to the bells...
On August 4th, the German troops crossed the Belgian border to score a series of brilliant triumphs. Many in Berlin were confident of a quick victory. The Deutsches Heer appeared to be unstoppable, but it had not counted on Belgium’s will to resist and British intervention.