5 August 1914; Wednesday

War declared against Germany by England

Busy at work. Great excitement caused through war.1

War declared against Germany by England.2

Joe and I went to Roker at night and saw 5 different bodies of soldiers on parade. Soldiers placed in the Salvation Army barracks, Thompson Memorial Hall, Royal Hospital, Roker House, Mrs Chester’s and Lister’s, Reserve houses, Skating Rink, barracks, pottery plot, and warehouses on the docks. Digging trenches along Roker Way. We saw the big 4.7 guns go out to Cleadon. Ernie & Hilda got a baby daughter.

  1. Most of Britain at the time, outside of Westminster and Whitehall, didn’t know about the final commitment to war until the 5th of August. 

  2. ALL’s use here of “England” where one might have expected “Britain” may seem odd but was quite usual at the time – many contemporary newspaper reports similarly cite “England” – for example, see this reprint from the Guardian’s archive, which uses both “England” and “Great Britain”, and this from the New York Times. Incidentally, up to the mid-20th century “North Britain” was still occasionally used, and well understood, to mean “Scotland”, which is consistent with interchangeability between “Britain” and “England”.