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How Burton changed in the days after war was announced

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 17, 2014

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IN the days following the outbreak of war, Burton quickly became a garrison town.

From August 6, the 6th North Staffordshire Regiment set up base at the peach maltings in Anglesey Road, with some 800 soldiers from all over the area converging there.

They would soon by joined by hundred more men from three more battalions which made up the regiment, who were billeted at other brewery buildings including those in Wood Street and the Bass and Ind Coope buildings in Shobnall.

Among those who would be based in the town was historian Malcolm Goode's great uncle Private 1641 George Hooper, 20, who was in the Territorial Force. He and other men had their summer camp cut short to return home and join the regular forces.

Mr Goode said: "I can just imagine the look on my great grandmother's face when George came unexpectedly back from camp, and, probably with great excitement told her that he was to report back to the Drill Hall on the following day with all the other Burton Territorials in order to be mobilised. They were to be turned into full-time soldiers, and that he would be leaving home very soon.

"Very few, if any of the junior ranks, would have had any inclination of the fate that was about to befall them."

Burton Railway Station became a hive of activity and emotion as reservists were recalled and people said farewell to their families as they went to fight.

For those left behind, there were not only concerns for their menfolk, but also for the household income, which left with the soldiers.

Lady Burton tried to come to the rescue, by urging wealthy friends to contribute to a wives and families fund for people of the town.

High-profile employers in the town also moved to show their support for the town. Breweries promised to keep jobs open for workers when they returned from the front and the Marquis of Anglesey, whose family owned vast lands in the area, promised to look after estate workers.

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