Armistice 100: Local experts issue corrective to PM Lloyd George

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Dateline: September 13, 1918: A few stories catch our eye from the papers published on this day 100 years ago. First and foremost is one which said munitions experts in Leeds were quick to put Prime Minister Lloyd George in his place after he appeared to indicate that Manchester was leading the country in the manufacture of munitions.

As the article points out: “This authority justifies to the hilt the assertion that the munitions industry as we now know it had its origins in Leeds.

The ‘authority’ said: “It is a mistake on the part of Mr Lloyd George to date the initiative to the visit which he paid to Manchester in 1915. As a matter of fact, when [he] visited in 1915 to stimulate the manufacture of munitions, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley and Wakefield were already organised and actually at work on the production of shells. The real beginning was in Leeds.”

In the West of England, it was reported German prisoners had “gone on strike”, refusing to work with a number of conscientious objectors, who had apparently been put in the same work party as them. They stsated they did not wish to work with men who were “too cowardly to fight for their own country”. The matter was referred to the military authorities.

There was a report of a farmer dying after he accidentally ploughed through a wasps’ nest. In trying to evade the wasps, which attacked him, he fell into the plough and suffered fatal injuries.

And finally, a soldier admitted being part of the murder of a Pontefract jeweller, Mrs Rhoda Walker, who was savagely beaten and later died in a robbery attempt. The soldier, 19, confessed to being part of a two-man gang.