EXTRACTS FROM “SOUTHEND AT WAR”
At midnight on August 4th, 1914, there were crowds outside the offices of the Southend Standard waiting for news of England’s declaration of war on Germany due
to the unprovoked invasion of Belgium. One of the odder impacts of this declaration locally was the directive that Southend and Leigh-on-Sea pubs should close by 9 p.m. (some sources give as early as 6 p.m.) However, the evening trains to nearby Eastwood (to the West) or Rochford (to the North) carried more evening travellers
than usual because the pubs there could remain open till 10 p.m.
Lord Kitchener’s famous recruitment campaign (Your Country Needs You) culminated in a grand rally at the Kursaal, and over 1,000 men were sent to France
and over 400 others joined the territorial forces. By November, twenty-two Southenders had already been killed.
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