World War I - News reporting


Getting local news

The newspaper for Royston at that time was the “Herts and Cambs Reporter” which incorporated the “Royston Crow”. The masthead above greeted readers during the period covered by the Great War and the paper was reduced to four broadsheet sized pages, although it was still published weekly.

The front page and much of page two consisted almost entirely of advertisements for local goods and services together with situations vacant, items for sale and auctions notices.

The remainder on the paper covered local, national and international news stories, often juxtaposed in an apparently random order. Important national news could be sandwiched between reports from the local courts and adverts for seeds.


War reporting


News of the war was reported on the back page. Regular articles covered official news of the war’s progress, British ships sunk during the previous week, the number of casualties of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire men and individual articles on news of local men.

Our 'Local Patriots'


In addition the paper had a long running series of special articles entitled 'Our Local Patriots'.

The paper said of this -

"In this series of photos of 'Our Local Patriots' our intention is to publish those of the gallant men connected with Royston and the district who have fallen, been wounded, missing, made prisoners of war, or who have some distinction."

News of local men

The Crow would often contain short articles covering news of local men and reveal the extent to which they had been affected by the fighting. The edition for 10th August 1917 held articles reporting injuries which two men had received.

The first reports that Wrenford Rayment lost a foot on the first day of fighting in the infantry offensive at the battle of Passchendaele.


The second tells of an injury received by Gunner Arthur James Pigg in March 1917 but which was not reported until August.


In other news


News of national and international political developments were also brought to the attention of readers of the Royston Crow on a regular basis.

The editions throughout the second half of 1917 covered the gathering storm of unrest in Russia which was to have consequences which were felt much further afield.

Not only did this chain of events lead to the overthrow of the established order in Russia, it had a direct impact on the way that German troops were deployed in the rest of Europe. No longer required to fight the Russians, large numbers of troops were transferred to Germany’s western front which contributed significantly to the failure of the Allied efforts during the Passchendaele campaign.