The optimists had expected the war to be over by Christmas 1914. By Christmas 1915, over a year of war had seen casualty lists growing and concerns about the fall off in recruitment. Major campaigns – Loos, Gallipoli and the Dardanelles – had filled the columns of the newspapers. And there was no end in sight.
By the end of 1914, a significant number of Kington and district men had enlisted. The Lady Hawkins Prize Giving event in December 1914 noted the names of those old boys who were serving with fifty eight names reported. The headmaster at that time, who wore his military uniform throughout the war, was keen on his old boys joining up. The Kington Times continued to report the names of those who enlisted, those passed fit for foreign service, and those enlisting in the territorials. However, they did not report all of the names of those serving – checking the lists in the Kington Times against those noted by Lady Hawkins School in December, many of the LHS names were missing from the newspaper.
By the end of 1915, news was coming back from the fronts where Kington men were fighting – letters to families at home were reported to the newspaper and helped to keep the community aware of the sons and husbands serving abroad. Every street in the town had someone serving in the forces, with many families having more than one son in uniform.
Throughout 1914 and 1915, those joining up and serving were volunteers. In August 1915, the Kington Times published a list of serving men – 138 names. Men from Kington had travelled further than they had ever expected and were experiencing some of the worst slaughter of the War to that date. But the numbers of those coming forward for war service was diminishing and towards the end of the year, the Kington Times reports that there were no volunteers forthcoming at a recruitment meeting. The Kington Times had reported already in 1914 that the local Farmers’ Union was extremely concerned about levels of voluntary recruitment, as many young men had left the area before the war and a good many since. This was leading to a shortage of men and horses on the land and therefore it was becoming impossible to grow extra wheat. 1916 would see the introduction of conscription and the exemption of local farmers and those whose work on the farms was deemed essential to the war effort. But more and more Kington men would be called up. And Kington’s casualties would rise.