The first encounter with the Germans by the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War was at the Belgian town of Mons in late August 1914 after which the BEF was forced to retreat more than sixty miles to Ypres. The situation was critical. Britain could lose the war and with it her Empire. The appeal by Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener made two weeks earlier spurred men into action. They flocked to the Colours, responding to the appeal: “Your Country Needs You”.
In Rutland scores of men came forward during the month of September when Britain’s position was at its most perilous. Among those who joined up that month, 95 never came home. Eleven of them enlisted on a single day – 4 September 1914. Nearly all of them joined up in Oakham, so it’s presumed there was a recruitment event which took place on that day in the town.
Among those who joined “Kitchener’s Army” were the six Hill brothers from Morcott. Their father received a letter from the King congratulating him on this contribution to the war effort. Three of them – Harold, Robert and Ralph died, three of them returned home. Cyril Love from Uppingham was one of those who enlisted on September 4. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery for rescuing colleagues while he himself was injured. He was injured three times in the war and had also been gassed. He died two days before the Armistace and is buried at Uppingham Cemetery.
Among others to respond on the same day were two ironworkers: Ernest Jeffs from Caldecott was a choir singer in the local church and worked at the Ironworks in Corby, while Alfred Miles from Ryhall worked as an ironmoulder in Stamford. Both were killed in 1916.