Weeting in the Great War

On the Saturday following the declaration of war in August 1914, the following advertisement appeared in the Thetford & Watton Times:

To the Loyal Men of Norfolk: Come Back to the Colours

All men under the age of 38 who have served in the Regular Army, Militia, Special Reserve, Volunteers or Territorial Force are hereby invited to join the 4th battalion Norfolk Regiment (territorials).

Your Country Needs YOU: JOIN at once.

It seems that the call to arms was met with a rapid response – indeed, in the same issue of the paper an anonymous correspondent commented: “The countryside is being almost denuded of its rural workmen. The effect of this on the harvest is already felt. In many districts operation [sic] are in progress and with the scarcity of men great difficulties are confronting the farmers. In some cases half the labourers on a single farm have left to join their regiments.”

The T&W Times dated 19th September listed 15 men from Weeting who had “Joined the Colours”. By the end of 1914 that number had grown to 28. It should be recalled that the village was very much smaller then than it is now. Information from the 1911 census suggests that in 1914 there would have been only 45 men of eligible age to enlist.