Journalism tutors deliver WW1 lecture as part of DMUlocal launch

War research: from left are David Penman, John Dilley, Dr David Clarke and Professor John Young

War research: from left are David Penman, John Dilley, Dr David Clarke and Professor John Young

Two Journalism lecturers who are conducting a four-year WW1 research project have played a key role in the launch of DMUlocal.

Programme leader John Dilley and senior lecturer David Penman delivered a lecture at The Venue – with the help of first year Single Honours journalism student Simon Sansome.

The event on November 11 – particularly poignant as it was Armistice Day – also included a lecture by Dr David Clarke from Sheffield Hallam University as well as an Immersive Electroacoustic Music performance created by DMU’s Professor of Composition, John Young.

John said: “We were proud our lecture was part of the DMUlocal launch and the accompanying Research Festival, and we are particularly grateful to Simon, who spoke the words of the Frontline soldiers which have formed a major part of our primary research methodology.”

John and David’s project shows how local newspapers maneuvered round Lord Kitchener’s draconian press censorship laws and produced articles that rivaled the war poets for powerful imagery.

They are focusing their attention on two market town weekly titles which have been published in their respective communities for well over 100 years.

Each week they are blogging extracts in real-time from Leicestershire’s Market Harborough Advertiser and the Ashbourne Telegraph in Derbyshire and are being followed and published by the present-day newspapers too. They are also comparing and contrasting the coverage from national newspapers and current-day academics.

John added: “Millions of words have been written about the First World War but it’s fascinating seeing how the first-time chroniclers of history – the journalists – covered the conflict.

“What’s even more interesting is the way the national papers were shackled by Kitchener and his infamous Press Bureau – commonly referred to as the Suppress Bureau – which meant both soldiers and their families back home knew they were being peddled a lot of spin.”

David said: “Local paper editors got round the hogwash by using the remarkably honest – and graphic – accounts of life at the front written by soldiers in letters home to their market town families.

“There was certainly no shortage of material – around 12 million letters were sent home every week – and the readers truly believed the accounts because they either knew the soldier or knew of his family.”

John’s weekly blog can be found at

and David’s weekly blog can be found at

De Montfort University remembers

20151111_102917by Louis Hatton & Matthew Earth


Staff and students of De Montfort University paid their respects to the wounded and fallen at their annual Armistice Service this morning.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard led the service outside the Hawthorn Building, speaking about a recently-found Roll of Honour and three former students who served during World War One whilst studying at the university.

The students Prof Shellard referred to were John Mawby, William Henry Grayson and William Davis, who all fought and died along with many other Leicestershire citizens in the Action of the Hohenzollern. The battle was described as “nothing but the useless slaughter of infantry” by the British Official History.


Mr Shellard described the numbers in attendance as “the largest turnout that we’ve had”, and attributed this to the university’s focus on history and heritage in the past year, including students’ discovery of a Roll of Honour from 1919.

He added: “it was a nice secular moment for the university to come together and reflect on the fact that so many people have given their lives from our institution.”

Prof Shellard actually had a great uncle who was a Prisoner of War in Malaya during the Second World War for four years. He referred to his relative as a “big man” who lost nearly 10 stone whilst in the camp.

Dennis Stone, head of security at the university, who previously served in the 3rd Battalion Light Infantry, joined Prof Shellard in addressing the audience.

Mr Stone delivered a short speech about his background and his experiences before proceeding to recite ‘For the Fallen’, followed by the two minutes silence that was adhered to impeccably and respectfully.