This picture was taken behind the Black Bull at the declaration of war with Germany in August 1914. It shows local men who volunteered
for service. Although the caption says the "Mirfield & District Volunteer Company", in reality many of the men would have gone on to see service with one
of the Yorkshire regiments sent out with the British Expeditionary Force. At the start of World War I Britain prided itself on having a professional volunteer army of around 150,000 men; unlike many
other countries who maintained only small professional armies but in times of need would resort to compulsory mass conscription to bolster their numbers.
Initially as the first elements of the
B.E.F. were being sent to France the consensus was that they would all be home for Christmas!
But it soon became apparent as German forces swept through Belgium and into France that this wasn't to
be so. Britain then rapidly called upon their Territorial Army reserves who had initially been told they would be held back for home defence.
Local men serving with the 6th Heckmondwike
Battalion Field Artillery along with men from the Territorial battalions of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) and Duke of Wellingtons
Regiment (West Riding) in time were called up and went over to France.