It was the day war broke out.
Now a long-forgotten newspaper reporting the outbreak of World War Two is providing a fascinating history lesson for the grandchildren of Moldgreen woman Elizabeth Hall.
She said grandsons Oliver, 12, Adam, nine and Matthew, seven, had been engrossed in the copy of the Daily Herald – dated Monday, September 4, 1939 – with its front page headline: War Declared by Britain & France.
The front page lead story reports the declaration of war by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and “Britain’s resolution to defend Poland against Nazi aggression” while other stories include ones bringing the latest news of Luftwaffe bombing raids on Polish cities, King George VI’s radio broadcast to the nation and the appointment of a nine-strong war cabinet at 10 Downing Street.
Elizabeth said she came across the complete edition of the paper – priced one penny – while hunting for a crochet pattern among boxes of items that had belonged to her late parents, Georgina and Roland Cunningham.
But she said it was probably her grandparents, Elizabeth and George Starbuck, who lived at Crosland Moor, who had decided to keep the newspaper because of the significance of the events being reported.
Said Elizabeth: “My mother’s stuff is kept in a lot of big boxes and I haven’t had the heart to sort through them properly since she died. I was looking for a crochet pattern and I wondered if there would be one among my mum’s stuff.
“I found the newspaper folded in an envelope and I was amazed. My grandparents had obviously decided to keep it because it’s a significant date. It’s a bit damaged in places, but it’s all there.”
As well as the serious war news, the paper includes adverts for products such as HP sauce – and Elizabeth said her grandchildren were puzzled by the pre-decimal prices.
Elizabeth’s grandfather died in 1945, sadly shortly after Georgina and Roland’s marriage in August of that year, while her grandmother died in 1954.
And the war so graphically reported in the Daily Herald soon touched Elizabeth’s parents with Roland serving as a navigator with the RAF while Georgina worked at a bomb-filling factory in Stafford.
Elizabeth, who worked for Kirklees social services before retiring, said she was now seeking a new home for the historic newspaper. “I’d like it to go to someone who would appreciate it,” she said. “Perhaps it could go to a museum.”