This week at The Archive we have added 44,391 brand new pages to our collection, as we remember the daring escape of German aviator Gunther Plüschow from a prisoner of war camp in Britain on 4 July 1915. Plüschow then made it back to Germany, the endeavour making him the only German combatant in either World War to successfully escape and return home.
Meanwhile, we have added three brand new newspapers from three different counties, from Derbyshire, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire respectively, to The Archive, whilst we have updated eighteen of our existing titles, from Leeds to Limerick, from Stratford-upon-Avon to Streatham, from Wexford to Warwick. So read on to discover more about our new and updated titles of the week, and also to learn more about the extraordinary story of Gunther Plüschow’s escape from captivity.
The first of our trio of new titles this week is the Alfreton Journal, a Conservative newspaper that was founded in the Amber Valley town of Alfreton, Derbyshire, in 1870. The ‘only newspaper’ to be ‘printed and published in the Mid-Derbyshire division,’ the Alfreton Journal circulated across this area as well as the ‘mining districts of the Erewash Valley.’
Appearing every Friday, and filling four pages, the Alfreton Journal covered international and national news, with sections devoted to ‘Metropolitan Gossip,’ ‘Miscellaneous Intelligence’ and ‘Cuttings from American Papers.’ The newspaper also took in the latest ‘District Intelligence’ from the likes of Belper, Derby, Chesterfield, Ripley, Nottingham and Ilkeston, reporting from the Derbyshire Quarter Sessions and the Belper Petty Sessions.
Originally titled the Alfreton Journal and East Derbyshire Advertiser, the publication cost one penny and ceased publication in 1935.
Our next new title of the week hails from Bedfordshire, and it is the Dunstable Gazette. This Liberal newspaper was founded in 1865 as the Dunstable Borough Gazette and Advertiser for Beds, Bucks and Herts, and circulated in the market town of Dunstable and the surrounding area. Costing one penny, the Dunstable Gazette filled four pages and initially appeared every Saturday, before moving to a Wednesday publication schedule by the 1880s.
Like the Alfreton Journal, the Dunstable Gazette published international and national news, providing updates from the capital in a section entitled ‘Our London Correspondent.’ ‘Miscellaneous Intelligence’ was gathered from home and abroad, whilst ‘Local and District News’ featured the latest from Dunstable, Bedford, Toddington, Hockcliffe, Houghton Regis and Luton. The newspaper, meanwhile, reported from the Dunstable Petty Sessions and the Luton Board of Guardians, whilst publishing correspondence from readers.
Our final new title of the week is Leicestershire’s Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette, which was first published in the market town of Loughborough on 20 May 1880 at the cost of one penny. ‘An advertising and family newspaper for Melton Mowbray, Ashby-de-la-Zouche, Castle Donington, Kegworth, Trent, Syston, Whitwick, Sheepshed, Mountsorrel, Barrow, Quorndon, Sileby, and the surrounding districts,’ the Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette appeared every Thursday at the cost of one penny.
The newspaper, moreover, had strong ties to the Liberal cause, its inaugural editorial stating how:
We this week lay before the public of North Leicestershire and the surrounding districts the first copy of a new journal, which is started for the advocacy and defence of Liberal principles.
As well as staunchly defending Liberal ideals, the Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette intended to become ‘a welcome visitor to every home in North Leicestershire,’ sparing no expense in doing so. The title, meanwhile, would be ‘conducted as a public trust,’ shying away from being the ‘tool of an individual or clique,’ but instead acting as the ‘recognised servant of the community.’
So what did the eight pages of the Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette contain? Well, alongside the usual items of news, the newspaper featured educational pieces, with titles like ‘The Early Days of Railway and Steam-Boat Excursions’ and ‘Legal Questions and Answers.’ It featured special interest columns too, with a ‘Ladies Column’ authored by ‘one of themselves,’ alongside poetry and serialised fiction. Local news was addressed too, with reports from the Loughborough Board of Guardians, the Loughborough Petty Sessions and the Rural Sanitary Authority, and the latest from such towns as Melton Mowbray and Ashby-de-la-Zouche.
That’s it from our new titles of the week, but with eighteen of our existing titles updated over the last seven days there is plenty more for you to enjoy. We’ve added more pages to three of our Irish titles (the Kerry News, the Limerick Echo and the Wexford and Kilkenny Express), whilst we’ve also updated fifteen of our titles from across England.
The Escape of Gunther Plüschow from Donington Hall – 4 July 1915
On 4 July 1914 German aviator and prisoner of war Gunther Plüschow escaped from Donington Hall in Leicestershire, where captured German officers were being held. Our new title the Alfreton Journal on 9 July 1915 reported on the escape, which Plüschow effected alongside another officer name Treppitz:
It is reported by the War Office that two prisoners of war escaped from Donington Hall on Monday morning, one of them named Treppitz being recaptured in the evening at Millwall Docks.
Gunther Plüschow, however, was still ‘at large,’ and the newspaper provided the following description of the escaped prisoner of war:
Height about 5ft 7in, well built, blue eyes, fair hair, fresh complexion, clean shaven. He speaks English fairly well. So far as is known he is wearing mufti.
Precisely at 6 o’clock on Sunday evening last while the guard was being changed a terrific thunderstorm broke over the district accompanied by much lightning. The rainfall was extraordinary, and as was almost inevitable the usual vigilance of the guard was somewhat relaxed for the time being.
Gunther Plüschow and his fellow escapee Lieutenant Treppitz (also spelled as Terpietz) seized their opportunity, waiting in the outer perimeter where it was the ‘work of a few minutes to slip a bed plank across the wires and crawl along this to the other side.’ ‘Some time after’ their escape, a plank and a pair of shoes was found in this area.
The Alfreton Journal describes what happened next:
At the 6 o’clock roll call the names of the two officers were answered. Some considerable time elapsed before the men were missed and in a few minutes the whole camp was excited. Messengers were dispatched in all directions and the whole encampment thoroughly searched. Meantime the escaped men had crossed the Trent by the Railway bridge only a mile or so away and were well on the road to Derby, where they caught a train for the South.
Treppitz’s escape was cut short, however, when he was ‘recaptured at Millwall Docks just as he was about to board a steamer.’ He was soon brought back to Donington Hall, where he was confined in a small room with an armed guard. The Alfreton Journal, however, was at pains to describe how ‘the prisoner is allowed twenty minutes of exercise at intervals during the day and every reasonable consideration is shown towards him,’ although his supply of ‘the London and local newspapers each morning has been withdrawn.’
Gunther Plüschow had more luck. Whilst in London, he paid a visit to the British Museum, and he took photos of himself at the London docks. He seized his chance to get away from Britain by boarding the ferry Princess Juliana, which was destined for the neutral Netherlands. Upon his arrival in Germany, he was arrested as a spy, as no one could believe he had achieved such an amazing feat. However, he was soon identified, and became a successful author and explorer, before he was killed in crash in Argentina in 1931.
Find out more about Gunther Plüschow, the First World War, and much more besides, in the pages of our newspaper Archive today.
|Alfreton Journal||1873-1874, 1876-1889, 1892, 1894, 1900-1902, 1904, 1907-1935|
|Dunstable Gazette||1873, 1879, 1884, 1889, 1898, 1900, 1912|
|Loughborough Herald & North Leicestershire Gazette||1880-1882, 1884-1887, 1889-1891, 1893|
This week we have updated eighteen of our existing titles.
You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.
|Armley and Wortley News||1895|
|Bury and Norwich Post||1872|
|Eltham & District Times||1914|
|Kerry News||1913, 1916|
|Leeds Evening Express||1876|
|Limerick Echo||1905, 1907, 1921|
|Newmarket Journal||1943-1944, 1950-1955, 1960, 1966|
|Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette||1874|
|Selby Times||1871, 1900|
|Stalybridge Reporter||1895, 1898, 1900-1901, 1903-1906, 1908-1910, 1912|
|Stratford-upon-Avon Herald||1866-1872, 1874-1879, 1963|
|Streatham News||1908, 1929, 1939, 1944|
|Wexford and Kilkenny Express||1885|