King rallies troops as war enters third year
London, 16 August 1916 - King George V has issued a rallying cry to his troops as the war with Germany enters its third year.
The stalemate in the war – underlined by the ongoing battle at the River Somme – has ended all suggestions that the war might soon be over.
Accordingly, King George V travelled to France to boost morale and, on his return, he issued a General Order which spoke of the satisfaction he had drawn from being with his armies.
The King spoke of the ‘cheerful confidence which animates all ranks. United in loyal co-operation to their chiefs and one another since my last visit to the Front, there has been almost uninterrupted fighting on parts of our line’.
‘The offensive recently begun has since been resolutely maintained by day and by night. I have had opportunities of visiting some of the scenes of the later desperate struggles, and of appreciating to a slight extent the demands made upon your courage and physical endurance in order to assail and capture positions prepared during the last two years and stoutly defended to the last.’
The King continued: ‘Everywhere is proof that all men and women are playing their part, and I rejoice to think their noble efforts are being heartily seconded by all classes at home.’
He also promised that this would be war until the end – and that that end would be victory: ‘The arms of the Allies will never be laid down until our cause has triumphed.’
In respect of the tens of thousands who have already died, the King said: ‘These sacrifices have not been in vain.’
[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]