THE majority view of the people, when war was declared on August 4, 1914, was that it would all be over by Christmas.

Young men in their thousands flocked to the recruitment offices in a bid to escape the drudgery of their ordinary lives – with little idea of the horror that was to unfold as they enlisted for Kitchener’s Army.

As they left their home towns for the front, these unlikely soldiers were cheered on by proud crowds as they marched through the streets to the railway stations, with bands marching ahead, leading them inevitably to their deaths.

There was a patriotic fervour among the people of Britain, which soon turned to despair as the death toll mounted ever higher.

As the slaughter raged on in France, Belgium, Gallipolli and other points of the globe, the war came home, with the elderly, youngsters and womenfolk who had been left behind, suffering such things as rationing, conscription, aerial bombardment and social change, as people were forced to change the way they lived and thought.

These changes affected everyone across all strata of society, but particularly women, who were now the main workforce of the country.

The Defence of the Realm Act was also passed four days after war was declared in 1914 to govern people’s everyday lives during the conflict.

The law was designed to help prevent invasion and to keep morale at home high.

It imposed censorship of journalism and of letters coming home from the front line. The press was subject to controls on reporting troop movements, numbers or any other operational information that could be exploited by the enemy.

People who breached the regulations with intent to assist the enemy could be sentenced to death. Ten people were executed under the regulations.

As the war continued and evolved, the list of regulations grew, too, setting out in fine detail everything that people were not allowed to do in time of war. The first version of Act, introduced on August 8, 1914, stated that none-one was allowed to:

• talk about naval or military matters in public places

• spread rumours about military matters

• buy binoculars

• trespass on railway lines or bridges

• melt down gold or silver

• light bonfires or fireworks

• give bread to horses or chickens

• use invisible ink when writing abroad

• buy brandy or whisky in a railway refreshment room or

• ring church bells.

It also stated that the government could:

• take over any factory or workshop

• try any civilian breaking these laws

• take over any land it wanted to and

•censor newspapers.

Acts that were added as the conflict wore on included:

• the introduction of British SummerTime so that there was extra daylight for vital work and industry

•Stiffer regulations for local pubs, opening hours were cut, from noon to 3pm and 6.30pm to 9.30pm, beer was watered down and it became an offence for customers to buy their friends and neighbours a round of drinks.