WAR and the rumours of war were communicated principally by newspapers and magazines 100 years ago. There was no television, no state broadcaster such as the BBC.

People got the news first in printed form, usually on broadsheet pages. Later, in Bradford's burgeoning cinemas people may have seen newsreels, for example showing the funeral procession in Vienna of the assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

There were plenty of daily and weekly newspapers in and around Bradford - the Yorkshire Observer, which carried the news on its back page, the Bradford daily Telegraph, the Bradford Weekly Telegraph, the Leeds Mercury, the Yorkshire Post , the Shipley Express, the Bradford Daily Argus, the Yorkshire Observer Budget and the Bradford Pioneer, the paper of the Independent Labour Party which was opposed to Britain's involvement.

As the war progressed and the terrible reality of trench warfare became clear to those who saw it on the Western Front and other places, what was reported became controlled under the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA).

Magazines such as The War Illustrated employed artists to give impressions of reported battles, lending the horror of war a Boy's Own quality which, interestingly, was at great variance with the combat zone war poems of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, to name but two.

Punch magazine published Bernard Partridge's dramatised cartoons - plucky little Belgium in the form of a small boy barring the way to a big bullying German with a club, a helmeted German with a smoking pistol standing over the bodies of a Belgian family in the ruins of their home. These cartoons were reproduced in the Bradford Weekly Telegraph.

In the summer days of August 1914, before the killing in Belgium and then France started in earnest, the public mood was upbeat.

On August 7 the Bradford Weekly Telegraph reported: "Not since the days of the Boer War have such scenes of enthusiasm been witnessed on the Bradford streets as those of Wednesday (August 5, the day after Britain's declaration of war on Germany). Everywhere there was excitement and an eagerness to learn the latest moves in the great war."

The idea had taken hold that the ensuing conflict would be short, sharp and over by Christmas. The paper reported scenes reminiscent of the Last Night at the Proms at Midland Road railway station.

Naval reservists, including three postmen in their number, gathered at the station for departure to Devonport and Plymouth on the 10.25am Bristol express. Among those there to see them off were 100 postmen. Somebody shouted, "Are we downhearted?" the response, the paper said, reverberated under the station roof.

"The men going away could have anything they wanted. First there was a farewell refresher, which was drunk to the accompaniment of the singing of 'For they are jolly good fellows'.

"Then there was a run on cigarettes, cigars and tobacco, dozens of packets of the favourite 'Woodbine' brand being thrust into the sailors' kits.

"Meanwhile a great crowd of holiday makers had been attracted and when the sailors returned to the Midland station they were the centre of another display of enthusiasm.

"People crowded round and the exuberant postmen lifted their sailor comrades shoulder high and started singing 'Rule Britannia'. This was followed by a rendering of the National Anthem, which was sung with deep earnestness and everybody bared their heads."

One of the departing sailors went up to his wife and baby and said: "We shall be back soon."