Parish magazine reports during the Great War
Bound copies of Goldhanger Parish magazines covering 1895 to 1940 are held in Local Studies area of Colchester Library.
In 2007 Ian Valentine selected and transcribed these 52 articles covering the Great War period.
They were most probably written by the Rector the Revd. Gardner himself.
The Parish magazine of September 1914:
On Sunday, August 16th, special collections were made in both Churches for the “Prince of Wales’ Fund”, in aid of our soldiers and sailors engaged in the War and the destitution that must follow their families, which at Goldhanger amounted to £4 10s. 6d., and at the Special Service of Intercession that afternoon in Goldhanger Church, the Church was crowded, and again at each Evening Intercession at 7 during the following week from fifty to sixty were in Church most nights.
These Intercessions in Church will be continued on Thursday and Friday Evenings at 7 o’clock till such times as the heavy cloud in God’s own good time shall have been once more lifted, and we are permitted to come forth from the fiery trial the stronger and better as a people and nation.
A general Meeting was held in the Schoolroom, convened by the Rector, on Friday evening, August 28th, to ascertain what could be done by us here to alleviate the terrible distress that must fall to the lot of our soldiers and sailors, theirs wives and families, at which everybody was present who could attend and the room was very full, with the Rector in the chair, at which it was unanimously decided on the proposition of Mr. Taber that funds should be collected and a Committee be appointed to dispose of the money raised. The following were elected to the Committee: the Rector, Mrs. Bunting, Mrs. J. Dobson, Mrs. Gardner, Mrs. Langford, Mrs. J. Youngs.
Subscriptions were received or promised after the meeting. A house-to-house collection is in process of being made, after which it is estimated that a sum of £20 or thereabouts will be available for disposal. The treasurership of the Fund, which has been so well responded to, has been taken over by Mr. George Bunting. Next month a complete list of subscribers will be furnished.
The Parish magazine of October 1914:
In Goldhanger the sum of £23 14s. 6d. has so far come in, as follows, which is an eloquent tribute to the self-sacrificing spirit that has animated all here. There follow the names of 18 people who gave between £1 3s. 0d. and 2s. 0d.; 26 people who gave 1s.; 1 gave 10d.; 38 gave 6d.; 1 gave 4d.; 3 gave 3d. and 1 gave 1d.
A meeting of this committee was held at the Rectory on Tuesday Afternoon, September 15th, at 4.30, at which all members were present, at which it was decided to contribute from the Fund the sum of £3 to the Witham Branch of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Family Association; £1 to provide clothing for Eva Coker; and for the remainder to be held by the treasurer to help and meet the distress that must accompany the winter campaign.
The Parish magazine of November 1914:
We must feel that our Intercessions for God’s guidance and help are being directly answered in a wonderful way. The War is terrible, but He will overrule and is doing so, for good the cause of justice against oppression and wrong. Let us continue to make faithful use of the power of Intercession, and now that the first shock is wearing away let us not fail to continually remind Him, that our sure trust and confidence is in Him.
The weekly Intercession on Thursdays, at 7, in Church, will continue as long as we and so many lives of those who are near and dear to us are in peril. We owe a debt of honour towards those who have gone forth from here – and for them especially we are bound to pray.
The meeting held in the Schoolroom, on Thursday evening, October 29th, was well attended, when the Hon. H.C. Strutt and Colonel Taylor spoke so forcibly and convincingly on the duty of all Englishmen just now towards their country…..and several present expressed their wish to volunteer for the service of their country. The first to stand up being Leonard Hover and Sidney Smith, who were warmly applauded, only to be followed by Harry Lewis, Ernest Brazier. Alan Appleton applied, but was disappointed owing to defective eyesight. Percy Mann was with the others accepted, and others it is said are to follow.
We are losing the flower of our Youth, but only, we may hope, for a short time. We should be grateful to them for their self-sacrifice and sense of duty. They will always justly be proud of it themselves, and we will pray for them and remember them in whatever way may lie in our power.
The Parish magazine of December 1914:
The following have been sworn in as Special Constables for the parish of Goldhanger: Corporal: Mr. Arthur Taber.
His name was followed by 21 names including the Rector and Curate.
We are glad to be able to report that Mr. Thomas Youngs was a member of H.M.S. Sydney, which so ably and well attacked the German raiding cruiser “Emden” in the Indian Ocean as to bring about her swift destruction after doing so much damage to British shipping, and left her a complete wreck on the rocks of the Cocos Islands.
The Parish magazine of February 1915:
Because a far-sighted movement is on foot arranging what is to happen in case of invasion, it should not be taken for granted that such a catastrophe is therefore really likely to happen. It should rather be regarded as but a detail in the great scheme of thoroughness for ensuring our personal safety and general well-being in the face of all emergencies that has been characterized by our leaders in the State since the war broke out. In the opinion of many of our highest experts there is at present not even the remotest cause for such alarm, but should the necessity arise of putting the arrangements that have been made into operation any orders that may be made upon them will have to be willingly obeyed.
A new and unfamiliar sight was witnessed in the village for about ten days early in the month, viz:- from January 5th to January 14th. Goldhanger bore all the appearance of a small armed camp, with about 50 soldiers of the 4th and 6th battalions of the Gloucester Regiment for the first half of the time, who were immediately followed by a like number of the 7th and 8th Worcesters, who were occupying their time on Mr. Macfarlane’s marsh practise-firing with machine guns. The men were all of excellent behaviour. They made free use of the Parish Room each evening. They received the greatest kindness from those who found them lodging, which they were not slow to appreciate. In each case they were really sorry to leave when the time came, which is a high tribute to the generous hospitality that all extended to them.
We held our special intercession for the war, as authorized by the Archbishops on Sunday, January 3rd, and on the following Sunday special collections were made for the Red Cross Society, which realised, at the two Churches, £2 6s. 8d., for which the Secretary, in acknowledging the money, said, “On behalf of the sick and wounded soldiers and sailors I have to thank you for the extremely generous gift”, and she expressed the Committee’s most grateful thanks to those who gave the money.
The Belgian soldiers who have been staying with Mr. G. Dobson have now returned to the fighting line. The collection which was made amounted to £3 2s. 2d., which was divided equally between them, and they have sent the following letter of thanks...
“For the people of Goldhanger. Accept our best wishes for the collection which you have made for us, the soldiers who were convalescent at Mr. Dobson’s. They will never forget the village of Goldhanger, and they will always hold it deep in their memory. Accept our deepest feelings of friendliness.
The Belgian soldiers, Demoulins, Decooman,
We all hope they will come safe through the war and be able to find their wives and children. It speaks well for Goldhanger that such a good collection should have been made. Mr. and Mrs. Dobson most generously took in these brave men free of all charge, and most liberally provided for them.
The Parish magazine of March 1915:
The Rector is preaching a special Course of Sermons, at Goldhanger, on Sunday nights, as Lessons to be gathered for the War. The weekly Thursday night Intercessions for the War is being said during Lent, after the 3rd collect at the Thursday special Evensong.
Another old ringer has left us and gone to the Front – Stanley Moss, as a motor ambulance driver for the Red Cross Society. He crossed over to France last week. We wish him God speed and a safe return.
We have had more troops quartered in Goldhanger and there are still many more to be expected. From Monday 15th to Thursday 18th we had a number of the Bedford Yeomanry who were immediately followed until Saturday 20th by the 8th Warwicks, and on March 6th we are to receive a far larger number than ever, sleeping also in stables and barns.
The Parish magazine of April 1915:
Captain Norman’s Lecture on the War in the Schoolroom on Friday night, March 26th was most interesting. The Room was well filled. The Lantern illustrations on the sheet were excellent and all who were not present missed a rare treat. He is a speaker of rare authority. He knows very intimately all the countries affected. The slides of the pictures in Turkey and Serbia were from his own photographs.
These meetings which have been held once a fortnight during the winter months for the purpose of making articles of clothing for our soldiers at the Front have been brought to a conclusion till the autumn.
The Parish Room closed for the winter months on Saturday, March 27th, after a most successful winter. The room has been used more than ever this winter. Each evening perhaps a dozen to fifteen members on an average have made use of the room for games and for reading the newspapers.
The Parish magazine of May 1915:
We shall do well to convince ourselves that God can do more for a praying church and people, than for one that does not pray. Many here were thoroughly scared, and no doubt rightly so, by the air raid and bomb throwing at Maldon and Heybridge on Thursday 15th, and all are agreed we had a merciful and God-sent deliverance, but has it brought us any nearer to our knees? Under the first shock of the war, our church was packed by a congregation deeply stirred for our first service of Intercession.
What have we been doing since? From thirty to forty, on the average, now form the congregation at the Thursday Intercession. Where are the rest? Our Lord Jesus Christ could do no work in a certain place, because of their unbelief.
The Parish magazine of June 1915:
The number who joined the colours from Goldhanger has now reached 45. During the last month Fred Brewer has joined the Coldstream Guards and Willie Frost and George Johnson the Essex Regiment.
With deep regret we record that Sidney Brewer, serving at the front with the 2nd Essex Regiment, has been wounded again – for the third time – this time in the back and legs, probably a shell wound, and is again in hospital – for the fourth time. We hope he may be invalided home. Deep sympathy is felt for his wife and parents in their great anxiety, and many, we are sure, will pray for his recovery.
The Committee of the Goldhanger Benefit Club acted very wisely in deciding not to hold their annual feast this year on account of the war, as many of the members are away in consequence, and the gathering could not have been of the same happy character. The members of the club will look forward to a happy re-union when the terrible cloud that now hangs over us has passed away. We are glad to see the Club in such a strong position. It has 68 members, and the takings for the year just closed amount to £45 17s. 3d., of which £25 2s. 6d. was paid away in sick pay, and after the sharing out on Saturday the new year starts with £14 8s. 1d. in hand.
The Parish magazine of July 1915:
The names of Fred Brewer and John Owers should now be included in our prayers.
A meeting of the committee appointed to administer this Fund, at which the Rector, Mrs. Gardner, Mrs. Bunting, Mrs. Dobson, Mrs. Langford and Mr. George Bunting (treasurer), were present, Mrs. Page and Mrs. Young being unable to attend, was held on Monday, June 7th, at which it was agreed to send a contribution of £3 from the money collected to the British Red Cross Fund, and to vote £1 to Sidney Brewer, home in hospital, and wounded for the third time.
This year, as Empire Day fell upon Whitsun-Monday, it was celebrated in the School on the Friday previous. Before closing for the holiday there was a special talk about the British Empire; patriotic songs, and the National Anthem were sung, and the children marched past, and saluted the British Flag.
A collection was made for the purpose of sending something to give comfort and happiness to brave soldiers and sailors of the British Empire, who are fighting to uphold liberty, justice, honour, and freedom, in the Great War. Every child, who brought a penny, or more, received a beautiful Empire Certificate, and the sum of 8/9 has been forwarded to the Honorary Secretary of the Over-Seas Club, of which his Majesty the King is Patron.
The School broke up on Friday, June 25th for the Pea-picking holidays, and it will re-open on Monday, 26th July.
The Parish magazine of August 1915:
Many people want to invest in the War Loan. They want to help themselves and also help their country. How are they to do it?
Well, they cannot buy stock at the local Post Office, but they can buy vouchers. They can buy a thousand vouchers, £200, if they like. On December 1st they can exchange each £5 of vouchers for £5 stock War Loan. The vouchers bear interest up till then at the rate of 5/- for £5 worth (5%). Then they change for War Loan, easily done, for nothing, at the Post Office. War Loan bears interest at 4/6 for every £5 (4.5%), payable half-yearly from the 1st January, so if you buy £5 you will get 2/3 on the 1st of June and the 1st of December, paid at the Post Office. But what about my £5? At any time you can sell the stock at its market price at the Post Office, or else, if you don’t do that, in ten or fifteen years the Government will give you your £5 back. But don’t forget to change your vouchers next December 1st.
The Parish magazine of September 1915:
In order to conform with the regulations as to Lighting – new large green blinds have been placed over the Church windows in order to prevent any light showing outside the Church when lighted at night, by this means we shall be able to continue our Evening services during the winter months as usual.
The concert kindly arranged and given by Miss Jeffries in the Schoolroom to the Troops on Friday night, Aug. 20th, was a great success. The room was crowded and many excellent things were done which were highly appreciated and most of the songs and recitations were encored. Among the performers were Captain Ball, Lieut. Hewins, Sergt. Rackham, Miss E.Payne, Miss Angela Gardner, Miss Lilian Jeffries, and Miss Jessie Toze, a wonderful little dancer. As the result of a collection at the end for expenses, Miss Jeffries handed to Mr. Langford 25/-. Whatever balance remains over will go to the School Fund.
The Parish magazine of November 1915:
Tuesday, October 21st, was the day set apart throughout England for house-to-house and street collections for the British Red Cross Society, to procure funds to help our wounded soldiers and sailors. In Goldhanger the collection and sale of flags was undertaken by schoolchildren, and very successful they were in their efforts.
These meetings will be held weekly. It is proposed to make pyjamas, shirts, bed jackets, towels and socks for the Dardanelles Base Hospital for sick and wounded at Lemnos. Garments ready cut will be sent down to Mrs. Gardner to be completed by our workers here, and it is hoped we shall have a good strong party of workers in order to carry out the work. Everything will be found except needles and cotton.
The Parish magazine of December 1915:
In response to an appeal from the OverSeas Club, of which His majesty the King is the Patron, a collection has been made for the purpose of sending Christmas gifts to our soldiers, who are fighting so bravely in the trenches, and to our gallant sailors, who are keeping watch for us in the North Sea. Every child who brought a penny or more, received a beautiful certificate, and the sum of 10/- has been forwarded to the Honorary Secretary of the Club.
The Parish magazine of January 1916:
We also enter with 1916 on our Year of Fate. The coming twelve months will probably decide the destinies of the world. Before another New Year we shall know whether man is to be free upon the Earth, or whether oppression is to triumph. What is behind the veil of 1916? Within our hearts some of us think we know. We saw the eternal answer symbolized afresh in the first snowdrop blooming amid the roar of the December gales, and we still believe the decision of the war was settled on that mighty day when we saw the Germans driven back headlong from the banks of the Marne. Self-sacrifice and Prayer must be the watchword of each one of us for 1916 if we would see that glorious end speedily accomplished. We can all practice it, and we must, if the Year 1916 is to be for the Allies the Year of Victory
The Working Party held on Tuesday afternoons, in the Parish Room, continues to do excellent work, and a very large number of completed garments have already been sent up for our wounded men lying in hospital.
The Parish magazine of for February 1916:
All can do something to help their Country at this critical and anxious time, and by no means least of all, those of us who are familiar with the use of the needle. We cannot all serve at the Front, but there are many ways in which everybody may and should do something. For instance every Child can help to enhance the finances of the Country by investing his little savings in the War Loan. To the poor, the anxious and the bereaved, we may all minister. There is the highest service we may all render our Country in her hour of need in the Service of Intercession through which we may help to bring God down to the battlefield. And what better opportunity could be given to our women for devoted service than the Weekly Sewing Meeting?
The Sick and the Wounded appeal for our help, and a little practical help is worth a lot of pity. But the performance of duties such as these will fall flat where the spirit of unselfishness and the spirit of self-discipline are unknown. There has been a marked falling off in the attendances since Christmas, at the Weekly Sewing Meeting. Where housewives are billeting Airmen, there is of course reasonable excuse. Others again, who could not attend, have done good work for the cause, by sewing and knitting at home.
But others, and not a few, have become conspicuous through their absence and refusing to help in any way, a very humiliating and surprising condition of things, that two hours or thereabouts cannot be sacrificed in each week without hindrance for such an object, when our fellow countrymen’s needs, fighting and dying, on our behalf, are so great. Is it not plain that some of us still have a long way to go before self sacrifice as a duty is made clear?
It may be added that since November 21st, 9 night shirts, 8 suits of pyjamas, 24 towels, 76 handkerchiefs, 15 flannel day shirts, 7 pairs of socks, 2 Hot Water Bottle Bags, 2 bed jackets, 4 pairs of bed socks, have been sent up as the result of the work done here, and 1000 sent altogether.
The Rector has received quite a number of letters from Goldhanger men in the trenches and the Navy, in acknowledgement of the Christmas Gift sent out to each one from the Parish Fund, in each one gratitude was expressed for the welcome present, which consisted of short cake and chocolate. The total cost was about £4.
On Wednesday evening, January 19th, the Commanding Officer and men of the Royal Naval Air Squadron, billeted in Goldhanger, gave an invitation and free Concert in the Schoolroom to the people of Goldhanger. The invitation was very much appreciated and the room was filled. An excellent programme was provided. Messrs. Harlow, Horridge, Sara, Upton, Clarke, Hall and Askew were among the contributors. The Rev. B.H. Durrant Field also sang, as well as Sea Scouts E. Johnson and A.Abbott.
The Parish magazine of March 1916:
It falls to the lot of some of us just now to receive into our homes the King’s soldiers and for the moment the King’s airmen. It comes as an opportunity of doing “our bit” for the men on whom our Country’s welfare depends. It carries with it a great responsibility. These men have left their own homes and friends. It becomes our duty to make for each man “a home away from home”. We should think what kind of a home we should like our own boy to have if he is in billets, and we must try to give the men with us just what we would wish him to have, viz., the simple homely things – the words of welcome – a cup of tea perhaps at odd times –the drying of clothes on wet days – the friendliness of letting them feel that our fireside is theirs too.
On Feb. 2nd, we had our second Whist Drive and Social. It was a great success, there were 13 tables and a few people came in for the social afterwards, everyone enjoyed it thoroughly. After the Whist Drive Messrs. Sara, Clarke and Ridgway, of R.N.A.S., stationed at Goldhanger, gave several songs, and Mr. Massey played the piano for the songs and dances.
The Parish magazine of April 1916:
The Education Committee have issued a circular, permitting boys who will have attained the age of 13 years on Jan. 1st, 1917, to be employed in farm work till Oct. 1st next, provided they are beneficially employed and receive at least 1/- for each day’s work, which is not to exceed eight hours, and for not more than six days a week.
We live in days of general mismanagement and in view of what has happened here in the matter of soldiers being expected and who have never arrived – householders will be well advised for the future to abstain from making preparation to receive these men into their homes before they actually arrive in the village.
The Parish magazine of May 1916:
Further sums have also been raised for charitable purposes and Mr. Arthur Taber desires to thank those who have responded so liberally to the appeal that was made a month or two ago on behalf of the Allies Relief Committee, which resulted in £14 : 14 : 0, being sent up through him from this Parish.
The Parish magazine of June 1916:
The times we are passing through are very serious, in fact so serious that there is no room whatever in life just now for frivolity.
God’s purpose has by no means been brought home to very many even yet. And the end of it all is by means within sight, and yet so many still persist in trying to keep God outside the problem. Force of arms is not going to settle this problem entirely. Big wages for the working man is not going to settle it.
Drink is not going to settle it (and the Drink bill has gone up by £93,000,000 since the War started). The Nation on its knees may, and I think will, settle it, only the day for that appears to be still a long way off. We despise the Consciencious Objector, at least some of us do, who skulks behind at home, while another goes forth to fight his battle, but what about the man who in this terrible time turns his back upon God, to whom Intercession and Communion go for nothing? What ought we to say of him?
The number of our young men left behind is becoming fewer and fewer. Two of our most regular Ringers left on Tuesday, May 16th, to join the colours and are now with the Twelfth Essex, at Harwich – Alfred Appleton and Harry Clark. No fewer than 55 names now appear on the Goldhanger list who all need our Prayers. The suggestion of forming a supplementary Band of Women Bell-ringers has been made. Will any woman who will take up ringing give in their names?
With the kind permission of Lt.-Col. E. Martineau, the fine Band of the 87th Provisional Battalion, quartered at Tollesbury, visited Goldhanger, on Friday evening, May 19th, and played a delightful selection of music on the lawn in the Rectory Garden, from 5.30 till 7 o’clock. It was a beautiful evening and fully 250 people came into the garden to listen to the music, which was very much appreciated by everybody. At the conclusion the Rector thanked the Band and the Lt.-Colonel commanding the Battalion for the treat they had given us.
The Curate and Scoutmaster, Rev. B. H. Durrant Field writes: 5 Goldhanger Scouts have gained their 2nd Class badges in signalling, ambulance, pace and observation.
We have received a note of thanks for what we were able to do for the R.N.A.S. and several other people by way of good turns.
In the Army, officers ask if a boy has been a Scout and want them because they are three parts trained, over 20,000 Scouts are now in the Army. 2,500 are on coast watch round England; 800 older lads, 15 ½ - 16 ½, are boy signallers; over 500 are training as officers in R.N.A.S., 17 – 171/2 years old; and 500 more, 14 ½ - 15 ½, are acting as messengers at the War Office or in Government employment. While hundreds are working for V.A.D. and the National Funds, &c.
The Parish magazine of July 1916:
Saturday, July 22nd, will be observed as a Flag Day throughout the County to raise money for the Essex Regiment’s Comfort Fund, and flags will be sold that day, at 1d. and 3d. each in the parishes, and it is hoped a good sum of money may be raised (£1 14s. 6d. was raised).
The Parish magazine of September 1916:
The best thanks from the Committee for the Russian Wounded have been forwarded to those who helped to collect on the Flag Day. Through Miss F. Wakelin and Miss Bunting Goldhanger contributed £7 11s. 10 3/4d.
The Parish magazine of November 1916:
Owing to an order in Council for the Defence of the Realm, we have to stop ringing the Church bells for evening service. We have been pleased to see the following taking their places in the tower when they have been home on leave:- Harry Clark, W Barbrook, Alfred Appleton and Dick Phillips.
October 19th was the day set apart in this district for a collection on behalf of the Red Cross. A great number had been to see the Zeppelin and had made their contribution but Goldhanger managed to raise £1 4s. 6d.
We regret to hear that Fred Brewer and Bertie Lynn are both wounded but reports say that they are going on well.
The Parish magazine of December 1916:
Thanks are due to Lilian Smith, Luicy Seaborn and Daisy Chapman for their hard work for the above Fund. We have been able to provide Christmas pudding for 123 soldiers on active service abroad. The amount of £2 : 11 : 6 has been paid and acknowledged in the paper.
The Parish magazine of January 1917:
We were pleased to welcome Stanley Moss and Samuel Crowland home from the front. The former helped to ring the bells at the services.
The Parish magazine of February 1917:
A meeting was held, in the School-room, on Monday evening, January 8th, for the purpose of considering the proposal of forming a War Loan and Savings’ Association for the parish of Goldhanger. The Rev. B.H. Durrant Field occupied the chair, and there were about 40 present. The scheme was explained as being one for the small investor, and as being the best possible way of saving for himself, with a good rate of interest accumulating at the same time, and also he is conferring his highest benefit on the State. The loan of money is our country’s greatest need just now, and to lay it away in a stocking, or to hoard it, or to spend it in extravagance is a crime against the State. We are therefore doing ourselves good, and our Country good by so lending our money, and if we save now and lend now, the benefit to us after the War will be very great, when everybody will have very much less money to handle.
There are 18,000 of these Associations now which means that many millions of pounds are being lent to the State through these small payments. So fare we have got 30 subscribing members in Goldhanger and £29 9s. 0d. has been invested in Certificates. Mondays at the Parish Room, from 6-30 to 7 p.m. is the time for paying in, or money with the books can be left with the Rev. B.H. Durrant Field, at the Parsonage, or with Mr. Hills, the Hon. Secretary, at any time, and either of them or Mr. William Wenden at the Post Office , will give further information if it is needed.
The Parish magazine of March 1917:
A meeting called together for the purpose of considering this movement, so far as it affects the parish of Goldhanger, was held in the Parish Room, on Wednesday evening, February 14th, at 7.30 p.m. It was for men only, and about 35 were present. The Rector was in the chair, and Dr. Salter of Tolleshunt D’Arcy, carefully explained to the meeting the aim and object of the Volunteer movement. In conclusion 23 names were given in by those who were willing to serve as Volunteers, although in some cases their services will depend on the relaxation of their routine duties as Special Constables. An enquiry is on foot with a view to arriving at an understanding on this matter before proceeding further.
The Parish magazine of April 1917:
These meetings which have been held in the Parish Room, on Thursday afternoons since last September under the supervision of Mrs. and Miss Payne will be adjourned for the summer months at Easter. Excellent work has been done by the members of the meeting. No less than a hundred shirts have been made, besides other garments for the use of our soldiers during this winter. Notably Mrs. Buckingham and Mrs. White (Fish Street) have made fourteen shirts each. Numbers attending have been relatively small which makes the performance the more creditable. Had the enthusiasm for these meetings shown at the outset been maintained the results might have been even more gratifying still.
From various letters that have reached parents from abroad we are glad to hear that with one exception all our soldiers are very well. Alfred Askew is in hospital with frozen feet. Several men have gone abroad. Fred Lewis (42248 Private F P Lewis 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment) has been home for a change after a bad attack of influenza. We were pleased to see him ringing, on March 18th, in the tower. Sea-Scout Ernest Johnson has gone on coast-watching duty and seems to be having an exciting time but his letters are censored.
The Parish magazine of May 1917:
A meeting was held in the Parish Room, on Tuesday evening, April 17th, at 7-30 p.m., for the purpose of enrolling members into the National Volunteer Movement. Dr. Salter was present in the capacity of a magistrate for the purpose of administering the oath and for enrolling the recruits. The Rector, Mr. Payne, Mr. Langford (headteacher) and the Rev. B. H. Durrant Field were also present and gave valuable help in filling in for each recruit his requisite papers before enrollment. The following of those present took the Oath of Allegiance and were enrolled as National Volunteers: - The Rev. B. H. Durrant Field, Mr. T. Taber, Mr. George Bunting, Mr. Joshua Bunting, Mr. A. Smith, Mr. G. Neville, Mr. Turner, Mr. W. Phillips, Mr. C. Langford, Mr. J. Murrell, Mr. A. Howard, Mr. F. Saye, Mr. F. Butcher, Mr. E. Jordan, Mr. W. Wakeling, Mr. P. Wakeling, Mr. W. Chaplin, Mr. A Chaplin, Mr. A. Abbott, Mr. E. Emeny, Mr. B. Seaborne, Mr. R.B. Smith, Mr. J. White.
There are still others to be enrolled, and it is hoped they will not need to be told that it is their duty to do so. Uniforms and equipment will be served out as early as maybe, and the duties of the New Volunteers which will not be allowed to clash more than can be helped with their daily occupations will then commence.
The anxiety of Mrs. Everett and Mrs. Frost for their son’s safety is deeply shared by us all and the two families are receiving the sympathy as well as the prayers of not a few. In the Battle of Gaza, on March 26th, Willie Frost was wounded, and is now somewhere in hospital, but where, is not at present known. On the same day, Ernest Everett was also wounded and is reported as “missing” as well, which is far more serious and we can only pray for his ultimate restoration to us. The writer has received three letters about him from the War Office, and at present no further details can be gathered, but every enquiry is being made.
Fred Lewis has returned home ill and we are glad to say is recovering. Harry Clark has been in Hospital in France for six weeks ill, we are glad to say is recovered. Walter Brewer has also been home on short leave looking rather “worn”, and so has Dick Phillips who contracted measles and thereby was unable to accompany his draft on active service. We are sorry to hear Stanley Moss has had to go into hospital in France and that he is about to be invalided home. We desire to offer our congratulations to Lieut. R. Wakelin who has been promoted to the rank of full Lieutenant, at Salonika, where he is doing such good and useful work.
The Parish magazine of June 1917:
Our detachment of Volunteers had their first experience in training and camp life on Whitsun Day and Monday. Twenty were able to get to Braxted Park from here. There was a Church Parade in the morning and the rest of the time was taken up in various exercises and drills. We are pleased to hear that the men are all shaping well under Sergt. Stevenson’s efforts. Drills are arranged now at 7-15 on Tuesday and Thursday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The Rector has heard from A. Sparkes and T. Angier and from letters received in the parish from other men, they are all well. Stanley Moss has been home on sick leave, and Alfred Askew is home and Bertie Brewer. F. Lewis has rejoined. We are sorry to say that no further news has come through about Ernest Everett who was reported wounded and missing.
The Parish magazine of July 1917:
Walter Brewer is in Hospital with Enteric Fever (Typhoid) we regret to say. Harry Lewis is also in Hospital with Sunstroke we regret to hear, and await further news. Ernest Everett, nothing can be heard of him from Turkish sources as a prisoner, it is feared he may have been killed. We pray not.
The Parish magazine of August 1917:
The president of the Girls’ Friendly Society has informed the associates that there will be no festival this year. It is impossible to arrange for it owing to War conditions.
July 7th was devoted as an “Emblem Day”, for Essex Regiment Comforts’ Fund. The girls worked hard and collected between them £1 9s. for the fund. Margaret Emeny and Ida Appleton collected 13/-; Florrie Phillips and Dorothy Neville 10/8; Daisy Chapman 5/4. Total 29/-.
The Parish magazine of September 1917:
Our evening congregation on Sunday, August 12th, suffered considerably through the appearance of a number of German aircraft just as everyone was preparing for Church. They passed a little wide of the village and nothing untoward happened.
The Parish magazine of October 1917:
What are we going to do this Christmas about sending parcels to our Goldhanger and Little Totham men serving at the front? All the Goldhanger money subscribed at the beginning of the War has been more than spent already. It will not be our wish to forget them this Christmas. We shall require at least £10 for Goldhanger alone, in order to send them anything at all. It is to be hoped that some thing may be done before the November Magazine appears, to ensure these parcels being sent out.
The Parish magazine of November 1917:
In our great attack and advance on Tuesday, October 9th, resulting in a heavy list of losses, Herbert Brazier and Walter Abbott were both wounded – Walter Abbott only slightly in the neck according to the report – and we are thankful for that. He is in Hospital and said to be going on well. It is feared that Herbert Brazier’s wounds in back and leg from shell explosion are more serious, and from an account that has been received, out of nine men standing together, his life alone was spared, for which all here must feel profoundly thankful. He has been in Hospital at Le Treport and is said to be progressing satisfactorily, from which Hospital he is expected to be sent home to England as soon as he is able to undertake the journey. This is the second time he has been wounded – to what extent is not yet fully known. The anxiety of his father and mother and wife more especially is shared by us all and they have our very deep sympathy. Walter Brewer has received his discharge from the Army as being unfit for further military service, and so has Harry Pennick.
It is proposed to hold a Jumble Sale in Goldhanger Schoolroom on Friday evening, Nov. 9th, at six o’clock, in order to raise money to send out Christmas parcels to Goldhanger boys in the trenches. All gifts to the sale of old clothing or anything, will be thankfully received, and it is hoped that everyone will come and buy.
The Parish magazine of December 1917:
A meeting of the promoters of the Sale was held at the Rectory, at 4.30, on Monday, Nov. 18th when it was agreed to send out 48 Christmas Parcels, costing a little over nine shillings each, which covers everybody from here at the Front, whether sea or land – thus leaving a small sum in hand for future needs.
There are 599 of these men taken Prisoner of War by the Germans and Turks. These men depend on parcels to keep them alive. To send 6 parcels a month to each man costs £2 5s. 0d. per month. For the 599 men the cost is about £18,000 a year. It has been suggested that Goldhanger and Little Totham might each “adopt” one of these men and find him in parcels, and the proposal has been well received. The cost of £30 a year would fall on each parish. It is proposed to call a meeting in the School-room of each parish, very shortly, to consider the proposal, which it is hoped everybody will endeavour to attend. The cry of the Prisoner of War, helpless, wounded and suffering, in the power of the Germans, is the saddest of all the cries for help in this terrible War. It will be a noble undertaking and it is felt that both Goldhanger and Little Totham will nobly respond and see that it is done.
Herbert Brazier has so far recovered from his wounds as to be removed from France to a Hospital at Birkenhead. Walter Abbott has recovered from his wound and has returned to the trenches. Sergt. C. Smith distinguished himself in a remarkable way in the great fight (Passchendaele) on October 31st, and has been awarded the Military Medal.
Arthur Everett is leaving for France. Fred Lewis is leaving for Italy.
The Parish magazine of January 1918:
We are going to support a Prisoner of War, both Goldhanger and Little Totham may each take one over. It will be a splendid thing for us to have done. At a meeting in Goldhanger School held on Thursday night, Dec. 20th, at 7.30 p.m. at which about forty were present, Mr. Hills proposed and Mr. G. Bunting seconded the proposal “that the parish adopt a Prisoner of War for one year”, which was carried unanimously. Of the 15s. a week required, 13s. was promised in the room. Mrs. A. Taber was appointed Prisoner’s Friend. Mr. G. Bunting, Mrs. Hills, Mr. Barbrook, Mrs. Page, Miss L. Clark, Mrs. Everett, and Miss Bunting, were appointed receivers of weekly contributions. All will be asked to contribute. The first weekly contribution falls due on January 5th.
The Parish magazine of February 1918:
There can be no doubt that Mr. Dobsons’ generous offer of land for potato growing will be gratefully accepted, even by those who have gardens, as an opportunity of giving their own land a rest from potatoes, and growing onions and other useful vegetables instead. Mr. Hills can give full information.
The generosity of Goldhanger is remarkable. Within a fortnight after our meeting in the Schoolroom, Mrs. Taber has received and paid into the Bank the sum of £20 16s. 0d., and with the weekly payments that have yet to come in, we shall but little difficulty in maintaining our prisoner during 1918. Mrs. Stephenson, the Hon. Sec. to the Essex Regt. Prisoners of War Fund, has allocated to us for our prisoner, Pte. Arthur Pudney, of the 13th Essex, captured by the Germans on Nov. 30th, at Cambrai. His home is at Tiptree, where his mother is living in Church Road, and he is now receiving five parcels a month from us in Goldhanger, the sixth parcel is to be sent by his mother. It is understood that if any Goldhanger soldier gets captured, we shall have to support him instead.
The Parish magazine of March 1918:
The sum of 10/- was collected in the School, and forwarded to the Hon.Sec. of the Overseas Club for the purpose of sending Christmas Gifts to our brave soldiers and sailors.
The Parish magazine of April 1918:
Noble work has been going on in the Parish Room on Thursday afternoons again this Winter, and the workers are entitled to much gratitude. Although the number of staunch workers has not been as great as it might have been, great results have been attained. Mrs. Taber, in making a return of the winter’s work, which appear below, wishes to make it known that grateful thanks come for each parcel sent up, with a word of deep appreciation to the workers for the work done. The meeting closes now till Autumn.
The following garments have been made and returned to the Belgravia Workrooms:-
50 shirts, 45 Pyjama Suits, 37 Pairs of Socks, 32 vests, 10 Bed Jackets, 10 Pants, 6 Helpless Shirts. Total – 190.
The Parish magazine of June 1918:
With very deep regret it is now reported that Frederick Percy Lewis and Percy Chaplin are both missing. Freddy Lewis since March 28th and Percy Chaplin since April 5th, and no trace has so far been left behind in either case. That the deepest sympathy is felt for their relatives goes without saying, and every effort is being made that is possible to gain further hews. We pray that news of their safety may soon reach us in order that the heavy load of anxiety may be removed.
Will all those who will take London Children give their names to the Rev. H.F. Pattison or the Rev. B.H. Durrant Field as soon as possible. The amount of 8/- is offered for each child per week and arrangements will be made for their food cards etc. Names must be given in before the middle of June.
The people of Tiptree have asked to have our “adopted” prisoner transferred to them, as they, naturally, wish to provide for their own man. So Pte. A.W. Pudney now belongs to Tiptree. At the present time we are without an “adopted Godson”. Mrs. Stevenson has asked for continued help as there are hundreds of fresh prisoners, so until we have further news of our own men the usual subscription is being sent for “some” man.
Read this extract of a letter: “If we had not had the parcels we did, we should all have been dead long ago. The Russians died by thousands from sheer starvation. I have known as many as twenty buried in one day in one Camp.” From H.K.
The Parish magazine of July 1918:
Up to the time of writing this number of the Magazine no news has been received of Freddy Lewis, we are still making enquiries as some of his Platoon are known to be Prisoners of War in Germany. Percy Chaplin is now reported as a Prisoner of War and we shall take him up as our adopted prisoner (for sending monthly food parcels). Arrangements are being made for this purpose.
Our sick and wounded are progressing – Alfred Appleton, Fred Brewer, Herbert Brazier and Frank Owers. Charles Stokes has been home on leave. According to letters received the rest of our men are going strong.
The Parish magazine of August 1918:
No further news has been received of Percy Chaplin since last month when he was in Limburg (about 35 km East of Koblenz) camp (No 863). His present whereabouts are not known.
In this matter, Goldhanger is in the proud position of occupying second place for the whole District. Maldon heads the list as having put up the most money, as of course it should from the size of its population – but Goldhanger is second!
On September 19th, I have arranged to have a parochial meeting in the Rectory garden at 3 o’clock, in aid of the war emergency fund of the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society. The Society have in addition to a normal family of over 3,000 children, many hundreds of the children of our soldiers and sailors under their care. These are the motherless and orphans of our fallen heroes, and many others left unprotected through the war. Gifts of potatoes and other vegetables, will be thankfully received for the Orphan Homes.
A scheme is being put forward by the State for erecting new houses after the War in our villages and towns “for the working classes”. A great blessing! All we ask for is a good scheme in order that they may be a real blessing when they are built. We have a right to know (1) what the annual rental is to be which occupiers will have to pay. (2) What Rates the occupier will have to pay. (3) Under whose control will these houses be, for letting, etc.
The Parish magazine of September 1918:
The time has arrived when we should be thinking about this all important matter. There is no doubt we shall all want to do our best. All will feel that no sacrifice we can make will be a sufficient compensation to commemorate the noble lives laid down from this parish in the Greatest War the world has known and for the most righteous cause. Our Memorial is to commemorate the greatest event in history. It will be our proud privilege here to bear witness through our memorial to generations yet unborn, to the pride as well as the gratitude our brave sons have called forth by their wonderful sacrifices and their glorious deeds which have saved the world. A preliminary Public Meeting will shortly be held at which it is hoped everyone will be present.
Special facilities will be granted to the School Children this year for picking blackberries , as they will be so badly needed for jam making. Good money is to be paid for the picking, three pence a pound has been suggested and no doubt the opportunity will be made the fullest use of. The pickers are to go in gangs under competent supervision.
The Parish magazine of October 1918:
A royal reception will await Dick Phillips on his next return home, to which end we pray that he may be spared. Everyone who knew him felt that he would make a name for himself, given the opportunity. His opportunity came, and he has earned for himself the proud distinction of being awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the Battle field. It was on August 23rd, during the British advance that he shewed remarkable coolness and the highest courage in the face of great danger and turned round a captured Machine Gun which he continued to fire on the enemy. Most of his unit were killed. We are told he well earned his medal and that Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have a son to be proud of. We all share that feeling.
On Thursday, 24th, eight bags of potatoes, etc. were sent off from Maldon Station to the Harvey Goodwin Home, at Cambridge, for Soldier Orphan Children from Goldhanger and Little Totham, the gift from the two Churches having been supplemented by generous givers. Mrs. Page has kindly undertaken to distribute and gather the collecting boxes for these children at Goldhanger.
The Parish magazine of November 1918:
These meetings have begun and are being held at the Rectory, every Wednesday, at 2.15. Those who attend come at considerable inconvenience in many cases because the need for the work is so urgent. Further helpers are wanted. Winter is approaching and warm garments for our men in France are sorely needed. It is hoped that further helpers will volunteer – ten is not sufficient.
We deeply regret to learn that Bertie Everett who has done so well in the tanks, has at length been severely wounded and is lying in Hospital at Halifax, but are glad to learn he is progressing favourably.
42248 in an Essex Regiment, then 21832 with the 2nd and 6th Battalions The Bedfordshire Regiment Fred Lewis, now a prisoner of war, has written home twice during the month – both cheerful letters. So far no letters or anything are said to have reached him.
The parents of all these have our deep sympathy.
If the coal merchants can carry out the order, the Rector and the Churchwardens hope that as generous distribution of coal as possible may be made this year.
The Parish magazine of December 1918:
November has been one of the most remarkable months in the world’s history. Since our last number appeared our enemies have collapsed on every side, their peoples have been brought to confusion, and the social and political fabrics of their countries are in ruins. We have seen the Great German Fleet handed over to us, and their armies disarmed trudging off home. That Thanksgiving everywhere for such a mighty and in some ways unexpected and complete Victory should have been so profound is not unnatural. But all is not yet over, there is the Peace still to be secured, and full justice obtained for the heavy sacrifice we have been called upon to make. It may be as difficult to obtain as the Victory. Men of sterling character, and width of out-look, disinterested, and faithful to their country’s truest interests, we must before all seek to send to Parliament at such a time. The first thing before the country is to secure a strong and lasting Peace. That for the moment is the one great thing that matters.
During 1918 this Fund has done extraordinarily well. The figures will be published next month. Meetings are shortly to be held in Goldhanger and Little Totham to wind up our two Funds. No further money is required as our Prisoners are free. Our great success here has been due to two important factors – the great generosity of everyone concerned – and the extremely capable management of our two Honorary Secretaries, or Prisoners’ Friends, who will receive our sincerest thanks.
War Savings Association £ s. d.
Already Subscribed 1703 9 6
November 30 6 6
£ 1733 16 0
The Parish magazine of January 1919:
Owing to the number of Soldier Sons home on leave this year we were short of helpers for Church decoration.
Thanks be to God – all five (3 from Little Totham) have returned alive and well with one exception. Frederick Lewis who is being detained in a London Hospital. How they have lived through their privations and suffering only One above can answer. We are all thankful they have returned and enjoying a return to their full health and strength. Percy Chaplin, Frederick Lewis, George Hume, Alfred Kempen, Herbert Davis (the last 3 all from Little Totham).
The Parish magazine of March 1919:
Goldhanger War Savings. £ s. d.
Sum subscribed during the month 22 17 6
Total Subscription to March 1st 1846 17 0
We are most anxious to reach the sum of £2,000 before these certificates are withdrawn and we hope our members will help by increasing their subscriptions. On the same subscriptions we shall barely reach that sum.
The Parish magazine of April 1919:
The Red Cross Working Party, which was started in October, 1915, held its last meeting at the Rectory, on Wednesday, March 26th, where its members were entertained to tea. After tea, Mrs. Boyes, on behalf of the workers, presented a pair of cut glass vases to Mrs. Arthur Taber, as a token of their appreciation of her work in connection with the meetings.
In 1915-16, the work done was sent to the British Red Cross Hospital at Lemnos (Greece), Mrs. Gardner and Mrs. Wakelin being responsible. In 1916-17, Mrs. Payne took the management of the meetings, and the cut-out garments were sent from the Belgravia Workrooms and returned when finished to be distributes among the British Red Cross Hospitals. Unfortunately, during these two seasons, no record was kept of the amount of work done. From October, 1917, till its close, the work was managed by Mrs. Arthur Taber. In 1917-1918, 190 finished garments were returned to the work rooms. In 1918-1919, the following garments have been made:-
57 sets pyjamas 12 prs. socks 10 prs. Knickers 5 vests 7 babies’ bonnets 40 girls’ frocks 10 petticoats 4 prs. babies’ socks 10 prs. trousers 40 shirts 13 helpless shirts 10 chemises 10 blouses 30 prs. stays 2 cross overs.
Total = 260
The Parish magazine of May 1919:
£ s. d.
Received up to April 1st 1977 16 6
During April 28 3 6
£ 2006 0 0
We have passed our £2,000 in 2 ¼ years.
There are still five months to run before these War Savings Certificates are withdrawn.
The Parish magazine of September 1919:
Our total reaches £2,346 11s. 0d.
We have received notice that no more War Savings Certificates (15/6) will be issued after September 30th. No scheme has been put forward for continuing at present so we shall be closing our subscriptions at the end of the month. It is hoped that members therefore will make up their subscriptions to 15/6 or give early notice of withdrawing their balance in order that those who wish to make them up may benefit by the earlier dates.
Further extracts from parish magazines relating to the building of the War Memorial are on the Great War page here...