Burbage During the Great War
Burbage During the Great War

Burbage Parish Magazine

Front Page of the Parish Magazine - January 1918

January 1918 (Abridged)


MOTTO AND TEXT FOR THE NEW YEAR. – “Lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh” S. Luke xxi 28.


In these words we have the comforting message of our Lord to His disciples in view of coming perplexity and distress of nations.  Shall we nt apply them to these days of prolonged anxiety, and resolve to carry on with increased steadfastness and the patience that comes of faith and hope?  Our aim is victory in a righteous cause, with full reparation and security for the peace and freedom of the world.  This is worth sacrifice and endurance.  ‘He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved’. We must have faith and carry on with all our might.  Faltering would mean failure and disaster, not for us only but for the generations to come.  Let us look up and be brave and patient.  The deliverance of Jerusalem from the Turks and the entry of the British General and forces into the Holy City on December 11th was indeed joyful news.  The victory at Cambrai was soon followed by a counter offensive on the part of the Germans, which caused serious losses and the Bolshevist armistice in Russia has greatly increased the danger on the Western Front, but it is hope that we and our Allies are ready to meet and overcome these new difficulties.  Italy has rallied, and the forces of the USA are coming in and beginning to count. 


At home we are exhorted to be sparing in our consumption of bread and cereals and meat, and avoid all waste.  Attention to this matter will make all the difference in the coming spring.


SUNDAY JANUARY 6TH (Epiphany) is appointed by the King as a day of prayer and thanksgiving in all the Churches throughout his dominions.  ….


CHRISTMAS PARCELS for the Burbage men serving in the forces.  A most successful effort was made on November 30th and December 1st, organised by Mrs Gent and her daughters, Miss Hilda and Miss Beatrice Gent, and supported by a committee presided over by Major Reynolds.  The proceeds of the first evening, a Whist Drive in which over 70 took part, amounted to £19:7:5½ including donations, and the second night when a Social was held, brought in £7;12:6½, making a total of £27, a very gratifying result.  A full accont of the proceedings appeared in the ‘Marlborough Times’ of December 7th.  .  It was decided to divide the proceeds so as to send a parcel to the value of 6/- to those who were abroad or had been abroad, and a parcel value 2/- to those who had not yet left England.  These arrangements were kindly undertaken by Major Reynolds and Mrs E.S. Webb.  Mrs Gent, Mrs Norris, Miss Hillier, and the others who helped, are very much to be congratulated on the success of the whole effort.


THE SUNDAY SCHOOL PRIZES were given away at the close of the Children’s Service on Sunday December 23rd, and the Carol Service, with collection for the Blind Soldiers and Sailors is postponed until December 30th at 3pm.


THE JOINT BOXES. – I desire to acknowledge the following amounts collected in the boxes during the past year; - Mrs Bain 14s 5½d, Mrs Green 4s 4d, Miss Hibberd 6s 3½, Mrs Mainstone 2s 8d, Mrs Rundle 4s, Mrs Sands 5s, Mrs W Vines 18s 7d.  Total £2 15s 4d, allotted thus: S.P.G. £1 3s 1d, A.D.C. 11/6, Salisbury Church Fund 11/6, Church expenses 9/3,   The statement of  contributions to Home and Foreign Missions, and to the Salisbury Church Fund, has been posted on the Church Notice Board.


THE DAY SCHOOLS. – Religious Instruction.  The Report of the Diocesan Inspector, the Rev. G.F. Tanner, is most encouraging and gratifying, and shows that good work is being done in our schools.


THE WAR MEMORIAL. – I hope we may soon be able to carry this matter forward with zeal.  The delay has been due to difficulty in getting a definite and rather more detailed estimate.  This has only just arrived, and will shortly be considered by the committee.  I desire to acknowledge further donations – Miss Olive Sands 5/-, Mrs Oldfield 2/6 , Miss Oldfield 2/6 per Miss Hibberd.


The sanctity of marriage is in danger of being violated by a bill which is being promoted in Parliament by certain influential persons.  Resolutions against the Bill are being passed by meetings of Church people and others all over the country, and it is clear that there will be a very strong opposition to the proposed measure.  Further reference will be made to the matter.


February 1918


THE WAR. – The Prime Minister made a telling speech to the delegates of Labour on January 18th in connection with the new man-power proposals.  He said ‘my own conviction is this: the people must go on or  go under’.  That has been true from the beginning.  Many of us realised on August 4th 1914, that unless we had ‘gone-in’ we should soon have gone under.  No doubt millions did not realize that then.  But it is time everyone in these islands and indeed the Empire, realized it now.  So we must all go on with all our might and with perfect confidence in God and our cause. 


The wintery weather has to a certain extent checked military operations, but a change may come at any moment.  Meanwhile we are all exhorted to ration ourselves and put a stop to all waste and extravagance.


Lord Rhondda said the other day, ‘I want to say very emphatically in regard to the appeals made for economy in the consumption of foodstuffs, that I believe that what are known as the middle class and the rich have responded to a far greater extent to those appeals than have the mass of the wage earning people in this country.  I think this is partly due to the fact that the wage earning class dd not feel that the appeals were made so directly to them as to others.  They must understand that they constitute a huge majority, and unless they make sacrifices and reduce their consumption, the reduced consumption of the wealthier class, who are relatively few in number, will be of very little avail in meeting this great crisis.’

Was it not high time to make this statement?  All classes must work together  cheerfully for the common good, and be willing to do their best with a ready mind and an honest conscience.


THE CHILDREN’S CAROL SERVICE, December 30th – The collection for the Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Fund, made by envelopes given out on December 23rd, amounted to £2:10:3, a splendid result.  The date was altered for convenience.


RED CROSS SOCIETY. – The collection on Sunday, January 6th, amounted to £4 14s 2d.


THE SUNDAY SCHOOL PRIZE DISTRIBUTION was made on Sunday December 23rd, and the Choir boys  received their reward books a fortnight later.


THE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS were very much admired, and I desire to thank all who helped, and also Mr E J Mann for the loan of pots of flowering chrysanthemums.


THE CHRISTMAS PARCELS. – Many letters have been received by Major Reynolds acknowledging the parcels sent to Burbage men, and a list of names, with the letters, is posted on the notice boardin the Church porch.  Among the wounded is Private Alfred Vallis, who is now in hospital in the north, also Fred Fribbance, who has been in hospital for several months, but is nearly convalescent, and more recently, Lance Corporal A Hillier, who has been wounded in the hand.


It will interest our readers to know that Mr L F Plaire has lately received the Military War Cross Medal of Belgium for bravery in carrying in wounded men under fire at the beginning of the war.


News has at last come of Corporal Walter Odey who is a prisoner of war at Kedos, Katalia, Turkey, and doing well.


Lieutenant H H A Sands has recently been promoted to be Acting Captain on home service at Norwich, as Brigade Bombing Officer.


Cadet A L Sands has passed in Honours for a commission in the RGA.


THE VICARAGE RED CROSS WORKING PARTY. – Funds are needed for buying materials and it is proposed to organize a plan for raising a little money.  Miss Salisbury has kindly offered to give an organ recital at the Church some afternoon, and bring a lady violinist.  The matter is under consideration.


WAR MEMORIAL. – I desire to acknowledge the receipt of 10/- from Mrs James Smith.  A second estimate is being obtained from a craftsman in Salisbury.


ASH WEDNESDAY, February 13th. – Holy Communion at 7.30, Morning Prayer at 10, Evening Prayer, Address, and Commination Service at 7.


The Bishop has announced that he intends to issue a Lenten Pastoral, to be read in all the Churches on Sunday, February 10th.


I am glad to be able to announce that the Diocesan Evangelistic Council is providing us with a special preacher on five Wednesdays in Lent, beginning on Wednesday, February 20th and, at the suggestion of the Hon. Secretary, Canon Farrer, I have invited the Rev A E G Peters to be our special preacher, and he has kindly accepted.  I only hope there will be an encouraging response in the form of a good attendance at these special Wednesday evening services, which will be held at 7 o’clock.


CONFIRMATION. – There will be no regular preparation classes this spring for the parish, but I shall be glad to prepare and present any who may offer themselves, and will communicate their desire to me.  I understand there will be a confirmation in Marlborough during April.


March 1918 (Abridged)


PROPOSED WAR MEMORIAL IN BURBAGE CHURCHYARD. – The following appeal in leaflet form is being sent to every house in the village:


We invite your attention to the Memorial which it is now proposed to erect in the Churchyard, in honour of the men of the village who have answered their Country’s Call, and especially in commemoration of those who have laid down their lives in the war.


Some particulars have already been given in the Parish Magazine, but in case you have not seen them, we wish to mention that it is intended to utilise the stone pillar in the Churchyard near the Tower.  The memorial will be a shrine of solid structure in English oak, carved and ornamented, with a figure of our Lord upon the Cross in the niche, protected by a roof of oak, leaded and the text “Greater love hath no man than this”, carved on the oak block forming the base.


The estimate of Messrs Noyes and Green of Salisbury, carvers and woodworkers for the Cathedral, has been accepted by the Committee, amounting to £50 for the shrine, in best workmanship, and fixed complete.


It is further intended to add a short inscription on the stone pillar, and at the end of the war, to place a tablet inside the Church with the names of the Fallen.  The subscription list is now opened, and the Committee desire that every household in the village should receive this leaflet and be invited to subscribe to this tribute to our brave men.


The design, which with its working drawings, is the gift of S.T.H. Parkes, Esq F.R.S.A., of Birmingham was on view in the Church Porch last September, and may now be seen at the Vicarage.


We shall be glad to receive contributions directly, or through canvassers authorized by the Committee.


Subscriptions will be duly acknowledged and published in the Parish Magazine.




T.G.C Reynolds, Major

             Hon Treasurer

February 1918


THE WAR. – The Bolsheviks have now brought Russia under the heel of German militarism, and have opened the flood-gates of murder and rapine all over that unhappy land.  It is indeed an object lesson to the world, shewing the fatal effects of their insane ideas.  What Russia needs is a leader, full of patriotism and wisdom, to gather together the sound and sane elements in the country, and make them a power for recovery.


But America is now helping to restore the balance, and her forces are coming to the Western Front in ever increasing numbers.  An enemy offensive is expected, but the Allies are ready.  Well may we pray for guidance, endurance amd victory!


MAJOR REYNOLDS has sent the following statement of the Burbage Christmas Parcels Fund:


“ Receipts, Balance of 1916 account £2 5s 2d, whist drive £17 4s 7d, Social £7 12s 3d,  total £27 2s.  Expenditure to A.W. Gamage, Ltd, for 76 parcels at 6/- each to men abroad or who have recently returned from abroad, £22 16s; for 22 parcels at 2/2½ each to men at home, £2 8s 7d; one parcel to a prisoner in Turkey 7/0½; two sample parcels at %/- each cigarettes being added to make up value to  6/- 10/-.  Balance in hand £1 0s 4½.  Total 327 2s.  The list of men to whom the parcels were sent can be seen at the School House.


WE ARE GLAD to have Colonel Maurice home on leave after a long absence on service in the East.


MR L F PLAIRE’S distinction was not quite correctly stated last month.  He has been awarded both the Belgian Military Medal and the Croix de Guerre, teofold honours, well deserved for bravery in bringing in the wounded under fire.


LENT, HOLY WEEK AND EASTER. – I desire to remind our people of the course of sermons which the Rev A.E.G. Peters, Vicar of Bremhill, is so kindly giving …………


Easter Eve, Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, especially the Fallen, AT 7pm


EASTER DAY, March 31st. – Holy Communion at 7, 8 and after Morning Prayer and Sermons at 11.0


April 1918 (Abridged)


THE WAR. – At the time of going to press with these notes – a week earlier this month than usual, owing to Easter – there is nothing special to record, except the victorious advance of the British forces under General Allenby in Palestine, and the apparently hopeless condition of Russia through Bolshevism, German invasion, dismemberment, and starvation.  It is to be hoped that a rally of some sort will be made before long with the help of Japan, or there will be very little of Russia left, notwithstanding the so called ‘peace’.  The war in the air in the west is increasing in intensity, and our airmen and those of our allieshave had the advantage very decidedly of late.  All reports bear witness to the steady confidence of out brave troops.  Let us bear our burden cheerfully at home and do our duty.  Noe is the time for putting in the crops, especially the potato crops.  We must all do our best to grow as much produce as possible.  I was reminded the other day of some words of T. Carlyle, which may be quoted as highly appropriate now.  “Produce! Produce.  Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it in God’s name!”  We must have food for our millions, and as we cannot get much from overseas, we must produce it in our own land.


N.B.- Since the above was in print, the German offensive in the west has begun.


AN EVENING SCHOOL GARDEN has been undertaken by Mr Webb for some of the older lads, - past school age, - at the suggestion of the County Education Authorities. 


THE COUNTY AUTHORITIES are also encouraging the formation of Poultry and Pig Keeping Associations.  We have had a lecturer in Burbage , and definite steps have been taken to carry out the suggestions made, so as to be able to benefit by the promised supply of Poultry and Pig food.


THE PROPOSED WAR MEMORIAL in the Churchyard. – the canvas of the village referred to in the leaflet sent to every household last month has now been arranged, and the ladies who have kindly taken collecting books will soon make a start, if they have not already done so.  The desire is that everyone should have an opportunity of contributing to this memorial which is intended to serve a twofold purpose, namely, as a reminder to us all of the devotion and sacrifice of our gallant lads, who have gone to fight for us and their country, - and thousands of such war shrines have been erected in all parts of the land, - and also, and chiefly, as a durable Memorial both of the devotion of all our men, who are serving, and especially in reverent remembrance of the Fallen.  We all need to be lifted up in faith and hope and sympathy at this time, and to take part in such a tribute of honour and affection will be good for us , and will cheer our lads abroad.  The brass tablet to be placed inside the Church will not ne taken in hand, of course, until the end of the war.  Let us hope that this may be nearer than at present seems possible.  Well may we pray that God of His grace and mercy will speedily help and deliver us!  The following subscriptions were received just before the canvass was arranged, and are gratefully acknowledged:  Mr & Mrs Bain, £1; Miss Hughes, 2/-; Miss Lowing, 5/-; Mrs J Pye, 2/6;  Mr & Mrs O Ruddle, 10/-; Capt H H A Sands, £1:1:0; Miss E J Sands, 10/-; Pte A E Spanswick (Salonika), 5/-; Mr & Mrs Webb, 10/-; Rev H & Mrs Sands, £2:10:0 (first instalment).


EASTER EVE, Saturday March 30th. – A short service – authorized by the Bishop – in commemoration of the faithful departed especially thos who have fallen in the war, will be held at 7pm.


EASTER DAY, March 31st………..


THE EASTER VESTRY will be held in the Infants’ School on Easter Monday, april 1st at 7pm.


THE ORGAN RECITALS given by Miss E.F. Salisbury , F.R.C.O, on Monday, February 25th, at 3pm and 6.30, were much appreciated, the attendance in the evening being very good.  Miss Vera Jeeves kindly sang some sacred solos.  The collections, for the Vicarage Red Cross Working Party, amounted to £4.


THE COURSE OF SERMONS on the Lent Collects preached by the Rev. A.E.G. Peters on Wednesday evenings, has been attentively followed by fairly good congregations.


SUMMER TIME began on Palm Sunday, March 24th.


WE HAVE RECENTLY lost by death one of our oldest and most regular communicants, Mrs Anna Davis, of East Court, who passed peacefully away on March 3rd, at the age of 82.


Another death has also been recorded, that of Mr Browne, for many years Station Master at Savernake Midland and South Western Station, after a long illness, patiently borne.


Word has also reached us of the death of Mr Scammell, at Swindon, who was police constable in Burbage for some years.


In each case much sympathy is felt for the friends and members of the several families.


Philip Scammell, for some time a member of our Church Choir, has been severely wounded, I am sorry to hear, but it is to be hoped he is going on satisfactorily towards recovery.


May 1918


THE WAR. – The German offensive began on March 21st, and is still going on.  We have lost men, ground and guns, but it is hoped that the onrush is stemmed.  The bravery of our troops against overwhelming numbers has been superb. The Wilts won special praise during the battle round Neuve Eglise in the middle of April, but it is feared one of the battalions lost many men as prisoners of war at the beginning of the offensive.  During Holy Week and Easter and since then much anxiety has prevailed, but there has been no weakening of confidence or courage.  The King has paid a visit to the Western Front.  The Man-power Bill has been passed, and it is hoped that the Irish question will be soon settled.  The German ex-Ambassador’s disclosures have proved to the World what England knew all along, that the Kaiser was the cause of the war, and that his protestations have been lies and hypocrisy.  But it is equally clear that the Germans as a nation have been willing instruments of brutality and aggression.  


It is believed that Pte Fred Spanswick, of the 2ndWilts, and Pte Noyes of the Worcesters, and possibly others, are now prisoners of war.


THE CHURCH ACCOUNTS are printed in this number of the Magazine, and are quite satisfactory.  It was reported at the vestry that new bell ropes are needed, and also some repairs to the Churchyard wall, and the Wardens, who were both re-elected have undertaken to see to these matters at once. Suggestions were also made to safeguarding the Churchyard against encroachment or abuse, and the Vicar agreed to adopt them, when necessary.


THE EASTER DECORATIONS were as pretty as ever, with primroses gathered by school children in the copse according to long continued custom, and daffodils and white rhododendrons and arum lilies.  Easter Day had a fair share of sunshine, but the fine weather of previous weeks was not kept up, and since then we have had a good deal of rain and some snow, but garden operations are being carried on with vigour.  More and still more potatoes are needed.


THE EASTER OFFERINGS on Easter day amounted to £4. 17 : 10 and a further offering of £1 was sent a week later by an anonymous donor per Mr E J Mann.  I desire heartily to thank the members of the congregation for their gifts.


THE SCHOOL CHILDREN’S War Savings Association.  Mr Webb and Miss Browne report that the subscriptions reached £100 on April 19th, a splendid result.


THE WHOLE VILLAGE deeply sympathise with Mr and Mrs Jones on the loss of their little daughter, Helen Grace at the age of 13.


THE WAR MEMORIAL FUND.- There followed a long list of contributors with the amount of the subscription.  The detail will not be repeated here but a separate page will be set up listing all contributors during July.


June 1915 (Abridged)


THE WAR. – S. George’s Day, April 23rdwas marked by a deed of daring and valour by men of our Navy, which will never be forgotten.  The entrance of Zeebrugge, the base of German submarines, was blocked by the sinking of some old ships filled with concrete.  HNS Vindictive played a leading part, and since then has been used with good effect to block the entrance to Ostend.  The spirit of the Navy is as most of us know, very much alive.  On April 29ththe Germans suffered severe check and defeat by our troops on the Vierstraat Ridge.  It was probably to the steadfastness and gallantry of certain Wiltshire battalions at tgis time that the ‘Times’ referred on May 4th.  The new drafts have behaved in a very stout and gallant way.  They have proved cool under the heaviest shelling, and steady in the face of attack, and their spirit has been splendid.  A large draft that came out to certain Wiltshire battalions, but was not at the moment under orders to go into the line , begged to be allowed to go in, but were refused.  None the less, when the fighting was over, it was found that some 60 of them had leaked away up into the front line and had behaved as well as the best.


Pte W Godden, a Collingbourne man, of the Wilts Regt died from wounds on April 14th. Much sympathy is felt for his young widow who lives in Westcourt with her mother Mrs J Mann.  It is now known that Frederick Spanswick, Sidney Noyes and Edward Belben are prisoners and Joseph Davis, who has been severely wounded, is in hospital in Guildford.  James Noyes has been reported ‘missing’ for some time, and Tom Hope since April 10th.  News of their safety is anxiously awaited..


Mr C.A. Baker’s son is also a prisoner and Mr Bain’s son is in hospital, having been gassed.


The British and our Allies are holding the line with indomitable pluck.  The American troops are coming over in great numbers.  The Huns are on the look-out for new methods of offensive.  The latest seems to be a Sinn Fein plot.  Rightly may we use the words ‘frustrate their knavish tricks’, in the National Anthem, words which some people had imagined were no longer needed.


THE WAR SHRINE AND MEMORIAL. – Additional named subscriptions added to the website memorial page.


WILTS FRIENDLY SOCIETY. – The annual meeting of the local branch was held in the Infants’ School on March 19th, with the Vicar in the chair, and abou a dozen members present. Mr G Highett, steward, presented a very satisfactory report and Mr Bendell, from the central office at Devizes, explained the special advantages of the new Deposit Class, and of the Juvenile Class.  Full particulars may be obtained from Mr Highett, Stibb.




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© Burbage 1914