Burbage During the Great War
Burbage During the Great War

July - December 1917

July 1917 (Unabridged)


THE WAR. – The important successes of June 7th in the taking of the Messines Ridge and other positions on an extended front by our forces are the chief items of news for last month.  The Germans are still active with their submarines, and ruthless in their air raids on open towns.  The last raid reached the East End of London and resulted in over 100 deaths, including many women and little children, and four times that number of lesser casualties.  But our airmen have nevertheless established their superiority over the enemy, and in addition to the victories on the Western front, in the air, have destroyed two Zeppelins within a fortnight.  This fact and the increased measures of home defence will no doubt lessen the danger from raids in the future.


America is also helping our Navy to deal with the submarine menace.


THE DECREASING SUPPLY OF WHEAT and other grain makes it absolutely necessary that the utmost care and economy should be practised in every household in the land.  So the Royal Proclamation has been followed by a letter from the Food Controller calling upon every man, woman and child to eat less. Bread and see that not a crust or crumb is wasted.  This letter has been sent to every house.  How will it be received?  It depends on the good sense and patriotism of the inmates.  No doubt there are thousands of selfish, silly and thoughtless people who will be disposed to be indifferent and pay no attention.  Such indifference and carelessness is a crime.  It is sheer wickedness to go on ignoring the appeal and warning addressed to the nation.  Public spirit and the earnest desire to help our brave soldiers and sailors to win in this terrible war ought to inspire every household in the land.  Let every one do his or her part in the crisis and call to self-denial and duty.


THE CONFIRMATION was held by the Bishop on June 7th at 5pm.  The candidates, 20 in number, presented and confirmed were the following – Boys:  Robert Leslie Davis, Thomas Henry Green, Frederick William Mabbutt, William Farquar Murray, John Henry Neate,  William John New, Thomas Clarence Powell, Edward Earnest Charles Wheeler.  Girls: Mary Ayers, Vera Amy Faith Bailey, Selina Emmeline Benstead, Florence Alice Erith, Daisy Emily Goodman, Ethel Priscilla Hawkins, Agnes Bessie Lawes, Beatrice Caroline Mabbutt, Kathleen Emily New, May Henrietta Nutley, Florence Mary Vallis, Lizzie Annie Louisa Willmott.  Before the solemn laying on of hands the bishop gave an earnest address urging the importance of perseverance and necessity of living near to Christ and of shewing the effect of that nearness by good words and works.  I hope all who were confirmed will become regular communicants, and what is more I hope their parents will encourage them in this by word and example. 


POTATO SPRAYING – The potato sprayer is now obtained and is in the care of Mr Webb.  Sufficient material has been purchased for the spraying of eight acres.  Mr Webb has a further supply which has been sent for purchase or return by the County Council at a slightly additional cost.  This may be had on application at the School House.  An additional sprayer will also be available for a very limited period.


Mr Webb has been appointed Horticultural Representative for the Burbage and Collingbourne District.


SCHOOL CANTEENS. – Experiments are being made in certain Schools in the country in having cooking canteens for some of the children, who come from a distance.  A small charge is made for the dinner, and the object is to prevent waste and reduce the consumption of bread.  It is believed that it will be a great help to parents and also a national benefit.  Mr Pullinger, the Director of Education, is arranging for an experiment to be made at Burbage School during the week beginning July 23rd and Mrs Olive Nutley is kindly lending her kitchen for the purpose.  A small Canteen Committee has been formed at Mr Pullinger’s request to observe and report.


THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS. – A fortnight’s holiday will be given from July 2nd to 16th for the hay harvest.  There will be five weeks’ holiday later on to cover the season of the corn harvest.


WAR SAVINGS. -  Mr Webb reports but slow progress with the adult branch of the Association.  Cannot something be done to increase interest in it, and secure more members?  The advantages are very great.


GARDEN PRODUCE. – The authorities at and near the camps at Tidworth are anxious to get garden produce this summer direct from growers at market prices, and propose to send a van or vans to come to some of the villages round to collect at certain places.  Burbage has been invited to join, and Mrs Thelwall Maurice has consented to act as representative for the Branch.  Mr C Kimber is lending his barn as a Depot, where produce may be handed in, weighed and paid for, on Tuesdays, at 7pm.


EMPIRE DAY. – A collection for the Overseas Club was made in the Infants’ School on Empire Day, and as the result 5/- has been sent by Mrs (Miss) Hibberd to the Head Office, and has been duly acknowledged.


August 1917 (Unbridged)


THE WAR. – The successes of the Russian armies under Generals Brusoloff and Korniloff have been the chief item of news during the past month.  Russia’s power of recovery is remarkable, and though there is still cause for anxiety owing to German intrigue, we may hope that Russia will come through her trials triumphantly and that this new offensive on the Eastern front will materially help us and our Allies in continuing the offensive in the West.  The King has been visiting the scenes of our recent victories in France and Flanders, and his presence amongst the troops has made an excellent impression.  His majesty has assumed the family name of Windsor.  August 4th will be the third anniversary of the declaration of war, so far as England is concerned.


Special prayers are being issued for use on Sunday August 5th.  I invite all parishioners to the services, and trust there will be a hearty response.  The collections will be for the Red Cross Society.  It is sometimes asked ‘ why do so many neglect their religious duties and ignore the Church’s services?’.. Probably the cause is to be found in the power of worldly things over human hearts and minds.  Material things absorb the thoughts and spiritual things are forgotten.  Various excuses for neglect are still occasionally made, but for the most part even that is not felt to be necessary.  The spiritual senses, if not used, so soon become dull and the conscience dead.  This is a vast pity, when one considers the majesty of God and the uplifting power of faith and prayer and praise.  The fault is not with the Church, which perseveres in witness and work and worship.  If any mistake is to be laid at the Church’s door, it is perhaps the tendency to be apologetic.  The Church’s business is not to apologise for the shortcomings of others but to get on with the work of declaring the whole counsel of God, and of ministering to all who are willing to be administered to.  Those who habitually ignore the Church’s call best know their reasons for doing so, and will have in due time to render their account for opportunities lost and duties neglected.  Surely it is the duty of everyone to pray for victory and peace.  The third anniversary of the outbreak of war is certainly an occasion for the awakening, and is it not also a fitting time to consider some suitable memorial to our brave men, who have fallen in their countries cause? 


At the west end of the south aisle of the Church is a memorial window, placed there in 1855 as a tribute to the four men of our village who fell in the Crimean War.  Outside the Church and near this window is a grey stone gate pillar removed to that position in 1876, as far as I can gather, and intended at that time to be used as a memorial to Archdeacon Stanton, Vicar of Burbage from 1852 – 1875.  The intention was not carried out, as the Side Chapel was built as a memorial instead.  There the pillar has remained.  No better use could be made of it than to remove the coping stone, and erect upon the pillar a solid carved oak shrine , as a memorial of our gallant men, who have died for their country and the cause of freedom and righteousness.  A design has been carefully considered and drawings made, and I shall be glad to shew them to all who are at all interested in the matter, and if there is a good response, there is no reason why it should not be carried out in the very near future.  Several estimates could be obtained and then we should know about how much in subscriptions would be needed.  The pillar would bear only a short inscription, but a brass plate with the names of the fallen would be placed in the Church itself a little later.  I think something like this is the very least we can do in honour of the brave men, whose graves are far away in foreign lands, and perhaps unknown, but whose memory we ought to cherish by some visible memorial among us. 


A subscription list will be opened at once, and no doubt the Churchwardens will assist, and a small committee might be formed to consider details and make the matter known.  Meanwhile, any promises or subscriptions sent to me will be duly recorded and acknowledged, and I shall be glad to answer any questions or give fuller particulars to those who desire them.  At this season many families in the village have friends or relations staying with them as visitors for a week or two.  It is quite likely that the proposed memorial would interest them, and some of them might wish to subscribe out of honour to the fallen.  So the more widely it is known the more likely it is to be taken up and made a success.  Subscriptions of the smallest sums, from sixpence a person, will be acceptable as soon as the best plan for collecting is agreed upon.


THE SCHOOLS. – The experiment of a Canteen for the school is in process of completion as this magazine is going through the press.  Some report of the results will be published next month.  The five weeks’ holiday will be announced in due course, probably to begin on August 17th or 24th, according as the harvest of corn and potatoes promises to be earlier or later.


September 1917


THE WAR. – The wet weather at the beginning of August checked the British Offensive on the West, but not before definite objectives had been gained.  Meanwhile the Russian armies have been compelled to retreat to avoid a disaster due to absence of discipline.  But there are signs of recovery.  The Pope’s manifesto on terms of peace has more recently been issued.  What is the influence behind it?  This is what most people are asking.  A peace without restitution, reparation and security would mean world unrest, if not thraldom, for generations.  Let no one be deceived.  It is only victory that can bring a lasting and satisfactory peace.  We must go on working and praying for victory.


THE COLLECTION on Sunday August 5th. For the Wiltshire branch of the Red Cross Society  amounted to £4 18s, and was sent at once to Mr Basil Hankey, the Hon Treasurer.  It is understood that the total amount collected on that Sunday in the County will be distributed among the various Wiltshire Red Cross Hospitals.


The proposed Memorial to the Fallen in the Churchyard was referred to from the pulpit on August 5th, and a sketch was exhibited for 2 Sundays in the Church porch.  As soon as the holiday season is over the matter will be followed up.  An estimate has been obtained from an experienced Cathedral craftsman and wood carver and it comes out at £25 for the actual work including the figure, and about £10 for the oak.  Of course if the oak, which must be of the very best and thoroughly well seasoned, could be obtained as a gift, the cost would only be £25.  If sufficient promises of support are forthcoming in the early autumn the order might be definitely given before November and the work executed during the winter and completed before Easter next.  It has been suggested that a meeting might be called to put the matter in order and appoint a small Committee to settle the details with regard to inviting subscriptions.  This will of course be considered.


THE HARVEST is in full swing, but the rain has delayed operations, and consequently I cannot at the time of going to press fix the date of the Thanksgiving services.  It will probably be the last Sunday in September.


THE SCHOOL CANTEEN experiment conducted by Miss Southwell at the request of the County Director of Education from July 23rd to 27th was quite a success, and was appreciated by both children and parents.  Thirty children were provided with a two course meal each day at twopence a head, and no doubt a saving of grain was effected, and that was the chief object of the experiment.  Mrs Oliver Nutley kindly gave the use of her kitchen for the occasion.  Miss Southwell made her report and presented it to the temporary Canteen Committee before sending it on to Mr Pullinger.  As I gather, the general feeling was in favour of canteens for villages where the children attend school from a considerable distance and where suitable arrangements can be conveniently made for the cooking of the meals, but it was felt to be doubtful whether any such plan for the winter was called for at Burbage, though some of the parents thought that the provision of hot cocoa at a small charge would be a great boon and would save bread.  The School holidays began on August 18th and continue till September 24th.


WOLFHALL is again tenanted, and I feel sure the whole village will desire me to express our satisfaction at having Major and Mrs Reynolds comfortably settled down among us.


THE RED CROSS WORKING PARTY. – It is proposed to resume meetings shortly, as garments are still greatly needed.  The date will be duly announced.


I HAVE RECENTLY received letters from T Hope, who is in France, and from A E Spanswick (Peggie), who writes from hospital in or near Salonica.  He has been suffering from blood poisoning, but was going on well, when he wrote.


October 1917


THE HARVEST THANKSGIVING services are fixed for Sunday, September 30th.  Holy Eucharist at 7 and 8, Mattins and Sermon at 11, Children’s service at 3pm, Evensong and Sermon 6pm.  Collections at all services for Savernake Hospital.  Notwithstanding the heavy rains during August and part of September, the corn crops seem to have been got in in most cases without serious damage.  The potato crops are abundant, and this is true of the apples and pears and stone fruit. For all these blessings we should indeed be thankful, especially in these times of stress and trouble.  And surely we have cause to be thankful for the measure of success which has been granted us and our Allies on the Western Front, before the autumn sets in with another winter of war before us!  Gifts of flowers and decorations and of vegetables and fruit for the Hospital will be most acceptable, and should be sent to the Church on Saturday morning, September 29th, by ten o’clock.


THE PROPOSED WAR MEMORIAL. – A meeting will be held to explain the proposal and decide upon the best course to adopt for inviting and obtaining subscriptions, on Friday October 5th, at 6.30pm in the Infants’ School.  It is hoped that all who are interested will attend, so that the meeting may be as representative as possible.  I have received several donations and more promises of support, but have not had time so far to do more than mention the proposals to some of the parishioners.  The idea seems to be generally approved.


THE RED CROSS SOCIETY. – ‘Our Day’, Thursday, October 18th.  No doubt there will be a hearty response all over the country to the appeal for help, and a campaign is being planned for Burbage.  Mrs Blanchard is kindly making the arrangements and acting as Hon. Treasurer, as on the last occasion a year ago.


THE DAY SCHOOLS. – Miss Shipp has sent in her resignation, I regret to say, and will be shortly leaving after 3 years at the School.  Home duties make it necessary for her to live at Swindon.  We shall miss her very much, both in the School and with the G.F.S candidates.


Dr Clark-Jones was appointed a school manager on July 27th.


C.E.M.S. Institute is undergoing some necessary cleaning, and will be ready for use in early October.  It will probably open for the youths of the village on the same terms as last winter.  Something ought to be done for the soldiers in camp near the station.  Enquiries are being made, but at present it is uncertain whether they will be with us for long, so it is hardly possible to make any arrangements until this point is settled.


November 1917 (Abridged)


ALL SAINTS DAY, Thursday November 1st …………


THE PROPOSED WAR MEMORIAL. – As the result of the meeting held on October 5th a small Committee has been appointed with power to add to their number, and the first Committee meeting was held on October 13th, when it was agreed to obtain a definite estimate with specifications for the memorial from Mr Thomas, carver to St David’s Cathedral.  The Committee will meet again and set to work as soon as all particulars are to hand.  Major Reynolds and the vicar are Hon.  Treasurer.


‘OUR DAY’, RED CROSS SOCIETY. – Avery successful series of efforts was organised by Mrs Blanchard, assisted by a small Committee in aid of the Red Cross Society for ‘Our Day’, October 18th.  A concert was held in the large Schoolroom on October 5th kindly given by Mr and Mrs Nicholls and ‘Ye Merrie Opera Singers’ from Marlborough.  A Jumble Sale was held in the C.E.M.S. Institute on October 17th under the management of Mrs Jones, Mrs W Vines and Mrs Hoare.  A tent adjoining the room was used for some cleaver conjuring performances by Miss Sgorbati.  A Whist Drive was held in the Infants’ School on October 18th, with about 70 players.  Flags were sold on October 13th and 18th, and in addition to this a house to house collection was made.


The various amounts realised were as follows:  the Concert £15:13:1, including £2:16:4 tax money, which will be refunded to the Red Cross.  Jumble Sale, £15:11:11.  Conjuring Entertainment, £1:1:7.  Whist Drive £11:6:3.  Flags £11:6:7.  House to house collection, etc £10:0:7.  Total £65, the sum sent up to the Red Cross Society from the village.


The Committee consisted of Mrs Blanchard, Mrs MacAndrew, Mrs Sands, Mrs Reynolds, Mrs Jones, Mrs Clark-Jones, Mrs Vines, Mrs Hoare. Mrs Hillier, Major Reynolds, and MrsWebb.  The Committee received most valuable assistance from many others, who sold flags or collected, including Miss Gent amd Miss B. Gent, Miss Hoare, Miss Hillier, Miss Bailey, Miss Norris, Miss D Green, Miss Hibberd, Miss Braime, Miss M Ayres and Miss D Smith.  A great many others helped in various ways such as conveying chairs from the Warren, making money boxes and arranging the schoolroom.  Their names would be given if space allowed.  The Committee desire to thank them all.


THE RED CROSS WORKING PARTY at the Vicarage will begin again on Monday, Nov 5th, at 2 pm.  Garments are very much needed.  The Committee will be glad to receive donations for buying materials.


THE SALISBURY DIOCESAN CHURCH FUND.  The Ruridecanal Treasurer, Mr Mark Jeans, has written to ask that the contributions of all parishes in the Deanery may be sent in before the end of November, so I shall be calling in afew days for subscriptions.  Mr Crossfield, of Durley House, has sent some leaflets, which explain the object of the Fund, which I shall be glad to give to anyone who desires information.


THE CHURCHYARD FUND. – I shall also again be glad of subscriptions to this Fund, as last year.  Contributions will be acknowledged in the Magazine.


THE PARISH MAGAZINE.  I want to make a short statement, and a request.  In 1916 the deficit or loss to the Vicar on the Magazine was £1:15:0.  This year I fear that it will be double that amount, and the question arises about next year, when it will be necessary to give up the monthly Magazine or increase the price to twopence.  I ask our subscribers to let the distributors of the Magazine know when the December Magazine is taken round, whether they will be willing to pay 2d a month in 1918.


December 1917


THE PARISH MAGAZINE in 1918. – By substituting the ‘Dawn of Day’, published by S.P.C.K. for the ‘Sign’, as the inside of the Magazine, it will be possible to issue it during 1918 at 1 1/2d a month, and this I propose to do, and hope there will be no falling off in the number of subscribers.


THE WAR. – The collapse of Russia for the time being has led to the invasion of Italy by the Germans and Austrians, and French and British forces are hastening to the aid of our ally.  We have won victories in Palastine, and our army is advancing on Hebron and Jerusalem.  It would be happy news to hear that the latter was delivered from Turkish hands.  In the West the Allies have steadily been gaining ground for some time.  The submarine danger is being overcome, but it is unwise to predict.  At home there is a very real danger from insidious peace mongering and secret propaganda which calls for preventive measures.  Let everyone be wary, and take note of the mischief done in Russia and Italy by German agency.  The Huns will stick at nothing.  We must brace ourselves for fresh efforts and keep the end in view, - victory!  Thus only can we be assured of peace and freedom.


P.S. – Since the above was in print, there has been a British victory near Cambrai, for which the Church bells throughout the land have been rung.


The whole village sympathizes deeply with Mr & Mrs Wasey in their sorrow.  Capt. Cyril Wasey, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attached for the time being to the R.F.C., was killed in action on October 28th on the Western Front.  He was 24, and had been educated at Eton and Sandhurst.  He went with his battalion to France at the beginning of the war, and distinguished himself in the retreat from Mons, receiveing the decoration of the Legion of honour.  Subsequently, he was mentioned in despatches.  A thorough soldier, absolutely fearless and justly admired by his fellow officers and the men of his battalion for his straight and sportsman like view of life and duty, Captain Cyril Wasey was one to be proud of and thankful for.  He will be greatly mourned and missed, and affectionately remembered.


Since the issue of the last number of our Magazine, information has come to hand that Private William Hillier of the Wiltshire Regiment who fell in action in Mesopotamia last April was mentioned in despatches ‘for gallant and distinguished service in the field’.


THE WAR MEMORIAL FUND. – The Hon Treasurers (major Reynolds and the Vicar), desire to acknowledge the following subscriptions:- Mrs Maurice £1 1s, Mr & Mrs Plaire 10s.  Miss Hibberd 5s, Miss K Skittrall 1s, Miss M Skittrall 2s.


MISS KINGSBURY has presented to the Church seven fine Arundel pictures, framed, in memory of her father, Canon Kingsbury, formerly Vicar of Burbage.  They have been placed in the Side chapel and the two aisles.  The subjects are the Nativity, the Transfiguration, the Crucifixion, the Last Supper, the Risen Lord, Christ among the doctors and S. John the Baptist in the Wilderness.


A gift of prayer books and psalters and some hymn books with tunes has been made by the Trustees of the Henry Hoare Fund.  This is especially acceptable at this time, when the choir is increased by the addition of young women and girls, whose help is much appreciated.


CHRISTMAS DAY. – the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 7,8 and after mid-morning prayer.


On the Sunday before Christmas, December 23rd, there will be a childrens carol service at 3pm.  Collection for St Dunstan’s Hostel for blinded soldiers.


PEARCE’S CHARITY. – The yearly meeting of the Trustees will be held in the Schoolroom ON Saturday, December 15th, from 10am till 12, when applications should be made by persons qualified to receive the charity.  Applications cannot be received after the meeting.  Applications for the Highett Charity may be made at the same time.


SALISBURY DIOCESAN FUND. – I desire to acknowledge the following subscriptions: - Major Reynolds 10s 6d, Miss Hibberd 4s, Mr E.J. Mann 5s, Mrs Blanchard 5s, Mr & Mrs Plaire 10s, Mr Webb 2s 6d, Mr & Mrs Vines 5s, Mrs Maurice 2s 6d, the Vicar 10s 6d, Mr R G Green 5s, Mr Gent 5s, Dr Clark-Jones 5s, Mr Johnson 2s 6d, Miss Lowing 5s.


A WHIST DRIVE is being got up by Mrs. And the Misses Gent to provide funds to send a Christmas remembrance to men from the village serving abroad.  The date is Nov 30th.


CHURCHYARD FUND. – I desire to acknowledge the following subscriptions: - Mrs J. Neal 3s 6d, Miss Hibberd 1s, Major Reynolds 5s, Mrs Noyes 2s 6d, Mrs Blanchard 2s 6d, Miss Gundry 2s 6d, Mrs O Ruddle 2s 6d, Mrs Maurice 2s 6d, the Vicar 10s 6d, Miss Lowing 2s 6d.


BURBAGE SCHOOL WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION. – Miss Browne reports that there are 44 members, and the total amount paid from Dec 1st 1916 to Nov 1st 1917 is £57 13s 10d.  74 certificates, value £57 7s have been bought, leaving a balance of 6/10.


MISS H. E. DRU has been appointed Certificated Assistant Teacher in the Mixed School, and will enter on her duties as soon as the appointment is confirmed by the Education Committee.


AMONG THE SOLDIERS from the village who have been wounded or invalided are Fred Spanswick – in the right hand – C.H.Davis of Cherry Orchard, who has been suffering from the effects of gas: also Victor Johnson from sunstroke in Mesopotamia.  I believe they are all going on favourably.



                                                                                                HUBERT SANDS


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© Burbage 1914