Burbage During the Great War
Burbage During the Great War

July - December 1918

July 1918


THE WAR. – Since the notes for June were written the German offensive in the West has been renewed, beginning on May 27th, and the Marne has been reached, and Compeigne threatened.  The Austrians have also crossed the Piave, but have been driven back in disorder, and, it is believed, are now in difficulties, owing to the flooding of the river.  In Vienna there has been something like a revolutionary outbreak, but it appears to have passed for the present.  Russia continues to be a danger spot, owing to German intrigue and ‘penetration’. The Bolshevist government goes on betraying the people by fresh concessions to German greed, but it can hardly be possible that the true Russia will tolerate this treachery and terrorism much longer.  Everything points to an awakening and a rally for which, however, help from outside is needed.  Looked at from all points of view the situation of the Allies, though serious, is hopeful in many ways.  Time is on our side, and the British, French and American forces are cooperating with splendid courage and effect in France, and every week brings more and more reinforcements across the Atlantic.


Pte James Noyes, of the Worcestershire Regiment, is now reported killed in action on March 21st, to the regret of all.


No news has been received of Private T Hope since April 10th.


Pte F Fribbance has been ‘gassed’, and is in hospital again, and pte Norman Norris has been home on leave after recovery from wounds in the arm received on the Western Front during the March offensive.  Pte W J Grace has been again wounded and is in hospital.  Gunner A E Carver is discharged owing to wounds, and undergoing treatment.  Pte A Vallis, who was wounded, is convalescent.


THE WAR SHRINE AND MEMORIAL. The Treasurers desire to acknowledge the following subscriptions: See Memorial Page


Total to June 24th£54:8:7


A Committee Meeting is being called to report progress and to consider the question of a tablet for the stone pillar with a short inscription.  Messrs. Noyes and Green have promised to complete the carved oak shrine by the middle of August.  The Bishop writes that he would much like to come and dedicate it, but as he will be in Dorset part of the Diocese until October, he has suggested that the Archdeacon of Wilts should be asked.  The Archdeacon, I am glad to say, has kindly accepted the invitation, and it is hoped the service of dedication may take place on Wednesday, August 14th. I have been told that some of the parishioners have not yet been called upon.  There must be very few, and possibly when the collector called they were out. But if this is so, let me say that Major Reynolds or myself will be glad to receive and further subscriptions, which will be very acceptable in view of the cost of the tablet for the pillar. Already the donors number 185.


THE DAY SCHOOLS. – A fortnight’s holiday for the hay harvest began on June 24th.  Miss fisher has been giving domestic subjects cources in the C.E.M.S Institute for the elder and the younger girls.  Stanley Nutley has gained by examination a free place at Marlborough Grammar School.  This is a credit to our School and to Mr Webb as well as to the boy himself, and all are to be congratulated on the distinction, which is the first of its kind, so it is believed, to come to Burbage.


THE CHURCHYARD WALL has been repaired.  The Churchwardens no doubt will be encouraged to undertake some further necessary renovations such as the repainting of the flagstaff and sprouting, if the Church collections during the summer warrant it.  ‘A stitch in time saves nine’.  But we are told it is difficult to get white lead.  Glass is also scarce; that is why we are still waiting for the mending of the pane over the large schoolroom door.


We are evidently rationed in a good many other things besides meat and sugar and butter.  But in every way let us all do the best we can.


August 1918 (Abridged)


THE WAR. – The German offensive on the Western Front was resumed on July 15th, but was soon checked, and in the counter attack the French and Americans have so far taken over 20,000 prisoners and 400 guns.  Let us hope that at last the tide has turned, and that the strength of the enemy is beginning to wane.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 4TH , is appointed as a day of Prayer, Thanksgiving and Remembrance.  On it we shall enter upon the fifth year of war. Our aim is successfully to resist and over throw German militarism which has so long threatened to enslave us and the world.  It is only be perseverance and endurance to the end that we can hope for complete and lasting deliverance.  The enemy will resort to every possible device to avoid defeat and the day of reckoning.


Let us pray for strength and purity of motive and unity of aim in this conflict and crusade.


We must dedicate ourselves anew to this great endeavour.  The nation needs and will continually need God’s guidance and grace to keep it true in heart and unselfish in purpose.  We must guard against any weakening of will or lowering of aim.


Lead on, O Lord, Thy people still,

New grace and wisdom giving,

To larger love and purer will,

And nobler heights of living.

And while of all Thy love below

They chant the wondrous story,

Oh! teach then first Thy Christ to know,

And magnify His glory.


The Holy Communion will be celebrated at 8 and at 12, and special prayers issued by the Archbishops and bishops will be used at 11 o’clock and 6 o’clock.  The collection will be for the Wilts Branch of the Red Cross Society, and the Wilts Prisoners of War Fund.  The regular members of the congregation will, of course attend the services, and need no reminder, and I hope many will make their Communion on that Sunday.  But there are literally hundreds who need a good deal of exhortation to fulfil their duty to God, the Church and their fellow men.  How can such be really satisfied to go on habitually neglecting the Divine call.  Surely it is a sign of self-deception and blindness of heart.


We need to shake off the fetters of the world and self, and look upward in faith and freedom of soul. This is the meaning of prayer and worship.  It is salvation from the tyranny of material things.  It is the call to think more of spiritual and eternal things.


During the last few months many names have been added to the list of those who are serving in the forces from the village.  I should like to print them all in this magazine, and hope to do so before long. In the first two years or more of the war every name was recorded in this way, but it has not been so easy to do this lately.  Still I think every name has been recorded on the Roll of Honour in the Church.  If any name is missing that should be there, I should be glad to know of it.


THE WAR SHRINE AND MEMORIAL. – After the July number of the magazine was in print I received a letter from Messrs Noyes and green of Salisbury, saying the Mr Noyes had just been called up for National Service, and in consequence they could not keep their promise to complete the shrine by the middle of August.  We shall all be sorry at the delay, but I know the work is well advanced.  A fortnight’s notice will be given before the Dedication Service and with this we must rest content.  At the Committee Meeting held on July 1st, it was decided to accept Messrs Mowbray’s estimate for a bronze tablet with a short inscription in relief to be fixed on the stone pillar.  This is now being executed.  We desire to acknowledge the following subscriptions received between June 26thand July 22nd:  See Memorial Page  Total to July 22nd- £58:7:10.  Should the amount of subscriptions exceed the sum  needed for the shrine and bronze tablet on the pillar, the surplus will form the nucleus of a fund for providing the Tablet to be placed in the Church.


MR THELWALL has been staying in the village for part of his holiday – July 10thto July 18th– and managed to meet many old friends, who were very glad to see him again, but we wished that he looked stronger and that his visit had been longer.  But I am sure the Burbage air has done him good.


THE SUNDAY SCHOLARS and younger members of the Choir had tea and games in the Vicarage garden on Saturday, July 20th.  There were rumblings of thunder at times, but the sum came out, and the rain kept off until just after 6 o’clock, when it came down in torrents.  I desire to thank all who helped in the games and catering, and also the following who kindly sent buns and cakes for the tea: - Mrs Bain, Mrs Blanchard, Mrs Clark-Jones, Mrs Gent, Miss Hibberd, Mrs Norris, Miss Nutley, Mrs W Vines and Mrs Sands, and also Mr Chandler for two gallons of milk.


THE YMCA HUT WEEK was well kept in Burbage, and with the help of Major Reynolds and a committee of ladies to collect, over £26 was raised.


The Wilts prisoner of War Fund is being similarly taken in hand at the instance of the Parish Council with the help of Mrs Blanchard, Mrs W Vines and others.


I forgot to mention last month that on Empire Day 5/- was raised in the Infants’ School for the Overseas Soldiers’ Fund.


PS – The SPCK, owing to the shortage of paper, have reduced our number of copies of the ‘Dawn of Day’ for this magazine, but we are doing the best we can under the circumstances.


September 1918


THE WAR. – There was a decidedly thankful feeling in all hearts on Sunday, August 4th, the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war, because of the wonderful success of the French and the American forces, aided by several British divisions, on the Western front between Soissons and Rheims.  The Germans were forced back to the river Vesle, and on August 8tha new offensive by the British Army in front of Amiens took the enemy by surprise, and was brilliantly successful.  It is reported that the Allies have taken about 80,000 prisoners since July 18th, and many hundreds of field guns, as well as large quantities of machine guns and ammunition.  These victories of the Allies are having an effect on the German people, and intrigue will probably follow failure in the field.  Meanwhile Russia is being helped by the Allies and Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevists, who have shot the Ex-Czar Nicholas, are in consternation.  It is to be hoped that the help will be adequate and effectual.  The situation in Siberia is still uncertain, and it is reported that our Checho-Slovak Allies are in difficulties.  Since the above was written a further offensive has been undertaken by the British in the direction of Bapaume, and the French are pushing forward west of Soissons.  Albert is again in the possession of the Allies.


THE WAR SHRINE AND MEMORIAL. – Two more subscriptions have been received, Miss Kingsbury 10/-, Mrs Carver 2/6, and are acknowledged with thanks.  There have been 211 subscribers, and another subscription is promised by a member of the Committee.  This with a collection at the Dedication Service will, no doubt, meet the requirements.


The last information received from Salisbury was to the effect that the shrine would be ready for fixing in August, but as soon as anything definite is known I will announce it.


THE DAY SCHOOL HOLIDAYS began on Aug 15thand go on till September 23rd, by which time it is expected that the harvest will be gathered in.  I propose holding our Thanksgiving Services on Sunday September 22nd, and we shall be glad of flowers and offerings. The collection and gifts will be for the Savernake Cottage Hospital as in former years.  The harvest is an abundant one, and we will have good reason to be thankful to God for His bounty, especially in this time of war and anxiety when we have to depend so largely upon our home supplies.


The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 7 and 8.  Morning Prayer and Sermon at 11.0 .  Children’s Service at 3.  Evensong and sermon at 6.


THE WILTS PRISONERS OF WAR FUND. – Major Reynolds, Hon Treasurer, reports that over £95 has been received to date exclusive of contributions from those parts of the civil parish of Burbage, which are outside the ecclesiastical parish.  I have no details, but no doubt a statement will be posted in due time on the notice board in the Church Porch.


THE YMCA HUT WEEK. – The amount raised in the parish is over £29.


AN OUTDOOR FETE in aid of the Red Cross Society (‘Our Day’) is being arranged in Burbage for September 18thwith Mayor Reynolds as Chairman of the Committee.


NO NEWS has been received of Pte FT Hope, who was reported ‘missing’ since April 6th.


October 1918


THE WAR. – Some notable victories have cheered all classes during the past month, especially the gallant capture of Mont St Quentin north of Peronne by the Austrians, the breakthrough at Queant by the Canadians and British troops, the smoothing out of the Mihiel salient by the Americans and French on September 12th, the advance of the British between Cambrai and St Quentin, General Allenby’s sudden sweep in Palestine along the coast and to the north of Schechem, and the capture of over 45,000 Turks, and the well planned attack of the Serbs and the French on the River Teherna towards Prilep and Ushkub.  In all these actions the Allies have taken many prisoners and guns. The general situation is very much better than it was at the beginning of July, and we have good reason to be thankful and hopeful.  Mr Lloyd George delivered a telling speech at Glasgow on September 12th. Here are a few sentences from it.; ‘Victory is essential to sound peace…. …Not only must Prussian military power be beaten, but Germany itself must know it.  …..A league of nations with a Prussian military power triumphant would be a league of fox and geese, one fox and many geese, many at first but fast diminishing’.


The Prime Minister used some striking phrases in warning his audience of the evils of Bolshevism;  ‘Bolshevism is a poison gas that withers vitality.  Its fatal vice is that it leaves to one class, to the exclusion of all others, the management of trade, commerce and industry of the whole nation, and the result is anarchy and famine’.


‘What we want after the war is neither reaction or revolution, but a sane well advised steadiness of bold reconstruction.’


THE WILTS PRISONESR OF WAR FUND. – The following details are supplied by Major Reynolds, the Hon Treasurer of the collection in Burbage civil parish;  House to hose collection Mrs Belben £4 11s 6½d, Mrs Braime £11 4s 8d, Mrs Carpenter £7 12s 5d, Mrs Jones £6 18s 10½d, Mrs Moss £16 9s 10d, Mrs George New £7 16s 8¾d, Miss Norris £14 16s 0½d, Miss Nutley £8 12s 2½d, All Saints Burbage £2 4s 7d, St Katherine’s £7 8s, Ecclesiastical Commissioners £5, other subscriptions £14 5s 1¼d, Total £107.


THE BURBAGE RED CROSS FETE, ‘Our Day’, arranged by Major Reynolds, Mrs Blanchard and others , was held in a field kindly lent by Mr Hillier of Bath Farm, ON Wednesday, September 18th, the one bright and genial day among many wet, cold and stormy ones.  The attendance numbered about 1500.  The band of the Scots Greys played a selection of pieces during the afternoon and evening.  The attractions included a flower, fruit and vegetable show (Mr J W Fall), athletic sports and dancing, bowling for a pig (Mr Turner), ‘houp-la’ (Miss Braime and Miss Norris), white elephant stall (Mrs Jones and Mrs Sands), searching for hidden treasure (Mrs Norris), baby show (Mrs Hillier), killing the Kaiser (Mr C A Baker), provision stall (Mrs Vines and Mrs MacAndrew), bran tub (Miss B Gent), conjuring (Miss Sgorbati), tea &c (Mrs J W Fall and Mrs Burden), concert (Miss Salisbury).


Such a fete, in which all helped so heartily, it is likely that Burbage has never before seen. Certainly it was a wonderful experience, and shows what the village can do, when it tries.  The receipts are over £181, and it is intended to hold a supplementary sale of the remaining articles in the C.E.M.S. Institute on Wednesday, October 2nd.  The whole amount of the takings will go to the Red Cross.  Well done Burbage!


THE WAR MEMORIAL is nearly finished.  Sunday, October 20th, is the earliest date on which the archdeacon of Wilts is free to come to us.  He will (D.V) preach at 11.0, and dedicate the memorial in the afternoon.  The day will be observed as a ‘Day of Remembrance’. Fuller particulars will be announced later.  


I desire to acknowledge 1/6 from Mr & Mrs H Cox, and 10/6 from Mr Thelwell.


THE HARVEST THANKSGIVING SERVICES were held on Sunday, September 22nd.  The Church was very prettily decorated by ladies of the congregation and some of the school children, and many offerings of vegetables and fruit were sent, forwarded on Monday to Savernake Hospital. A list of contributors is placed in the Church porch.  The collections during the day, for the Hospital, amounted to £5 10s.



November 1918


THE WAR. – Events have moved rapidly during October, and it is only possible to put on record a few of the more notable successes, such as the gallant breaking of the Hindenburg Line at Bellenglise by the North Midland Division, and the deliverance of Lille and the whole of the Belgian coast and many Belgian towns, of cambrai and Laon, Craonne and La Fere.  Serbia has been recoverd and Bulgaria has laid down arms unconditionally. Palestine and a greater part of Syria are now in British Hands with over 90000 Turkish prisoners.  The war has certainly taken a wonderful turn , and the bravery of the British, French and Belgian armies has been splendidly supported by the American divisions now taking an active part in clearing Northern France of the enemy.  The plan of unity of command under Marshal Foch has been thoroughly justified.  We owe this chiefly to the firmness of the Prime Minister.  For all these successes and deliverances we are profoundly thankful to God.  But the war is not yet won.  We must beware of over confidence on the one hand, and the crafty devices of the enemy in making flimsy peace proposals on the other.  If this war is to put an end to all war, there must be no half measures or halting policy.  The fullest possible reparation with just punishment for Germany’s crimes must be exacted.  When that is done there will be a chance of world peace and fellowship, but not before.


The submarine danger is by no means past, as we ought to know by the sinking of the ‘Leinster’.


IT IS WITH the deepest regret that we heard of the death, through pneumonia, of Alfred E Spanswick – known as ‘Peggy’.  He was on his way home after an absence of 3 ½ years at Salonika and the East.  He had recently had an attack of malarial fever, and probably took a chill on board ship.  He was landed in Italy and taken to hospital, seriously ill, and died on September 29thand was buried in Taranto.  Very sincere is the sympathy felt for his parents, who were daily expecting him home.  I received a letter from him written the last week in August, not long before he got his leave.  C Percy Chandler is now reported to be a prisoner of war in Germany, and it is believed unwounded.  No further news of F T Hope has been received.  As he has been missing since April, it is feared he may have been killed in action during the German advance in the spring.  He was a server at the Church, and acknowledged to be one of our best Burbage lads.  We all share his parents’ anxiety and deep sense of loss.


THE DEDICATION OF THE WAR SHRINE and memorial in the Churchyard took place on Sunday, October 20th, at 2.30pm, when a large congregation gathered together in the Church.  The service began with the reading by the Vicar of the names of those who have fallen or died, and of the others who have served or who are still serving in the King’s forces in the war.  Then the hymn, ‘O God our help in ages past’ was sung in procession through the south door to the Shrine, the Choir leading with the Cross borne before, followed by the Churchwardens with their wands, and the Vicar with the Archdeacon of Sarum, the Ven. H W Carpenter.  The latter kindly took the place of the Archdeacon of Wilts, who was prevented from coming.  The girls of the Choir came next, and the congregation followed, the sidesmen helping to arrange them round the small enclosure near the Tower, where the Shrine is erected on an old stone pillar.  The choir and clergy and a few others having entered the enclosure, the Vicar asked the Marchioness of Ailesbury, who was present, to unveil the Shrine, which was covered with the Church flag, and the Archdeacon to dedicate it. The service of Dedication followed, including three prayers and versicles and responses.  Then the hymn, ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’ was impressively sung by the choir and congregation, and the procession returned to the Church, passing through the Tower door.  The verse beginning ‘ Lead on O Lord, Thy people still,’ from bishop Walsham How’s Jubilee hymn was sung, when the choir had reached the chancel, the tune being played as a voluntary by Mr Townsend while the congregation were entering the Church and taking their seats.  The Archdeacon then gave an address from the pulpit based on the text ‘ God is love.’   The hymn ‘Holy Father in Thy mercy,’ was then sung and a collection taken for the Memorial Fund, and the service ended with the Blessing pronounced by the Archdeacon, and ‘God save the King.’


The Shrine is a solid structure in thoroughly seasoned Wiltshire 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 block forming the base.  The design, with its working drawings, is by S T H Parkes Esq FRSA of Birmingham and the work has been admirably executed by Messrs Noyes and Green, of Salisbury, carvers and woodworkers for the Cathedral.


A bronze tablet, the work of Messrs Mowbray, of Oxford and London, is attached to the pillar below the Shrine, with this inscription in relief, ‘ to the glory of God and in honour of the men of this village who served in the great war, and in proud and loving memory of those who laid down their lives in the cause of their country. Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest.’


It is intended at the end of the war to place another tablet inside the Church with the names of those who have fallen or died in the service of their country, and to have some suitable record made of all who have served.


The Archdeacon kindly assisted at the early Celebration and preached at 11, taking as his text 1stCorinthians XV, 25: ‘He must reign until he has put all enemies under His feet,’ and in the evening on the text, Revelations, vi, 9,10: ‘I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice saying, How long O Lord, holy and true.’


The Church bellringers rang at intervals during the day muffled peals in reverent memory of the dead.


The offertory amounted to £4 : 13 : 3.  Major Reynolds is entering in  a book the names of the collectors and subscribers, 215 in number, to be kept in the Church chest.  A final statement will be published in due course.


Some experts in Church memorials who have seen the Shrine have pronounced it to be of exceptional interest and beauty.


ALL SAINTS DAY, Friday November 1stthe Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 10.30, preceded by Matins at 10.  Evensong and sermon at 7.  The preacher will be the Archdeacon of Wilts the Ven E J Bodington.


MISS DRU is resuming the work as certified teacher in our school on November 4th.


Mr Webb tells me the children have picked about 15cwt of blackberries for the troops this season.


I shall be shortly collecting subscriptions for the Diocesan fund.  Help is much needed, and we ought to try in real earnest to raise our full quota.



December 1918


THE WAR. – The great event of the past month has been the surrender of Germany and the signing of the armistice (the terms of which were first agreed upon by the Allies, and presented to the German delegates by Marshal Foch and Sir Rosslyn Wemyss,) on Monday, November 11th.  It was indeed a day of Thanksgiving and rejoicing all over the land.  Great is God’s goodness in giving us victory and the promise of a righteous and secure peace, after more than four years of tremendous struggle and sacrifice.  It was so wonderful we could hardly realise it.  The Church bells were rung, and the Church flag hoisted upon the Tower, where it floated for a week.  We had a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Wednesday morning, November 13that 8 O’clock, and a special service of Thanksgiving the same day at 7pm, and more bell ringing, and further Thanksgiving services on Sunday November 17th.  All hearts were stirred and joyful.  The collapse of Germany followed quickly after the capitulation of Turkey on October 30th, and of Austria on November 3rd.  Truly a wonderful deliverance and triumph of truth and right!  May the feeling of gratitude be deepened into a lasting devotion to God, and be shown in fellowship in faith and worship!


RED CROSS, ‘Our Day’. – the total amount raised in the village was £213 : 13 : 2, made up as follows: - Proceeds of the fete £181 : 0 : 9; Jumble Sale and collecting boxes, £13 : 13 : 9; sale of flags etc £18 : 18 : 8.  This is a remarkable result, and great credit is due to all who helped, and especially to Mrs Blanchard, who organised the effort, and Major Reynolds, who acted as Treasurer.


THE DAY SCHOOLS were closed from November 4thto November 25thowing to the prevalence of influenza in the village.  The epidemic has now subsided, and the cases have not been serious.


THE WAR SHRINE. – The Marquess of Ailesbury is kindly giving some small oak posts for a more permanent protection round the little enclosure, where the shrine is erected. I have ordered some iron bars, the expense of which I hope to include in the Churchyard fund, so if anyone is inclined to give a small donation, it will be welcome.  Wreaths of course may be placed at the foot of the pillar, but I wish it to be understood that they will be removed, when they begin to fade.


PEARCE’S CHARITY.  The annual meeting of the Trustees will be held in the School on Saturday, December 7th, and applications for the Charity should be made between 10am and 12.  Application may also be made for Highett’s Coal Charity at the same time. Owing to the high price of coal, a less amount of coal as usual will be available for distribution, and this applies equally to the number of blankets from the Stanton Charity.  The date fixed is earlier in the month than usual, but this is due to the fixing of December 14thas polling day for the General Election, when the school will be used as a polling station.


Mr Philip Pearce’s tombstone in the angle at the east end of the Church bears this inscription, which is well worth recording; 


“Here lie the remains of Philip Pearce, the friend of the poor.  


He died March 10th1805, age 69 years.


Burbage in it’s latest Posterity will receive his donation with Praise and Gratitude but the present race alone can feel the deeper obligations it owed to his mild and modest spirit.  Reader believe and admire.  Uncorrupted by the wealth with which the Blessing of God rewarded his honest Industry, he was neither Proud, insolent nor oppressive.”


The year 1805 was a year of great peril to England owing to the threat of invasion by Bonaparte. Deliverance came through the victory of Trafalgar in October of that year.


CHRISTMAS DAY. – Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 7, 8, and after Morning Prayer and Sermon.


On Sunday December 29th, there will be a Children’s Carol Service at 3pm with a collection (in envelopes given out the Sunday before) for St St Dunstan’s Hostel for blinded soldiers and their children.


PRIVATE W T W Davis, of the 7thWilts, is reported to have been killed in action on November 4thin France.  He had served previously for two years and ten months in Salonika.  Deep sympathy is felt for his parents in their great sorrow and loss.



                                                                                                                                                                         Hubert Sands 


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© Burbage 1914