At the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month
The Great War
When war was declared on 4th August 1914, few people thought that it would last many months let alone be a long struggle over four years. On 5th August, Lord Kitchener was appointed Secretary of State for War and given the task of raising a voluntary army on a scale necessary for a European campaign.
At the time, Grayshott was a very small village, although it had enjoyed reasonable growth since the census of 1901 when the population was shown as 666. However, by the time peace was declared in November 1918, some 282 men of Grayshott had served in all areas of the military, in many different regiments of the army and in many theatres of war. During this period, over thirty died whilst serving their country. In the main, village life in Grayshott was little altered in the early days of the war, but as time went by and the numbers of young men joining the military increased, several of the village institutions ceased and new organisations were formed to support both the villagers and the locally based military units. However, even in the small village of Grayshott, the war effort moved swiftly.
The main news publication available to the residents of Grayshott was the Parish Magazine. In his monthly letter in September 1914, the vicar of Grayshott, Reverend A.E.N. Simms, portrayed the changing mood of the country when he wrote that the country “was engaged in the greatest war so far as numbers and prospects guide us, that history may have to record. Suddenly countless families have had their hearts focused behind a veil of secrecy, all preparing to be mourners. The future for which we were planning is suddenly blocked”. In the same issue, it was announced that during the war, the bonus payable to members of the Coal Club would be doubled.
Also included in the Parish Magazine were the names of the first thirteen men of the village who were at that time in military service. Thereafter, the names of all those in the military, including the name of the relevant regiment or ship with which the individual was serving, were published in the Magazine on a monthly basis until the end of the war. By October 1914, there were eighty-four individuals on the schedule, including five who had volunteered but were refused on medical grounds. By December 1918, the listing showed as follows:-
Roll of Honour
St Luke’s and War Memorial (30)
Reported during war period (7)
Prisoners of War (8)
Serving with Colours Royal Navy (20)
October 1914 saw the arrival of a number of Belgium refugees in Grayshott, the first being four families from Malines, two of which went to stay at High Down and two at Bull’s Farm, (see separate article on Archive web-site). Also in October 1914, the Grayshott Private Military Hospital was opened in the Convent in Grayshott. (see separate article on Archive web-site). This was a completely equipped hospital with 25 beds and served as a section hospital of the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot. Early admissions included men from Aisne, from the new drill grounds and from the Belgium Army. Around this time, the district presented a motor ambulance to the Royal Army Medical Corps. A Mr. Coe gave the chassis, while Dr. Lyndon and Mr. Lowry collected over £70 toward the cost of construction.
In October 1914, it was reported that the Grayshott Fire Brigade had lost its Chief Officer and two Firemen to military service resulting in a shortage of manpower. A further affect on the Fire Brigade as a result of the war, was the shortage of horses to pull the pumps due to the ‘call-up” of horses for service at the Front’. In the same month, permission was granted by the Parish Council for Drilling by the Civil Guard on the Village Green two mornings a week ‘provided it did not seriously injure the grass’.
November 1914 and men from Grayshott were serving on ten different ships of the Royal Navy and in the army at the Front– France, Egypt, India and Mauritius, as well as with units preparing for the Front. In Grayshott itself, residents were finding life more difficult with the absence of so many of its men folk who were serving in the military.
Lord Kitchener put out a general appeal to the public to help soldiers ‘in their task of equipping themselves for active service and not to offer to treat them to a drink’. Originally the call-up into Military Service was for men between the ages of nineteen and thirty, then in September 1914 the upper age limit was extended to thirty-five. In May1915, the age limit increased to forty and the minimum height restriction was reduced from 5’ 6” to 5’ 3”. There was later a move to allow men over 45 years to volunteer.
A large military camp was built on nearby Bramshott Common anticipating the arrival of a large number of Canadian troops. A Committee was formed in the village to prepare for the provision of the men’s social and religious needs. Supported by the organisation of the Y.M.C.A., Bramshott, Grayshott, Hindhead, Shottermill and Haslemere all undertook to become involved. It was proposed that donations be requested to help in the provision and erection of a number of recreational huts in the district. The Village Library was transferred from the Village Hall to No.1 Whitmore Cottages by kind permission of Miss Witt.
In December 1914, both Grayshott School and the Village Hall were commandeered for the billeting of troops and saw the arrival of the 7th King’s Royal Rifles and the 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade in the village. Mr. Wray of the Village Hall Management Committee was directed to negotiate to agree the best arrangements possible for the Village. It was later noted in the Parish Council Minutes that the agreed charge for billeting the troops was at the rate of 9d per head sleeping in the School or Village Hall each night. By March 1915, the total income from this source had amounted to £366.17s.5d. It was also a minuted that tents had been erected on the Tennis Courts, adjacent to the Village Hall, resulting in some damage for which the Council would seek compensation. Another issue recorded in the Minutes was that a Sanitary Cart had been rented by the Parish Council from the Rural District Council, three nights a week at a cost of three guineas, due to the increase of the population resulting from the billeting of the troops.
Due to the occupation of the school by the troops, the pupils of the lower school were transferred to the Wesleyan Chapel and the older children to the Portsmouth Road Mission Rooms. The first of the Y.M.C.A. Recreation huts were opened on Bramshott Camp in November with the second one, to be manned by Grayshott Residents, due the following month. The Mission Rooms were also in use for the troops recreation each evening except Saturdays.
December 1914 also saw the recording of the loss of the first Grayshott man due to the war, Loftus George Levett who was serving on H.M.S. Good Hope operating in the Pacific. The following month, the death at the age of 29 years of Capt. Harold Whitaker, 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade was reported. It had been announced in November that he had just returned with his regiment to Winchester and would shortly be going to the front.
March 1915, and the King’s Royal Rifles and the 8th Rifles left the village to be replaced by the Oxfordshire & Bucks and the 12th Rifle Brigades, who were to remain in the village until Easter Tuesday in April. Church service parades for each took place in the village on each Sunday during their stay. This month also saw the reporting of the first Grayshott man to be taken as a prisoner of war, George Budd of the Manchester Regiment, and the death of eighteen year old 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Brickwood of 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment who had died from injuries in Boulogne. Unusually, he was buried in St. Luke’s Churchyard some six days later. By this time, six months after the declaration of war, 115 Grayshott men were serving in the military and a further nine had volunteered but were refused on medical grounds.
It was reported that work was continuing as planned at the Bramshott Camp Recreation Huts. Accounts published showed total receipts to have been £3,460 of which £1,200 was a War Office Grant, the balance being received from donations. £1742 had been expended on the purchase and equipping of the first two huts. Appeals were being made for additional helpers to run the huts and for assistance in giving French lessons to the troops.
As in all parts of the country, Grayshott residents, from children to the elderly, began to feel the effects of the distant war and struggled to adapt to the new conditions. In May1915 the vicar of Grayshott, Rev A.E.N. Simms, appealed in the Parish Magazine for all to share the burden in order to release men for military service. He wrote ‘We must send our own messengers to the shops and eventually come and fetch our own goods We may prepare ourselves for the day when the motor bus is removed and generally it would be well to investigate what are really necessities and what can be done without in the face of the one supreme necessity’. With the troops having left the village, it was reported that the Rural District Sanitary Authorities had disinfected and cleaned the schools and the children were back in occupation in their old quarters.
Lord Kitchener made a new appeal for an additional 300,000 men and the upper age limit was extended to 40 years and the minimum height to reduced further to 5ft. 2 in. Rev. Simms urged men of Grayshott to answer the appeal and for those who had earlier been rejected on medical grounds to reapply. The effects of the war were being felt by many, local men, Fred Cresswell and Sam Young were wounded in Gallipoli and W.J. Cresswell, John Selwyn and Rupert Parker were also reported wounded. Letters received by Grayshott families wrote of the deadly nature of the fighting. The deaths of two more Grayshott men were reported, Christopher Selwyn, 5th Leicestershire Regiment and Alfred White, Sherwood Foresters. It was announced that a special service of prayer for those killed, wounded and those still serving in the military would be held in St. Luke’s Church each Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. and the families of the men were especially asked to attend.
The Grayshott League of Honour, an organisation of the church, had been formed at St Luke’s. The enrollment fee was 1d and each member undertook a promise ‘by the help of God to do all that is in my power to uphold the honour of our nation and its defenders in this time of war, by prayer, purity and temperance’ In June 1915, the Parish Magazine recorded that the League was busy making slippers for French soldiers in hospital and knitting squares to be made into blankets for the Serbians. The knitted squares were 12in square and twenty were sewn together to form a blanket. An appeal was made to members of the League, totaling some seventy in number, for each to undertake to some work at home if they were unable to attend meetings. Also, that they were to begin making sandbags in response to an article by an infantry lieutenant who wrote ‘We must have more sandbags . If you saw a shell burst on a parapet with sandbags and on one without, you would soon see how many lives they save’. Letters of thanks for a supply of sandbags to be used in the building of a ‘vast dug-out’, were later received from a Lieut. Crossley and a Major Bullock, presumably from France.
In July 1915, new War Bonds were available for savers, paying four-and-a-half percent interest residents were able to purchase them at the Post Office for any amount above five shillings. Villagers were reminded of the availability of the Bonds again the following month. In addition, they were reminded to avoid, as far as possible, imported food and ‘unnecessary food to ones existence, to manage and economise wherever possible’. By November 1916, it was reported by the Hindhead & Grayshott War Savings Association that 1095 Certificates, at fifteen shillings and six-pence each, had been purchased between May and September of that year. This same month, the Parish Council reported that a letter had been received from the National Committee for the Relief of Belgium asking the Council to co-operate with the County Council to open a fund for aid to Belgium but the Council declined the invitation. At the same Parish Council meeting, it was agreed that the Council would assist in the preparation of a National Register and a census was duly taken in the village on 15th August.
In August 1915, it was reported that all of the troops billeted in the village throughout the winter and spring had now gone to the front. The death of a Capt. Balleine of “A” Company, 8th Rifles, together with two N.C.O.’s were reported, as was that of Grayshott man George Budd of the Manchester Regiment who had previously been reported as a prisoner of war. Letters received from Colonel Maclachlan of the 8th Rifles, and Colonel Rennie of the 7th Kings Royal Rifles, two of the battalions which had been based in Grayshott for some three months, spoke of the terrible slaughter of the battalions whereby some two thirds of the men were lost, either killed or wounded. A letter received by Dr. Lyndon from Col. Maclachlan was printed in the Parish Magazine as follows:
Dear Dr. Lyndon,
The remnants of the 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade are greatly touched by your sympathetic letter and we are most grateful to all at Grayshott for their kindly remembrance of the battalion.
Everyone in the battalion fought right well and I’ve never in my life felt so proud of them. The companies in which the heaviest losses were are ’A’ Co. billeted in the village and ‘C’ Co at the Hall. They were both in the front line and were simply enveloped in this flaming liquid. Curiously enough both Mr. McAfee and Mr. Scringeour survived the first attack but both were killed in the afternoon at the head of their men, gallantly leading a counter attack against simply murderous machine gun fire.
I hope to get many of the wounded back later on, but I fear nearly all those reported missing were killed fighting in the trenches.
Thank you again for your letter, I want just to add that every officer, N.C.O. and man of the battalion looked back on their time at Grayshott with the happiest recollections and it was a very frequent topic of conversation in the trenches, and the hospitality of all has never been forgotten.
Please remember me to Mrs. Lyndon.
Following the battle, the 8th Rifles were awarded a total of thirteen bravery awards, two V.C.’s, two D.S.O’s, two Military Crosses and seven D.C.M.’s.
In October 1915, there was a discussion at the Parish Council as to whether an insurance policy should be taken against damage to the Village Hall as a result of air raids. Whether such a policy was adopted is not clear from the Minutes. The Minutes of the same meeting record that the Council Elections due in 1916 were to be postponed. The elections were later also postponed for 1917, as decreed by the Local Government Board.
In November 1915, His Majesty the King made a national appeal for ‘more men and yet more to keep my armies in the field, and through them to secure victory and enduring peace. I ask all men of all classes to come forward voluntarily and take your share in the fight’. Grayshott men continued to respond and the number of those serving in the military increased yet again. In the same month an appeal was made to the residents for clothes for the Belgium men, women and children evacuees now living in the village and a further appeal for parcels of comfort to be sent to the 4th Hampshire Regiment serving in India and the Persian Gulf. It was also announced that a Corporal James Langan of the 2nd. Dorset, who had married Grayshott girl Lucy Voller in St Luke’s in September, had been recommended for the award of the Victoria Cross. In December 1915, the name of C.A. Symons of the Gloucester Regiment was added to that of those killed in action.
Although not directly connected with the war, the second ever reported murder took place in the village when a Canadian soldier, Lieutenant Codere, murdered a fellow soldier, Sergeant Ozanne, whilst residing in Arundel, now Hindhead Chase, in Crossways Road. (see separate article on Archive web-site).
Once again the Village Hall, manned by local people, was being used for recreation by troops based at Bramshott Camp after an interruption due to the billeting of troops in the hall. Life in Grayshott continued to be directly influenced by the war with many of the remaining residents helping out in whatever way they could. The church bell was rung each day at noon as a call for residents to remember those serving in the military. Ninety-seven names appeared on the Soldiers Christmas Parcels list, following contributions by businesses, school collections, personal gifts and household collections.
The Rev. Simms, in his letter in the Parish Magazine of January 1916, appealed once again for all to help in the war effort. February 1916 saw the death of another Grayshott man, George Harris, King‘s Shropshire Light Infantry. He had been wounded several times, the last fatally and died in Dover Hospital. He was buried in St. Luke’s churchyard, with full military honours, including a firing party and bugler from Bramshott Camp. The coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was conveyed to the churchyard on a gun carriage. The death of Charles Budd, killed in action whilst serving with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, was also recorded. Another family affected directly by the war were the Crossley’s of The Grange whose daughter was drowned following the sinking of the S.S.Persia.
In January 1916, the Parish Council recorded the receipt of a letter from the Hampshire War Agriculture Commission, explaining a scheme for distribution of seed potatoes from the Board of Agriculture in an effort to encourage the home growing of vegetables. Further, in March 1916, a minute of the Parish Council records that owing to the need to cultivate land on account of the then food shortage, the Trustees of Phillips Green had given permission for Phillips Green to be cultivated for the growing of potatoes etc. for the time being. An acre was therefore ploughed and divided into ten allotments, with tenancy until 31st March 1918 at a rental of two shillings and sixpence per plot. All plots were let. In addition, unploughed ten-rod plots were let for one shilling per plot to the wives of Canadian soldiers. Applications for seed potatoes were received from twenty-five growers and the Parish Council ordered 18 hundredweight from the Board of Agriculture, the order later being received from Northern Ireland. It was not until October 1922 that Phillips Green was re-grassed and permission given by the Parish Council for grazing of cattle on it and for use of the green by the school for hockey and other games.
In March 1916, an appeal was made for socks for the troops of the Hampshire Regiment serving in France, Salonika and the Mediterranean. It was also announced that E.G. Bridger, 9th Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action. The number of reported wounded Grayshott men serving in the military rose to eight. In the Parish Magazine, villagers were reminded to report to the police the presence of any foreigner, enemy or otherwise, who may come to stay in their house. Appeals were made to Grayshott women to volunteer to work on the land.
In 1916, the Germans had increased their policy of the use of submarines to attack merchant shipping. In February 1917 alone, German submarines sank 230 ships bringing food and others supplies to England. The German campaign led the Government to introduce food controls during 1916, which eventually led to voluntary rationing and then, between December 1917 and February 1918, to compulsory rationing. Ration Books were issued to each household for butter, lard, sugar and meat. Each book contained coupons, which had to be used in the allotted week, otherwise they were forfeited.
The death of Lieut. Arthur Selwyn, Royal Flying Corps. killed whilst flying over Gosport, was announced in June 1916. On the Sunday prior to his death, he had been flying over Grayshott. By September 1916, the names of C. Hannant, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, Chas Wood, Queen’s Own Surrey Regiment and Albert White, 6th Hants Regiment, had been added to the Roll of Honour.
In his Annual Report for the Grayshott Aid Society, established to provide assistance to the needy, Dr. Lyndon, Treasurer, stated as follows:-
‘The fact that Grayshott finds itself in the middle of such an important military area, coupled with the departure of almost all the men of military age, has reduced the number of necessitous cases below what might have been expected in time of war. However he goes on to say While recognising the debt we owe our navy, it is nevertheless necessary to remember that the natural process of events, as the continuance of high prices after the cessation of war industries and military employment, will make it necessary to husband our resources and be ready for greatly increased distress’.
Conscription was introduced by the Government in 1916. The Reverend Simms, in his letters to parishioners throughout December to March 1917, encouraged the parishioners to be strong under the strain of war, to reduce waste, particularly of food, to make good use of allotments and allocated land on the Recreation Fields, to lend to the cause through investing in the War Savings Association and to ignore German propaganda. Food allowance at this time was two and half pounds of meat, four pounds of bread and three-quarters pound of sugar per head. In his June 1917 letter he appealed for reasonableness and understanding toward others:-
‘We, whether in the trenches, in the munitions works or in the kitchen , in the hospital, or at any other post, we are like the rocky coast the tide of military assertion is breaking against. And to keep our determination strong we must be acting on this principle in our dealings with each other at home. Let us always be reasonable to each other, not refusing to make allowances, not always trying to impose our will on others, browbeating those whose different circumstances make them see things from another angle’.
In later months, articles published in the Parish Magazine continued to include dietary advice, methods of saving food and advice on cooking. In June, an address on “Food Values” was given to an audience of sixty in the Village Hall.
On Friday 25th May 1917, Empire Day was celebrated in the village as in past years. The school children marched to the green where they sang songs, saluted the flag and listened to a speech on duty to the Empire.
By July 1917, the Roll of Honour had increased to eighteen with the inclusion of A. Ford, 1st Grenadiers, E. Pickett, MT. Army Service Corps., Jack Voller, Hants Regiment and James Voller, Royal Engineers. In addition, four Grayshott men were reported missing and five more had been taken Prisoners of War. Jack Voller had volunteered to row Indian troops across the Tigris for the capture of Kut and was killed in his boat. His brother James was shot while clearing a trench of Germans some six weeks later. By the end of the year, four more names had been added to the Roll, A. Larby, Wiltshire Regiment, G. Hervey, R.G.A., J. Lawrence, Shropshire Light Infantry and F. Slater, 5th Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry.
In October 1917, an order was placed by the Parish Council for one and a half tons of King Edwards seed potatoes at a cost of £8.5.0d under the Board of Agriculture Scheme.
November 1917, and the King called for a National Day of Prayer to be held on 6th January1918 and the first Sunday of each year thereafter. Reverend Simms appealed for all to help Italians with food and fuel, to help each other with food and fuel, to organise locally the supplies of necessities and to grow as much food as possible, as homes were beginning to suffer severely from the effects of the war. It was in 1918 that British Summer Time was introduced to give more daylight working hours. Meat, butter and margarine rations were introduced in February. In March, Reverend Simms travelled to France at the request of the Y.M.C.A. to give a series of lectures to the troops. He reported on this trip in the May edition of the Magazine.
In March 1918, it was noted in the Parish Minutes that the Government advocated pig keeping, where possible, by individual households, but the Council decided that it could not force such a measure on households and that it was up to the individual whether or not to comply. In the same month there was also an order issued by the Secretary of Trade for the reduction of consumption of electricity.
As with the majority communities in the country, many Grayshott families had a number of their members serving in the military. Five brothers of one Grayshott family, the Cresswells were serving and in April 1918, Harry Cresswell, Royal Fusiliers was killed as the Germans launched their great offensive. In June, the village heard more bad news with D.J. Crawte Hampshire Regiment killed in France. The death of Capt. T. Wilson, killed in action whilst serving with the Sherwood Foresters was also announced, although not a Grayshott resident, he had been resident at Mount Arlington School. At this stage of the war , all men up to the age of fifty were subject to conscription. By now, the total men from Grayshott serving or having served in the military amounted to 269 and the village population was mainly made up of women, children and the elderly.
On 30th June 1918, there was a special service held in St. Luke’s celebrating Dominion Day, the Canadian festival commemorating the federalising of the Canadian provinces in 1867. A male voice choir of the Canadian troops based at Bramshott, conducted by a Sergeant Adamson, the organist from a Toronto church, was in attendance and led the singing, including the anthem “O Canada”. The choir also attended St. Luke’s on a number of other occasions during the period the Canadian soldiers were based at Bramshott.
By November 1918, the Grayshott Roll of Honour had been increased to thirty-one with the addition of the names of A.Miles, Hants Regiment, M.Moore, Grenadier Guards and B. Wood, M.G.C. and also those of W.Cresswell, 2nd Hants, G Norman, 6th Hants and Lieut. Parker, Lincolnshire. Regiment, all of whom had been previously reported as ‘Missing‘. Six more names were to be added before the end of the war, those of Lieut. G Selwyn, Royal Field Artillery, A. Levett, C. Bangs, 6th Poonah Division, G. Halstead, Royal Flying Corps, L. Luff, Queen’s R.W.S. and W. Wood, Queen‘s Own Surreys, bringing the reported total of Grayshott men lost whilst serving their country to thirty-seven.
Also in November, the ravages of the influenza epidemic was spreading across Europe and taking its toll on Grayshott residents. Bramshott Camp was officially quarantined. By mid 1919, the tragic effects of the epidemic could be witnessed in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Grayshott, where the graves of ninety-five Canadian servicemen are to be seen, the majority of whom had died from the effects of the flu whilst awaiting to go home to Canada. In nearby St. Mary’s Church, Bramshott are also the graves of three hundred and seventeen other Canadian servicemen who died whilst based at Bramshott Camp.
On Monday 11th November 1918, an Armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed to bring the war to an end and at 6.00pm, a service of thanksgiving was held in St. Luke’s.
December marked the homecoming of three of the former Prisoners of War, E A. Bishop, Royal Sussex Regiment, R. Harris, Queen’s R.W.S. and W. Harris, Northants Regiment, all from Germany, soon to be followed by Grayshott servicemen returning home after demobilisation. Grayshott Military Hospital was closed on 14th January 1919. During the period September 1914 until closure, 835 patients had been admitted.
In February 1919, the funeral, with full military honours, took place at St. Luke’s of Lieut. George Halstead Military Medal, a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. who had died in a flying accident on 31st. January 1919. By August 1919, many of the Grayshott servicemen had returned to the village and nearby Bramshott Camp, which had played such an influential role in the lives of Grayshott residents, was all but empty.
In July 1919, Parish Minutes record that the Local Government Board, whose powers by now had passed to the Ministry of Health, had sanctioned that expenditure for the ’Celebration of Peace’ events should come from the receipt of rate payments by each Council. However, in Grayshott the Parish Council proposed the costs for such an event should be met by donations, including contributions to the cost of flares at Gibbet Hill. Use of the new cricket field for the Grayshott event was duly approved.
A committee had been formed in January 1919 to discuss and recommend a War Memorial in memory of Grayshott residents who had died whilst serving their country. In March 1920, a letter was sent to the Parish Council by the War Memorial Committee requesting that a Memorial Cross be erected on the Village Green. The Council duly approved this request.
On 17th July 1921, the dedication took place of the War Memorials in St. Luke’s and on the Village Green. Colonel-Commandant A. C. Daly, C.B., C.M.G. undertook the unveiling of the Roll of Honour tablet in the church, in command at Bordon Camp. The unveiling was carried out by the parting of the colour of the Grayshott Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides, each held by a Scout and a Guide standing either side. Following the unveiling and prayers, a procession, made up of the clergy, ex- Servicemen, relatives of the fallen and members of the congregation, proceeded to the Village Green. Here, Colonel-Commandant Daly addressed those present, reminding them of what the men, to whose memory the Cross was erected, had given and the meaning of the Memorial. A large memorial wreath was placed by Sergeant H. Bentley and after prayers and the dedication, the Memorial was handed over to the care of the Parish Council. This was followed by the ‘Last Post’ sounded by four buglers, the hymn Abide With Me and the ‘Reveille’ and ended with the placing of many wreaths on the steps. See photos below.
Although the deaths of thirty-seven men of Grayshott had been announced in the Parish Magazine over the period of the War, the final total, as inscribed on the Memorial Tablet and the War Memorial Cross is only thirty. One can only presume that, in the confusion of war, a number of those previously reported as killed did in fact survive, others are remembered elsewhere, G Budd and C Budd are recorded on the War Memorial at Bramshott. The complete situation is, however, unknown, although there are official Commonwealth War Graves in St. Luke’s Churchyard of Lieutenant Brickwood and Private E. Larby and of others who are also included on the Roll of Honour.
The final list of names as shown on the Memorial:-
> J. Voller
* not reported in Parish Magazine
> Commonwealth War Grave, St. Luke’s Churchyard
The names of those previously recorded in the Parish Magazine Roll of Honour not recorded on the Memorial Tablet in St. Luke’s or on the Grayshott War Memorial.
* Recorded on Bramshott Memorial
+ Recorded on Headley Memorial
> Commonwealth War Grave
Researched & written by Brian Tapp
Grayshott Village Archive
The following pages are copies from the November & December 1918 Parish Magazine schedules. No later schedules were published.
Following the onslaught of the German advance into Belgium in August/September 1914 a massive refugee problem immediately emerged. Some of the luckier ones found refuge, all be it somewhat temporary, in England. Of these some found their way to Grayshott and from school admission registers of the time the following were known to be resident here. There is no record that their parents were also resident but it would be reasonable to assume that some were from Antwerp.
From Antwerp, staying at Bulls Farm:
Born 14/7/01 – Arrived 29/9/14 – Left 30/7/15
Born 11/8/03 – Arrived 29/9/14 – Left 17/11/15
Returned 03/4/16 – Left 13/05/16
Born 11/8/07 – Arrived 29/09/14 – Left 01/10/14
Returned 11/11/14 – Left 27/11/14
Returned 14/04/15 – Left 29/02/16
Returned 03/04/16 – Left 08/04/19
Charlotta Johanna Maria Wilms. – Guardian
From Malines, staying at Glen Road:
Rombans Van Sevendouck
Born 01/11/00 – Arrived 17/11/14 – Left 17/11/14
Paul Van Sevendouck
Born 14/7/08 – Arrived 17/11/14 – Left 30/3/15
Clementine Van Sevendouck
Born 12/8/04 – Arrived 17/11/14 – Left 30/3/15
From Louvain, staying at ‘Homeside’, Headley Road.
Edwardus Van De Pul
Born 28/03/05 – Arrived 11/01/15 – Left 21/01/16
Alina Van De Pul
Born 14/07/03 – Arrived 08/03/15 – Left 05/10/15
Emerance Van Houven
Born 01/12/01 – Arrived 08/03/15 – Left 02/06/15
From Heyslopden, staying at Bramshott Chase:
Paulins Van Nuffel
Born 15/08/03 – Arrived 06/09/15 – Left 10/07/16
Berta Van Nuffel
Born 24/01/05 – Arrived 06/09/15 – Left 10/07/16
The Grayshott War Hospital opened its doors in September 18th 1914 and closed them on the 14th January 1919.
The Grayshott Magazine of October 1914 carried the following feature.
Grayshott Private Hospital for Sick and Wounded Soldiers.
‘Owing to the generosity of the Rev. Mother Superior of the Convent at Grayshott in placing one wing of the building at the disposal of the Aid Committee it has been possible to offer a completely equipped hospital of 25 beds to the Military Authorities at Aldershot for the use of Sick and Wounded Soldiers. The hospital has been recognised by the War Office as a section Hospital of the Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot.
A maintenance grant of two shillings per day for each patient in the hospital will be made by the War Office, and all other expenses are borne by the Grayshott Aid Committee ‘Special Fund’.
Most generous gifts and loans of bedsteads, bedding, tables, lockers, cutlery, spoons and forks, crockery, all daily papers, have been made. The result is a thoroughly equipped hospital, containing everything necessary to promote the rapid recovery of patients.
Where everyone has been exceedingly generous it is invidious to mention names, but an exception must be made in the case of the Rev. Mother Superior and the Sisters of the Convent, who have not only provided the building and a considerable amount of furniture, but offer personal service in cooking, laundry work, household work, and help with nursing.
The hospital is staffed by the local doctors, with Mr. George Cask, Surgeon to St. Bartholomew’s hospital, as consulting surgeon; and although in a convent building will be entirely unsectarian.
Mrs. Lyndon (late Sister at Guys Hospital) acts as Lady Superintendent of Nurses and will have under her three fully-trained Surgical Sisters, besides a number of lady probationers, who have patriotically offered their services.
The hospital was opened on Friday, 18th inst., when fourteen patients arrived from the Cambridge Hospital.
The transport arrangements are in the hands of Mr. Budgett, of Araluem, Hindhead, who has had a large number motor cars placed at his disposal for the purpose by residents in the neighbourhood.
The Grayshott Aid Committee are anxious to keep the hospital open as long as the war lasts, but in order to do this they must have the whole hearted support of the parishioners of Grayshott.
The chief expenses will be : 1. Food and medical comforts for the patients. 2. Salaries of the nursing sisters. 3. Wages of porter and laundry maid. 4. Surgical dressings and medicines
The following offers have been received and gratefully accepted by the Committee: a) To pay all expenses of heating and lighting the hospital as long as it remains open. b) The salaries of two trained nursing sisters for six months.
Until the hospital has been working for a month or two it is difficult to make any accurate estimate of the weekly expenses, but it is thought that at least £7.10s. per week will be required, in addition to the grant from the War office and the offers of help mention above.
Dr. Arnold Lyndon, treasurer of the Grayshott Aid Committee, will be glad to receive donations, or, where preferred, weekly or monthly subscriptions.
Anyone willing to give butter, eggs, vegetables, fruit, or poultry is requested to send them direct to the hospital.
The Vicar holds a short service each Sunday. For those who are Roman Catholics similar provision is, of course made by their clergy.
The district has presented a motor ambulance to the Royal Army Medical Corps. Mr Coe gave the chassis, while Dr. Lyndon and Mr. Lowry collected over £70 towards the cost of construction.
The Grayshott Magazine of March 1916 carried the following feature.
‘The Grayshott Military Hospital is much in need of funds to enable the work to be carried on through the next few months. The balance which was in hand in January 1915 has all been expended, and the capitation fee of 3s. a day for each patient received from the military authorities does not pay much more than half of the working expenses. The Hon. Treasurer, Dr. Lyndon, will gladly receive money donations. Gifts in kind, especially poultry, vegetables, jam, cake and groceries should be sent direct to the hospital.’
In the following May, the Grayshott Magazine reported.
‘Grayshott Military Hospital – The special appeal in the March number of the parish Magazine has been most liberally responded to, £76. 5s has been received by the Hon. Treasurer, together with some promises of further help. This has enabled all current liabilities to be discharged and there is a balance in hand, but with the constantly increasing cost of food, drugs and dressings, the hospital will still be dependant on voluntary help to support the War Office grant. Gifts of poultry, vegetables, jam, cake and groceries are always most acceptable. The egg collection, organised by Mrs. Harrison, has proved most successful, and a kind friend of the hospital in Haslemere is also sending a fortnightly supply. The Treasurer is most grateful for all the help received, and takes this opportunity of reminding readers of the magazine that visitors will be warmly welcomed at the hospital every Wednesday between two and four p.m.’
In February 1919, not long after the armistice, the Grayshott Magazine noted.
‘The disappearance of the men in blue is another evidence that the fighting has ceased. The Military Hospital was closed on January 14th. This was perhaps the most effective and happiest contribution to the war made by Grayshott. An opportunity will be sought to express a warm appreciation of all who contributed to make it so successful. First of all the Reverend Mother and Sisters in the Convent are to be thanked for supplying the premises, the cooking, and other labour. We are certain that this assistance to the needs of our men will be gratefully remembered. Then the unremitting attention of Dr. Lyndon both as doctor in charge and as careful administrator as well as author of the undertaking receives universal recognition. Mrs. Lyndon, Miss Bewely as Commandant, the nursing staff, the local and occasional helpers, made the hospital a home which the men never failed to appreciate warmly. Of those in Grayshott whose service remained constant we must especially mention Miss Baxendale. She saw it through. Then there were many contributors in money and kind. But above all there are men in all parts of the kingdom who will retain a happy recollection of the happy time in Grayshott after the strain and stress, the blood and the mud of war. Their good spirits and enjoyment were always a sustaining reward.
The Grayshott Magazine, May 1919.
The Grayshott Military Hospital report stated that 835 patients had been admitted between September 18th. 1914 and January 14th. 1919, when the Hospital was closed. After expression of thanks to those who had given services or material help , it proceeds – ‘The cost per annum has averaged about £2159.; the War Office grants amounting to rather over three fifths of this sum, the remainder having been given by friends without, however, any public appeal being made. The amount given includes gifts in kind. Directly the Hospital closed , the furniture was returned as far as possible ; some goods were sold; splints, surgical dressings and appliances were given to the Haslemere Cottage Hospital; a bath chair, books, and a gramophone to the Alton Infirmary, and books and toys to the Alton Isolation Hospital. Surplus underclothing and socks were sent to the Serbian Relief Fund. A large quantity of Hospital fittings and bedding have been retained for the use of the proposed War Memorial Cottage Hospital, should it materialise. It was necessary to redecorate the Hospital before handing it back to its owners, but there may be a few pounds in hand when all the accounts have been met. There is, however, some expenses for maintaining ‘Pinewood’ the Nurses’ hostel, until May 28th., when the annual agreement expires.
It is a great pleasure to record the award of the Red Cross to Miss Molly Baxendale. She worked at the Hospital throughout the whole period’.
Location of the War Hospital and subsequent events and developments
The War Hospital was part of the larger premises known as ‘The Cenacle’, see picture above. The property was originally built about 1862, named ‘Heather Lodge’ and owned by Edward I’Anson. By 1888, Mr. Vertue had become the owner and he renamed it ‘Grayshott Court’. The present Catholic church was built in the grounds of the house. By 1912, Grayshott Court had been acquired by ‘The Order of the Lady of the Cenacle’. It was renamed, ‘The Convent’, and then renamed yet again, ‘The Convent of the Cenacle’. Mrs. Vertue then moved into the smaller ‘Court Cottage’. The ‘Cenacle’ was sold for redevelopment in 1999 and demolished. The site is now entirely occupied by private housing that is located off Headley Road before the Waggoners Wells corner.
Richard Peskett (2007)
Grayshott Village Archive
The Grayshott Magazine, February 1914.
The Grayshott Magazine, March 1916.
The Grayshott Magazine, May 1916.
The Grayshott Magazine, February 1919.
The Grayshott Magazine, May 1919.
No. 15 Company, Platoon 15, D Company, 24th Hampshire Home Guard
David Slater gave the following photograph of the Grayshott Home Guard to the Archive. David was a young boy at the time the photograph was taken. He was a ‘runner’ for Platoon 15 as it was called and also the son of the unit’s Commanding Officer, Captain J W Slater D.C.M (Distinguished Conduct Medal) and Numbered 25 in the photograph.
Some years after the war, Captain Slater related two amusing incidents to his from his days in the Grayshott Home Guard. The following account is a brief summary of this interview, an audio recording of which is held on CD in the Archive.
Young soldiers and their older officers from the Royal Sussex Young Soldiers Regiment trained the Platoon. According to these young men of 19 or so, “The Platoon were using out of date methods.” In a night exercise using techniques and experience gained in the World War I and in India the Home Guard captured the Sussex Headquarters in Kingswood Firs. With cunning diversions, they gave the impression they were about to attack one side of the Sussex Headquarters causing the defenders to lower their guard on that side. However, the Grayshott troops doubled back smartly keeping under cover and over ran the Headquarters from the other side. But in doing this there was the heck of a scrap. “I lost my helmet in the scuffle,” said Captain Slater. The umpire awarded the battle to the Grayshott Platoon!
Then there was the story of ‘milking the bull belonging to a local farmer, Mr. Baird’. One of the Platoon was persuaded by his fellow soldiers to go and milk this ‘cow’. He returned terrified but fortunately unharmed since the bull was of a gentle persuasion. “What did you do about this?” David asked, obviously thinking this prank should surely not have amused the Captain of the Guard. “Oh replied” Captain Slater, “I was only a sergeant at the time.”
Apart from being able to identify his father in the photograph, David was unable to name any other members of the platoon and he asked David Barrett of the village Archive if he might help. Talking to various members of the present village community together with making contact with others people following an article in the Haslemere Herald, David Barrett has gathered together the following information
No. 1: – Mr. Pope. Identified by Peter Clapham.
No. 2: – Unidentified.
No. 3: – Mr. Frederick William Bentley. His son Peter commented, “Dad joined up in World War I whilst under age. I remember him bringing his Home Guard rifle home and leaning it up against the wall; it was as tall as I was at the time. Father died in 1955.”
No. 4: – Mr. Reg Burden. Dennis Moss and Peter Clapham identified Mr. Burden, Dennis and Sue Moss remembered that “Reg owned ‘Woods’ the butchers on Headley Road working there during and after the war.”
No. 5: – Mr. Sawkins. Peter Clapham identified Mr. Sawkins but was unable to recall his Christian name or provide any further information.
No. 6: – Mr. Pat Martin. Mrs. Sue Henley confirmed her father in the photograph. Bertha Porter née Cornish remembers Pat Martin working in insurance, and this was confirmed by his daughter who recalled, “Father covered Grayshott, Headley and the surrounding districts for Prudential Assurance collecting customers’ contributions on his bicycle; he was ‘The man from the Pru.'”. Walter Winchester also recognised and identified Mr. Martin.
No. 7: – Mr. Alexander (Jock) Wilson was identified by his grandson, Ian Rasburn and Walter Winchester. Ian recalled, “My grandfather served in World War I. He was Chief Fire Officer in Grayshott and when not on duty he was chauffeur to Mr. Blyth at Finns Court Cottage on Boundary Road. He died in 1977 at the age of 77.”
No. 8: – Mr. Beard. Peter Chapman remembers him working as a bank teller, but could not remember his Christian name.
No. 9: – Mr. Bowles. Bertha Porter née Cornish recalled that Mr. Bowles retired to Grayshott after working overseas, somewhere in the east.
No. 10: – Mr. Arthur Chegwyn. Donald Meaning, Dennis Moss, Peter Clapham and Bertha Porter née Cornish identified Mr. Chegwyn. Donald remembered Mr. Chegwyn working in the building trade, while Bertha said, “I think he was a carpenter”.
No. 11: – Mr. Fred Budd. Identified by Bertha Porter née Cornish who recalled, “He was a gardener”.”
No. 12: – Mr. Bob Cherry. Recognised by Donald Meaning, Dennis Moss Walter Winchester and Peter Clapham.
No. 13: – Unidentified.
No. 14: – Mr. Chris Meaning. Don Meaning, a life long resident identified his father along with Dennis Moss and Walter Winchester
No. 15: – Mr. Stan Tickner. Identified by Donald Meaning (“Mr. Tickner managed the Co-operative stores in the village”), Dennis Moss, Peter Clapham, Bertha Porter née Cornish and Walter Winchester.
No. 16: – Mr. Howick. Identified by Peter Clapham and Walter Winchester who suggested that his Christian name was ‘Bert’.
No. 17: – Mr. Joe Davies. Identified by Donald Meaning, but see No. 18 identified as John Davies by Bertha Porter née Cornish who believed he worked as a motor mechanic.
No. 18: – Mr. John Davies. Bertha Porter née Cornish identified him and believe he worked as a motor mechanic.
No. 19: – Unidentified.
No. 20: – Mr. Joe Collis. Identified by Donald Meaning, Dennis Moss and Bertha Porter née Cornish.
No. 21: – Unidentified.
No. 22: – Mr. W Simmonds. He was the Platoon cook and the father of Miss Bett and Miss E D Simmonds. Mr. Simmonds was a member of the village football (soccer) club in his youth.
No. 23: – Unidentified.
No. 24: – Unidentified but because he is wearing a beret and not a Platoon cap, he may he have been a visitor from headquarters?
No. 25: – Captain J W Slater D.C.M., Platoon Commander.
No. 26: – Unidentified, but see comments for No. 24
No. 27: – Mr. Fred Coleman. Identified by Bertha Porter née Cornish. “Fred Coleman and his wife Betty (Elisabeth) ran a poultry farm, Dingly Dell in Whitmore Vale. Fred had won the M.C. in World War I,” said Mrs. Porter. “Fred was Betty’s second husband. She had married a Mr. Broom, another war veteran who had been wounded in the war. When he died from his wounds, his war pension died with him leaving her destitute with three young children.” David Barrett of the Archive recalls taking Mrs. Coleman to Haslemere Hospital and learning how she first developed a poultry business in her back yard. He learned as much about marketing from her during that short journey as he learned in the whole of his own business career.
No. 28: – Unidentified.
No. 29: – Mr. Maurice (Maurey) Lampard. Identified by Donald Meaning, Dennis Moss, Peter Clapham and Bertha Porter née Cornish.
No. 30: – Mr. Tom French. Identified by Peter Clapham, Walter Winchester, Bertha Porter née Cornish who said, “He was a bus driver”, and Ron Maurey who also said, “He was my uncle who died in 1964. He was a builder, worked for Clapham, Lowrie and Puttock and married a Stacey girl from Grayshott.”
No. 31: – Mr. Rapson. Identified by Donald Meaning.
No. 32: – Unidentified
No. 33: –
No. 34: – Mr. Joe Johnson. Identified by Donald Meaning, Dennis Moss, Peter Clapham, Walter Winchester and also Bertha Porter née Cornish who said, “Joe Johnson did a bit of everything.”
No. 35: – Mr. Mark Clapham. Identified by Dennis Moss and Peter Clapham.
No. 36: – Unidentified.
No. 37: – Mr. William Lander. David Lander identified Mr. Lander as his father who was a bus driver with the Aldershot & District company during the 2nd World War. Donald Meaning, Dennis Moss and Walter Winchester all thought he was Mr. H Askew.
No. 38: – No soldier numbered 38 in error.
No. 39: – Mr. Walter H Moss. Identified by his son Dennis Moss and by Donald Meaning, Peter Clapham and Walter Winchester.
David W A Barrett
Grayshott Village Archive