Ewhurst History Society

« March 1915

April 1915

A Military Wedding

On Wednesday 16th April, some of the gloom of the war was relieved by a military wedding, with many villagers turning out to see the bride, who came from a well-known Ewhurst family, the Frechevilles, who lived at High Wykehurst. The Surrey Advertiser reported the event at great length -

The village of Ewhurst was the scene of a memorable and happy event associated with the War, on Wednesday, when a military wedding took place in the old world Parish Church. The Roll of Honour, which is affixed to the church doors, shows that the village has responded loyally to the call of King and Country and the bridegroom, who was accompanied by a number of brother officers, is expecting to be sent to the front shortly. It was this fact which accelerated the wedding and under the circumstances the ceremony was of a quiet description. The bridegroom was Lt Gustave Herbert Theodor Petersen of the 14th Service Battalion Hampshire Regiment, only son of Mr Theodor Petersen and Mrs Petersen of Shiplake Wimbledon and the bride, Miss Frances May Frecheville, eldest daughter of Professor Frecheville ARSM, MIMM, FGS and Mrs Frecheville of High Wykehurst, Ewhurst. Professor and Mrs Frecheville have resided in Ewhurst a great many years and, though the ceremony was announced to be of a quiet description, the villagers turned out in large numbers in honour of the event and the church was full to overflowing.
The Ewhurst Girl Guides acted as a guard of honour at the entrance to the church. The bride had held the position of hon. Secretary to the guides and twenty two were present under their captain, Miss Fowler. All were neatly attired in blue uniforms and held long staves.
The church was beautifully decorated with flowers and foliage. The service was fully choral and, as the guests assembled, the organist (Miss Wells) played F. Edward Bache’s “Three Movements” and “O for the wings of a dove”, the latter at the request of the bride. The officiating clergy were the Rev A.E Clark Kennedy, former rector, who was in his khaki, and the Rev. W.W. Arthur, rector of Atherington, N. Devon (uncle of the bride). The rector, the Rev. A.J. Hamlyn was unable to be present owing to illness.
The bride, leaning on the arm of her father, entered the church a few moments before the appointed time and the service opened with “The King of Love my Sheppard is” with the boys of the choir leading the singing. She wore a bridal gown of white satin, prettily trimmed with dainty lace and her long tulle veil was caught up with little sprays of orange blossom. She carried a lovely bunch of white carnations and heather, tied with the bridegroom’s regimental colours and her ornaments were an old pearl family necklace given by her mother and a diamond bracelet, the gift of the bridegroom. The only bridesmaid was Miss Treena Petersen, a little sister of the bridegroom, who was prettily dressed in a simple white frock with a wreath of pink may in compliment to the bride’s name. She also carried a posy. Captain H. O’Connell of the bridegroom’s regiment acted as the best man. After the ceremony the hymn “Thine forever god of Love was sung and as the happy couple proceeded to the vestry Mendelssohn’s Wedding March was played. During the signing of the register the khaki clad officers present assembled on either side of the pathway and Lieut.  Petersen and his bride passed from the church beneath an arch of crossed swords, the girl guides standing to attention beyond. The bells of the church rang out merrily and the villagers gave the happy couple a warm send off.
The reception took place at High Wykehurst where the bride and groom received the hearty congratulations of a large number of guests. Later they left for a motor tour of the New Forest, the bride travelling in a fawn tailor-made costume, with black hat trimmed with flowers. The car, which was tied with the bridegroom’s regimental colours, moved off amid a shower of silver paper horseshoes and hearts.
The presents were very numerous. Owing to the wedding taking place so soon the greater number were in the form of cheques.
It is interesting to note that following the King’s lead, no wines were provided, tea and coffee being served.
The Girl Guides were afterwards entertained to tea at High Wykehurst.”


The Volunteer Training Corps

On Easter Monday, 5th April, the Volunteer Training Corps took part in an exercise near the Windmill. The Surrey Advertiser reported –

The Ewhurst, Forest Green, Shere, Cranleigh, Dunsfold and Albury contingent of the Volunteer Training Corps had a strenuous day on Easter Monday, when they attacked some companies of Boy Scouts near Ewhurst Windmill. The Albury and Shere Voluntary Aid Detachment was attached to the attacking force and marched to the scene of the battle under command of the various section leaders. A dressing station was prepared and shortly after the fighting force had advanced to the attack, the detachment was extended to a distance of about 100yards between stretchers; the squads searched the wood, in the general direction of advance, for wounded. On being discovered they were treated for the injuries set out on their labels and transported on stretchers or hand seats.
The “fight” was keenly contested and the scouts, having taken up an excellent position, would, if they had possessed the necessary equipment, have made great havoc with the advancing army who, after some excellent manoeuvring, managed to surround them.
An excellent day’s work was accomplished and the men keenly enjoyed their task.”


Comforts for the Troops

Members of the Ewhurst Women’s Liberal Association had been busy making up parcels for the Ewhurst men serving abroad. On Saturday 17th April 1915 the Surrey Advertiser carried a report which included extracts from some of the ‘thank you’ letters received. -

The members of the Ewhurst Women’s Liberal Association, of which Mrs N. Whitty is the hon. Secretary and Mrs F. Weller the hon. Treasurer, have been for some months past engaged in making comforts for our soldiers and sailors. These gifts have been sent to Ewhurst lads on active service and in addition to woollen comforters and mittens the parcels have many little articles of use as well as tobacco, cigarettes and chocolate. Among the recipients were the following – Sailors - F. Francis, C. Francis, D. Girling, C. Longhurst, C. Godwin, G. Stemp, O. Tidy (since deceased), A Coldman and A Mason. Soldiers – W. Rose and A. Childs (prisoners of war), M. Steere, W. Brown, R. Toule, W. Withall, B. Woodley (since deceased), A. Tidy, J. Stemp, J. Parsons, V. Lawrence, A. Killick, W. Denyer, V. Baker, A. Gill, F. Sellings, G. Eldridge, H. Warrington, and G. A. Wyatt.
Accompanying each parcel was a letter signed “Women of Ewhurst” to the following effect – “Dear Comrade, We, including the children, are anxious for you soldiers and sailors to know that we do feel intense gratitude for the magnificent way you are fighting for us on land and sea, so we are sending a little parcel to cheer you up, so that you may feel that we are not forgetting you, while thankfully enjoying the homes you are preserving for us. Wishing you a safe passage through all the perils that lie ahead”.
Numerous replies of deep gratitude have been received and brief extracts are appended.
W. Withall, Stationary Hospital, Rouen: “I don’t know how to thank you enough for your kind letter and parcel just received; the contents of which I shall find more than useful and with a letter full of gratitude I am afraid you will be making us quite conceited.”
Private T.W. Denyer February 7th: “I have seen a bit of the sad side of warfare what with the refugees and shattered houses which were one time comfortable homes of those poor unfortunate people. I am quite alright and not doing so badly. We have been having a busy time lately, digging trenches etc. Of course the Huns had to drop shells around us to help on the work but one soon gets used to that kind of thing.”
A. Coldman, HMS Drake: “Of course we only think it our duty to protect our shores and our homes. Will you please thank the children for the good part they are taking in this time of trouble.”
W. Rose, writing from German Prison at Gustrow, Dec 30th : “I am very pleased with the parcel.. The letter has been taken out to be censored. I hope you will thank everyone concerned for me.”
Pte. F. Sellings, 2 Batt. The Queens Feb 5th: “We are having some nice weather out here now, which makes things a lot better. There is only one thing – the snipers are very spiteful at present.”
Ptes. A Gill and A Killick sent a joint letter in which they state: “We are the only two Ewhurst chaps together here, but we are just as happy as if they were all here.”
Petty Officer C. Goodwin, who is aboard a destroyer, says: “I have only been in action once so I cannot tell you any war stories. I have been away from England for six months and now have been sent home so I am able to run ashore now and again to see the family”
V. Baker Feb 4th: “It is very nice to have parcels from the old village, and I thank you all.”
Corpl. W. Edwards ASC 4th Field Bakery, Rouen: “The greatest enemy to army field Bakers out here is rain because the field where our bakery is encamped is one huge quagmire of mud, but we do not mind because we know we are doing a very useful part in the war.”
Pte W. Brown, referring to trench experiences in rough weather, says “We take it all as it comes all the same with a smiling face and a cheerful word or two for each other.”


Belgian Refugees

The Belgians staying in the village continued to be involved in local patriotic events.

On Wednesday 14th April a lecture was given on the progress of the War by Miss Mortlock in the Church Hall. At the end of the evening some of the Belgian refugees sang the Belgian National Anthem and “the Marseilles” and this was followed by a rousing “God Save the King”.

The following Wednesday a concert was held in aid of the Belgian Relief Fund. The members of the Ewhurst Choral Society performed a programme including a ‘Men’s’ chorus.  M and Mme Marien manipulated animated marionettes, while M Marien performed conjuring tricks and sang solos.


May 2015