Ewhurst History Society

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June 1915

Empire Day

The School log book recorded that Empire Day was celebrated on June 9th 1915. “Lessons on the empire were given and the school closed in the afternoon. In the evening the children took part in the celebrations organised for the whole village to mark the unique Empire Day with an ‘Empire in Arms’. A particular point was made of the unity of the Empire & the Colonies’ response to the call of the motherland.

The Surrey Advertiser carried a full report of the evening event “The village was very much alive on Wednesday evening when Empire Day was celebrated. At 7 o’clock members of the VTC in command of the rev. A. E. Clark Kennedy (Commandant) marched from the village hall to the other end of the village and met a special guard of honour from the 17th Middlesex (Footballers) Regiment, stationed at Holmbury with the band. A procession was formed including the Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster L. Campbell Taylor, and Assistant Scout Master T. Duffield, The girl guides with Miss Fowler, Captain and Miss Frecheville (Lieutenant) and the school children. Led by the band they proceeded to Ewhurst Green, where a halt was made. Then the band struck up the National Anthem, the Union Jack was hoisted by a Boy Scout and a Guide (Stanley Walker and Harriett Ansell) and the band followed with the National Anthems of the Allies.

Captain A. Burgoyne, Conservative MP for North Kensington, who is with the Middlesex Regiment, then gave an interesting address on the War. He said he had no doubt many men had gone from Ewhurst and that death had taken its toll there, but they could never have died in better or more honourable cause. The women of Surrey could also do something. He had done some recruiting and many were the times he had been told “My wife won’t let me go” He asked the women to think of the results of the Huns landing in the country

Mr A. Heath also addressed the gathering after which selections were played by the band. The celebrations were organised by the Rector, Mr G. Johnston and Mr C. English were a great success.”

News from the Front

On 12th June the Surrey Advertiser reported the death of George Eldridge, who had been killed in action on the 16th May at the Battle of Festubert

“The Death occurred of Pte George Eldridge, formerly of Ewhurst, of the 2nd Queens. Private Eldridge, who went through the South Africa War, was wounded in France and as he was being carried from the field a shell burst near him and one of his legs was blown off. He died as a result of his injury. Much sympathy is felt for his wife.”

Although the report indicates that he received First Aid on the Battlefield in the ensuing chaos of battle his body was never recovered. He was 33.

July 1915