Ewhurst Recruits leave the Village
Within days of the declaration of War on August 4th, the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener made the call for men aged 19 – 30 to volunteer. In Ewhurst, a recruiting office had been set up in the premises of the Capital and Counties Bank, opposite the village school [now Mount Cottage] and the first batch of recruits left the village on Wednesday 2nd September. The School log book records
“The registers were marked this afternoon five minutes earlier, and all classes were taken out by their respective teachers until 1.50 to give a send-off to the local recruits who left the village in a body today.”
Local bigwigs offered ‘bounties’ to encourage men to enlist. The Surrey Advertiser reported on Saturday 5th September 1914 -
“CRANLEIGH – BONUS FOR RECRUITS – about 50 recruits who had been enlisted in the villages of Cranleigh, Ewhurst and Alfold were given a good send off on Wednesday, on leaving in a number of motor cars for Guildford. The recruiting officer in charge is Sergt-major Mills and the enrolling of men has been stimulated by offers of bonuses by Sir Charles Chadwyck Healey [who lived at Wyphurst] to the Cranleigh and Ewhurst men and by Mr Pandelli Ralli [who lived at Alderbrook] to the Alfold men.”
It was also reported that “Major General E.H. Sartorius V.C. of Hurtwood entertained about twenty recruits to dinner at the Bull Hotel, Ewhurst on Wednesday prior to their departure from Stoughton Barracks”.
On Saturday 12th September the Surrey Advertiser reported that “Seventy-Five men have enlisted in the ranks from Ewhurst. This marks out at a rate of 7 ½ per cent of the inhabitants of the village” and the following week, the 19th September -
“BRAVO EWHURST – The last batch of recruits left the village on Monday for Guildford. So great has been the response to the appeals of the recruiters that it is said that there are now no eligible men left in the village.”
Ewhurst’s Roll of Honour
On the 5th September the Surrey Advertiser published parish by parish lists of “Men in the Guildford Division of Surrey now serving in His Majesty’s Navy & Army’. The lists included regulars, reservists and territorials, as well as new recruits. (There are some mistakes and omissions, but a note adds – “The above list has been hastily compiled.....”)
The list has 62 names for Ewhurst.
Edwards, M., RHA
Rose, W., The Queens
Goodwin, C., RN
Longhurst, C., Marines
Stemp, G., RN
Francis, C., RN
Childs, A., The Queens
Frecheville, M., The Queens
Heath, F., The Queens
Heath, R. (Lieut.)
Joynson Hicks, C.
Steele, M., ASC
Mason, A., RN
Coldman, A. RN
Tidy, C., RN
Doherty, W., RFA
Sartorius, E.H. (Capt.)
Hamlyn, H., ASC
Brown, W. Barnett, C.
Creswell, E. (Capt.)
Creswell, J., RN
Sellings, F., The Queens
Whitty, E., National Reserve
Bone, C., National Reserve
Sherlock, W., National Reserve
Clark-Kennedy A.E., (Lieut.) RNR
Sterney, J, RN
Wyndham, Thomas (Capt.)
Refugees from Belgium
Germany invaded Belgium on 4th August 1914 and, after the fall of Liege on 15th August, thousands of Belgian refugees fled to England. Relief funds were set up to provide necessities for them. The Surrey Advertiser reported on Saturday 5th September 1914 that “Mr Chase of the Windmill Inn collected £1. 2s. for the Belgian Relief Fund.”
The horrors of the war were bought vividly home to Ewhurst folk when a Belgian refugee told his story at a meeting in the Church Hall. The Surrey Advertiser reported on Saturday September 12th -
“EWHURST – A BELGIAN REFUGEE’S STORY
At a crowded meeting held at Ewhurst Church Hall last [Friday] night on the occasion of Mr W.E. Horne’s lecture on the War, a Belgian refugee from Liege told in his native tongue the story of his escape with his wife and child from the ill fated little country. It was a unique feature of the meeting, and the English version of his narrative was afterwards read by Mr. M.S. Parry. The Belgian, M. Henri Goossens, who was a cabinet maker in Liege, employing five people, said with reference to the siege “Suddenly on Tuesday morning the German cannon began to play on us to the consternation of the women and children, and from then on until Thursday evening at 5 o’clock we heard nothing but the noise of the cannon and the shells falling around us incessantly. Night only made our anxiety greater as the darkness hid what was around, while the early morning only revealed the horrible spectacles around us – the corpses of our friends – whilst the cries of the wounded, the moan of the wounded horses and cattle, the oaths of men mad with rage, and the moans of the dying added to the horror. The flight of the inhabitants announced the arrival of the Germans. In great haste we took up what belongings we could and fled towards the station. Here we saw rows of stretchers with our brave wounded soldiers, others supporting German wounded prisoners” Mr Goossens left for Malines, and from thence went to a small village where all was quiet. “On the morrow” he said “the cannon was heard afar and every night fires flared up around us. On the fourth day we were told that the Germans had arrived. I could not believe it and went out on to the terrace of our house, where I saw the village next to us in flames and the Germans in the road. In great haste we started off. The way was barred by Uhlans. We went across the fields and had hardly walked for ten minutes when we heard the roar of the cannons behind us. The village we had just left was blazing” He also stated that he had heard stories of people being hunted like hares, and remarked that that was the way in which the Germans had destroyed their dear country.
In addition to the lecture given by Mr Horne, addresses were given by Mr Joynson Hicks, MP, who presided and the Hon. A.J. Davey. A vote of thanks to the speakers was accorded on the proposition of Mr A. Patterson, seconded by Mr Dugald Clerk; and on the motion of the rector (the Rev. A.G. Hamyln) thanks were expressed to the Rev. A.E. Clark-Kennedy for manipulating the slides.”
On the 26th September 1914, Frederick Aylwin became the first Ewhurst man to die in the fighting. Frederick, a former regular had been working as a barman at the Bulls Head at the outbreak of war. As a Reserve with the South Wales Borderers, he was immediately mobilised and had arrived in France on 13th August. He had been involved in the attack and retreat from Mons and in September was fighting in the Battle of the Aisne, where he was killed in action. His body was not recovered.
(As noted above, the list of those serving, published in the Surrey Advertiser on 5th September, left out some names and sadly, Frederick Alywin’s name was one of those not included.)