Ewhurst History Society

The Aftermath of the First World War

Post War Casualties 

Although the war was over several more Ewhurst men died of ill health or from complications of their injuries.

Alfred Wallis died on the 12thNovember 1918, just one day after the Armistice. He was only 18 years old and was still in training, having joined the Royal Sussex Regiment as a Private in July 1917. He died in hospital at Thetford, Norfolk, of an unspecified illness, but his medical examination on enlistment had noted that he was of slight stature, weighing less than seven stone. He is buried in Ewhurst churchyard with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.

Daniel Newman died on the 1stJune 1919, of TB contracted while in the trenches. A former Guildford postman he had volunteered for the Post Office Rifles in 1915. In February 1917 he suffered a gunshot wound, and was evacuated to England. While in hospital he was diagnosed with TB and was discharged from the army in July 1917, with a Silver Wounds Medal and a King’s Discharge Certificate. In August 1918 he married Ruth Childs at Ewhurst Church. 

Frank Sellings died on October 4th 1919 from ill health aggravated by wounds received at the Battle of Loos. He was regular solider and had joined The Queens in 1911 at the age of 17 and was mobilised in August 1914. Along with William Rose he was one of the first Ewhurst men to see action. After being injured at the Battle of Loos, in 1915, he was sent home as unfit, and was finally discharged with a Silver Wounds Medal on 17thMay 1917. His younger brother, Albert, had also died at home of ill health in 1917. Both brothers are buried in Ewhurst churchyard, but sadly, neither has a memorial headstone and the location of their graves are not known.

Charles Westbrook died of cancer on the 8thFebruary 1920 and his name was added to the Ewhurst War Memorial. A retired Metropolitan Police Constable, he was living with his wife, Emma, at Old White Hart Cottages in 1911 and working as a gardener. He enlisted in the East Surrey Regiment in September 1914 at the age of 40, but was diagnosed with cancer in 1916. As he was no longer ‘A1’ fitness he was transferred to the Labour Corps, but despite his illness, continued to serve until the end of the war. He remained in England throughout his period of service. He was buried in Ewhurst churchyard, but without a headstone.

William Rose had been a Prisoner of War at Gustrow Camp for most of the War. A former regular solider he had been mobilised in August 1914 and went to France with the B.E.F., but was captured very early in the war and remained a POW for the duration. The year before war broke out he had married Margaret Povey at Ewhurst Church in August 1913. He never regained his health and died, aged 36, in October 1921 and was buried in Ewhurst churchyard. 

Of those who survived, not all were able to return to work. Walter Stemp, of Ewhurst Green, a gardener’s boy before the war, had joined up in 1915 at the age of 18. He was wounded in both legs near Cambrai in October 1918 and after a long stay in hospital was discharged in March 1919. He was unable to work for a year, but later got a job as a gardener at Firethorn. His leg continued to bother him and he eventually had to have it amputated in November 1939, over twenty years after his original injury.

 

Captain William Ralph Frecheville killed in Russia.

24 year old William Ralph Frecheville was killed in Russia in January 1920. He was born in 1895 in Redhill, son of William and Lizzie Frecheville. His father was a professor of mine engineering at Imperial College and the family lived at High Wykehurst, which they had had built in 1907. William was educated at Rugby and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, from which he graduated in 1914 to join the Royal Engineers. Having fought through the whole of the First World War and been injured three times, he had volunteered in 1919 for the British Military Mission to fight the Bolsheviks in Russia. 

In February 1920 he was reported as missing, following the fall of Rostov-on-Don, but it was not until March that the War Office received information that Captain Frecheville, another British Officer, Lt H. J. Crouche, and a Russian interpreter, Lt P. Kosma had been captured and killed by the Bolsheviks in January 1920. With no more information on his son’s fate, Professor Frecheville wrote to The Times in July 1920, noting that in March and April letters had been published in several London papers reporting the torture and death of two British officers in Rostov. However, it was not until October 1922 that the details emerged. Lt Kozma had survived and told how they had been attacked by Bolshevik cavalry who took all their money and clothes, except a shirt, and then forced them to march through the snow. The two British officers were killed with swords but Kosma was spared and forced to work for the Bolsheviks but, later, was able to escape to Poland.

General Holman, Commander of the British Military Mission in South Russia wrote to William’s father “He was deservedly loved by the Russians, whom he strove to help, and was always most kind and sympathetic towards them. He gave his life in trying to assist them at a very critical period in the operations.” General Deniken, the Russian Commander wrote “He was a gallant Officer who worked wholeheartedly to assist the armies under my command and he gave his life in a cause which the future will show to have been the right one.”

The British Military Mission was forced to withdraw to Constantinople and the names of William and his fellow officer, Lt. Couche were later commemorated on the Haidar Pasha Memorial.

At home, the Frecheville family commissioned stained glass window for the east window in Ewhurst Church in memory of William. The design by A.K. Nicholson shows St Michael and St Gabriel and also features the family coat of arms and the badge of the Royal Engineers.

Frecheville + window

 

The Return of The Queens Prisoners of War

Prisoners of War were repatriated at the end of 1918 and in January 1919 a ‘Welcome Home’ reception was held in Guildford attended by 280 men of The Queens Regiment, including Arthur Childs and William Rose from Ewhurst. The Surrey Advertiser reported that men marched up the High Street to the Guildhall where they enjoyed a ‘sumptuous repast’ of meat pies, sausage rolls, mince pies, buns, cakes and tarts with chocolate and oranges to follow. They were awarded a "Welcome Home Medal" which bore the regimental badge on one side and the inscription, "Prisoners of War The Queens Regiment Welcome Home MCMXVII" on the other. Sadly, William, who was in poor health died in 1921.

 

Welcome Home

The demobilisation of serving men took place over several months. Frank English, Headmaster of the village school, was one of those returning, recording in the school logbook on the 17thFebruary 1919 “After an absence of three years 2 months on military service I resumed my duties as Headmaster today.”

By April 1919, a considerable number were back and a ‘Welcome Home’ party was held in their honour on Saturday 26thApril at the Crown Inn. The Surrey Advertiser reported, “It may be noted that so loyally did the men of Ewhurst respond to the call of their King and Country that 92 per cent of those of military age actually served. Upwards of 70 sat down to an excellent supper, Col. Piggott R.E. D.S.O. presiding as representing the Army and Lord Abinger as representing the Navy. The band of the Royal Engineers played. After supper the men were formed up and Col. Piggott addressed them in a few suitable words, thanking those present and those not yet returned for their splendid service during the war. 

The men then marched to the Village Hall where an entertainment was given, cigarettes kindly supplied by one of the parishioners. The hall was most effectively decorated with the flags of all the allied nations surmounted with a ‘Welcome Home’. Short appropriate speeches were made by William Joynson Hicks, MP; Sir Dugald Clerk, K.B.E., F.R.S.; and Mr Stopford Brooke. Songs were given by Lord and Lady Abinger, Col and Mrs Burney, Mr and Mrs Stopford Brooke, Mr Warrington, and Mr Newton Edwards. A harp solo by Sgt. A. Clare, cello solo by Corp. W. Fletcher and selections by the band of the Royal Engineers.”

“On Sunday a most inspiring service was held in the Parish Church. Soldiers, Sailors and airmen filled the south transept. The Royal Engineers band assisted at the service opening with Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria’. The lessons were read by Mr Joynson Hicks, MP and the Rev. Woodward. Suitable hymns were sung accompanied by the organ. The sermon was preached by the Rev. W. H. Blackbourne, M.A., C.M.G., Senior Chaplain of the Aldershot Command and Assistant Chaplain General. The church was crowded. At the close of the service after the National Anthem the band played ‘The War March of the Priests’. It should be added that nearly every parishioner sought to have share in this tribute to our local heroes many of whom served from the first and contributed their best to the cause of victory. Unhappily 34* parishioners did not return but their memory will live on in the parish Roll of Honour.”

The Ewhurst and Ellen’s Green War Memorials

Following a series of public meetings in the summer of 1919, a War Memorial Committee was formed, with Walter Webb as Chairman and Fred Carpenter as Hon. Secretary. Walter Webb, who was also the chairman of the Parish Council had lost his only son, Evelyn, at the Battle of the Somme and Fred Carpenter, who owned the bakery at Hazelbank, had lost his nephew, Urban Eclipse Carpenter. A letter to Reginald Bray, Lord of the Manor, from Fred Carpenter, shows that the committee had ambitious plans and had approached Lutyens to design a memorial to stand on The Green [The Bulls Head Green]. “Sir E. Lutyens has been employed by the committee to furnish a design. He came down in October and met the committee and promised to send his sketch before leaving for India on Nov 1stbut it has not been received. As soon as the design is received a meeting will be called to consider it; it was recognised that your consent would be required but it was thought better to defer troubling you until the design was approved.”

Sadly, there were several strong objections to the site, from residents and businesses around the green. The Rector, The Revd. Andrew Hamlyn also objected and came up with an alternative suggestion of a lych-gate at the entrance to the church. In a letter to Reginald Bray, he wrote “There are many in this parish who object to the War Memorial being erected on the village green, and their objection is not only grounded on the unsuitableness of that site abut also on the fact that to a large extent it would prevent the children from playing there in the summer and taking shelter from the passing traffic. No doubt you are aware that the Edes who have their shop facing the green are very strongly opposed to an Altar Tomb about 4ft high on steps. I am convinced that the children of another generation will consider it a splendid object for climbing over and jumping from, as there is no proposal to guard it in any way. Personally I strongly object to the site and the Altar Tomb. The alternative scheme, which meets with the approval of church people, generally, and many dissenters, is a lych-gate at the entrance to our churchyard with the names of the fallen on panels. Such a memorial would greatly improve the central part of the village and adjoining the post office it can be seen what a most suitable site that would be and how much it would improve the entrance to the churchyard. I am, of course, strongly in favour of that scheme.”

The committee eventually agreed to a Celtic cross of Cornish granite to be erected on The Mount. It is not known who designed or made it, but there are no more references to Sir Edwin Lutyns. 

The cost of £250.00 was raised largely by subscriptions from notable residents - Sir Dugald Clerk gave fifty guineas; Mr Stopford Brooke, Prof. Frecheville, Mr. Walter Webb and Mr. W. Rigby gave twenty guineas; Sir George Johnston and Col. & Mrs Creswell gave ten guineas and F. Carpenter gave five guineas. This raised £171.15s. and the balance of £80 was raised by villagers.

The memorial was unveiled at a United Dedication Service on the 7thNovember 1920 by Walter Webb, the chairman of the War Memorial Committee. He had moved to Hove but returned to the village for the occasion. [The family kept up their association with Ewhurst as later, both he, and his wife and daughter, would be buried in Ewhurst churchyard.]

The Surrey Advertiser reported that “Among those present were Lord Abinger, the Dowager Countess Granville, Sir Dugald and Lady Clerk, Sir George and Lady Johnston, Col. and Lady Creswell, Prof. and Mrs Frecheville, Mr and Mrs Rigby, Mr, Mrs and Capt. Heath, Mrs Wyndham Thomas, Mrs Bell, Mrs Crombie, Mrs Scott and Mrs Hamlyn. The local troop of Boy Scouts under their Captain T. H. Sugden, the Girl Guides under their captain Miss Fowler, and the Wolf Cubs and Brownies under Miss Scott formed a circle around the cross, opposite which the relatives of those whose names are inscribed thereon assembled*. Buglers and cornet players from Stougton Barracks with Miss Wells who presided at the harmonium led the singing. The Cross was then unveiled by Mr Walter Webb, late of Malquiots, who gave a brief and appropriate address. The Service opened with the hymn ‘Through the night of doubt and sorrow’ and following the chanting of psalm XXIII, the Lesson was read by Mr G. Woodward, Congregational minister. After the hymn ‘The Supreme Sacrifice’, the Rector, Rev A. J. Hamlyn dedicated the Cross and the hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross having been sung, the Last Post was sounded by the buglers and the service closed with the National Anthem. Many beautiful wreaths were subsequently placed at he foot of the Cross.”

At around the same time as the Dedication of the War Memorial, brass memorial plaques were placed in both churches.

A separate memorial was erected at Ellen’s Green in the form of an elaborate stone seat with the names of the fallen on the back. This formerly stood on the small green at the western end of Furzen Lane, but later fell into disrepair and the back piece, with the inscriptions, was mounted on the wall in Ellen’s Green Memorial Hall