As Zeppelin raids continued, including on the Cambridge area, German bombers continued raiding London, and Germany was making strides on the Western Front, a fear seems to have gripped the British mainland. Extreme circumstances produced extreme suggestions, like this letter in the ‘Cambridge Chronicle’ from F.L. Nicholls, Of Fulbourn:
“Sir – What is to prevent a flight of enemy aeroplanes landing in our villages, leaving one or two of their number with machine guns to protect the planes while the remainder carry death and destruction to everyone and everything they come across? ….
In every village we now have volunteers; some of these should always be ready with machine guns and grenades at home, and … a small supply of machine guns should be provided for use in case of emergency. Will this be done or shall we have to wait till some massacre of innocent civilian women and children and old people has taken place?”
Thankfully for the streets of Haslingfield and Fulbourn the German threat was thwarted in early 1918.
On this day, the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, it seems appropriate to remember those in our village who died in service. I’m grateful to John Beynon’s exhaustive account in ‘That Their Names Shall Live’ for the following details.
The loss of 17 men in a village the size of Haslingfield would impact upon most households, but it is a story repeated across the United Kingdom. I’ve just stayed at Edgefield, in North Norfolk, which was no more than a handful of cottages in 1914, and even there five men were lost in the war. In Haslingfield two Barnards (Elias and Josiah), Jennings (Alick and Harry) and Newlings (Ted and William) were all killed in action. Two others were lost at sea – George Coveney in an accidental explosion in Sheerness and Albert Flack at the battle of Jutland. A number died in major battles – Frederick Goode, Harry Jennings and Arthur Pagram at the Somme, Frederick Charles and Alick Jennings at Arras, and Ernest Mills at Passchendaele.
Only William Daintry is buried in Haslingfield. William Douglas was buried in Belgium, and William Hoy in northern France. Tragically, the remaining fourteen have no known graves.
It is still a matter of some debate on how much the Great War impacted on life in a rural community like Haslingfield. John Beynon, in his ‘The Call to Arms’, outlines the impact on individual families whose menfolk either enlisted or who sought, through exemption, not to enlist. But was there a collective impact? Click Read More below for more info. Read more
Unsurprisingly, Cambridge businesses were keen to stress their patriotic credentials during the First World War. In the month that the Expeditionary Force landed in France, August 1914, Horniman’s announced no increase in the price of their tea. A month later Eaden Lilley, conscious perhaps of some customer grumbling, placed an ad in the Cambridge Chronicle, as follows: Read more
Two features published in The Cambridge Chronicle in the early months of 1915 provide a sharp contrast between life at home and at the front. The first is a letter from ‘A Cambridge Lady:
“Sir – While the streets are so dark I think perambulators should not be allowed on the pavements after sunset, as they add considerably to the danger. I myself nearly had a fall owing to them, and several other ladies have had the same experience. There is, in addition, the risk of the perambulator being upset and the child seriously injured. When there are no lights every care ought to be taken to prevent accidents. Yours, etc.” Read more
The outbreak of war in late 1914 seems to have had an immediate impact upon employment patterns in the town. An article in the Cambridge Chronicle of 6th November reported ‘How Cambridge is affected by the War’: Read more
Scouring the pages of the ‘Cambridge Chronicle’ for material for the Village Society’s November 11 presentation, I came across a letter written in September 1914, just after the outbreak of war, extolling the virtues of flannelette as opposed to flannel underwear for the troops. Read more
Many thanks to Brian Sewell, of River Farm, for information relating to his father. Arthur Sewell took an active part in the Great War, fighting at the Somme and at Ypres. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. He also took part in the famous Christmas Day football match between the Germans and British. He was later captured, but managed to escape. When he arrived home late at night he called out “Have you got a bed for a weary soldier?” It was the first his parents had heard of him since he had been posted missing years before.
If you have any stories about your family in the Great War, I would be delighted to hear from you, and with your permission will use extracts in our planned presentation on November 11th.
This month’s posting is in the form of a request. On November 11th 2014 the Village Society, in collaboration with the Little Theatre, is presenting an evening about World War I and its impact on the local community. The first part will look at the experiences of those soldiers recruited locally. The second will focus more on the resilience and humour demonstrated during such a dreadful time, and will present songs, readings and newspaper reports of the time.
If you have any family stories going back to World War I, whether related to service at the front or at home, I would be delighted to hear from you. I can be contacted at email@example.com and on 01223 514849.
Best wishes for the New Year.
J.G. Watson’s account ends with the connection to the sewer built to accommodate the council estate built opposite. The ‘hut’ was lined with plaster-board and painted by the Youth Club, under the direction of Ken Knight. Plans were in hand to resurface the hard tennis court, and to re-turf the goalmouths of the football pitch.
That was in 1961, and now the Rec enjoys a permanent building used for a variety of activities, including full theatrical presentations. I’m sure Henry Badcock and the Chivers family would be proud of how the Rec has developed.
After Chivers had donated another field to expand the recreation ground, the Badcock Trustees had enough money to build a cricket pavilion (on the site of the present one). It soon became obvious that this was a facility that many organisations in the village wanted to use, and a Village Concerts Committee was formed, which eventually raised sufficient funds for a billiard room and kitchen. Read more
The Archives have just acquired a copy of an article written by J.G. Watson of Pate’s Farm in 1961 about the creation of the Rec. My next two postings will reproduce extracts.
‘It is many years ago now since Mr. Henry Badcock looked vainly round the village for a field for the children and young people to play on without being chased off by an irate farmer or landowner. Read more
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, it is worth reflecting on the devastating effect it had on the home front, on families like the Goodes and villages like Haslingfield. Read more
We left Eliza Goode working in service at the household of a wealthy London family in the 1880s. There she met Charles Robertson, a joiner, and they decided to get married back in Haslingfield, in 1886.
They would probably have travelled third class from Clapham Junction via Liverpool Street to Harston, where they would have walked the remaining two miles to the village. Living in the village were her parents, in a house in Rotten Row with sister Elizabeth, brother Frederick and uncle Deves. Uncle Thomas worked land off Cantelupe Road.
The marriage took place on 6th September, 1886. Elizabeth and brother William acted as witnesses at a ceremony conducted by the Reverend Clements.