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Ewhurst Parish Council Notes during  
The First World War


 

 

 

The Ewhurst Parish Council was formed in 1894. One of the first chairmen was Walter Webb of Malquoits (now Cornhill Manor). Walter, the father of Evelyn Maxwell Webb, served on the council until he finally left the area in 1920. (1)

Whilst not involved directly in matters concerning the conflict, the Parish Council occasionally had reason to discuss points that concerned the village. Minutes indicate that the Chairman of the Parish Council received the following letter, which was circulated to other councils in the area. It gives an insight to recruiting within the area, and was discussed in a meeting on 16th October 1914:

5th Battalion The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment

Dear Sir
I have been entrusted by the Territorial Force Association of the County of Surrey with the task of raising a new Home Service Battalion of the 5th Queen's to take the place of the old Battalion, which has now volunteered for Foreign Service. recruiting for Lord Kitchener's New Service Army (Regulars) has been very successful in Surrey; but as yet, the wants of the Territorial Force have not been put prominently before the public: And the general enthusiasm for recruiting shows some signs of falling off.
We want from the West Surrey district in which your Parish is situated about 600 recruits to complete the new battalion, which will comprise men enlisted for home services only, as well as men who may be willing to volunteer for Foreign Service to take the place of casualties in the Foreign Service Battalion.
The men enlisted will be embodied immediately and at once be entitled to pay and allowances exactly the same as the Regular Army.
Age 17 to 35    Height 5ft 2 inches
Term of Service: Four years or the period of the war. This means that a man can claim a free discharge at the end of the war.
Local committees will arrange when possible with employers for men on service to be taken back into their employ on the man's discharge.
The separation allowance now made puts the man's wife & children in most cases in as good, and in some cases better position than they were before the man enlisted.
May I ask you to call a meeting of your council, & appeal to them to help me and any local committee for recruitment in your district to fill up the numbers for my battalion. It is intended that all men recruited from any particular district shall be in the same company, and shall be trained together.

The reason I ask your council to help is that all classes of the community may be given an opportunity of working together for the same end.    It is not intended to interfere with the work of local recruiting committees but to supplement it, and to give the whole of the peoples representatives in the district a chance of helping in the work, which is vital to the Country at this time. Every effort must be made to get the men at once.

I am sir, your obedient servant

W G Perkins Col.(2)

The Council reported that a meeting would be held in the Church Hall in order to assist the recruiting scheme, and that every effort would be made to assist in this aim. The 2/5th Queen's (second 'raising' of the 5th Battalion) was formed in Guildford in September 1914. As Regular battalions, such as the 2nd Queen's, returned to the United Kingdom from its postings throughout the Empire, Territorial Force battalions were dispatched, to places such as India, to take their place. The 1/5th Queen's was raised in August in 1914 and departed for overseas service in India in October 1914. The 2/5th Queens became part of the 200th (2nd Surrey) Brigade of the 67th (2nd Home Counties) Division, which remained in the United Kingdom throughout the war, although many drafts of men were sent to other units overseas.

Recruitment once again was a point of discussion in the Parish Council meeting of 25th March 1917, when Mr Stopford Brooks, the Parish representative of the District Council attended to explain the National Service program. Following this, all members of the Parish Council expressed the view that:

"there were not more than half a dozen fit male parishioners at the present time & of these more than one half had already volunteered for National Service. It was unanimously resolved that as by military and other service to the state the parishioners have been reduced to the lowest number permissible for the carrying on of successful essential agriculture and other like so dependent operations & as the members of the council of their own knowledge are satisfied that there are practically no fit parishioners available for National Service outside the parish & that no further steps can usefully be taken in the matter"

It was requested that Mr Stopford Brookes expressed the views of the Parish Council to the District Council.

 

 

 


Source:
The Ewhurst Parish Council Minute Book
(1) Walter Webb is buried with his wife and daughter in Ewhurst Graveyard.
(2) Parish Council Minutes 1909-1925 page 96-98

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey
andy@ewhurstfallen.co.uk
Copyrightę2005