Ripley Court School in WW1

Research and text by Richard and Rosemary Christophers

Brief History

In 1886 a school called Durston House was founded in Ealing by Mr Ben Pearce and his brother Mr Robert Pearce. Both were graduates of Trinity College, Dublin and keen to become worthy school-masters.  In 1886 Mr Robert Pearce married Miss Mable Perks and in 1893 they moved to Ripley to start the boarding school, Ripley Court having purchased the property from Mr William Wainwright. There had been a house on the site since at least 1568 and the present main building of the School dates from the 17th century and is grade 2 listed.

Mr G Onslow married Mr and Mrs Pearce’s daughter Angela in 1916 and in 1922 joined the staff of the school as Assistant Headmaster.  By this time the School was being run by Mrs Pearce, for Mr Pearce had died in 1917 in a cycling accident

During the Second World War the School moved to Betton Strange Hall, near Shrewsbury and Ripley Court became a Maternity Hospital to cope with overflow from the Westminster Hospital.  Sadly, Mrs Pearce did not return to Ripley Court for she died in 1941 so Mr and Mrs Onslow took the pupils back to Ripley Court in 1946, and continued in charge of the School until Mr Onslow’s death in 1952.

In 1953 the School was sold to Mr Ashmore who remained as Headmaster until 1956.  In 1956 Mr and Mrs W M Newte bought the School and began the task of turning it into a modern Preparatory School.  This they did with typical skill by increasing the number of both boarders and day pupils and elevating the reputation of the school in the local area.  Much new building was undertaken and the School, now a lhriving centre of education, became a Charitable Trust in 1968.  Day girls were admitted from 1977 and in greater numbers from 1979, and boarding ceased in 1998.


Ripley Court School during WWI

Before 1914 the school remained small, with only 16 boys listed in the 1901 census and 23 in the 1911 census, with an age range of 7 to 15 – the 1901 census was taken on 31 March, Palm Sunday, and the 1911 census on 2 April, two weeks before Easter, so it is possible that some boys had gone home, but nevertheless numbers would have been very few.  All the old boys who died in the war had gone onto public schools, with four to Rugby and three each to Wellington and Cheltenham College – the latter two schools being particularly feeders for the armed forces and suffering losses next only to Eton.  The school magazine for the Winter term of 1916 is the first conspicuous record of the proportionally great losses the school had suffered among its former pupils.  73 names are shown there as being on active service, of whom 21 are marked with an asterisk either then or (in ink) later as having been killed in action.  This does not tell the whole story, as those who served later have not been included. Three more old boys, plus a former teacher, are known to have died, but on the other hand three of the men marked in ink as dying did survive. It is now probable that all those who gave their lives have been accounted for and it is hoped that there will be a garden of remembrance at the school in honour of all former pupils killed in conflicts.

The magazine article which prefixes the list and obituaries of some of the fallen outlines the loss felt by the school:

Interesting stories are to be told about several of these men, both in their service careers, and in their achievements in lives so cruelly cut short by the war.

Frank Pearce Pocock was a nephew of Robert Pearce, the owner and headmaster of Ripley Court. From the school he went on to St Paul’s and thence to Westminster Hospital on an open scholarship.  On the outbreak of war he offered his services to the Navy and was on a battleship in the North Sea, but gaining his first MC in France with Drake Battalion. With chronic influenza he was invalided home in 1917 but returned to serve as surgeon on HMS Iris II in the Zeebrugge raid, where he gained a DSO, the citation reading  “By his devotion to duty he undoubtedly saved many lives when Iris II was hit.  He at once commenced tending the wounded and as all the sick-berth staff were killed had all the work to do alone.  After the dynamo was damaged he had to work by candle and torchlight”. He returned to Drake Battalion and was mortally wounded, gaining a bar to the MC with the citation “He attended to the wounded under very heavy fire & most adverse circumstances during operations lasting several days.  His courage & self-sacrificing devotion to duty were a splendid example to his stretcher-bearers & his skill was instrumental in saving the lives of many wounded men.”   Not obviously a military person, this citation and the use of his medical skills marks him out as the most heroic of Ripley Court’s war dead.

Desmond O’Brien was a more spirited old boy, whose sense of adventure probably led him to his death in the early stages of the war.  He was a son of Lord Inchiquin, an Irish peer, and passed through Ripley Court briefly on his way to Cheam School and thence to Charterhouse, from which he was expelled.  His one report from Ripley Court, now in the National Library of Ireland, shows him to be of variable ability – top in some subjects, bottom in others – but he played a useful innings of 42 for the fathers in the annual fathers’ cricket match, his own father having died.  At Charterhouse his inventiveness caused him to forge keys to the chapel  (where he played ragtime on the organ), the library and the headmaster’s study, as well as setting up a radio station in the shrubbery. His exploits are recorded in Robert Graves’s ‘Goodbye to all that’, and he was cheered by the boys as he left for Godalming station on his expulsion.  His talents were put to good use then as he went to work for his brother-in-law – Marconi.  He gained qualifications as a pilot in September 1914, but was killed flying in action off Cuxhaven on 16 Feb 1915: his body was never found.

Less flamboyant was Harold William Bennett Daw, from the Grange, Ealing, who was at Ripley Court from about 1902 to 1904 and briefly afterwards at Rugby before joining the training ship ‘Conway’, and thence to the Merchant Navy.  On the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and served on various ships from the Dover patrol to Mesopotamia, where his health suffered.  On recovery he joined the Grand Fleet, but was taken ill on HMS Perthshire, a transport ship disguised as a battleship, and was transferred to the hospital ship Soudan and died on 28 March 1917, aged 26.

One boy from the School who went on to Rugby was a local boy, Edward C.H.R. Nicholls whose home was in Woking.  After Rugby he went to Sandhurst Military College, from which he graduated in July 1916 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the West Surrey Regiment.  He attended the Military Flying School at Brooklands to learn to be a pilot, gaining his aero certificate on 6th August 1916 flying a Maurice Farman Biplane.  Edward was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps 41 Squadron, and was injured on 1st May 1917 during the Battle of Arras.  By October 1917 Edward was declared fit for light duties on Home service but no flying, although he was declared fit for limited flying in November 1917 but only in aircraft with dual control. He was still considered unfit for general service for a further 2 months. Edward was killed in a flying accident at Stow Maries on 20th September 1918, aged 20. His death certificate gives the cause of death as a “Fractured skull resulting from falling out of an aircraft”. He is buried in the churchyard at Stow Maries.

This article records the stories of only four of the 25 old boys and staff who were killed in the First World War and its aftermath.   Although the school was larger by the time of the next conflict, there were fewer deaths in that war, twelve in all, mostly serving in the Royal Air Force, and since then one Old Courtier, Charles Morpeth, was killed in a helicopter crash when acting as a civilian observer during the Bosnian conflict.  The School hope to be able to give further details of all these men on their website in due course.

The Impact of WW1 on the Lingfield and Dormansland Area in 1916

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Group

During the period of WW1 radio was in its infancy and newspapers were one of the main means of reporting news and also communicating official information and instructions.  Both the Surrey Mirror and The East Grinstead Observer continued to be published weekly during the war.  The main theatres of the war and national events were covered but from the point view of the impact of the war on the local area the two publications are a rich source of information.  Reports of events in the RH7 area are usually brief, however the ‘snippets’ which were found give an insight into the life ‘on the home front’.

Conscription Starts
1916 was a bleak year for most families, with the shortage of food and news of local men wounded or killed in the Battle of the Somme coming in weekly.  The beginning of the year saw the introduction of military conscription for men between the ages of 18 and 41.  Conscription impacted greatly on daily life in the local area and in April there was a call up of married men.  Throughout the year the local paper reports weekly cases of appeals for exemption from conscription – either by employers on behalf of their workers or by the men themselves.  Some examples follow:

The Lingfield Drainage Committee reported that the Lingfield Sewage Works Manager had been called up for service.  The Committee recommended the appointment of a temporary manager.  Frederick Head aged 24 had been employed there since ‘a lad’.  He was in charge of the pumping station with nine miles of sewers and land which is cultivated.  It would take a long time to train someone else and he already has three brothers serving.  He was exempted for one more month.

At the beginning of May William Edward Boorer aged 32, plumber and gas fitter of Plaistow Street applied for exemption on the grounds that he was the only one who could look after his business.  He was granted exemption until the end of June but eventually joined the Royal Flying Corps. (The business obviously managed to keep going somehow as after the war William and his brother Fred were partners in a successful ironmongers business on the site of the present Lingfield Garage.)

In July William Miram, butcher, applied for Albert Boorer, aged 37, slaughterman, on the grounds that there was no other slaughterman in the neighbourhood.  Exemption was granted until 11 August.  Albert Boorer eventually joined the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and went to France in 1917.  His company lost nearly half its strength in its first engagement.  Albert returned to Lingfield after the war and managed his own butcher’s shop in Lingfield High Street.

An application was made by Mrs Skinner, High Street, Dormansland on behalf of Frank Skinner (37) and Gordon May (30) showing and general smiths on the grounds that they were now turning out 100 shoes a week under an Army contract as well as doing repair work for farmers.  Exemption was granted.

Albert George Lawrence, carter of Blockfield Farm, Dormansland, applied for exemption as he was in certified employment.  His employer was 74, farming 214 acres (52 acres arable); he had a son who was ‘delicate’ and looked after the sheep but could not do heavy work.  If the carter went into the army the land would go out cultivation.  Exemption was agreed as long as he stayed in the same employment.

Bert Andrew Gibson, 32, of Clinton Terrace, Dormansland, had previously been sent for an army medical and passed fit.  His employer, Mr Malden, had a large poultry farm in Lingfield and had applied for exemption on the grounds that Gibson was an expert at fattening chickens.  Gibson conducted the ‘Cramming Process’ of chicken fattening – a specialist way of fattening chickens.  Exemption was granted for 3 months.

Preparing for Invasion
In March, the Surrey Mirror reported:
A placard will be posted in each parish stating:
Careful plans have been made
If a state of emergency is declared stay quietly at home.
Many roads will be closed to all traffic.
If you wish to move you will be given assembly points
Conveyances will be provided for aged, infirm and young children.
All others go on foot.
Take only necessary clothing, boots, blankets and money
It may be necessary to destroy certain property
All movements will be directed by the Police.
Lingfield residents will be directed to Blindley Heath.

Food and other Shortages
Food shortages became a serious issue.  By April 1916 Britain had only six weeks of grain left and four days’ supply of sugar.  ‘Standard’ bread was introduced containing soya and potato as well as wheat and was an unappetising dirty grey colour.  There was an appeal to Surrey farmers to produce as much food as possible.  Farmers were to be paid £1 for employing women ‘Whatever you may think about employing women you must do it.  When women tackle a job they generally do it whether it is managing a husband or milking a cow.’

The government exhorted the public not to waste food and published handy recipes for housewives.  The Surrey Mirror published simple ‘one-course’ dinners under the heading ‘War Time Cookery’, such as Savoury Batter and Gravy; Meat and Vegetable Pudding with Potato.  The paper advises its readers that 3/4lb of bread should be served with each dinner.  Some other suggestions:

  • Use butchers steak trimmings (2d) in a pie
  • Bake your own bread (the shortage of labour meant that bakers could not maintain supply)
  • Use a hay box instead of fuel
  • A ‘northern recipe’ – snow pancakes – contained no egg but a handful of snow instead.  The snow contains air which expands with the head giving a very light pancake,

There were problems for the middle classes – ‘The average servant cannot or will not make vegetable dishes interesting and palatable.  John Bull cannot be expected to become a complete vegetarian nor is it desirable that that he should.’  The public were encouraged to grow their own food where possible.  By the end of the year food prices had increased and coal was in very short supply.  It had even become illegal to throw rice at weddings!  The Surrey Mirror urged people not to be ashamed of wearing old clothes and both papers included patterns for ladies clothes which would not take too much material.

Due to the shortage of paper wood pulp would no longer be imported.  No more free copies of newspapers were issued to libraries.  Newspapers had to be ordered in advance from the newsagent.  On 24 March the local paper reported ‘drastic’ changes in the hours during which Post Office business could be transacted in East Grinstead and the surrounding district.  The hours of public business at the East Grinstead Head Post Office and sub-offices, including Lingfield, would now be 9am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 7pm.  There would now be only two deliveries per day instead of three (those were the days!).

Warnings for the Public
The War Office announced that many carrier pigeons were being shot.  ‘Many of these birds are used for naval or military purposes.  Anyone found shooting these pigeons will be prosecuted.  If you can’t tell the difference between a wood pigeon and a homing pigeon then don’t shoot at all.  All injured birds are to be handed in to the military authorities.’

Support for the Troops
Advertisements appeared for ‘Trench Comforts’ the illustration showed a cigarette and a pipe of tobacco.  Smokers were urged to donate a special parcel of cigarettes for 1 shilling.  These could be sent post free to a regiment (but not an individual).

In February a plan was announced to supply small holdings for men who had fought in the Great War.  The numbers of wounded men returning from the front had increased to the extent that the East Grinstead Observer offered adverts free of charge on behalf of disabled sailors and soldiers seeking employment.

What about the Children?
Food and fuel shortages affected the children.  Lingfield school was closed until the middle of January because of cases of diphtheria breaking out in the village.  This was followed in February by cases of whooping cough and scarlet fever.  In May there was an epidemic of chicken pox at Lingfield school, with over 50% of the children absent.

In spite of illness, the children were able to assist the war effort.  For the month of September 30 children from Lingfield school were away hop picking.  In October, school children collected horse chestnuts.  This is in response to the Government’s appeal for school-children to collect conkers for the war effort.  Horse chestnuts could be used to produce acetone, a vital component in the manufacture of cordite, used in the munitions industry.  ‘With a county 7/6d (37.5p) a hundredweight the children have soon collected more conkers than there are trains to transport them’.

Empire Day was always an important day in the schools’ calendar, never more so than during the war years.  The Lingfield school headmistress wrote in the log book: ‘it is unusually important that Empire Day shall be celebrated this year.’  A Dormansland school Roll of Honour inscribed with names of Old Boys who had volunteered for service with the forces was presented, framed, ready for hanging in the school.  Several children were personally affected by the sentiments of the ceremony with fathers and brothers serving with the Allied Expeditionary Force, some having been killed or injured.


For information on the Lingfield and Dormansland covering the rest of the war years click the following links:






The Impact of WW1 on the Lingfield and Dormansland Area in 1914

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Group

During the period of WW1 radio was in its infancy and newspapers were one of the main means of reporting news and also communicating official information and instructions.  Both the Surrey Mirror and The East Grinstead Observer continued to be published weekly during the war.  The main theatres of the war and national events were covered but from the point view of the impact of the war on the local area the two publications are a rich source of information.  Reports of events in the RH7 area are usually brief, however the ‘snippets’ which were found give an insight into the life ‘on the home front’.

Preparations for War
In the months before August no mention of war was found in the local papers, although contingencies were quietly being put in place.  On 25 July The East Grinstead Observer reported on a Red Cross Field Day held at Imberhorne Farm.  A rest station was prepared ‘near an imaginary battle’ and Territorials in battle kit acted as ‘eounded’, while stretcher bearers administered first-aid and dressed wounds.

The declaration of war on 4 August 1914 initially did not have a great impact on daily life.  The Surrey Mirror edition on the same day carried a cautious report on Britain’s involvement in war.  By the 11 August edition on the same day reported that all doubts were now removed and ‘we know that practically the whole of Europe is in the grip of war…the Fleet is ready and the army mobilising.’

Once war was declared, however, it did not take long for things to step up a gear and for the public to get behind the war effort.  Territorials guarded lines of communication.  Important sections of practically every railway line in the country were guarded, especially lines between Southampton, Aldershot, Chatham and London over which troops might have to be conveyed.

Locally Boy Scouts were posted to guard the viaduct bridge over Cooks Pond, Dormans Park.

Advertisements appeared in the papers for Army pensioners to act as Recruiters and by September the British Red Cross was asking for bandages, instructing people to boil the calico before tearing, leaving no selvedges; the length and width were to be marked with ink and fastened with safety pins.

The Lingfield Emergency Committee was formed.  ‘All the chief residents, farmers, tradesmen and many members of the working class were invited to serve’.  The committee would deal with recruiting, relief, food supply and other urgent matters.  There were appeals for aid for wives and families of soldiers and it was recorded that Lingfield Church gave £25 to the Prince of Wales Fund.  On 25 November the Dormansland school log reported that the children would give an entertainment in aid of the National Relief Fund; this took place in December and raised £13 2s. 11.5d.

Spy Mania
In October 1914, the Surrey Mirror reported that ‘a suspicious foreigner’ was found wandering in a field at Lingfield.  Karl Horvath, aged 18, was unable to give a good account of himself and was remanded; there was no report of what happened to him subsequently.

Alarming stories began to circulate in the local papers.  The Surrey Mirror reported that on Sunday 9 August a troop train near South Godstone was fired at and several windows smashed, although no-one was injured.  From the train four men were seen in a field on the east side of the line.  Three shots were fired at which the men then jumped into a motor car and drove away.  The train was pulled up and Territorials stationed at Redhill, together with police and motor scouts scoured the surrounding country.  ‘Residents in the neighbourhood joined warmly in the chase, one gentleman lending powerful motor car and also guns for six men to go with it.  But it was all in vain and those who man the attack got clean away.’  The next day an attempt was made to fire at Territorials on guard at the L.B. & S.C. Railway loop line at Holmthorpe just outside Redhill .  Sentries fired a round or two and called out the guard.  Two men were seen running away from the embarkment and a search was made but no-one was found.

At about the same time come reports of a troop train being fired upon at Edenbridge.  A rifle bullet was found in the woodwork of a carriage.  The police description of the suspect was circulated as someone ‘tall and dark with a sallow complexion and dark moustache’.  It is not clear what these reports meant but there has been some suggestion that these stories were a deliberate invention with the intention of keeping troops and Territorials on their toes.

Long lists of men who had enlisted were printed.  On 5 September 1914 the East Grinstead Observer reported an appeal from the vicar of East Grinstead for men to join up.  He expressed his hope that the rugby club would join up and cancel games as ‘this was no time for young able-bodied men to be playing or watching games’.  The scoutmaster for the 1st Lingfield and Dormansland troop. Captain Henry Lloyd Martin enlisted; he was later to be killed at the Battle of the Somme.  The scouts from Lingfield and Dormansland competed against the Oxted and Limpsfield scouts in a shooting match.  Several of the scouts taking part went on to enlist: assistant scountmaster Henry Cox became a gunner in the Royal Artillery; Arthur Potter and Albert Friend joined the Royal West Kent Regiment and George Skinner joined the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.

Patriotic verses written by readers were published each week in the Surrey Mirror; these started off by being very jingoistic:
Still shall she rule the waves
Crushing usurping power…
but within weeks become much more sombre:
O God of our fathers hear our prayer
In this dark hour of strife…

National Loans meetings were held in Lingfield and Blindley Heath.  In Lingfield the meeting was chaired by Mr Gow of Batnor Hall; the Lingfield Band played patriotic airs and three cheers were given for ‘our soldiers in the trenches’.  At the Blindley Heath meeting the cry was ‘every man of military age and medically fit who has not joined the Colours must ask himself the question – why do I not enlist?’

Life goes on as Usual
On Saturday 1 August the annual church parade at Lingfield took place.  Taking part were the Fire Brigade, Friendly Societies with banners and sashes; the Lingfield and Dormansland Boy Scouts; the Copthorne Prize Band, the Dormansland Institute Band and Lingfield Band.  In September the Lingfield Harvest Festival went ahead as usual.  At Christmas Aladdin was playing at the Croydon Hippodrome.  Aladdin, played by Miss Lillie Lassae, encouraged the audience to help her with “Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”.

In October, Lingfield Park Racecourse announced that the first autumn meeting would be held as usual.  It was felt that if it was stopped it would mean hardship for those employed.  Also if ‘the interest of owners is allowed to wane there would be serious blow to horse-breeding and the supply of animals to the army would be severely affected.  There should be no false sentiment about the propriety of holding the races’.  It was announced that all serving officers of army and navy were welcome to the course and enclosure free of charge.  Wives and daughters of members away serving in the forces would be allowed to use the member’s badge.

There were official warnings against the hoarding of food but it seems that these appeals were generally ignored by the general public.  At the outbreak of war panic buying broke out and shops such as Sainsbury’s issued notices to the effect that its regular customers would be kept supplied.  The requisitioning of delivery horses by the army also affected distribution to Sainsbury’s branches and customers were asked to carry smaller parcels home themselves.

Demon Drink
By September it was recommended that due to the large numbers of troops billeted in East Grinstead the sale of intoxicating liquor was to be restricted.  The sale of alcohol was therefore suspended between 9pm and 9am.  The Government had grave concerns about the amount the public were drinking and was especially worried about the amount of beer munitions workers were drinking.  There followed new national regulations allowing the watering of beer.  This becomes known as ‘Government Ale’.  A line from a popular music hall song of the time went:
…But the worst thing that ever happened in this war
Is Lloyd George’s Beer.

The British Red Cross issued a warning to chauffeurs in charge of convalescent soldiers out for an airing in private motors who had been seen stopping off at public houses and treating the men to a drink.  It was requested that anyone seeing cases of this kind should report it to any Red Cross Convalescent Home in the neighbourhood.

During the autumn and winter of 1914 supplies of fuel and light were curtailed, street lamps dimmed and no lines of light were permitted.

Events in Belgium
After the German invasion of Belgium many of the population were displaced.  By December the Surrey Mirror had started a weekly column in French for the benefit of the local influx of Belgian refugees.  Accommodation was offered in many places; locally The Colony (now Young Epilepsy) in St Piers Lane offered places for 36 refugees.


For information on the Lingfield and Dormansland covering the rest of the war years click the following links:






The Impact of WW1 on the Lingfield and Dormansland Area in 1915

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Group

During the period of WW1 radio was in its infancy and newspapers were one of the main means of reporting news and also communicating official information and instructions.  Both the Surrey Mirror and The East Grinstead Observer continued to be published weekly during the war.  The main theatres of the war and national events were covered but from the point view of the impact of the war on the local area the two publications are a rich source of information.  Reports of events in the RH7 area are usually brief, however the ‘snippets’ which were found give an insight into the life ‘on the home front’.


Enlisting and Training
Lectures were held in Lingfield and Felbridge as to ‘why every available man is needed to defend his country’.  Lantern slides illustrated the lecture and the position of the armies was explained.  All the proceeds went to the Belgian Relief Fund.  Once a week Lingfield’s Volunteer Training Corps enthusiastically carried out training and shooting practice.  A Major training exercise was carried out at the end of May at Ford Manor attended by companies from Purley, Caterham, Oxted and Limpsfield, as well as Lingfield.  All in all about 500 men took part.

The Lingfield church organist, Mr C. Maude left in May to join the Royal Army Medical Corps

In July Mr Cobham gave an address on the National War Loan at a public open air meeting to a ‘large and appreciative audience’ numbering about 300.  Men, munitions and money were all dealt with in a rousing patriotic speech.  Once again the Lingfield Band played a selection of patriotic airs.  At the end Mr Cobham called for ‘three cheers for our men in the trenches’ to which there was a vigorous response.  Many patriotic concerts were held in Lingfield and Dormansland and proved to be very popular.  At a concert held in aid of the Women’s Emergency Committee at the Victoria Memorial Institute was so crowded that many people could not obtain seats.

More Spy Mania/Anti German Feeling?
In March the Surrey Mirror reported the case of Ludvig Paul Selbach, the tenant of Tower House, Godstone Road.  As he lived in London he offered the house as a hospital to the British Red Cross.  Mr Selbach was born in Germany, then lived in America but had never taken citizenship.  He had German documents and he appeared at London Police Court charged with being an alien.  His defence claimed he was of good character, had lived in England for 37 years and had donated £50 to The Prince of Wales Fund and that his failure to register was a lapse of judgement.  In spite of this he was given 6 months hard labour.  (History does not relate if the hospital was established; no evidence has come to light to suggest that it was).

Precautions during the War
In January, the public authorities were ordered to ensure that all lights other than those not visible from the outside of any house or navigational lights were extinguished between 5pm and 7.30am.  The Surrey Mirror commented ‘…the streets of our towns and villages have never presented a more gloomy and depressing appearance.’  The Christmas 1915 edition of the parish magazine reported that owing to the regulations in force for obscuring light in buildings at night, (presumably against Zeppelin attacks) it was necessary to darken the church windows in order that the evening services could be continued.  ‘The cost of doing this has been considerable’, the magazine records, ‘and material used amounts to £18 1s. 4d.  Many of the congregation have generously donated towards the expense but there is still a further sum required.’  At Baldwins Hill, owing to the great darkness at night caused by the new lighting orders, no extra Advent services were to be held.

Food and Drink
The duty was doubled on spirits.  With the need to reduce imports the Government greatly encouraged the home production of foodstuffs.  Farmers were given guaranteed prices for crops and exhorted to grow more wheat, potatoes and sugar beet.  However, with the enlistment of so many agricultural labourers there was a massive harvest shortage.  The biggest headache was the gathering in of the harvest.

Another worry for farmers was the danger from incendiary bombs in Zeppelin raids.  In July, the Surrey Mirror issued a warning a warning from the Central Chamber of Agriculture for the period from 20 July to the end of August when there is a considerable danger in Eastern and Southern counties from fields of corn being set on fire by incendiary bombs.  The advice given to farmers was not terribly helpful: they were advised to team up in pairs and keep watch in case of any outbreak of fire.  An advert in the Surrey Mirror described a ‘contrivance’ which would warn of a Zeppelin raid.  It was said to work on the basis of a reduction of gas pressure would automatically ring a bell (there were no reports of its use or effectiveness).

Apart from the shortage of labour, the East Sussex branch of the National Farmers Union were alarmed that the military authorities were proposing the commandeering of hay (presumably for the horses used by the army).  They claimed that all the hay in the county would be required for the farmers’ own stock and there was no surplus.  Both the Redhill Fat Stock Show and the Oxted Agricultural Show were abandoned.

By early 1915, the coal shortage had taken hold.  As the price of coal rose steadily each month, local newspapers filled their pages with fuel-saving hints, ranging from the dismal to the positively dangerous.  The following appeared in a column entitled ‘Helpful Hints for Cooks and Mistresses’:

“For saving coal damp some waste paper and wrap some coal in it.  Put it to the back of the grate.  With a shovel full of slack on it and a few bits of good coal in front the sitting room fire will burn gently for many hours without replenishing.”

“…Put a shovel of slack, which has been held under the tap for a few seconds at the back of the grate.  Two or three such shovelfuls will keep the fire going for hours.”

“Coal dust from the cellar mixed with sawdust and slightly moisturised with paraffin, if rolled into lumps the size of oranges, can be used for banking and keeping in the fire.”

“Take a pound of resin, melt it and add two ounces of tallow.  Add sawdust to thicken and spread the mixture on a board which has already been well sprinkled with sawdust to prevent sticking.  Cover closely with fir cones and when dry remove from the board and break into small pieces for use.”

Local Gas Companies urged their customers to use more gas instead of solid fuel which was needed for munitions factories; besides which the greater use of gas was good for business!

Support for the Troops
The Surrey Mirror began a ‘Tobacco Fund’ to supply cigarettes and tobacco for soldiers and sailors at the Front.  This turned out to be extraordinarily successful.  By April an appeal was launched for comforts for wounded soldiers with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at Rouen.  A letter appeared in the Surrey Mirror from P.G. Martin with the 1st Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment serving with the BEF in France.  He appealed to readers to send out mouth organs to the Front as ‘…on the march it cheers us up and makes things lively on the way to the trenches.’

The National Egg Collection for the Wounded started in 1915.  Initially its aim was to collect nationally 20,000 eggs per week for the wounded.  However, it became so successful that it achieved an average of one million eggs a month.  Ten thousand eggs  per day were shipped out to hospitals in France.  There were local depots for collecting the eggs which were sent to the central depot at Harrods where approximately 55,000 eggs came in every day.  The  eggs were packed in bags of sawdust and sent to French and English hospitals.  All broken eggs were sent to wounded soldiers in St George’s Hospital.

The local papers promoted this scheme, regularly giving updates.  The Surrey Mirror edition of 23 March 1915 reported on the enormous part children were playing in the work of collecting eggs.  The Lingfield school log book reports that ‘160 eggs collected by the children have been sent to Bermondsey Military Hospital’.  The Dormansland children brought eggs every week and in February after a special appeal 100 eggs were contributed.  By June the Surrey Mirror reported that 3,000 eggs has been collected in 12 weeks from people living in Merstham, Chaldon and Bletchingley.

The Lingfield Women’s Service League held a Red Cross street collection raising £16.  The league also formed a local branch of The Vegetable Products Association and sent fruit and vegetables to the Fleet every fortnight.  Eggs and flowers were sent weekly to hospitals.

To celebrate Empire Day on 31 May the children of Dormansland school brought pennies towards ‘our soldiers and sailors on active service’.  Later in the year 17s. 1was given to provide Christmas presents for the troops.

On 31 July the East Grinstead Observer reported that Church parade took place at Lingfield in aid of hospitals.  The procession was headed by the Lingfield and Dormansland boy scouts followed by the Lingfield Band in front of which walked Mr Konig accompanied by the vicar.  These were followed by the local lodge of Oddfellows, Dormansland Institute Band, and Fire Brigades from Lingfield, Dormansland, Godstone, Blindley Heath, Oxted and Edenbridge.

Appeals for the Public to help with the War Effort
In May, the War Office issued an appeal for respirators ‘against the asphyxiating gases being used by the enemy’.  The public were urged to make these up to the following instructions:
A face piece (to cover mouth and nostrils) formed of an oblong pad of bleached absorbent cotton wool about 5 1/4 inches x 3 inches covered with three layers of bleached cotton gauze and fitted with a band to fit round the head and keep the pad in position.
A piece of double stockinette 9 1/2 inches long by 3 1/2 inches wide in the centre, gradually diminishing in width to 2 1/2 inches at each end with a piece of thick plaited worsted about 5 inches long attached at each end, so as to form a loop to pass over the ear.
Respirators were to be sent in packages of not less that 100 to the Royal Army Clothing Department, Pimlico.  It is not recorded how effective these home-made gas masks were.

By June, the East Grinstead branch of the Women’s Suffrage Society proposed to start making sandbags for the trenches and appealed for volunteers to help.  By July 1915 the Government asked for volunteer recruits for the munitions industry.

Daily Life
In spite of the restrictions daily life carried on as best as it could.  The parish magazine reported on the first Parochial Sale of Work which by all events was successful.  As well as stalls there was a cake-weighing competition, a Baby Show (with a prize of 5 shillings) and a Gentlemen’s Hat Trimming competition.  The Cinema Royal at Redhill was showing recent war pictures from France, Russia and Italy as well as Keystone comics.  Because expeditions were not allowed the Lingfield Mothers Group were entertained by Mrs Stanger at her residence, Calemore.

The Lingfield Debating Society proved to be a popular weekly event.  Some of the themes discussed were: ‘How to Save the Empire’; How to Abolish Taxation; The Alarming Rise of Sobriety (this last theme sounds like a tongue-in-cheek reference to restrictions on the sale of alcohol).  In September, Lingfield shopkeepers agreed to reduce their opening hours by closing their establishments at 7pm each evening, except Saturdays when it would be 9pm.  The Lingfield Racecourse re-opened in November under much more restricted rules, having been closed since May.

For information on the Lingfield and Dormansland covering the rest of the war years click the following links:





The Impact of WW1 on the Lingfield and Dormansland Area in 1918

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Group

During the period of WW1 radio was in its infancy and newspapers were one of the main means of reporting news and also communicating official information and instructions.  Both the Surrey Mirror and The East Grinstead Observer continued to be published weekly during the war.  The main theatres of the war and national events were covered but from the point view of the impact of the war on the local area the two publications are a rich source of information.  Reports of events in the RH7 area are usually brief, however the ‘snippets’ which were found give an insight into the life ‘on the home front’.


Trials of Daily Life
In February 1918 the Daily Mail bemoaned the fact that ‘servants of any kind are becoming unobtainable and therefore the daily task of the housewife are becoming more difficult.  They have to spend hours going from shop to shop, waiting their turn to be served and then not being able to obtain the food they required’.  Where, the paper asked, the National Kitchens that had been promised?  Labour shortages are a constant problem and women continue to take over from their menfolk.

Fuel continued to be in short supply.  During the war years Lingfield Primary School experienced shortages of coal for its fires, whereby only two classrooms in the school heating.  By 16 January attendance at Lingfield was low as mothers were not sending their children to sit in cold classrooms and by 10 February so many children were suffering from colds that the school closed.  It remained for another week.

Lingfield School, which had been closed since 22 October due to an epidemic of influenza, re-opened on 13 November.  During this time the influenza had affected teachers and children alike.  Two boys died and one teacher was gravely ill.

Lingfield Mixed School Log Book (SHC ref 3361)

By April, meat, butter, cheese and margarine were added to the list of rationed food.  The National Egg Collection scheme, providing eggs for the troops, has been so successful that there was now a national egg shortage at home.  Towards the end of the year, the Government allowed a special allotment of sugar for jam making to those who grew their own fruit.  In the Lingfield area alone there were 3,000 applications which had to be dealt with.  The East Grinstead Observer described this as an ‘arduous piece of work’.  Schoolchildren were recruited to pick blackberries for the jam industry and the Education Authority agreed to any holiday necessary for the children to do their part.  The children were given a half holiday in September 1918 that the older children went BlackBerrying on Dry Hill and Smithers farm.  The total return pick was 389lbs (half a tonne).

Some Light Relief
‘A Special Matinee Concert’ was advertised, to be held at the Whitehall Theatre, East Grinstead the September of 1918 in aide of the British Red Cross.  Many ‘celebrated London Artistes’ agreed to perform, including Mrs Lillie Langtry.

Troops – high morale for some
Private S.H. Turner of Newchapel wrote very cheerful letters.  ‘We have just finished giving Johnny Turk one of the greatest hidings he ever had.  We have been in action for three days…there is no danger at all compared to that in France; we are all as happy as sandboys’.  One suspects that this sentiment was not felt by many troops.

Help for the Troops
The East Grinstead Observer reported that by December the East Grinstead district contributed 121,127 eggs for the National Egg Collection Scheme since March 1915.  Nationally over seven million eggs had been sent to UK hospitals and over 25 million eggs to hospitals abroad,  The Lingfield Parish magazine reported that the village headed the list of all Surrey village, raising £167.5s. over the past 11 months for the Surrey Prisoners of War (POW) Fund. 1,000 parcels were sent every five days to POWs (mainly the Queen’s).

Example of a parcel:
1 tin corned beef            1/2lb cocoa        1 tin dripping          1 tin milk
20 cigarettes                  8oz soap              1 tin Irish Stew       1/2lb sugar
1 tin sardines                 1lb biscuits

The Armistice 11 November
In the Surrey Mirror of 15 November there was a muted report of the armistice which had taken place a few days before no banner headlines or pictures.  The paper continued to record the names of those killed in action.  The log for The Colony school simply recorded on 12 November gave a long report about a torchlight procession in Lingfield.  It was headed by the Fire Brigade and followed by the Boy Scouts.  After patriotic speeches the celebration ended with the burning of an effigy of that ‘Blighter Kaiser Bill’ ad three cheers for the King.  A torchlight procession also took place in Reigate.

‘All over by Christmas’ was the initial response to the war but after four years life for everyone had changed forever.


For information on the Lingfield and Dormansland covering the rest of the war years click the following links:





The Impact of WW1 on the Lingfield and Dormansland Area in 1917

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Group

During the period of WW1 radio was in its infancy and newspapers were one of the main means of reporting news and also communicating official information and instructions.  Both the Surrey Mirror and The East Grinstead Observer continued to be published weekly during the war.  The main theatres of the war and national events were covered but from the point view of the impact of the war on the local area the two publications are a rich source of information.  Reports of events in the RH7 area are usually brief, however the ‘snippets’ which were found give an insight into the life ‘on the home front’.


Food problems were now serious.  The Surrey War Agricultural Committee was set up in January 1917.  Examples of many of the proposals put forward by the committee being put into action were found in the local press.  People were urged not to panic and to cultivate vacant land.

Ploughing up pasture to grow potatoes and wheat meant less pasture for cattle (milk and meat).  ‘We must not deny our children milk’.  It was reported that ‘unless the price of feeding stuffs can be brought down it will be necessary to contemplate a large reduction in the live-stock of the county.  Home-produced fertilizer was produced – sulphate of ammonia mixed with basic slag.  There is a record in the Colony archives of this being ordered from Stanford’s in Lingfield.

Help was given in the purchase of seed potatoes.  In March, Crowhurst Parish Council reported that they had received a letter from the County Agricultural Committee asking what quantity of seed potatoes would be required by parishioners.  A guaranteed price for wheat was introduced.  The County War Agricultural Committee reported that to maintain food supplies more tractors must be used.  However farmers were very conservative and sceptical.  Demonstrators were arranged to show how much quicker ploughing would be if tractors were used and training was provided.  Local farmer Mr Young stated that he heard that ladies could drive tractors.  By March, 16hp Mogul tractors were being important from the USA but the purchase of new or second-hand tractors from this country was advocated to reduce the need for important machines.  However, the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee commented: ‘I understand that the Ford works in USA will be able to turn out tractors at £50…this will revolutionise agriculture…it will knock the English workers off their trade.’

With so many men away, many women started o work on the land.  A separate Women’s War Agriculture Committee was established to ‘get down to each parish’ to organise work for women.  It was decided that the best system was for women working on the land to work in gangs.  There should be a gang leader who would assemble the team and keep the time sheets.  The Home Defence Army was to help during the spring sowing season, also German prisoners, Interned Aliens and Conscientious Objectors.  To add to the difficulties there were reports of swine fever at Newchapel and potato disease at Baldwins Hill ‘which has wrought much havoc’.

Because of the sugar shortage those able to grow their own fruit were allowed sugar in order to preserve their crop.  The local papers printed weekly Hints for Allotment Holders to encourage people to grow their own fruit and vegetables.  Lingfield Drainage Committee received a request from Mr W. Watts to rent a piece of land at the sewage works.  This was agreed at a rent 10/- (50p).  The land had to be used for food production and subletting was not allowed.

The shooting season for pheasants was extended to 1 March.  Rabbits were to be ‘dealt with’ in February, March and April.  Appeals were made to local hunts to keep the numbers of foxes as low as possible.

In response to the massive amount of shipping lost to German U-Boats the Government authorised the organisation of a National Kitchen, where healthy and nourishing food was cooked and served to the masses now that most men had been called up to the Front and women had taken their places in the workforce.  Food shortages became a serious problem and initially food prices were fixed, eg the price of a quarter loaf was fixed at 9d; butchers were limited to 2 1/2d profit per pound.  Finally, the Government introduced food rationing, starting with sugar.  This was in place by the end of November.  The situation was not helped by adverse weather conditions – an abnormal, long and snow-bound winter; a belated and hurried ploughing season followed by a drought in May and then a wet and stormy August.

There were several War Aims Meetings in Surrey villages.  Their purpose was to explain the government war aims.  The Lingfield meeting was held on 26 November in the Victoria Institute.  An example of a resolution passed at these meetings: ‘This meeting heartily approves of the nation’s inflexible determination to continue the struggle until the evil forced which originated the conflict are destroyed and to maintain the ideals of liberty and justice which are the common and sacred cause of the allies.’

Throughout the year news of many deaths and injuries continue to be reported in the papers – too many to be listed here.  Apart from the dreaded bad news families must have been eager for any information.  The troops were restricted in what they could say and the other censor was very rigorous.  A set of postcards sent home by Stanley Jenner to his mother, and passed down to his daughter, are a good example of such correspondence.  Although there was no real news the letters must have been a comfort that as long as the cards kept coming, families knew that their loved one was still alive.

On 3 March the local paper reported on a military round up at the Racecourse: ‘On Saturday last the Military made a raid on the Lingfield racecourse at the conclusion of the day’s racing.’  Likely looking men were held up and requested to produce papers proving their exemption from military service.  A cinematograph operator who attempted to get a picture of the event had to be protected by the police and narrowly escaped a rough handling by some members of the crowd.  Five men were eventually taken.

Labour Shortage
A letter to the Surrey Mirror asking ‘what about the children of women who work?  Will the older children miss school to look after their younger brothers and sisters?  I call upon all women up to 60 for this work of national importance,  It is time to consider the citizens of the future.’

There were many reports of women taking over their husband’s work.  For example, in July the licence of the Royal Oak, Dormansland, was transferred from Albert Leigh (who was serving with the Colours) to his wife, Beatrice Annie Leigh.

Daily Life
In the midst of so much bad news the Observer reported on two weddings which took place in Ligfield church, on 27 October.  Frances Nita Fuller married Ernest William Frost.  He was a Canadian soldier and was on leave.  Nora Sybil Wallers married Percy William White, ‘one of our brave fellows who was wounded at Gallipoli and has now been discharged.’

Miss Norah Burton, chauffeur of Red Cottage, Station Road, Dormansland, was summoned for not drawing her bedroom blinds at night.  She wrote that she got into bed, leaving a candle burning by her bedside.  She was fined £1.

A Drama in Dormansland
‘On August Bank Holiday, Mr Winston Churchill, Minister of Munitions, and his wife left their residence, Lullenden, in their motor, proceeding to London.  On reaching The Crossway, the residence of Mr Davey Walker, another motorist approached from the blind turning and struck Mr Churchill’s car full broadside with such violent force that the vehicle was thrown on its side.  Mr and Mrs Churchill were badly shaken but as soon as they could obtain another car they resumed their journey.

For information on the Lingfield and Dormansland covering the rest of the war years click the following links:





Frederick James Martin

Family story contributed by Linda Davies

Frederick James Martin was born on the 12 of July 1881 in the beautiful and hilly village of Coldharbour, near Dorking, Surrey.  He grew up there, attended school and began his work life as a gardener’s assistant. He was the oldest son of James and Edith (nee Etheridge) Martin and had four brothers and one sister. He was named after his grandfather and father, James and his great-grandfather, Frederick. Gardening was the family trade and Frederick worked as a gardener at Broome Hall, Coldharbour. Sometime after 1901, he moved to Lindfield, Sussex. He met Jeanie Farquharson, a Scottish girl from Ballanter, Aberdeenshire. They married at St. Matthews Church, Redhill, Surrey on 10 April 1907. Their son, Harvey James Martin was born 6 March 1908 at Snowflakes, Walstead, Lindfield, Sussex and his father was working as a gardener. They were still there in 1911, living in the Walstead Cottages. Frederick was 33 when World War One started and most likely did not need to sign up, but chose to do so. Frederick enlisted as a private in the Royal Sussex Regiment (3019) and later was in the 8th Battalion, The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment where his regimental number was G/7345. His brother, Herbert John Martin was in the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. While Frederick was away, his wife and son moved to Brancaster House, Brancaster, King’s Lynn, Norfolk.  He died on 4 August 1918 at age 37. He was awarded the Victory Medal and Star. Frederick is buried in the Cambrai East Military Cemetery France (Grave reference VII.A.8.) and is memorialized on the Coldharbour WW1 Memorial. Two of his cousins, Horace John Longhurst and William Sidney Longhurst, sons of Frederick’s aunt, Amelia Martin Longhurst, are remembered on the same memorial in Coldharbour.

Lingfield and Dormansland Scouts in the Great War

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Groups

On 2 August 1914 the Sussex Association of Boy Scouts called for 1,000 Boy Scouts to guard the telegraph lines and culverts, to run messages between the police and military forces, and look out for spies, ‘a duty which their local knowledge and natural inquisitive makes them perfectly fit to render’.  So the Boy Scouts were mobilised as an active National Force, and were ordered to wear their uniform…

The Lingfield scouts were at Summer Camp at Rye Harbour when war broke out and the Troop offered their services to the Chief Constable of Sussex for patrolling watch duties and signalling before a hurried return home after they were relieved by the 25th City of London Cyclists Regiment.  Writing in 1939, one of the scouts, Jim Huggett, recalled standing on the quay at Rye Harbour “waiting for a spy to pop up”.  He pondered whether it would be more effective to hit him with a scout pole or poke him in the stomach.  Fortunately he wasn’t called upon to make a decision. Jim Huggett enlisted in the Army Service Corps in 1915 and was awarded the Military Medal.  He eventually took over the troop after the war.

Once home Lingfield scouts were enlisted to guard the Railway Viaduct over Crooks Pond at Dormans Park night and day.  Writing in 1935 Arthur Potter remember being on watch by himself at the Viaduct in the early hours and being scared by a rustling in the bracken when a large rat popped out and ran across the road.  He was more than glad when his two hour shift ended.  After being relieved by the National Guard the scouts were then sent to guard the Dry Hill Reservoirs during the day – the night duty being undertaken by the Ford Manor employers and the East Surrey Water Company.

In November 1914 the scouts from Lingfield and Dormansland competed against the Oxted and Limpsfield scouts in shooting match.  Several of the scouts taking part went on to enlist: assistant scoutmaster Harry Cox went on to be a gunner in the Royal Artillery and became a prisoner of war; Arthur Potter and Albert Friend joined the Royal West Kent Regiment and George Skinner joined the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.

By 18 December 1914, 19 Lingfield scouts (past and present) had joined up.  By the end of the war, the majority of senior scouts had joined the Allied forces; most scouts had joined the Army and six had joined the Navy: Fred Baker, Nelson Cox, Fred and Hugh Vincent.  Later in 1914 several more of the boys joined up, including four lads who, after being refused at Lingfield for being underage, went to Edenbridge where they were not known and enlisted in the Royal West Kent Regiment.  All of the boys were 17 but said they were 19. It is fairly certain that three of the boys were Ernest Faulkner, Albert Friend and Norman Funnell.  The name of the fourth boy as not yet been discovered.

The scoutmaster for the 1st Lingfield and Dormansland troop.  Captain Henry Lloyd Martin was later to be killed at the Battle of the Somme on 28 September 1916.  Talking to the boys before he left for the Front he told them “it will be after the war, when our moral strength and courage will be needed”.  On 29 July 1915, before sailing for Bolougne, he wrote a poignant letter to the scouts to be read out in the event of his death.  He appears to have been held in high esteem by the boys.

Ernest Faulkner, one of the boys who enlisted when he was underage, transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was discharged in 1917 with severe shell shock, suffering from headaches, sleeplessness, tremor and fear of noise.  He was just 19 years old.

Two brothers, Ernest and Jack Caush enlisted on the same day, 10 November 1914, at Guildford in the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment along with five others from Dormansland. Jack was only 17 but said he was 19.  Both boys were to died on the Somme aged 20 and 17 respectively.

Another scout, Edward Bysh, of 6 Ormuz Cottages, Newchapel Road, Lingfield, travelled to Guildford and enlisted in the 7th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment on 25 August 1914 along with five other local young men (Alick Stoner, Frank Woolgar, Frederick Longley, Victor Galloway and Victor’s brother Charles, who was only 15 but gave his age as 19).

Alick Stoner of Dormansland and Edward Bysh were both killed on the same day at the Somme on 18 November 1916.  Both are buried at Stump Road cemetery, near Albert in France. Edward and Frank Woolgar may have known each other as they have consecutive service numbers.  Frank had been working at Ford Manor, but was working at Goodwood when he volunteered.  Frank was killed on 8 May 1916, aged 26.  Victor Galloway died on the third day of the battle of the Somme, 3 July 1916, aged 20.  Frederick Longley of Goldhards Farm, Newchaple, survived the war.

On 14 April 1917, the East Grinstead Observer reported: “Mrs Bysh of Ormuz Cottages, Newchapel Road, has learned that her son Edward who was serving in the [Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment] was killed as long ago as November 16 in last year.  James Martin, [Honourable Secretary], Lingfield Recruiting at the Mutual Help Committee writes to Mrs Bysh: May I personally add how deeply I sympathise with you…My dear son and he were greatly attached.  They were both not only fellow Scouts but they arrived afterwards in the same battalion in which they both lost their lives”. James Martin’s son, Henry Lloyd Martin, was the scoutmaster of the 1st Lingfield and Dormansland Scouts, of which Edward Bysh was a member.

In early Spring of 1915 Lingfield Scouts went on camp to Pett Level on the south coast to help the Coastguards and Coast Watchers looking for enemy aircraft and submarines.  They were there for three months before many more left the troop to join up.

Out of over 60 scouts who joined up some were not to return:
Jack Caush – missing September 1915, aged 17
Henry Lloyd Martin, Scoutmaster – killed 28 September 1916, Somme, aged 36
Ernest Caush – killed October 1916, Somme, aged  21
Edward Bysh – killed 18 November 1916, Somme aged 20
Fred Faulkner – died of sickness whilst on active service, July 1918, aged 19



Ian Blackford, 1st Lingfield and Dormansland Scouts

Boy Scouts Newsletters, Our Vinculum dated 1935 and 1939

Surrey Mirror archives

East Grinstead  Observer archives

Edward Heron-Allen’s Journal of the Great War

Dorothy Oakley

Research and text contributed by the RH7 History Group

Dorothy Oakley is the only woman [so far] found in [the RH7] villages who [is known] to have done war work, in her case, nursing. There are possibly others but unfortunately women’s records in many cases were not kept or were later subjected to a ‘sweeping clear out’ such as that in the 1930s.

She was born in Kensington in 1871. Her father was a Land Agent. In 1911 she was living by ‘private means’ in Glebe Cottage, Vicarage Road, Lingfield. She was unmarried.

In 1914 she became a member of the Lingfield Emergency Committee and the Chairman of the Hospital and Convalescence Sub-Committee. In January 1915 she announced her resignation as she was about to leave to nurse in Serbia as a VAD. When the Emergency Committee was wound down in 1919 there was acknowledgement of Dorothy’s war service in the Balkans.

In 1958 she lived at The Laurels, Dormansland, and died in The Larches Nursing Home, East Grinstead. She is buried in the Lower Churchyard of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul.


Arthur Henry Dare

Research and text by Gary Simmons (grandson)

Arthur Henry Dare was born 8 September 1892.

Enlisted:  August 1914

Service number:  G37068

Regiment:  Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment.

11th (Service) Battalion, 41st Division, 123rd Infantry Brigade.


The following is a copy of Arthur’s hand-written pencil notes made during his time in the Great War.


Left Blight on September 8th 1917.

Joined 11th Battalion Queens, September 19th 1917.

Ypres   September 20th. Stretcher bearing

Returned to Miemac Camp1 September 23rd. Entrained to Hasle Brook2 & left there by motor to Uxham3 then to Rossendale4 & into the line. Yorkshire Camp5, Coxhide6, Neuport7. Quiet except for a few whizz bangs. Shelled at S. Corner8, no one hit. Marched to La Panne. Remained there till marched to Uxham3 on Sunday November 11th.

Entrained for Italy November 14th. Lovely journey Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo disentrained on November 20th. Started march on 22nd finished on 29th. Slept in a church under shell fire relived Italians on 30th November near Nevesa9. Post on island.

Relived on the 8th December 1917 returned to fire support   X10 on 16th. Front line Xmas Eve

X Sent Killing Ingram11

(Received two Pels12) Plenty of snow. Whizz banged on open road (very nice)

Relived on January 3rd 1918 by R.F. (32nd Royal Fuailiers)

4 men wounded about December 28th.

Bells rung the Old year out & New in. Over in Jerrys line. St Andrea13

January 11th 2 days Nevesa9

2 days shelled at 2 in the morning.

Trench digging in the day good billet.  Photos saw of children. Relived on 16th by H.A.C 2nd Battalion band from _____   Riesie14.  then in support of French in the mountains. Behind Mount Grappea15.  Left for 137 F.A. Falzie16. return to Battalion then marched to Antivole17 Sports. Brought wrap of cover. Marched through Monte B18 to relive 23rd Division on February 16th. Relived in support by 23th Division on February 24th, marched away to Riesie14 and then to Padova19 (Italy). Entrained here on March 1st 1918 for France (Got drunk 30th April) special) Dulons20 March 6. Inernary 21 till March 21st entrained at Montacan22 to Ashby Le Grand 23. Proceeded to line Dig in artillery.

Vic stand to then front line to relieve Chestines. R.W.F. 24 March 22nd dig in.  March 23rd surrounded and Captured about 6 o’ clock. Carried wounded about 7 or 8 kilometres. Work all night. Sunday 24th, march nearly all day to small camp nothing to eat. Slept in stable next day piece of Bread and some Horseflesh soup. (went down good) arrived Denain25 Monday25th, Entrained on 26 for Munster II. Good Friday 29th. First PC with add, sent on April 1st.

Left Munster II April 18th for Wallrope26   Munster III

Started work on Coke on 19th.

May 5th Day off (Chatts27)

May 6th started work in Mine

July 16th Frenchman Died. 1st _ _ _ 2028

July 20th Prisoners 20 arr ill

July 21st 2 Photos sent also July 14th.

July21st   Frenchman Died 2nd Buried July 24th

Nov 9th 1918 Republic

Nov 24 Left Wallrope26 for Munster III

Dec 1st Rotterdam

Dec 4th Landed at Hull






Micmac. Canadian camp located
Rosendale, near sand dunes.
Yorkshire camp listed as Oost-Dunkerle.
S. Corner?
St. Andrea. (Battalion War Diary)
Monte Grappa.
Monte B?
Padova.  (Battalion War Diary)
Mondicourt. (Battalion War Diary)
Achiet-Le-Grand (Battalion War Diary)
Possible; Cheshires, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Body lice commonly know to the British soldier as Chatts, which may be derived from chattel. Almost every man who served in the Great War had lice as a constant companion.
1 to 20.

Battalion War Diaries.
History of the Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment in the Great War. Colonel H. C. Wylly, C.B. Chapter XXV page 267.
The British Army in Italy 1917-1918, John Wilks & Eileen Wilks. Chapter 3 page 50, Chapter 4 pages 55,56,61,66.
Battle Ground Europe Touring the Italian Front 1917-1919, Francis Mackay. Pages 16,74,86.
Map of the Main Prison Camps in Germany & Austria, Mrs. Pope-Hennessy. Map & Page 9.
International Committee of the Red Cross, Attestation confirmation of capture & POW camp.
Note, Items shown under Legend heading still in red are unconfirmed to date.