St Saviour’s Church, Stoke-Next-Guildford – 1915

St Saviour’s Church, Stoke-Next-Guildford

January 1915, saw Reverend Peters in a reflective mood, once again. Even in the depth of the sorrow and suffering, he argued that as the war went on it was possible to see ‘more and more clearly the good hand of God upon us’. For the Reverend, the devotion and courage displayed by the officers and men, the fact that everyone at home was trying to do something to help someone less fortunate than themselves, the silencing of the ‘bitterness and strife of tongues in the political world’, the reduction in crime, the ‘liberal contributions in money and work [that] have been made in response to various appeals, and the ‘sober thoughtfulness [that] has taken the place of lightness and frivolity’, all meant that ‘the war… has been a blessing in disguise in many ways’.

On January 3rd 1915, St Saviour’s was to join the rest of the country in a day of prayer and intercession, with a ‘Special Service for Women’ at 3pm, an hour that, it was hoped, would prove convenient for those women who had husbands, sons, brothers, or relatives serving.

Again, the magazine returned to the subject of ‘Alcohol and the War’, highlighting the recommendations of a conference that had recently met under the Archbishop of Canterbury, but which was representative of ‘all shades of opinion’. The conference called for the adoption by all of ‘a patriotic pledge of total abstinence for the duration of the war’, and desired that the pledge be supported by the enforcement of the Temporary Restrictions Act of 1914, the provision of ‘suitable means of refreshment and recreation… where there would be no temptations to drink’, and also a program of public education.

In February 1915 Reverend Peters’ attention returned predominantly to parish matters, in the form of the new scheme for diocesan finance. However, he did record that the annual social gathering for workers had been postponed until brighter days, as ‘I cannot bring myself to enter into its spirit with some member of the choir and Sunday School away on duty at the call of their King and Country’. In contrast, with numbers only showing a slight decrease on account of children who had been removed from the parish, the Sunday School Treat had continued as usual.

The working party, which had been disbanded at the end of the previous year, had been so successful that the garments made that were surplus to the Belgian refugee’s requirements had been sent to Dr Barnardo’s Homes, and a letter was published this month, in grateful thanks for this ‘welcome gift’. A second letter had been received from the British Red Cross Society, offering their thanks for the £30 2s. that had been forwarded from the parish.

Lastly, there was the replication of a letter from Bishop of Durham to the Editor of ‘Sunday at Home’, entreating Christian men and women to ensure that, while they economise in ‘style of living, in dress, in food, in “pleasures”’, they do not ‘economise over our religious subscriptions and donations’. This was a message that the Reverend Peters felt ‘too valuable to be overlooked’.

As Spring returned to Guildford, March 1915 saw the publication of a letter to the parish, from an unnamed  ‘private in the 5th “Queen’s” Territorials’:

I feel I must write and thank you for the kindness which has been shewed to us during our stay at Guildford. The various comforts provided for us by the kind friends there were most acceptable, and perhaps you would be good enough to convey our appreciation to them.

Reverend Peters went on to express his gratification upon receiving such a letter, as well as his promise to convey the thanks of the ‘non-commissioned officers and privates of the R.F.A., who have just left us’, to those in the parish on whom they were billeted.

The magazine recorded that, on January 26th, ’10 mufflers and seven pairs of mittens were sent from the parish to the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen for the minesweepers’ and on February 6th ‘a parcel was sent to Colonel Treeby for the East Surrey Regiment, containing 11 mufflers, three pairs socks, 12 pairs of mittens, and one chest protector’. Thanks had been received for both. In addition an All-Day Working Party was to taken place on Friday 5th March, by the united parishes of Stoke and St Saviour’s, with the aim of supplying provisions for the Church Missionary Society’s hospitals abroad. Lastly a call was made for parishioners not to allow ‘the pinch of war time’ to cause the work of Dr Barnardo’s Homes to suffer.

Throughout all the parish magazines it is possible to see this constant tension that existed, between the routine calls that were made on parishioners for both time and money, and the new demands, which were a product of wartime.

As Easter approached, the April 1915 edition of the magazine recorded that the All-day Working Party had resulted in the supply of ’50 triangular bandages, 90 huckaback towels, 15 theatre cloths, 5 knitted cloths, 47 draw sheets, 13 mattress covers, 14 bedjackets, 30 assistant’s aprons, 4 surgeon’s overalls, 33 eye shades, 30 muslin bags… and 1,244 roller bandages’. In addition the parish had sent the following items ‘to the Barracks at Stoughton for “The Queens” Regiment: 6 mufflers, 10 pairs mittens, 3 pairs socks, 1 body belt, 1 flannel shirt’, and these had been acknowledged in the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ on Saturday 20th March.

On April 14th, The Church of England Waifs and Strays Society was to hold a performance of its pageant, ‘Children through the Centuries’, to raise funds for the ‘War Emergency Fund’. The Fund had been established to provide homes for children who had been made homeless by the war and the society had already received over 130 applications, with more being received daily.

Finally, Reverend Peters advised that he had taken the decision to abandon the 11 o’clock Intercession Service on Wednesdays, as ‘so few found it convenient to attend, and there are in other churches midday services for those who wish and are able to meet for prayer’. However, he went on to remind parishioners that prayer was a simple means by which they may be fortified, especially at a time when ‘there are indications of a fierce and prolonged struggle, and undoubtedly much anxiety and suffering in store’.  However, as ‘the call to prayer becomes more and more insistent’, May 1915, saw the addition of a ‘short intercessory service’ every Sunday evening, as ‘it is the only thing we can do for those millions of our fellow countrymen who are engaged in upholding the integrity of the Empire and the honour of our flag’.

Against the backdrop of Italy’s entry into the struggle, a ‘shortage of munitions… the urgent call for thousands more men, and the frightful disregard of humane methods on the part of our enemy’, in June 1915 Reverend Peters called for ‘earnest and continued intercession’. He also drew attention to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s calls for moderation and the King’s ‘noble example… in abstaining from the use of all alcoholic beverages’, as ‘those who return from the front are still surprised at our apathy and worldliness’. For the Reverend, ‘if the war leads us to national repentance and reformation of life, although the price will be a terrible one to pay, it will not be in vain’.

Practising what they preached, the Guildford clergy had unanimously agreed that Sunday School summer treats and choir outings should be foregone, and the Bishop had advised that the festival of the Winchester Diocesan Fund, which not only had a social side, but was also non-essential, would also not be held.

The St Savour’s Troop (1st Guildford) Boy Scouts, advised that they had received letters from past members, many of whom were in the East, and that three assistant scoutmasters, and 23 leaders and members, were serving their King and country, at home or abroad, at that time.

On the home-front a house-to-house collection was to be made in the Guildford district from June 3rd to 9th on behalf of the ‘Penny Fund for Sick and Wounded’, which operated under the auspices of the British Red Cross Society and the St John Ambulance Association. Envelopes were to be left at each house by the Boy Scouts, for collection by helpers later in the week, and a special appeal was to be made, in separate envelopes, to domestic servants. This was in light of a similar appeal that had been made in London and had succeeded in raising £13,000 from domestic servants, entirely amongst themselves.

As summer approached, in July 1915, the vicar extolled the benefits of taking a holiday which, he argued, would greatly aide in bearing up under the ‘current period of nervous stress and strain’ with the ‘courage and fortitude’ that it was their ‘duty to our country, and our friends’ to display. For the Reverend Peters the desirable mood was to:

Aim at being natural, neither ignoring the war nor exaggerating its difficulties or reverses – at being firm over ourselves  and our feelings – at being useful and taking up some work which will benefit the community – and above all at being prayerful, for the success of our efforts depends on the soul of then nation.

Added to this list of qualities, however, was a desire for thrift as, against the backdrop of the government’s launch of the second War Loan appeal, parishioners were encouraged to ‘save every penny we can for the benefit of the country’. The Reverend advised that:

an extravagant person who spends money unnecessarily, a selfish person who spends on personal amusement and to gratify his love of pleasure is a traitor at the present moment. The Government wants support, the support and help of all classes, and thrift, economy, and self-denial on the part of all workers will supply their need and leave a surplus for future contingencies. Every patriotic person should be able to show that he or she has invested in the War Loan, and thus done something to help their country in the time of need.

It seems likely that it must have been very difficult at times to balance the various duties and qualities that served to make a patriot!

Taking his own advice, the vicar and his wife left for a few restful weeks of holiday, in Barmouth, North Wales, in August 1915.

The magazine recorded that, in response to an appeal amongst the Wednesday evening congregation, a cheque had been sent for £1 12s. 10d. to the Lord Mayor of London, on behalf of the French Red Cross Society.

The vicar had written his letter for the September 1915 edition of the magazine from his holiday in Barmouth, where, he recorded, ‘the holiday month has been quieter than usual’, although there were ‘still hundreds, even here, of military age who appear to be untouched by [the war]’.  Reverend Peters was, however, heartened by the ‘few indications that men are realising [the importance of things spiritual’, as signified by ‘the accounts from many parts of England of the services held on August 4th – the anniversary of the declaration of war – [that were] distinctly cheering’.

The magazine published a letter from the Bishop, which had appeared in the August Diocesan Chronicle, on the occasion of the commencement of the second year of war. The issues of ‘frugality, thrift, and self-sacrifice’, were once again key, as the Bishop implored readers, in these times of ‘abundant employment, high wages, liberal separation allowances, and the like’ to ‘prepare for the lean years when, after the return of huge numbers of men, employment may be scarce, money for business hard to come by, and special allowances at an end’.

Finally, with harvest approaching, an appeal was made on behalf of ‘The National Egg Collection for the wounded’, who needed to collect one million eggs for the nation’s sailors and soldiers.

In October 1915, Reverend Peters recorded that about 30 of the old members of 1st Guildford Troop Boy Scouts were serving and, of these, two (Privates Victor Davies and Arthur Tomsett) had fallen at the Dardanelles, alongside Major A Roberts, who had previously acted as honorary Secretary for the County Association for some time. A memorial service had been held on September 15th, at which the 1st and 9th Guildford Troops were present, along with other representatives of the Scouting Association.

The magazine also outlined the operation of a new scheme to allow women of the Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross Society to take the places of men in Military Hospitals.

Lastly, readers were advised that a war lecture entitled ‘The ruined cities of France and Belgium’ was to be given on October 19th, by Reverend C F Fison, the Vicar of South Nutfield. Reverend Fison had ‘acted as chaplain in the war zone in France, and prepared his lecture for the wounded soldiers. It will be illustrated by photographs taken before and after the war, which will vividly bring the contrast to our minds.’ A collection was to be made on behalf of the soldier’s church at Wimereux, near Bologne.

In November 1915 readers were advised that the Wardens had felt it their duty to insure the parochial buildings against hostile aircraft, through the Government Insurance Scheme. An appeal was made to those who were to be members of the congregation on Sunday November 7th, to be generous in the offertories and help them raise the sum expended. In the following month, December 1915, readers were further advised that, while the policies taken out cost £15 and 2s. the collection had only yielded £9 5s., with a further £2 1s. being donated subsequently. An appeal was made for further donations, no matter how small, as they were ‘anxious to meet this expenses at once’.

Finally, the Vicar brought the news that Sunday January 2nd 1916 was to be set aside as a ‘day of solemn intercession’, with the further suggestion that Friday December 31st be kept as a day of self-denial and penitence and Saturday January 1st as a day of preparation for the duties and privileges of the Sunday. For Reverend Peters, ‘a day of humiliation and confession would do the nation good’ but he felt a week-day should be set aside, as was the case in the Crimean War, as by substituting a Sunday it ‘will appeal to religious people who are in the habit of attending public worship, but… it will leave those who never attend absolutely untouched’. He then closed the year by questioning whether anything could be done ‘to reach the masses?’


St Saviour’s Church, Stoke-Next-Guildford, Parish Magazines, January to December 1915, SHC Ref: 1946 Box 10.

‘Soldiers Comforts. The Queens, 24th List.’ The Surrey Advertiser and County Times. 20th March 1915.


Women in War Hospitals

In October 1915, the St Saviour’s, Stoke-next-Guildford, parish magazine outlined a new scheme that would allow women to work in war hospitals, as well as detailing how women in the Guildford Division of the Voluntary Aid Detachment should apply.

A scheme is being inaugurated for women of the Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross Society to take the places of men in Military Hospitals. Hitherto their work has been replacing trained nurses and acting as probationers in Military Hospitals. Under the new scheme they will be employed in the room of male orderlies, acting as dispensers, clerks, storekeepers, and cooks, and it is hoped that thousands of men may thus be set free for active service. Women can also apply for general duty, as masseuses, motor car drivers, vegetable maids, and in other capacities for which they may be fitted.

Women thus engaged in Military Hospitals need not have the first-aid or nursing certificates, but must belong to a Voluntary Aid Detachment. The age limit also does not affect them. Their salaries will be: Dispensers (who must be qualified), £1 10s. a week; head clerks, £1 15s.; clerks, £1 6s.; head cooks, £1 15s. (and three meals a day); cooks, £1 (and three meals a day). These terms do not include food, except for cooks, nor quarters. The clerks will not necessarily be required to know shorthand or typewriting, but must be willing to do hard routine work, keeping diet sheets, etc. It is hoped that the women will be able to run hostels for themselves and arrange for board and lodgings at about 18s. a week.

Lists are already being prepared for a possible immediate call on the V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detachment), as directions have been sent out to commanding officers from the War Office to see in what directions the scheme can be put into immediate operation.

All those in the Guildford Division wishing for further particulars should send their names either to the Commandant of a Detachment or to the Vice-President, Lady Rowley, Eastfield Lodge, who will arrange for instruction for those wishing to become clerks or storekeepers.


St Saviour’s Guildford, Parish Magazine, October 1915, SHC Ref: 1946 Box 10.


National War Loan (Leaflet No 7)

In June 1915 the government launched its second National War Loan Scheme. The August 1915 edition of St Saviour’s Parish Magazine re-printed Leaflet No. 7, which outlined the scheme’s operation in the form of a series of questions and answers.



Question. – People are saying that everyone who can should take up some of this new War Loan. Why do they say this?

Answer. – Because this is one of the ways of helping our country in the War, and every little counts.

Q. – I have not much saved up, but I am earning good wages and could save a few shillings a week. Could I invest that money in the Loan?

A. – Yes. Everybody who can save can and should invest in the Loan.

Q. – What must I do?

A. – With every 5s. you have you can buy a Scrip Voucher at the Post Office for that amount. You can also buy Scrip Vouchers for 10s. or £1. Buying Scrip Vouchers is as easy as buying postage stamps.

Q. – What must I do with my Scrip Vouchers?

A. – Keep them carefully until the 1st of December, and after that date you can exchange them at the Post Office for War Loan. For every twenty Scrip Vouchers for 5s. or ten Scrip Vouchers for 10s. or five Scrip Vouchers for £1 you will receive £5 of stock.

Q. – But if I want money I shall not have to wait till sometime between 1925 and 1945 to get it?

A. – No you can go to the Post Office and sell your stock at any time.

Q. – Could it be sold quickly?

A. Yes, you would only have to wait, at most a few days for your money.

Q. – Would it cost me anything to sell out?

A. – The Post Office will make a small charge; for any amount up to £25 the fee is 9d. only.

(Leaflet No. 7).


St Saviour’s Guildford, Parish Magazine, August 1915, SHC Ref: 1946 Box 10.

The Bishop of Winchester looks to the future

The Right Reverend Edward Talbot (1844-1934), Bishop of Winchester, sent a letter from his seat at Farnham Castle to all the churches of his diocese in January 1919, reflecting on the armistice and the challenges ahead:  ‘God has brought us through the war, and given us a fresh lease of power – for what?’  The Bishop had himself experienced the tragedy of the war: his younger son Gilbert Talbot (1891-1915), a lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, had been killed in the Ypres Salient on 30 Jul 1915; Gilbert’s brother Neville, an army chaplain, had retrieved the body.  Talbot House, the famous rest house for soldiers in Poperinghe, west of Ypres, nicknamed Toc-H, was named after Gilbert.  A letter from Gilbert, written to Susan Lushington from Bordon Camp in March 1915, is held by Surrey History Centre (SHC ref 7854/4/32/3/1a-b).

In the letter, the Bishop gives thanks again for the end of hostilities and hopes that now a ‘just and lasting peace’ can be achieved.  He warns against any temptation to self-righteousness even though it is proper to look ‘sternly and severely at the awful fault and crimes of Germany’ and warns Britain not to fall into Germany’s sins of ‘national self-worship, and the worship of force, of gold and of the machine’.  He believes that the final peace settlement should not aim at any expansion of Britain’s empire but should seek to ‘draw all nations into a League of Peace, to act as trustee and defender of the weaker races, to conduct ourselves so that slowly but surely hatreds may die down, and slowly but surely the ideals which are good for all the nations may come to be pursued by all’.

At home it should be the aim of all to create a fairer society but this should be done with ‘general goodwill, disinteredness, and unselfishness’, so it does not degenerate into a struggle between rich and poor.  He recognises that ‘those who have sometimes a wrong and unchristian monopoly of the great word ‘respectable’ will have to reconcile themselves (let me put myself among them) to great losses and disagreeable changes, and to welcome a state of society in which they count for less’ but urges people to heed the lesson of the Russian Revolution ‘that revolution can be as ruthless as autocracy or Junkerism’ and urges Labour not to ‘organise hatred against all who are not in its ranks’.

Above all, he asks his flock to pray that ‘the nations all, and our own, may feel their way forward’ and that God will ‘give life’s bread and portion more and more truly and fairly to all’.

A copy of the letter is included in the volume of Witley parish magazines at Surrey History Centre (SHC ref WIT16/37).

Private Hubert William Selby

Private Hubert William Selby was first listed as serving in the February 1915 edition of the parish magazine. In December of the same year, the magazine recorded that:

H W Selby was killed in action on the 13th October, while serving with the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. He was only married a short while before the war broke out, and was employed in Oxshott as a gardener. He was popular with all. We mourn his loss and shall remember him as a good man. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his sorrowing widow. RIP.

In addition, it was reported that ‘Mrs Selby desires to return thanks for all the kind letters of sympathy which have been a source of great comfort to her’.


St Andrew’s, Oxshott, Parish Magazines, December 1915, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.

Private William Scarff

In March 1915 the St Andrew’s parish magazine recorded that:

News has come from India that Private William Scarfe (sic.), of the East Surrey Regiment, was drowned while bathing last month. William Scarfe (sic.) was a resident of Effingham, and was employed at Warren Mount, Oxshott, when called up for service at the general mobilization.


St Andrew’s, Oxshott, Parish Magazines, March 1915, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.

St Saviour’s Church, Stoke-Next-Guildford – 1914

St Saviour’s Church, Stoke-Next-Guildford

The St Saviour’s Guildford Parish Magazine cost 1d. and was distributed through a network of district visitors and magazine distributors. As well as details of services, parochial fixtures, Bible Classes, Sunday School, and Collections and Communicants, it contained reports on various church affiliated local societies and organisations.

Reverend Peters’ monthly letter, in which he reflected upon events in the parish, the nation, and the wider world, took up a large proportion of each magazine and offer an interesting insight into one clergyman’s view on the events taking place at the time. Reverend Peters had arrived in Stoke as a curate in 1891 , and took responsibility for the new parish of St Saviour’s on its creation in 1893, where he remained until his death in 1926.

In relation to the Great War, surviving copies of the magazine date from August 1914 to December 1916. The sudden nature of the onset of hostilities was highlighted in the August 1914 issue, which opened with Reverend Peters outlining his plans to take a holiday in both sides of the Rhone Valley, starting in Lucerne at the end of July. In the following month, September 1914, the vicar recorded the events that subsequently took place, offering an interesting first hand account of the experience of being a British tourist on the continent at the moment that war is declared, of their attempts to get home, as well as some of the concern that was felt during this period by their friends at home.

The parish of Stoke-Next-Guildford was quick to mobilise. Intercession Services, ‘on behalf of His Majesty’s Naval and Military Forces’ were to be held every Wednesday, at 11am and 8pm, and every Friday, at noon and 8pm. By the following month the service at noon on Friday had been dropped, and replaced by a service to be held in the Parish Room on Mondays at 8.15am. A Ladies Working Party was also initiated for any women willing to work at home or in the Parish Room, and the first meeting was arranged for 3pm on Wednesday August 26th.

In October 1914 the Reverend Peters wrote of the anxiety already felt, as well as the ‘many weeks of like anxiety [which] await us’. He was heartened, however, to find that, in releasing ‘several white papers containing the correspondence of the different Ambassadors on the Continent, the government had been able ‘to make it clear to all that Great Britain has entered upon this war from a simple righteous motive’ and ‘that up to the eleventh hour we tried to keep out of it altogether’. Recognising that ‘there is little we can do for our dear men in the front’, he called upon parishioners to pray for them and for more ‘mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts’ to come to prayer services to do so.  In addition, he asserted, ‘we must practice the strictest economy in all matters concerning self… In dress many were living up to and beyond their income, and in eating and drinking there was a lamentable display of excess and ostentation… at such a time as this. A clean heart, a pure mind and a well-disciplined body are national assets’. Lastly, Reverend Peters recorded that, because ‘a very large number of men from the congregation have heard their country’s call… it is quite impossible at the moment to keep in touch with all or to collect their names in a register’ but ‘perhaps some means may be devised later on of doing this correctly’.

Parishioners were advised that a War Distress Committee had been formed, under the leadership of the Mayor of Guildford, with the aim of ensuring that no hardship should exist arising from the war. Applications were to be made via the Town Clerk or Reverend Peters and, to ensure that there was no ‘overlapping or indiscriminate giving of alms’, private individuals and employers who made allowances or gave relief were also asked to ensure that the Town Clerk was notified.

The Working Party had been busy since its inception the previous month, with attendances of between 40 and 50 at each weekly meeting. It was recorded that ‘a parcel containing 126 garments was sent off for the Belgian Refugees on September 14th… 72 of these garments were made by members of the Working Party and 54 received from friends’. It was hoped that work would continue ‘during the winter or as long as the need is felt’. In addition, it was recorded that Mrs Peters had received £7 16s. 7d., of which £5 0s. 7d. had so far been spent, as well as a number of parcels of materials.

Interestingly, parishioners were directed to Robert Blatchford’s Germany and England, ‘for a simple clear understanding of the cause of this present war’. Blatchford, a prominent atheist, was a campaigner and the founder of the Socialist newspaper, The Clarion. In 1909 he had written 10 articles for the Daily Mail warning of the threat that Germany represented. These were subsequently published as a pamphlet and it was this that readers of the magazine were encouraged to get and read, on the basis that ‘you will see things much more clearly’. Parishioners were also advised to ‘remember it was written and published five years ago. Some men can look ahead – but alas! the warning was unheeded’.

In November 1914 Reverend Peters reflected at great length upon the appeals for, and necessity of, temperance, calling for all to ‘exercise voluntary self-restraint and become abstainers during the continuance of the war’. Such was the importance of this issue to the Reverend, that he printed in full Lord Kitchener’s appeal of October 24th:

The men who have recently joined the colours are doing their utmost to prepare themselves for active service with the least possible delay. This result can only be achieved if, by hard work and strict sobriety, they keep themselves thoroughly fit and healthy.

Lord Kitchener appeals to the public, both men and women, to help soldiers in their task. He begs everyone to avoid treating the men to drink, and to give them every assistance in resisting the temptations which are often placed before them.

Lord Kitchener suggests that in the neighbourhood where soldiers are stationed committees should be formed to educate public opinion on this subject, and bring home its importance to those who prevent our soldiers from being able to do their duty to their country in a thoroughly efficient manner.

The Reverend followed this with an extract from the Press, detailing the measures that had been taken by the Courts in Surrey to ensure self-restraint, a resolution, the necessity of which, he felt ‘ashamed’:

The Court of Quarter Sessions for the county of Surrey passed a resolution on Tuesday calling attention to the evils of intemperance in war time. This was moved by General Sir Edward Chapman as follows:-

In time of war drunkenness is an offence against and an injury to the State, whether the offender be a man or a woman. It is necessary at this crises, to obtain the co-operation of the public in effective measures to prevent it. The following are essential:-

(1)          The shortening of the hours during which the bars of public-houses may be kept open or the sale of spirits, beer, and wine be permitted in the clubs or hotels.

(2)          An appeal to every member of the community to abandon the practice of inviting friends or others to drink.

Sir Edward said he brought the resolution forward simply as a war measure. Temperance was vital to efficiency in the war – temperance not only among the troops, but among the civil population fo the country.

Another magistrate said: ‘The system of ‘treating’ carried out by the well meaning but mis-guided public was an absolute curse to the soldiers.’

Lastly, Reverend Peters drew his parishioners attention to the example of the Russian government who had prohibited the sale of alcohol when mobilisation began, at a cost to its annual revenue of £93,000,000 per annum; the Russian people, who on seeing the effects had petitioned for the change to be made permanent; and the Russian soldiers, whose ‘success and bearing… is a source of pride and admiration of the Allies’.

By November the working party had sent a second bale of 144 garments to the Belgian refugees, and a further ‘five flannel shirts, three vests, one pair pants, and one helmet’ to the ‘Queens’ Depot. Attendance continued to be good and £1 10s. had been made from teas and cakes and a further £2 by Miss Wheeler selling ‘jam, pickles, flowers, etc.’. They had started knitting socks, body belts, mittens and scarves, and Mrs Peters had also started a knitting party for girls over 16, making mufflers for soldiers and sailors from 7.30 to 9.30 on Thursday evenings. In addition, Mrs Peters had received 38 garments made by the girls of Sandfield School, forwarded by the Headmistress, Miss Beard, which had also been sent on to the Belgian Refugee Fund. The following month it was recorded that a further ‘20 body belts, 19 socks, 12 mittens, 7 mufflers, 1 pair cuffs, and 1 helmet’ had been sent to the ‘Queens’ Regiment, and a number of warm garments made for the Belgian refugees who were present in Guildford. However, for reasons that are unclear, it was reported that the working party had had to be discontinued.

The last magazine of the first year of conflict, in December 1914, opened with a return to the subject of temperance, particularly in anticipation of the 4 – 5,000 soldiers who were expected to be billeted in the town. The Reverend recorded that Lord Kitchener’s sister had written to the London Papers ‘revealing the widespread mischief that is going on’ as people ‘treat’ the troops, with the result that, when stated in the House of Commons that ‘between thirty and forty percent of our new soldiers are rendered inefficient through drink and its attendant evils’, the Prime Minister had admitted to ‘ten to fifteen per cent’.  However, although detailed arrangements had been made to accommodate their arrival, the expected troops were ordered elsewhere, resulting in, what Reverend Peters believed to be, the disappointment of hundreds of parishioners.

In addition, Reverend Peters reminded readers that, while ‘war may sometimes be legitimate… Our Lord must be sad indeed’, and, as such, there was a need ‘of earnest prayer to God for our dear men on the high seas, on the Continent, and in our dependences across the seas’.


St Saviour’s Church, Stoke-Next-Guildford, Parish Magazines, August to December 1914, SHC Ref: 1946 Box 10.

‘Robert Blatchford’, accessed 2 March 2017,

‘The History of St Saviour’s Guildford’, St Saviour’s Guildford, accessed 2 March 2017,

Private Edgar William Parker

The St Andrew’s parish magazine first recorded that Private Edgar Parker was serving his country in July 1915. In June 1918 readers were advised that he was in the Northamptonshire Regiment and was at Chatham, having been in hospital for fourteen months. Two months later, in August 1918, the magazine recorded that Edgar had been home on leave and, a month later, that he had now returned to France.

Sadly, in November 1918, the magazine reported that, after spending the best part of a year and a half recovering:

We are now sorry to report that on September 18th [Private Edgar Parker] was killed. He wrote to his wife on the 17th, saying that he was going to the trenches the next day.


St Andrew’s, Oxshott, Parish Magazines, July 1915, June 1918, August 1918, September 1918, and November 1918, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.

Lieutenant Ernest Graham Johnston Humbert

Mr Graham Humbert was first listed as serving his country in the October 1914 edition of the St Andrew’s parish magazine, and the following January, 1915, the authors offered him their congratulations on being given a commission as Second Lieutenant.

However, only six months later, it was recorded that:

[Lieutenant] Ernest Graham Johnston Humbert, 9th Royal Berkshire Regiment, who is reported from Alexandria to have died from wounds received at the Dardanelles, was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Ernest Humbert of Langleys, Oxshott. He was educated at Charterhouse and Oriel College, Oxford, and was admitted as a solicitor in 1912. On the outbreak of war he joined the Officers’ Training Corps, and in November last was gazetted to a commission in the 9th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was afterwards raised to the rank of Lieutenant. He was aged 27.


St Andrew’s, Stoke D’Abernon, Parish Magazines, July 1915, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.


Private Albert Harris

In May 1916 the St Andrew’s, Oxshott, parish magazine recorded that:

Albert Harris was one of the ‘Derby Recruits’ and was called up for training in his group. Never of robust health he was unable to endure the heavy work put upon him. He caught a chill, and after a very short illness was called away for higher service among the great majority of Christ’s soldiers in Paradise. The funeral took place at Chatham. RIP.


St Andrew’s, Stoke D’Abernon, Parish Magazines, May 1916, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.