In the wake of the Armistice the previous month, the December 1918 edition of the St Andrew’s, Oxshott, parish magazine included a summary of the wartime work of the Oxshott Section of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, No. 15 Platoon. The readers were advised that:
Oxshott was not behindhand in the matter of Volunteering in the early days of the War, and it was in August 1914, that a civilian Reserve Corps was founded with a strength of some sixty or seventy members, but for many reasons Volunteer Corps were not encouraged in those early days.
In October, 1917, it was decided to form a section to be attached to the County Volunteer Regiment.
Sergeant Osman who was at that time attached to the Cobham Platoon was made available, and under his guidance a good start was made. The first year was completed on October 31st, and the results are here summarised:-
31 men joined up.
6 men since called to the regular army.
2 men of ‘D’ class resigned.
1 man discharged medically unfit.
Drills have been held three times a week and the attendance on the whole has been very satisfactory. Sergeant Osman himself has put in 302 drills, Corporal Harding and Corporal Tearle 197 and 192 respectively, Private Harris 223, Private Wilson 198. Evening drills were held at St Andrew’s Hall, but on Saturdays and Sundays exercises were carried out on the Cricket Ground at Mr Gwynne’s or on Oxshott Common. The Section has also attended parades away from home, at Cobham, Leatherhead, Betchworth, Dorking, Redhill, etc.
All the men, with four exceptions, have passed their musketry course at Westcott Range, Private C P Wilson (of Sandroyds) making top score for the whole of ‘D’ Company.
On Sunday October 20th, the Section attended the Annual Parade, which took place on Earlswood Common, when the Surrey and Sussex Volunteer Regiments were inspected by [Lieutenant-General] Sir [Charles] Woolcombe. Over 5,000 men were present with [The Army Service Corps], [The Royal Army Medical Corps], and motor transport sections, and the whole display was valuable evidence of the military strength which can be raised by collecting together sections, platoons and battalions from the scattered villages and towns of these two counties.
The Oxshott Section were tested for efficiency on October 27th by Major-General Tulloch, and were passed in Squad Drill, Extended Order Drill, Bayonet Fighting and Musketry.
The Rifle Range, which was constructed in 1914 for the original Civilian Guard, has been put into thorough repair during the year and has proved to be very useful.
Now that the Armistice is signed and a settled peace is in sight, we may expect that the Volunteer Regiments will in due course be disbanded. The emergency, for which at first they voluntarily assembled, and afterwards were listed under Government guidance, has passed away, but it will always be a satisfaction to know that although the military age was raised to 50 and all available men called up, there still remained a large number of men in civil employment who not being equal to the calls of the Army, were ready to give up their spare time to be trained as soldiers for use in the Country’s hour of need, all honour to the Oxshott men who proved themselves ready to play their part.
St Mary’s, Stoke D’Abernon, and St Andrew’s, Oxshott, Parish Magazines, December 1918, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.