Oxshott Men’s Club during World War I

Following the outbreak of hostilities, war regulations were introduced under the Defence of the Realm Act, with magistrates restricting the sale of alcohol, by requiring premises to close at 10pm. Interestingly it was made legal to water down beer!

As members began leaving the Club to enlist in ‘Lord Kitchener’s Army’ during 1914, so the committee agreed that those enlisting would all be made honorary members (no membership fee) until the end of the war, or such time as they returned from military service. There was also a fund set up to give the new recruits £1 on joining up and by the end of the year 14 members had done so.

It was also agreed that all Belgian refugees and soldiers of the Allies temporarily residing in Oxshott be elected honorary members. This no doubt compensated for the loss of the Club’s own members and kept the revenue turning over at a viable level.

Towards the end of 1915 the Club premises were used by Major H.H. Gordon Clark, commanding 10th Brigade Surrey Volunteer Regiment, ‘for the purpose of raising in Oxshott and district a platoon of that regiment’. How successful this was we don’t know, but due to the huge loss of men, in spring 1916, conscription into the services started. At the time there were 22 members of the club in the services and 5 had already been killed.

By the end of the war in November 1918, the Club members who had laid down their lives for King and Country during the conflict were honoured at the AGM, when their names were read out:

W. Ackerman

J. Auger

F. Coombes

F.J. Cotterell

F.B. Finch

L.J.G. Finch

A.M. Rimmer

 W.W. Selby

& listed on the war memorial on Oxshott Heath.

Another item of note was that the King presented the Club’s Vice-President, Lieutenant-Colonel John Neale, with the Albert Medal for gallantry.

Taken from One Hundred Years of the Oxshott Club, 1907 – 2007, A History, by Mike Crute.

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