In 1916 a ‘War Savings Association’ was set-up in Oxshott. The September issue of the St Andrew’s Parish Magazine offered a clear and concise description of how the War Savings Certificate Scheme operated, as well as the association’s role within that scheme:
Everyone all over the country is either buying £1 War Savings Certificates for 15/6 or wishing to learn about them. They can be bought at any Post Office or through local associations. By paying 15/6 you secure a certificate at once, but by joining an association you may pay 6d., or any number of sixpences, weekly, if you can, or as frequently as you are able, and when your subscriptions amount to 15/6 you receive a certificate. You can then start subscribing for another certificate.
In buying [a] 15/6 [War Savings] certificate you are actually lending 15/6 to the Government, and these amounts all go towards helping the Country to bring the war to a successful conclusion. But – you are not only helping your Country, you are making a remarkably fine investment of your money. Thus – for every 15/6 you pay in this way you receive £1 from the Government at the end of five years. On the other hand, if you wish to withdraw your money at any time before the expiration of the five years you can do so. You would receive 15/6 in full for your certificate if you cashed it before the end of the first year; at the end of twelve months you would receive 15/9, and thereafter the cost value increases by one penny a month. This country has never experienced greater need for saving money than now, and this [War Savings] Certificate scheme provides the greatest inducement ever offered.
A War Savings Association has been formed in Oxshott with the following Committee and Officers: Mr. G. Station (chairman), Miss Durrad, [Reverend] F. N. Skene, Messrs. J. W. Harris, S. H. Saunders, J. L. Peters ([honorary] treasurer), and J. T. Mason ([honorary] secretary).
Subscriptions may be paid to the Secretary at the Oxshott Men’s Club on Tuesday evenings between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., or, if you are unable to take your subscription you may send it, together with your subscription book (which is given to you when you make your first payment), by a friend. Consider how pleased you would be in five years time to draw several pounds in cash, and also how satisfactory it would be to know that you had a nest-egg which you could use earlier in case of need.
All you have to do, therefore, is to bring or send what money you can spare, from 6d. to any number of sixpences, next Tuesday and following Tuesdays, and have the amounts entered in your subscription book.
In March 1917, it was reported that, from the 1st January the association had collected £97 8s. 6d., and since its inception the total subscriptions had amounted to £175 1s. 0d., ‘quite a respectable sum for this small place’. However, the organisers were still keen ‘to interest a larger number of the working class, domestic servants, etc., who don’t seem to realize what a splended investment it is, and that they are not locking up their money, but can draw out the whole or part of their subscription at any time (of course without interest)’.
In October 1917, on their first anniversary, the Association took the opportunity to, once again, ‘call the attention of parishioners to this excellent institution’, making an impassioned plea for its importance to the war effort:
Each month, we hope, brings us nearer to a victorious termination of this terrible conflict and to an honourable and permanent peace. But if this is to come about it will be necessary to increase rather than relax our efforts. Our lads at the Front are, we know, straining every nerve to achieve a speedy victory and we at home must not be less determined to render all the help within our power. One very practical way of helping is by supplying the “sinews of war;” and the War Savings Association enables us to do this, while at the same time practising that rigid economy which is another important element of victory.
The need for national economy is even greater now that it was a year ago, and in offering you a £1 certificate (payable in five years time) for every 15s. 6d. you pay, the Government of this country is providing you with am most excellent investment and security…
The country is in urgent need of money, and by lending, in this way, all that you can afford, you are not only making a safe investment to your own advantage, but you are helping to win the war. This is not the time to hold back. The last lap of the race always requires the most determined and sustained effort, and if we will only do our part now we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that we have contributed to the great end.
St Mary’s, Stoke D’Abernon, Parish Magazines, December 1914 to December 1918, SHC Ref. 8909/8/1/4.