Witley – 1916

Witley Parish Magazine cover, May 1916. SHC ref WIT/16/36.

Witley Parish Magazine cover,
May 1916. SHC ref WIT/16/36.

The second full year of the war in 1916 brings a subtle change in tone to the magazine, the resolve is still there but it is subdued and there is less reporting of war activities.

By Lent in 1916 the vicar writes ‘There is scarcely a home now in the Parish which has not some one near and dear, in the Army or Navy. We are all filled with anxiety for the safety and welfare of those whom we love. Many are feeling very much this time of stress’.

In May 1916 ‘It was decided [at the Easter Vestry meeting] to stop the striking and chiming of the church clock, for the period of the War’ and there is self-examination and doubt ‘Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little the manhood of the nation as represented by men in training camps and the like is really touched by the church’.

As the year continued mention is made of the raising of funds for the new Star and Garter Home for totally disabled soldiers and sailors, of the provision of afternoon teas at the Institute for soldiers, of the opening of Great Roke as a Convalescent Hospital for Wounded Soldiers and a reminder that from October the church bells will no longer be rung after dark.

Written by Carole Garrard, Surrey History Centre based on information from the Witley Parish magazine.

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