WW1 - A View from Home

Commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of The First World War


2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, a conflict which was to last for four years and which devastated many communities across the world. It is estimated that there were 9.7 million military deaths with a further 21.2 million wounded. But that was not all - there were also approximately 0.95 million civilian deaths as a result of direct military action with another 6 million dying as a result of disease or famine.

However, the statistics do not even begin to tell the story of the effect that the extent of this war had on families on both sides of the conflict. While many serving men may have survived the war, a sizeable proportion could either never work again or would be limited in what they could do. Some died only a few years later and are not reflected in the recorded number of deaths.


In Angmering, out of a population of 1026 (1911 Census), approximately 200 volunteered or were conscripted between 1914 and 1918. Over 40 of these would never see Angmering again. Wives and children of serving men were left at home to cope as best they could - there was not a social system to support them as we enjoy today. Parents were for ever fearful of the day the postboy would deliver a telegram from the War Office informing them of the loss of one or more sons. The Terry family (from The Square) lost two of their boys. But families and the community had to carry on and it was necessary for certain trades to get exemption from call-up for their workers. Local tribunals were held to determine the necessity of using men of service age.

Nearly all the information we have about Angmering is contained in "Scribble" or the Worthing Gazette. "Scribble" was an approximate monthly newssheet published by William Hollis, the developer of the Angmering-on-Sea estate, and contained information largely on people and happenings in Angmering, East Preston, Ferring, and Rustington during the years 1916-1919. The undermentioned extracts from "Scribble" and the Worthing Gazette have been kindly provided by Mr R W Standing.

Related Links

1914-1918 Centenary - Angmering's Fallen
1914-1918 Centenary - Angmering's Survivors
1914-1918 Centenary - Stanley Messenger correspondence
Angmering War Memorial

Neil Rogers-Davis
Editor, Angmering Village Life

News (Worthing Gazette 6 October 1915)
  A Soldier on the English Strikers

Mr WT Shepherdson, Head Master of Older's School, has had a letter lately from Sergeant A Cox, a native of Angmering, now serving with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry .... We have just come out of the trenches for a few days rest, which is very well earned.  I hope this awful War will come to an end before the winter sets in; if it doesn't we look like having a rough time of it.  It is a shame to hear about the strikers in England.  Just as we are getting the upper hand of the Germans this trouble starts, but they will have to alter if we are to win the War.  Oh! if they could only see what we are going through every day, they would let all this trouble drop till after the War, as we must win at all costs.  Even when we are in the trenches we get fired at by snipers if we go to fetch a drop of water.  Then again there are thousands of young people in England who are doing absolutely nothing.  I can tell them if they don’t come soon and do their little bit, they will be left out in the cold after it is all over.  It seems to me they do not realise there is a War on.

News (Worthing Gazette 5 January 1916)

Angmering has in contemplation the establishment of a Depot at the Railway station for the collection and packing of vegetables and fruit intended for the men of the Fleet.  There is to be a weekly despatch of the gifts thus distributed.

News (Worthing Gazette 12 January 1915)

Framed lists of the Angmering men who are now serving with the Colours have been placed in the Parish Church.  The record is highly creditable to the Village for it comprises no fewer than a hundred and twenty names.

News (Scribble - published Oct. 1916)
  On September 12th Mrs Jarrett, Mrs Candy and Miss Courtney again entertained the wounded soldiers from Arundel, and tea was taken on the beach, served by the ladies who kindly lent their huts for this purpose. Cigarettes and tobacco were distributed to the wounded soldiers, which were kindly presented by Mrs Kohnstam and Miss Jarrett.  During the afternoon the soldiers took part in various amusements and games provided for them. Mr Jarrett and many local ladies helped to make the afternoon a success, amongst them being Miss Winifred Jarrett, who, by the way, is the senior nurse at the Hospital. The soldiers arrived in brakes about 3 o'clock, and returned home singing and cheering at 7.30.

News (Scribble - published Dec. 1916)
  Last Sunday, December 17, an impressive Service was held at Angmering Church in connection with the wounded soldiers and those who have fallen for their country’s sake.  The Church was very crowded.  We must say we were most surprised to learn the number of casualties in this little village.  Truly a most remarkable record, of which any parish might be justly proud.  Our hearts go out to the bereaved ones at this time.

News (Worthing Gazette 24 January 1917)

The Christmas dinner table collection at Angmering in aid of the starving Belgian children amounted to £4 9s 3d.

News (Worthing Gazette 4 April 1917)

Angmering Patriotic Youth. 
We are gratified to learn that the Schoolboys of Angmering have voluntarily offered to help in cultivating the gardens and allotments of those men from the village who are serving in the Forces.

News (Scribble - published May 1917)

At a recent tribunal at East Preston, two tradesmen from Angmering, Mr Chalk coal merchant, and Mr Meech baker, were each granted conditional exemption. This was also granted to Mr Peskett's blacksmith.

News (Scribble - published July 1917)

Two more Angmering men have been given exemption from military service, namely, Mr. George Peskett and Mr. Cobby, his plumber, the other three Angmering men who have been granted this privilege being Mr. Chalk, Mr. Meech, and Mr. Peskett’s blacksmith.

News (Scribble - published August 1917)

Another Angmering resident of Military age has been fortunate enough to obtain exemption from military service.  This is Mr. Leney, the District Road Surveyor.  He was granted this at the recent East Preston Tribunal..

Young Officer Gains Military Cross (Scribble - published Oct. 1917)
  Second Lieutenant Leslie W. Shepherdson, of the Durham Light Infantry, and son of Mr and Mrs W T Shepherdson, of Angmering, whose photograph we are pleased to be able to publish, has been awarded the Military Cross. We also print the exact facsimile of the report, which speaks for itself. He was commended for gallantry and devotion to duty in face of heavy shell fire at Klein Killebeke between July 26th and 30th. Lieut. Shepherdson was the first volunteer from Angmering to respond to the call in the first week of the war, when he enlisted in the Cyclist Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, but was transferred after twelve months service with battalion to the Inns of Court Training Corps, and was afterwards given a commission in the Durham Light Infantry. He is an old boy of the Brighton Municipal Secondary School, and received his earlier education at Older's School, Angmering, of which, as every one of our readers is aware, the headmaster is hid father. We offer our congratulations to Mr and Mrs Shepherdson, and also to their son, for being the recipient of this distinguished honour, being, as we believe it is, the first to be bestowed on any officer residing in the immediate district, and who we are glad to learn is expected home on leave about the end of this month.

Lieut Shepherdson has since been granted another "star" with six months seniority.

To 2nd LIeut R W Shepherdson 20 Btn D.L.I..
I wish to place on record my appreciation of your gallantry and devotion to duty from 26 to 30 July 1917 near Klein Lillebeke when you reconnoitred the Assembly Area with great boldness in spite of enemy patrols and heavy shelling succeeding in laying out the forming up tapes. later when acting as liaison officer between Btn HQ and Report Centre you kept in touch and guided up support troops in the face of heavy shell fire.
Major General
Comdg 41st Division

News (Scribble - published Oct. 1917)

St. Wilfrid’s Club, Angmering.
The members of the Village Social Club foregathered on Wednesday evening, October 10th, for their annual meeting, and right pleased were they with what they heard.  All our local village clubs except this have had to close down for the period of the war, so it is quite refreshing to find one still keeping its flag flying ready for the good time when the boys come home from their present patriotic expedition.

Angmering Fair.          
On Wednesday afternoon, September 12th, a successful event took place at Angmering on behalf of the local branch of Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild.  It took the shape of an Old Village Fair, in the school meadow adjoining the Church.  The chief attraction in the afternoon was the dancing by the children from Angmering and East Preston Schools, and these included patriotic and other items, under the guidance of Miss. Crump, in addition to the dancing of the Maypole and Crowning of the Village Queen.  The children, it will be remembered, had on two occasions previously attempted to give their exhibition at Angmering-on-Sea at the recent Carnival, but on both occasions the inclement weather  interfered with the arrangements.  Luckily, September 12th was more favourable.  

The fancy dresses of the children were much admired by the numerous visitors who had congregated to witness the performance.  Miss Hilda Butcher was Queen at the Festival, and the crowning ceremony presented a remarkably pretty spectacle.  Special mention should be made of Mr. and  Mrs. Clarke, who had both worked very hard to make this occasion a success.  The refreshment tent provided great attraction, and there was also another tent where exhibitions of conjuring were given which was well attended, and all helped to swell the days takings. 

Other side attractions included fruit and vegetable and sweet stalls, Aunt Sally, bran-tub, presided over by Mrs. Paterson, who took great interest in the Fair, and also gave various prizes, which were competed for after the exhibition was over.   Quite unique and novel were the competitions in connection with this village fair.  One of the prizes offered was for the oldest lady resident in the district, which went to Mrs. Grant, whose age is 94.  The incident received the distinction of publicity in the daily press, the Daily Sketch and Daily Mirror both producing photographs of this worthy old dame.

In addition to the prize offered on the field the landlord of her property, where she has been resident for over 50 years, in recognition of the fact that on not one single occasion had she been in arrears in her payments, reduced the rent by half for the remainder of her life.  There was an extra prize for age which went to Mrs. MacDonald, of Rustington, mother of our respected postman, who is 84.  The prize for the largest family was won by Mrs. James Terry, who had had seventeen children.

News (Worthing Gazette 24 October 1917)

War Savings
Angmering has now associated itself with the War savings movement after a visit from Mr EGP Wyatt of Rustington the Hon Secretary of the EPRDC.  Mr C Stuart Langdale is the Chairman and Hon Treasurer and Mr GV Linsteed the Hon Secretary.   The School children are to have a separate Association.

December 1917 Message (Scribble)

The following message was sent to Angmering's soldiers and their families in December 1917 by the Rev E.L. Bull, Priest in Charge:

"I have only taken charge of this parish since its Rector went on military service, but I have lived here long enough to discover that the parish has given itself up, heart and soul, to the prosecution of the war, and from start to finish, and all along the road, has done its best and utmost to bring it to a successful end. For this end its life is lived.

Practically every man of military age who is fit has gone, and a blank in our village life is left behind. According to the last census, our population is 1,046. Out of this number over 200 have gone on active service, and 29 have made the supreme sacrifice. We are proud of what our ancient parish, with its historic name and traditions, has done. These Sussex lads are truly the sons of their forefathers - men of grit who fought for their country in the good old days of long ago, when England achieved her greatness and her Empire.

So we remember them, Sunday after Sunday, within the hallowed walls of the Church of their Baptism. A Roll of Honour, with the Laurel Wreath of Victory above it, inscribed with their names, is to be seen in the Church, and there is also a framed list of all those who have gone to participate in the great war.

Some of them we shall see no more, but they have given all they could, the best and highest, and some life itself. All are ready for any sacrifice that might be called for. And what shall I say of those they have left behind - wife, mother, little children? Each and all have done their duty and continued their life with unexampled bravery and cheerfulness. There has been no complaining of the hardness of the way. The patriotism of one and all has been a thing, not of words, but of deeds, and of noble deeds which make no noise and are forgotten.

The photographs of our men are in the schools, and their deeds are chronicled and their names mentioned. I felt, as Iooked at the photographs of our soldiers and sailors of which we are so proud, that the children of the present generation, when they are grown up, will not be less patriotic, and will do their duty in the same self-sacrificing spirit that their fathers have done. I feel, when I think of the wives and mothers, that we do not realise as we ought their difficulties and troubles.

It is not the glory of self-sacrifice, its honours and rewards that is theirs, but the silent endurance, in the patience of an uncomplaining spirit, of a burden which is heavy and which is ever with them, and which is theirs alone to bear."


News (Scribble - published December 1917)

We hear           
That Angmering’s first intimation as to who represented them on the Food Control Committee came from the columns of “Scribble” and that some people were surprised to find that they were to be represented by a food-producer.
That Mr. John Tompkins knows how to get good prices for articles when he sells them by Dutch auction.
That there is some very slow scoring on  St. Wilfrid’s Club billiards table, but that the games are thoroughly enjoyed.
That the same Club could be made a very fine social centre.
That some of the wives and sweethearts want to know when they will be admitted to the joys of the Club.
That some of them are going to tackle the hon. secretary, when he isn’t quite so busy.
That the War Savings Association at Angmering has made a good start, considerably over a hundred complete certificates being taken out on the first night of meeting, and many more commenced.  That’s the kind of worry for Fritz.
That the collection of photographs of old boys of Olders’ Schools who are serving with the colours is well worth seeing, but we haven’t been asked to see it, though we should like to.
That Angmering  is not going to the “demnation bow-wows” if the rest of the country is.  Something like £180 has been raised there for war charities in the space of six weeks.

Through a misunderstanding Angmering and district nearly lost the services of their remaining plumber, Mr Cobby.  He was waited on by P.C. Scutt, recently, who had a warrant for his arrest on account of his having failed to join the colours on the 20th September.  It would appear that Mr Peskett, his employer, misread the exemption paper, and failed to put in another claim on that date.  The paper stated that the exemption was up to the 20th September, conditional upon his carrying on the same occupation.  Mr Peskett took it to mean that he was granted conditional exemption with no date limit.  However, all’s well that end well, and we are please to state that the Military Authorities did not take a mean advantage of the accident, but have allowed the appeal to be heard again the  next meeting

News (Scribble - published April 1918)

During Angmering Bond week Rustington just managed to beat East Preston in the amount taken.  Rustington ‘s total was £62 and East Preston £59.  Angmering was not so successful, and Patching only scored £5.

Ham Manor has been disposed of to a New Zealand gentleman.  It is not expected  however, that he will go into residence until after the war.  In the meantime it may be used for another purpose. (A hint of prisoners of war ... Ed)

Angmering has had 200 tons of granite delivered out of 250 tons on order, and this has been rolled in.

Major S. Fleming has been transferred from Headquarters  Staff at Aldershot to the War Office.

Angmering is doing its bit towards keeping up the supply of babies, no less than five having been christened at one service recently.

News (Scribble - published March 1919)

Most of our boys have drifted home again, bless ‘em, and their familiar faces are to be seen in the old haunts.  How soon shall we be able to give them the rousing “welcome home” that they deserve?
Some of them have been to the other ends of the world; some have had experiences of which the memory will never be effaced, but one cannot get them to talk of their adventures.  We wish some of them could conquer their innate modesty.

The members of Angmering Parish Council, in solemn conclave, have expressed the opinion that at least 20 new houses will be required in the parish after the war.  We agree, but are more than surprised at the modesty of the estimate. If those 20 houses should ever materialise it is to be hoped that, in selecting tenants for them, preference will be given to applications from those who are living in places which have been, or ought to be, condemned.

News (Worthing Gazette 22 January 1919)

Memorial of the War 
A representative Committee has been formed to consider the form which the proposed local War memorial shall take. Opinions seem to be largely in favour of a cross of Sussex stone carved by Sussex masons and erected in a prominent place in the village as a tribute to the 34 [sic] Angmering men who have surrendered their lives in the country's cause.

News (Worthing Gazette 22 January 1919)

A Memorial Tablet  
A list of the names of all the Angmering men who served in the War has been prepared and enclosed in an oak frame which has been hung in the Parish Hall [today the Vestry Hall] immediately beneath the portrait of Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher.

News (Scribble - published July 1919)

Adolescent Angmering appears to have some little difficulty in disporting itself peacefully during its leisure hours.  There is some good material going to waste for want of a leader and proper organisation.

Have the Angmering War Memorial Committee adopted “Festina lente” as their motto?  We don’t seem to hear of any pushful activity on their part, and we manage to keep our eyes and ears fairly well open.  Perhaps the absence of the Chairman makes a difference, or peradventure the weather is too hot for weighty deliberations.  Whatever  the cause, we hope the accelerator pedal will be pressed down now.

The Choral Society has been resuscitated, and despite the warm weather and the attractive evenings, has resumed its weekly practices.

Another old Angmering institution has popped up again, smiling, after its war hibernation.  We refer to the Angmering Silver Band.

Wasn’t it nice to hear the full peal of bells again?  Angmering would like to hear them more often.  At one time Angmering’s band of ringers had more than a local reputation, as witness the collection of certificates of merit on the wall of their ringing chamber.

A list of the names of all the Angmering men who served in the war has been prepared and enclosed in an oak frame which has been hung in the Parish Hall, immediately beneath the portrait of the late Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher.

Peace Celebrations at Angmering (Scribble - published Dec. 1919)
  Arrangements for the celebration of Peace in Angmering were made rather hurriedly. It was quite expected that the Parish Council would organise the celebrations, but that august body waited until the eleventh hour, and then shelved its responsibilities, wherefore, no man knoweth. A Public Meeting was hurriedly called, and the arrangements were put into the hands of a small Executive Committee consisting of the Rector (Rev. T. W. Pearson), Chairman; Rev. N. D. Fowell, Dr. Chaplin, and Mr. S. S. Pyle, with Mr. Shepherdson as Secretary and Treasurer. This Committee promptly commandeered helpers, experienced in all branches of catering and sports. They threw themselves on the mercies of the ladies, and it is no exaggeration to say that the energetic way in which the ladies, headed by Mrs George Reeves, rose to the occasion, saved the situation and gave Angmering a real jovial time. Jupiter Pluvius did his “durndest” to spoil the fun, and finished up by washing us out of the sports ground.

The proceedings began at 2.30 with an assembly on the village green for the judging of fancy costumes and decorated vehicles. A procession was marshalled by Mr. Shepherdson, and headed by the Angmering Silver Band and a number of demobilised men, it marched to a meadow at the back of the Rectory, lent by Mr. S. S. Pyle. Here, Mr Walter Cheesman, at the head of a willing band of helpers, had prepared a course for sports, and no time was lost in getting on with the programme. Tea was served in a large marquee to about 200 children and 500 adults. The whole of the catering for the adults’ tea was done, and done well, by the Ladies’ Committee. Rain came down, but the sports programme was completed, under the energetic management of Messrs. W. F. Cobby and W. Cheesman.

At 10 p.m. a break in the weather allowed a display of Naval flares kindly provided by Mrs. Walter Butcher and set off by Lieut. Locock. So ended the official celebration, but there were, in various places, unofficial celebrations which no amount of rain could damp, but of which no authentic record exists. For instance, when the witching hour was announced from the old church tower, the final kick was being given to the embers of an unofficial bonfire on the Square. Appended are the results of the various competitions:-

Fancy Costumes:
Ladies: Miss Agnes Pocock (chimney sweep)
Gents: Mr James Horton (pierrot)
Children: Pat Roberts (Italy), Elsie Burchfield (grandma)
Best Decorated Cycle: Miss Smith
Best Decorated Perambulator: Mrs H Clarke (Peace)
Best Decorated House: 1) Mrs Shepherdson 2) Mrs Whittington
Special Prizes: Miss Luck (All is not gold that glitters), Master & Miss Gordon (decorated donkey cart), St Wilfred's School (tableau car) Children's
50 yards. Girls 5-8: 1)May Pelham 2) Hilda Thair 3) Winnie Roberts
50 yards Boys 5-8: 1) King
75 yards.Girls 8-12: 1) L Cragg 2) Alice Edmunds 3) Ivy Boore

75 yards Boys 8-12: 1) C Pelham 2) C Cheesman 3) C Dumbrell
120 yards.Girls 12-14: 1) May Hammond 2) I Graysmark 3) Margery Hammond
50 yards Sack Race: 1) C Clear 2) E Parsons 3) E Bridger
50 yards. Girls 5-8: 1) Ivy Fairs, N Hills, G Burchfield
50 yards. Boys 5-8: 1) G Pearson 2) J Douglas 3) F Pickard
100 yards Girls 8-12: 1) I Burchfield 2) S Shepherd 3) E Shepherd
100 yards Boys 8-12: 1) W Pelling 2) D Smart 3) H Pelham
Potato Race: Girls: 1) W Pelham 2) Pat Roberts 3) Enid Brown
120 yards Boys 12-14: 1) D Hills 2) Bastable
Ladies Sports
Egg and Spoon Race: 1) Miss Edmonds 2) Mrs T Parsons 3) Mrs Barnett
Potato Race: 1) Miss Pelham 2) Mrs Barnett 3) Mrs Alexander
Flat Race: 1) Mrs Smart 2) Mrs Boore 3) Mrs Pickard
Men's Sports
Throwing the Cricket Ball: Harry Edmunds

100 yards Flat under 18: 1) R Pelham 2) E Heasman 3) L Cragg
100 yards Flat 31-49: 1) B Smart 2) E Clowes 3) J Graysmark
120 yards Hurdles: 1) Pelham 2) tie, Cragg and Hammond
Tug of War Jack Parson's team beat C Bridger's team
100 yards Flat over 50: 1) W Pelham 2) D Parsons 3) J Terry
120 yards Hurdle over 18: 1) Langrish 2) Pelham 3) Clowes
100 yards Flat 18-30: 1) E Balchin 2) E Cozens 3) W Henson

Money was freely subscribed, and a balance in hand was apportioned between the Demobilised Men’s Dinner Fund, The War Memorial, and Worthing and Litttlehampton Hospitals.

Angmering’s Welcome Home (Scribble - published Dec. 1919)
  No provision having been made to do special honour to our demobilised sailors, soldiers, and airmen at the official Peace Celebrations, the members of St. Wilfrid’s Club determined to do their best to give them a hearty welcome. Everybody wanted to join the movement, and offers of help in money and kind came rolling in as soon as the project became known. The ladies were to the fore again, and, undeterred by their experiences of hard work on Peace Day, offered to do the whole of the cooking and catering.

August Bank Holiday was the selected date, and every known demobilised man in the Parish on that day, resident or visitor, received an artistic invitation card.

The proceedings began with sports and a comic cricket match in the Club’s Recreation Ground, and the men entered heartily into the spirit of the fun. Roars of laughter came from the spectators nearly all the time. Tea was provided for all who wanted it, and in the evening a sumptuous cold dinner was provided by the ladies. Saint Pussy-foot was not at all in evidence, the members of the Club treating their guests most generously. That which a guest wanted, that did he have, and, moreover, it was served to him by the hands of the fair. The genial Secretary (Mr. Shepherdson) was voted to the Chair, and proceeded, after the loyal toasts, to get on with a Smoking Concert. There was no lack of talent, and everybody seemed as happy as the proverbial sandboy.

The Chairman voiced the thanks of the community and expressed admiration for the noble deeds and self-sacrifice of the men. The responses were made by the Rev. T. N. Pearson, Chaplin [sic] to the Forces, for the Army; Shipwright Walter Wadey, for the Navy; and Air Mechanic W. A. Parsons, for the Air Force. Missing friends were not forgotten, and, on the call of Mr. W. F. Cobby, the whole company stood in silence and with bowed heads, in memory of the men who had made the supreme sacrifice. Over the head of the Chairman was a large inscription:
At 10 p.m. the large company adjourned to the meadow at the side of the Club, where Mrs. Walter Butcher had arranged for a display of fireworks. A really splendid display was given and afforded much pleasure to the hundreds of spectators who had gathered. Unfortunately, rain fell towards the end of the show. Loud cheers were given for Mrs. Butcher and for all who had helped in providing what, by common consent, was voted the jolliest event ever held in Angmering.

News (Scribble - published Dec. 1919)

The “Great Silence” was impressively kept in Angmering. The school children especially entered into the scheme. Through the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. Butcher, each scholar in both schools, received a bright sixpence as a memento.

East Preston & District War Savings Committee
The amount collected by the Associations in the above district from October 1st 1918 to September 30th 1919 is as follows:-
Angmering         £2,801 8s 8d                
Rustington        £1,364 13s 6d
Lyminster & Warningcamp         £157 15s 0d                 
East Preston     £99 18s 6d
Clapham & Patching      £90 19s 0d                   
Ferring  £81 5s 0d
Goring by Sea       £24 11s 0d
[total]    £4,620 10s 8d


The unveiling of the War Memorial on the Village Green 27 May 1920.
Among those present on the platform are Rev. T L Pearson (Rector of Angmering),
and Rev. J B Orme (Rector emeritus).
Also present on the platform is in uniform is
Colonel Walter Campion, who commanded
a territorial battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment.
He was MP for Mid-Sussex in the years 1910-1924.

Also in attendance was the Colonel's Adjutant, Captain Middleton.

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