As the Centenary unfolds, a range of newspaper and other records will appear here to give an idea of how the war was revealed at home primarily focused on Kent for our purposes .... fairly random. If you have other snippets to share, please let us know using the dedicated email account:
Planned additions - Map of dispositions. Location of fighting units our men were serving in. Return of Commonwealth troops to their homes.
Reported in the East Kent Gazette of 5 July 1919 - LYNSTED. A Peace Day Wedding – A pretty wedding took place at Lynsted Church on Saturday last, when Mr. John H. G. Wallis, only son of Mr. and Mrs. James Wallis, of Stambourne, Connaught Road, Milton Regis, was married to Miss Winifred J. Wiles, fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Wiles, of Claxfield Villas, near Sittingbourne. The bridegroom served as a sergeant in the King's Africa Rifles, and returned from West Africa in April last. A fair number of the relatives and friends assembled at the church. The service was choral. The bride was met at the west door by the Rev. T. J. Sewell, vicar of Lynsted, and the choir, who sang the hymn, "Thine for ever God of love" as the bride proceeded to the chancel. The bride, who was given away by her father, looked charming in a gown of embroidered white voile, with veil and wreath of orange blossom, and she carried a bouquet of white carnations. Attending her were two little girls, who carried baskets of sweet peas, and two little boys, who carried white crooks tied with bunches of roses. The chief bridesmaid was Miss Elsie Wiles (sister of the bride), who carried a bouquet of sweet peas and maidenhair fern. The bridegroom was attended by Mr. Fred G. Stouts (his cousin), as "best man". As the happy couple left the church, Mr Ackerman played the "War March of the Priests". A reception was held at Claxfield, where about thirty guests were entertained. As the guns announced the message of Peace the bridegroom played the National Anthem, which was heartily sung by all present, the Vicar joining in with the rest of the company. The happy couple then left for a short honeymoon, and carried with them hearty good wishes and congratulations from their many friends. Mr. and Mrs. J. H. G. Wallis received many useful presents among them being a silver cake basket presented by the Pearl Insurance staff, Sittingbourne.
Reported in the East Kent Gazette of 26 July 1919 - LYNSTED The weather on Saturday, with the exception of a few drops of rain between four and five o’clock, was fine. A large number of people assembled at half-past one in Lynsted Park, which had been kindly lent by Mr. Pilcher. Tea was provided for all parishioners, also the outside children attending Lynsted school, and their parents. A large number of ladies under the superintendence of Mrs. Henderson, were busily engaged in cutting up bread and butter, and cakes, and in the meantime sports were going on, in which there were events in which practically everyone could engage. The Spots Committee was under the energetic superintendence of Mr. A. E. Ferris, who drew u the programme, and nearly £30 [£1,620 in today’s money] went in prize money. Two greased pigs furnished much amusement, although the first one did not get very far before it was captured. There was some dancing, but not much as the ground was found to be too rough. Games were freely indulged in, and swings had been put up by Messrs. Sims and Wilkins, who had been sent by Mr White (for Mrs. Vallance). Shortly after half-past nine there was a display of fire-works, which had kindly been provided by Mr. Mercer, and a bonfire terminated the enjoyable day’s proceedings. The fireworks and fire were in that part of the park in the occupation of Mr. Smith, which he kindly lent for the occasion. Materials for the bonfire were kindly sent by several people, amongst whom thanks are due to Mr. Fuller and Mr. Norman Smith. A regrettable accident about mid-day prevented the latter gentleman from being present in the afternoon. The wheel of the aerial railway broke with him, and he fell from a height of about 12 feet. Dr. Henderson, who was sent for, reported that he did not think any bones were broken, and Mr Smith is making satisfactory progress, but, as already stated, the doctor would not allow him to be present in the Park. Thanks are due to all those who so kindly contributed to the enjoyment of the day. Mr. Potter Oyler lent the tent in which the provisions were cut up; Mr. Clark, the Manager of the Greenstreet Co-operative Society, rendered valuable assistance in many ways; and the Co-operative Society lent coppers for boiling the water, and trestles, tables, and forms, as well as teapots; Mrs. Nankivel lent a piano and gramophone; Mrs. Spicer and Misses Spicer had charge over quoits; and Mrs Cleaver, Miss Wilkins, and Miss Le Feaver, presided over the Houp-la; Mr. Petts and his son, boiled the water, and saw to the bonfire; Messrs. Carlton, Dixon, Tyrrell, and Wilkins assisted with the fireworks; and Mrs. Fuller and Mrs. Mac. Dixon managed the darts. The Church bells were ringing from 10 to 11.30 a.m., and again for a shot time in the evening. At the conclusion of the sports the prizes which had been won, and which had been provided by subscriptions, were distributed by Mrs. Sewell and Dr. Henderson. Amongst the prizes was one of ten shillings, which was given by Mr. Norman Smith for the ladies race. The tea was provided by the Parish Council, by means of a rate. Mr. Ernest Thomas kindly made arrangements for the conveyance of old people and invalids to the grounds, and Mr. F. Dalton brought forms and seats, and assisted in conveying people with his motor van.
Reported in the Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press – 26th July 1919 - PEACE REJOICINGS AT FAVERSHAM
The news that Peace was at last signed was received with much rejoicing at Faversham on Saturday evening, and it was not long before flags were hoisted and people were running about bedecked with the national colours. The Mayor announced the glad tidings at the Victory Loan meeting on the Market Place, and the National Anthem was sung.
The Parish Church bell ringers rang sets of ‘Grandsire Doubles and Triples from 8 o'clock until a few minutes before 10, the following members taking part:- Messrs. T. Harman (leader), W. Bourne, T.J. Dunk, C. Ely, A.C. Telfer, E.A. Poulteney, S. Taylor, and G. Bishop and Miss D. Bourne.
On Sunday the services at all the places of worship were of a thanksgiving nature. At the Parish Church in the morning the Te Deum was sung at the commencement of the service, and the National Anthem at the close. Appropriate hymns were also sung, and the Vicar (Rev. A. Reeve) was the preacher.
At the Borough Petty Sessions on Wednesday the Chairman (Mr. B.G. Berry) congratulated the town and country upon the ending of the war and the proclamation of peace, which would follow in due course. It had, he said, been a long and anxious time. They hoped against hope, and sometimes the nation almost gave way to depression, if not to despair, but God in his mercy had granted them peace. They hoped it would be a lasting peace, and that the prophecy they were all familiar with, "There shall be war no more." Would be fulfilled.
All present then sang a verse of the National Anthem.
Reported in East Kent Gazette 12 July 1919: TEYNHAM, NORTON AND BUCKLAND -
Peace Celebrations. Teynham is combining with the parishes of Norton and Buckland in Peace Celebrations, on the 19th instant, which will take the form of a procession, with pageant, followed by athletic sports and other attractions in Newgardens meadows, kindly placed at the disposal of the Committee by Colonel J. F. Honeyball, the Chairman of Teynham Parish Council. Tea will be provided for all the school children of the three parishes, as well as old age pensioners, and the demobilised soldiers and sailors. At the sports there will be races for everyone, with n entrance fees, and exciting tugs-of-war by teams of both ladies and men. Anyone wishing to enter for the sports wills facilitate matters if they do so before the date by informing Mr. R. Gilbert Eacott, the Pharmacy.
Thanksgiving Church Parade - Thanksgiving Sunday was observed at Teynham Church with an imposing church parade which took place in the afternoon. A procession was formed in Greenstreet under the direction of Major Selby. It was headed by the band of the Salvation Army, lead by Bandmaster Wigg, followed by a detachment of the Royal Navy, consisting of local men who had been demobilised, with C.P.O. C. Huntley (late of H.M.S. Peregrine) in charge. Next came a detachment of demobilised men representing the army, under the direction of Sergt.-Major Court (The Buffs), followed by the St John and Field Ambulance section, under Supt. Ray; Teynham and Lynsted Fire Brigade and Special Constables, with Chief Officer A. E. Ferris in charge; and Boy Scouts (Scoutmaster E. Read). The procession marched to Teynham Church, and their was a crowded congregation. The service, which was of a memorable character, was conducted by the Vicar (Rev. W. A. Poulton), assisted by the Rev. W. Barrett, Chaplain to the Almshouses, Faversham. The hymns were heartily sung, and the Vicar gave an impressive address. Miss Whittle was at the organ. The offertory was for the fund for providing a war memorial tablet for the church. After the service the men paraded outside the church, where they were inspected by Colonel Honeyball, who thanked them for the service they had rendered to the country. The procession was played back to Bruson, the residence of Major Selby, and both the Major and Mrs. Selby thanked everybody for their service during the war after which the parade was dismissed.
Reported in the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald – 9th August 1919: MEMORIAL SERVICE AT FAVERSHAM. ADDRESS BY THE VICAR.
"In memory of the officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Navy and Army, residents of Faversham and district, who gave their lives in the service of their king and country during the great war a memorial service, under the auspices of the Mayor and Corporation, and organised by the Faversham branch of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers' Federation, was held in the Parish Church on Sunday. Seldom, if ever, should we think, has such a vast congregation been seen in the old church, and the service throughout was most impressive. Amongst the congregation were the Mayoress (Mrs. S.R. Alexander), Major G.C.H. Wheler, M.P.. Lady Harris, and the Dowager Countess Sondes. Prior to the service the organist (Mr. W.J. Keech, Mus. Bac., F.R.C.O.) played Meditation (D'Evey), Elegy in G (Lemare), Elegy (Borowski) and the slow movements from each of the six sonatas for the organ by Mendelssohn.
At 2 o'clock a procession was formed in the Mall, consisting of representatives of the Royal Navy, Kent Heavy Battery, present serving men from Oare Camp, 1st Company National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers, the colours, surmounted by laurel wreaths carried by Commander Bostock, R.N., and Lieut. R.E. Davey, London Regiment, 2nd Company of the Federation, the Town and Federation Band, the Mayor and Corporation, the V.A.D., Volunteers, East Kent Mounted Constabulary, Girl Guides, Federation Bugle Band, Fire Brigades, Kent and Norwich, St. John Ambulance Brigade, S.E. and C.R. St. John Ambulance Brigade, Gospel Hall Band, Postmen's Federation, Railway Staff, Amalgamated Society of Engineers, National Union of Railwaymen, Boy Scouts, Ancient order of Foresters, Adult School, Independent Order of Oddfellows, National Deposit Society, Salvation Army Band, Trades and Labour Council and Rechabites. Headed by police, under Supt. W.H. Lawrence, the band of the 2nd Buffs, Lord Harris, C.B., and General P.D. Jeffreys, C.B., the procession made its way to the church by way of Forbes Road Preston Street, Market Street and Court Street.
In Court Street a cenotaph designed by Mr. C. Kennett, had been erected by members of the Federation. It was surmounted by a wheel shape cross, and on the front was a large laurel wreath tied with the national colours. Lower down was the inscription "To our glorious dead 1914-1919." All around the base was a beautiful collection of floral tributes from various units and friends of those who had fallen. A guard of honour from Oare Camp stood here with fixed bayonets, and as the procession passed by all the various units saluted.
Before the service proper commenced Commander Bostock and Lieutenant Davey carried the colours to the chancel steps, where they were received by the Rev. A. Telfer, the Federation Chaplain who placed them on the communion table. As this was being done the Buffs band, which was stationed in the chancel, played the stirring Buffs regimental march. The hymn "All people that on earth to dwell," was then sung to the accompaniment of the Band.
The Vicar, who then gave the address, took as his text the words "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope." Let them, he said, keep that service with Christian brightness, and presently as they went through its solemn part let them think not of self, but of heaven of God, and of the heavenly host, those who had gone to a better land than this and they could rejoice through the tears that sorrow was not concerning them which were asleep as those that had no hope. They mourned the loss of a great company, not Englishmen alone and that day they had met in reverent memory of them all, but especially of those connected with their own town and district. All through let them have reverent Christian brightness. Those that had died had died for Christian principles and for King and country. Their life was not counted by years. They could never have died better if they had all lived to four score years and ten, and so they had met in gratitude for their splendid life, for greater love no man could show than lay down his life for his friends. He stood before them as a Christian minister, as a steward of the mysteries of God, to speak that day of this and all the helps He brought to them. He like them saw through a glass darkly – they all had their difficulties and anxieties – but he doubted not. He lived by faith and he knew the promises of Christ were sufficient and would be fulfilled. He gave him what he wanted for his soul here and he promised him eternal life and reunion with those gone before and he put his absolute and simple trust in Him. As they passed the cenotaph and as they laid their flowers there did they believe that they would see again and enjoy the love of those who had gone had gone with a certain hope. He remembered a boy who went to serve his country. He lost his mother – a saintly woman – just before, and he wrote to his father just before going "Father, if I don't come back to you I go to see mother." He did not doubt the sincerity of the promise, but that splendid faith was not the experience of all. There were some whose hearts were sometimes sad because their dear ones did not seem to live the life they should, but he believed with all his heart that many a careless man when he left home to serve his King and country turned from stupid deeds and set his face to do his part for King, country and God. They were told in the Bible that "the effectual prayer of a righteous man awaileth much." Never in the world's history had there been such prayer as those offered during the five years of war, and those who suffered most prayed on bended knee through all that time, and prayed most of all for those who had perhaps to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, who did not think much and might be unprepared, and when the mysteries of life were unfolded they might find that these words perhaps applied to them, because of the prayers of the faithful their sons were safe in the arms of Jesus. It was stupid to say one could not pray for the dead, one could not help it. Life could not be separated by death, and so they would remember all the boys who had gone in their prayers and feel they were brought into touch with them. As long as they lived they would never have such a call from the heavenly Father to lead the higher life. Why should the comrade in white, who was in the trench and behind our army when assailed by a mighty host, be absent from them in their daily life. Let them consecrate their lives that day and let the comrade in white be ever at their side. Would they help England to be a better country and make it a happy place class hatred must cease and the ceaseless tumult of Capital and Labour must be brought to an end. They need not think everyone had got to be alike, for one star differeth from another glory. Let them, therefore, keep that service with Christian brightness and wonderful reverence, and afterwards go out determined that they in Faversham would never do wrong whatever other parts might do, but consecrate their lives and live with those who had gone forward safe with Jesus.
The Rev. H. Pollard, United Methodist Minister, afterwards read the words from the Burial Service, commencing "I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord."
The choir then sang psalm XLVI. "God is our hope and strength," after which the Rev. C. Stanley Herbert, Congregation Minister, read the lesson from the Wisdom of Solomon III., 1-10.
The beautiful anthem "He giveth His beloved sleep" (J.F. Bridge) was admirably rendered by the choir, Mr. W.J. Keech, Mus. Bac., F.R.C.O., feelingly playing the accompaniment.
After silent prayer for the fallen, the hymn "Jesu, lover of my soul" was heartily sung.
Some prayers by the Rev. A. Telfer followed, and then the hymn "O God, our help in ages past" was sung. After the Benediction the band played Chopin's Funeral March, the solemn strains of which caused may to be visibly affected. The sounding of the Last Post and Reveille followed, and a memorable service was brought to a close with the singing of the National Anthem.
A good number of the congregation afterwards went to the shooing meadows where the band gave a short programme of music. In the evening a vast concourse of the townspeople assembled in the Recreation Ground, where the band gave another delightful programme, which was most thoroughly appreciated by all present. The sale of programmes realised over £20 and will be given to the local war memorial fund.
The roll of honour, which was printed in the service booklet, continued over 400 names.
The pulpit was draped with the Union Jack and suspended in front was a wreath of laurel and flowers "in remembrance of the members of our church who fell in the great war 1914-1919. The card attached was signed by the Vicar and the church-wardens, Messrs. C.E. Cornfoot and J.T.Rolfe.
A number of the ex-special constables under Mr. Arthur Smith, were drawn up outside the church door, and some of them assisted the ordinary police in keeping back the crowd in Court Street."