Saturday, 7 March 2015

News from the Villages

Greenfield School Boy Scout Troop c.1910

Sunday 7th March 1915: Barton-le-Clay
Mr Pike, who has been acting as interpreter for the Belgian refugees who  now been installed in the Mill House at Barton. He describes them as “unassuming simple folk, they appear to take their tribulation very light-heartedly, in spite of the heavy blow which has fallen upon them”. They were driven out of Antwerp on 9th October by a German incendiary bombardment which forced them to run for their lives. They spent two months in Holland before reaching England on 8th January. Those who contribute to their upkeep are in a small way paying back the debt owed by this country to the Belgians people. As one returned wounded soldier said to this parents: “you wouldn’t be comfortably sitting by your fireside hadn’t it been for the Belgians; had it not been for their brave stand there is little doubt the Germans would have been here, for no country was in any way prepared for such an unexpected onslaught. A little time was gained for preparation which saved the situation. You can’t do too much for these poor people who really fought and suffered for you”.

The rector has called on his parishioners to ask themselves the following question: “Am I, by my Christian life and conduct, helping to bring down God’s help to end the war, or by my un-Christian life, and taking part in National degeneration helping to prolong the war?”

The ordinary church congregation has diminished disappointingly since the soldiers arrived in the village. There has been much illness, and it is admitted that the extra work makes it hard for some people to get to Church, but it is feared that there must be a considerable amount of slackness and things ought not to be as bad as they are.

A second successful concert has been held in the new school on behalf of the Belgian Refugee Fund. After expenses a total of £3 18s 6d was raised. One of the village Boy Scouts, Ernest Randolph Elliott Burton died last month at the age of fourteen after a short illness. The Scouts, together with some from Flitwick and Harlington, attended his funeral. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack and the boy’s haversack and hat were placed on top. Ernest was a good lad, at home, at church and at school, and did his duty regularly and well as a Scout. He will be badly missed.

Mr H. Spensley came to the village on February 20th to distribute war badges to those Boy Scouts who have done good work in National Service – in the case of the Silsoe Scouts this work has been guarding the railway tunnel, assisting the police and working at the Military Hospital. The Badges were awarded to Harry Bunker, Leslie Mann, Joe White, Walter White, Robert White, Charles Gray, and Albert Mann.

Source: Monthly Magazine for the parishes of Barton-le-Cley, Clophill, Flitton and Greenfield, Gravenhurst, Silsoe, Westoning, February 1915 [P21/30/17]

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