The Great War
On the 10th of November 2018
a celebration of the Armistice and the end of Great War was
held in Goldhanger Village Hall organised by the local History Group using
information recorded in the newspapers and Parish Magazine of the day. These
were mainly written by the Rector, the Revd
Gardner whose son Cyril was killed and who was responsible for building
the War Memorial at the front of St Peters Church. Every year we
remember those local men who lost the lives, but this occasion provided an
opportunity to look back at those
who returned from the war and those who were left behind, who then
“celebrated” the end of a war, the “the war to end all wars”. During
the evening the Jubilee Choir performed several moving patriotic song...
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the material presented here about the original Armistice celebrations was assembled as part of that Village Hall event.
select image to enlarge
more photos of the 2018 event on the Village Hall website at...
During the original celebrations
there was much triumphalism, patriotism, flag-waving and bellringing which
was tinged with great sadness for those who had lost their lives; those who were
wounded; and those who were disabled for life. The 2018 “celebration” in the
Village Hall tried to reflect all of these aspects and the evening began with
a short playlet that envisioned the scene at Goldhanger on 11th November
The war has just ended! We won! The Kaiser has been defeated! Boche napoo!
Our troops are coming home! [
this was accompanied by much cheering from the audience ]
A man at the bar responded:
Let’s celebrate! Get out the flags! Have a party? A bonfire in the Square?
A lady customer said:
But my son is never coming
home. We have lost many other young
lives. I will not be
A second lady says:
And where is my son? Many of our boys have been wounded,
shell shocked and traumatised.
Now is no time to celebrate! (some photos of the playlet are on the Village Hall
This dilemma has existed ever since
and remains with us today. But in time Goldhanger did celebrate. They
welcomed home and celebrated the return of their young men and winning a
"war to end all wars". As part of the 2018 celebration of this
100th anniversary, Goldhanger looked back at the local and national
celebrations that took place at that time. The evening's celebration started
with a meal, as they did on two occasions in the School Room 100yrs ago. Then, the meat was supplied by Mr
Bunting, in 2018 it was supplied by Jenny and Eric, and the village school
bell was available to attract attention. Sweets called Peace Babies were provided on the tables which were produced for
the original Armistice celebrations. They were renamed Jelly Babies at the beginning of WW-2.
Material prepared for the 2018 event
is presented here in chronological order...
armistice agreement was signed in a railway carriage at Compiegne and the
There were many impromptu celebrations around the world...
the Parish Magazine in December
German Field Gun in front of the
In the face of the splendid
record of Goldhanger in the War, the Rector has applied for a German Field
Gun to be placed in front of the Memorial to be erected in front of the
Church Tower. It may then be possible to have new wide gates and path from
the road to the Tower, and to place the Memorial in the centre of the path,
and with the Gun in the foreground. If granted it would be a noble
are no signs that a captured field gun was ever acquired by the Rector
the Parish Magazine in January
Five of our Prisoners of War
have returned alive and well, with one exception, Frederick Lewis is being
detained in a London Hospital. How they have lived through their privations
and suffering only the One above can answer. We are all thankful they have
returned and enjoying a return to their full health and strength.
13 June 1919
the Chelmsford Chronicle of 13th
Goldhanger held a very successful
Welcome Home on Whit Monday for the discharged service men of the parish. A
good dinner was provided in the Schoolroom which had been decorated for the
occasion for about forty three guests. After dinner a service of thanksgiving
was held in the Parish Church.
In the evening a smoking concert was held,
followed by refreshments, and a dance finished the evening. A very large
number of friends were present and thoroughly enjoyed the re-union. Mr Field
(the Curate) extended a hearty welcome to the men, and Mr John Buckingham
(the Rector’s manservant & Tower Captain) thanked the ladies who had
contributed songs, and all the helpers. Before and after the service the
bells were rung by the ringers who included six returning soldiers.
the Goldhanger bells here...
or go to
full size version
29 June 1919
of Versailles was signed,
and finally ending the war.
19 July 1919
“Peace Day” was declared as a National Holiday and events were
organised all around the UK
the biggest event in Essex between 17th and 23rd July 1919 was at Southend
which hosted a royal fleet review attended King George V....
There is a 10 minute silent
“news-reel” video of the review on YouTube at...
25 July 1919
From the Chelmsford Chronicle of 25th July 1919 (reporting on Peace Day)
- The village was gay with flags, the bells of the church rang joyful peels,
there were sports for children and adults in the Rectory grounds, and the
returned soldiers were entertained to a capital dinner.
G. Bunting kindly gave the meat, and the vegetables were provided by other
friends. The old and young had a substantial tea, after which the Revd.
Gardner gave a hearty welcome to all, especially the soldiers. He referred in
sympathetic terms to those who had made the supreme sacrifice.
sports included a costume bicycle race, hitting the hock of bacon by women
blindfolded, and a tug-of-war: the army and navy versus civilians; The
Services winning. At 10.15 two huge bonfires were lit and a display of
fireworks brought the day's festivities to a close.
Rector wrote in the Parish Magazine...
sum is required in order to commemorate, either by means of a tablet in the Church,
or in some other way, the names of all those who went forth from this parish
in order to defend their country in her hour of peril. Their names should never be forgotten.
Although many towns
and villages did create such Rolls-of-Honour, one has never been found for
Goldhanger. So in 2014 one was created by the History Group from parish
magazines and newspaper articles and it has updated several times since. Here
is the latest version... (select image to enlarge)
25 July 1920
From the Parish Magazine...
Dedication of Goldhanger War Memorial
Friday, 25th July, will be a
day never to be forgotten in the annals of Goldhanger. It was the day set
apart for the Dedication of the magnificent War Memorial erected in the
Churchyard to the memory of the brave men and boys of this Parish, who nobly
sacrificed their lives in the Great War.
The Lord Bishop of the diocese preached an
eloquent and impressive sermon after which he dedicated the stained glass
window placed in the south wall of the Church to the memory of John Wakelin,
who was killed in action. Then the Choir, followed by the Clergy walked in
procession to the Memorial. A number of our soldiers, under the command of
Chief Coastguard H. Hover, acted as a guard of honour on three sides of the
The hymn “When I survey the wondrous Cross,” was
sung with much feeling, and the Memorial was dedicated by the Bishop, after
which the hymn, “Abide with me” was sung.
artists impression of the unveiling of the
Goldhanger War Memorial
know that in this period Guy Fawkes night celebrations were frequently merges
with Armistice celebrations, as the dates for the two events were just six
day apart. The illegal Goldhanger tradition of having a bonfire in The Square
was recorded in several newspaper reports of court cases early in the
century, including a 1921
report that refers to Jack Johnson who could have been the Jon Johnson
listed on the Roll of Honour and brother of Henry/Harry Johnson who was
killed in action...
artists impression of celebrations in The Square
new material appearing all the time on the internet, the 100th anniversary of
Great War Armistice, created an opportunity to look back at the events of
1914-18 and consider the scale of the impact that the war had locally; Not
only on those who went to war, but on those who were left behind. Today we
probably know more about the impact that the war had locally than has been
know for many generations.
Consider the impact on those who
throughout the UK:
6 million went to war (25% of the men)
¾ million died = 12% of those who went
1¾ million wounded or disabled = 30%
59 went to war (30% of the men)
17 lost their lives =
29% of those who went
16 known wounded or “sick” =
So only one third of the Goldhanger men returned
the details on the... Roll of Honour
Many were wounded, gassed, shell
shocked & traumatised. It is possible that the reason why more local
young men signed up than the national average is because they had seen the Zeppelins travelling up the
Estuary towards London and early in the war they couldn’t do anything other than
sign up for military service.
We can also now identify those
volunteers and groups at home who gave so much local support:
VAD nurses from Goldhanger
Darcy Guisnes Court VAD hospital )
Local Defence Volunteers – the
“Home Guard” (see... Documents - 1917
Emergency Committee )
Food parcel organisers (see... Great War Parish magazine
Garment makers and “sewers”
(see... Great War Parish magazine
Local fund raisers (see... Great War Parish magazine
Finally there were the bereaved
widows & parents of those lost their lives:
two young widows were
- wife of Sydney Brewer
Lily - wife of William Hummerstone
and some parents suffered
The Brewer family - 4 sons signed up: 2 were
The Everett family - 3 sons signed up: 1
killed, 1 wounded
family - 2 sons signed up: 1 killed, 1 PoW
decorations used in the 2018 Village Hall Armistice Celebration...
Babies Table decor School bell
During the original celebrations
there was much triumphalism, patriotism and flag-waving in the UK and around
the world. That atmosphere was captured in the the 2018 Village Hall celebrations
by displaying posters and magazine images around the hall and on a
screen. Many of those can be seen
(select to view all images)
local flag replicas displayed in the
Village Hall for the celebration... (select image to enlarge)
Goldhanger Royal British Legion HMS Osea Goldhanger RFC Flight Station
many more photos of the event on the Village Hall website at...