Life in Westerham in 1914

June 1914

10th – Annual War Office Inspection of the 1st Cadets-Kent by Capt. A. Scott-Hewitt, adjutant of the 4th Royal West Kent Regiment.

25th – Government Inspection of the local V.A.D. Red Cross Society at Dunsdale.

In late 1914 a Red Cross hospital was established at Dunsdale House, Brasted Road. The Royal Army Medical Corps and volunteer staff tended to the wounded, which initially included many Belgian soldiers.Many of the wounded were, initially, Belgian soldiers.

Dunsdale Red Cross Hospital. Seated center is Dr. Russell and first right is Miss Watney.

July 1914

3rd – Non-Militant Women’s Suffrage meeting held on the Green. Mr Granville Streatfeild presiding. An address was given by Miss Muriel Matters.

4th – Return of the 1st Cadets-Kent from a week’s Camp at Bexhill.

26th –  The Territorials went into Camp at Salisbury Plain. Owing to the imminence of war, they were ordered to return before the expiration of their training, and after a protracted journey, reached home at 8 a.m., on August 5th, and a few hours later proceeded to Tonbridge on mobilization.

August 1914

3rd – Venetian Fete, organised by the Cadet Corps, held on the Long Pond, and proved a great success. Major Beresford was absent, having been called up with his regiment owing to the outbreak of the European War.

4th – War formally declared against Germany, in consequence of Belgian neutrality being violated by the Teutonic Empire.

12th – Meeting at the Drill Hall at which a National Service Committee, to deal with matters arising from the European War, was formed.

13th – Parish meeting at the Drill Hall when many special constables were sworn in, Mr Maxwell DelaCombe being appointed local superintendent.

19th – The annual Horticultural Show was held in the Drill Hall, the prize list being suspended, owing to the War. Musical programmes arranged by the Bijou Orchestra, were given during the day. As a result the sum of £22 4s. 6d. was realised for a local war fund.

September 1914

7th – Huge meeting at the Drill Hall, with an overflow meeting outside, on the reason why the war broke out.  Lord Weardale presided, and speeches were delivered by Mr H.W. Forster, M.P., Mr A.W. Smithers, J.P., Mr O.E. D’Avigdor Goldsmith, Mr E.C. Goldberg, and Captain Knocker. Fourteen recruits were obtained.

12th – Death in action of Lieut David Boyle, Lancs Fusiliers, announced in the ‘Herald.’ Lt. Boyle was exceedingly well known in Crockham Hill and Westerham.

17th – Gardeners meeting, when it was decided to call a general meeting to discuss the future doings of the society during the war.

October 1914

14th – Arrival of 54 Belgian soldiers at Dunsdale, transformed into a hospital under the local V.A.D. Red Cross Society.

17th – Marriage at the Parish Church of Miss E Williams to Mr Walter E Bennett, tobacconist. The ceremony was of a military character, the bridegroom having previously joined the 4th (F.S.) Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment. Among the presents was a gift of table plate from many of the townspeople.

19th – Funeral in the Churchyard of Vital Guillaume Sterckx, of Brabant, one of the wounded Belgian soldiers at Dunsdale. Most of his comrades and many townspeople attended the ceremony , which was of a Roman Catholic character.

Soldat (Private), V.G. Sterckx from Belgium Service Number 12485: 13th Regiment of the Line (infantry). Born in Tervueren, Belgium 19th May 1889 Died aged 25, 16th October 1914 in Dunsdale Hospital, Westerham.

20th – Marriage at the Parish Church of Miss Edith Smith, of Maidstone, to Corporal Herbert Lockyer, of Westerham 4th (F.S.) Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment.

22nd – The 2nd West Lancs. Brigade, R.F.A. (Royal Field Artillery), arrived in the town, and were billeted on the householders.

24th – Mrs Whiting, of Madan Road, received a congratulatory letter from the King on the fact that she had five grandsons serving in the army.

30th – The directors of the Westerham Brewery announced that they had placed ‘Roseville,’ High Street, at the disposal of Belgian Refugees.

November 1914

5th – Wedding at the Parish Church, of Hildred Bessie, daughter of Mr and Mrs T.E. Liddiard, Moorehouse, Westerham, to Second-Lieut. Lawrence E Milburn, 4th Suffolks. The bridegroom subsequently left to join his Regiment, under orders for the front.

7th- Opening of the National Service Committee Soldiers’ Recreation Rooms in Stratton Yard.

Marriage at Crockham Hill of Miss Lily Galloway, to Mr Albert Walter Pope, West Kent Yeomanry, of Westerham.

18th – Memorial Service on the green to the late Field-Marshall Earl Roberts, who died in France. The service was attended by the Artillery and R.A.M.C., stationed at Westerham and by the Cadet Corps. The Rev. Sydney Le Mesurier conducted the service.

December 1914

2nd – First Military Dance in the Drill Hall (2nd West Lancs Brigade R.F.A., Headquarters).

3rd – Pte. W.R. Webb, Grenadier Guards, returned home to Duncans Yard, having lost his left leg through shell fire.

16th – Accident to Mr J. Ingram, on Vicarage Hill. A runaway artillery horse knocked him down and fell on him, inflicting somewhat severe injuries and smashing his cycle.

17th – Cadets Quarterly Cup presentation by Col. Ryland, O.C. 2nd West Lancs. Brigade, in the Drill Hall.

20th – Christian Endeavour Society rally in the Congregational Church. Address on ‘Neutrality’ by Mr R.H. Blackaby.

25th – The troops belonging to the 2nd West Lancs. Brigade, R.F.A., and the RAMC stationed in Westerham, were entertained to Xmas dinner by the townspeople, under the auspices of The National Service Committee.

26th – The Westerham troops entertained by Mr Robert L. Mond, J.P. at Combe Bank.