In the school, Mrs Walter Picking, thinking it would interest the Boys sent in the Christmas present her son had sent home. It was one which he had received at the Front from the Princess Mary and the Boys took much delight in seeing it. It consisted of a box containing a pipe, a packet of cigarettes, tobacco, a Xmas card and a signed card with portrait of the King and Queen wishing him a safe return from the war. What would such a box of treats contain today?
The Boys also had a visit from Mr Percy Bryant, another Old Boy of the school, and a Private in the 4th Sussex Regiment. He called to bid them ‘Goodbye’ prior to his going to the front. He was given a hearty send off and many were the expressions that he might come back safely.
Further information on the subject of ‘George Waldock’ mentioned in last month’s column has come from Kathy Ferguson whose great uncle was Herbert George Waldock.
She has discovered that George Herbert Waldock was born in Ashwell in 1890 but moved to Tottenham with his family as a child. He was a lance corporal in the 1st Battalion, London Regiment and was killed in action on 25th October 1914. His residence in Tottenham probably explains why, although an old boy of the Merchant Taylors School, there is no mention of him on the Ashwell memorial.
Kathy Ferguson goes on to explain that both the ‘H. Waldocks’ mentioned are buried in the churchyard. Herbert George, my served with the 9th Lancers on the western front from August 1915 until he was seriously wounded in August 1918. He is buried with his mother Agneta. The inscription on the headstone reads: “…died August 23rd 1923 aged 29 years…memorial is erected in remembrance by his comrades [at] the Queen Alexandra [Hospital Home].” The QAHH still operates today.
Harry Walter George Waldock was called up at the age of 18yrs 2 months in July 1918 and must still have been in training in the Machine Gun Corps when he died on 12 November, the day after the Armistice. His Army record states that he died at the military hospital Cannock Chase from pneumonia
There was very little printed news in January 1915; whether this reflected a quiet month socially or fewer published editions of the Crow I am unsure.
Ashwell Literary Society’s reading of the final part of a book was the only social event of note. The book was the very popular but now almost forgotten, ‘The Sky Pilot’ by Ralph Connor. Ralph Connor, (1860 – 1937) was a Canadian novelist and Presbyterian Church leader. This, his second novel, was published in 1899 and gained him an international reputation selling more than 1,000,000 copies.
There was one wedding at St Mary’s between Miss Catherine Amtman and Mr James Wall of London and one death reported that of Arthur Evans of The Railway Tavern, Royston. I believe he was old Ashwellian who had come back to the family to be cared for.