In June 1915 the Military were present in the village in a new and different sense, although the report does not detail there activities. Men from the Scottish Signal Service, which was attached to the Royal Engineers, were based in room of Mr Skerman’s at The Swan, a public house on the corner of Swan Street and Mill Street. Telegraph and telephone wires were laid to nearby villages. The men, how many we don’t know, were sleeping at the Merchant Taylors School and the Bushel & Strike clubroom.
Much of the sporting activity must have been on hold with so many men away at the war but the Tennis Club decided to keep going as it had so many women members.
More fundraising was going on this month a ‘Collection for Patriotic Purposes’ at the Merchant Taylors school to show remembrance for old boys. 15s 9d (78p) was collected. 10s (50p) was spent in a Weekly Dispatch – sixpenny packets of cigarettes and tobacco to 20 old boys at the front and 5s 9d to Earl of Neath’s Overseas Club for Soldiers & Sailors.
Having noted the visit of the Merchant Taylors Company to the school in Ashwell in last month’s news the paper reported that it was the 40th visit since the arrival of Mr Chote as headmaster.
Two religious events were mentioned in June. The Congregational Church (now the URC) held a Sunday school anniversary service with tea and entertainment. St Mary’s Church had special service of intercession similar to recent one at St Alban’s Cathedral, presumably this contained prayers relating to the war effort.
A Sale Advert by order of Mr J C Worboys announced his retirement from business. His premises were on the High Street I believe it was on the corner where the dentist is now but I am not sure. The auction was of the household furniture and stock-in-trade of a jeweller and ironmonger.
The death and subsequent funeral were reported of the popular villager Mr Ernest Searle of The Bakery, High Street at the age of 46. He had resided in Ashwell for over 20 years managing the bakery for Mr George Strickland. Strickland’s bakery was at 53, High Street the other end of the block which still houses Day’s and next door to the Wesleyan Church that he was so involved in. After Strickland retired Ernest acquired the business but unfortunately he was soon ill with heart trouble and this caused his untimely death. He had been Choir master of the Wesleyan Church and a former Chief Ranger of the Order of Foresters.
According to his grandson, Byron, the family were living at Partridge Hall at the time of his death and within a year this was sold off. He also says that as well as being choir master at the Wesleyan Church Earnest was also Band master.
The picture shows Ernest with his wife and their eldest son, William, (Byron’s father) and daughter Dorothy.