August was a quiet month with no jolly community activities reported. Although it is now what we think of as a holiday period 100 years ago the gathering in of the harvest was the most important time of the year in the working calendar. It occupied the whole of the village and was especially problematic this year with so many of the workforce away at the war.
The reports from the war were positive on the surface but underneath there was a hint of the hardship and privation that was more normal even amongst the officers.
Lance-corporal Herbert ‘Harry’ Smith of Silver Street was commended for service in the field. At Neuve Chapelle on 12th March 1915 he was one of a party of eight bomb-throwers who re-took a trench after 2 counter-attacks failed. The picture shows him after he was promoted to sergeant.
Mr H A Fordham, the youngest son of Mr E Snow Fordham of Elbrook House, was promoted to Captain. He started his army life at Sandhurst College, volunteering on the outbreak of war and soon became 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Fusiliers (Northumberland). He was invalided home with frost-bitten feet but was now back in the trenches.
All 3 of Mr E Snow Fordham’s sons were now ‘with the colours’. Mr E King Fordham had become a corporal in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps, and Mr Oswald Fordham was 2nd Lieutenant in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He had just been invalided home following camp cholera and spell in Rouen hospital but would be returning shortly to the front.
On the home front the Royston Crow mentions a birth, a marriage and a death.
The birth was the arrival of a little Belgian girl, born to Mr & Mrs Gooris, refugees who had been housed in Ashwell since the outbreak of war. Mr Gooris’ eldest son, Norriemore, arrived in Ashwell for a few days leave shortly after.
The marriage was of Mr Albert Bray of Ashwell to Miss Lily Hart, daughter of ex-inspector Hart of Royston. It took place at Great Shelford.
The death was of Allen Edward Humphrey, formerly of Slip End, at the age of 51. I have no further details.
Finally there was an accident which was perhaps a boyish prank which went wrong but nevertheless ended not too badly. A ‘lad’, Thomas Leete, who was an employee of Fordham’s brewery, climbed a tree during his break to get pigeons eggs. Whilst up the tree he lost his foothold but managed to hang on by one hand. In the end this proved too much and he had to let go falling 25 ft or so to road. Although bruised and shaken no bones were broken and he was now recovering well.