1917 February

Fred Tott
Herbert Huggins
Edward Holloway
Edward Holloway

Lance Corporal Fred Tott was on leave visiting his mother and old friends in Ashwell. He had left for New Zealand 7 years ago and returned to with the ANZAC forces. He had been through campaigns in Egypt Gallipoli and now France for over two years without receiving as much as a scratch. When he visited his old school Mr Chote, the headmaster, persuaded him to address the boys about his experiences. This included not only a graphic description of the lighter side of a soldier’s lot but also the essentials for helping them to a successful life – cheerfulness, firmness, and loyalty.


Two casualties were reported from the front this month. Private Herbert Huggins had received a shrapnel injury but was now recovering. Before joining up he was a clerical worker at Page’s Brewery and captain of the football team.

Corporal Edward Holloway was a dispatch rider and while driving at 30 mph the front tyre had come off his motorcycle causing an accident in which he lost a finger but was now making a good recovery.


Much appreciation was coming from the boys at the Front who had been sent a Christmas parcel via the “Daily Graphic”.  Ashwell had sent out 81 and had already received over 40 letters of thanks.


In Ashwell the effect of the war was being felt closer to home with the announcement of food rationing. There was to be a weekly allowance of the basics for each person of: bread (or flour in lieu)– 4lb (under 2 kilos), meat (total, all kinds) – 2½lbs, and sugar – ¾ lb.



The deaths were announced of several local people. Mr George A Shelton, 46, who had worked as an assistant at Westrope’s Stores died suddenly. His funeral was at the ‘Particular Baptist Chapel’ which I think is now the Zoar Baptist Chapel in Gardiners Lane.

Mr Joseph Eversden died at the age of 80. For 50 years he had been a trustee of the Foresters benefit society.  Interestingly after a service at the Wesleyan Church he was buried in the Parish Church yard.

Mr James S Thorne a member of an old Ashwell Quaker family died at the age of 59. He had been a tailor for many years, but lately had turned to raising poultry. During his life he had been Assistant Overseer and Clerk to the Parish Council, a keen cricketer and a member of Egbert Benefit Society.

Lady Fordham, wife of Sir George Fordham of Odsey, died at the age of 47. She was best known as Ethel Weigall under which name she had published several books. The best known being ‘Mrs Trigley’s Visitors’. At a Cambridgeshire County Council meeting the members sympathised with Sir George Fordham on the death of his wife. The couple were only married in August 1914.


In other news in the village the Nursing Association gave their annual report which included the list of confinements attended and that they had a balance of £3.05 in the bank.

At the Parish Council meeting Mr Walter A Bray was confirmed in his post as Assistant Overseer and Clerk, Mr H W Bowman was appointed to the Board of the school and Mr N D Angell was given the right to have herbage from the Recreation Ground.

The Ashwell Congregational Church was losing its pastor Rev W Morgan who was leaving to take Holy Orders in the Church of England.

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