The Bury Convalescent Hospital closed on the 31st December. During its 2½ years in use 640 convalescent soldiers and 78 cadets were welcomed to Ashwell. The ‘boys in blue’ as they were known from their distinctive uniforms had become part of village life and would be missed.
The reports for the rest of January were a relentless catalogue of the ongoing effects of the war.
Private Julius Eversden, 36, of Church Path was in training at Rugeley, Staffs when he developed bronchial pneumonia. He was taken ill on the 26th October, had a relapse on 18th December when his mother was sent for but died on 23rd December. His grave is in the churchyard opposite his house where his mother could see it. Brother Private Tom Eversden died earlier in the war but three others survived.
In a column called ‘Our local Patriots’ details to add to previous news was being printed of the lives of soldiers. Private Charles Winter, 32, the younger son of Mr & Mrs Samuel Winter, who married a Royston girl, and worked at Hertford, was killed on the 21st September in France. Private Frank Joseph Potton, 20, the youngest son of Mr & Mrs David Potton of Station Rd, was wounded on the 17th October and died of wounds.
There was yet another notice of a death in the very late stages of the war. Private Percy Revels, 30, was killed in France on 22nd October. Percy was the fourth son of James and Emma Revels of Pickings Lane (now Alms Lane). He was a pupil of the Merchant Taylors School in Ashwell and before enlisting was a farm labourer employed by Sir George Fordham. In February 1918 Percy had been wounded in the leg and neck and had not long returned to his unit when he was killed. His brother James was also killed in France in August 1917 and his brother Tom was serving in Egypt and had been wounded at the time Percy was killed.
The death of Mr Thomas S Hyder, 65, of Kingsland Road may not have been directly caused by the war but the consequences of it had affected him deeply he became ‘quite broken down’ and had to give up business. For 46 years he was a traveller for Messrs Fordhams Brewery but had suffered badly from first the death of his oldest son Tom, killed in France during 1915, then secondly his son Albert on the 23rd February 1917.
Edward Snow Fordham died on 26th January at Elbrook House. Born in 1858 he had already retired from his post as a Metropolitan Police Magistrate through ill health. However even amongst the details of his life mention of another war time tragedy was mentioned. There was a pathetic paragraph reporting the death of his son-in-law Captain Thomas T Pryce VC, MC, reported missing on the 13th April 1918.
There was one more death without any further details that of Fanny Harradine, 68, widow of late Charles Harradine.
Even at the Parish Council meeting death was the main item on the agenda when they agreed the Rules for Regulation of new Burial Ground.
They also considered another topic which is still very much on the agenda and they are perhaps rueing the decision taken in 1919. At the meeting the Parish Council agreed to a request from the Rector and the Church Parish meeting to be responsible for the expenses of winding and maintenance of the church clock but only once it was in good repair. Fortunately the Mothers’ Meeting raised enough money for this to go forward.
On a brighter note Sergeant Percy Bryant, (often spelt Briant) the younger son of Mr & Mrs Frederick Bryant of Ashwell celebrated his wedding to Florence Lily Gains at Folkestone, Kent.