A village at war - Sandridge remembers WWI

The huge turnout when the lychgate at St Leonard's Church in Sandridge was dedicated after WWI in 19

The huge turnout when the lychgate at St Leonard's Church in Sandridge was dedicated after WWI in 1921 - Credit: Archant

An insight into how a village community greeted the outbreak of World War One has been revealed in a village church parish magazine.

The then Vicar of Sandridge, the Rev Hugh Richard Anson, writing in the St Leonard’s Church magazine a century ago, called on the village to “serve the king and country.”

He wrote: “Since last we wrote, it seems almost years ago, our whole life and thoughts seemed to have changed. A month ago we were quietly carrying on our simple, peaceful life, selfish perhaps – thinking of little outside our own village life, but normal, restful, homely.

“Then in the papers came the distant echoes of a great crisis, wars and rumours of wars overlapping one another with lightning speed, a great world-wide war developing its dovetailed horrors with express speed,

“England struggling and striving and praying for peace with all the earnestness of a truly Christian nation, when every man said to his neighbour, there is a sin greater than war.”

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His comment went on: “There is a choice laid before us between the pose of a coward who allows his friend to be killed before his eyes, and the awful ordeal of war.

“I pray God that Sandridge may have the honour to send all its manhood out at duty’s call to serve the king and country, and I do appeal to heads of households and employers of labour to make it quite clear that they will do their part, and both keep open the places for those who go, and look after their homes, and see that they do not want. And we who stay at home, we must be zealous and generous. All must be self-sacrificing, all must be willing to help, and lastly all must pray.”

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The lychgate at St Leonard’s, Sandridge, records the names of 24 men from the parish killed in the First World War and also lists the names of those who went out to fight and returned home.

Anson Close in Sandridge is named after the Rev Anson, who was Vicar of St Leonard’s from 1906 to 1919.

The church is planning a special Remembrance Service, involving the wider community, for Sunday, November 9.

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