On Monday, November 9th 1914 two companies of the 7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, who were training with the Highland Division of the Territorial Force, at Bedford, were given a route march from Bedford to Lathbury. With two field guns, a cyclist detachment, and ammunition vans, they were allowed three hours rest in a field in the centre of Chicheley, where, with some of the men scouring the area for wood for the fires (a quantity enhanced by the labours of a sergeant who, for half an hour, axed at a tree trunk), cooks prepared a dinner of stewed beef and vegetables. Meanwhile, some of the men danced Scottish reels to the music of two pipers, whilst others played leapfrog. The village schoolmaster had kindly lent a ball for a game of football, but unfortunately this burst during the match. Shortly before 4p.m. the march then resumed to Lathbury, where Mr. William Trevor kindly provided billets for the night.
In November 1914 Charles Goodman, the son of William Goodman, a farmer of the village, volunteered for service with the Reserve Battalion of the Royal Bucks Hussars. However, this was at full strength, and he was sent home to await orders.
Private Arthur Wright, of the 2nd East Surrey Regiment, was killed in action on April 28th 1915. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Wright, he had two sisters, Edith and Bertha, and from employment at Wolverton Works he was the first from the village to enlist, at Northampton in August 1914. Sent to Devonport, there he transferred to the East Surreys, and subsequent to being sent to the Front on March 6th he became noted for his courage and bravery in the trenches. The news of his death had been conveyed by a comrade, who, finding the address on some correspondence, sent the letters of the deceased, and his watch, to Private Wright’s sister. Having contacted the Reverend Easson, the vicar of Chicheley, whilst in London on Friday, May 21st 1915 she then called at the War Office to confirm the news. A keen sportsman, Private Wright had been in the church choir for many years, and although the bellringers wanted to ring a muffled peal, the parents preferred this not to be done. The memorial service took place on Wednesday, May 19th 1915, and in a continued remembrance in 1919 Private Wright’s family would post the following verse in the local press;
In Chicheley Church, on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 8th 1915, two stained glass windows were dedicated by the Rural Dean, the Reverend G.F. Sams. One was a memorial to Second Lieutenant Greville Arthur Bagot Chester, of the North Staffordshire Regiment, who had been killed in action in France on October 13th 1914, whilst the other was to his mother, who had died on February 25th 1915. She had been the wife of the Reverend John Greville Chester, who, aged 70, died on Saturday, January 13th 1923 at Gilling Vicarage, Richmond, Yorks. There he had been the vicar since 1899, having formerly been curate of Preston, Lancs. Leaving unsettled property of a gross value of £99,436, the net personality totalled £50,613, and of this he bequeathed £250 to his agent, William John Samuel, “in token of his appreciation of his unswerving loyalty and of the great assistance he had rendered in many difficult circumstances during the past 40 years.” Among the items to be devolved as heirlooms, the most valuable was a landscape by Valesquez. The Reverend had been the eldest surviving son of the late Colonel Charles Montague Chester, of Chicheley Hall.
In February 1916, the Chicheley War Working Party sent a parcel of warm comforts to the 1st Devonshire Regiment. They had been in France since the beginning, and perhaps Lance Corporal Hickman, of the village, was one of the lucky recipients, for he had a narrow escape when bullets holed his coat.
In April 1916, two daughters of the Reverend U.J. Easson, of Chicheley Vicarage, took up work on the land, and could be seen not only helping on a farm at Chicheley, but also driving the cattle into Newport Pagnell for the weekly market. Their help with the horses and cattle was invaluable to the farmer for whom they worked, and one of the sisters would also be the collector for the ‘National Egg Collection for the Wounded,’ at 154, Fleet Street, London. During the month, nine women in the Newport Pagnell district were placed on farms, with 166 others having registered their names as being willing to provide help to local farmers.
Under the command of Major William Trevor, of Lathbury Park, on Easter Monday 1916 a mock battle was fought on the uplands of Chicheley by the North Bucks Volunteer Defence Corps. The Olney Company, and one platoon of the Newport Pagnell Company, formed a line of outposts to an imaginary Northern force, which was tasked with holding Sherington and the line of the Ouse at Olney. Under the command of Captain Creasy, this was then attacked by the advanced guard of a Southern force, advancing from the direction of the Woburn hills, and in conclusion it was generally deemed that the attacking force, which came up between Hill Farm and Far Farm at Chicheley was entirely crushed in the centre, but held good on the two flanks. A large crowd of spectators had gathered to watch the action, and afterwards the officers entertained the two forces to lunch at the Chester Arms.
The Boy Scout troops of Lathbury, under Miss Daphne Trevor, Great Linford, under Miss Mead and Miss Hedges, and Chicheley, under Miss Easson, and Mr. Alastair Easson, held a combined field day on Easter Monday 1916. The Chicheley and Linford troops, known as the ‘Allies,’ would attempt to join forces between the Tyringham and Sherington bridges, with the object of the Lathbury troop, who were defending a position between the two, being to try and prevent a junction of the two armies. Unfortunately half of the Lathbury troop, which included Miss Muriel Farrar, of Chicheley Hall, were captured early in the proceedings, and with the Linford troop surrounding the other half a great victory for the Allies was secured. In fact there was some unkind treatment for the Lathbury Scoutmistress and one of her squad, for although perched on a straw stack they had secured a fine observation post, from where to command a good view of the allied force movements, on noticing the ladder the umpires removed it. Mr. R. Uthwatt and Mr. Hirsch had acted as the umpires and in the exercise 49 members of all ranks were on parade. With the exercise complete, everyone then had a picnic.
In July 1916, Private Albert Ellis, of the Royal Warwicks, was badly crushed on the second day of the Somme offensive, when a shell dropped on the edge of the parapet of his trench, dislodging a pile of sandbags. After being rescued by his comrades he was sent to Orpington hospital, Kent, where towards recovery he subsequently made good progress. His parents were resident at Chicheley, and before joining up, in February 1916, he had been employed by Dr. Sheppard, at Newport Pagnell, as a groom.
For despatch to the soldiers on active service, the village schoolchildren were collecting eggs. On these they wrote their names, and in July 1916 Miss Winifred A. Hopkins, of New Cottages, Chicheley, received a thank you note regarding one of the eggs that she had collected. Now attached to the 24th General Field Hospital, this was from Private R.S. Lawson, originally of the Durham Light Infantry, who wrote that when his regiment was being heavily shelled, near Loos, whilst running for cover he collided with a tree and injured his eyes. He was then transferred from the Durhams to the R.A.M.C., and in his letter he said that it had been a long time since he was in the trenches. As well as an embroidered silk handkerchief, complete with the French flag and the words ‘Souvenir de France,’ also enclosed with the letter was a postcard, worked in silk colours, bearing the flags of the Allies under which, with a pretty French scene displayed in the corner, a smaller card carried the words ‘A kiss from France.’ Another pupil from Chicheley school, Florrie Wright, also received a thank you letter, this being from a private in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who was recovering from wounds received in action.
(At Chicheley Parish Church, on Monday, June 7th 1920 Miss Winifred Hopkins married William Hedge, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hedge of North Crawley. He had served with the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry during the war, rising to the rank of Colour Sergeant Major. Winnie was the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hopkins of Chicheley, her father having for several years been in the service of Lady Farrar at Chicheley Hall.)
His wife being resident in Chicheley, in October 1916 Private H. Warren, of the Northants. Regiment, was wounded in action in France, where, having joined up some 17 months ago, from employment in the North Western goods shed at Northampton, he had been for about a month. Shrapnel had removed portions of two fingers on his left hand, and other wounds included those to the left leg, hands, waist and chest. He was sent to the hospital at Rednal, near Birmingham, for treatment.
As the result of a shell burst, Private Edward Griffiths, of the Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, was buried for 24 hours under a mass of earthworks. Badly bruised, when rescued he was unconscious for five days, and by December 1916 had been sent home to Chicheley, with his discharge from military service being almost a certainty. Formerly employed by Mr. J. Riley, a farmer, he had been in France for five months, having enlisted in March 1916.
On Friday, May 11th 1917, at the Bucks County Appeal Tribunal, held at Fenny Stratford police station, the military authorities challenged an exemption granted by the Newport Pagnell Rural Tribunal to a 30 year old single man. Employed as a horse keeper and milker on the Chicheley farm of his father, he had been passed for general service, but Mr. Goodman said that the services of his son were essential, and if he was taken the food production would be limited. Farming 160 acres, Mr. Goodman had another son, aged 25, and in addition there was a casual labourer, who came in for one day a week or so, a boy who was exempt from school for the war, and Mr. Goodman’s daughter, who, with 18 cows in milk, managed the dairy work and took the milk to Newport Pagnell. There being some 42 cattle, 60 sheep, 30 pigs, and 12 horses and colts, the farm included 50 acres of arable land, and although two grass fields were scheduled for breaking up the military claimed that one of the sons should serve. Their appeal was allowed, with the man to be called for service on June 10th, the original exemption having been until June 23rd.
A tragedy occurred on the evening of Monday, August 13th 1917 when Nancy Baxter, who was just three days short of her second birthday, died after being kicked by a horse. On a short visit with her parents from their home at Oldbury, near Birmingham, she had been playing hide and seek with her mother in the orchard adjoining Old House Farm, Chicheley, the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. W. Goodman, when her mother noticed a sore on one of the horses grazing in an adjoining field. Mrs. Baxter consequently went into the house to tell her mother, and although she returned only three minutes later the child had gone. After a frantic search Mrs. Baxter found her 20 yards away, where, having crawled through a rail fence into the field, she lay unconscious from a kick from a horse near the left temple. Dr. C. Bailey from Newport Pagnell was immediately summoned, but the girl died at about 1p.m. on Tuesday morning. The inquest was held at Old House Farm on the following afternoon.
In December 1917 the village schoolchildren donated their sweet money to buy eggs for the National Egg Collection. By the middle of the month Mrs. Brandon, the headmistress, had sufficient to buy 70, and she had also started a sewing class among the pupils, with the articles being sold to raise additional funds for the cause.
In the last week of July 1918 Captain Christopher Martin Durrant was killed in action in German East Africa, aged 33. He was the son in law of the Reverend U.J. and Mrs. Easson, of Chicheley Vicarage, where his widow was resident. Formerly serving in the Royal Marine Artillery, for some while he had been in German East Africa, having command of a Stokes’ howitzer battery attached to the Rhodesia Native Regiment. (Nyasaland Field Force.) This was operating with the 2nd Cape Corps, under General Northey, and whilst in action with the battery he was instantly killed when a premature explosion occurred in one of the howitzers.
(In a full choral service, it had been at St. Lawrence Church, Chicheley, that on the afternoon of Thursday, May 4th 1911 Margaret Ellen Utten Easson married Lieutenant Christopher Martin Durrant, of the Royal Marine Artillery, the son of the Reverend Charles Aubrey and Mrs. Durrant of Wetherby Vicarage, Yorkshire. Sent by Captain and Mrs. Farrar, the flowers and hot house plants decorating the chancel had been arranged by Mr. R Tompkins, and his fellow workers at the gardens of Chicheley Hall, and an additional colourful aspect were the full uniforms of the groom’s brother officers. With the bride’s sisters, Una and Katherine, in attendance, the ceremony took place in perfect weather, and many people had come to watch. Then after the service, under the instruction of Mrs. Garrett the twenty children who lined the approach strewed daisies at the feet of the couple as they left the church. As for the wedding of Miss Katherine M. Utten Easson, the youngest daughter of the Reverend U.J. Easson, she would marry Major Douglas Granville Sharp at All Saints, Margaret Street, London on Tuesday, July 20th 1920. Her sister, Una, would be one of the bridesmaids, and she was given away by her eldest brother, Alastair. Yet there would be tragedy in June 1943, when the couple’s eldest son, 21 year old Lieutenant Ian Granville Sharp, of the Royal Marines, was killed in action. At Chicheley Church, at Evensong on Sunday, October 5th 1952 a tablet would be unveiled to his memory.)
Having joined the Forces on November 13th 1916, Private Ernest Thomas Needle, aged 23, of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, was officially reported as having been killed in France on September 2nd 1918. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Needle, and had been formerly employed as horse keeper to Mrs. Waite, of Hardmead. At the end of 1917 he suffered severe wounds at Ypres in the neck and head, and subsequently spent 15 weeks in Dearnley Hospital, Manchester, before returning to France on June 3rd 1918. A staunch churchman, he had been a member of the choir, the Chicheley bellringers, and the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers.
On Peace Day, Saturday, July 19th 1919, the village was decorated with arches of flags stretched across the road at each end of the village. Coloured bunting adorned the approaches to the houses, whilst of the other decorations a particular feature was ‘Hurrah, hurrah for England,’ erected in a conspicuous position. The day began with a peal of church bells, which were also rung at later intervals, and the festivities proper were held in the grounds of Chicheley Hall. During the afternoon sports took place, and in the popular tug of war event after a rare tussle the team captained by Jim Clarke, who had won the D.C.M. in France, and was badly wounded serving with the 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, gained a good victory by two pulls to one. As for the cricket match, the married men proved triumphant over the single men. With the catering by Mr. and Mrs. A. Joyce, of the Chester Arms, a tea of ample bread and butter was enjoyed by 52 children, whilst as for the120 demobilised men and the other adults, they were served a splendid supper of roast beef, mutton, etc. Thanking them for their courage, Lady Farrar proposed the health of the returned ‘boys,’ to which Sergeant F. Wormald, R.A.S.C. (M.T.)0 gave a suitable reply. Then on the initiative of Mr. T. Jones, of Thickthorn Farm, a hearty vote of thanks was given to Lady Farrar, for having allowed the use of her grounds. A concert was staged in the evening, and at 11.30p.m. a procession marched to the village centre, where, as the clock struck midnight, the gathering sang the National Anthem.
On Friday afternoon, October 22nd 1920, the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of St. Albans dedicated a marble tablet and a wayside cross, to the memory of the 8 men from the village who were killed in the war. All village business had been suspended for the afternoon, and in consequence a large congregation assembled in the church for the service. Before the unveiling and dedication of the tablet, situated beneath a chancel window, a muffled peal on the church bells was rung, followed by several voluntaries played by the organist, Mr. W. Wooding. The Reverend U. J. Easson then conducted a short, choral service, after which the covering Union Jack was removed, for the dedication to be performed by the Bishop. During the following service, 20 ex soldiers from the village left the church, and outside the south door formed a guard of honour for the Bishop, clergy and congregation as they made their way to the wayside cross. Here the ex soldiers had formed up in line around the memorial, and, with the unveiling performed by Lady Farrar, the Bishop pronounced the dedication “to the greater glory of God in memory of our brothers who gave their lives in our behalf.” He then pronounced each name on the memorial, after each the congregation responded “God bless him.” During his address the Bishop said that he had been an old friend of Sir George Farrar, and paid tribute to his patriotism and qualities. Afterwards came the singing of the hymn ‘When I survey the wondrous cross,’ and, preceded by the Bishop’s pronouncing of the Blessing, a bugler of the Bedfordshire Regiment sounded the Last Post. Amongst the wreaths was a handsome example from Lady Farrar and her daughters, and amongst those present were Colonel Trevor and his wife and daughter, from Lathbury Park.
SIR GEORGE FARRAR, HIS FAMILY, & CHICHELEY HALL
Born on June 17th 1859, George Farrar was one of the four sons of the late Dr. Charles Farrar. Charles had been in medical practice at Chatteris, North Witchford, Cambridgeshire, and his wife Helen (who died at Bedford, aged 82) was the daughter of John Howard, of Cauldwell House, Bedford. John was the founder of the Britannia Ironworks, and after an education at Bedford Modern School, in 1878 George travelled to South Africa with his brother, Sidney, to represent their uncle, Sir F. Howard, in the sale of agricultural machinery. However, since he arrived with only £30 in cash, for he and his brother an irresistible lure was the opening of the goldfields at Barberton, from where in 1886 they passed on to Johannesburg, where George began to acquire land on the unexplored eastern portion of the Rand. Despite only the discovery of coal, George was convinced that the area held gold deposits, and within a few years he and Sidney, who had carried on his profession as a successful qualified civil and mining engineer, became the heads of the East Rand Proprietary Company. Then in Johannesburg, on June 3rd 1893, with his financial fortunes well established George married Ella Mabel Waylen, the daughter of the late Dr. Charles Waylen, of the Indian Medical Service. Through George’s perseverance the Angelo was the first mine to be brought to a productive stage and yield good results, and this was just as well since for his part in the Jameson Raid, he was only saved from the penalty of hanging by a fine of £25,000, paid in the form of a cheque by his brother Sidney. However, the Jameson Raid did much to precipitate the second Boer War, at the outbreak of which George and his third brother, Percy, volunteered for the forces of the Crown. Joining the Kaffrarian Rifles, George saw a great deal of active service, and as well as being mentioned in despatches would be awarded the D.S.O. Then in 1902 he was knighted, and after the conflict, under the new Constitution he became leader of the opposition in the first Transvaal Parliament. For his role in the creation of the Union of South Africa, in 1911 George was created Baronet Farrar, whilst in other activities at a farm that he owned outside Johannesburg he would breed many prize winning cattle. At the outbreak of the First World War, Sir George Farrar was on holiday in America but he took the first boat back to England and offered his services. His residence was Chicheley Hall, which, as his accommodation when in England, he had rented since at least 1899, and although he was due to join General Sir Hubert Hamilton’s staff in Belgium, on the day before his intended departure he was instead ordered by the authorities to South Africa, where, with the rank of Colonel, he was appointed upon his arrival to General McKenzie’s force. Being despatched to German South West Africa (in advance of the main force) he proceeded as Assistant Quartermaster General to Luderitz Bay, and there became engaged in organising the base camp. Apart from maintaining the water supply for the troops, his role mainly involved him in rebuilding the railway, which had been destroyed by the Germans, and for safety whilst travelling on the tracks he usually journeyed in an armoured car, or on a trolley. Meanwhile, at Chicheley, Lady Farrar was also helping in the war effort, and on Monday September 7th 1914 she conveyed eight local young men in her car to the military depot at Northampton, where they intended to join Kitchener’s Army. Of these, Arthur Wright, Harry Boxall, Frank Clarke, Fred Heard, Bob Seamarks, and George Hopkins all passed the medical, but Edward Griffin and a lad named Fountaine, were rejected. Lady Farrar’s daughters were also doing their bit, and during the interval of a well attended children’s patriotic concert, held in the village schoolroom on Friday, October 30th 1914, Miss Muriel Farrar clearly explained the formation of a local fund to assist the Belgians’ Colony, which was about to be formed in Olney. The £2 raised by the event was then forwarded to Lady Farrar. By now Sir George was gaining increasing renown for his work, and in November 1914 the Johannesburg correspondent of ‘The African World’ wrote; “From influential sources I learn that Sir George Farrar has been doing highly creditable service at Cape Town and Ludereritzbucht. On arrival at Cape Town the transport arrangements called for particular and competent attention. Men were put onto one boat and then marched to another, and disorganisation generally was rife. This condition of affairs was the result of General Beyers’ refusal to support the campaign in German West-Africa. The Government was told that the one man to put things right was that born organiser, Sir George Farrar, and wisely it was decided to place him in charge. Some people did not quite like what was deemed an interference with their work, but were firmly told that it would be much the best for them to obey instructions. The appointment has been entirely justified.” At Chicheley, as equally conscientious were his wife and daughters, who were toiling tirelessly to assist and help organise the many relief agencies which had now arisen in North Bucks. In fact at Chicheley Hall, Lady Farrar entertained the famous contralto, Miss Ada Crossley, who appeared at two concerts in aid of the Serbian Distress Fund. These raised £110, and one of the performers would be Lady Farrar’s 16 year old daughter Gwen, an accomplished cellist. In the last week of March 1915, Miss Muriel Farrar travelled to France to begin work in connection with the Soldiers’ Rest Homes, and the realities of the war were starkly brought home in May, when news arrived that her 27 year old cousin, Captain John ‘Joey’ Farrar, of the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, had been killed in action on Sunday morning, May 9th 1915, during the British attack on Aubers Ridge. Captain Farrar was the only son of Mrs. and Captain Farrar, D.S.O., of Milton Ernest House, Beds., and he had been previously mentioned in despatches by Sir John French. Then just over a week later came more tragic news, with a report that during his military work in German South West Africa, Sir George Farrar had died on Thursday, May 20th 1915, from injuries sustained when his motor trolley collided at Kuibis with a construction train. Travelling from Chicheley, Lady Farrar happened to be in London on that Thursday morning, and when told the news by the country’s High Commissioner she immediately left for South Africa. After the tragic accident, the body of Sir George had been taken to Luderitz Bay, and there it was embalmed prior to removal to Johannesburg, for burial on a kopje at Bedford Farm, a beautiful country house that Sir George and Ella had created in the Transvaal. Attended by Lady Farrar, the funeral service was held in South Africa on Wednesday evening, June 6th 1915, and simultaneously a memorial service took place in Chicheley Church. This was attended by almost all the villagers as well as many army officers, and in his presiding address the Reverend G.F. Sams said; “It is men of this type to whom we must look to bring us victoriously through the gigantic struggle in which we are now engaged, and the sad, bitter thought comes home to us that these are the very men who are now being cut off in their thousands, while the laggards and the degenerates are left behind to cumber the ground and to transmit their worthless characteristics to future generations.” Leaving unsettled property in Britain to the gross value of £80,557 (net £78,724), Sir George in his will had stated that he was domiciled in the Transvaal, and probate of his will, with regard to his English property, was granted to his brother Captain Percy Farrar, D.S.O. of Milton Ernest House, Bedford. Another brother, Charles Frederick Farrar, was left £2,000, to be increased to £5,000 should the total value of the estate exceed £500,000, and to his nephew, John Harold Farrar, he also left £2,000. As for his mother, Mrs. Helen Farrar, of Bedford, she would receive an annuity of £500, whilst to his widow he left all his household and personal effects, plus - subject to certain provisions - one third of the income of his residuary estate for life, with the direction that her income should not be less than £5,000 per annum. The ultimate residue of his property he left in equal shares to his children, directing that the share of each son should be double that for each daughter, and that the share of each daughter, and one half of that of each son, should be retained upon trust. However, in the event he had six daughters but no son, and so the title became extinct at his death. On Wednesday, March 15th 1916 the first of the Chicheley women land workers, Mrs. Warren and Miss Hopkins, began work in the gardens at Chicheley Hall, and also helping to maintain the nation’s food supply were Lady Farrar and Mrs. Wellesley Taylor, of Sherington Manor, who were the representatives of the Bucks War Women’s Committee for the district. This was tasked with giving information to those farmers who required female labour, and by the invitation of Lady Farrar, on Thursday afternoon, March 23rd 1916, from the Newport Pagnell district many agriculturalists and their wives attended a meeting at Chicheley Hall, the object of which was to discuss the labour problems with regard to the land. No doubt being held in the drawing room, which was the usual venue for such occasions, Mr. Nugent Harris, the secretary of the Agricultural Organisation Society (a body recognised by the Government) explained the advantages of agricultural co-operation, and Lady Farrar said that although many farmers did not like the idea of co-operation, for smallholders it was essential, and with many men away at the war - as soon would also be those now in civil employment - farmers would need women working on the land. She knew that farmers laughed at the thought, but “We are going to show you that we are useful on the land, if you will only let us help you.” (In 1940 the chairman of the Bucks Agricultural Committee would tell the members that the land girls were “as good as gold.” “One of the best girls I had in the last war was a Cockney from Bow Bells, and she tackled every job on the farm. She would not have left me, only the fool got married.”) Regarding the commercial and agricultural life of England and the Colonies, Mr. Nugent Harris then paid tribute to the work of Sir George Farrar, and continued that the Agricultural Organisation Society, of which he was secretary, had been trying for 14 years to get farmers to realise that they must pull together, and during that time 600 organisations had been established. The pros and cons of employing women were then discussed, and afterwards the assembly was entertained to tea by Lady Farrar. During the course of the war she would be prominently engaged in organising the Women’s Land Army in North Bucks, and, being greatly interested in agricultural matters, in July 1916 she and her daughters attended the Bedford Show. Also Lady Farrar had done much to promote the relief of the Belgian refugees in the district, and on the afternoon of Saturday, July 8th 1916 she opened a gala day and military sports at Wolverton, held in the Park Recreation Ground, to raise funds for the cause. In the introduction it was said that Lady Farrar “had shown her great philanthropy on every occasion and had never failed when called upon to give her grateful assistance and her generous quota to that worthy fund.” In reply Lady Farrar said that she thought “the sun was coming out and they were going to enjoy themselves. They were also going to help to contribute to the comfort of those homeless people who had been forced to come to this country.” To much applause she then declared the gala day open. From employment at the stables at Chicheley Hall, at the outbreak of the war Reginald Brown had been one of the first volunteers to join up from the village, but now news arrived that after 17months at the Front, and having been involved in much hard fighting, serving with the Beds. Regiment he had been killed in action in France on July 31st 1916. The fourth son of the late Charles Brown, of Chicheley, he was only a few days short of his 26th birthday, and the last letter to his mother had been written on the eve of his death. At Chicheley he had been a member of the church choir and a bell ringer. In January 1917, it was announced that at the recent exams of the London Royal Academy of Music, Miss Gwendoline Farrar had passed with honours in violoncello playing, and was now entitled to use the letters L.R.A.M. after her name. Indeed, she was billed as such when performing at two concerts at the Electric Theatre, Newport Pagnell, which included Gervase Elwes, a world renowned tenor. As a position which offered ‘good wages,’ in June 1917 a strong, tall lad was required as a pantry boy at Chicheley Hall, where in the grounds in fine summer weather a grand fete and bazaar was opened by Lady Farrar on Thursday, September 6th 1917. The proceeds were for the North Bucks War Hospital Supply Depot at Newport Pagnell, of which Lady Farrar was the President, and apart from the attractions of the fete the mansion was open to visitors. From the terrace, throughout the afternoon the band of the Royal Engineers (Fenny Stratford) played a high class programme of music, and in one corner of the grounds Mr. Hardrup, ‘a clever artist,’ who had been engaged by Mrs. Vaughan Harley, of Walton Hall, silhouetted the patrons of the fete. The boy members of the Royal Engineers at the Newport Pagnell Signal Depot gave a display of acrobatics, and two high class dramatic entertainments were arranged by Corporal Uttridge, a versatile performer who, as an elocutionist of the highest rank, had made his mark in the dramatic arts long before joining up, having held a leading position in the famous Oscar Asche Company. In other entertainments, songs were given by his regimental colleagues, whilst as for Corporal G. Keay, he had other talents, giving exhibitions of sword and Indian club swinging. In fact these were perhaps useful skills, since in August 1915 it had been announced that, with recruit drills being held at the police station every Tuesday evening, Newport Pagnell special constables were to be instructed in the use of the cutlass and sword. Many being guests of the Committee, wounded soldiers from the V.A.D. Hospital at Newport Pagnell sold programmes, as well as providing other assistance, and the Boy Scouts also afforded excellent help. The stalls were located on the lawn in front of the mansion, and under the supervision of Lady Farrar a staff of lady helpers, clad in white frocks and blue check caps and aprons, representative of the South African colours of Lady Farrar, dispensed refreshments. Miss Farrar catered for rides on her Shetland pony, and in the afternoon a tennis tournament took place. September 1917 was also the month that two bulls from the herd maintained by Lady Farrar were sold for £750 and £650, with a heifer calf realising £150. Before the war, Sir George had accompanied General Botha to Holland, as part of a commission to purchase a quantity of the famous Freisland herd for the South African Government, and he acquired a number of those that were not accepted by the Government’s representative. These he then bred at his Bedford Farm at Johannesburg, and following his death Lady Farrar continued with the herd, and, despite some 60 being sold in 1916 at auction for more than £7,000, gained marked success in the breeding of the Freislands. On Thursday, November 1st 1917 at St. Luke’s Church, Chelsea, Miss Helen Farrar, the eldest daughter of Lady Farrar, married the Australian born Major Basil Hobson Turner, R.F.C., the 32 year old son of the late Walter Henry Turner, formerly of Coomrith, Queensland. Captain Johnson, R.F.C., was the best man, and owing to mourning in both families the ceremony was of a quiet nature, with the bride being given away by her uncle, Captain Percy Farrar, D.S.O. The bridesmaids were the bride’s sister, Miss Muriel Farrar, and the Hon. Kitty Lawrence, cousin of the bridegroom. For her wedding day the bride wore ivory velvet, trimmed with bands of silver embroidery and outlined with white fur, and, with a wreath of orange blossom holding her veil in place, her court train, of blush pink satin, was hung from the shoulders on pink chiffon, outlined with silver. In the evening, at Chicheley the occasion was marked by the ringing of the church bells. (Born on October 2nd 1894, Helen died in 1983 at White River, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa, her husband having predeceased her in 1947, also in South Africa). On Thursday, December 27th 1917, thirty seven patients from the Tyringham V.A.D. Hospital were entertained to tea at Chicheley Hall by Lady Farrar, and afterwards games and other amusements took place. Then on Bank Holiday 1918, despite the dull and showery weather the annual fete at Chicheley Hall was held in aid of funds for the North Bucks War Hospital Supply Depot. The grounds had been placed at the disposal of the organisers by Lady Farrar, President of the Depot, and although the fete was open to the public at 2p.m., the opening ceremony took place at 3p.m., with Lady Farrar supported by Miss Wood and Miss McFarren, of Tyringham (who were the managers of the Depot), Lady Winifrede Elwes, Lady Tweedmouth, Mrs. Younghusband, Mrs. Knapp (chairman of the Depot Committee), and Mrs. Purvis. After a few appropriate opening remarks by Lady Farrar, Lady Elwes said that it was with the greatest pleasure that she had come to open the fete that day, and speaking of the worthy cause for which they were fighting, and the bravery of those in the Forces, she gave the reasons why Britain had entered the war, and quoted a poem by Rupert Brooke. On behalf of the Depot, Mrs. Knapp then thanked her for coming to open the event, of which a popular feature, organised by the Misses E. & I. Allfrey, was a tennis tournament. Having begun in the morning, this would raise a profit of £9 10s, and it was thanks to the invaluable assistance of Lieutenant Carr, and several officers from the Royal Engineers Wireless Depot at Newport Pagnell, that the six courts had been marked out. Raising £3 12s, during the day the storing of cycles and other conveyances was in the charge of Mr. J. Clarke and his assistants -Messrs. F. Hopkins, E. Brown, F. Caustin, and V. Clarke - and in other activities two excellent concerts were given, with that in the evening performed by the “Merry Magnets” Party from Newport Pagnell. Visitors wishing to see the mansion were shown around by Lady Tweedmouth, Miss Wood, Miss McFerran, Mrs. Wellesley Taylor and Mr. Birkenruth, and this raised £15 1s 6d. A provision stall was in the charge of Mrs. George Tayler, amongst others, a six month old pig sent by Mrs. Boswell, of Crawley Grange, realised £14 10s, whilst a cake competition, organised by Miss Holt, brought in £1 9s. In fact Miss Holt was also amongst those who had arranged a stall for the sale of handkerchiefs and lavender, which raised £20 19s 1d. Supervised with others by Lady Farrar, teas were served in a marquee, further contributing £24 12s 8d to the funds, to which the Misses Kathleen and Margaret Salmons added by selling buttonholes. Other attractions included hoop la, in the charge of the Misses D. Odell and E. West, and a fish pond, and clock golf. As for Lady Farrar’s French governess, she worked extremely hard giving children rides on a Shetland pony. ‘A’ Company of the Fenny Stratford Signal Depot of the Royal Engineers performed a gymnastic display, and during the afternoon the Newport Pagnell Excelsior Silver Band played various selections, as also the music for dancing in the evening, when an extra treat was the presence of the Royal Engineers Band (Chatham), who had been motored over from Fenny Stratford. Considerable help in erecting the concert stage, stalls etc. had been given by the men of the Royal Engineers Depot, Newport Pagnell, of which Captain Mowatt was the commanding officer, and there was considerable interest when he read the Prime Minister’s message to the nation, which concluded to much applause. The day finally closed with Mr. F.W. Coales proposing a vote of thanks to Lady Farrar, and, including the £50 from the gate receipts, nearly £220 was raised. Tragically, just a day after the signing of the Armistice Private Vesey Douglas Clarke, of the Royal Berks Regiment, died of wounds in No. 1 South African General Hospital, France. He was the third son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Vesey Clarke, of Chicheley Hall, and was aged 19. After the First World War, Lady Farrar and her daughters continued to live at Chicheley Hall, and with her continuing interest in horse racing, on Monday November 10th 1919 at the Leicester race meeting Lady Farrar’s ‘King Alfred’ would win the Milton Plate, from a field of six runners.