Monday, 18 August 2014

First Troops Arrive in Crawley Amidst Anti War Protest

On Sunday afternoon Mr W. Kensett, so well known at Horsham for his peculiarities, attempted to address a gathering in the Middle Square on the subject of ‘Peace.’ He had himself advertise the meeting some days before, and at the appointed time Mr Kensett appeared and, mounted upon a box, commenced his speech. A numerous gathering had assembled and frequently interrupted Mr Kensett’s remarks, which were soon brought to an abrupt conclusion by some ladies present singing the National Anthem. For his own safety Mr Kensett was escorted to the Temperance Hotel, where he remained until the crowd had cleared away. The whole proceedings were of an unseemly character, especially on the Sabbath, and it was fortunate that those present did not show more resentment.

Meanwhile the first troops had arrived in Crawley. The papers report that:

Mounted troops to the number of nearly two thousand arrived at Crawley on Wednesday and were billeted in the town for two nights. The local licensed houses, the public schools, the YMCA, stables and other buildings were requisitioned for the men, and the horses were located in various fields and meadows in the vicinity.

The arrival of so many troops and horses occasioned much pleasurable excitement, and in the evenings of both days great crowds were about the streets. The Crawley Town Band kindly and thoughtfully turned out and rendered excellent music, and the enthusiasm of the large concourse of people were such as has never been equalled in this district.

The West Crawley Brass Band also came out on Thursday night and added much to the enlivenment of the town. The soldiers left the town with happy memories of their stay at Crawley. Full details of the troops’ movements are withheld in deference to the expressed wishes of the authorities.

This very first arrival of soldiers in the town was a precursor to the building of a ‘permanent’ soldier’s camp at Pease Pottage. Crawley, so often in the past a half way house between London and the Coast, was assuming the same role in war time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment