Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas at Crawley 1914 - Part One

Christmas at Crawley in December 1914 was a Christmas like no other. The newspaper columns were full of war news both at home and from the Front.


DEATH AT THE FRONT – It is with much regret that we announce the deaths at the Front of two Crawley men in the persons of Corpl. Edgar Gorringe who lived in Ifield Road, and Prvt. Edward Gregory Sangster, whose parents, formerly of Crawley now live at Povey Cross. Both belonged to the Royal Sussex Regiment, and were killed in action, the former being thirty years of age and the latter nineteen. The sympathy of many friends will be extended to the bereaved relatives, who are widely known and greatly respected in this district. Corpl. Gorringe was killed on October 31st and Prvt. Sangster fell on the 6th of November but the news was not officially communicated to the parents until this week. Fortunately both were single men.


PRVT. W. WRIGHT, of the County London Rifles, son of Mrs Wright, of Victoria Road, Crawley, has been wounded at the Front, though happily not dangerously. – Prvt. Hibberd, who returned to Crawley wounded a short time since, is mending splendidly; but Prvt. Allen, of Ifield, is, we regret to hear, in a serious condition.


Meanwhile in Crawley itself there was a - DANCE AND SOCIAL held at the Railway Hotel last week that resulted in upwards of £5 being sent to the fund to form a Christmas present for the King of Belgium. There was also a RECRUITING MEETING held at the George Hotel Hall on Saturday December 12th, when an appeal was made for recruits for the Southdown Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, but there was an extremely disappointing response, only two young fellows giving in their names at the meeting, one of whom subsequently failed the medical examination. The Chairman of the meeting Mr Lehmann expressed its sorrow with the relatives of Corpl. Franks, Corpl. Gorringe, and Prvt. Sangster, who had laid down their lives in that sacred and noblest of all causes – the defence of their country; and he assured the relatives that they had the profound sympathy of the whole neighbourhood.


The German song of hate, from which the Chairman quoted, showed how this war had been carefully planned and eagerly awaited by our enemies. Germany’s one objective had been this country, and if she could she would inflict upon England the fate which had befallen Belgium. He therefore appealed again to the young men to join the Colours in defence of our country, impressing upon them the words of Nelson’s glorious message.

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