July - an incredible month
July saw an incredible month with our four-day trip to France, where we travelled over 500 miles visiting 12 cemeteries and memorial sites including the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. On our return we held a successful evening talking about where we have got to with the project and sharing some of the upcoming events and project recognition that has been gained. We also announced that a trip out to France to lay the last of our crosses is in the process of being planned. The four days will be spent around the Somme visiting Thiepval Memorial, Arras, and Vimy.
Next February we are planning to transport our church hall 100 years back in time to the Reading and Recreational room that was given to the troops staying in Romsey. We have found, looking through the Churches Magazines from 1914 – 1918, that various events were held throughout the war bringing the community together with the troops. Many of these events took the form of a Variety Show where members of the congregation and troops would perform talents such as bird whistling, reciting poems and singing before playing games and indulging together in food.
Below is an extract taken from the February 1916 magazine with details of one of the many events held by the church:
Military Social Evening
A very successful social arranged by the Soldiers’ Recreation Committee was held in the Abbey Hall on Wednesday evening, Jan 19th. A large number of men from the Remount Camp attended and the commodious hall was comfortably filled. The minister of the Church, Rev. D. Lewys Thomas, presided. There was a short musical programme. The Committee was fortunate in securing the service of Miss Jenkins of Bournemouth who sang ‘There’s a Long, Long Trail’ and ‘Somewhere a Voice is Calling’. Mrs. Woods of Romsey sang ‘The Place the Old Horse Died’, a song which evidently appealed to the men. As an encore, Mrs. Woods sang ‘Genevieve’. Mrs. Woods also gave a humorous recitation. An item of the programme, which gave tremendous satisfaction, was a whistling solo by Pte. Cooper, in which he gave a marvellous imitation of some of the British singing birds. During the evening refreshments were served and a number of games, arranged by Messrs. Carden & Carter, were played, and were thoroughly enjoyed. The Hall was beautifully decorated, Messrs. Leach Bros. having loaned the flags, etc., and Messrs. Elcombe Bros., the plants. This was one of the most successful socials held in the Hall and, at the close, the men from the camp showed their appreciation of the efforts of the Soldiers’ Recreation Committee by giving them three hearty cheers.