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Hardships of a first world war soldier in Fernhurst

Dave and Laura Parker in first world war uniforms

Dave and Laura Parker in first world war uniforms

THE Fernhurst Good Companions have many members who remember the second world war, but it was the Great War starting just 25 years earlier they were recalling at their last meeting.

Dave Parker and his daughter Laura displayed a selection of memorabilia from 1914-18 and Dave talked the members through many of the pieces.

The Parkers were wearing first world war uniforms which, unlike modern waterproof kit, were made of wool and became heavier the more it rained.

A greatcoat could increase from seven pounds to more than 45 when wet, and that had to be carried along with some 50 pounds of other equipment – not just a rifle, bayonet and bullets, but spare socks, eating equipment, basic rations, water, knife, pay book, dog tags, washing and shaving equipment,writing materials and books.

Much of the time, soldiers were marching over uneven ground blown up by shells and frequently in thick mud,

Even when the rota said it was their turn to be at ‘rest’, they would be in working parties to take food, fodder, water and ammunition up to the front lines.

After his talk, a quartet of singers, Penny Self, Judy Foster. Marjory Heaton and Jenny Short, accompanied by Ellen Oakland, led the members in singing first world war songs before a first world war tea 
was produced with food that would have been served at the time – several recipes being straight from Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook, including sherry trifle, seed cake and cheese scones.

The next meeting is on April 23 at 2.30pm when Jo Smith will talk about the Selborne Workhouse Riots.

For more information telephone 01428 653059.

 

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