[Charles's brother had recently been convicted of handling stolen goods, but it appears his innocent family also suffered at the hands of some of the locals. The nominal fine in this case suggests the Magistrates thought Mr English was more sinned against than sinner.]
Arrangements are being made for tehis shoot to take place simultaneously on farms within the above district, and the Agricultural Committee invite the cooperation of persons having guns, and prepared to take part in making the combined effort a success. It is well known that the destruction caused by Woodpigeons amongst corn crops results in a very considerable dimiinution in the yield, and in the present situation of the country's food supply a great effort is needed to reduce this destruction to a minimum. Persons in a position to join this shoot should at once communicate with local farmers. The Agricultural Committee also desire to strongly urge the formation and working of rat and sparrow clubs in the different parishes in the area." Another advert says they are prepared to suspend by-laws against keeping pigs too close to houses.
Alderman Lawrence Mitchell asked why the case of the Black Lion, Hartley had not been mentioned.
Mr George Clinch replied that there had been no conviction at the time the licence was transferred. It seemed that certain stores had found their way from Gravesend to this place, and the former tenant was convicted and sentenced."
Messrs Prall and Prall (Mr H Alexander Prall FSI) will sell by auction upon the premises as above, on Wednesday April 25th, 1917 at 2 o'clock precisely, the household furniture and effects.
Comprising brass and iron bedsteads, bedding, bedroom furniture, carpets, rugs, linoleums, fenders, fireirons, lamps, couch and easy chairs in saddlebags, velvet and leather, walnut and other sideboards, tables and chairs, mahogany bookcase, two oak rolltop desks, kitchen tables and utensils, china and glass, quantity of silver plate, 4 wheeled phaeton, 2 sets cob harness, 2 saddles, ladders, lawn mower, garden and carpenter's tools and miscellaneous effects....
The premises are for sale or to let...."
[The BWL appears to be a short lived far right anti-pacifist party]
As a local ratepayer who thinks he gets little enough for his sufficiently high half-yearly contribution to the local rates. I am glad to see the roads kept decently, but as a common citizen who finds that 2 ounces of bread do not to very far at tea time, I cannot stand to see waste of time, energy and money that might and should be turned to food production. Yours faithfully, J W Lawson, Clevis, Longfield July 4th, 1917".
There was also a summons against the managing director of Messrs Martineau, sugar refiners of Mile End E for selling the sugar.
PS Binfield said on June 16th he went to Longfield Court, and saw 1 cwt of white crystal sugar, which Mr Hickmott said Messrs Martineau had obliged him with for preserving. Messrs Martineau were his tenants, adn he supposed the cost would be deducted from the rent. He had 7 acres of fruit, and would require the sugar to make it into jam. On June 18th, Mr Eastick, the other defendant, told him that as Mr Hickmott was the owner of their business premises, they felt they were morally bound to supply the sugar. The Sugar Commission's solicitors examined the books quarterly. The price would be 47s per cwt and carriage extra.
The defence was that the sugar was required solely for jam.
Mr Hickmott was fined £20 and Mr Eastick £25."
Had we prepared a more elaborat plan of transport / road making etc, the Dardenelles and the Mesopotamia etc campaigns would not have turned out as they did.
Have ot these muddles, shown us the value of being prepared? Why hasn't the government stopped road repairing? Because it sees what a great part our roads will play when Germany, realising that she is 'done' will vent her spite on England, and Kent will very probably bear the brunt of the attack. Then it will be seen that every inch of good road will be of the utmost importance in aiding us to check them.
And my I add that the 10 men mentioned as employed on the Longfield roads are, I believe, all over military age. Three of them have been employed at road work for upwards of 30 years, one has three, one two and two have their only sons serving their King and country. Yours Truly - A son of one of them."
The scene was the Tingey Ward of the Gravesend Hospital; time Tuesday evening. The function was sweet in its simplicity. A little knot of people gathered round No 9 cot. Save for the gilt chain of the Mayor, the whitel surplice of Canon Gedge, and the blue and white uniforms of the military invalids who stood hard by, there was little to give the ceremony colour. Yet behind it all was the golden thought and generosity of the people of the district for their brave warriors. By pulling a tri-coloured tape, the Mayor removed teh folds of the Union Jack beside the cot, and this revealed simply the words 'Heroes' Bed' pickout out in red letters on a white background. If there is glitter in the words, there was none in the lettering.
Behind this little function a tale can be told. When the war began - alas! How long ago those days seem - it was the thought of Mr H D Stephenson JP, Chairman of the Hospital Committee, that it would be appropriate to endow a bed in honour and memory of those who volunteered in Gravesend and district to serve their king and country. An appeal was made and from the 310 subscribers a total of £526 10s was received. The advent of conscription detracted in a degree from the original conception, but nevertheless it is the committee's intention to preserve the bed for the volunteer warriors for preference, though of course, it will be used for others when necessity arises. The £526 has been invested in war bonds, and this sum will assist the funds of the hospital to the amount of £27 per annum......" [List of those attending, Mayor's speech]
New moon a subject of conversation. A year ago we blessed the coming of a new moon, now we curse it. Funny how human nature veers round. Everyone prophesing a week of horror during coming week. Makes one wish one was in Timbuctoo or some other place of safety. Sister-in-law, who is a brave soul, chides me for being afraid. She only has a husband and he doesn't count. I have a wife and a family. She has a cellar; I have none. Her husband, under her influence, keeps telling me to "buck up" (I know all the while he is trembling at the knees). Sister-in-law very comforting, she evidently believes in doctrine of predestination. "If you've got to be killed, you will be killed" she says decisively. Her husband changes the subject and talks about luck. Fine subject that. I have always been unlucky, so shan't wonder if I keep up my record during the week. To bed early. Whle undressing draw aside blinds and peer down the road every two minutes to see if the lights are in. Don't want fag of bustling into clothes again as soon I've got them off. Nasty way of gettin gthem on wrong way. Very tired. Soon dropped asleep. Dreamt of babies - most unlucky. Wonder what will happen?
Monday (24th Sept)
Beautiful day; fine prelude to a fine night. Luck on the side of the Huns. "We're in for it this week" is the speculation of the earliest friend I meet. He means of course, the universal topic. "Moon all in their favour" he adds, and I'm not in the least on the point. Go about my work, trying not to think of what may be in store. Comforting reflection - I have made my will. Precious little to leave. Government takes everything. Look up Old Moore to see what time moon rises - note 2.28. It will be well up in the heavens about 8 o'clock. Shan't worry. Decide to go to the Palace Theatre to see "The Rosary". Rather rash, but one must be bold sometimes. All serene at 6.30; go to the Palace. Enjoy the performance and forget all bout air raid, Huns, etc., listening to the wisdom of Father Brian Kelly. Performance over about 9. Emerging into the street find all lamps out. Raid week has begun. Not a word has been said to the audience or even a whisper went round taht an air raid was on. Very good of the management. Hurry home. On the way home hear the guns booming. Met friend who had been to teh Cinema. Thee, he tell me, notice was displayed that all lights had gone out, and later on that guns had started. He decided that was no place for him, so quickly left and padded the hoof for home. We do ditto together. Arrived home to the humming of aeroplanes. Everybody in their burrows like rabbits. Sociable people. We seek ours. Turn off gas as precaution and open doors; take up stand in middle of hall, close to party wall and wait results. Fine view through open doors of Verey Lights, a real Brock's benefit. Guns are ripping it pretty well. Curious sinking feeling at pit of chest. Knees not very stable, and my voice shakes when speaking. However, for sake of wife and family must be brave. Encourage them with jokes at Hun's expense. No retribution from them at present. What's whistling noise - the shrapnel or the shells make. Wonder if it is anything like this at the front. Glad I'm not there, and taht age is the bar. Not much better living here. Wonder how my sister in law is faring, and what her subservient husband is doing. Exultantly express pious hope he is supporting her in a dead faint. There's a big explosion; must be a bomb dropped. Second thought - doubt whether it was. Probably only a gun speaking above a whisper. Guns getting fainter. Drone of aeroplanes cease. Probably they have gone. Disquieting reflection - will they return. Venture to the front door. Verey lights long distance away, gone very faint. Ah, London must be catching it. Sorry for London. Congratulate my locality - which has passed unscathed. Mustn't crow too loudly. Must adopt Asquithian pose, and wait and see. Walk boldly into the open. Discuss raids and war with neighbours. Don't think peace is anywhere near. Touch on note of the drone of aeroplanes. Wonder if our experts know the difference between note of our engines and those of Taubes, Albatrosses and Gothas. Suggest they may have sort of microphone to ascertain distance of craft, as they do in connexion with submarines. Discuss the point, left as you were. All quiet. Wonder whether lights will soon go on. Very tired. Strain is rather exhausting. Will have supper and go to bed and chance it. Have supper, ascend to dormitory. Ah! What a relief. Lights are on. Go to bed and soon in the arms of Morpheus. Dream tonight about a wedding in which I [....] to as best man in curious church. Bride queerly dressed with a brown motor cap instead of bridal wreath and veil. Ridiculous. This probably effect of raid. Shall be glad when we have done with such things.
Tuesday (25th Sept)
Eagerly get paper as soon as it arrives and read it in bed. Ah, here is the official communique. Will get it on record. "Hostile aeroplanes attached the south-east coast of England this evening. The raiders came in at different places in Kent and Essex, and a few of them follwed the River Thames and attacked London. Bombs were dropped at several points, and so far the casualties reported ammount to six killed and about 20 injured." Followed the River Thames. No wonder we heard them so plainly Of course they will come again. Shan't worry. Feel that I'm getteing used to this sort of thing. Reflection - wouldn't it make the Huns mad if they only knew how quickly fear of the frightfulness vanishes. Ought to go to a meeting tonight, but decide that raid shall settle whether I go or not. After tea work in the garden for an hour...........
[Refers to 23 - 30 September 1917]
Before enlistment Corporal Haygreen was employed by Mr Humphries of Hartley, and was a scholar at Hartley Schools.
Mr and Mrs Haygreen have two other sons serving.
[Sadly, before the war was out Mr and Mrs Haygreen was to lose another son, Ernest, both are commemorated at Fawkham.]
For extreme gallantry during fighting on October 1st, Corpl E H Beer of a Heavy Battery, RGA, was granted the immediate reward of the Military Medal. It is regretted that the brave corporal has not lived to enjoy this official recognition of his courageous conduct, for during the engagement in which he played so distinguished a part he received wounds to which he succumbed on October 3rd. that Corporal Beer's untimely death is deplored by his comreades in France, is illustrated by a letter which his young widow, Mrs Beer, of Station Road, Longfield, has received from the Officer Commanding her husband's battery, who writes, 'I very much regret to have to inform you that your husband Corpl Beer died of wounds which he received in action here on October 1st, on which occasion he behaved with the greatest gallantry and was recommended by me for the Military Medal, which was awarded to him the day before we heard of his death. It came as a great shock to us, as when he was carried away from here, we had no idea he was badly wounded. I enclose the notification of his award of the MM and also the report which I made about him at the time. As regards his not being carried away at once, this was quite impossible even if he had wished it, as the shelling all round was too heavy. I cannot tell you how sorry we all are about it. He had been in our battery for a year and was a very brave and hard working NCO, and his splendid behaviour on this occasion had made us all hope that he would get all right to wear his medal in the battery. He will not be forgotten by the officers and men of this battery which he served so well.'
The report referred to indicates that Corpl Beer was rewarded 'for conspicuous behaviour and devotion to duty at _____. when the SOS went up on the morning of October 1st 1917 his gun was under rapid and accurate fire by medium guns. He immediately ran to his gun and got it into actino, being then knocked down and badly wounded by one of the many shells bursting round in rapid succesion. He set a very fine example to his detachment, refusing to be carried away until the men had finished their firing'.
The Corporal was in his 23rd year. (Photo in article)
[Traditionally an acre is the amount of land that could be ploughed by a horse team in one day, so mechinisation achieved 7 times this]