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Creech At War

Somerset County Gazette 12th September 1914.

Recruiting Meeting at Creech St Michael – Four Fighting Sons

The Need of a Rifle Range 
At Creech St Michael a patriotic demonstration on Sunday was of a most enthusiastic character, and attracted a large and representative gathering. Under the auspices of the Taunton Recruiting Committee the meeting was organised, and everything passed off most successfully, the only regret being that the appeal for recruits was not answered so well as might have been expected. The meeting was held in the open air at the schools, in the playground of which the Creech Boy Scouts had rigged a lofty flagstaff for the occasion.

The speakers and supporters were accommodated on a platform, and the crowd stood in the roadway and beneath the shade of the trees of Curvalion House. The cadet band from St Andrew’s, Taunton, kindly rendered valuable assistance, being taken in a break to Ruishton and playing their drums and bugles to the village, which they paraded. They were followed by the drum and fife band of the St Andrew’s Boy Scouts. The Cadet Corps was preceded by their colours, and the rear was brought up by a detachment of the Creech St Michael Boy Scouts, under Scoutmaster Banes Condy. Captain Rawlins was in charge of the parade, the band being under the command of Lieut. Weaver. Other officers on parade were Lieut. Lee, Scoutmaster Porter, and Assistant Scoutmaster Hutchings. The stirring bugle marches were greatly enjoyed, and the drums and fifes reminded many of the older inhabitants of the days when this class of band was often heard.

The meeting commenced at 3.30, the chair being occupied by Mr R G Sommerville, and among those present were Colonel H Bethune Patton, C.B., hon, colonel of the 5th Battalion P.A.S.L.I, Colonel H A Walsh, C.B., Captain Cust, Mr A G Barrett, Mr H E Murray Anderdon, Mrs Rawlins (Bishop’s Hull), Rev. and the Misses Vaughan, Miss Slessor, Mrs and the Misses Sommerville, Mr A Imber (Taunton), Mr Geo. Gibbs (Taunton), Mrs Cust, Dr and Mrs Alcock, Captain and Mrs Jenny, Captain and Mrs Wildblood, Mr C R Edbrooke, Miss Clarke Preston, Misses Dunning, Mr and Mrs J P T Allen, the Rev. J P Dalton (vicar of Creech), Mrs H B Patton, Mr J Day, Mr Worthy Day, Mr Richards, Mr Bobbett, Mr J B Hunt, ex-Sergeant Major Baker, of the Somerset L.I., Messrs S H Winsor and T B Williams of the honorary recruiting staff, Mr S S Orchard, Sergeant T Goldsworthy Crump, of the National Reserve, and others. The church choir attended under Mr Horrell and led the singing of the hymn “O God, our help in ages past,” after which the vicar offered prayer.

Mr Sommerville in a spirited speech said that they were met that day in the most momentous crisis in the history of Great Britain and Europe. They were engaged in a war which was not of their seeking; we had striven for peace, we had striven in vain. This country went into the war because it involved the keeping of the most solemn and sacred promises. They were bound by treaty to uphold the independence of Belgium, and if we had failed to perform that promise it would have been to our everlasting shame and degradation. (Applause.) England had gone forth for the cause of a smaller State. The Belgian Army had displayed a resistance against overwhelming odds which had excited surprise and won the admiration of the whole world. Mr Sommerville dwelt upon the probable fate of the English people if Germany proved victorious in this war. If we were subjugated by Germany we should have to take our place as a second class nation, we should lose our colonies, and our great empire would cease forever. The Germans openly admitted that they intended to be the dominant Power in Europe.

They had to fight for the children and their country as their forefathers had. The men of the West and Somerset in particular had ever been known for their patriotism, pluck and valour, and in this call to arms they would again do their duty. (Applause.) He looked to the young men of Creech and surrounding villages to keep that reputation unsullied and untarnished. (Applause.) He asked them to recruit for their King and country, and show that in Somerset there was no room for the Brigade of the White Feather. There was one family in Creech of which they were very proud, and that was the Longs, who had four fighting for them. (Applause.) Two of them had been engaged in three battles; one was lying wounded in Netley Hospital – they hoped he would be soon recovered, – and the other was missing. Might God spare him and bring him back safely. (Hear, hear.) A third son was serving the the Somersets, and the other was fighting for them in the Navy. (Applause.) In conclusion, Mr Sommerville said the war must be waged until Germany’s menace was removed for ever. (Applause.)

Colonel Patton reviewed the causes which led up to the war, and dealt with the various phases of it as it had progressed, paying special tributes to the work of General Sir John French, the finest cavalry leader of the day, Lord Kitchener, Mr Asquith, and Sir Edward Grey.

Captain Cust spoke as to the recruiting figures. He said they had filled every battalion they had been asked to fill. They had made up the Special Reserve to 2,000 men, and they had filled both Kitchener battalions to the brim. There was no more room, and they still had a thousand men at the Depot. Unfortunately they had not sufficient non-commissioned offers to deal with the large numbers who had joined. They were now asking the young men to join, go into the Army for one day, for which they would receive 1s 9d., and then go into the reserve until they were required, during which period they would be paid 6d a day, or 3s 6d a week. At present they could think of no better scheme to cope with the situation.

Mr Imber, ex-sergeant of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion P.A.S.L.I also spoke, and incidentally stated that he was a believer in compulsory service. Such a system would have greatly facilitated mobilisation, etc., in the present crisis. (Applause.) One of the drawbacks they suffered from in that district was the need of a rifle range. They had a good one years ago at Orchard Portman, and he hoped that they would get one in the district before long. (Applause.)
The Rev. J P Dalton spoke of the principles they recognised in going to war, and urged the young men to respond to the call, which was to uphold a just cause against one of tyranny and despoliation. The meeting closed with the singing of the National Anthem, and then a call for recruits was made, eight men handing in their names.

At the conclusion of the proceedings the Cadets and Scouts were kindly entertained to tea at Curvalion House by the Rev W H Vaughan, who was formerly curate at St Andrew’s, Taunton. Creech St Michael has two war memorials that commemorating those lost in the Great War and the Second World War. One is located in the Parish Church yard and the other in the Zion Baptist Church garden.