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The Leverstock Green ChronicleLG Chronicle in the 20th Century

Local War GravesQWR in Leverstock GreenServing King & Country (Servicemen from LG, WWI)
5th January 1918 - The funeral took place of William Walter Sears, Leverstock Green's builder. Prior to becoming the village builder Mr. Sears had been the village's sub-postmaster and grocer. (See entry for 1902, Kelley's Directory.)  The Gazette on that day reported:

"We deeply regret having to record the death of a well-known and much respected local tradesman, who was truly to be recorded as a war hero. Mr. W.W,Sears, of Leverstock Green, whose death occurred last Thursday from an internal complaint, from which he had suffered since last June [sic].  He was unfortunately wounded at Ypres, losing one of his eyes whilst serving with the Royal Engineers, and from the time he left hospital he had never regained his health.  Mr. Sears who was born at Leverstock Green, his family having lived in the village for many years, left there at the age of ten, but later returned, and has resided there during the last 17 years.  Before he enlisted in the Royal Engineers he was one of the Hemel Hempstead Volunteers.  He was also a member of the local Conservative Association.  It seems hard to realise a man of so strong and active a constitution should have passed away at such a comparatively early age.  His death is a great loss not only in Leverstock Green itself but in the neighbourhood generally.  The interment will take place quietly at Leverstock Green today (Saturday).  One of his sons is at present at Sandwich, serving also in the Royal Engineers, but owing to a motor cycle accident whilst serving in France he is now retained for Home Service."

Also in the Gazette for 5th January 1918 were reports of other members of the Leverstock Green community either on leave, or in the case of Queenie Finch, another funeral.

    "2nd Lieutenant Wright, R.F.C., whose father is an undertaker and wheelwright  at Leverstock Green, ( see entries for 1914 & 1917, Kelley's Directory), was recently home on two days leave.  Leverstock Green was also glad to welcome home on leave during Christmas the following: Rifleman C.A. Ingham, Queens Westminster Rifles;  Private T. Charles, who has served for thirteen months; and Percy Dell, wounded while fighting in France. --Private F. Perkins has got his discharge on account of a wound received whilst fighting at Vimy Ridge.-- Rifleman C.A. Ingham came home unexpectedly on Christmas Day. Joining the Q.W.R.'s whilst they were stationed at Leverstock Green, he has seen over two years service in France.  Curiously enough he was also fortunately able to get leave about this time of year.

"The funeral of Miss L.M. Finch (Queenie) of Lovetts End, Hemel Hempstead, will take place on Thursday at Leverstock Green Church." William Finch was listed in Kelley's Directory as being the Farmer at Lovett's End farm Hemel Hempstead.  She was one of the Finch's from Corner Farm, Leverstock Green and is included in the large Finch monument at the back of the church. [ S169, Gazette, 5/1/1918]

12th January 1918 -  The Gazette carried many column inches on Leverstock Green:

FATHER  STRONG OF THE Community of St. John will hold a mission in the church in April.........  ( There followed details of the nature of the mission and Father Strong.)

THE DAY OF PRAYER:   This was a report of the Epiphany services which were well attended with special prayers for a victory which were made on the instructions of the King.  A collection was taken for the Red Cross  which amounted to £1-14s 11d


With every token of respect the funeral of the late Mr w w Sears of Leverstock Green , whose death was recorded in our last issue took place on Sat afternoon.  The first part of the service was held in the parish church of Holy Trinity, the whole of the ceremony being conducted by the vicar the Rev A Durrant.  In accordance with his last wishes the service was very quiet. The coffin which was of polished elm with brass  fittings bore the inscription: William W Sears died January 1st 1918 aged 55 years" The following were the principle mourners: Mrs WW Sears (widow), Mr W A Sears,  Sergeant P Sears, Arthur Sears, Alfred Sears and Ronald Sears (sons)..............(+ other relatives) To show the esteem and respect in which he was regard by his neighbours several of them united n subscribing for a wreath as a last token.  ........(details of who contributed followed plus all the other floral tributes.


Leverstock Green witnessed the funeral of a member of a well known family, much loved by all who knew her.  Miss LM Finch (Queenie) but recently past her 21st year,  who was laid to rest in Holy Trinity Churchyard on Thursday of last week amid very many signs of the affection by which she was held.  A Large number of close friend and others attended the service, which was fully choral, The Rev Arthur Durrant officiating.  The proceedings were rendered the deeper in solemnity by the fact that she was the third member of which the family  has been bereft within the last few months. (There then followed list of floral tributes.)  [Gazette 12 January 1918]

15th -17th January 1918 - Heavy falls of snow led to poor attendance at the village school. [S73]

18th January 1918 - The school log book recorded that the snow thawed leading to flooding.  However, despite this, Lady Grimston1, Mrs. & Miss Durrant were present at school during morning prayers. [S73]

19th January 1918 - Once again the Gazette carried considerable information concerning Leverstock Green:

2nd Lieu B Webster Royal Fusiliers, son of Mr & Mrs Percy Webster is home on leave for 14 days.  Joining up almost at the commencement of the war, he has done about three years of valuable service in France.  This is his third leave since he landed in France.


Leverstock Green has been practically isolated through the snowfall.  The telegraph service is interrupted in consequence of the wires being broken.  The delivery of the daily papers has also been temporarily stopped owing to the difficulty of providing a carrier from Hemel Hempstead to the village.  The weight of the snow has snapped many of the telegraph poles leaving the wires strewn about the ground.  There are also several boughs broken down in the village churchyard, which have fortunately caused no damage. [Gazette 19th January 1918]

Friday 25th January - A forerunner to the 1920 Missionary Pageant in Leverstock Green, saw a set of Tableaux enacted in the village.  This was later reported in detail in the Gazette:


On Friday 25th January Feast of Conversion of St. Paul, a set of six tableaux by members of the Catechism Sunday School and choirs was shown in the village schools at Leverstock Green.  As the programme explains, the tableaux illustrates the work of the first missionaries in that part of central Africa which is at the moment so prominent in the minds of the public owing to the brilliant termination of the campaign in German E Africa.  The schoolroom was filled to its utmost extent, and the great success of the tableaux  was; largely due to the kind help of the following ladies and gentlemen: Miss Bailey; Mr & Mrs Bedford; Nurse Carter; Mr W Child; Miss Clarke; Miss R Dell; Mrs Secker; Mr F Dell; Sergeant W Dell; Mrs & Miss Durrant; Mr & Mrs Ford; Mrs Green; Lady Grimston; Miss A Hart; Mr W Woodwards; Mr & Mrs Wright;  and to the keen enthusiasms of the 68 performers singers and programme sellers.  The programme was as follows:

Scene I - the slave market in Rome - St. Gregory finds the fair English children (Angles) there being sold as slaves;
Scene II a raid by Arab slave-dealers on an African village, many of the men killed others with the women & children carried  off as slaves;
Scene III - the slave market at Zanzibar -  a slave caravan driven into the market
Scene IV English sailors having captured an Arab slave Dhow, hard over the slaves to UMCA Missionaries;
Scene V Chorus of black & white children
Scene VI - the Triumph of the cross.

Hymns Sc.. I - Loving Shepherd of Thy sheep
Sc. II- Thy Kingdom Come Oh God
Sc.. III- There is  Green Hill
Sc.. IV-Lord of the Harvest
Sc.. V - From Greenland Icy Mountain
Sc.. VI- Onward Christian Soldiers
Mr W Child acted as accompanist

The offerings at HT church on Sunday were also for the Universities Mission to Central Africa.  The Rev. A. Durrant was the preacher. [Gazette February 2nd 1918]

9th February 1918  - The Gazette reported the following:


On Wednesday last the children of the Sunday School, in connection with the Baptist Chapel, had their annual winter treat.  A rationed tea was provided and this was followed by a lantern entertainment open to all.  The Rev T Percy George presided and read the very interesting story "Humpty Dumpty & His Silver Bells".  There was quite a good number present and a very enjoyable evening was spent.  It is hoped that in spite of existing circumstances and the difficulty of obtaining food that the children will still be provided with those annual treats which they always thoroughly enjoy. [Gazette 9th February 1918]

The Gazette also reported: 2nd Lieu E J Christmas home on leave this last fortnight, returns to the front on Thursday.

The Gazette also carried an Advert from National Master Farriers Association including A. Mears of Leverstock Green:

Owing to the continual advance of labour and all materials, we, the members of the above association, are e compelled TO INCREASE THE PRICE OF SHOEING, to take effect from January 1st 1918 as follows:

Heavy Cart Horse8/- per set
Roadsters & Farm horses7/-
Hunters & Carriage Horses 7/-
Cub & Van horses6/-
Tradesman's Cobs5/6
Removes - half price per new set
Shoes removed and roughened from 2/6 to 4/6
Frost-nailing from 1//6 to 3/-
Screw holes or stud holes 3d 4d per hole
Entire horses, Colts and Unruly Horses extra.  [Gazette 9th February 1918]

16th March 1918 - THE ROLL OF HONOUR -News has been received of the death  of Private George Brown, Labour Battalion who was killed in February he had only served for about 12 months, and leaves behind a wife and 8 children.


LEVERSTOCK GREEN did exceedingly well with the war loan, the total for the week being £3 1s 6d of which £24 8s was bought in by one collector. Enough money was asked for to provide one propeller, but practically double the amount for this has been subscribed. [Gazette 16th March 1918]
6th April 6th - OBITUARY - It is with the deepest regret we report the death of  one of the oldest inhabitants of the village, Mr Henry Brigginshaw, who died on Sunday last aged 79 years.  Mr Brigginshaw was very well known having lived in the village for about 35 years. [Gazette 6th April 1918]   The Gazette also carried information concerning the vestry meeting in which, as before Viscount Grimston and Mr. Child were again appointed wardens. [Gazette 6th April 1918]

6th April 6th - OBITUARY - It is with the deepest regret we report the death of  one of the oldest inhabitants of the village, Mr Henry Brigginshaw, who died on Sunday last aged 79 years.  Mr Brigginshaw was very well known having lived in the village for about 35 years. [Gazette 6th April 1918]   The Gazette also carried information concerning the vestry meeting in which, as before Viscount Grimston and Mr. Child were again appointed wardens. [Gazette 6th April 1918]

13th April 1918 - The Gazette carried news that the Bishop of St. Albans was to preach at Holy Trinity in the  Eucharist the following Sunday; and of the funeral of Mrs Brigginshaw.  This latter item included a list of mourners and floral tributes. [Gazette 13th April 1918]

22nd April 1918 -   The school inspector, F.J. Marvin, wrote in the school log book:

"It is very desirable that a plot of land be acquired to enable the older children to add to the national food supply.  Time may be given from other lessons for this purpose, and this suggestion is strongly supported by the while government from the Prime Minister downwards.  It is hoped that an early meeting of the managers may be held to secure the land for this years crop."

Obviously it was considered appropriate for the school children to help in this way for the general war effort.  A plot in the village was soon found - see entry for May 3rd. [S73]

25th April 1918 - The records of Horn & Co, Undertakers from Marlowes show the following entry:
REF 28/Deceased / farmer : Orchard, Thomas
DATE OF DEATH: 25.4.1918
NOTE: He was 81 years old and the funeral took place at the cemetery on 30.4.1918
ADDRESS: Woodwells Farm, Hemel Hempstead
Relative: Orchard, Elizabeth
[DCHT Undertaker's Records, Horn & Co  http://www.hertsmuseums.org.uk/dacorum/funindex.htm ]

27th April 1918 - The Gazette carried the following report:


In the big recruiting March of the LAND ARMY GIRLS in London last Sat  three girls from this village took part.  Two of them Miss G  Bisnell2 & Miss J Bisnell were chosen to carry one of the six big banners in the procession.  Miss G Bisnell is the proud possessor of four stripes, each one denoting six months work on the land, and her young sister has two.  The procession was heartily cheered all along the route and many recruits were enrolled.  Besides these Land /army girls, Leverstock Green has about 20 casual workers who did real good service on the farms last year, and fully intend to do the same this season.  Several of these casual workers have also earned stripes.
For two weeks the Gazette carried news of mission services at HT being well attended. [Gazette  27th April 1918]

Tuesday 30th April - A demonstration was given of war cookery, later reported on in the Gazette as follows:


A most interesting demonstration on war food cookery was given in this village on April 30th by Mrs Knight of the Food Production Dept. "Most practical and helpful " was the verdict of her delighted audience.  Mrs King showed how pudding crust could be made of warm mashed potatoes thickened with flour, nothing else.  The same mixture fried in a hot pan without fat, which to everyone's surprise did not burn, made delicious tea cakes. The recipes for carrot marmalade, lemon cheesecake, etc. Were given; these recipes and others have been successfully tried in many cottage homes since the lecture.  Mrs Knight also told her audience how they could pulp their fruit with ordinary utensils and without any sugar.  The pulp would then keep for months and a small quantity could be kept for jam as required and when a little sugar could be spared.  One of the most useful recipes given was how to preserve apples for winter use by peeling, coring and slicing them, threading them on a stick  and drying in a cool oven, after removing the oven sheets.  In view of the shortage of jam sugar these simple methods of preserving fruit should be more widely known.  Mrs Knight also showed ways of using potatoes to save the flour, which is now necessary. [Gazette Saturday 18th May 1918]

3rd May 1918 - Mr. Ford noted in the school log book:

"Having secured a plot of ground - the Parish Room site --- the older children (boys) have been gardening every afternoon this week.  They have brought their own tools and seed potatoes.  The lady  gardeners - Mrs. Grainword (this should have been Grimwood) and Mrs Mortimer, have taken a great interest in their work and have helped me considerably." 

From then on Mr.. Ford recorded that gardening took place every afternoon that weather permitted.  Even the girls were involved - no doubt under the aegis of "the lady gardeners". [S73]

4th May 1918 - Lieutenant BW Wright RAF of Leverstock Green , who was attached to the Australian Flying corps died in  aerial combat over the enemy's lines. [Gazette 11th May 1918]

This sketch was drawn by Bernard Wright in the Autograph Book of Olive Seabrook of the Leather Bottle, whilst home on leave.  It portrays his first solo flight.

1st June 1918 - The Gazette included a picture of Bernard Wright in their Pictorial Roll of Honour. It also reported the following:


The number of garments made by the Leverstock Green working party since war broke out is now 1080, 505 being mostly pyjamas, and 585 knitted articles.  Some of the latter were made by the school children.  As the members were nearly all working women with homes to look after this is a very creditable performance.  The material is given by the Red Cross Society.  The village is small so there are very few member, of these 11 have gained the badge given for good consistent work by the Red Cross namely: Mrs Bedford, Miss Bloxam, Mrs Clarke, Mrs de Begar, Mrs Fountain, Miss Hobday, Miss Ingham, Miss Morley, Mrs Sears, Mrs Secretan, Mrs W. Woodwards. [Gazette 1st June 1918]

1st June 1918/ 15th June 1918 – Sydney Ison a shepherd from Leverstock Green (Northend Farm), was reported as having been given exemption from conscription. [Gazette 1st/15th June 1918]

19th June 1918 -The Leverstock Green  Baptist Band of Hope held a Concert. [Gazette  June 22nd 1918]

27th July 27 1918  - The Gazette carried a large advertisment. (See below.)
10th August 1918-  Local Tribunals were held to examine individual local men to see if they would be exempt from conscription into the forces. One such case was reported on in the Gazette:


It reported the appearance of Mr. Percy A Garrat 41, Grade 2 of  Leverstock Green, a market gardener and retail coal sales man re his exemption in which he rented land from the publican - himself- as his wife kept a small "pub".  He had previously been given a conditional exception from the Hemel Hempstead  board to whom he was subsequently referred.  For some reason the presiding magistrate seemed to find the whole affair rather commical! [Gazette 10th August 1918]

7th September 1918 - "Mr & Mrs Newland of Bennetts End  have received news that their son Pte E Newland K.O.S.B. Regiment has been wounded in France and is now laying in a VAD hospital in England.  Pte Newland is one of the oldest Apsley Scout boys."  [Gazette 7th September 1918]

5th October 1918 - The Gazette reported on the funeral of late Mr Harry How of Corner Farm (Cupid Green), which took place on the previous Saturday at Holy Trinity Church at which he had been a regular attendee.  The previous week's Gazette had given considerable detail concerning Mr How's life. [Gazette 28th Sept & 5 October 1918]

6th October 1918 -  The records of Horn & Co, Undertakers from Marlowes show the following entry:
REF 86/ Deceased: Franklin, Maria Sarah
DATE OF DEATH: 6.10.1918
NOTE: She was 71 years old and the funeral took place at Leverstock Green Churchyard on 11.10.1918
ADDRESS: Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead
[DCHT Undertaker's Records, Horn & Co  http://www.hertsmuseums.org.uk/dacorum/funindex.htm ]

26th October 1918 - The Gazette reported:

Last week  the children of Leverstock Green school paid into the West Herts. Hospital the sum of £2 4s 6d being the money collected by them.  This week £5 has been forwarded to the British Red Cross Society for their miles of pennies fund collected by the children.

In the same issue of the Gazette were numerous reports of people all over the district starting to die of Spanish flu.  See entry for 31st October 1918.

31st October 1918 -  Leverstock Green Village school was closed until December 2nd due to influenza. This was perhaps one of the first indications in Leverstock Green of what was to be a devastating World wide pandemic of the disease known then as Spanish Flu, killing more people than had died in the trenches during the war itself. An extremely interesting paper on the subject by Molly Billings can be read on  www.stanford.edu/group/virus/uda/ . However there seems to have been little incidence after the initial outbreak of the disease.  As a result of the outbreak, no mention was made of the end of the war in the school log book! [S73, S365]

11th November 1918 - Armistice Day and the end of the war.

12th November 1918 – Leverstock Green WI founded by Mrs E M Grimwood and Miss Mortimor, who both lived in Pancake Lane. [WI scrapbook]  The misses Mortimer & Grimwood were the “Lady Gardeners” who ran a “French Garden” in Pancake Lane.  Whether or not there is a connection with Herbert Mortimer, the stage and film star who also live in the village I do not know – she may possibly have been his sister.

9th December 1918 - “WOMAN'S INSTITUTE- A very successful meeting of the Leverstock Green WI was held on Monday Mrs Watkins giving a well received address on the aims of the WI.” [Gazette 14th December 1918]
For details of all those who served their country from Leverstock Green during the Great War click here.
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Women during WW1