Saturday 19th July 1919 was a very special day of celebration in Turvey, for on that day the village came together to celebrate the end of the first world war. From early morning every house in the village was decked with flags with one house displaying a large banner of the old Chain of Friendship Society dated 1823. Someone had even decked out Jonah with emblems of peace and victory.
During the day
At 10.30 am school children were presented with medals by the Rector, Guy Beech, and the Turvey Poet Thomas Andrews recited a short poem on Victory and Peace. At 1.30 pm a procession was formed at the bridge, headed by an improvised band organised by Mr C Wooding and followed by the Rector and the Revd. J Rhys Price (Congregational Church), members of the Parish Council, children from the village and villagers. The procession finished at the cross (this was not an actual cross but the location where a cross once stood, later to be the site of the Memorial Cross) an area of the village where a large circle was formed and the hymn “Now thank we all our God” was sang. This was followed by the National Anthem led by Mr C Wooding’s on his violin.
The march then went to Laws Field (now the Green but including the area up to the wall at the back of the cottages in Church Terrace) where a program of sports began with competitions for children, old age pensioners, demobilised soldiers and men home on leave. Following the races all were invited to tea at the village hall.
A Very Special Event
At 7pm that evening a very special event was held on Law’s Field. Villagers gathered to create a circle around the race track and the 76 ex-soldiers and men now serving who had joined up in Turvey were invited into the centre of the ring and each man (or his representative) was presented with a beautiful polished and heavily silver-mounted walking stick, each man’s name being engraved on a silver band with the inscription
A token of gratitude from the people of Turvey for services rendered in the great war 1914-18
Funding for the sticks was organised by Mrs Sharpin who started a fund on Armistice Day and supported by several social events until the fund reached £50. The presentations were made by Mrs Sharpin and Captain C. T. Linsell. Mr W Cockings an ex Grenadier Guard thanked Mrs Sharpin and the people of Turvey on behalf of the men for their kind thoughts and for the many kind actions shown to the men and their families during the long war.
The day finished with a dance in the school hall ( now the Village Hall). Of course, the day was captured by Thomas Andrews, The Poet of Turvey, the Turvey News of his day.
Celebrations at Turvey after the Great War
A poem by Thomas Andrews
19th July 1919
The war being over and ended the strain
And peace to our country restored once again
The people assembled to render their praise
To God the great caller of winds and wanes
And so we at Turvey, the place where I live
Assembled together, our praises to give
With hearts and with voices how glad we did sing
Our song of thanksgiving to God our Great King
But first to the children the Rector did give
A medal provided for them to receive
That they might remember when older in years
The end of the war, with its sadness and tears
Then did the young people and old ones meet
Right down against Jonah, the end of the street
And then they proceeded to march and go round
The village; until at the cross they were found
They then formed a circle and solemnly stood
And sang a sweet hymn of thanksgiving to God
To him who came forth with his wonderful might
And gave the great victory to justice and right
The children had races and older ones too
And each one the others tried hard to outdo
But some of them stumbled and twas no surprise
Their stumbling prevented them gaining a prize.
The Maypole, the children danced round it with glee
And since their nice dancing was pretty to see
It filled all the people with sweetest delight
To stand there and witness so lovely a sight
And then the young people and aged did meet
Within the large schoolroom and had a good treat
With many rich dainties (it’s good for to tell)
They sat down to tea and enjoyed it right well.
And every brave soldier returned from the strain
Of war; and reached safely his home once again
Received as a present a nice walking stick
With name and occasion engraved upon it
And thus it passed on until evening delivered
When in the large schoolroom a crowd did appear
With music and dancing the evening they spend
Until it was time for the performance to end.