A MID-DAY BELL was rung at the church each day as a reminder to everyone in the village, to offer prayers at the same moment. The practice appears to have been discontinued in 1915 due to there being no-one free to ring the bell. (This practice was taken up in many towns and villages throughout the country)
At the commencement of the war, the Revd.Tennant resolved that he would not miss a service or take a holiday until the war was over. He felt that he should be among his parishioners at such a sad time.
Parcels of Bibles, prayer books and hymn books were sent to servicemen.
War Saving Association was formed in January, 1917. Dr. Tennant (the Vicar) was treasurer with George Ludbrook, (the headmaster of the school) as secretary. By March 1917, there were 117 member in Darsham. The association was wound up in January 1920.
National Service Committee was formed by those on the War Savings Committee, to enrol volunteers for National Service.
From Darsham School Log Books:
"14th June 1917 — Notice of an air-raid was received 10 minutes before the close of school. The books were collected, the scholars dismissed and warned not to stand about in groups but to go straight home."
From the Darsham Parish Reports, by the Revd. Tennant (Vicar):
Upwards of 50 men have gone forth from the parish to serve the King & Country.
Darsham ceases to be a parish within the Diocese of Norwich. Suffolk is now a Diocese (St.Edmundsbury & Ipswich).
The choir gave £2 to the War Fund instead of taking the usual summer excursion to Gt. Yarmouth.
Sgt.Fred Lame died in Malta 26th May, after having been wounded at the Dardanelles. He left Darsham for Australia some years earlier but came over to fight with the Australian Troops. He had been wounded in the Boer War. His mother still resided in Darsham at that date.
The choirboys, Sunday School & Teachers, took their annual outing at Aldeburgh, going by wagonette. The total cost of the outing amounted to £2. 7s. 6d.
A letter was sent to the President of the U.S.A.:
"In the church of DARSHAM
In congregation assembled,
praise God for America's noble stand for
Justice, Truth, Righteousness and Freedom:
and pray God's Blessing on
Dr.Woodrow Wilson (President U.S.A.)
for Wisdom, Council and Strength, to help us
in ridding the world of Injustice, Slavery and Barbarism."
From: The Leiston Observer - 6th May 1914
DARSHAM: An organ recital and sacred concert was given in Darsham Church on Sunday. There was a large congregation. Those who took part included the choir. Mrs French, Driver B. Robinson, Driver A. Evans, Trooper H. Sharp, Driver G. Gray, Mr J. Scott, Master Reginald Todd, Mr Thurtell & Miss Rudling. Mrs Cordle (the organist) ably presided at the organ. The proceeds amounted to £5. 5s., with the addition of two 10s notes sent to the Rector. The money will be devoted to the relief of Soldiers & Sailors.
From Halesworth Times - 3rd October 1916
SALE OF WORK: On Wednesday a Sale of Work took place at Darsham Vicarage in aid of War Charities - principally to supply Christmas presents to Darsham men serving with the Colours. The proceedings opened with a baby show, and the many plump specimens made the task of the judges a difficult one. The sale of work which had been contributed by friends then proceeded and the work of the Busy Bees was on exhibition. A beautiful working model of a anti-aircraft gun, made by Mr Leslie Thornhill, and a doll dressed by Mrs Spicer were put up for competition and each increased the funds to the extent of £5. The former was won by Mr Cole of Yoxford and the latter by Mr W.W. Frost of Halesworth. Afternoon teas were served in the grounds and the house.
The hat-trimming competition, compered by some of the military, caused much amusement as did also the sale of the trimmed hats which was followed by sale of all the articles unpurchased. There were a great number of people present, including many distinguished people of the neighbourhood.
The proceedings were ably organised by Mr Leslie Thornhill and Miss Constable, the former generously providing all the prizes.
In the evening, an excellent concert was given by members of the Army Service Corps.
From The Leiston Observer -18 Nov 1916
EGG & POULTRY DEMONSTRATION TRAIN touring Norfolk & Suffolk, visted Saxmundham on Wednesday. Demonstrations and talks were given on Poltry Rearing and checking eggs for freshness. 400 schoolchildren accompanied by their Masters and Mistresses from schools in the district paid a visit. The total attendance for the day was 1,781 and the total to date was upwards of 37,000. Note: Sixteen children from Darsham school visited the train on that day.
From the Leiston Observer 17 November, 1917
Two Concerts at Darsham: During the past week, a couple of concerts to raise fund to provide Xmas presents for the Darsham men serving with the colours , have been held in the Darsham Schoolroom. They were organised by Mr & Mrs Parry-Crooke assisted by Col. and Mrs Churcher. From every point of view the entertainments were an unqualified success and the fund will eventually benefit by £23.
Most of the items on a lengthy programme were contributed by the military and the frequent applause and numerous encores testified to the enjoyment of the large audience. Following on a pianoforte sole by Pte. J. Percival, L.R.A.M., Pte J. Haworth gave 'The Lanes Lad in London', a humorous song which caused gales of laughter. Driver Butler, an understudy of G. Robey, the famous comedian, fairly convulsed the audience with his drolleries and in response to an encore for 'Oh! what a life' , gave 'How to write a song'. A monologue by L/Cpl Taylor, 'Shamus O'Brien' was rendered with much feeling, whilst Mrs Pegram sang with a sweet voice 'Ripe Strawberries' and 'Philosophy'. Sgt W. Horn possesses an excellent baritone voice and gave a good rendering of 'The Trumpeter'. The songs and the poem by Capt. Thomson R.A.M.C. were much appreciated. L/Cpl Taylor and Pte Carney also gave an amusing sketch.
The lengthy programme finished with ventriloquists sketch and some magical problems which fairly mystified the audience, by L/Cpl Victor (from Maskelyne & Devants, St Georges Hall). At the conclusion, Mr Parry-Crooke proposed a hearty toast of thanks to the performers and this was seconded by Dr. Tennant who said that this was the best concert held in the parish during his residence here, a period of nearly thirty years.
From Halesworth Times, Tuesday, 30th April, 1918
DARSHAM: A successful meeting, having for its object the raising of a section of Volunteers in connection with the 6th Battalion Volunteer Suffolk Regiment, was held in the schoolroom at Darsham on Thursday evening. Enrolment forms were signed by 18. Other names had previously been submitted. Mr J.W. Parry-Crooke will offer facilities for the men to drill in his park and Capt. R.J. Catchpole has offered an ideal spot for a shooting range. The first parade takes place on Tuesday evening.]
From the East Anglian Daily Times - July ? 1917
BIG FETE AT DARSHAM RED CROSS EFFORT NEXT WEDNESDAY
What promises to be a remarkably attractive garden fete, is to take place in the grounds of Darsham House on Wednesday next in aid of the Suffolk Red Cross Society. There is to be a bowl tournament, a baby show, and an open-air whist Drive. Sports will be held on the lawn, and after the prizes have been distributed there will be dancing. In addition there are to be games and guessing competitions galore, in which the worth of some of the prizes range from two to four guineas. The whole of the funds for the sports are being provide by Mr J. W. Parry-Crooke, in whose grounds the fete is being held, and the card will include a variety of interesting events, for which several valuable prizes are promised.
The dramatic performance given by Mr Eric Adeney of the Garrick Theatre, London, Miss Morgan Gale and Mr Julian d'Albie, of New Theatre, London, are likely to be very welcome. They will be interspersed with half-hour concerts given by Miss Helen May, a dancer from the Palace Theatre, London; Mr W. C. Bayne, a wel-known north of England tenor, and Mr G. Butler, a comedian of the Liverpool and Manchester Concert Party. The attendance of the band of the Cheshires should ensure some pleasing music throughout the afternoon and evening. The charge of admission is small, being only 6d., and children and soldiers in uniform will be admitted half-price. A good attendance may therefore be expected, so that the Red Cross should receive a solid round sum as a result of the doings at Darsham on Wednesday.
From Leiston Observer 29th June, 1918.
BLYTHING TRIBUNAL - Temporary exemption from military service granted for six months to a Darsham Timber Feller, aged 44 years.
From Halesworth Times, Tuesday, 24th September, 1918.
BAZAAR AT DARSHAM for PRISONER RELIEF FUND: During the past few weeks numerous fetes have taken place around Darsham, but this did not prevent yet another effort, as last year, being made on behalf of the Prisoners of War from the village. Mr and Mrs Parry-Crooke, who last year arranged and defrayed the expense of a successful fete, did so again on Wednesday when, without a penny cost to the Fund, a Bazaar and Baby Show was held at Darsham House.
Securing the hearty co-operation of their friends and neighbours, they have the gratification of knowing that another considerable sum will be available for Prisoners of War. The bazaar, for which there was a considerable quantity of goods ranging from clothes to dairy and vegetable produce was so well patronised that there was very little for Mr E. Scott Catchpole, who was induced to fill the role of auctioneer, to sell at the end of the day.
At the nine stalls, the following ladies were in charge: Mrs Geater (clothing); Mrs Ludbrook (jumble stall); Miss Spicer and Miss Stokes (toys, dolls and books); Mrs Cordle and Miss Stoggle (fancy); Mrs Bailey and the maids of Darsham House (woollens); Mrs E. Scott Catchpole and Mrs Holmes (produce); Mrs Hickford (refreshments); Miss Balls (livestock).
The Baby Show, for which there was fifteen entries, generated much interest and to a great degree, because the judging was undertaken by five ladies and gentlemen. Even they could not come to a decision for in one class, the first prize was divided. Result:- Babies under 9 months: 1st. (equal) - Mrs Watling and Mrs Flegg of Darsham. 3rd. - Mrs Fiske of Westleton. Babies over 9 months: 1st. - Mrs Fiske of Westleton, 2nd. - Mrs Brown of Westleton, 3rd. -Mrs Pennock of Saxmundham.
Other attractions included hoop-la by means of which Mr Frank Brook, R.N. and Mr Seymour, R.N. were able to extract a good sum from the visitors. Then there was a guessing competition for a large black pig, given by Mr E. Scott Catchpole.
Other entertainment was provided by the Northumberland Fusiliers (T.F.) Concert Party with singers and comedians. The large sum of £185 was raised by the bazaar.
From The Leiston Observer 22 Feb 1919
DARSHAM: A pleasant evening in the schoolroom on Friday with a concert organised by Mrs Parry-Crooke assisted by Mrs Cordle. The rooms were packed to overflowing. The proceeds were to be devoted to providing cigarettes for the Darsham men who have or are serving with H. M. Forces. Some members of the "Lowland Concert Party" & "The Merrythoughts" lent their services adding to the success. Bugler Palmer, Pte Jagger, Pte Church sang. The Vicar (Rev Tennant) gave two recitations, which were much appreciated; Also a pianoforte duet my Mrs & Miss R. Stokes; songs by Mr Thurtell, Mr Busby, Mr & Mrs Holmes, Mrs Cordle, Miss Bond & Miss Tucker well rendered and encored. Owing to so many friends not gaining admission, Mrs Parry-Crooke decided to repeat the concert this Friday. Note - Proceeds of the two concerts amounted to £14. 8s.
From The Leiston Observer - 26 April 1919
DARSHAM: A concert held in the church on Good Friday afternoon in aid of the
East Suffolk Hospital raised £5. 3s.
From The Leiston Observer 28th June, 1919.
WAR MEMORIAL: At a meeting of the parishioners of Darsham respecting the erection of a memorial to men of the parish who fell in the war, it was decided to place in the churchyard a marble cross with the names of the men on it. Thanks largely to the generosity of Mr & Mrs Parry-Crooke, the church has recently been furnished with a number of useful gifts and visitors have all admired the appearance of the sacred edifice.
From The Leiston Observer 26th July, 1919.
PEACE CELEBRATIONS: By Kind permission of Mr J.W. Parry-Crooke the celebrations were held in the grounds of Darsham House. Small committees assisted by willing workers, carried out the programme to every bodies satisfaction. A bounteous tea was provided for all. If absent from infirmity or other cause, a parcel was sent to the absent one. Just before leaving, the children received bananas, oranges and chocolates. A show of vegetables was held. This was well supported. Prizes to the value of about £8 were distributed The fruit was sold by Mr Scott Catchpole and the vegetables were sent to the East Suffolk & Ipswich Hospital.
Sports for juveniles and for adults were arranged by Capt. C. Parry-Crooke and Mr A.K. Mann. They were assisted by Mr Stokes and Mr Geater and a lengthy programme was carried through, no less than £15 being distributed amongst the winners.
There were also guessing competitions for two black pigs, given by Messrs Scott and Raymond Catchpole . One of the pigs was secured by Mrs Banstead. the other by Mr A.H. Smith (High Street). There was also a hoop-la under the chestnuts. This contained toys galore, given by Mrs Parry-Crooke. It was in the charge of the maids of Darsham House and was well patronised by the children.
On leaving the grounds, many adjourned to The Priory to witness a display of fireworks given by Mr Scott Catchpole.
The soldiers and sailors demobilised, to the number of 35 were entertained to dinner by Mr J.W. & Mrs Parry-Crooke in the billiard room of Darsham House, which was gaily bedecked with flags. A hearty greeting was extended to all those present and appreciation of Mr & Mrs Parry-Crooks kindness was concurred in by all when Lt. Ludbrook proposed the health of that gentleman and his family.