Eaton Socon in the Great War - Life in a Typical Rural Parish 1914-1919, by Sue Jarrett

Eaton Socon in the Great War - Life in a Typical Rural Parish 1914-1919, by Sue Jarrett

Booklet published by the Eaton Community Association in 2014, 68 pages. A4 size booklet (N7702X1)

From the introduction: When World War 1 began it was generally thought that the British Army would go across to France, beat the Germans and return by Christmas. But the war continued for over four years and had a considerable effect on the villages, towns and cities of Britain.

In 1914 Eaton Socon parish was a typically rural one. It was then entirely in Bedfordshire with the two largest settlements being Eaton Socon (or Eaton Town) and Wyboston, both situated on the Great North Road. Agriculture and market gardening were the main occupations with smaller employers being the Eaton Socon Brewery and Eaton Mill on the river. The parish had its own feast days, May Day celebrations and autumn Statute Fairs. Across the river and in the county of Huntingdonshire was the town of St Neots, with its industry, larger shopping area, and weekly markets of produce and livestock. Some of the local villagers in Eaton Ford preferred to shop and work in St Neots, but Eaton Socon remained separate.

Eaton Socon parish had its share of men who went off to fight and men who stayed behind. Although the war affected everyone, very few seem to have told their children exactly what happened, and the effects it had on everyone's lives. Much of the research for this book has been collected from the local newspaper, the St Neots Advertiser, which has been indexed for the whole of the war period and contains a very large amount of information on the lives of both soldiers and civilians, and the events in the town of St Neots and many of the nearby villages.

The lives of the soldiers who died and who are recorded on the Eaton Socon War Memorial have been researched, and are available in the book 'To the Glorious Memory', see page 59. This book concentrates on the lives of the villagers who did not see war themselves but supported the soldiers, sailors and airmen, and who kept village life going.

The research has produced stories of the soldiers who returned, information on the Red Cross Hospital in the village, the Belgian refugees and the work that the ladies and children did to ease the situation of wounded soldiers and sailors. People in the settlements worked together, adapted their lives, and life would never be quite the same again.
Contents include:

Shops, Businesses and Public Houses
Horses for the War
The Beginning of War - Recruitment in 1914
The Scottish Soldiers
Belgian Refugees in Eaton Socon Parish
The VAD Red Cross Hospital in Eaton Socon
The St Neots Volunteer Training Corps and the Hunts Volunteers Regiment
The St Neots Union Workhouse Master and a WW1 Tank
Men of Eaton Socon Parish in the Other Services
Collections of Eggs, Blackberries, Bones and Conkers
The Usefulness of Women!
Parcels Received by the Soldiers and Sailors
Effects of the War
November 11 th 1918 - the Signing of the Armistice
Effects of the War on the Returning Men
Prisoners of War
Jobs for the Returning Soldiers
Peace Celebrations
The War Memorial

Condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covers have one or two very minor scuffs but are clean and bright, the staple spine is tight and intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.