as seen by the
Herts Advertiser & St Albans Times - 1944 (May)

Whst's History Page

The source of the text shown originated in the Herts Advertiser.  It has been re-typed so may have some errors within it - for these we apologies.  Please refer to archived material if in doubt.

Ja Fe Ma Ap  Ma Ju Ju Au Se Oc No De

12th May p3


Viscountess Davidson, M.P., was the speaker at the annual meeting of Wheathampstead Conservative and Unionist Association, held at the " Swan " Hotel, on Friday, Mrs. D. Cory-Wright (Vice-Chairman pre-siding. 

The report of the Hon. Secretary (Mrs. I. V. Raikes) dealt with the activities of members in knitting garments for the Navy, and a satisfactory report was presented on behalf of the Hon. Treasurer (Mr. F. F. Sladen). 

Officers, Committee and delegates to the Divisional and Executive Councils were reelected. 

Lady Davidson gave a review of the progress of the war, post-war problems and Sir John Anderson's Budget speech, and uttered a warning that although they might see an end of the war in Europe, which would entail one of the biggest military operations in which this country had been involved, they would then have to turn to the war in the Pacific.



A further sum of 12 has been forwarded by Mrs. M. Allum to the Merchant Navy Comforts Fund as the result of whist drives arranged by her and held in the Church Room. 

Two whist drives were held at the Rectory on Tuesday with the object of raising funds to enable the Women's Working Party to buy material for making articles for sale in the Summer for a good cause. The winners at the afternoon drive were Mesdames Patrick. Parfitt, James, Salter, Gribble, Harding and Lock and Mr. James. In the evening the winners were Mesdames Izzard, Hieatt, Warren, Hall and Smith, the Misses L. Odell and Windmill and Mr. Vercammen.

19th May p3


Nursing Association, -  Annual meeting at "Delaport" on Wednesday. May 24th. 2.30 p,m. All members invited -.(Advt.).




Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gray, of "Trent Cottage,' Wheathampstead-hill, Wheathampstead, were married at Trinity Church. Burton-on-Trent, fifty years ago on Friday. 

The setting and the characters themselves might have emerged from some Dickensian novel when 1 called at the cottage (writes a "Herts Advertiser" reporter). 

Mr. Gray lives a stone's throw from the" Red Cow:' the licensed house in which he was born 88 years ago. But, tiring of the long hours of local farm labour, he ventured North at an early age and finally spent many years at a brewery. 

A Grocery Business.

It was in these surroundings that Mr. Gray met his wife, and for many years they carried on a grocery business in which Mrs. Gray had already been engaged for four years. Following their retirement twenty-one years ago, they bought the cottage in which they now live, and settled down. 

Mr. Gray's health is not good, but he cannot deny that his wife is a woman who will allow no one to remain in any form of depressed state. 

"Now I am getting old I am getting frivolous" said Mrs. array. "We have to have a joke. or what should we do? Die in a fog." 

Mrs. Gray was eighty last week. As soon as she knew, Mrs. J. Henderson (wife of the Minister of Wheathampstead Congregational Church) brought her a card and some flowers, for Mrs. Gray is a member of the Congregational Church Women's Guild, and regularly attends the services. She was there on Sunday, when the Minister congratulated her. 

No Champagne.

I don't think we shall have any champagne (for the golden wedding) now there is a war on:" Mrs. Gray said with a laugh. "We haven't had a holiday for several years." 

She is a busy woman.  She showed me a grey petticoat she is making from material she bought at the same time lamenting the surrender of so many coupons! 

Mr. and Mrs. Gray's surroundings are quiet, although there was a time, at the height of the salvage campaign, when all the residents in the neighbourhood brought their salvage to " Trent Cottage,' where it was stored in Mr. Gray's shed. 

Mr. and Mrs. Gray have no children, but are happy in having many nephews and nieces.




Having won its second football trophy in one season - the 7th Battalion Herts Army Cadet Force challenge cup - "E"! Company (Wheathampstead) of the Battalion decided that the most suitable thing to do in celebration was to repeat the supper held recently following its earlier success in winning the League trophy. 

The event took place at the Senior School. Wheathampstead, on Saturday, with Capt. W, J. Housden in the chair. he was supported by Lieut.-Col. J. K. Wenham (Commanding Officer of the 5th Battalion Herts Home Guard), Cadet Force and Home Guard officers, the Rev. A. M. Baird-Smith. Dr. R. T, Leiper {Chairman of Wheathampstead Parish Council), and several local residents. 

All the speeches, which were cut to a minimum, were tributes to the prowess of the Company team, seven of whom had that afternoon played for the 7th Battalion team which won the County challenge cup. 

During the evening Sergt. E. R. Almond, on behalf of the team, made a. presentation, in the form of cigarettes; to Capt. Housden, in recognition of the considerable services he had rendered to the team during the season. . 

The second part of the evening was given over to a splendid exhibition of wizardry by Capt. J. V. Milne, who was cordially thanked by Capt. Housden on behalf of the Company.

19th May p5 This article is not related to Wheathampstead, but seemed iteresting.




As a means of enabling the British people to understand the American soldiers who are now stationed among us in very large numbers, the Ministry of Information has caused to be circulated, in leaflet form, a reprint of the broadcast on " The Yank in Britain," by Dr, Margaret Mead, distinguished American anthropologist and author , 

Here are a few excerpts. from Dr , Margaret Mead's talk, which throw an interesting light upon American character, and show how very important it is that we should do all we can to promote good understanding with and to further the well- being of American troops:

"The contacts which are taking place, day by day. between American soldiers and British civilians may determine the history of the next hundred years. Each British subject who laughs at an American wisecrack or feels annoyance because the Americans will stand on the wrong side of the escalator, or finds that he is always being bumped into by Americans on the street - somehow they seem to move at a different speed -is building up a picture of the American people, against which to read to-morrow's headlines and next year's news of relations between America and Britain.

Informal Contacts.

No amount of carefully-planned exhibits, or well-staged  'days of understanding our allies' can accomplish a tithe of what these informal contacts will accomplish, Upon them may well depend how well the English speaking peoples are able to work together in creating a genuine international organisation for the world.  So it is definitely worthwhile to go behind the American soldier standing on the city street corner, watching! the world go by, or the hurried British housewife who pauses to give a direction, and ask what the the differences in upbringing and in outlook which make it difficult in some ways, easy in others. for American young men, most of them unmarried, all of them young, all of them in uniform, which makes them seem very much alike, to understand the people of Britain and to be understood by them,

"The few American girls who have come to Britain are likely to be much more interested in the past - but the American army abroad is composed of men, not women. American men are not prepared to like anything! because it is old or historic, and that is an attitude which is a shock to many British people, especially if they have met the worshipping American tourist of the past.  British people are accustomed to show visitors their old historic monuments, but many American boys would appreciate the Liverpool tunnel or the press room of a great newspaper, more.  It is contemporary Britain and how her people are meeting the challenge of war, which will interest them more than the graves of men whose names they learned in school.

"But in a war-time British town he finds pavements so crowded that people who stand on street corners are a nuisance.  There is nowhere to go except the pub. and when he gets there he thinks the only thing to do is to drink.  If he makes friends with anyone his own age, girl or boy, and they take him home, there he is, embarrassingly, right in the middle of the family circle - all the family - when he gets in the front door.

" Afraid They Won't Fit,"

" Then he can't tell what sort of manners people are likely to have by the houses they live in or by the clothes they wear or by the way they talk.  In America, where classes are less strictly marked than in England, people tend even more to associate with people very much like themselves, and may never have been inside the house of someone with a very different income and way of living.  When American soldiers get invitations from British homes, they very often don't accept them. They are afraid that they won't fit, won't know what to do with the knives and forks.

" In order to think clearly about the. American Army, and what it indicates about what Americans are like, it is necessary to distinguish between the difficulties which arise between any  large army away from home, and the people in the country where they are I stationed.  A lot of the irritations which come up are simply due to Americans being such an army, and stationed, as they were in many parts of America also,. near towns and villages too small to accommodate so many extra men looking for a few hours of a good time. 

" Unless it is possible to get behind the irritating American 'boasting', and the irritating British   'patronising' and recognise that both peoples disapprove of the weak bullying the strong, and that it's just a question of who is strong, the speaker or the listener, a great deal of misunderstanding results. 

"American men and boys enjoy the company of girls and women more than the British do.  British boys can't go out with girls unless they have what one British boy described to me as 'an ulterior purpose, good or bad.'  If they just want to spend a pleasant evening more often they spend it with other boys. Even when boys and girls do go to the same school in  Britain. they act as If they were still going to separate schools. To an American eye, the absence of flirting and back-chat among secondary school boys and girls is astonishing. But American boys and girls start having dates with each other in the early teens, long before they are emotionally mature enough to be interested for any reasons really connected with sex. 

Free and Easy.

"A great deal of confusion arises because Americans seem too free and easy, are too quick to take a girl's arm.  In America, men take women's arms much more casually, without the formal 'May I take your arm?' or ' W1Il you take my arm?' more usual in Britain. ...The difficulty lies in the interpretation which the British girl - and her parents - unused to what seems to be familiarity, puts upon the American's casual touch.

Meanwhile, the American is confused. He sees British lovers in many places and does not understand the difference in behaviour which is allowed inside and outside Hyde Park, for instance, any more than a Londoner would understand the unwritten rule that love-making is appropriate on the upper deck of a New York Fifth Avenue 'bus and not on the lower deck. 

"'But really to cope with the Americans successfully, it is necessary to do something which is exceedingly distasteful to British manners - ask personal questions.  The American soldier, riding in a train, leaning against a building, waiting in a station, or looking uncertain in a pub or at a dance, is just a soldier, nameless. only identified by his uniform. He has no obligations other than those of any soldier in a friendly country, not to break the law, and not to overstay his leave. 

"Yet if he is to blend successfully into a British community he must become more than that, he must become, himself as he was at home - a man with a name. who lived on a special street, went to a special high school, had a kid sister named Alice, and a favourite baseball hero and favourite film star.  Only by asking him, first where he comes from. where he went to school, has he got a sister, etc., can he be turned from an anonymous soldier into a responsible, friendly person, who cares a great deal what other people think of him and is very anxious to be liked. 

"Unless Americans can have an opportunity to work informally with British people, listen to discussions, sit in on small committees, get a feel of the way things are done, they may come away from Britain with very little understanding of those aspects of British life which have a first claim on their respect. This is one of the  reasons why more informal participation of Americans in British life is desirable.

26th May p3


At the recent Examinations. of the London College of Music, Mrs. Manne,  St. Albans, pupil. of Miss Elsie M. Toyer, was successful in passing Advanced Senior Pianoforte with Honours.  Also in the Royal Schools of Music, Mrs. Drury was successful in passing Higher Division Pianoforte, and Miss Monica Burgoine Primary Pianoforte, both of Wheathampstead.  - (Advt.) 



Wheathampstead, which set a target of 25,000, "the cost of moving a Division to Germany," and issued a challenge to Luton to invest a larger sum per head in small savings, opened its Week with a procession. Field-Marshal the Earl of Cavan, who opened the ceremony at Bury Farm Green, described it as a beautiful show;' and one by which he was greatly impressed, 

Headed by the band of the Royal Fusiliers, the procession, which was marshalled by Major G. C. Warren, Officer Commanding "B" Company (Wheathampstead} of the Home Guard, comprised a contingent of the Home Guard, Civil Defence Services, and other organisations. 

Lord Cavan was in uniform and was accompanied by his aide de camp (Col. R. W. West; Commander.  Central Sector, Herts Home Guard), and Major H. L. Doble (Second-in-Command of the 5th Battalion Herts Home Guard).   After inspecting the various contingents, they took up position on a platform, where Mr. H: Greenville H1Il (Chairman of Wheathampstead 'War Savings Committee) read telegrams from Sir James Grigg (Secretary of State for War} and Sir John Anderson (Chancellor of the Exchequer).

"You ask me to salute the soldier," said Lord Cavan. "For more than thirty years of my soldiering life I was a regimental soldier, and I think I may claim to know the regimental soldier. I have loved him always, because I know what he is worth." The Navy and the R.A.F. had learned how to work together, but they would be the first to own that the German Army could only be beaten by our Army; and our Army could not beat the German Army unless it was thoroughly equipped. The soldier deserved every "bob" we had. 

Lord Cavan had a special word for the Home Guard. He said he felt sure, there would be enemy parachute landings in this country, but the Home Guard would never let them get "inside" without having a shot at them first.

Lord Cavan afterwards wrote to Mr. H. Grenville Hjll: "I send you my best thanks for a very happy day and heartily congratulate you on the  admirable organisation. The village may well be proud of its cadets and all three Services. 

"Taking part in the procession were the four chief characters-.' Victory" (Miss Cicely Qdell), "Boadicea " (Amy Wren), "1914 Soldier" (Mr. L. Westwood) and "1944 Soldier" (Mr. E. Munns). After the opening, "Victory" spoke a few lines of salutation written by the Rector (the Rev. A. M. Baird- Smith), and then handed her crown to the," 1944 Soldier." This was followed by a salute in resemblance of  gun-fire, and the bells of the Parish Church rang out. 

Other characters taking part, who afterwards occupied plinths in the High-street for inspection, were cadets in the fighting equipment of British soldiers throughout history. They were Sergeants Almond, East and Hayes, and Cadets Collins, Gardner, King, O'Brien. Saunders and Warner. 

A display of Home Guard weapons and equipment was staged on the field forming part of Bury Farm. 

The lawn of the farm, prepared by Mr. H. Greville Hill, was later the setting for a series of events, including physical training, marching, etc., by No.1 Platoon, " E " Company, Army Cadet Force, under Sergt. C. A. Pegram. 

There was also some excellent singing by St. Helen's School girls' choir, conducted by Miss C. M. Slow, Mrs. B. Paterson being the accompanist.

A children's fancy dress parade was organised by Miss A. Young.  The following were the winners: Julie Warner, Alan Gray. Douglas Macpherson, Edna Mears, Peter Trebell, Jean Goulding, Mary Hayes, Sheila Munden, Gordon Trebell, Nancy Nicol and Mabel Tucker. , 

A dance was held in the Senior School in the evening.  George Mason's Orchestra providing the music. Mr. L. Archer was M.C. 

London artistes gave a concert at the Folly Methodist Hall, on Monday: "Stars in Battledress " appeared in a variety show at St. Helen's School, on Wednesday, when Mr. W. A. Northam, of the National Savings Committee. spoke: and schoolchildren enjoyed a programme of sports on Wednesday. They were organised by the staff of St. Helen's School, under Mr. W. J. Housden. 

The total savings up to Wednesday night were 24,600. .

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