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During the Great War
by Doris Ambrose

My mother was born during the last few years of the old Queen's reign and her first memory was of sitting up in her father's arm watching the firework display in celebration of the Relief of Mafeking.

She was 16 and a half when the Great War broke out and when the Zeppelin raids started over London. My grandfather sent my grandmother and a girl cousin away to Wildhill for safety.

Although the bombs and the damage caused was small by the standard the capital was to experience in the last war, it was the first time the civilian population had suffered direct attack by an enemy force.

One of the high points of their stay in the country for the two girls was the visits to the concerts given by the Marshmoor Warblers in a barn behind the Sibthorpe Arms.

There was a prisoner of war camp on the outskirts of Welham Green and when the guards heard of and saw the young crippled lad in the village, whose only method of getting about was in an old box on wheels, they decided to raise the money to buy him a proper wheelchair.

I belive that the prisoners were allowed to join their guards putting on the shows, which were very popular and well attended.

They were soon able to reach their goal and the boy must have been a lot more mobile in spite of the road conditions, no smooth tarmac roads in those days.

One of the perks of living in Wildhill was being allowed to walk through Lord Salisbury's ground to reach Hatfield and the shops. I do not know if this is still so. It was certainly the case some years back when my sister and brother-in-law lived at Bell Bar. Except for the A1000, the roads about were much the same as they must have been in 1916. by Doris Ambrose


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