“Come to the cookhouse door, boys”: the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle

Burghfield celebrated the end of the war.

Peace Celebrations

These took place on Saturday, July 26th, in fine weather and were a great success. The church bells were rung early in the morning, and at intervals afterwards. At 2.15 there was a short service, with a sermon by the Rector, in the church, attended by practically all the children from our four schools, over 260 of them, with the teachers, as well as many mothers and a number of ex-service men. The church inside was like a flower garden with the happy throng of young folk and their bright flags and banners and pretty dresses; but it was an earnest service too! The Burghfield Brass Band, under ex-bandsman W J Hathaway, late of the Royal Berks, met the long procession on the way from church, and played them into Hillfields lower park [the home of Mr Willink], where tents and a marquee (in preparation for the approaching Flower Show) had already been pitched, and were available in case of rain – which never came.

Sports for the children began at once, and at 4 o’clock they sat down on the grass to a good tea, after which the men’s sports were carried on till 5 o’clock, when 106 ex-service men, residents in Burghfield, were summoned by the now familiar “Come to the cookhouse door, boys” call, to an excellent meat tea in the marquee (provided by Mrs Sherval). Mr Willink said a few words of welcome at the end of the meal; but the fullest speech was well made by Mr Lousley, Chairman of the memorial and Celebrations Committee, later in the evening at the distribution of the sports prizes by Mrs Geoffrey Chance, when he gave a clear explanation of the aims and methods of the Committee, and thanked all those who had done so much for the Festival (except himself, who had as usual done his share and more), especially Mr H D Higgs (the Hon. Sec.), Mr Hannington, for conveying the Pinge Wood children; and Major Chance, Lieut. Searies, and Messrs E Lousley, Page, G Pembroke and Sheppard, with other teachers, as active members of the Sports Sub-Committee.

The day ended with dancing on rather rough sun-baked ground – but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Indeed there were no complaints all day, and it was a real pleasure to see so many friends and neighbours celebrating in such good fashion the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle – yet those were not forgotten over whose lives the war has cast an abiding shadow. The Hillfields grounds were open during the day.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1919 (D/EX725/4)

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