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1918: Fete for wounded heroes at Victoria Park

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 18 June 1918





A stranger visiting Haywards Heath last Wednesday and making his way towards either the northern or southern end of the town would have gathered from the display of flags that something was happening out of the common. And he would have been right.

In our midst are many wounded soldiers and men who have fought and bled for England —and residents, because a Fete had been arranged in their honour, gladly went to the trouble of decorating their dwellings as an outward sign of an inward gratitude for what the lads in hospital blue had done for their country. And in going round the town we noted that in not a few instances the gayest displays were made by those who had loved ones across the water!

It was in the mind of Mr. G. Quattrucci, an Italian gentleman living in Sydney Road, and doing voluntary work at the Haywards Heath Cottage Hospital, that the idea of getting up a pleasurin’ day for the Boys first originated.

When one moves among our soldier patients —chats with them in a manly sort of way and views life through their spectacles—one gets at their hearts and learns that they yearn to be "taken out of themselves”. Fine views are delightful to a very weak man, but when men can walk about their blood is stirred and they long for other things beside charming scenery.

When Mr. Quattrucci mentioned what he proposed to do to some of his acquaintances, they readily consented to support him, and today they must feel glad that they did so, for the Fete, held in Victoria Park, was a grand success. And very pleased that such was the case must be those residents in and around Haywards Heath who responded to the Committee's appeal for donations and gifts in kind. Did space permit we should like to record the whole of their names, but as this is not possible, we have been asked to assure one and all that the Committee are sincerely grateful to them for so promptly and cheerily lending them a helping hand and freeing them from financial anxiety.

On the Committee were Mr. C. H. Masters (Chairman), Dr. Glenn, Mr. F. J. Comer, Mr. E. J. Davies, Mr. J. Hornsby, Mr. J. King, Mr. H. Reffell, Mr. F. Golding (Hon . Treasurer), and Mr. W.

Layton (Hon. Secretary).

Invited to the Fete were the soldier patients and nurses at the Cottage Hospital and V.A. Hospital at Haywards Heath and the V.A.

Please see note (1) on above photograph

Hospitals at Cuckfield, Lindfield and Balcombe. The Hon. Chaplain of the Cottage Hospital (the Rev. E. F. W. Eliot) and Lady Kathleen Eliot also attended.

The weather was perfect, and as the clock approached the hour of two motor cars and carriages stopped outside the Park for soldiers and nurses to alight. Their smiling faces indicated that they were in happy mood. They laughed and chatted and commented on this and that, showing that they were keenly interested in all going on around them. Fragrant roses were handed to the men by Miss Gladys Comer and Miss Eveline Creek, and this little act of kindness was warmly appreciated. Later, packets of cigarettes were given them.

The Member for the East Grinstead Division, Mr. H. S. Cautley, who was accompanied by his wife, opened the Fete, and with them on the flag bedecked platform were Mr. Quattrucci, Mr. Masters, Mr. F. C. Golding, Mr. Layton, Mr. King and Mr. Comer.

Mr. CAUTLEY pointed out that even at the present critical time in this terrible war, which was being fought in the interests of freedom and liberty, we did not forget the men who had already taken their part in it, and on behalf of Mr. Quattrucci and the Committee he extended to the men from the hospitals at Haywards Heath, Cuckfield, Lindfield and Balcombe their most kindly welcome. The main object of the Fete was to give the Boys from the Front an enjoyable time, and the more they enjoyed themselves the better pleased and satisfied with the results of their efforts would the Committee be. The whole cost of the entertainment had been generously met by residents in the district, and the takings that day would go to benefit the hospitals he had already mentioned. (Applause).

To Mrs. Cautley little Miss Maud Hostile 9 presented a lovely bouquet of orchids (the gift of Messrs. Charlesworth), and on his wife's behalf Mr. CAUTLEY returned thanks.

The crowd—as the day advanced it grew to be over 3,000 strong—then broke up and moved where fancy led. Some went up into the plantation, others seated themselves on the banks, and many gathered around the Brighton Warren Farm Band. The lads were under the direction of Mr. H. M. Carr, L.R.M.S.M., late Bandmaster 3rd (K. O. ) Hussars. The following programme of music was rendered, and the young instrumentalists are to be highly complimented on their playing : March, "Sons of the Sea" ; valse, "Destiny"; selection, "Ball Room Memories"; intermezzo rococo, “Rendezvous"; cornet solo, "The Sunshine of Your Smile;" dance, "Ladybird" ; selection, "Bound to Win " ; tango, "Mimi"; cornet solo, "Somewhere a Voice is Callins" ; valve, "Songe de Antomne."

Grist was brought to the mill by the sale of flags (the gift of Mr. T. R. Chamblett), the 'sum taken, being £25 15s. 2d. Lovely carnations were contributed to the flower stall by Messrs. Allwood Bros., of Wivelsfield, and the stall receipts were £9 0s. 5d. A fish pond netted £1 7s. 5d., and "stepping stones" 13s. 9d. Mrs. and Miss Masters had charge of bean bags, and bagged £4 16s. 9d.

Other attractions were a roundabout and swings.

A Dutch auction was conducted by Mr. Layton and Mr. F. J. Comer, and it created a lot of amusement. A wooden hobby horse benefited the funds to the extent of £5 12s., a model cf a tank realised 19s., and a rabbit 10s. A live sheep (kindly given by Mr. Jessett) brought in £2 10s.

The sports programmme proved very popular, some of the events tickling the onlookers immensely, especially the one in which soldier competitors got their faces blackened in trying to get a five-shilling piece off the centre of a frying pan. Mr. Corner acted as starter, and Mr. E. E. Doughty, Mr. W. Lane and Mr. A. Jeffery as judges. Assistance was also given by Mr. C. Masters, Mr. T. Bracher and Mr. E. Creek. The results were as follows :

100 Yards Race for Wounded Soldiers.—First, Gunner H. Belsham ; 2nd, Private J. H. Smith ; 3rd, Driver J. Feven.

Pillow Fight for Wounded Soldiers.— First, Private W. Clarke, 2nd, Private P. Wright.

Ladies' Race.—First, Miss Barrett ; 2nd, Mrs. Race ; 3rd. Mies Alton.

Blindfold Boxing for Wounded Soldier.—First, Gunner Belehain ; 2nd, Sergeant Collins.

Kiss the Pan for Wounded Soldier.- First, Private Baker 2nd, Sergeant C. T. Cornish; 3rd, Private W. J. Green.

Tug-of-War.—Haywards Heath Cottage Hospital (Driver Feven, Privates Flackett, Green, Graham, Elkin and Carter) beat Haywards Heath V.A.D. Hospital.

100 Yards Race for Schoolboys.—First, H. Hook; 2nd, F. Hazeldean ; 3rd, C. Knight. 100 Yards Race for Girls.—First, C. Creek : 2nd, L. Josephs ; 3rd, G. Paxton.

The prizes (all gifts from friends) were handed to the successful competitors by Miss BARRETT, Matron of the Cottage Hospital. A beautiful bouquet of carnations, made by Miss Covington, was presented by Miss Maud Hoadley to Miss Barrett, on behalf of the Committee, and Mr. S. L. Pow ELL, Treasurer to the Beechhurst Annexe, cordially thanked the Committee for giving the soldiers such a very happy time.

A nice tea was given the soldiers and nurses, the caterer being Mr. E. Cole. There was a small army of assistants, as the following list will show :—Mrs. Comer, Mrs. J. Grantley Howard, Mrs. Hornsby, Mrs. Lane, Mrs. Creek, Mrs. E. J. Davies, Mrs. Reffell, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Cartwright, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Bracher, Mrs. Schofield, Mrs. Durban, Mrs. Bliss, Mrs. and Miss Burleigh, Miss Dickenson, Miss Dix, Miss E. Dix, Miss Farrow, Miss Underhill, Miss Bates, Miss Gladys Botting, Miss Blunt, Miss Southcott, Miss Hallett and—others who were "born to blush unseen by the Press."

The concluding feature was a concert, and Mr. E. J. Davies, who was mainly responsible for its organisation, is to be congratulated on the treat he secured for the Boys and the public. The first part of the programme was sustained by local performers, their names being Air Mechanic A. R. Hill (whose humorous items were greatly enjoyed), Driver Feven (clog dancer), Mr. F. Hounsell (cornet soloist), Mrs. Walford, Mrs. Thredder and Mies Symes (vocalists). Part II. brought to the fore those highly talented Brightonians —Mr. W. A. Lauder, Mr. W. A. Humphreys, Mr. A. Clarke, Miss Lily Shalders, Miss Anna Burgess, Miss Phyllis Williams (a perfect little actress), and Miss Nutley. The selections they gave delighted everybody, and each item was enthusiastically applauded. Mr. E. W. Young was the accompanist, and the vocalists could not have had one more sympathetic and skilful. Mr. G. V. Brooks (a visitor who found pleasure in aiding the Fete with his pen) recited very pleasingly "England's Emblem," and at the finish he handed to the Matron of the Cottage Hospital a lovely basket of roses.

Before the National Anthem was sung there was vocalised " A Perfect Day "—and a more appropriate piece could not have been chosen. Here are the concluding lines:—

Well, this is the end of a Perfect Day,

Near the end of a journey too ;

But it leaves a thought that is big and strong

With a wish that is kind and true.

For mem'ry has painted this Perfect Day

With colours that never fade,

And we find at the end of a Perfect Day

The soul of a friend we've made.

Unique was the Fete in the town's history, and for that reason we append the names so far as we could gather them—of those who gave assistance wherever it was needed : Mr. F. Cheall, Mr. J. Brooman, Mr. C. Sharman, Mr. G. Smith, Mr. Sharpe, Mr. Barnes, Quartermaster - Sergeant Schofield, Mr. Pannell, Mr. McClay, Mr. Bliss, Mr. C. A. Bawling, Mr. Hornsby, Jun., Mr. Reffell, Jun., Mr. D. Tolhurst, Mr. Tillman, Miss Fillery, Mrs. . Bawling, Miss Spence, Miss Cottingham, Miss Goddard, Miss Cot, tiogton, Miss Munnery, Miss Mills, Miss Lusted, Miss Heritage, Miss Scrams, Mrs. Luke, Mrs. Hornsby, Mies Briggs, Miss Getton, Miss Bayliss, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Jarred, Miss Cowdrey, Kiss Replay, Mrs. Dibley, Miss Newnham, Mrs Mackailes, Miss Manville, Miss Tome, Nurse Hyde, Nurse Wilson, Miss Roffey, Miss Hazel Fymes, Miss Helicar, Mrs. Richardson, Mrs. Emerson, Miss Chatfield, Mrs. Burgess, Master Challen and Master Turk.

The Fete ended shortly after eight o'clock, and some soldier guests with whom we chatted said it was one of the happiest days they had spent since coming back to Blighty.

(1) Brian Quattrucci writes "The photo is of staff and injured soldiers at, I believe, the King Edward VII Memorial Eliot Cottage Hospital. My Grandfather, Giustiniano Quattrucci, is seated, third from the left, next to a nurse"


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