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Wreath of poppies

First World War: The local war years, 1914-18

Originally serialised by us between August 2014 and March 2015, in five instalments, to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, we look at what happened locally year-by-year.


  • 7 August Reports of panic buying of food and fuel
  • 10 August Appeal for women to volunteer for hospital work locally
  • 11 August First local fatality; Able Seaman Richard George Jones on HMS Amphion
  • 14 August Ealing branch of Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund began
  • 16 August Church parade by local National Reserve at St Mellitus’ Church
  • 17 August Men sworn in as special constables
  • 7 September 80 women to train as nurses
  • Week leading to 9 September Ealing Hostel for Belgian refugees established at 53 Hamilton Road
  • 17 September Soldier killed by train crossing railway line near Hanger Lane
  • 17 September Special constable guarding reservoir attacked
  • 24 September Belgian Flag Day
  • 24 October Joseph Jomas, a Bedford Park German, fined for non-registration as alien
  • 7 November Reception for Belgian refugees at Ealing town Hall
  • 24 November Talk by Prof. Summichrast at Ealing Town Hall about the war
  • 9 December Talk at Bedford Park on need for women’s suffrage due to women suffering in war.


  • Thursday, 14 January: Lantern slide display put on for Belgian refugees at Ealing Town Hall by the Photographic Society
  • Week leading up to 23 January: Sir Edward Henry, Commissioner of Police, issues instructions on air raids
  • Monday, 24 January: A ‘workroom for cases of unemployment arising from war distress’ opened at the Salvation Army Citadel, West Ealing. Designed for women ‘thrown out of work due to the war’, who were to make children’s and adults’ garments. A scheme financed by a grant from the Queen’s Work for Women Fund
  • Week leading up to 30 January: Opening of the ‘Tipperary Rooms’, West Ealing; a club for the wives and mothers of servicemen
  • Wednesday, 4 February: ‘Much interest was excited in Ealing by the passage through the town of a brigade of the Royal Garrison artillery’ (eight ‘4.7’ siege guns each drawn by eight horses, out on exercises)
  • Week leading up to 27 February: An Acton-based cook, Kunigunda Felduas (28) was charged with being an alien enemy failing to notify her change of address. Given a small fine
  • Tuesday, 2 March: Acton Council considers increased wages for workers because of rise in cost of living in wartime
  • 23 April: Parade in Acton recruiting for Women’s Volunteer Reserve
  • 3 May: Club for wives of servicemen opens on 44 Stanley Road, Acton
  • 11 May: German shops in Bollo Bridge Road attacked
  • 12 May: Acton ‘anti-German rioters’ come to Ealing but do no damage
  • 15 May: Great Recruitment Rally on Ealing Common. Massed military bands, grand march past, dignitaries
  • 22 May: Concert at St Andrew’s church for funds for disabled servicemen
  • Monday, 7 June: Annie Emmerich (40), charged at Acton Police Court with being an alien enemy and travelling more than five miles without a permit
  • Week leading up to 17 July: The Anti-German Union vows to exclude Germans from national life and friendship
  • Week leading up to 21 July: Acton Councillor R. J. Hewett’s son Edward Hewett is killed ‘a few days ago’ in Flanders
  • Week leading up to 4 August: Wounded soldiers from Ealing and Acton hospitals entertained by Mill Hill Park Cricket Club
  • Week leading up to 25 August: War Relief Garden established by children from the Roman Catholic School, Acton Lane
  • Wednesday 1 September: local man refuses to work for ‘German’ firm
  • Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 September: German Zeppelin raids anticipated in Ealing area but did not occur
  • Week leading up to 30 October: Appeal by the Ealing War Dressings Association
  • November: The London United Tramways Co., which has lost 40 per cent of its staff to war enlistments, seeks to hire women as tram conductors. Women must be 25 to 35 years old and 5 feet 5 inches tall.


  • 2 January: Service at St Mary’s church Acton in memory of the war dead
  • February: Ealing’s Belgian Hostel has helped 57 refugees from Belgium in the past year, not all of whom were Belgian
  • 29 February: Sons of Mr King-Baker, Acton historian, appear as conscientious objectors at War Tribunal
  • 17 June: Memorial service for Reverand le Patourel, Vicar of St Dunstan’s church, killed at the battle of Jutland
  • Week leading up to 24 June: Life-long inhabitant of Ealing, Private AG Rose, divisional sniper with the 3rd Hussars, wins the Military Medal
  • 30 June: Death of Lieutenant Nield, son of Ealing’s MP
  • Week leading up to 29 July: More volunteer war nurses wanted in Ealing
  • Week leading up to 6 September: Hanwell man, Lance Corporal Frank Palmer, wins the Military Medal for assisting with casualties
  • Week leading up to 30 September: Rifleman F Bartleman of Darwin Road, Ealing, wins the Military Medal for ‘distinguished conduct in the field’
  • Week leading up to 9 December: Acton man, B Ayling, twice commended for conduct in war
  • 23 December: Death of Miss Harman in munitions factory accident; Ealing’s only female fatality.


  • 8 February Decision to allow potato cultivation in Lammas and Walpole Parks
  • 20 February Deputation to Acton Council concerning coal shortages
  • 10 March Price of Middlesex County Times increases for a penny to three half pennies
  • Week leading up to 17 March Sugar shortages reported in West Ealing
  • 24 March Hostel for women munition workers opens at 3 Mattock Lane
  • 7 April Charity football match for blind servicemen at Chiswick between an Acton and a Bedfordshire team
  • 14 May Cooking demonstrations begin daily for a week at Ealing Town Hall
  • 21 May Cookery demonstration at Prince’s Hall
  • 29 May Flag day to supply soldiers with cigarettes
  • 31 May Communal dining hall opens at Rochester House
  • 14 July Wounded soldiers entertained at Ealing Studios
  • 1 August Ealing Council opens a municipal kitchen
  • 23 August Ealing Council appoints a food overseer
  • 30 August Potato disease found in Ealing
  • 22 September War Loan Committee formed in Ealing
  • 3 October Air raid alert leads to suspension of lessons at Acton Central School
  • 6 October Movement for moss war dressings established at St. Peter’s Vicarage
  • 25 October Fund raising at Acton raises £730 for the Red Cross
  • 13 November Inaugural meeting of Ealing branch of the Comrades of the Great War
  • 17 November Hanwell Council sets maximum prices butchers can charge for meat
  • 2 December Lieutenant Alistair McReady-Diarmid from Acton killed but rewarded by a posthumous VC
  • 8 December Plan to set up another communal kitchen in Ealing
  • 22 December Ealing branch of Women’s Auxiliary Force to be formed.


  • 11 January: Acton man of German descent, Bernard Kupferberg (29), is charged at the West London Police Court with allowing defective munitions
  • 17 January: Famous airman, Lieutenant Louis Noel, visits St. John’s school, Ealing, to give prizes to boys for essays on British Victoria Cross winners
  • 24 January: Admiral Lord Jellicoe visits St. John’s school, Ealing, to lay memorial stone for fallen ex-pupils
  • End January: Retired Acton bank clerk, Harry Thould (61), dies of heart failure from air-raid shock (distant Zeppelins and anti-aircraft fire)
  • 16 February Mrs Lloyd-George, Prime Minister’s wife, visits Ealing to support Welsh Flag Day
  • 12 March Tank Day in Acton to raise funds; tank driven around the town
  • Week leading up to 27 March: Acton man, Captain Allastair Malcolm Cluny McReady-Diarmid of the Middlesex Regiment, wins the Victoria Cross for leading a counter-attack with bombs. Killed in action
  • Monday 30 April: Nine Ealing-area munitions workers given medals by the Duke of Bedford at the Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster
  • Week leading up to 11 May: 14 of 22 bakers in Ealing are using potatoes in their bread
  • Week leading up to 25 May: Captain T. Tannat Pryce, whose sister is wife of Christ Church priest Rev. Cardigan Williams, wins the Victoria Cross
  • Week leading up to 1 June: Ealing Council to pays £2,500 annually into Middlesex Prisoners of War Food and Comforts Fund
  • 11 June: Talk on ‘Women and the Vote’ by Miss Morrell at the garden of Ealing Parish Church Vicarage
  • 13 June: Open air concert in aid of Middlesex prisoners of war
  • Saturday 13 July: Local branches of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers and Sailors take part in Hyde Park event urging all ‘enemy aliens’ to be interned
  • Friday 26 July: Discharged soldiers’ concert at the Park Theatre, Hanwell
  • 27 September: Grand Concert for soldiers held at the Park Theatre, Hanwell
  • 30 September Munitions worker dies in accident at Du Cros factory on Warple Way
  • 17 October: Mayor of Ealing Cllr. J. W. Schofield JP, lectures on ‘my visit to the western front’ at Victoria Hall, Ealing Town Hall
  • 17 October: Official opening of St. David’s Home for disabled veterans, officiated by Cardinal Bourne
  • 11 November: ‘Great gathering’ and ‘thanksgiving’ at Ealing Town Hall, with mayor’s speech, as Ealing celebrates peace
  • Week leading up to 14 December: 2 German artillery pieces displayed at Ealing Town Hall’s courtyard as symbols of victory. Mayor makes speech; national anthem sung
  • Week leading up to 21 December: Ealing town council’s resolution that the German Kaiser be handed over, and Germans to pay full costs of war.

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