The talk by Dr Kate Tiller explained the situation in the country and in Ewelme before the start of World War 1, as well as highlighting the effect of the war, locally.
There was a general sense of confidence across the country, although Dr Tiller also highlighted some of the political issues – strikes, women’s suffrage, the Irish question etc – which were of concern. In Ewelme, the population, at 479, was smaller than in 1871 and was ageing and in decline. The principal activity was farming – mainly arable, but also sheep farming and watercress production.
When war broke out, 26 Ewelme men enlisted, many in the navy. Ewelme School was also affected, as children left early to go to out to work. Those of the population who did not go to war got involved in ‘keeping things going’. Much fund raising and home production of food went on, with women working on the land and in munitions factories.
By the end of the war, there were 20 casualties from Ewelme. The Ewelme war memorial was erected in their memory.
Dr Tiller’s talk was extremely interesting and appreciated by the full audience in the church.