World War I Peace Celebrations 

by Irena White



Following the public meeting on 26th June 1919, a committee was formed in order to raise funds and to organize events to mark the Peace.

The arrangements were made to have a procession starting at the School and passing the Cross, on which was to be sited the War Shrine, previously situated on the wall of the School. It was decided that it should be passed in silence, as a tribute to the memory of Ruyton men who have fallen in the War. The procession then would carry on up Church Street and onwards to Brownhill and the site of the War Memorial

for its dedication.  Mr. Francis James Cocks, the village photographer of Riversdale, Church Street, was asked to take photographs of the procession as he saw fit.

 The order of March was that the School Children should lead, followed by demobilized men, then the Friendly Societies and then members of the general public While the march was taking place the Church Bells would be ring from 11.45 to 12.45 (at a cost of 2.02.00).                                                                                                                                  

Once at the War Memorial it was unveiled and dedicated by  Major Gen Edward Ranulph Kenyon of Pradoe. After which the assembled gathering disbursed.  After the end of the dedication service, people made their way home and then at 3p.m. assembled at Ruyton Park, home of Captain Hunt, who had offered it as a venue for the celebration of the Peace.                                                                                                                   

The catering Committee had organized funding for the food and drink. This consisted of a knife and fork tea for all adults, including soldiers, and including those children residing at Platt Bridge and their parents, Ruyton Soldiers now married and living outside the Parish and Mr. Birch of Grimpo and Mr Williams of Post House. Friends and visitors could attend at a cost of 1/6d per head with children charged at 9d.  Children were to have meat sandwiches and cake and bread and butter. Men were allowed one pint of beer or one bottle of mineral water, ladies allowed one bottle of mineral water. The beer allowance was also available to the band.  

Residents were all issued with a ticket which allowed them to participate and, an additional, a ticket was issued for the beer, which was only for those aged 16 and over.  In addition to the refreshments on offer there were also sports with prizes.  For the female side there were races, needle threading, blindfold sewing and the long jump.  Male participants enjoyed the obstacle races, sack race. high jump and tug of war, plus raffles.  Captain Hunt booked 20 members of the Band of the K.S.L.I at a cost of 18.18.00 plus expenses.                            

At ten in the evening dancing would start and it was suggested that Ned Lloyd should fire the guns in the Park, later in the evening. Two constables were hired at a cost of 7/6d each, to ensure that order was kept during the festivities.                                                                                                                                                                               

Fund raising was by means of a series of collectors in each of the townships, if there was a shortfall it was to be covered by other means such as the sale of mugs or War bonds.  In addition to the cost of the celebrations themselves they also provided mugs for the children which were given out by the School and for each man that had returned there was a choice of a gift, being a card holder a wallet a tie pin or a tobacco pouch or cigarette case in either leather or metal.   These gifts were to be collected by the men on the day at a smoking contest to be held 11th November1920, Armistice Day, or by their representative If they were still in the forces, then the selected gift was sent on to them.

The other major item of expenditure was the Scroll of Honour which was to show the names of all those who had served.


   The village cross used as a temporary war memorial  

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