Keep them at home

‘… but my appeal – the appeal of an old man – is to the fathers and mothers, there are too many young girls walking about the streets encouraging the men to a familiarity may end disastrously.. . I say keep them at home …’

Vicar Charles, M. A. Tower. Shoreham Parish Magazine, November 1914, No. 299. (Quote Credit 1)

The sudden appearance of so many men in Shoreham training for war caused concerns.

The Vicar of Shoreham Parish implored local people to keep their daughters at home for fear of disastrous ‘familiarity’ and encouraged publicans to restrain the men from drinking to excess.

The local courts handled cases of soldiers in trouble with the law from being absent without leave, to stealing rabbits, to stealing a tricycle. Even the local coroner was involved with the occasional accidental death of a soldier out in the local towns like Robert Bartlett who had been out drinking at the King’s Head in Brighton before he collapsed and died.

The soldiers were not unnoticed by the young women of the local towns and many romances blossomed.

“Among our admirers there were none more eager to wave their hands than the Brighton girls. All business was suspended in Western Road on our return journey when the waitresses and lady clerks all came out to see us pass through and to throw us cigarettes and fruit.”

From the Papers of Leslie Jones. (Quote credit 6)

Young soldier, Arthur Goodchild, fell for a girl named Dolly in Brighton and it seems the ladies of Flinns Dryer’s and Cleaners at Portslade were popular with the recruits.

“Flinns the Dryers and Cleaners of the South … at Portslade … got a reputation second to none in Portslade for supplying the Regt with girls and in a few cases wives also.”

From the Papers of Leslie Jones. (Quote Credit 6)


Key Sources: 
West Sussex County Times, West Sussex Gazette, Worthing Gazette and Horsham Times. Accessed at Worthing Library, Courtesy of West Sussex County Council Library Service
Shoreham Parish Magazine, reproduced from documents held at West Sussex Record Office, by kind permission of the Parish of St Mary de Haura, New Shoreham. courtesy of Henry Finch.
Coroner's reports held at East Sussex Record Office at the Keep archive, Falmer.