Stained glass window in Holy Trinity Church Leverstock Green, commemorating the men of the Queen's Westminster Rifles stationed at Leverstock Green in 1914. This window was given by the men of the QWR to Holy Trinity Church in gratitude for the hospitality and kindness shown them by the people of Leverstock Green during the 1914~1918 war. It shows St. George in one panel and St. Lois of France in the other, with the arms of the City of Westminster above. There was a similar window in Westminster Abbey, which was unfortunatley destroyed during WW2. [S2, S355]
"Remember oh Lord Thy servants of the 1st Battalion Queen's Westminster Rifles who going forth from this Parish, died for their King & Country in the great War 1914~1918"
For information contained on this page I am greatly indebted to Chris Reynolds (www.hertfordshire-genealogy.com) who in 1994 introduced me to the War Diaries of Bernard Brookes, and other information concerning the QWR's stay in Leverstock Green; to Jill Ray for many of the photographs and permission to use her mother's autograph book; to Madge Field her sister for yet more photographs; and also to Matt Wheeler, past curator at Dacorum Heritage Trust for use of the microfilm of the Hemel Hempstead Gazette. Without them, this page would be less comprehensive..
The billeting of the 1st Battalion Queen's Westminster Rifles in Leverstock Green in the late summer and early autumn of 1914 left behind many fond memories. Even though those living at the time are long since departed, their children remember the stories their parents told, and the window in the local church (above) serves as a permanent reminder. Some of our own young men joined up and left for France with the Battalion in 1914.
Precise details of the troops movements and junketings themselves were recorded by some of the men at the time, in particular Bernard J Brookes and Major Enriques - these are reported together with other contemporary records of their stay on the web page concerned with 1914.
This page is essentially a pictorial record of their stay. Quite a few "official" photographs were taken during their stay in Leverstock Green, and these "postcards" have been hoarded by local residents ever since. As was the practice at the time, the young soldiers of the battalion were invited to write in the autograph books of their contemporaries haling from Leverstock Green. We are fortunate that at least one of these survives - that of Olive Seabrook (later Parkins), one of the daughters of Arthur Seabrook landlord of The Leather Bottle. For permanent residents and temporary visitor alike, The Leather Bottle was one of the favourite watering holes, and very much at the centre of life in Leverstock Green at the time.
If anyone reading these pages is also in possession of additional photographs/autographs or dairy records relating to the time the QWR were stationed in Leverstock Green I'd be delighted to hear from you. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org..
The group seen here were photographed outside the school in Bedmond Road. (Click here to see picture of schools) The school was set up as their headquarters and used as an orderly room and stores. When school resumed after the harvest holiday, the children had their lessons in the Baptist Chapel next door instead.
These are extracts from the autograph books of Miss Olive Seabrook. More pages are shown further down the page'
Before leaving Westminster for Hertfordshire, the QWR attended a service in Westminster Abbey. This programme was left as a memeno with Olive Seabrook at The Leather Bottle by one of the soldiers.
ABOVE: This looks to have been taken outside one of the barns at Westwick Row Farm, and is therefore likely to be H Company - complete with farm cat!
Photograph courtesy of Chris Reynolds, from the Watford Illustrated for 7th Novemebr 1914. It is thought to have been taken in the days prior to the QWR departure for France on 1st November 1914.
It can be noticed from this page of the autograph book that some members of the Battalion returned to Leverstock Green many years later.
ABOVE: F Company Queens Westminster Rifles. Taken by Hemel Hempstead photograpger Dunn on the green outside Leverstock Green Farm, and included Mr. & Mrs. John Knox Hart. Before the QWR left for France a presentation was made to the Knox- Harts.
28th October 1914: The Gazette carried the following report:
On Wednesday Colour Sergeant Macnamara of the Queens Westminster Rifles presented with musical honours before and on behalf of F company a very elegant and substantial tea tray to Mr. & Mrs.. Knox Hart & family of Leverstock Green as a memento of their very pleasant stay at they had had at the farm. Mr. Knox Hrat replied on behalf of Mrs.. Knox Hart and family thanking the subscribers thanking the subscribers for their unexpected and handsome present and spoke of their high standard of their behaviour and the regret they felt that duty called them to go abroad hoping for their safe return home and to Leverstock Green Farm. [Gazette 28th October 1914] .
According to the inscription on the back, this photo of The Leather Bottle was taken by WHITBURN of the QWR.
This photo of Olive Seabrook is also thought to be by Whitburn. The inscription reads "Lulu of a girl on some bike!"
THE LEVERSTOCK GREEN CHRONICLE
an in-depth history of one village in Hertfordshire UK.
Click to link to principle LG Chronicle web pages.