By kind permission of John King, Author

1918 began with the customary Vicars’ letters. Luffman began his sombrely when he noted that Grove Park had suffered much already through the long-drawn-out war, the end seeming as far off as ever. He clearly saw England as being on the side of right and his language was approaching that of his neighbour.

“Our enemies have dropped every disguise; and whether we consider the atrocities they have committed on the civilian populations of the territory they have occupied, the ruthless destruction of life in their submarine warfare, or the professed doctrines of their philosophers and statesmen, they appear in bold relief as the representatives of a barbarism which men fondly hoped belonged to bygone ages”.

Luffman did not offer great hope. There was no sign of a speedy ending of the war, he said, but there was the possibility of greater trials to come. We must, he declared, do our duty and leave the rest to God.

Farquhar was equally gloomy when he said the coming year would test Patience and courage severely, although there was some hope. “We have been Immensely disappointed, and all military calculations have been upset by the after-effects of the revolution in Russia, but apart from this set-back the Allies have pulled together. In addition, America has come in to take her share in the fight for justice and a righteous freedom for the nations of the world”.

He also commented on the air raids. “The tremendous progress that has been made in the science of flying has given our enemies a weapon which they have turned against poor, helpless people who have no longer the guarantee of safety that civilised nations have always promised to non-combatants.”

There was more gloom when Farquhar described all the church organisations being at a standstill; and it was, he said, extremely difficult to do any aggressive work.

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