Yeovil – Files from the Western Gazette

Yeovil – Files from the Western Gazette

From The Western Gazette of Friday 20 August 1880:


For several succeeding Sundays, the congregation of Holy Trinity Church, Yeovil, have been much disturbed by a noise of someone whistling, which generally commenced with the sermon, and kept up the accompaniment until the end of the service. Sunday night was no exception, for immediately the Rev. Abel Phillips had ascended the pulpit and given out his text, the whistling was again heard. Thereupon the Rev gentleman (who, it appears, had received several complaints upon the matter) directed the Sexton to discover the delinquent and put a stop to the performance, which had begun in a steady, business like way. The Sexton and Mr. Churchwarden Curtis left the church for the purpose and soon returned when the noise was again repeated, much to the annoyance of the Vicar, who was evidently disturbed by the incident, as he asked the congregation to be lenient under the circumstances, as he feared his remarks must be rather incoherent to them. Eventually a member of the congregation, who lives in the immediate vicinity of the church, left his seat for a while, and the whistling soon afterwards ceased. It subsequently transpired that a parrot was the innocence cause of the annoyance complained of.


The conduct of the landlady of an hotel, not a hundred miles from this place, and a recruiting sergeant has created considerable scandal recently. It appears that some time ago, a gay young Guardsman was sent into the neighbourhood on a recruiting expedition. He took up his quarters at the hotel kept by the husband of the landlady referred to, and shortly afterwards incidents occurred which led to the landlord and others to believe that the landlady and the sergeant were on more intimate terms than were compatible with their positions. Representations were thereupon made to headquarters, which resulted in the soldier being removed from the district. Shortly afterwards the landlady, who it should be stated is between 40 and 50 years of age, was suddenly found to be missing, and almost immediately afterwards it transpired that the recruiting sergeant had been bought out. The landlady subsequently returned, and of course told a very plausible tale as to the cause of her absence. The young soldier also re-appeared upon the scene, and, being out of a ‘sit’, was engaged as a pot boy at the hotel. The Landlord’s jealousy was again aroused, and he ordered the man to leave the house. The landlady, however, insisted on his being allowed to remain, and quarrels became common. The neighbours, indignant at the conduct of the wife and the soldier, assembled near the house in crowds several nights in succession, and threatened to give the pot boy a ‘ducking’. Finding that the place was getting too warm for him, and possibly thinking that ‘discretion was the better part of valour’, the man suddenly ‘made tracks’, and has not since been heard of.

The Yeovil Review of August 1942 recalled the Home Guard Camp.

They worked hard, they played hard, they ate well, they slept well, they all enjoyed themselves and came home fitter and better soldiers. This summarises the opinion of all who attended the Yeovil Borough Company’s Home Guard Camp.

After a rather tedious train journey the Company had a four mile march to the camp situated in one of the most beautiful spots of Somerset. Thanks to an energetic advance party they found the tents pitched, all arrangements made, and a hot meal ready for them. Maybe some of the less experienced soldiers found the first night rather disturbing, under the fresh sleeping conditions, but it took very little time for all to shake down to the new conditions of life and to find that hard work and good company made a really enjoyable holiday. Although, quite rightly, most of the daylight hours were spent in hard training; sport and recreation played a very important part in the week’s activities. Several cricket matches were played against local teams with varying results, but the Yeovil Borough Company mustered a very creditable side. Skittles found great favour amongst many of the older Yeovil Skittle League players, but few could find their form with the rubber balls customary to that part of Somerset. Darts, of course, there is always darts. Shooting matches and rifle firing practice naturally formed a favourite and instructive pastime.

The “Retreat” played by the Company’s Bugle Band, and the ceremonial changing of the guard recalled many memories of soldering in happier days.

The Company’s Sports Day, held on the last Saturday afternoon, started off with a great swing, but no sooner had the heats of the various events been run off when down came the rain, and the finals had to be postponed until the following morning. However, the rain did not entirely spoil the afternoon as invitations had been sent to the many newfound friends in the district, and especially the younger men were able to entertain pleasant company to tea.

It was most unfortunate that the Sergeant Major lost his voice in the middle of the week, but somehow it did not deter his great persuasive powers.

The great success of the week was largely due to the splendid arrangements made, thanks to the energy and organising ability of the Commanding Officer, Major H. C. C. Batten, D.S.O. to whom all members of the Company are grateful for his untiring efforts.

Homing WaltzVera Lynn
Wish you were hereEddie Fisher
Somewhere along the way Nat ‘King’ Cole
High NoonFrankie Lane
Sugar BushDoris Day and Frankie Lane 
You belong to meJo Stafford

 Jack Sweet
July 2018