Elizabeth Day Purver‘s heart went out to her brother George, and his wife Sarah Ann (née Smith). His Frederick, the eldest of their three sons, had been summoned by the army and was now on his way to the front with his battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.
She was very fond of her nephew, although he was another one putting romantic notions of regimental life into her own little Frederick, whom she sincerely hoped would be too young to be embroiled in this war, at least.
She was also moderately fond of her sister-in-law, although she came from an old Hurstbourne Tarrant family, the neighbouring village. This was only three miles away, but the two villages had always regarded each other with some suspicion. It was rumoured that the vicar of the day in Hurstbourne Tarrant had once gone round the bend, and the villagers had had an earnest discussion about whether the situation was so bad that it merited walking to St Mary Bourne every Sunday – which would perforce involve worshipping ‘amid the alien corn’. Though one or two had made the weekly pilgrimage, most seem to have decided that worship led by a mad vicar was preferable to being surrounded by the ‘queer folk’ of Stoke and Bourne.
In the case of the Smiths, it was a little more complicated as Sarah Ann’s grandfather, William Smith, had married a Sarah Holdway and his father, Thomas, in turn had married another Sarah Holdway. And the Holdways were definitely a St Mary Bourne family. A few had strayed into Hurstbourne Tarrant, but none had achieved the worldly success of the Bourne Holdways – they had always remained the poor relations, even though there had been Holdways in Hurstbourne since James, born in 1582, so you would think they had plenty of time to establish themselves…of course it was always possible that it was the other way round, the Hurstbourne Holdways could have colonised St Mary Bourne. Hmmm, not sure what she thought of that idea. And she must stop day-dreaming and get on with the practicalities of her life…
A note on sources
These are sparse! We do not have access to Frederick George Day’s service records, unfortunately, other than his medal card, which gives his regimental service number (7422) and the date he arrived at the front, of which more later.