The Jellicoe Club, Sandling.
There has been much conjecture as to what the 'Jellicoe Club' was that is referred to in correspondence from Sandling camp and referred to on the memorial situated on the M20 near Saltwood and near the fields of the Canadian forces camp used for training prior to going to the front in World War One.
The small memorial beside the M20 reads:
"East Sandling Camp 1914-19. British Troops. Canadians 1915-17. RAF Cadets 31st Middlesex. Russian Relief Force."
'In thankfulness to God for friends who met at the Jellicoe Club'
'He is thy life and the length of thy days.'
The “Jellicoe” Club, was situated at Stone Farm, in an excellent position kindly given by Mr. John File and is a very commodious building, with a large main hall, two adjoining rooms, and the little chapel which was dedicated on 5th June 1915.
I have found the following which I hope ends the mystery and conjecture over the Jellicoe Club.
FOLKESTONE, HYTHE, SANDGATE, AND CHERITON HERALD
and Chronicle & Observer
5th June 1915
CLUB DEDICATION AT SANDLING.
The Bishop of Croydon will dedicate the chapel of the “Pereira” Club, East Sandling Camp, at 3.15 p.m. to-day (Saturday). He will then proceed to the “Jellicoe” Club, Stone Farm, East Sandling Camp, and at 4.15p.m. will dedicate the chapel there. Afterwards an informal meeting will be held, at which the chair will be taken by Lieut.-Colonel E.B. McInnis, C.M.G., vice-president of the Federation. Brigadier-General McDougall, commanding the Canadian troops at Shorncliffe, has promised to be present.
12th June 1915
Dedication at Sandling.
By the Bishop of Croydon.
Rev. Deane Oliver Thanks Workers
At East Sandling Camp, which is now occupied by Canadian troops, the Bishop of Croydon on Saturday afternoon dedicated the chapels or “rooms of silence” of the “Pereira” and “Jellicoe” Church of England Clubs for Soldiers.
The former club, which is situated at the station end of the camp, though only a small place, is admirably fitted up, like all the similar splendid institutions which have arisen in the Shorncliffe district as the result primarily of the energy and devotion of the Rev. R. Deane Oliver, C.F., and is carried on with the same practical appreciation of the soldier’s comfort, as well as the earnest desire to provide for his religious needs. It has been named after Dr. and Mrs. Pereira in recognition of the assistance they have given to the movement. The furnishing of the chapel has been provided by Mrs. Pereira and friends, including the oak altar with its brass cross, candlesticks, beautifully-worked linen and the oak prayer desk. The linen is the work of crippled girls at a home in Croydon, who have made a gift of it to the club.
The “Jellicoe” Club, which is situated at Stone Farm at the opposite end of the camp, on an excellent site kindly given by Mr. John File, is a very commodious building, with a large main hall, two adjoining rooms, and the little chapel. Like the “Pereira” Club, it is managed by a devoted band of lady workers, and the equipment and arrangements merit the same warm praise.
The Bishop of Croydon was accompanied by Mrs. Pereira, and among others present were the Rev. R. Deane Oliver, Senior C.E. Chaplain at Shorncliffe (Chairman of the Clubs Committee), Lieut.-Col. E.B. McInnis, C.M.G. (Vice-President of the Federation of Clubs), and Mrs. McInnis, Lieut.-Colonel Worthington, (representing Brigadier-General MacDonald, G.O.C. Canadian Troops), Major Piper (O.C. Canadian Chaplains), Canon A.J. Galpin (Rector of Saltwood), Alderman E.J. Bishop, J.P., and Mrs. Bishop, Mr. J. File, Mrs. File Sen., Mrs. G. File, Miss File, Mrs. Hemming, Miss Brownlow, Miss. Margary, Miss. Elverson, Miss Ball, Miss. Thompson, Mr. C. B. Coombes (Hon. Business Manager), and Mrs. Coombes, and Miss Clarence Smith (Hon. Secretary).
The form of service in each chapel was the same and it was noticeable at the “Pereira” Club how some of the soldiers came in their working kit, coatless and with shirt-sleeves rolled up. Part two of the hymn for a dedication festival, “Christ is the sure Foundation. ” was sung, the Bishop recited the prayers of dedication, and the brief but solemn ceremony was concluded with the Doxology of the hymn, “Laud and Honour to the Father.”
Afterwards a meeting was held at the hall of the “Jellicoe” Club, Lieut.-Colonel McInnis presiding. The proceedings were opened with the hymn, “Fight the goof fight.” the singing being led by the band of the 24th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
The Chairman said he was very disappointed that Lieut.-Gen. Woolcombe was not there to preside, because he was quite sure he would take the greatest interest in anything of that description.
He, like all other general officers in the British Empire, was fully alive to the necessity of those splendid institutions which had done so much to benefit the British soldier, in these war-times especially. He had some experience of soldiers because it had been his great privilege to serve for many years, and wherever he had been he had always felt that the glory of God was always the finest ideal of the British soldier. Both in war and peace he had always kept in touch with the chaplains of the troops, and he was very fortunate in having many warm friends among them, but he had never in all his 53 years’ experience met a more energetic, a keener of finer man, or a better son and disciple of the Church than the Senior Chaplain of the troops, Mr Deane Oliver, (Applause.)
Night and day he had slaved and slaved at it, because it was his great delight to do good, and particularly to do good to the soldiers whom he loved so much. Mr. Deane Oliver knew his old regiment in the South African War, and he had been greatly drawn to him from the beginning by the fact, that he knew his gallant and beloved ones. He could only say that he felt sure God would bless the movement, that it would have great fruits, and would be of the greatest benefit to the non-commissioned officers and men, particularly the chapels which the Bishop had dedicated that day to the service of God. It was very kind of Dr. Pereira and they fully appreciated his kindness in coming there to conduct those services, for he was a very busy man, but they would not be forgotten in a hurry. It would be a red letter day in the history of the soldiers’ clubs. He expressed his delight in the work, and said he felt sure it would be a success. It could only be carried on if they worked hard and kept hard at it, and he felt sure that Mr. Deane Oliver would not let it slacken if he could help it. (Hear, hear.)
The Rev. Deane Oliver said that was a very glad day to those who had been labouring in that cause, because they had looked to the opening of those chapels as being the very top stone of their work in the case of each club. They had desired in every possible way to promote the social welfare of the men, but they felt they would not be doing all that they ought to do unless they made ample provision for their spiritual welfare also.
The main principle of those clubs had been that a short bright service should be held in the main hall every night. That was done, and they had all immensely encouraged all through by the wonderful attendances at those services, by the way in which the men behaved and the gladness and thankfulness that many of them had expressed for the services. But men in camp had no quiet spot, and they desired to add to those clubs a “room of silence” which would also be used as a chapel, which would always be available for a man who wanted to go apart for a few moments for prayer, Bible reading, reading and meditation. Those chapels had now been provided in four of the clubs, and would soon be provided in two more, and then all the camp clubs would have that most necessary and most desirable provision. It had been a labour of love to them all throughout.
Colonel McInnis had said very kind things about him, but he wanted them to understand that although his years of experience had unquestionably been of great service in the work, and made it possible for him to plan things, those plans could never have been carried out if it had not been for the magnificent help that had been given to them from the very outset.
Of the help and some of the helpers it was his privilege to speak on the occasion of the dedication of the “Lord Roberts” Club by the Bishop of Dover. It was now his opportunity and privilege to tell them more of what had been done. To the Chairman himself he owed a great debt of gratitude. His counsel and encouragement in those first days of difficulty when they ventured to begin to plan those clubs were of the greatest value to him.
To the “Folkestone Herald,” for its unfailing support and encouragement, he cold never express his thanks too sincerely. The Editor had been a real good friend to them from the first. Of the Bishop of Croydon’s kindness, encouragement and support, he could hardly bring himself to speak, and even the thought of it moved him to emotion. It was his privilege to make Dr. Pereira’s acquaintance in the early days of the War, and he set himself to support them in that work magnificently. Counsel and advice he had given, and he set himself to raise, and he did raise, £400 in order to supplement the funds. They felt that the least they could do, and they had the joy in doing it, was to name the “Pereira” Club after the Bishop and Mrs. Pereira, who had also done so much to help them, because she had provided all the furnishing of the beautiful little chapel at the “Pereira” Club. The “Pereira” Club was a glad name in their system of clubs, and would remind them to the very end of the magnificent support that the Bishop of Croyden and Mrs. Pereira had given them.
He also wanted to utter a special word of thanks to his churchwarden at the Shorncliffe Garrison Church. Garrison-Sergt.-Major Prater, who was one of those immensely busy men who always managed to find time to help people who were in any sort of difficulty. He was one of the most remarkable men he had ever come across in his life, and he owed him not only in connection with those clubs, but in connection with all his work, a debt of deep gratitude. (Applause.)
Then they had had splendid assistance from Messrs. Bromley and Dahl, the architects, of Folkestone, who had spent a great deal of time on the sites, and in drawing plans and giving every possible advice in the erection of the clubs.
To Mr. John File he also wished to express deep gratitude, because he had given them that splendid site, the most perfect site they could wish for for the Club, and they rejoiced to see him present with members of his family.
To Canon Galpin, the Rector of Saltwood, for his unvarying kindness and courtesy, and not only for his work in connection with that place, but for making what he had done in promoting and making a very delightful place of the club in Saltwood village, they gave their hearty thanks that day.
He also thanked Miss. Rose Willett, who had given herself to the work of that club when it was only a small place in November, trudging through many a mile of ankle-deep mud, facing every kind of weather, and had given almost all, if not all, of the furniture of the original part of the club. She had since moved, and had for a long time been taking charge of the club in Hythe and doing very valuable work there. She had also given a large subscription and collected more money towards the building of the “Lord Roberts” Club.
To other ladies who had given themselves to the work ungrudgingly, first there, and then at “Grierson” Club in Sandgate, and were now devoting themselves to the work there and at the “Pereira” Club. Miss Brownlow, Miss Margary, Miss Elverson, Miss Thompson, and Miss Ball, he could not do justice to his subject in trying to tell them of what Mr. Coombes had done for the clubs. Since almost the very first he had been his right hand. If he had planned, Mr. Coombes had carried out. There would not be to-day one half of the clubs that there were, and that half would not be as efficient, if it were not for Mr. Coombes.
The clubs in Sandling would not be bigger than the little original piece - he could not have embarked on the larger scheme, if it were not for his aid. He could not describe to them how Mr. Coombes had given himself to the work, labouring eight or nine hours a day, giving himself and his car up to the work - one day he did 70 miles, and his average mileage a week was 300 - in all weathers, at all hours, in all circumstances. Mr. Coombes had worked, and no one could tell them the amount of gratitude due to him from the troops, but he knew it had been a labour of love to Mr. and also Mrs. Coombes, who had so cheerfully surrendered the car to the work of the clubs.
At the beginning of the War there were three old militia mess huts on St Martin’s Plain. He (the speaker) bought them, and one was now the “Sir John French” Club, one was the “Kitchener” Club, another was embodied in that, the “Jellicoe” Club. When the troops were first moved into that camp in the winter the roof of the club was unfinished and the place was floorless. Mr. Coombes rushed round, got barmen, got stores, and when the men arrived there was hot cocoa and coffee ready for them, and uncommonly glad they were to have it. The barmen laboured with their feet in liquid mud and the rain pouring down on them, but it was better than nothing. The roof was eventually finished, and then the floor, and the men appreciated immensely what was done for them, and for that they owed great gratitude to Mr. Coombes. (Applause.)
The Bishop of Croydon said he would like to say how proud he was to speak under the presidency of one who for very many years served in that splendid regiment, the 9th Lancers, with the fame of which the whole country had been acquainted for many years, but with whose added fame the country was ringing to-day.
Proceeding Dr. Pereira said they had repaid a thousand times what he had done in naming one of the clubs after himself and his wife. He explained how he was brought to realise the need of such institutions through visiting Shorncliffe on a very wet day last autumn. Mr. Deane Oliver had invited him down, and he thought he must be a weather prophet to have chosen such a day for him. It was just a day to move anybody’s heart to help. There was a great wind and driving rain, and he saw crowds of young fellows forced to remain out in the open through the existing places being so inadequate. He went home and wrote 37 letters, giving a full account of what he had seen, and he asked for funds. The money came tumbling in. Those 37 letters produced all the money he had guaranteed and more. Mr. Deane Oliver was the only clergyman he had ever known who had sent a subscription back and said he had got all the money he wanted.
The reason why it was so easy to get that money was that at the back of those gallant fellows who had come forward in response to the call of their King and country, the great majority of their fellow countrymen stood firm. Their sons, their brothers, their nearest and dearest were in the ranks, and they were doing for them what they were doing that day. They recognised that when they came forward they came with more or less of a full sense of what they were going to face.
They knew it was not a summer picnic they were going to prepare for, and that when they went across the water, and before they went across there, they would have to face many discomforts, many hardships, and in the course of time many perils, many of them - alas! how many - never to come back again, taken from the dear ties of home, taken from the quiet peaceable life they were living, and thrown into the midst of the most cruel, the most appalling, the most wicked , the most devilish war that had ever been waged. And it was for that reason, because the people at home appreciated that and understood it, that directly it was said “For the soldiers,” at once, even in times of strain and stress, pockets were opened, and generous hearts responded.
Referring to the furnishing of the chapel of the “Pereira” Club, the Bishop said Mrs. Pereira was anxious to do something to help the clubs, and so she was glad to guarantee the furnishing of that, and she went to home for crippled girls in Croydon to place the order for the fair linen to he used there-in. The girls carried out the work, but they would not receive any pay. They gladly gave the work, because, they said, it was for the soldiers, and in order that they might receive the greatest and most blessed means of grace God had provided. He would like that little history to be known to the soldiers who were going to avail themselves of that club, that they might know that the efforts of those poor suffering girls and their earnest prayers had gone to that gift and surely it would be blessed by God.
All such things represented the main desire to build up their house in the firm foundation of the blood of their Lord and Master Jesus Christ, that amidst all the toil, the discomforts, the burdens, the perils, the sacrifices and the anguish they had got to go through, they would learn one essential lesson, one lesson that was for all the world to learn, that they might learn to know Him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ His Son. And if by the provision of such places as that they could make it easier for the soldiers to do right and more difficult for them to do wrong, if they could mitigate to some extent the weight and fierceness of those temptations to which necessarily they were exposed, then, indeed, any little effort that any one of them had been making had been more than repaid, and they could only assure Mr. Deane Oliver, Colonel McInnes, Mr. Coombes, and all those who were working there so devotedly that they did not forget them in their prayers to Almighty God, and they did ask Him day by day that these efforts they were making there might be crowned with success, and that they might have the desire of their hearts. (Applause.)
Lieut.-Colonel Worthington said General MacDougall, of the Canadians, wished him to tell them how much he regretted not being able to be there in person that day, and to tell them how much he appreciated the noble work they were carrying out in the formation and organisation of those soldiers’ clubs. The General was certain that their noble work would be crowned with success, and that it would be appreciated by the Canadian soldiers of the King. He wished also to say how much he appreciated the great kindness and courtesy which invariably had been shown by the English people towards the Canadians (Applause.) On every occasion they had given them the “Glad Hand.” (Hear, hear.)
He wished also to say that the people of Canada were with the Motherland heart and soul in this great crisis and that there could be only one end to that awful war, and that must be unqualified victory. (Applause.)
They could not afford to have it anything less. When the call came in the Dominion, men from the Atlantic provinces and from the great industrial centres of Canada, men from the forests and the prairies of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and from the hills ands valleys of British Colombia, all rushed forward to answer it, and they thought it a great privilege to get taken as members of the first contingent. Canada had not only sent a first contingent, but she had sent a second contingent, and was now training a third and a fourth contingent - (applause) - and would continue as long as her sons were needed to uphold the honour of the old Flag. (Applause.).
He was told that at the present moment the Canadians in training, those in England and those at the front, were numerically as strong as that gallant Army which Field-Marshall Sir John French commanded last September. (Applause.) The Canadian blood that had been poured out in Flanders had cemented Canada to the British Empire with bonds stronger than those of steel. They felt that Britain’s quarrel was their quarrel, and that Britain’s glory was their glory, and that the old Flag was theirs as well as Britain’s. (Hear, hear).
In conclusion, acting for General MacDougall, he would propose a hearty and most sincere vote of thanks to the Bishop of Croydon for the great interest he had taken in the promotion and organisation of those clubs, and he also wished to thank most sincerely Mr. Deane Oliver and all those ladies and gentlemen who had given of their time and money towards that noble work. (Applause.)
Major Piper, in seconding, said the Canadians would always thank them for those clubs, especially those of the first contingent, who were all last winter on Salisbury Plain and endured much from the weather there. They had no little chapel to worship in there, or buildings like those clubs. Their men who were now at Sandling, and would come, would, he was sure, appreciate their kindness very much, and not only appreciate the kindness but would profit thereby, for there was nothing, to his mind, more helpful to the men than those little chapels. It was nearly an Anglican army on the second contingent, as it was the case with the first. Sixty-two per cent were Anglicans so that out of every ten chaplains they were entitled to six. They felt that they needed more chaplains than the British Government would allow them. In Canada they had one chaplain for every 4,000 men. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London had now got it possible for him to bring over one chaplain for every 2,000 men. The cost of the War to the Anglican Church was enormous, and they would see what the Church was doing for the nation. (Applause.)
They had not yet seen Mr. Deane Oliver’s equal as a chaplain. (Applause.) He was always glad to do anything to make the men happy and comfortable in camp. They had never received anything like the encouragement which they had received from Mr. Deane Oliver.
The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation. The Band played “The Maple Leaf,” “Old Canada,” and “God save the King,” to conclude the evening.
The rooms in the club are named after various donors and helpers. The main building of the “Pereira” Club is called the “McAlpine” Room, and at the “Jellicoe” Club there are the “Coombes” Hall, the “File” Room, the “Griffiths” Hall (named after the Rev. R Griffiths. C.F.), the “Willett” Room, and the “Rogers” Room, which name has been bestowed upon the “room of silence” after Mrs. Rogers, who gave and furnished it.
Lieut.-General Woolcombe, G.O.C. Eastern Command has recently accepted the office of Hon. President of the Federation of Church of England Soldiers Clubs, in succession to Major-General J.M. Babington.
The old memorial near Stone Farm, now replaced by a stone memorial