Many British people felt the need to help those parts of France and Belgium which were still suffering after the war ended. Worcester held a Peace Carnival in June 1919, when a mock-up of a ruined Flemish village was built in Birdport, then being cleared of slums. The exhibit excited great interest and sympathy and helped Worcester people to understand the terrible conditions in which many in the war-torn areas were living.

'Ruined Flemish Village' - a mock-up of a village ruined in war.
An exhibit in Worcester's 'Peace Carnival', June 1919
By kind permission of Berrows Worcester Journal

Those wishing to help could not provide for rebuilding homes, although these were badly needed as the French government insisted that this was paid for by Germany through ‘reparations’. They had to find other ways to show their generosity.




Returning Villagers - a picture held in Péronne Museum
Mines collected from fields around the area

Worcester may have benefitted from joining the League of Help relatively late. Many towns had to abandon their original plans as the true state of devastation in France was better understood.

Stourbridge, raising funds for agricultural equipment and seed, were instead asked to send the cash to their ‘godchild’ Grandcourt, to pay men to clear the ground of war debris and level it before the seed and equipment could be used.

Evesham bought goats for Hebuterne but had to delay sending them as there was no fodder there for them through the winter.

Working party in trenches near Metz en Couture
Reproduced with kind permission from Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 8550)
Wrecked trenches near Front de Pinon
With kind permission from Imperial War Museum © IWM (Q 57543)
When Maidstone offered harvesting machinery to its godchild, Montauban, they were told of “the broiling heat . . . .sets fire to the dry grass, thus causing concealed shells and grenades to explode . . . The corn has either not grown at all or has grown so unevenly that harvest will not be possible . . . . . I want . . . .to draw your attention to the importance of establishing a water elevator worked by wind”.

Maidstone went on to raise money for a water pump, as did Huddersfield for their 2 adopted villages of Hermies and Havrincourt, both close to Gouzeaucourt.

Worcester decided to provide a water supply for Gouzeaucourt.

A tank from the battlefields paraded through Worcester during the fete
on its way to Gheluvelt Park where it remained for many years.
Photo courtesy of Berrows Journal

A fete held at Perdiswell was the single largest fund-raising event. On 30 June 1921 the crowds were entertained to sports and dancing, side shows, bowling and a drama while produce and refreshments were sold.

Similar events occurred in many towns.
Photo courtesy of Berrows Journal

Following the success of the fete when Worcester had raised nearly £600, it was decided to close the fund in November 1921. The final sum raised is recorded as £655.9s.9d ( approx.£23,000 today)* The committee had bought a windmill pump and a petrol engine, the latter provided at cost price.

*Inflation calculated with reference to CPI index between 1921 and 2012.