Peace Day

After the signing of the Treaty Of Versailles on 28th June 1919, the government believed that it was now time for the country to celebrate the reality that peace had arrived and a Bank Holiday was declared. A committee chaired by Lord Curzon stated:

“We, considering that, with a view to the more wide-spread and general celebration of the Conclusion of Peace, it is desirable that Saturday, the Nineteenth day of July instant, should be observed as a Bank Holiday and as a Public Holiday throughout the United Kingdom”

The Woodbridge Recorder and Wickham Market Gazette wrote: 

A Peace Day celebration invitation sent to a Melton man who had served during the war.

“The peace celebrations in Melton were carried through very successfully. Some weeks ago a parish meeting decided that the official welcome home to the returned servicemen should be combined with the celebrations, and a committee was formed to carry out such a scheme which should make this welcome the dominant feature.

The parish has lost so heavily during the war – over forty names being on the death roll – that it was impossible to consider the celebrations without the boisterous enthusiasm which would be fitting on an ordinary national event.

The first idea of the committee was to give a dinner and tea to the returned men and provide tea for the children, and have the usual sports, but it was found possible, later, to add to this tea for the whole parish.

A band was also obtained from 1/1st Suffolk Yeomanry; a peace mug was ordered for each school child; an invitation was sent to each available demobilised man, and a letter (to be followed by a gift), to every Melton man still serving.

For the sports, Mr Burness kindly granted use of the Lodge Park, and for the men’s dinner and tea Mr Bradley generously offered his garage and undertook the work of decorations. The catering was put in the hands of Mr John Crane, and nothing was left undone by him to make that branch of the celebrations a success. Help at the table was, of course, given by the committee and others.

Before dinner, the Rector (Rev J A Orpen), addressed the men and, in very fitting words, thanked them for their great services and welcomed them home. Major Bowring responded for the men and expressed the indebtedness of the soldiers to those who had been left at home during the war and on whom the extra burden of anxiety had been placed.

Following the dinner Captain Earnshaw assembled the guests who were then marched by Major Bowring to the Park, the procession being led by the band.

Everything passed off without a hitch and at 8:40 the eventful day was appropriately closed by thanks to Mr Burness for the use of the park, and the singing of the hymn “O God, our help in ages past” and the National Anthem.”