The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

World War One

The Rector's War

The Rev. Cecil Lloyd Matthews was a popular Rector who became an Army Chaplain in July 1915. By February 1916 he was serving in France. He developed unspecified throat trouble that persisted and was finally operated on. At the front he was popular and attained the rank of Major.

Despite expressing his wish to return to Clophill when he was demobbed he wrote an open letter saying that he taken a living in Leicestershire. One of the two reasons that he gave was that "there are some - I am glad to believe that they are only a few - who have made it clear that they would have no welcome for me." What had they said about the popular Rector? Later in his life he became Archdeacon of Leicester.

This is information gleaned from the 'Ampthill News' for the period of the war. Click title to expand an item.

Saturday, May 13, 1911

Appointed Rector.

Saturday, December 19, 1914

Magic lantern show.

Saturday, January 23, 1915

Preaches at local Royal Engineer's service.

Saturday, February 6, 1915

Conducts memorial service.

Saturday, February 13, 1915

Performs at local concert.

Saturday, February 20, 1915

Preaches at R.E.'s service and conducts wedding.

Saturday, February 27, 1915

Church finances.

Saturday, March 20, 1915

Preaches at R.E.'s service.

Saturday, March 27, 1915

Conducts R.E.'s service.

Saturday, April 10, 1915

Conducts R.E.'s service.

Saturday, April 17, 1915

Conducts R.E.'s service.

Saturday, April 24, 1915

Re-elected Chairman of parish council.

Saturday, May 1, 1915

Popular with local soldiers.

Saturday, July 10, 1915

Chaplain to the Forces.

Saturday, July 17, 1915

Take up duties as Army Chaplain.

Saturday, February 26, 1916

In France.

Saturday, March 4, 1916

On leave from France

Saturday, June 10, 1916

In hospital with throat trouble.

Saturday, July 8, 1916

Letter home about life in the trenches.

Saturday, September 9, 1916

Back home recovering.

Saturday, November 4, 1916

Back in France.

Saturday, December 2, 1916

Letter home.

Saturday, July 28, 1917

Promoted Major.

Saturday, August 18, 1917

Popular at the front.

Saturday, December 15, 1917

At Etaples

Saturday, June 8, 1918

Throat operation.

Saturday, June 15, 1918

Held in high esteem.

Saturday, August 10, 1918

Offered new post after war.

Saturday, September 7, 1918

Padre to Top Brass.

Saturday, December 21, 1918

In hospital at Chatham.

Saturday, March 29, 1919

The Rector resigns (but why?)

Saturday, May 24, 1919

The villagers say goodbye

Tuesday, February 27, 1962

The Times Obituary