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During the horrors of the First World War, an army chaplain, The Revd Philip ‘Tubby’ Clayton set up rest house for soldiers of all ranks at Talbot House, Poperinge, Belgium. The house was run on egalitarian lines, a key motto being   “All rank abandon, ye who enter here”

After the war Tubby set up a movement called Toc H, named after the signaller’s parlance for Talbot House. The, movement was to be “a living memorial” in that Tubby was determined that the dead should be remembered by the forging of a new, more equal society at home. The movement grew to be a national and international one.

On Wednesday 5th February a group of interested people met to inaugurate the Wessex Branch of Toc H . There was an active branch here in Wantage in the 1960s but it is hoped to involve the surrounding villages and towns fully in this new venture.  The Movement is based on the four points of the compass – Friendship, Service, Fair-mindedness, and Reconciliation. The branches work out these principles by responding to the needs of the local community, so everywhere the work of the Toc H branches is different. Some examples include work with veterans, forming of friendship groups, from toddlers to senior citizens, work in local hospitals, conservation, but always responding to local needs

Many ideas were discussed in which ways the branch could serve the community, but it was decided that the next step would be a public meeting to publicise the branch and widen our membership .This will take place in  the 27th April, at 7.30 at the Comrades Club, Wantage . A local speaker Tony Hadland , will give a talk on “William Gill. Victorian explorer and spy” and a Toc H Speaker from the branch at Barnsley will speak on starting a  Toc H branch. In the   meantime all efforts will be made to spread the word about the new branch.

If you are interested in joining or finding more out about this new venture please contact tochwessex2016@gmail.com or visit the national Toc H website www.toch-uk.org.uk