The Minster Church of St George, also known as Doncaster Minster, played a key role in the lives of Doncaster’s people during the First World War.
Folliot George Sandford became the Archdeacon of Doncaster in 1913 and preached at the Minster. During wartime, the residential areas around the Minster were much closer and the population of the parish was higher than it is now. As a result, the number of people who attended the church regularly was very high and the Church played an important part of people’s lives. The Archdeacon and Mrs Sandford were regularly present at fundraisers and events around the Doncaster area at local auxiliary hospitals, churches and schools.
The death of Lord Kitchener in June 1916 was described by the local Doncaster press as a ‘national calamity’. Kitchener, as the Secretary of State for War, was well known internationally and a huge church service was held in Doncaster Minster in his honour. The service was so popular it filled the church. Mayor Samuel Balmforth (centre of the photograph), councillors, wounded soldiers from local hospitals and V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detatchment) nurses were among the attendees.
In February 1917 a Roll of Honour was produced listing men from the parishes and congregations of St George’s and St Andrew’s Churches. In the foreword, Folliott wrote ‘We want our brave Sailors and Soldiers to know that they are constantly in our thoughts, and that their names are often on our lips’ and encouraged parish members to pray for the men. The roll included reprints of the prayers that were said daily in the Church.