Castle Cary and area in two world wars
Men from Castle Cary and surrounding villages fought in both world wars. Volunteers eagerly joined up in 1914 and many others were rejected as unfit. Civilians also played their part and suffered in bombing raids at Ansford.
There was a long tradition of service in the area. Volunteer corps were raised locally in the late 18th and early 19th century. In 1794 Castle Cary provided the first troop of Somerset yeomanry whose cavalry kept order during local food riots in 1795. In 1797 c. 50 volunteers formed an infantry company.
A volunteer rifle corps was founded in 1860 with a resident drill instructor and in 1908 it became part of the Territorial Army. In the 1890s they had their headquarters and armoury in the old infant school and in 1900 a building on John Donne’s estate at Florida was used.
During the First World War Belgian refugees were a common sight in parts of Somerset and in the Second World War the town housed nursing units and Black American troops. No village escaped the war unscathed as many war memorials testify.