Grease on the floor

Soldiers using a Maidenhead school over the summer holidays didn’t leave it in a very good state.

31st August 1915

School opened this morning with a very good attendance, & twelve new pupils were admitted…

The school had been cleaned & floors scrubbed, but they are still very badly marked with grease stains left by the soldiers who had use of the premises during vacation.

King Street School, Maidenhead: log book (C/EL77/1, p. 353)

Welsh strike on again – thousands out!

Florence Vansittart Neale reports the latest news. Mass industrial action was a relatively new phenomenon, and the upper classes saw it as unpatriotic in wartime. Dennis Theodore Smith was the teenage officer son of friends from Maidenhead.

30 August 1915

Welsh strike on again! 1000s out! (coal)

Still persistent rumours. Observer rather pessimistic – must have big armies. Germans at Boulogne.

Dennis Theodore Smith killed.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A privilege much appreciated at the Front

Frank Streatfeild, an Anglican clergyman who had been living in Newbury, became an army chaplain in 1914. He was with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France.

The Rev. Frank Streatfeild has courageously gone to the Front as Chaplain to the Forces, and we hope his friends in Newbury will remember him in his new and responsible work. The Rector received an interesting letter from him, describing among other things an open-air Communion service, where all the Communicants were men, and it is evident that the privilege is much appreciated at the Front. It will be remembered that a former Newbury curate, the Rev. F A Hill, is also out with the men.

The energetic ladies have opened St George’s Mission Room on week-day evenings as a Club for Soldiers. A considerable number have made use of the Room and have found there games, writing paper, music and refreshments. One evening a Whist Drive was held which the men – and the ladies – much enjoyed. Some male help would be appreciated with the Club.

In answer to an appeal for the wounded from the Dardanelles in the Hospitals at Malta, where Dr Heywood is working, the following generous response was made:

Given by members of the Newbury Parish and Donnington Square Red Cros Work Parties and by Anon: Miss A Boyce, Mr Bragg, Miss Cotton, Mr H Davis, Miss Davis, Miss Etty, Rev. W S and Mrs Edgell, Mr and Mrs J Morgan Ellis, Mr Harrison, Mrs J H Hopson, Misses Harrison, Miss A Hoad, Mrs Howard, Mr Josselyn, Rev. and Mrs L R Majendie, Mrs Milward, Mrs Pettican, Mrs Plows, Mrs B Pinniger, Rev. H G Rogers, Misses Sperring, Miss Watts, Mrs Wellock.

3 pairs sheets, 13 pillowcases, 21 Towels, 16 table napkins, 6 pairs pyjamas, 11 cotton shirts, 14 pairs socks, 4 handkerchiefs, 20 holland bags, 12 jig-saw puzzles, 1 book, 2 boxes cigarettes, 2 india-rubber hot water bottles, 3 hot water bottle covers, 11 pieces toilet soap, 2 Price’s service boxes, 2 yards macintosh sheeting, 2 yards jaconet, 4 lbs cotton wool, 6 lbs lint, 1 lb boracic lint, 5 dozen bandages, 4 boxes rubber plaster.

Newbury parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

“He had only been out in France a few weeks”

Worshippers at St Giles’ Church in Reading had a special day to pray for the war – and a special loss to commemorate.

Sunday August the 29th will be observed as a day of continuous Intercession for the war, and there will be special commemoration of those who have laid down their lives for their country. The Ven. the Archdeacon of Oxford will preach at evensong. He has most kindly given up a Sunday in his short holiday to spend it with us. I hope those who have to mourn the loss of relatives or friends during this war will make a special point of being present in Church on the day.

The following names should be added to those our intercessions list: Francis Henry Smallbone, ASC (France); Arthur Allway, Royal Scots Fusiliers; William Pocock, Royal Flying Corps; George Sherwood, Oxford and Bucks L.I.; Brig-General Hencer, D.S.O., and his division (now in the trenches); Robert Manning , 4/5th R. Berks; Corp. Herbert Telford, 1st Canadian Contingent, (France).

Missing: John Bright, R.M.

To the list of the fallen, George Arthur Smith-Masters. We feel great sympathy will be felt with his parents- well known to us here – and his brother, one of our own priests. He had only been out in France a few weeks after a year’s service in England. Those who were privileged to know him will not easily forget his brightness and humour. Some of us hoped that in the near future he would have been ordained, with S. Giles in Reading as his title. But he had and has other work to do, and as we remember him in our prayers so we feel he will not forget S. Giles’. R.I.P. I quote here the words I used in a sermon on the 22nd, because they were true of him:

“But once I pass this way, and then no more. But once and then, the silent door swings on its hinges, opens, closes, and no more I will pass this way. So while I may, with all my might, I will essay sweet comfort and delight, to all I meet upon the pilgrims’ Way. For no man travels twice the Great Highway that climbs through Darkness up to light through night and day.”

Reading St Giles parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

More Wargrave men join up

More Wargrave men had joined up or headed to the danger of the Front.

The Roll of Honour
The following names have not yet appeared on the Roll:

The Royal Navy
Cash, John
Goulding, Frederick John.

The Army
Alderton, Freeman James. Army Services Corps
Andrew, Herbert. Royal Engineers
F Baker, John Edward. Wiltshire Regiment
F Beek, Harold. Rifle Brigade
F Beck, Rex. South Oxfordshire Yeomanry
Bridgman, George Henry. Army Services Corps
F Briscoe, Frederick John. 1st Australian Light Horse
Brooker, William. Army Services Corps
Butler, William John. Corpl. Army Services Corps
Cook, Cyril Edward. 2nd Lieut. IIIrd Royal Sussex
Charlton, Sidney, Charles. Army Services Corps
F Clover, William. Sergt.-Major. Royal Flying Corps
Clover, Arthur. Royal Engineers
F Clover, Albert. Royal Army Medical Corps
F Dixon, Thomas. Grenadier Guards
F Elsley, Percy. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Goodwin, Arthur. Royal Berks Regiment
Hannen, Nicholas James. 2nd Lieut. Army Services Corps
Harris, George. Rifle Brigade
F Iles, James. Queen’s Bays
Light, Harry. Royal Berks Regiment
Mark, John. Suffolk Yeomanry
Smith, Eric Arthur Roe. 2nd Lieut. IIIrd Royal Warwicks.

The following have gone to Front since the last record.
Douglas W. Bennett, Lieut. Arthur Bradley, Albert Brooker, Charles Critcher, Walter Albert George, William Hall, Arthur Hunt, Kenneth Nicholl, Captain. Eric Heatley Noble, 2nd Lieut. T. Slatter and Arthur Talbot.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

The War Loan has upset all financial conditions

William Hallam wanted to remortgage his house to invest in the War Loans.

William Hallam, 28th August 1915
This afternoon down with wife to station and met Marjorie who came back from Wantage. On the way up I called in at Bld. Soc. to see about a new mortgage of 100£ on this house to invest in the War Loan, but they tell me no more Loans are being carried yet till some new rules are drawn up. This Gov. Loan has upset all the financial conditions in the country.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

Big battle still raging

Florence Vansittart Neale paid attention to the latest war news. HMS Lion was the British flagship.

27 August 1915
No more news, but believe big battle still raging. Germans trying to break through English & French lines. Russia pushing on. Marines landed at Ostend.

Hear a Division gone to Servia [sic].

Heard when “Lion” injured, got on wireless at Admiralty. Constructor gave directions all the time & so saved it.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

War in a nutshell

Ralph Glyn wrote to his father from the Dardanelles. He painted a vivid picture of the compact fighting area, not to mention the shirtless Australians.

HdQr XIII Division
August 27th [envelope postmarked Field Post Office Aug 27, 1915]

My darling Dad

The weather is changing a bit & it is blowing great storms of dust all over us. I together with four other fellows have had a go of dysentery – but after an injection I am nearly all right. It takes it out of you all the same. Nearly everyone here is the same! Aubrey Herbert who is with the NZ Division next door has had it badly & is being sent on board a hospital ship today.

I have now been with the general round all the [fire?] trenches of our own & the adjoining Brigades. It is like trying to capture Gib: & the moral is that the men had been able to do what they have done. As for going further from their spot I rather doubt it being worth the inevitable cost. The Divisions all are reduced to about ½ strength but reinforcements are on their way. We are having shells all round us today & a good many bullets. The casualties have not been heavy so far. One great difference between the fighting here & in France is that here everything is so much more compressed – sort of war in a nutshell. The firing line is close by – not more than a few hundred yards in some cases. Then close behind are the supports & reserves – hospitals, cemeteries – supply depots. There is therefore no peace for man or beast.

Last night was lovely & calm. We have our ‘mess dug-out’ in the side of the hill facing the sea about 50 ft up. One cannot go down to the sea-edge because they can snipe out – here we are just sort of round the corner from direct fire. Well, about 9 last night up came a destroyer & monitor close off shore & put her search-light on a Turk trench at the top of the cliff behind. In a minute the row was tremendous – the 6” guns & the machine guns & rifles action. It soon died down but was lively whilst it lasted. There is so little elbow room. That’s what one feels. And all the time in spite of all these difficulties the spirit of the men is splendid & they are cheery & happy all the time. The physique of the NZ & Australians is extraordinary. They wear nothing except a pair of shorts & are burnt by the sun as dark as Indians.

There is a move in the wind for this Division. We shall go for a period in reserve. I don’t know yet how long I’m to remain with this Division. It is all very interesting & the General was very kind indeed. I shall, I think, have to go to GHQ again before I’m sent back with dispositions by Sir Ian [Hamilton]. One knows very little being here – even in comparison with GHQ, & then the outside world is fairly remote. I’m longing to know what is going on – usually I know so much that I suppose I’m spoilt!

I wonder if my other letters have fetched up all right…


Letter from Captain Ralph Glyn to his father E C Glyn, Bishop of Peterborough (D/EGL/C1)

Great difficulty finding doctors on account of the war

The demands of the war hospitals led to a shortage of doctors. Luckily for the Community of St John Baptist, one of the Sisters was a qualified doctor.

26 August 1915
Sister Bertha Margaret took Sister Emily Barbara to Folkestone as an invalid. Sister Bertha Margaret had to be both Infirmarian and Doctor, as there was the greatest difficulty in finding doctors on account of the war; & she is fully qualified to act as such, & has done so for many years before coming to Clewer.

CSJB Annals (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Caught in a trap

Florence continued to be concerned for her nephew Paul Eddis after his submarine E13 was damaged and he was interned in Denmark.

26 August 1915
Motor fetched Phyllis 10.13. Shopped, then to Hursley, Keble’s church. Dropped Phyllis: she busy in afternoon: 3 operations…

Supposed Zeppelin watched E13 caught in a trap. Paul interned at Copenhagen. Hope Admiralty will demand release.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The position today is internationally fluid

Lt Alexander Muir McGrigor may not have got the job for which he was recommended here (to relieve Ralph Glyn for other work), but he later served as ADC to Sir Ian Hamilton and then General Birdwood.


26/8 [1915]

Dear Glyn

I am sorry it could not be arranged for you to get away tonight.
Gen Maude is of course entitled to 2 ADCs and in these strenuous days I think he will not find 2 too many – as one may easily be out of action any time from indisposition or other causes. He has one coming out from England. To make suggestions to anyone about their personal staff is an act so tactless that I hold it in horror – but I may mention to you in case Gen Maude were looking for a temp or perm. ADC – the name of 2/Lt A M McGRIGOR – Glos Yeo. He is about 24 or 25 – not sure – but has been in India, knows camp life & tropics, also business training & would do well for mess, camp & other arrangements.

Whether Gen Peyton can spare him I do not know, but you could easily ascertain. He is out with 2/Mountdiv. If you were by chance to find a relief & Gen Maude could free you, let me know.

The position is today – internationally – fluid. Into what mould it will be cast, & crystallise, will greatly depend on the next few days. They are momentous. I know you think with me.

Yours ever
G H Pollen

Letter from G H Pollen to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/16)

Wonderful aviators’ feat

British airmen struck a blow back at the German Zeppelin programme.

25 August 1915

Wonderful aviators’ feat – destroyed Zeppelin by Ostend.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Cookham Dean adds to the Roll of Honour

Cookham Dean announces its latest recruits, plus a few promotions.

The Roll of Honour.
Pte. Gerald Clark, Royal Engineers and Pte. George Skinner, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry have been promoted Lance Corporals. Three additional names have been sent to me:- Ronald Harding and Denis Taft, who have both joined the Royal Berks Yeomanry, and George Higgs, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P43B/28A/11)

A soldiers’ recreation room in Ascot

A new church-run recreation room opened for soldiers billeted in Ascot.


All Saints’ Parish Room was opened on November 24th, 1914, as a Recreation Room for Soldiers billeted in Ascot. A Committee was formed and it was arranged to provide newspapers, books, games, stationery and refreshments, and to arrange a concert weekly. Donations towards the expense were given by ladies and gentlemen in the neighbourhood who also assisted at the concerts. Mrs. Elliot kindly offered to pay for the lighting, and Mr. Hullcoup arranged for the refreshments. The attendance was fairly good and the Officers and Men of the A.S.C. and the West Kents fully appreciated the efforts made for their comfort.

The Committee beg to thank Mrs. Elliot, also those ladies and gentlemen who gave donations or assisted at the entertainments.

Mrs Elliot, Lighting Hall £3 5 9

Donations received 11 2 6

Proceeds from Concert 12 3 6

£26 11 9

Balance £4 8 0

Hire of Hall 6 0 0

Paper 2 18 5

Coal, Coke and Wood 3 18 5

Stationery 2 9 2½

Refreshments 2 2 10½

Expenses Concert 1 3 0

Budgen 0 17 9

Gratuity 0 10 0

Sundries 2 4 6

£26 11 9

A. LISSMAN, Hon. Treasurer

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/9)

Good things to learn from the great evil of war

Several Crazies Hill soldiers had recently come home on leave, but the village’s women seemed to be tiring of making comforts for the troops.

Crazies Hill Notes

July has been a busy month, though a quiet one, with us here at Crazies Hill, with no very special feature to call for comment. The farmers have been busy at the hay, which has by this practically all been harvested, and as the weather on the whole has been propitious it has been secured in good condition. I am sure that one of the many good things which, under God, we shall learn from this great evil of war will be to set a truer value upon God’s gifts to man in the harvest.

It is with much pleasure that we see our Sailors and Soldiers, who from time to time come home for the short rest they have so richly earned. We have recently had the pleasure of seeing Leonard Oakley Jemmett, Willie Waldron, Joseph Kimble and Harold Beck, of whom the three former have been at their posts since August last, and the latter since November.

The attendance at the Wednesday Afternoon Working Party, at which comforts etc. are being made for our wounded soldiers, has lately shown signs of failing numbers. This does not mean, I am quite confident, that interest is lanquishing, but is undoubtedly due to the pressure of other duties, and for the time being even more important duties, such as helping on the hay fields etc.

In connection with these meetings I should like to say how much we owe Mrs. Light and Mrs. Habbits, for their unfailing energies and the admirable way in which they direct these Working Parties.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)