“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)

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