Will the government have enough pluck to shoot those who oppose conscription?

Ralph Glyn’s parents both wrote to him on New Year’s Eve. The good bishop was quite gung ho (and one might think not very Christian) about deporting Germans and even shooting conscientious objectors! Lady Mary was still fussing about her quarrels with a rival Red Cross workroom.

The Palace
Peterborough
Dec 31 [1915]

My darling Ralph

Here is my New Year letter to you…

Things at Salonica [sic] seem doing well – & our forces must be growing there – as we see daily accounts in the papers of “more troops arriving” – and I am glad that the French General has taken the enemy consuls & staff & put them on board of a French man-of-war – so they have got rid of them as spies – & it is good. Tonight’s paper tells of an English cruiser blown up in harbour – “HMS Natal, captain Eric Back, RN armoured cruiser sank yesterday in harbour as the result of an internal explosion”. This seems to me only another reason why we should ship away every German in England & send them to their own country, as it is no use keeping the enemy here to do such mischief as blowing up our ships in harbour – as I should say it must have been done by some bomb put on board by a German.

We have got our conscription so far, & shall hear all about it on Thursday. It is high time the “Government” (so-called) made up their minds to the inevitable – & the “country” will back them up certainly – & now we shall “wait & see” if the Government will have pluck enough to shoot those that oppose them.

Much love – & take care of your dear self.

Your loving father
E C Peterborough

Dec 31 1915
My own darling own Ralph

The news of the loss of the “Natal” has come this evening to us here – and one dreads to think it may be another treachery or labour trouble – but the news is good of the full Cabinet meeting and one feels sure that the country will be sound on the question of these men who have held back…

I hear of Edith Wolverton coming here but not to see us. I think the war makes these women quite queer. They are so anxious to be petite maitresse & do not understand how it is all lost in provincial towns where everyone on the spot wishes to emulate any “star” that wishes to “shoot”. We are very happy with our canteen and it will give us plenty to do and I shall hear I suppose soon about the other crazy emulation over Red Cross. They are all quite sick with anger I have my private workroom and the Sham Committee find they are quite powerless to stop it but I am quite willing to co-operate it when they become real. I am in close touch with Headquarters. Oh! me, when will these silly little fusses be read over by you and where! And it will all seem so silly and so paltry and hard to believe that men and women can be so mean and self seeking over work for the sick and wounded at the Front.

We keep quite quiet and say nothing, but they are spluttering into the papers with their silly complainings. It may have to end in a private official enquiry but Winfrey has managed to save his face by registering one committee under all three – Queen Mary’s Needlework, Sir Edward Ward’s Voluntary Association & the Red Cross! All this with one Fund and the same little creature as accountant that went against affiliation to centre at the beginning & start of all the fuss. I am afraid the expenses are enormous, and that I shall have difficulty in getting the money unless we can get the whole thing put under one authority & one Fund….

Letters from E C and Lady Mary Glyn to their son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/3)

A veil for the flagship

One of the minor works of the Community of St John Baptist was the Church Needlework Room in London, which mainly made surplices and embroidered altar frontals. They had an unusual commission from a Navy chaplain for a burse and veil, a bag and cloth to be used for Holy Communion on board ship.

31 December 1915

A little while before this we had been asked to provide a white Burse & Veil for the flag ship – Iron Duke – now somewhere in the North Sea.

Sister Mary Elizabeth was able to send them off in time for Christmas, & a most grateful & appreciative letter of thanks was written by the chaplain.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

“Our soldiers, sailors and flying men need our prayers

New Year’s Eve was set to be the first of three special days of national prayer for the war. Several Berkshire parishes give us their slant on it. The vicar of All Saints, Dedworth also had a story from the Front about attitudes to the enemy.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The year 1916 still sees us engaged in a war even more terrible than the beginning of 1915. The Nation is bidden by its spiritual leaders, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church to keep Friday, December 31st, as a day of special prayer and intercession. Saturday, January 1st, is to be a day of preparation for Communion, which all are asked to make on Sunday, January 2nd. The duty of the Church is to carry on the fight against the World, Flesh and Devil, and it is the duty of the Church’s officers to lead in that fight. The response at times to that call seems small, it may be larger than it looks, but at any rate it makes the work as hard, if not harder, to carry on than other warfare. How grand has been the response to carry arms for King and Country, but the real victory for which we are fighting will not be won unless at the end we are a Nation nearer to God; having shown to the world that Christianity is the greatest power in war and peace.

Mr. Begbie narrates the following from behind the English lines in France:-

“The other day a doctor fell in with a British soldier whose blood was maddened by what he had seen of the German treatment of our wounded men. ‘Do you know what I mean to do,’ he demanded, ‘when I come across one of their wounded? I mean to put my boot in his ugly face.’ The doctor replied, ‘No you won’t; it’s not your nature. I’ll tell you what you will do – you’ll give him a drink out of your water-bottle.’ To which the soldier after a pause, in which he searched the doctor’s face, made grumbling and regretful answer, ‘Well, may be I shall.’”

Reading St John

Mr Rogers has now been moved up to the Front. He is where he wished to be when he offered for service as a Chaplain, and where he will have the opportunity of speaking to men at the most solemn moment of their lives of the things that matter eternally. We shall continue to be much in prayer for him, that he may be kept from all harm, and that his messages may be with great power.

Now may I commend to your very careful notice the arrangements which have been made to enable you to observe the last day of December and the first two days of January as our King and our Archbishops and Bishops desire that they should be observed. We stand on the threshold of a year that promises to be fateful beyond any in our previous history, a year that will probably test severely our fortitude, our courage and our faith.

(more…)

A brave lad who was glad to lay down his life

Earley said goodbye to one of its brave young recruits:

In Memoriam

We record with great regret the death of Private William David Stevens, son of Mr and Mrs Frank Stevens well known to all of us. An account of his wounds and miraculous escape was given in the October magazine, and it is but a short time since he was home on sick leave. He returned to his regiment, the Royal Warwicks, cheerfully and happily, and took part in the British advance at Hulluch and Loos on the 25th Sept. Our apprehensions as to his safety were increased by a sudden absence of letters from him, and nearly a month elapsed before he was officially reported missing. On 1st Nov his parents received official news of his death, and on the same day a wounded comrade, writing from Wrexham in Wales, sent mournful tidings that he had assisted at his burial on the field of battle, that his death was that of a hero “facing the enemy” and that he was sending his parents the cross of palm leaf which was found in his pocket. William Stevens was a brave lad and latterly envinced a turn towards serious things and thoughts which, we can well believe, encouraged and helped him in the midst of his great dangers. He was one who was glad to be allowed to offer and lay down his life for his home and country.

Earley parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P192/28A/13)

This is “a war run by a gang of chattering civilians” – but no worse than the French

More secrets are revealed in General Callwell’s latest letter to Ralph Glyn. The general was about to move from overall charge of military intelligence and operations, to a secret mission to our allies in Russia and Japan.

26, Campden House Chambers
Campden Hill, W

30th December 1915

My dear Ralph,

I have no idea where you are or what doing, but send this to Egypt, whither I gather Monro and his big staff have gone. Bell wrote the other day and mentioned that he proposed sending you on to Egypt.
Great changes at the WO consequent on Robertson’s taking over CIGS. Poor old man K is in the corner and quite good – does what he is told. My branch has been split in two, operations and intelligence, Maurice becoming DMO and Macdonogh becoming DMI, a post I still hold pending Macdonogh’s arrival. I go off to Russia with Ralph Wigram in a few days and expect to go on to Vladivostok and Japan – Japan as an excuse for going along the Siberian railway to see how it is doing; one cannot get those Russians to bestir themselves and keep things moving on the line although their munitions from America depend entirely upon it. I am delighted to get out of the WO after seventeen months of it.

It has been an awful scandal about the delay in deciding to evacuate Gallipoli. The withdrawal from Suvla and Anzac was a wonderful performance, but no thanks to the Government for that. I dare not hope that the move out of Helles will be a bloodless affair. When the story of the Government’s vacillations comes to be told, the country will realise what it is to have a war run by a gang of chattering civilians who over-ride the decisions of their own War Council. The only thing to be said for them is that they are no worse than the French gang. The French General Staff now, after we have educated them in London and at Chantilly, quite realise the absurdity of the Salonika affair; but Briand and Co dare not clear out for fear of public opinion and of Sarrail.

Archie Murray goes off tomorrow to take up command vice Monro. He did very well indeed as CIGS and we all liked him, but he did not come in on his own terms and backed by the whole Cabinet like Robertson. K’s visit to the Near East was a blessing in disguise in that the government were, during the interval, told the truth about a number of matters – the lack of men amongst other things, and the majority were got to see that we could not get on without compulsion.
I have not heard from you for quite a long time, but hope you are very fit. I see Dulles has got a division – I wish it was a better one. Give him my love if you come across him.

Ever yours
Chas E Callwell

Letter from General Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

A minister ‘called to do his own “little bit” for our young men at the war’

The minister of Trinity Congregational Church in Reading felt called to follow the young men from his flock who had joined up, by taking service as a nonconformist army chaplain.

This year has also seen the departure of a number of Trinity Boys from the training camps of the old country to their posts of danger and fierce conflict at the Front. No doubt their numbers will be largely increased in the coming months. We are all one in our constant prayers for their safety, and for their friends that they may have divinely-given courage and patience to “keep the home fires burning” against the longed-for day of their return. Our Forward movement, which has already meant so much to many of us, will mean yet more as the new days bring new tests and fresh opportunities for showing that we recognise in the call that came to us our master’s voice, summoning each and all to greater sacrifices and deeper devotion to the sacred cause committed to our charge. Surely there was never a time when the things that Trinity stands for were more urgently needed, or when it was better worth while to give up precious time and put forth one’s best strength, for the great work’s sake.

The Pastor of Trinity little thought, when he delivered his message on that Sunday morning in October, how soon the call, – or rather how soon the opportunity would come for him to do his own “little bit” for our young men at the war. But the call was clear, and the response of the Church to his request for freedom to answer it was so hearty and unanimous, that it would have been removed from his mind any shadow of doubt (had such existed) as to his duty. At the time of writing he expects to cross the channel on or about Wednesday, December 29th. At Calais he hopes to meet at least one of our Boys. From thence he expects to be sent after a few weeks to a destination “somewhere in France.”

He goes with a glad heart, rejoicing in the chance that has come to him, and in the wealth of goodwill and prayerful thoughts that he knows go with him, and in the knowledge that the work at home is in the hands to which of all others he could most willingly and confidently leave it. He relies on his friends at Trinity to support Mr. Brooks with the same unfailing sympathy and loyal co-operation that have made his own ministry during the last three years so full of joy and blessing for himself. He goes in the confident expectation that when he returns at the end of March or beginning of April he will find that the work has indeed gone forward in his absence.

That will certainly happen is only each member and friend of our cause will bear in mind these parting words of exhortation:-

Be in your place at the main services of the Church with, if possible, more than your usual regularity. Put all the old zeal, and a bit extra, into that particular bit of work that belongs to you. If ever, when service time comes, you feel, slack and that amr-chair starts pulling, consider what would happen if other folks all yielded to the same impulse. When the little voice whispers, “You will not be missed,” ask yourself, “Is that really true, honour bright?” But if so, whose fault is that? Before ever you start to Church, go first to your own room, and pray that God will bless the coming service to yourself and to others. If you can bring someone else with you, do. You never know what good you may be doing in that way. If ever you, or any other member known to you, should be ill or in trouble, let Mr. Brooks know at once. Don’t take for granted that someone else will tell him. Tell him yourself, and so make sure. Do your part in making any strangers within our gates welcome to Trinity. Never let a day pass without at least one prayer for God’s mercy to rest on Trinity, on those who worship there, and on your absent Pastor. Be sure that he needs your prayers, and that if he knows you as belonging to Trinity, he will never be too busy, even in France, to pray for you.

Trinity Congregational Church magazine, January 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

A real Christmas for wounded soldiers

70 wounded soldiers recovering in Reading were treated to a Christmas dinner no one would ever forget.

EARLEY WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINMENT FUND

Of course the Christmas dinner [on 29 December 1915] has been “the event” – 12 men from each of the five Reading War Hospitals were invited. It consisted of a three-course dinner: soup, meat, puddings, &c. Two large turkeys were sent from our generous friends at Maiden Erlegh, who also sent two huge Christmas puddings and other good things. Mrs Fowler sent a ham and trifle, Mrs Heelas a joint of beef and also cooked for us a third turkey purchased out of the funds, whilst Mrs Wilson cooked for us a second ham also purchased. The Misses Hannaford sent sufficient hot mince pies; Miss Howlett, apples; soup, toast, apples and pears by myself and wife; Mrs Love, floral decorations and serviettes; Miss Goodwin and Mrs Francis, mince pies; Lieut. and Mrs Usmar, Mr W H White, Mr Fred Bright and Mr Watson, cigarettes; Mr Harris, bread; Mr Wooldridge and Mr Wilson, potatoes; Mrs Ballard, tea; Miss Jordan, sugar; Messrs Gregory, Love & Co, Ltd, bon-bons; and last, but not least, we must thank Mr H Allnatt, the well-known caterer, for his great help in providing us with cookers, fuel, cutlery, china, tabling, cruets, etc.

It is needless to say that our guests had a jolly time and very greatly appreciated the efforts which had been made to give them a real Christmas gathering – one of the party rising before the close to voice the feelings of the whole in expressing their gratitude for such an outing. The carvers were the Vicar, Lieut. Usmar, Mr Watson and Mr Ellis from Maiden Erlegh, and the company present included Mrs Joel, Miss Eileen Joel, Masters Stanhope and Dudley Joel, Mrs Honey, Miss Carlsson, Mlle Weill, Miss King, Mrs Helps, Mrs Hart, Mrs A C Jordan, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Francis, Miss Jordan, Miss Goodwin, The Misses Beauchamp, Mrs Culham, Mrs Howlett, Mrs Love, Miss Usmar, The Rev. H Wardley King (who has been of the greatest assistance in arranging the transport on each occasion), Mr Heelas and his sons, and Mr A C Jordan; Messrs White, Love, Howlett, Wooldridge and Wilson assisting in the general arrangements.

The programme on this occasion included two sketches entitled “The Burglar and the Girl”, by Miss Gibbs and Mr Edwin Love, and “My First Client”, by Miss I Hayward and Mr Maurice Love, Mr Walker, the well-known tenor, giving several popular songs, and Mrs Dracup.

Chas J. Howlett
Hon. Treasurer

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

An American Spiritualist’s presence of mind saves the dispatches

Ralph Glyn’s sister Meg Meade wrote to him optimistically after a disappointing Christmas. She had seen one of the patriotic/propaganda films which were circulating, and also had a remarkable story to tell about the American woman who saved British secret papers when the ship she was travelling on was captured. Charlotte Herbine was a leading Spiritualist – a phenomenon of the period in Britain and the US. Although she was a neutral American, her sympathies were firmly pro-British, and she sponsored a war hospital in London named for her “spirit guide”, Dr Coulter, which was next door to the American Embassy. She was clearly a lady of great resolve and character. Perhaps her experience running seances had developed a gift in misdirection which helped on this occasion.

Dec 29th [1915]
23 Wilton Place

My own darling Ralph

I wonder if this can reach you to wish you a very happy New Year darling, & all the best things in the world for 1916. Today I feel that victory must be in sight now that the Government have really faced that we must have conscription, & it is splendid, isn’t it? Xmas wasn’t Xmas this year, but a dismal caricature. On the very day I was to have taken the babies to Peter[borough], Mother sent me a telephone message to say her kitchenmaid has just developed measles so of course we couldn’t go, & I did feel miserable…

John went to a Medical Board on Dec. 23rd who found that the holes in his back are no better now than when he left hospital in the end of October! So they gave him another month. But it doesn’t prevent him from shooting every day, & they are having a happy time together….

The great bit of news in the Meade family circle is that Cecil is going Commander in Chief at Portsmouth next March! He came to London 23rd to 28th Dec. to fix it up, & he returned to “Madeira” till the end of Feb. when he comes south again for a month’s leave before taking on Portsmouth on March 5th. Of course he is quite inconsolable that he is not afloat but still I am so glad he’s got the billet if it’s only for the sake of Addie & the boys. But of course he’ll find it difficult to collect the cheery sort of Staff that he’ll want, because all the best men are afloat, & naturally wish to remain so…

Aubrey Smith took me this afternoon to a Cinematograph show at the Empire, all about soldiers training to start with, & then there was an interval during which Arthur Balfour came on the stage & began his speech by saying “Though I am unaccustomed to this stage of operations”, loud laughter & applause, & he went on to explain what the being of the Grand Fleet meant to everyone, & put it very well, & then followed a wonderful show of portions of the Grand Fleet at sea, & the sea was rough in some! Queen Elizabeth came in for a lion’s share, the photographer must have lived on board, & then we saw a lot of the Iron Duke too, & light cruisers, destroyers, mine sweepers etc etc.

I was very amused at your indignation about Mr Jack Wilson having been collared on the Greek boat by the Huns. All sorts of rumours flew about London about that adventure. First we heard that the bag of important despatches had only “been saved by the resource & presence of mind of an American lady”. Lucky that skirts are wide nowadays! And it turns out that the American lady is no other than the great Mrs Herbine! Does that convey anything to you? Perhaps as you don’t live in such proper spirituelle circles as I do! her fame may not have reached you. Mrs Herbine is the medium of Dr Coulter, who is the spirit of 10 combined famous Americans! (Some spirit!) A large “circle” attend her weekly sceances [sic] when Dr Coulter will only communicate if the circle sit round a table with the white tablecloth & fruit on the table, also flowers! Lord Sandwich is a prominent figure in the circle.

Apparently the King of Greece is also a member of the circle, & Mrs Herbine had just been to Athens to tell Tino from Dr Coulter that he must do whatever the Allies wanted him to do! & she was returning to England on the same Greek boat that carried Mr Wilson & the dispatch bags. Mrs Herbine was on deck when the submarine was sighted. She hurried down to Mr Wilson & said, If you give me the bag of important dispatches, I will see that they reach the War Office in London alright. She also told him to write out some false cipher telegrams, put them in his other bag, & throw it overboard so that it should float, & when the Huns collared it they should think that it was the one & only important bag he carried! This was all done & the Germans duly duped & they never searched the boat or Mrs Herbine for another bag! Mrs Herbine then discovered someone on board who had passports which would bring him to London a week earlier than she could arrive, so she gave him the bag which was safely delivered. The WO say they can’t publicly thank Mrs Herbine, as being an American subject, she really infringed the laws of American neutrality. It’s a comic story, but what foundation of truth it has I’m not prepared to say, though it [is] generally believed to be true.

…Your ever loving
Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

The calamity of war teaches us a lesson

Maidenhead Congregational Church was girding itself for another year of war.

SOLDIER GUESTS.

There seems every probability that Maidenhead will be again called upon to receive a number of soldiers in training, and that in consequence our Schoolroom may be again required for their entertainment in the evenings. If it be so, we will cheerfully face the disturbance to our own arrangements, and no doubt the willing workers of last winter will feel it a privilege to serve again.

A Word for the New Year

With what spirits are we going forward into this strange New Year? …

We move into the New Year with the calamity of war upon us, and we may calmly wait the issue, if we believe in God, and if we are sure that for us, yea and for all the nations too, even our enemies, the end of it will bring us nearer to the goal of all true civilization. God has always brought blessings out of calamities. He who knows nothing of surgery might denounce the cruelty of the surgeon’s knife, but wisdom is sure that the hand that holds it is mercy. National putrefaction is a worse thing than national sorrow, and when God’s judgments are written in flaming letters across the lands, many who could not have heard the lesson in any other way, begin to understand that there is a God in the earth.

The virtues of courage and endurance are everyone’s admiration just now, so magnificently are they exemplified by our khaki-clad heroes. Is there not room and occasion for them in the lives of us all?…
T F Lewis.

SOLDIER GUESTS.
There seems every probability that Maidenhead will be again called upon to receive a number of soldiers in training, and that in consequence our Schoolroom may be again required for their entertainment in the evenings. If it be so, we will cheerfully face the disturbance to our own arrangements, and no doubt the willing workers of last winter will feel it a privilege to serve again.”

OUR ROLL OF HEROES.
There are a few changes to make since our last record. Charles Hurrell has been discharged from the Navy, in consequence of a breakdown in health. Cyril Hews has left Newhaven, where he has been since August of last year, and expects to proceed to the front immediately. Thomas Mulford has left for Egypt. Horace Gibbons is still in hospital, but is going on well. Percy Lewis has been gazetted Captain, Hugh Lewis has received a Second Lieutenancy in the Royal Engineers, and is stationed at Northampton. No news has been received of Harold Fisher, reported missing on September 28th, but it has been ascertained that some of his Company were taken prisoners on that day, and we may hope that he is among them. Benjamin Gibbons and David Dalgliesh have gone with their regiments to the scene of action in France. John Bolton has been promoted Company Quarter-Master Sergeant. Robert Harris is on the point of crossing to France, perhaps has already crossed. Bert Plum has gone down the Mediterranean, destination unknown. May our Heavenly Father, to whose gracious care we lovingly commend all our lads, preserve and bless them, and enable them to be faithful to their duty and their God.

OUR SOLDIERS’ LETTERS

Many acknowledgements have been received of the Church’s letter: we quote extracts from two.

“I write to thank the Church for the very kind and thoughtful letter which I received last week. It brings to my mind the happy days I spent in the Sunday School, which I look back upon as days of sunshine. It gives me great satisfaction to know that yourself and the Church have not forgotten one who has been away from your midst for a few years.”

“Let me thank you, as our Church’s representative, for the very nice letter of greeting and good will which I received on the 18th November. It has been a great comfort to me on several occasions to remember that I am a member of the Church, and I was very much gratified to receive the kind message, and the assurance that God is on our side, and is always with us.”

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, December 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Patriotism is not enough

The Maidenhead parish magazine included various inspiring stories arising from the war, some well known today like that of Edith Cavell, other less so.

Sons of the Clergy.

All classes of the community have vied with each other in manifesting courageous self-sacrifice in the nation’s hour of need. But without drawing undue distinctions it is generally admitted that the sons of the clergy have been conspicuous in the Roll of Honour throughout the War. Week after week the long list of names appearing in the Church newspapers bear eloquent testimony to this fact. The work of the clergy in ministering to those left behind in a variety of ways has been of the greatest value.

“How Can I Help England – Say?”

Miss Helena L. Powell, the Principal of St. Mary’s College, Lancaster Gate, has written an earnest and helpful leaflet for children, showing how children can help in the War. It is addressed to the elder children in our Day and Sunday Schools, and copies required for distribution to these may be had free of charge from Miss Edith Neville, Banstead Place, Banstead, Surrey.

A Daughter of the Parsonage.

Edith Cavell, Directrice d’Ecole des Infirmières, Brussels, who was shot by order of Court-Martial in Brussels on a charge of aiding the escape over the frontier of British, French and Belgian soldiers, was the daughter of the late Rev. Frederick Cavell, Vicar of Swardeston, Norfolk. She was formerly a nurse in the London Hospital. In 1907 she went to Brussels, and when the Germans entered the city she refused to leave.

The Rev H. S. Gahan, British Chaplain at Brussels, has given a touching account of her last hours.

“She said, ‘I have no fear nor shrinking. I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me.’ She further said, ‘I thank God for this ten weeks’ quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’

We partook of Holy Communion together, and she received the Gospel message of consolation with all her heart. At the close of the little service I began to repeat the words ‘Abide with Me,’ and she joined softly in the end. We sat quietly talking until it was time for me to go. She gave me parting messages for relations and friends. She spoke of her soul’s needs at the moment, and she received the assurance of God’s Words as only the Christian can do.”

(more…)

‘We have had enough of “wait and see”‘

The Bishop of Peterborough wrote to his son Captain Ralph Glyn about public opinion of the war and the politicians in charge. Asquith was to hang on as Prime Minister until the end of 1916, but clearly opposition was growing to his policies.

The Palace
Peterborough
Dec. 27 [1915]
My darling Ralph

I think the “public mind” is getting more sanguine about the war – & that that is really the desperate flutter of the Huns, who are beginning to feel the real pinch, economic & commercial & military.

Meanwhile at home, “feeling” is growing that Asquith must go – we have had enough of “Wait & see” & want decision & leading & action, & Lloyd George is the hope for that….

Your loving father
E C Peterborough

Letter from the Bishop of Peterborough to his son Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

“A thousand cheers for the generous British nation”

The Van Hoof family, Belgian refugees who were being supported by Maidenhead Congregational Church, were grateful for the help.

OUR BELGIAN REFUGEES.
We print a letter from our guests verbatim:

Maidenhead,
December 27th, 1915.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are very happy to wish you a very merry Christmas and a good New Year. We are thankful for all the goodness and kindness you have had for us and hope the Allies shall have soon the victory over our eternal enemy.

We shall never forget the English People who has done the utmost to help the Belgian Refugees.

We are, dear Ladies and Gentlemen, your most, Obedient Servants. We sign with a thousand cheers for the generous British Nation.

Jhon Van Hoof,
Sid Van Hoof,
Jeanne Van Hoof,
Eliza Van Hoof.

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, January 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“The men are thoroughly in earnest”

The villagers of Knowl Hill were contributing to the war effort in various ways.

Knowl Hill

Collections for the Waifs and Strays Society on Christmas Day and the 26th.

Ought we not to try earnestly to make as good a present of ourselves to our Lord in Holy Eucharist at Christmas, and thus shew we greatly value the new Birth for mankind, which was so greatly needed: The Incarnate Son of God – once a Waif and Stray.

The Waifs and Strays Society is doing excellent work for Orphans of Soldiers killed in the war.

Berkshire Volunteer Defence Reg: Maidenhead Battalion, Littlewick and Knowl Hill Section

The drills in connection with the above have been very well attended and the men are thoroughly in earnest in their work. On the 8th and 22nd November paraded with the Battalion at Maidenhead to proceed to Didcot to assist in loading and unloading the railway trucks at the A.O.C. Depot there. A Church Parade was held on the 15th and was well attended. The section is still open for recruits.

Drills. Wednesday, 7 Recruits
7.30 Section
Thursday 8.15 Section

Knowl Hill Church Lads’ Brigade

The usual drills have been held but have not been very well attended.

The Church Parade to Knowl Hill was only poorly attended on account of the weather; the one to Littlewick Church was fairly well attended.

It is hoped that the drills will be more regularly attended even if the nights are dark.

It is thought possible to change the Company into a Cadet Corps still under the government of the C.L.B.

Mr Butterworth will be glad to receive the names of all the men of the Parish serving, wounded, missing, etc., so that a complete list may be drawn up for Roll of Honour.

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

A tremendous boon for the nurses

The Surgical Dressing Emergency Society in Wargrave, a group of women who spent their spare time making dressings for wounds and also clothes and general comforts for the wounded found their efforts were gratefully received by the matrons of the hospitals.

Surgical Dressing Emergency Society: Wargrave

Dressings have been sent to France, Belgium, Servia [sic], all along the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force Area, and especially to outlying Casualty Clearing Hospitals and Stations.

Old linen and comforts are coming in very well, and parcels of lovely shirts, pyjamas, socks etc, have been sent out this month with the “Kits”.

Letters Received
To the S.D.E.S., Wargrave
Somewhere in the Mediterranean. No. 1
Dear Madam,

A most splendid Bale arrived here today from you. I cannot tell you how very grateful I am to receive it, and all the things, (shirts, socks, pyjamas, etc.) we are always so glad to use – Many, many thanks.

It is such a tremendous boon for the Nurses to find these dressings so ready for them to use, it is the utmost help, for we are all as busy as we can be.
Yours very gratefully
——————-,
Matron

This is a large tent Hospital, in a well-known Island. The Matron and Nurses are under-staffed and need everything. There are 4000 cases.

(more…)

Christmas parcels

There was an interdenominational effort in Bracknell to co-ordinate sending Christmas gifts to the men at the front.

Christmas parcels have been sent to all the men who are on active service both in the Navy and the Army. The Chavey Down men received their parcels through the working party on the Down. The members of the Congregational Church and P.S.A. sent to those connected with their organizations, and the remainder, about 70 in number, were provided for by subscriptions contributed by many in Bracknell.

Grateful letters of acknowledgement have come from a large number of the men, who desire the Vicar to thank all the Bracknell friends who contributed; the contents of the parcels seem to have been much appreciated.

The parcels were packed by Mrs. Barnett at the Vicarage, with the kind assistance of Mr. Payne and Miss Hunton. The contents of the parcels were such things as biscuits in tins, cake, Oxo, potted meat, milk and cocoa, chocolate, apples, soap, candles and cigarettes.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)