Tragedy too deep for words

Burghfield schoolchildren celebrated Empire Day on 13 March 1916 with a set of patriotic tableaux.

MRS BLAND’S SCHOOL

The children of Burghfield Common have beaten all records in the matter of attracting an audience at the Technical Schools. Not a seat was empty when they gave their bright little performance on Empire Day, and whether or not the whole programme was evolved from Miss Jackson’s own brain, it was cleverly conceived and admirably carried out.

Gordon Prior, aged only 13, ably undertook the accompaniments, the chief item being a representation of the Allied countries now at war with the Central European Powers. Florence Pembroke, in gorgeous silver armour as Britannia, Elsie Love as France, Kathleen Bunce as Belgium, Raymond Batts as Japan, Italy by Ernest Brant, Russia and Servia [sic] by Frank Lalouette and William Emms, made a tableau which reminded us, alas! of a tragedy too deep for words, and only a strong personal interest in the performers themselves and their capable achievement enabled us for a moment to forget the anguish of the reality.

A collection made at the doors raised £4 12s 6d, which has been devoted to the aid of soldiers blinded during the war, whose case perhaps makes a greater appeal to our sympathies than any other, and we sent all our love and pity with the pennies so freely and cheerfully contributed by all the company.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1916 (D/EX725/3)

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1 Comment

  1. Andy Shepherd

     /  April 18, 2016

    The ‘Florence Pembroke’ mentioned here as taking the part of Britannia was my great aunt, usually known as ‘Puss’. The family lived in Boldrewood Cottage (Jordan’s lane). Her brother Harry Jack Pembroke was KIA 1 October 1918 at Hill 41, Dadizeele – I am in the process of finishing a monograph on him. Eldest brother Charles emigrated to USA and served with US Army (eventually!). Sister Lilian Gertrude (my grandmother) married Walter Sumner (Lt;, RNR). I would be pleased to hear from anyone with links to this family.

    Reply

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