Hope Roumelia has fallen

Roumelia, or Rumelia, was ancient Thrace. By the time of the First World War it was partly in Bulgaria and partly in the Ottoman Empire, both countries having joined the side of the Germans.

30 June 1916

Hear Roumelia fallen – hope it is true.

Roger Casement sentenced to be hung.

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

An army chaplain follows in the footsteps of St Paul

An army chaplain did some religious-themed sightseeing on the days he wasn’t ministering to the troops. The ancient Macedonian city of Salonika (today known as Thessaloniki) had remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire from 1430 until it was ceded to Greece in 1912. It had a very early Christian congregation, to whom the Apostle Paul wrote the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which was of great interest to a dedicated believer. St George’s is now a museum.

THE REV. ERIC BRERETON, Chaplain to the Forces, writes to the Rector from Salonika –

“One can picture the labours of the Apostle St. Paul here, and gaze on buildings erected at least 200 years before Christ, some of which are now happily housing His flock, the Church of S. George for instance as an example. Built as early as B.C. 200, for an amphitheatre, it was taken over and consecrated as a Church during the reign of Constantine the Great. Falling victim to the Turkish Invasion about 1340, it was utilised as a Mosque, and a large Minaret erected, from the top of which the muezzin summoned the followers of Mahomet to prayer. As such it remained till 20th October, 1912, when it was restored to the orthodox Church after the last Balkan war.

On Sundays my time is fully occupied. I have 7 services, at 5 of which I preach, and have several miles to cover on horseback before my round is done…

We try too to remember those at home who are praying for us, and to realise our fellowship in the great Communion of Saints.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6)

“In the pink of condition”

There was news of some of the men from Maidenhead Congregational Church who had joined up.

CONCERNING THE MILITARY.

Cyril Hews is enjoying a month’s holiday at home, on rejoining after earning his discharge. Harold Islip was home for the usual few days leave during the second week in May, and seemed to be in the pink of condition. Percy Lewis is at a Base Hospital on the coast some twelve miles south of Boulogne. Charles Catliffe, Alfred Lane, and C. S. Vardy have joined the Royal Engineers (4/1) who are in training in Maidenhead. Stephen Harris has enlisted in the Berks Regt., Alfred Isaac has been granted exemption until August 1st.

F.C. Taylor has been passed over by the Military authorities to the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, for “work of National Importance.” He has been appointed to the charge of a new Undenominational Settlement at Melton Mowbray, for boys and girls who have passed through the Police Court, or have been in trouble in some other way. Mr. Taylor will be taking up his work in a week or two. It will be a great loss to us to be deprived of our Sunday School Secretary, but we shall all be glad that his difficulties have straightened out so satisfactorily.

THE CLUB ROOM.

Notwithstanding the light evenings, our soldiers’ club-room is almost as well used as during the winter months. Many of the men write all their letters there, and rely upon the Refreshment Department for their suppers.


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

Let us be worthy of their sacrifice

Burghfield faced up to the National Mission, as family members were at the front.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world. Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving the nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of God. We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little of the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the Church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer, and are ready to witness together to the Majesty of God and to His redeeming love in Christ. It is a time for prayer, for teaching, for witness; may God give us all faith that we may pray, knowledge that we may teach, and courage that we may witness – all these according to His Will and to the praise of His glory.

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

Indian soldiers witness German “civilisation”

The rector of Newbury was optimistic that the war would have positive results.

The Missionary Guild meeting was held on June 28th. The Rector in opening the meeting said all our thoughts were at present on the coming National Mission, but we must not forget or neglect our duty to Foreign Missions…

The Rev. A F Bliss … said “It was rather surprising, but all the great calamities in history had been preparations for progress… After our past wars Christianity had made great strides. The Napoleonic Wars, Chinese, Indian Mutiny and Boer War, were all followed by greater progress in Foreign Missions and Missionary Societies had received more support. There are already noticeable changes during this war. The missionaries in Madagascar have found some of their hindrances removed and their efforts encouraged.

The Indian Soldier is beginning to know from experience that all white men are not Christian, and is contrasting German civilisation with Christianity. In the past destruction had always been followed by construction. We shall be faced with great opportunities, and the whole Church should be prepared, and looking forward to the dawn of a far greater day than had ever yet dawned.”

Newbury parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Marmalade, marmalade, & not a pot of jam for weeks”

Percy Spencer was normally very grateful to his Florence for her frequent presents. But occasionally she made an inopportune choice of item:

27.6.16
My darling sister

Thanks for all your delightful letters & parcels. By the way the tin of marmalade was the best joke ever cracked. Some of the fellows on first coming out get “bully” sent them, but to send a tin of marmalade after it’s been marmalade, marmalade, & not a pot of jam for weeks, and I had the previous day remonstrated with the QMS for not giving us our fair share of the minute jam supply was an accomplishment that will never be surpassed in the war.

We’re having a driving wearing time and I don’t expect to have a moment for a long time, so please accept postcards with all my love, & don’t think I’m neglecting you.

How I should love to be with you at Abingdon – dear old place.
Your loving brer
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to Florence Image (D/EZ177/7/5/20)

Great push begun

There was a mixture of tragedy close to home and better news of the war as a whole.

26 June 1916

Charley Paine & young Sweet killed! He flying. Charlie bombing.
Hear Lille is taken by us! Rumour not confirmed. Hear no letters to come from the Front – great push begun.

Hear Admiral Beattie said 6 big battleships, 7 cruisers, 20 destroyers gone down of enemy in Jutland battle. Hear mist helped us. Our big battleships able to come in range & did terrible damage in 10 minutes.

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

“The horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded”

The vicar of Earley St Peter faced the enormity of the challenge of the National Mission.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world.

Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving their nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of God. We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer….

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
James Ilott, Albert Barton, William Pocock, Edward Whitworth, Alfred Harris, Albert Higgs, Wilfred Capel, George Bungay, Frank Bedford, Herbert Canning, Donald Hendy, Alfred Harwood, Albert Brown, Charles Webb.

In addition to those already mentioned, we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Sick and Wounded: Maurice Holliday, Alfred Smith, Albert Hiscock, Albert Saunders.
Prisoner of War: Albert Harwood.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/6)

Family photographs at the Front

The YMCA had a heartwarming scheme to send photographs of family members to soldiers, many of whom came from poor families with no access to luxury goods like cameras.

Snapshots from Home

The Y.M.C.A. have enlisted a vast number of people to help in taking photographs of home scenes, to send to Soldiers at the Front. A photograph of wife or child must be a very pleasing addition to a letter from home and is, no doubt, greatly treasured. If anyone with a camera would like to lend a hand in Wargrave there would be plenty to do, either informally or under the Y.M.C.A organisation.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Working Party has been discontinued for the summer. We are very much indebted to Miss. Rhodes who carried on this work throughout the winter months. We are also indebted to Mrs. Rhodes who so generously provided tea each week for those who came. This kind act was greatly appreciated. In a letter we have received, Miss. Rhodes says: –

“The Working Parties have been a great success and no end of good work done; and I have had most grateful letters of thanks from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, The War Hospital, Wandsworth, and the Ladies’ Linen League, Royal Berkshire Hospital, and much praise on the quality of the work.”

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

“The collapse of our semi-Christianised civilisations under the shock of the war”

Newbury people had the opportunity to listen to two thoughtful and challenging lectures as part of the National Mission. One came from Canon Henry Scott-Holland, best known for his funereal meditation, ‘Death is nothing at all’.

An assembly of over 700 people in the Corn Exchange on Sunday afternoon, June 25th, at 3.30, listened with earnest attention to an address by Canon Scott-Holland on the subject of “The Church and Social Problems”, in connection with the National Mission; and our gratitude is due to the Vicar of St John’s for inviting him to Newbury. The speaker drew a powerful picture of the collapse of our semi-Christianised civilisations under the shock of the war; he spoke of several of the most pressing National Social Problems, and he showed how the Bishops were endeavouring to lead the Church towards understanding and sympathising with the aims of the working-classes; while there was much to urge as to repentance, there were, he said, already real grounds for hope for a new and better England.

We had a visit – unfortunately, but poorly attended – from the Rev. A H Kennedy on June 30th, in connection with the National Mission. He suggested that the names should rather be “The National Call”. He spoke of the great changes likely to result in the Nation in consequence of the war, and asked whether the Church would be ready to play her part in the new life. There were two possibilities before her: 1, to seek a revival of her own life; 2, to become a little houseboat in a backwater. He spoke of the growth of the religious spirit and of the moral sense, and of the spirit of fellowship among the men at the Front, and they on their return ought to find these things in evidence in the Church.

Newbury parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Money urgently needed for refugees in Windsor

Churchgoers in Clewer continued to support Belgian refugees.

We have been asked to renew our subscription to the Belgian Refugee Fund, as some more money is urgently needed to carry on the help that is still being given in Windsor to this good cause.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P39/28A/9)

A very plucky act

The mayor of Newbury, a local solicitor, had joined up and was distinguishing himself.

Both the War and the coming National Mission constitute reasons for earnest united prayer, and for this purpose there will be an Intercession Service for Women on Friday afternoons at 3 o’clock. It is intended that this should be of quite a simple nature, to last not more than three quarters of an hour at the outside, and consisting of intercessions and hymns, and possibly a short address: and all those who have relations and friends at the War, and all those who have at heart the National Mission, are heartily invited to come and take part. Babies may be brought.

We are very glad to hear that the Mayor of Newbury, Mr Frank Bazett, is making a good recovery from the very serious accident which has befallen him in doing a very plucky act, of which we have read in the Newbury Weekly News.

Another member of our Choir, Mr Albert Hill, is now in France, serving his King and Country. He must have done very well in the Army, to have been sent out after only three months training.

Newbury parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

God has brought judgement on the earth

A special prayer was issued for the National Mission:

The National Mission

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued the following Collect, it may well be used daily in private prayer:-

LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, who hast brought Thy judgements upon all the earth, that the inhabitants of the world may learn righteousness: We entreat Thy Divine Majesty so to turn the hearts of the people of this land, that sorrowing for our sins with true repentance, and trusting in the hope of Thy salvation we may be renewed to do Thee service and shew forth Thy praise from one generation to another, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. AMEN.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

For those who perished

MEMORIAL SERVICE.

On Whit-Tuesday evening [13 June] a special Memorial Service was held for those who perished in the Jutland Battle, especially George Gibbins, who was lost on “Black Prince” also for those who perished on the “Hampshire,” especially our great Field Marshall Lord Kitchener.

Warfield section of Warfield District Magazine, July 2016 (D/P151/28A/8/7)

A tribute of respect to Kitchener

Bracknell people shared in the national mourning for Lord Kitchener, and in an age before televised services, did their best to replicate his official memorial service. Meanwhile patriotic efforts had replaced charity for the East End.

A Memorial Service for Lord Kitchener was held at noon on June 13th in Bracknell Church. The service was, as far as possible, the same as that held at the same hour in S. Paul’s Cathedral, the same hymns and psalms, and the Dead March played solemnly in the middle of the service. There was quite a large congregation, and all felt glad to be able to join together in paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the great man who had done such good service so devotedly to his country.

Owing to people being so busy over war work, it was felt that it was almost impossible to arrange a Lent Working party for the Isle of Dogs this year; but Mrs. Sheppee most kindly collected 43 garments and sent them to Mr. Mirrilees last month. We have received a very grateful letter of thanks from him.

Bracknell section of Warfield District Magazine, July 2016 (D/P151/28A/8/7)