War bonus for a Binfield nurse

Nurses got a pay rise in Binfield.

At a meeting of the executive committee held in the parish room on Wednesday Oct 31st 1916 …

The minutes were read and signed. It was thought advisable to give Nurse Ryley a War bonus of £5.00. Proposed by Mrs Williams and seconded by Miss Knipe, that it be recommended to the quarterly committee.

Mrs Gibson represented a family who thought they ought not to pay 4/- as their earnings were much more than last year. It was decided not to alter the rules.

General Committee Minutes of Binfield District Nursing Association (D/QNA/BI1/5)

Too many boys take on farm work

The shortage of labour led to low school attendance as older boys helped out in the fields.

31st October 1916

End of Financial School Year; attendance markedly lower than the last year and the year before, partly due to the number of boys allowed out of school to work on the land.

Ashbury National School log book (C/EL5, pp. 179-180)

“The very next day they received a telegram announcing that it was all over”

A Winkfield man who had returned to the Somme after being wounded was killed a few weeks later.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

Again this month we have to record the sad news that another of our men has made the supreme sacrifice and laid down his life for his country, for Pte. George Faithful was severely wounded in the Somme offensive and succumbed to his wounds a few days later. His parents on October 23rd heard that he was wounded, and the very next day they received a telegram announcing that it was all over. Only a few months ago he was invalided home wounded, and he had been out at the front again for only a few weeks before he met his death.

A Memorial Service was held on Sunday evening, October 31st, and heartfelt sympathy goes out to his bereaved relatives.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, November 1916 (D/P151/28A/11)

Pray for the good hand of God upon us in the war

More Earley men had joined up, while churchgoers across the county were urged to pray for army chaplains.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE
The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the October Diocesan magazine:
Your prayers are specially asked

For the National Mission….
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the chaplains to the forces, especially those from this diocese.
For the wounded in hospital, especially those in this diocese, and those who minister to them…
For the supply of candidates for Holy orders, especially from among those now serving as soldiers.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

William Waite, William Wright, Harry Cartwright, James Maxwell, Edwin Jerome, Harold White, Lionel Dunlop, Brian Dunlop, William Illsley, Albert Flower, Tom Brooks, Harry Shepherd, Albert Andrews, Robert Lewis, Harry Longshaw, Horace Gilbert, George Stacey, Maurice Love.

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

Killed: Alfred Bolton, Percy Howlett, Ralph Hayes Sadler.
Died: Harry Stevens.
Wounded: Jack Howlett, Percy Hamilton, George Bungay, Sidney Saunders, Leonard Rixon, Frank Jones.
Sick: William Fisher, Sidney Farmer.

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)

15 wounded Canadians visit Bisham

Another group of wounded soldiers visited Bisham Abbey.

30 October 1916
Had 15 wounded from Canadian Hospital. Came late. Saw house – tea – then whist.

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

The first great military award gained by a Winkfield man

A number of Winkfield men had been wounded or were unwell.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING

We regret to learn that Pte. Jack Dean has been wounded with a bullet wound through the left leg. He is in hospital in England and writes cheerfully, so we hope he is doing well.

Pte. George Benstead has been moved from the hospital in France to England. He writes to the Vicar that he is so much better that he hopes shortly to be home and able once more, for a time, to take his place in the choir again.

Pte. Fred Holmes, Pte. W. Franklin, and Pte. C. Jenden have also been wounded; they have been in England some time and are now convalescent.

Pte. C.E. Burt has been seriously ill with rheumatic fever, but is better, and we trust now out of danger.

Pte. Fred Blay joined the Army Service Corps last month and Fred Knight joined H.M.S. Impregnable.

Corporal Reginald Nickless and Privates Leonard Cox and George Faithful, having recovered from wounds or sickness have returned to the front, also Private Norman Nickless has gone out, and we trust all will find a place in our prayers.

Most of us have heard with great pleasure and satisfaction that the Military Medal (and promotion to Lance-Corporal) was won by Edwin Gray for gallantry on July 1st at Deville Wood. This good news ought to have appeared in the August Magazine, but though now belated it is fitting that a record be made in the Parish Magazine of what is, we believe, the first great military award gained by a Winkfield man, and we heartily congratulate Lance-Corporal Edwin Gray and his relatives on this distinction.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

Guns like thunder

William Hallam, originally from Lockinge, but now living in Swindon, could hear the roar of guns from army training camps miles away on Salisbury Plain.

29th October 1916

Very heavy firing all day from Salisbury Plain. It must have been big guns from the reports – like thunder.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

The stream of wounded increases

The needlework of Reading women was increasingly needed as the flow of wounded from the Somme reached British shores.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

It is quite a long time since we made an appeal for this most deserving object, but the funds are now in need of replenishment and we ask for some donations.

The work of this organisation is of the highest value, and the need of the articles which is makes is increasing almost daily as the stream of wounded from the great offensive increases in volume. We feel sure that gratitude to our wounded and the desire we all have to do our part, however small, will not allow the output of this Working Party to dwindle from want of materials, or the money to purchase them. Subscriptions will be gladly received by Miss Britton at the Vicarage.

The following articles have been sent to the Depot: 3 bed jackets, 4 flannel shirts, 23 many-tailed bandages, 17 locker cloths, 1 pair of socks, 1 suit of pyjamas, 14 trench-feet bandages, 1 vest, 8 lavender bags (Mrs Bowyer) – 72. Total, with those already sent in, 1,654.

C.L.B.

The St John’s Company of the C.L.B. heard with very mixed feelings of the promotion of the captain to a commission in the army. On the one hand they felt that the company was honoured in the honour done to its captain; on the other hand the company had been doing exceedingly well of late under Lieutenant Reeves and his departure was likely to prove a serious setback to a period of real progress. It is with great satisfaction, then, that we learn that the vacant captaincy has been offered to, and accepted by, Mr E. Hawkes, who will bring much capacity and not a little experience in matters military to his new position.

Reading St. John parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Socks and sardines

East Reading women and children continued to support the wounded:

CARE AND COMFORTS COMMITTEE

The vicar has received a letter from this Committee acknowledging with many thanks the receipt of the following:

Cake, eggs, biscuits, sardines, sweets, fruit, potted meat, honey, jam, books and magazines, from the children at St John’s Church. These gifts were presented at the service on October 28th.

The following articles have been sent from the Working Party: 16 shirts, 5 bed jackets, 3 pyjamas, 32 pillow cases, 7 pairs socks, 2 socks (arm), 88 many-tailed bandages, 28 locker cloths, 14 treasure bags. Total, with those already sent, 1,849.

Reading St. John parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

A war bonus for teachers

The little ones at an infants’ school in Reading were only to go to school in the afternoons over the winter.

All Saints’ Infant School, Reading
27th October 1916

Received notice from the Education Committee, that the children are to assemble at 1.30pm and be dismissed at 3.30pm from Nov 6th to March 2nd.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School
23rd-27th October

Poor attendance owing to sickness among the girls. Letter sent to Managers asking them to apply to the Local Education Authority for War Bonuses for Teachers owing to the increased cost of living.

Reading: All Saints Infant School log book (89/SCH/19/2, p. 215); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 127)

We do not intend to disparage the uniform

Dr Baker, Medical Superintendent of Broadmoor, and his assistant Dr Foulerton were willing to work with German PoWs for no extra pay – but they did want to have any extra expenses, like RAMC uniforms, provided for them.

27th October 1916
Dear Simpson

I am returning you the War Hospital papers in case you require them for reference. I have copies.

It would hardly be correct to say that Foulerton and I do not wish to wear uniform. That might imply disparagement of the uniform, a feeling which certainly neither of us entertain. The point is simply that if the War Office require us to wear uniform, and it is probably necessary in their view for disciplinary purposes, they ought in common fairness, to make us some sort of allowance as they do in other cases. As I said before we are willing to do the work without extra emoluments and I am glad to think that the attitude on the part of the Staff is appreciated….

Yours very truly
[File copy not signed]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Swimming, sliding, gliding and staggering along the trenches

Percy Spencer wrote to his new brother in law with a vivid description of life in the muddy trenches.

26.10.15
Dear Mr Image

Almost it seems another world that last I saw you in. we move so often and crowd so many events into our time that the clock seems to have more hours in it nowadays than in ordinary peaceful times.

Here I am in a long lean dugout made by the Huns. [Censored.]

Being in a Hun’s trench naturally the parados [sic] is our screen from the enemy. And that makes life fairly exciting, for the parados is very low in places with here and there a gap. Bullets are plentiful and shells quite frequent, but at present we are all here still and keeping fit. You can’t be anything else while life overhead is so exciting, and life underfoot is equally so, for swimming, sliding, gliding and staggering along the trenches the slightest error will land you at the bottom of a shoot 15 or 20 feet deep – German funk holes scarcely wide enough to admit a man, diving steeply into the bowels of the earth: a tribute to the power of our artillery.

Another thing that strikes one is this evidence of the Huns to stay for the duration of the War. The officers’ dug-outs are walled, floored and ceiled with wood – spacious beds are built between walls at either end. The walls are papered with a cheerful pattern; the ceiling is also papered. Between beds 2 small tables, a couple of chairs, a comfortable arm chair and a full length mirror. On the floor oil cloth – on the walls a few pictures. A stove with flue carried up and through the wall heats the room. The trench leading down to this palace is floored with wood gratings: at the entrance door there is a good scraper – overhead a porch formed with a circular sheet of corrugated iron – “Home from home”.

Well, we’ve run up against a pretty rotten kind of existence as the result of our “push”, but no doubt if this war goes on through the winter which God forbid, when our line is straightened and settled down we shall get better quarters. At present we are “fighting” our men from pretty close up.

This morning I went round the reserve lines with the Brigadier and at one point got well “strafed”.

The reason apparently was a man standing in full view of the Huns on his parapet. He was looking for a bottle of rum another had taken from him and thrown over the parapet. Queer how men will risk their own and others’ lives.

Well, we’ve a strange collection of men and I find them a humorous one too. We all get as much fun out of this life as we can and the dry hunour of our Signal Section is a constant source of amusement to me. One “Taffy” speaks a weird language he describes as pure English. He’s been advised to have a phonetic vocabulary printed down one side of his tunic with the English equivalent opposite, so that we should only have to run our fingers down until we came to the sound he was making. He’s not at all pleased.

It’s 11.30 pip emma as the Signallers say, so good night my dear friend.

With love to you both
Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/10/11)

Two sons lost within one year

A number of men from the village of Crazies Hill had been killed, but there was happier news for one family, whose son had been awarded a medal for heroism.

Crazies Hill Notes

Much sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs. Light who have lost two sons in the war. Harry, 2nd Royal Berks was killed in action on September 25th of last year, and James Henry, 2/ 4th Oxon and Bucks, was killed in action on August 21st this year.

This double loss, coming in the course of one year, has evoked the deepest sympathy for the family. We trust they will be comforted in this thought and be supported and helped by our prayers for those in bereavement or sorrow.

Much sympathy is also felt for Mrs. Morse whose husband was killed in action on July 27th last.

In addition to those on our list of those who have given their lives for their country, and whom we remember before God at our Intercession Services are the names of Thomas Barrett, Ernest Edwards, Fred Eggerton, William Gray, Cyril Henry, Albert Nicholls, and Frank Silver.

We are pleased to state that since our last issue Lance- Corporal Herbert Richard Plested of the 1st Royal Berks. Regt. has received the Military Medal.

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

A dark night

Dark nights were a blessing in wartime.

24th October 1916

A dark night but keeping free from Zepps.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

The right spirit

Several soldiers from Clewer had been reported killed.

In Memoriam

The sad news has come to us that two of our late Servers, Walter Bedford and Alfred Hearn, have fallen on the Field of Battle. They have left behind them a memory, which will be long cherished amongst us, as that of two young men of blameless life, devoted to the service of the Church, who gave their all to the Cause of God and their Country.

Alfred Hearn has left a widow and one child to mourn his loss. Walter B. Bedford had been in our Choir from his childhood, until some few years ago when he took up work in London, where he also joined a Choir. R.I.P.

The Major of his Brigade writes of Walter Bedford:- “I am more than sorry to lose him, and so is every one from the General downwards. The two years he has been with me he has always taken things in the right spirit and never complained of hardships.” A comrade also writes:- “He was such a good pal, and always did his duty as a Briton should.” He was brought up from his childhood by his aunt, Mrs. Squelch, in the Surly Hall Road.

We have just heard the sad news of the death of Luke Bowler, Lance-Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, aged 22, also killed in action. We offer our sympathy to his mother. – R.I.P.

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