“The whole world had been brought more closely together through the great War”

A missionary service used the war’s universal impact to encourage donations.

The S. P. G. Parishes United Service, held at S. Mary’s on the evening of S. Andrew’s Day [30 November], was attended by a good congregation. The Principal of Cuddesdon, the Rev. J. B. Seaton, preached the sermon, emphasizing the fact that now was the best time to appeal for help on behalf of the work of the Church overseas, as the whole world had been brought more closely together through the great War. The offerings, in answer to the S. P. G. appeal, amount to over £54, but further contributions have come in, which, we hope, will bring the sum up to the £100 aimed at.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

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“There are now only 15 regular workers for the Red X work”

A small but industrious group of women in Burghfield were still knitting and sewing clothing and bandages for wounded soldiers.

The Holiday House Working Party

There are now only 15 regular workers for the Red X work (all have the WW badge), but we manage to send in a good share of work. The list of articles completed for the year ending November 30th, 1917, is:

Pyjamas 166, Pants 105, Bed Jackets 88, Cingelts [sic] 33, A V Vests 21, Triangular Bandages 36, Slings 13, Treasure Bags, 35, Swabs 15, Cloths 9, Pillow Linings 4, Jug Covers etc 6, Operation Stockings 45 pairs, Mitten 46 pairs, Socks 17 pairs, Mufflers 8, Squares 6.

Mrs Harry Smith has cut out all our work. The material for the garments has been provided by the Depot in Reading, also a little wool; but cotton, tape, buttons, needles, and the greater part of the wool have been bought from the proceeds of a Social, 5-; a Rummage Sale, £2 8s 0d; a Concert, £2 17s 6d, held at Holiday House; and a few small donations given by friends.

Mr Foley (carrier) kindly takes our work to the Depot and brings the material out.

We should be glad of any help in providing wool for comforts, as at present our stock is exhausted.

Millicent M Higgs

Burghfield parish magazine, February 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Hoping “the streets of Jerusalem may be at peace, under the guard of Christian soldiers drawn mainly from our British race”

The assistant clergyman who was the minister at St Peter’s, Furze Platt, in the parish of Maidenhead St Luke, became an army chaplain in 1916.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

Alas, we lose Mr. Sellors on November 29th. He goes to Aldershot and thence to Salonica. Our prayers and good wishes go with him. I know that in the difficult interregnum that will follow his departure, I can count upon your loyal support, and that the St. Peter’s Church Committee will do all that is possible to keep things up in Furze Platt. Your loyal support has, I know, never failed me in similar (all too frequent) difficulties, which are much magnified by the War.

Lastly, may I hope that we all may have a happy and peaceful Christmas; and that when we meet, very many of us round the Altar on that day, Bethlehem, still a little Christian City, may be again in Christian hands; and the streets of Jerusalem may be at peace, under the guard of Christian soldiers drawn mainly from our British race.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

She received official information that her husband had been killed at “The Front”

Women at home grieved when loved ones were killed.

29th November, 1917.

Mrs. Edwards was absent this morning. She received official information that her husband had been killed at “The Front”. Miss Taylor was also absent through the same reason.

Arborfield, Newland and Barkham CE Junior School log book (84/SCH/1/2, p. 26)

War bread makes us itch

The poor quality bread issued in wartime sounds as though it may have caused allergic reactions in some people.

29th November 1917

F.B. went back to-night enroute to Italy he expects.

I went to bed at ½ past 9.

This war bread or something has given all of us a most irritating sensation like the itch.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

The man who made the escape key

The governor of Reading Prison wrote to the Prison Commissioners about one of the foreign internees he considered to be a bad influence. Paul, alias Henry Mayer, was duly transferred to Brixton Prison in December 1917, for transfer to the Isle of Man. He was a German engineer, aged 26 when interned in 1916.

29 Nov 1917

P Meyer [sic]
S of S Order 12.7.06, Aliens Act Deportation

The above prisoner has been one of the leading agitators here as regards the proposed hunger strike.

He was also in touch with the men who escaped – and though I cannot prove it I am convinced in my mind from all the information I have obtained that he was the man who made the key with which the men opened the gates to the exercise court. His conduct is bad and today he has just completed 3 days No. 1 diet and 14 days No. 2 for refusing to obey orders and using filthy and grossly insubordinate language to a warden.

He is treated in the “Friendly Alien Wing” – now abolished, but claims to be a German and his record shows him born in Berlin – in my opinion he is certainly a German. As his influence is for the bad, I should be glad if he could be removed either to a prison or if he is a German to a Camp.

C M Morgan, Governor

He is an old criminal convicted in this country.

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

A most excellent entertainment

Ascot people supported Christmas presents for soldiers.

The two concerts given in the Parish Room on November 27th and 28th in aid of the Fund for Christmas Parcels for Ascot Men serving over seas were a great success, the total receipts amounting to about £34. A number of letters have already been received from the recipients expressing their grateful thanks to Mr. Tottie and thhe Men’s Committee who worked so hard in the cause as well as to the Ladies and the R.F.C.M. Ascots who gave a most excellent entertainment.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

A useless horse

28 November 1917

Man came to fetch chestnuts. Horse from Government useless….

Wire from Boy [their son in law Leo Paget] to say Paris leave on from 10th to 16th.

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

A troublesome foot

A wounded Reading man was released from the army, although he would face a long struggle ahead.

Khaki Chat

Leslie Smith (ex-sergeant) has now received his discharge from the Army, and since arriving home has entered No.1 War Hospital, where the troublesome foot has undergone one more operation. With what success it is impossible yet to say, but Leslie is cheerful and well in himself.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, November 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

A remarkable fact during the third year of war

The cause of Christian missions suffered from the war’s calls on the public’s generosity.

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts:
Diocese of Oxford:
An Urgent Appeal

The Society is constrained by force of circumstance to ask this year for an increase of £35,000 over its income in 1916.

The need for the Appeal

In the Mission Field, as at home, money does not go so far as it did. This additional £35,000 is not required for any fresh developments but for the maintenance of existing work only.

To reduce the grants for 1918, without previous warning and in the face of remarkable self-sacrifice on the part of workers in all parts of the Mission field, would, humanly speaking, be disastrous. It would mean the with-drawal of Christian workers who are planting all over the world true civilisations grounded in the Christian Faith, and the closing of Mission Stations. It would mean undoing the work of years of devoted labour. It would probably mean that in the eyes of non-Christians the Gospel cause must be waning.

Such a step is unthinkable, and for 1918 the Society has pledged itself not to reduce its grants. It looks to its supporters to enable it to keep its pledge.

The amount required is small indeed compared with the immense sums that are being so generously and splendidly subscribed to War Funds. Let those who realise the extreme importance of the Missionary work of Church overseas see to it that the permanent work of the Church of God is not maimed in these years of stress, for the want of these few thousands.

The Missionaries are doing their part nobly. In one diocese, for instance, the Missionaries supported by the Society are setting a fine example by putting aside 5 percent of their small stipends to form an “Emergency Fund” in case the Society should be unable to keep its pledges.

Of the additional £35,000 to be raised, the share of this diocese (based on the last five years’ average contributions to the General Fund) is £1,433.


How is this Appeal to be Met?

The Oxford Diocesan S.P.G. Committee appeals at once for an additional sum of £500 for the General Fund towards this amount.

A resident in the diocese has offered to give £5 if 99 other gifts of £5 are contributed before the end of the year. It has been suggested in addition to personal gifts of £5 it may be possible for Rural Deaneries or parishes to contribute one or more sums of £5 over and above the contributions in 1916.

Apart from this “challenge” Ruri-decanal and parochial secretaries are earnestly requested to use every effort to obtain new subscribers; and all Incorporated Members, Members, and supporters of the Society are asked to increase, if possible, their contributions this year.

The Diocese of Oxford last year raised more money for the Society through parochial channels than ever before. That is surely a remarkable fact during the third year of war! It shoes that the tide of the missionary spirit is still rising and is of good omen for the present year. A little more and the worst strain will be over.

Contributions should be sent to Miss Porter, Ouseleys, Wargrave.


Wargrave parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

The risk of permanent injury to eyesight

Calls for a blackout to guard against air raids caused problems for ladies at one Berkshire church.

THE LIGHTING.

The method of obscuring our chapel windows to satisfy the Regulations has not been quite satisfactory, and a new method has now been adopted. Mr. Leach most kindly gave us a supply of “casement cloth,” and some of our ladies fixed it up. We hope now that all our friends will again be able to read their bibles and hymn-books without risk of permanent injury to their eyesight.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, November 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Universally liked and respected

A popular postman was reported killed.

We deeply regret to have to record that Stanley Ewins of the Berks Yeomanry was killed in action in Palestine on November 27th. He was very well known in Bracknell as one of our postmen and was universally liked and respected. He was also a member of our Church Choir. Very great sympathy is felt for his widowed mother.

Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

“Very proud of this honour”

Members of the Broad Street Brotherhood, the men’s group at the Congregational Church, enjoyed some vicarious pride in the progress of Victor Smith, their leaders son, while another elderly official decided to devote his full attention to managing the hospitality the church offered to soldiers in Reading.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Our first duty this month is to most cordially congratulate Captain L. Victor Smith, MC, on his well deserved promotion. We of the Brotherhood feel very proud of this honour which has been bestowed upon our President’s son.

Following on the visit of Miss Darker, the secretary of the War Savings Committee of Reading, the matter was again brought before our Brothers at a recent Sunday meeting, and an appeal for those who wished to form a War Saving Association on connection with the Brotherhood was made; but the response was not sufficient to warrant us starting one. Should any brothers wish to purchase War Savings Certificates, they can do so through the Savings Bank.

At the last General Committee, Brother W A Woolley tendered his resignation as secretary, explaining that he was obliged to give up this office on account of not enjoying such good health as he would wish, and to enable him to devote more time to the great work he has undertaken in connection with the Soldiers’ Welfare Committee.

The Soldiers’ Welfare Committee is catering for our wounded soldiers, and men and women in khaki, every afternoon and evening in the [Sunday] Schoolroom, and many of our brothers are helping in this good work; but still further help would be appreciated as the number of soldiers using the room is considerably increasing each day.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“Hearing of the death of her husband”

A married teacher had the news she would have dreaded since her husband joined up.

26th November 1917
Mrs Concannon excused this afternoon, on account of hearing of the death of her husband, killed at the front.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p.39)

Filling sacks with chestnuts for munitions

Short of gardening staff thanks to the war, the Vansittart Neales collected chestnuts like Berkshire’s children.

26 November 1917
Henry & I cut down ivy on wall by dining room & under staircase. All filled sacks with chestnuts for munitions. 29 sacks!

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