One of life’s failures

St Augustine’s Home was a home for boys in need in Clewer, run by the Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist. It was not strictly speaking an orphanage, as many of the lads had at least one parent living, but they were usually in dire circumstances, and the home gave them stability. Many of the Old Boys were now serving in the armed forces, while the current residents were making little jigsaw puzzles to send to PoWs and the wounded.

A Short Notice of St Augustine’s Home for Boys, Clewer, December 1917

Roll of Honour, 1917
On Active Service

Robert Annesley
Reginald Barber
Frank Berriman
Arthur Booker
Leonard Borman
John Brown
Frank Bungard
William Carter
Percy Cattle
Robert Chippington
George Collyer
Tom Corbett
Jack Corbett
Herbert Cousins
Thomas Cox
Francis Dawes
Charles Douglas
Wilfrid Eccles
Jack Ettall
Edward Farmer
James Frame
James Farmer
Charles Fisher
Wallis Fogg
George Finlay
George Gale
Stanley Graham
Robert Gosling
John Green
John Harrison
George Houston
Ernest Howells
Fred Hunt
Albert Hudson
Arthur Hudson
William Hobart
Albert Jarman
Reginald Jarman
Joseph Kelly
Edward Lewendon
Harry Macdonald
Eric Matthews
Harry Mott
Norman Neild
Alfred Newsome
Robert Parnell
Samuel Perry
Bennie Payne
William Potter
Charles Price
George Pitt
William Robert
Claude Roebuck
Alan Sim
George Simister
Thomas Small
William Smith
Thomas Squibb
Alfred Stroud
George Tate
Graham Taylor
Albert Turnham
Jack Ware
William White
Albert Wicks
Leonard Wicks
William Wicks
Harry Wilden
Edwin Williams
Albert Worth
Leslie Worters
Fred Wright
Seldon Williams

At Rest

Walter Bungard
Albert Braithwaite
Harry Clarke
Joseph Eaves
Russell Evans
Ernest Halford
Frank Lewis
Douglas Matthews
James Matthews
Harry Pardoe
Arthur Smith
Maurice Steer
Thomas Tuckwell
Harry Worsley

A Home for Boys has a special claim on the interest of all at this time, when so many are being left orphans as a result of the war, or who are temporarily without a father’s care and discipline, and letters come very frequently containing requests for information as to the admission and maintenance of boys at St Augustine’s….

We have had two visits lately from an old boy whose name has often appeared in early accounts of St Augustine’s – William Potter. He came with some reluctance, feeling, he said, that at 36 he was too old to consider he had any claim on the Home’s interest or hospitality. Needless to say, we did not regard the matter in that light at all, and felt it spoke well for the close connection of the past that he should still feel as responsible to a new Sister-in-Charge for his doings as he apparently had to the first Sister he knew. He has now gone back to duty at the Front, and as he is a very lonely person, accustomed to thinking of himself as one of life’s failures – his estimate, not ours – we hope the remembrance of his brief visits home and the knowledge that we are thinking of him may be a help….

A few months ago, a friend suggested to the Sister-in-Charge that our boys should make the jig-saw puzzles which have been so popular these last years, and which are now bought so much for the soldiers at the front and in the hospitals. The little iron building put up in the Home grounds and fitted up for a sanatorium, had been used as lumber room only for some time, but it was turned out and put into order, and soon became quite a nice work room. Some fret saws and other necessaries were bought; we got together all the coloured pictures we could find, and set to work, and soon very successful puzzles resulted…. The jig-saw puzzles are put up into little bags all ready for sending to hospitals or prisoners…

The war has claimed two kind friends of the Home in our doctor and dentist, who so generously gave us their services. They were summoned to Military service last summer. This is a great loss for us, but we accept the loss as part of our contribution to the country’s needs. And in a yet more definite way St Augustine’s is allowed to help the Great Cause. We print at the beginning of this little account the names of those Old Boys – all whom we know of – who are serving their country or who have fallen in her service, and we ask for the prayers and thanksgivings of our friends for them. We have now in our little Chapel an oak board surmounted by a Crucifix, and on this board are inscribed the names which make up our Roll of Honour.

We still dream of the chapel that is to be… but in these days, building must be a matter for hope only, and surely we may hope that many who have lost sons and brothers in the war, will, when the time comes, feel moved to contribute towards such a beautiful memorial as would be an adequate chapel, capable of holding all our boys…

A Short Notice of St Augustine’s Home for Boys, Clewer, December 1917 (D/EX1675/23/4/3/13)

December, 1917
My dear Associates,

Now I want to tell you of a new industry which the boys at St Augustine’s Home have lately started, and which gives very happy and profitable occupation for the dark winter evenings.

A few months ago a friend suggested to the Sister in Charge that the boys should make the jig-saw puzzles which have been so popular the last few years, and which are now bought so much for the soldiers at the Front, and in the Hospitals….

Some fretsaws have been gradually bought, and all the coloured pictures we could find got together, and in quite a short time the boys turned out some successful puzzles. Already some orders have been received, and these have kept the little workmen very busy and happy…

The jig-saw puzzles are put up into little bags all ready for sending to Hospitals or prisoners…

Evelyn, Superior CSJB

Letters to Associates of the Community of St John Baptist (D/EX1675/1/24/6)

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