“Few workers have shown such a stout heart and cheerfulness under trials””

Burghfield women contributed to the national need as their talents offered. Olive Hockin (1881-1936) was a fervent suffragette with links to arson attacks. Her book was republished in 2016.

THE WAR

The Village Red Cross Working Party is in “full swing”, and much good work still continues to be done each week by the following members:

Mrs Appleton, Mrs Butler, Miss Bedford, Miss Brown, Miss Cullum, Miss Davidson, Mrs Evans, Mrs George, Mrs Groves, Miss Kent, Mrs Chamberlain, Mrs H Chamberlain, Mrs Lamperd, Mrs Marlow, Mrs Moore, Mrs Montague, Mrs Gray, Mrs Overton, Mrs Philpotts, Mrs Richards, Miss G Richards, Mrs Stroud, Mrs E Wise. Surely there are still more who would like to devote an hour and a half each Thursday afternoon to so good a cause.

We have pleasure in announcing the engagement of Miss Jolie B. Buck (grand-daughter of our honoured old friend and neighbour the late General Buck of the Hollies) to Captain James McCallum, of the Canadian Forestry Corps. Captain McCallum is probably going to France shortly, and the wedding will not take place for some time. Miss Buck is at present serving as a lady driver to the Forestry Corps at the Canadian Camp, Ufton.

“Two Girls on the Land – War Time on a Dartmoor Farm”, by Olive Hockin (Edward Arnold, 1918, 2s 6d). A record of a whole year’s work told with sympathy and directness. Few workers on a farm have shown such a stout heart and cheerfulness under trials as the authoress, Mrs Kirkwood’s daughter; and her Burghfield friends will find every page of her story interesting.

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

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Bapaume taken

The Allies were making progress.

30 August 1918

Bapaume taken by us, & Noyon by French.

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

Hot and fly-plagued

A Berkshire army chaplain had news of the war in Italy.

The Italian Front

Mr. Bowdon arrived on the 29th, very well, and very full of Italian news. He has recently been in charge of a British hospital at Taranto in the extreme south, hot and fly-plagued; but hopes to return to the front on the Piave.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P120/28A/14)

“There are some days when my arm is scarcely endurable””

Percy Spencer was recovering from his wound.

Aug 29 [1918]

My dear WF

Very many thanks for the lavender bags. The Night Nurse specially appreciates your remembering her as you have not seen her. My adjutant’s wife came to see me 2 days ago and brought her little girl. I begged the enclosed photos from her.

The surgeon is quite satisfied with my wrist & I can see for myself it begins to look healthier. Changes in the weather are my worst enemy and there are some days – as for instance yesterday – when my arm is scarcely endurable, and letter writing is difficult, so you must forgive me if sometimes I do not write.

…I’ve always meant to ask you – did you see that a fellow was killed at Heacham the other week by a low flying plane – “accidental death” I expect was the verdict.

…The padre discussed my religious outlook before he left and promised to have a battle royal for the benefit of my soul upon his return, merrily running through a list of the souls he had vanquished in this very ward. However I don’t think we shall get very far, as I shall first require his Christian qualifications before I allow him to operate. If he passes the test I’m thinking [last page missing]

Part of letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/83-84)

More valuable service in the national cause

Hare Hatch people were pleased that one local man would not go to war.

Hare Hatch Notes

We are very glad indeed that we shall continue to have the advantage of Mr. Chenery’s work in Hare Hatch. He was classed Grade II. The Churchwardens were of the opinion that if he were unfit for the fighting line he should appeal to the Tribunal, in order that the Authorities might understand the work he is now doing and decide whether there was any other direction in which he could render more valuable service in the national cause.

The Tribunal decided that Mr. Chenery should continue the good work which he is now doing.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

“The memory of the music of those lives which will ever be ringing in our hearts”

St Nicolas’ Church in Newbury had a novel idea for a war memorial.

THE CHURCH BELLS

Considerable difficulty has been experienced of late in keeping a full band of ringers together. The War Office has from time to time stretched forth a long arm and carried off members to help ring the Kaiser’s knell. Consequently there are very few left of the band of two years ago, but we are trying to keep it up to full strength…
Incidentally the Curfew is being rung again after some months of silence, and the clock once more informs us of the time of day with no uncertain tongue. DORA does not frown on these little efforts now as much as she used…

The tower contains a fine peal of bells, and the chiming apparatus at present is only what is known as a “ting-tang”, which is scarcely worthy of the Church in particular or Newbury in general. Would it not be possible to raise a fund after the War to put in a proper apparatus for “Westminster” or “Dick Whittington” chimes as a memorial of those from Newbury who have fallen in the War? Would it not be a fitting memorial of those who have given their lives for their Country, the memory of the music of those lives which will ever be ringing in our hearts? The cost, we understand, would be something like £100, which should not be very hard to obtain if everyone contributed a little.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, August 1918(D/P89/28A/13)

“We fellows out here feel no end bucked up to know we are not forgotten in our native place”

Soldiers were grateful for reminders of home.

While we are full of hope and thankfulness for the splendid counter attacks of the allies between the Aisne and the Marne, we deeply regret to record several casualties to Ascot men. Arthur Warwick, who was previously reported missing, was killed in action on Sept. 20th 1917, and news has also been received of the death of Walter Barton. We shall be sure to remember these men and their relatives in our prayers and trust that good news may soon be received from those who are missing.

The Sailors and Soldiers Committee have received letters from F.G. Barton, F. Deverall, J. Berridge, T. Dickens, W.P. Siggins, C. Berridge, C. Parsons, expressing their thanks for the message of good wishes and the photograph of All Saints’ Church. One of the above writes

“Very many thanks for the photograph of Ascot church, also for the good wishes. We fellows out here feel no end bucked up to know we are not forgotten in our native places, and it helps us along to know that we are being prayed for each week. Speaking for myself, I am sure that whenever I look at the photo, my thoughts will fly back to many a pleasant memory. It happens to be Sunday today and I can just picture to myself the scene that is taking place.”

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, August 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/7)

And down came the bombs

Percy Spencer was making a good recovery.

Bed 8, Florence Ward
St Thomas Hosp[ital]

Aug 27 [1918]

My dear WF

I’ve had some delightful letters from France. ‘Davey’ is the adjutant whose job I should have got had he not recovered and returned to the Battalion a week or so before me, and whose job I should eventually got [sic]. Dr [Camp/Lang?] is an interpreter, very literary fellow, who has done wonderful things in Spain. He was dining with me on the eventful night when hearing the old Bosch overhead I amused the fellows with a description of our real thoughts and the Hun plane’s thoughts on such an occasion – and down came the bombs.

Last night I got up for a couple of hours and didn’t feel too tired. Also last night I had a fairly good night without the aid of a sleeping draught. Mr Adams is satisfied with my hand – in fact all’s well again.

Can you send me Will’s address, and I should like the other boys’ addresses when you have time.

With my dear love to you both

Yrs ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/82)

A Silver Wedding present

The Royal Family requested any fans should send gifts to the troops in honour of the King and Queen’s Silver Wedding.

Mrs. Crailsham collected 14/3 at the Brownlow Hall sewing party, for the King and the Queen’s Silver Wedding present for providing comforts for the troops.

Warfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, August 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/7)

Exemption from military service for men engaged in food production and distribution

Those involved with food control were also asked to monitor the calling up of essential employees.

26th August.

Meeting of Sub-committee to consider correspondence which had passed with the Divisional Ministry of Food with reference to the nomination of a representative of that body on a committee which had been appointed to deal with applications for exemption from military service before the Local Tribunal in respect of men engaged in food production and distribution.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Allies had a very good week

The news was going down well at home.

25 August 1918

We Allies had very good week. We also making push.

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

Efficiency and gallantry

A Burghfield doctor was commended for his contributions.

Honours and promotions

2nd Lieut. F Wheeler (King’s Liverpool Regiment), before being taken prisoner (see last month’s magazine) won 1st Prize Bayonet Fighting (Officers) in the First Army Corps; Sergeant E Cooke (Royal West Surrey Regiment) to be Sergeant Instructor, April 1918.

Casualties

2nd Lieut. T Warner (RAF), flying accident, Salisbury Plain; Private Stretcher-bearer Albert Painter (Royal Berks Regiment), missing since 21st March, now reported died. Company Sergeant Major Albert Manners (17th Lancers) died 10th July in hospital (gastric complaint). Sergeant Manners served through the South African War, and through the present war. Private T Searies (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded (doing well).

Discharge

Private Frank J Cooke (Worcester Regiment), 24th July (heart).

Lt-Col. Anderson

Lt-Col. H S Anderson, RAMC, who is the brother of Mr W C F Anderson of Hermit’s Hill, and who is himself on the Burghfield Electoral Register, was in the New Year’s list of honours, and received the CMG. His name also appeared in the Gazette of February 8th among those who had been “brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War by the Army Council, for very valuable services rendered in connection with the war, up to 31st December 1917”.

HRH the Duke of Connaught, on his visit to the Citadel, Cairo, invested him with the Order at the Hospital which is under his charge. Among such services may particularly be mentioned those in connection with the “Britannic”. Col. Anderson was in command of all the medical staff and hospital arrangement of the huge vessel during several voyages out and home, with marked efficiency, and was on board when she was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Greece. For his gallantry and conduct on this occasion he received especial thanks and mention.

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

Work of a very important nature

The Chief Constable returned to his police duties.

5 October 1918

A letter, dated 24 August 1918, from the Army Council was read, stating that the Council offered no objection to the release of Lieut-Col. Poulton to enable him to take up his duties as Chief Constable, and expressing the appreciation of the Council for the valuable services rendered by Col. Poulton since the commencement of the war – his work had been of a very important nature and had been carried out to the entire satisfaction of the Council.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

“One pitch-dark night, about half-past twelve, a shell dropped in the entrance of the dug-out, smashing it up and setting fire to its contents”

Noncombatant workers behind the lines were also at terrible risk.

Trinity Hut

It is now pretty well known by members of the Church and congregation that our Trinity Y.M.C.A. Hut at La Clytte is no more. It was completely destroyed during the fighting in Flanders towards the end of March, and the young Y.M.C.A. Worker, Mr. L. Hutchinson, who took charge there soon after I left, was himself severely wounded, and is now in hospital at Chelsea. I called on him there recently, and learned from him some particulars which must not be published, and some others that will be of interest to all members and friends of Trinity.

The first accident that happened to the Hut was the bursting of a big shell a few yards away, which riddled the little cabin known as Hotel de la Paix, where I used to sleep, and wrecked some 40 feet of the main hut on that side. This was quickly patched up, and the work was continued until the military authorities decided that it was necessary to close the Hut. Then our workers obtained the use of a large dug-out in the vicinity holding about a dozen at a time, and carried on the canteen work there, sleeping in a smaller dug-out nearby. Finally one pitch-dark night, about half-past twelve, a shell dropped in the entrance of the smaller dug-out, smashing it up, setting fire to its contents, and badly wounding my friend Mr. Hutchinson just above the knee.
His colleagues, one of whom was slightly hurt, succeeded with some difficulty in extricating him from the wreckage, but it was more than an hour before an ambulance and medical aid was forthcoming. It was found necessary to amputate the injured lag. I am glad to say that my friend is now making excellent progress towards recovery.

Since the general facts became known to us, I have been asked by a good many of our friends, “What are we going to do about it?” and the desire has been expressed from many quarters first that we should do something practical to show our sympathy with this young worker who held the fort so faithfully to the very last in our hut, and our appreciation of all that he did as to that extent our representative; and in the second place that we should endeavour in some form or other to replace the Hut erected as a memorial to those of our boys who have made the supreme sacrifice during the war.

To rebuild the Hut as it was would of course cost a great deal more than the original £500. Nor is the Y.M.C.A. putting up so many buildings of that type in the battle area. A less expensive type of Hut, of which a number are now being set up in France, costs £300, and even this would be a great deal to ask of our people as things are at present.

Many who might fully sympathise with the object may be so placed that other pressing claims made it impossible for them to take part in any such effort as this, and I do not intend to put them in the position of having to say so. I shall not therefore be making any immediate public appeal from the pulpit, nor any personal appeal to individual members of the Church congregation. But on the other hand, I know that many of our members are not only able and willing, but eager to do something in this direction. I am therefore making it known in this way, with the consent of the Deacons, that I shall be very glad to give further information to any who ask for it, and to forward any gifts that may be entrusted to me for this purpose. At the time of writing I have already gifts and promises amounting to £85. If it should not prove possible to for us to find enough for a Hut, it may still be within our reach to provide a marquee in which the same type of work could be carried on. The more we can raise, the more can be done. But I do hope and believe that before very long we may have the satisfaction of knowing that somewhere at the Front some bit of work is again being done by the Trinity, in the Master’s Name, for those brave men who are facing such hardships and dangers on our account. P.N.H.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1918 (D/EX1237/1)

A prisoner in Germany

Sometimes it was a relief to hear a loved one hasd been captured.

Jonathan Rance, who was reported missing, is now known to be a prisoner in Germany.

Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, August 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/7)