We will cheerfully accommodate themselves to the situation

Shortages ontinued to intensify.

The new Coal and Lighting order may possibly interfere to some extent with our heat and light at the Church during the winter. If such be the case, we trust that the congregation will cheerfully accommodate themselves to the situation.

Newbury parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

Advertisements

“The whole situation on the Western front was changed to our advantage”

The Rector of Remenham encouraged parishioners to give what they could.

Rector’s Letter

My Dear People,

With regard to the War, what cause for thankfulness was ours during the month of August: the whole situation on the Western front was changed to our advantage. Very humbly we have ground to hope that the Almighty has made bare his arm. In dark hours we knew that His care was over us; in the day of sunshine and success we acknowledge that “our sufficiency is of God”. We lift our hearts up unto the Lord.

I would call your attention to two appeals that are made to us in this issue of the Magazine. Please save all your fruit stones (plum, cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, date) and hard nut shells; they are urgently needed for making charcoal for anti-gas masks to protect our fighting men. I shall be glad to receive at the Rectory between September 15 and 30 all stones and shells collected.

Then, secondly, urge the children to gather blackberries as soon as they are ripe; the Berkshire Education Committee are asking the head teachers to organise the effort throughout the county, and our headmistress is doing so for Remenham…

George H Williams

ANTI-GAS MASKS

Who will help our soldiers?

Mrs Barber, Culham Court, has received an urgent request from the Director-General of National Salvage asking us to collect fruit stones and nut-shells. They are needed for the production of charcoal for anti-gas masks, for the charcoal thus produced affords far greater protection to our soldiers against poison gas than any other known substance. The need will continue for the next two months. It is important that stones and nut shells should be forwarded in a dry condition; stones should be dried by being placed for a short time in the sun or in an oven. Will any one who is disposed to help, collect their fruit stones and nut shells, and send them, however small the quantity may be, to the Rectory any time between September 15 and 30?

BLACKBERRIES WANTED!

The Berkshire Education Committee has been asked by the Ministry of Food to arrange for the systematic picking and collecting of blackberries for jam making. Miss Mannion, the head mistress, is organising the collection by the school children of Remenham. A payment of 3d per lb will be made to the children for the amount collected, and they will be granted holidays for the picking expeditions. The picking should take place when the berries are ripe and dry. The children will work in organised parties under the supervision of their teachers, and they are warned to do no damage and to close all gates after them. All berries picked under this scheme must be reserved for Government use and none may be sold.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

Thanksgiving for successes in the war

Sulhamstead churchgoers gave thanks.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

The Harvest Festival held on September 15th was associated this year with thanksgiving for successes in the war during the previous six weeks. The attendances were good, and that in the evening at St Michael’s Church was exceptionally large. The congregation seemed to spiritually understand that the thanksgiving for food embraced not only that produced by our own country, but throughout the world of our Allies.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, October 1918 (D/EX725/4)

A red letter day

This was one of the first memorials to the war as a whole.

Sunday, September 15th (The Octave of the Feast of the Nativity of the B. V. M. [Blessed Virgin Mary]) will be a Red Letter day in the history of S. Mary’s, for on it the War Memorial Chapel was dedicated by our Arch-deacon just before the Sung Eucharist.


Speenhamland parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

“When my enemy is dead then he is but a soul thrown into the boundless space of infinity, & he is no longer my enemy”

We have followed the story of Sydney Spencer from timid young man scared by the roughness of the army, but driven to join up; through his finally ariving at the front in 1918, to an experience with shell shock in August. Sadly, he would not survive the war. This is the last full letter written by Sydney to his beloved sister Florence; a couple of field postcards followed, before his death in action less than two months before the end of the war. Here he describes his current bivouac, and spares a thought for the enemy. His story epitomises the tragedy of the war, and his spirit shines through the years between us.

Sept 15th 1918
7th Norfolks
My Dearest Florence

My pillow is my haversack containing iron rations, my bedding, borrowed Burberrys eyc. (My kit – all of it – is still wandering about between here & Cox & Co’s London!) Now for the door which is the chef d’oeuvre! It is about 2 ½ feet square i.e. the opening of it! The door is a lid of a sugar box which just fits it! Hence when I go to bed, I lie down on the ground & pull myself into the bivouac by my hands. When I go out, I have to go feet first, & back out probably looking about as dignified in the action as does a dog over whose head some wretched boy has tied a paper bag! Dear old Dillon [his captain] chuckles with delight when he sees me getting in & out. My batman is about as big as I am [Sydney was rather small] & he & I are about the only two who can fit inside! Mind you I believe that he & Bodger (Dillon’s batman) made the entrance small on purpose, a covert pulling of my leg. Nevertheless it is so ‘cumfy’ [sic] & warm & dry I love the little spot. Its dimensions are 7 feet length, 4 feet breadth. Height 2 ½ to 3 feet high. Voila ma cherie. Vous avez une phantasie vraisemblable de ma maisonette qui doit vous donner a rire? [This rather bad piece of French translates as “there you are, my darling. You have a vision resembling my little house which will make you laugh”.] …

Two nights ago German aeroplanes (note I say German, I hate ‘Hun’, ‘boche’ etc, it is petty!) came over on bombing intent. A low moon sickly behind a cloud hung (it could not do much else by the way!) in the sky! Planes over. Lights out! The usual boredom. Then about 14 search lights crisscrossed in the sky. Hallo, they have got one in the ray. I had my strong field glasses & there sure enough in the focus of about a dozen searchlights I could see him. He glowed against the deep blue green of the sky, like those lovely flies of May which have transparent emerald green wings. The usual rat-a-tan of machine guns & the muffled boom of shells bursting round him followed. Then high above him appeared a speck of light like a star which winked & glowed & winked again. Machine gun fire stopped. This was one of our men after him. A moment of waiting, a dull spark of light like a shooting star (a tracer bullet) sped by the enemy plane, another one, a momentary pause then a sheet of flame curved gracefully to earth followed by a brilliant stream of coloured lights – some mystic comet from a Miltonian chaos & dark night it looked – & the soul of an enemy passed into the infinite. Over lonely wooden crosses in shell holes one sees in German characters a name & above it the one word ‘Ruhe’ [rest]. I felt that for him. Through all this I cannot help preserving the thought that when my enemy is dead then he is but a soul thrown into the boundless space of infinity, & he is no longer my enemy. Another enemy plane came, another fight took place & he sped to earth at a sickly pace, his signal rockets all colours bursting out behind him in reckless profusion. I suppose he crashed to earth too somewhere, but he did not set on fire.

This afternoon I was in my nothings & a very smart sergeant came up to me & said, “Are you Sydney Spencer”? Well I thought “Yes I am Sydney Spencer as it happens but anyway what the – is it to do with you”, & then “My word, it is Frank Godfrey!” My dear, I was so overwhelmed at meeting someone from Cookham, that I nearly fell on his neck in front of the whole company – all with their nothings on – & wept. I had not seen him since Aug 1914. Thus does anyone from home stir one!

Percy. How is he? I hoped he would be held in bed for months to prevent his coming out soon….

Leave. Think, Florence, I have been out here 6 months & possibly before Christmas I may get leave! And then a rug in front of a warm fire, your sweet selves to charm me to laziness and – oh well – let’s wait till it comes off. I might get impatient if I wrote more on that score. …

Cigarettes. By the way, you said in one of your letters that you had sent Dillon 500 cigarettes. I think from a business point of view you should know that the parcel contained 200. He did not tell me for a long time, but when he did, I thought you ought to know in case Coln Lunn [the merchant] made a mistake & only packed 200, charging you with 500.

The men were delighted with the share they got of them. Dillon, dear old chap, was almost pathetically grateful….

My kit & cheque book are wandering about somewhere in France or England & have been doing so for the last about 40 days, & at present I sit twiddling my thumbs & waiting! When I came out of hospital, lo! I had no hat, no belt, no change of linen, no nothing except for a pair of Tommy’s slacks & a tunic! I managed to go to Le Havre where I spent fabulous sums on making myself look like an officer, having managed to borrow a cheque, which I changed at Cox & Co’s…

By the way, darling, you may send that kit for which I asked although probably by the time I get it all my other kit will come tumbling back & then I shall be once more told I possess too much.

All love to you my sweet sister & to John, of whose approbation – told me through your letters – I am more proud than I can say

Your always affectionate Brer Sydney

Letter from Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EZ177/8/3/79-82)

Successes recently granted to our arms and those of our allies

There was news of Reading men.

Thanksgivings

For successes recently granted to our arms and those of our allies.

Intercessions

For Percival Baingent, one of our Altar-servers, who has joined up in the Royal Warwickshire Regt.

For Frank Taylor, our late Sacristan, who after serving in France and Ireland, has now gone to Italy.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

Splendid courage and untiring energy throughout the heavy fighting

Two brothers were reported killed.

Roll of Honour.
R.I.P.

Almighty and everlasting God, unto whom no prayer is ever made without hope of thy compassion: we remember before thee our brethren who have laid down their lives in the cause wherein their King and country sent them. Grant that they, who have readily obeyed the call of those to whom thou hast given authority on earth, may be accounted worthy of a place among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness for all our sins and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself for us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The following names must be added to the Roll of Honour:-

Loughton, Frederick George.
Private, Grenadier Guards, aged 33. He was the second son of Mr. William Loughton of Wargrave. He was a Piggott Scholar and educated at Wargrave. Before the war he was a gardener at Ouseleys, where he had been five years. He volunteered but was not accepted as fit for service. In September 1917, he was called up and sent to France after four weeks training. He was reported Missing in November 1917, and in June 1918, his name was recorded among the killed. He married in August 1917, and his wife survives him.

Loughton, Joseph Burton. Private, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, killed in action March 29th, 1918, aged 27. He was the third son of Mr. William Loughton. He was educated at Piggott School, Wargrave. Before the war he was a gardener and had been in the same situation for six years. He volunteered in February, 1915. He was sent to France in November, 1915, and with the exception of three short periods of leave he remained there until his death. He was killed instantly by a shell. His Captain wrote: –

“he did his duty as a soldier and a man and behaved with splendid courage and untiring energy throughout the heavy fighting. His death is a great loss to us all”.


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

“In spite of dark hours of disappointment, all those on active service at home and abroad are looking for the dawn”

More and more men were being called up.

PERSONAL

The many friends of Cadet Douglas Baker, son of our esteemed Deacon, Mr Henry Baker, will be glad to hear that he has successfully passed all his examinations, and is now awaiting his commission as an officer in the RAF. We tender him our heartiest congratulations and good wishes. Our young friend has already several years of service to his credit, and a record of which he may justly feel proud.

We also desire to congratulate Sergeant C. S. Stebbings on his recent promotion. Sergeant Stebbings has served for more than 2 ½ years with the Royal Engineers in France, and he has just returned “on leave” with his three stripes. So far he has come through “safe and sound”. We earnestly hope that the like good fortune may be his in coming days.

Fred Warman writes very cheerily from his internment camp at Groningen, Holland. The supply of food, he tells us, is insufficient, but “by buying biscuits and chocolates, which are very dear, I manage to live fairly well and endeavour to keep up my health and strength.” He is learning to speak Dutch, and has made some good friends.

Private Gerald S. Hampton has been wounded in the right hand, and is now in a hospital at Warwick. We are not informed of the extent of his injury, but we hope it is not serious, and that he may have a speedy recovery.

SUNDAY SCHOOL NOTES

Our young friend, Mr Hedley Wyles, who for some time past has helped us as pianist in our morning school, has recently been called to the colours. We greatly regret this has become necessary, but our bets wishes go with him and we trust ‘ere long to have the pleasure of welcoming him back again safe and sound. Miss W. Quelch has very kindly undertaken to fill the post vacated by Mr Wyles.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

“O.A.S” [on active service]

It is a joy to receive letters from our Brothers abroad bearing this inscription, for right well we know they are on active service away on the battle fronts!

Whilst congratulating them on their sacrificial work out yonder, we at home are striving to deserve a similar title…

In spite of dark hours of disappointment, all those on active service at home and abroad are looking for the dawn, and with outstretched hand say to each other with faith and confidence:
“Hope on, the sun is rising, prepare for the coming day. God be with you till we meet again.”…

We are not forgetting our Brother on service. The number increases week by week, so that it has become almost impossible for Brother Woolley to write a personal letter to each member individually, so it is hoped that a special monthly message from the President with a reprint of these notes will be sent each month to brothers on service.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, September 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Intercessions for Reading men

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions List
: Private A.H. Gray, R.A.F.

Departed: Gunner Ernest H. Relf, Lieut, Howard M. Cook, Private Heard, Lce-Corpl. Cornelius Smith, R.E.

Missing: Private A. Bartlett.

Prisoner: Lieut. S. Jardine.

Wounded
: Lieut. Taylor.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P96/28A/35)

Taking up work with the Church Army

A Berkshire curate left to work with the Church Army behind the lines.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Rev. W. G. Smylie who has been the Vicar’s loyal colleague for three and a half years is leaving on September 2nd. He proposes after a short rest, to take up work with the Church Army. The good wishes of all will accompany him in his new duties.

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

“Our children will inherit a war eviller still”

John Maxwell Image’s latest letter to his old friend W F Smith saw hypocrisy among those advocating the growing of vegetables, while he and Florence heard that both Percy and Sydney had been wounded.

29 Barton Road
1 Sept. ‘18
My very dear ancient

We went to the Botanical Garden the other day, and found the great lawn stripped of grass, and from end to end now green with potatoes – that of course, one expected – but I boiled with wrath when great beds, which had been carefully set out with scientifically labelled specimens are now filled with kitchen vegetables – e.g. faded yellow beans rattling in their pods – for not a single one of them, either here or in other beds, had been picked. Woe unto you, S. and P., hypocrites – it is all shabby humbug. At least these might have been brought to utility. But for the publicity to myself, I would fain bring this scandal under the eye of the Local Food Controller, and give a dressing down to the paid Curator…

You object to RC “mummeries” and genuflexions which teach the men at the front to forget the inside of a church. What do you think of this, which I heard the other day from the Medical Officer of an Army Hospital at Cherryhinton? It had happened to the RC Padre only the day previously. A poor Anzac soldier was dying of his wounds, and in very low heart. The RC, who liked the man, was endeavouring to comfort him with the assurance that God is a Merciful God and will pardon the sinner who repents. “Ah, Sir”, said the dying man, “that is not my trouble. I know Him to be merciful: it’s the other chap I’m afraid of.” (The word used wasn’t “chap” but “b—“.)

To me it seems that our best, and only, chance, is for America to crush the High Command and Junkers while she is still hot on the business. If we cool down, the Hun, with our own Pacifists and Defeatists, will be too clever for us – and our children will inherit a war eviller still. It is horrible the slaughter and loss among the families known to us here. Not one seems to have escaped, wounds at least.

Florence has two brothers, Lieutenants in the Norfolks and the Civil Service Rifles respectively. When the push began, we had such a joyous letter from Percy at breakfast, and that same afternoon, as I was sitting in my study, a rap came at the door, and Ann’s voice: “Mistress has had a telegram. Mr Percy is wounded.” Very smart the WO was – “regret to inform you that … admitted 8 General Hospital Rouen August 9th. Gunshot wound left wrist and scalp severe.” Admitted Aug. 9: and news to us at Cambridge the very same day.
Then Sydney, the Norfolks, after fighting Thursday, Friday and Saturday – a shell landed exactly where he stood – with 6 of his men – only 1 of the 7 not killed or wounded.

You would imagine Florrie to be miserable. On the contrary, she is in brighter spirits than she had ever shewn during the English Advance. She feels that they are safe, for a short time – no anxiety: and I heard her giving joy, two days ago, to her Cook Ruth, who has just heard news of her brother being wounded and in hospital and therefore safe (poor Ann’s brother was killed).

We have had such charming letters from Colonels and Generals etc, re both boys, each of whom is a favourite in his Regiment. Sydney (whom his Colonel describes as always working “at Concert pitch”) will, I trust, soon be well enough to return. Poor Percy – they fear he will lose the use of his left hand.

Re the Greben. Admiral Troubridge (so I heard) had her nicely encircled, when suddenly came an Admiralty wire, ordering him to let her alone. He was recalled to England to explain his action – and produced this very telegram. They identified the room in the Admiralty from whence it came: but professed inability to identify the sender. Credit Judaeus Apella – Traitors in high places – who will never be dislodged. It is our own people we have to fear.

Kind love from us both to you both.

Ever yours
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

The War has claimed the supreme sacrifice

Many Newbury families were affected by the war.

The War has claimed the supreme sacrifice from Gunner Webb, who had been a long time in hospital, and with whose widow much sympathy is felt. Also J W C Gough has been killed in action, and Albert Marshall has, it is believed, died from wounds while a prisoner of war; both of them also left a young wife and little child behind them, and we offer to them and to their respective families our sincerest sympathy.

Mrs Burgess has presented for use at the High Altar a very handsome pair of brass vases in memory of her son, Lieut. N G Burgess. We had long wanted some vases of this kind, and they are a fitting memorial of one who was an old choir boy, and a brave and skilful sailor.

About 25 of the Church Lads’ Brigade are now in Camp, with Capt. Pyke, near Stafford, and are engaged in the useful work of harvesting.

Newbury parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“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)

“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)