A tent on the Palestine front

Wokingham worshippers sponsored recreational work among soldiers in Palestine.

The Wokingham Church Army Tent.

A very generous response was made to the appeal for this Fund, our contribution from this Parish being £46. The total received by the Rector of Wokingham was altogether £308, which will leave a few pounds over to be spent on any little extras in the furnishing of the Tent.

The Tent will be placed on the Palestine Front.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P154C/28A/1)


Our sorely-tried ally Serbia, unlike the new Republic of Russia, has remained faithful at great cost

Our ally Serbia was suffering in the fighting.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

This month I commend to your support all our Lenten Services, asking you specially to try to pay honour to our sorely-tried ally Serbia, a kingdom which, unlike the new Republic of Russia, has remained faithful at great cost to her old friend; by coming to hear the Rev. Father Nicolai Velimirovic at Evensong on March 17th, and giving generously to his appeal for the Serbian local Relief Fund…

Lastly, let us all pray for grace to persevere; the gift of perseverance is what we most need as a Church and a People in the present time.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

A critical time

Reading churchgoers offered their prayers for the war.


For the entry of the British troops into Jericho.


For the spirit of self-sacrifice and perseverance in the nation.

For God’s blessing on Ireland at this critical time, especially on the Feast of S. Patrick (March 17th).

For the Russian people at this critical time in their history.

For all our fighting men and all suffering from the war, especially those in danger from air raids in London and on the East Coast.

For Horace Beesley, one of our altar-lads, just gone out to France as a volunteer carpenter.

For all the wounded, sick and prisoners on both sides.

For the fallen, especially Frederick Mott, Wine Place; John Hannon, Milman Road; William Mason, Stanley Street.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P98/28A/16)

A permanent record to tell what manner of men gave their lives for their Country

Wargrave wanted to be sure not to forget the parishioners who had been killed in the war.

Roll of Honour

The names of the men from this Parish who have fallen in this War will be inscribed in the Parish Church underneath the East Window, which is erected in their memory.

But we should wish to preserve some record of closer human interest to future generations than the mere list of names could afford.

A Roll of Honour has therefore been compiled, which gives a short paragraph of personal notes under each name.

It is published as a supplement to this issue of the Parish Magazine and friends are thus given an opportunity of adding or altering anything they may wish.

The idea is that this Roll should be suitably engrossed, after the war, and preserved with the Parish Registers as a permanent record to tell what manner of men gave their lives for their Country.

Additional Copies of this Roll of Honour can be obtained from the Vicarage at three pence each or one shilling for six.

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

Added to the prayer list

More Earley men were serving.

List of men serving in his Majesty’s forces

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

John Bowden, Frederick Llott, Richard Polden, George Anderson, Alfred Parsons, Lawrence Parsons, Hugh Parsons, Cuthbert Parsons, Leonard Streak, Albert Fostekew, Stanley Tanner, George Roberts, Henry Attwood, Thomas Cloke.

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

Sick: Harold Ballard. Killed: Ernest Shears.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

Till we meet again


Private Charles Holloway has long been reported missing, and the War Office has now sent an intimation that he must be “assumed killed in action.” Our deep sympathy is with his widow, and his parents, who have now lost three sons in this war.

Lance-Corporal Leonard Cox has been wounded and is now in hospital in England and is progressing favourably.

We were glad to welcome home on leave this month Privates Broadbent, F. Johnson, and J. Sumner.

The Vicar has received the sum of £1 from sale of waste paper collected in the parish, and this money has been devoted to providing comforts for our two prisoners of war in Germany, Privates W. Harwood and F. Onion.

We hope to send to all our men who are serving an Easter card of greeting with the message “May the Risen Christ, who left His home for us, have you in His keeping till we meet again”; and the assurance that we shall be remembering them at our Easter Communion.

Winkfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, March 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/3)

Lantern Services on subjects closely connected with the War

Ascot reflected on the war.

The Lantern Services in the Parish Room on Fridays at 7 p.m. are being taken by the Rector and deal with subjects closely connected with the War. There was a very fair attendance at the first service, and it is hoped that it will increase as the services become more generally known.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, March 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/3)

“This front is not so quiet as the papers would have you believe”

A member of Broad Street Brotherhood wrote home from service in a bleak part of the Balkans.

Somewhere in Macedonia
5th March 1918

I am taking the first opportunity of writing to thank you and the friends at Broad St for the nice Xmas parcel which arrived safely last week. It is indeed most kind of you all to think of me in this distant land, and I can assure you your kindness is keenly appreciated.

I must heartily congratulate whoever was responsible for the selection of the contents. They were just what I was in need of – especially the writing pad, toilet soap and cigarettes. These things are very difficult to obtain in our part of the line, which is in a most deserted and desolate area, far removed from any YMCA tent or EF canteen, and 50 or 60 miles from Salonica…

Of course I cannot give you any details of our doings out here, but I can assure, you, this front is not so quiet as the papers would have you believe. Praying that the Almighty’s richest blessing may crown all your efforts to brighten matters in “dear old Blighty”.

W J Dance (OS) [on active service]

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

None the worse for two years as a prisoner of war

We get a glimpse into wartime in a peaceful art of British-occupied Africa (now part of Tanzania). The Ruvuma River forms the bundary between Tanzania and Mozambique, which was in 1918 still a Portugese colony.

1-3-18. Massassie.
29th M.A Convoy
British East Africa

Dear Sir,

It is not some time since I wrote to you last, but trust you received my letter in answer to your most welcome letter of 6-8-17. Since writing to you last I have travelled the greater part of this country, the South of Central Railway, I have been over the Ruvoma river into Portuguese territory, but am now back in East Africa.

During the last few months I have had rather a busy time, and have also had my share of illness. I am picking up quickly again now, and feel as full of life as ever. The weather is still very hot. We have had very little rain this season so far: this time last year we were having very heavy rains and were stranded in the swamp for quite a month at a time.

I expect to be going on leave to South Africa some time this month; there are only 5 of us left out of 22 who left England 2 years ago, so I think we shall stand a chance of leave this rainy season.

There is very little game in this part of she country but about 50 miles from here, near the Border almost everything can be seen.

Football is the great game at present as the evenings are very cool now. Our Unit has started a Weekly Paper which is a great success throughout the camp, it is called the “Masassi Times”. If possible I will send you a copy which I am sure you will find very interesting, in fact we can boast the wit of two famous brother Comedians. We are having a very busy time just at present, for the sick average is very high again now, 3-3-18.

It is now Sunday afternoon, tonight we have another service which will be taken by the Rev. Archdeacon Hallet in a Banda at our park. I have had several talks with him, he tells me he has preached at Sunningdale and Ascot and remembered our church when I showed him a photo which I received from home a few months ago. He has been a prisoner in the country for 2 years, but he seems none the worse for his experience, for he is now back at the same Mission as before the war, which is only 4 miles from our camp. The Mission has been used for a hospital by both the Germans and ourselves, but is now given over for its work to be carried on.

It is a lovely building built of stone and brick by the natives, it is built on a hill only a few yards from a great rock several hundred feet high. Looking from a distance the rock appears to overhang the Mission. We have one of these great rocks on all four sides of us, with just a road running between, which is called Bhna. Some of the greatest fights of the campaign took place here, which makes it very historical.

We had a Native Regimental Band here for 2 nights last week, which we all enjoyed being the first we had seen or heard since landing in the country. The natives are very busy with their crops now, most of the land being very fertile, we are able to grow almost anything in the garden we’ve made, but our great trouble is to get the seed. Shops of any description are unheard of in this country so you can imagine our solitude. I think it will appear very strange but pleasant to us all when we get down to South Africa on leave.

I am so pleased to hear that Mrs. Cornish and Miss Mirriam are enjoying good health, please convey my best wishes to everyone at the vicarage. I will now conclude, thanking you for your kindness and trusting you are in the best of health,

Yours sincerely,

W. R. Lewis.

Sunningdale parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P150B/28A/10)

The spiritual needs of our soldiers on their return from the war, redux

Dr Underhill’s talk on the church’s offerings to returning soldiers was making its rounds.


On February 26th, Dr Underhill very kindly came to Furze Platt, and read us an interesting paper on “Some ways by which the Church could meet the spiritual needs of our soldiers on their return from the war”, and it was hoped that there would have been a discussion and many suggestions made; but though the world may not realise it, St Peter’s folks are very shy, and occasionally even diffident, so very few people ventured to make any remarks!

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

The ceaseless rush & tumble of a soldier’s nomadic life is transient, unreal & arid

You may remember that before the war, Sydney Spencer had been at Oxford studying theology with a view to a call to the Anglican ministry. The war had changed him, but it had strengthened his vocation, as he told his sister Florence and her husband after a weekend’s leave at her home.

In the Train, 5.23 pm, Feb 23rd 1918

My Dearest Florence & Mr Image

I do not feel that I can adequately express what my stay with you has meant for me. The quiet & ease of your home life & companionship has an effect upon me which only those who know what real life is and means, can appreciate.

The ceaseless rush & tumble of a soldier’s nomadic life may possess a brilliant element of excitement, but books, & thought & companionship such as yours is, have an irresistible attraction for me which make all this military life something transient, unreal & arid. The soul of Alma Mater has breathed upon me once and for all & I Have no other wish in life than to follow her dictates & live up to her ideals in spirit. A life such as Dr Glover teaches is what I want, & rash though it may seem to make such a statement I am absolutely convinced that, if I go to France, which please God I shall do, I have many years still left in which some small way to follow the dictates of a spirit in me which cries out to be the reciprocal of other men’s needs.

The Church has only this one attraction for me. It will give me those innumerable opportunities to minister to those needs of men – it’s men I want to get at – which become more patent to me every day.

Letter from Sydney Spencer (D/EZ177/8/3/4)

“It is easier to imagine Biblical scenes than before we came out to Palestine”

A Reading soldier fighting in Palestine reported to his home church on the Holy Land as it was now.

Feb 22nd

On Xmas Eve, as I lay in my bivouac not very far from Bethlehem, I thought of the first Christmas and what happened then. I should dearly have loved to spend the Xmas-day in the Holy Place, but that was not to be. I hope I shall have the opportunity of visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem and a few other places before I leave Palestine…

I went to a C. of E. service a few Sundays ago in a Greek Church in one of the many mud villages that lie amongst these hills. It was a building of just four bare walls, with a stone floor and no seats. Every man had to sit down on the hard cold stone, and, needless to say, soon felt stiff and cold. There were no lights except two electric ones that our own Res put up. These villages have no semblance of streets at all. One cannot walk two yards without having to step up or down big stones. There is no sign of any furniture in any of the huts – just a little straw packed away in a dark corner, presumably for a bed. The effluvium from these huts is often far from pleasant.

We enjoy at least one good thing out here, and that is the Jaffa oranges at ½ d each. Several times I have bought fifty at a time and polished them all off in about five days….

Flocks of sheep and goats can often be seen on the hills with a shepherd in charge, as of old. It is easier to imagine Biblical scenes than before we came out. The dress of natives is much the same as the Bible pictures represent.

G P Brant (OS)

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

“All must have gained courage and great heartedness to face the privations and strain and sorrows of the year”

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke’s latest thoughts on Christian responses to the war.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners, –

First I must say how encouraging was the response made by most Parishioners this year to the claims of God’s worship on Christmas Day and the National Day of Intercession. Many, I am sure, must have felt the joy of Christmas underlying the oppression of the War, and reassuring of the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace. And on January 6th all must have gained courage and great heartedness to face the privations and strain and sorrows of the year under the guidance of One who came to be a “Light to lighten the Nations, and to be the Glory of his people Israel,” and whose instrument in that work was the Cross…

Lastly may I urge upon you all the observance of Lent… This year it may not be easy to get many outside preachers, because of the shortage of Clergy and the difficulty of travel…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

“He displayed the greatest bravery and utmost coolness”

There was bad news for several Newbury families.


The deepest sympathy has been felt with Mr and Mrs Liddle in the death of their son, Lieut. Morton Robert Bridges Liddle, RN, at sea. Formerly a boy in the Choir, we had seen him grow up and develop into a smart young Naval Officer, respected and liked by all. Engaged in most dangerous work on a British Destroyer, he has now given his life for his country in the performance of his duty and has left an honourable name behind him. We trust that there may be given to his parents all the Divine help which they need in this time of grievous sorrow. We should like also to express our deep sympathy with Mrs Thomas on the death of her son, and with Mrs Perring on the death of her husband.

2nd Lieut. Ernest Henry Church has had to have his right foot amputated, after being severely wounded while flying in France in an unequal fight against enemy aeroplanes, in which he displayed the greatest bravery and utmost coolness. We are glad to know that he is progressing favourably.

We have been pleased to see Lieut. Richard Wickens at home on leave, though we were sorry for the occasion of it, namely the death of his mother, Eliza Wickens… He was not in time to see her alive, but got back in time for the funeral.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine (D/P89/28A/13)

Our own duties seem commonplace in contrast with other war-work

The vicar of Wargrave acknowledged the montonous nature of many wartime jobs, and urged parishioners not to slacken their efforts.


It may well seem in these critical days of the War that all seasons are reduced to a National Lent. People who are loyally doing their best to keep to the voluntary rations are living frugally, even if they are able to procure all that the scale allows. Yet it may be that we still retain some little indulgence not absolutely necessary to health and efficiency, of which we can make voluntary sacrifice during this solemn season. If so we may be sure the effort will not be fruitless if it is made in the right spirit.

The right spirit for Lenten self-denial is the spirit of Love and Penitence. Love for God, in that He first loved us, and we desire to train ourselves as good soldiers of Christ to endure hardness that we may be more efficient in His service. Love for man, in that we want to reduce our own consumption of every kind in order that we may impart the more for others. Penitence in that we think in this holy season of what the Master suffered for us and we know that all those sufferings were brought about by human sin. We are sinners; and if there is anything we can do to show our sorrow for sin we may welcome the opportunity.

But there is one direction in which the call of this season may hearten us to renewed efforts. In our intercessions we pray not only for the soldiers, sailors and air-men, but also for the nation at home: –

“Give us grace to fulfil our daily duties with a sober diligence. Keep us from all uncharitableness in word or in deed; and enable us by patient continuance in well-doing to glorify Thy Name: Through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We need to use that prayer for many reasons. Our own duties seem commonplace in contrast with other war-work and we are apt to forget that for the individual soldier the most important task in the world is the particular duty assigned to him. Our daily duties have become more arduous and monotonous now that the war has been so prolonged, and we are tempted to grow slack. The temptation approaches us insidiously under the suggestion that someone else might take a turn now at this particular job, or that if we were set free in one or two directions we might take up something else, or under some other well-sounding plea. But when the time really comes for any one of us to give up any task or change his place or employment, the call to do so will certainly come from outside. When those who know us and can view our capabilities without prejudice suggest any sort of change of work, then will be the time to consider it with all loyalty to those over us and all consideration for those beside us. But until such call comes the best service we can render is patient continuance in well doing. May this be the purpose of our resolutions and the outcome of our efforts this Lent.

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