There is a new spirit amongst our young people

An elderly nonconformist clergyman had hope for the post war world and the new generation.

The Gates of Youth, By Rev. Monro Gibson, M.A., LL.D.

I am now about as far away from the gates of Youth as any one in this world can well be, but the remarkable thing is that the father I go from them, the increasing distance, instead of making them look smaller, makes them seem larger and ever larger – so much so that in my old age I confess to a great and increasing longing to help my young friends to see what a glorious, magnificent life which is opening before them.

The adventure of life begins with the dawn of personal responsibility. In childhood we are in a garden, a Garden of Eden, let us say, sheltered, secluded, happy in its limitations; but sooner or later the gates of Eden open outwards, and the world is all before us with its continents and islands, its seas and oceans, its illimitable possibilities; its fearful risks on the one hand, its great reaches on the other.

Difference between Men and Animals

Herein lies the immense difference between the life of man and that of lower animals. They have each their limits imposed on them by nature. In every case there is growth along certain fixed lines, and up to certain fixed limits; but in no case is there any possibility of a development at all corresponding to that of the boy into a Shakespeare or a Newton, or the girl into a Florence Nightingale or a Catherine Booth; and that altogether irrespective of the infinities and eternities which lie beyond. On the other hand, there is no peril corresponding to that which may transform a noble youth into a Judas or a Kaiser or a sot.

These things being so, there is call for the most earnest thought in passing through these fateful Gates. It will not do simply to yield to the impulse of the moment as if it did not matter much how you set out or what you were aiming at. I do think, however, that there are some warnings which, though very much needed four years ago, are not called for now. For there is a new spirit amongst our young people. There has been a high summons to whole-souled devotion to a great cause, and to that summons there has been a noble response, so that I believe there are very few young men or young women either, who would be willing now to welcome a life of self-indulgence or pleasure-seeking or easy-going mediocracy; and those who would still prefer that kind of thing are too far down to be likely to be reached by any high appeal. The great majority now, I am sure, demand the strenuous life, the life of active service with something in it of adventure or peril, calling for courage, resourcefulness, sacrifice if need be. The cricket pitch and the golf course, the dance and the supper party may still find a corner in life but only a corner. Surely the feeling now is practically universal that to put one’s life into any such things as these is despicable in the last degree. How encouraging it is to find that when there is a call for volunteers to an enterprise which means almost certain death, like the attack ion Zeebrugge or the final Voyage of The Vindictive, every one is not only ready but is disappointed if he cannot be accepted.

A New World

You may say: It is the War that has done this, and we are all very glad that it has come to an end. Yes: but is there any reason why the spirit the War has called forth should come to an end with it? By no means. We are constantly reminded that it is a new world we are entering into, with greater opportunities, nobler prospects and more difficult problems that we have ever known; and there will be a new call for the exercise of all the noblest faculties the War has evoked, and for many others for which even its multiplied demands have not afforded scope and opportunity. Surely it is not without significance that a man who represents so large and in many respects so unpromising a constituency as H. G. Wells has done should even passionately urge the claims of the Kingdom of God upon the service of us all, and especially of our young people who will be the chief agents in the new developments before us. We have all along had before s the call to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” to make that the great ambition of our lives; but so far it has kindled the souls of only a very small minority. May it not now “catch on,” to use the common phrase, and gather itself the patriotism, the enthusiasm, the devotion, courage and self-sacrifice of the generation now coming on the scene.

Moreover, we are now apparently entering on a new era of democracy whose success will depend not on a small number of super-men or heroes of the Nietschean or Carlylean type to subdue the masses to their will; but on the people, each with his share of responsibility, every one with his full share of opportunity, with education that will open up fields of service to every variety of talent, and with institutions that will give full scope for its exercise. Even as things have been in the world, our young people have had much encouragement to put forth every effort in the beginning of life to train their powers for usefulness; but it is more worth while now than ever it was before. In the old Book of Proverbs it is written, “A man’s gift maketh room for him.” True now in a fuller sense than when the wise man wrote it down, it will still be more so in the days that are coming. Therefore I would congratulate our young people especially on the prospect before them, entering on life in times like these which are more full of portent and of promise than even those of which the poet Wordsworth wrote:

“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven.”

It is indeed true as it always was, that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life”; but now that there is this new spirit in the land for enduring hardness, for concentration of energy, for ventures of faith and courage, and now that the life which is set before us, which and full as it has always been, promises to be richer and fuller than ever, we may hope that it will no longer be true that “few there be that find it,” but that multitudes of our young people, young men and young women, will press through the gates into the new life.

Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, May 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

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Reduced staff

Wartime (and post-war) staff shortages meant a reduced curriculum for some children.

10th May 1919

When, as here, owing to a reduced staff, only the middle group subjects are very wisely attempted by the upper part of the school.

Ashampstead C of E School log book (D/EX1493/1, p. 246)

“He had survived all the dangers of War, only to fall a victim to influenza”

Some survived the war, only to die from the dreadful influenza epidemic.

In Memoriam.

E. Bradfield.

When Bradfield left the N.G.S. in 1909, he had been Senior Prefect for three terms. He was the mainstay of the Debating Society, and for a long time, acted as Sporting Editor of the “Newburian.” A prominent member of the Cricket XI, he was second in the batting averages for 1909. He was also one of the foremost actors in the School in his time here he took up a journalistic career and became the Editor of “Milling,” a Liverpool organ of the Corn trade. The influenza epidemic claimed him among its victims.

E. M. Plenty

Plenty left the N.G.S. while still fairly young and proceeded to St. Paul’s School, where he greatly distinguished himself. He joined the Air Force and had a brilliant career, attaining the rank of Major. The news of his death was the-more sad for the fact that it comes with that of Armistice: he had survived all the dangers of War, only to fall a victim to the plague which carried off Warren and Bradfield.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

We have been glad to welcome them home

The men and women who had served the country began to return home.

A large number of our Service men have now been demobilised and we have been glad to welcome home recently, Sergeant Major Edwin Gray, Corporals A. Brown and W. Reed, and Privates A. Beal. Ed. Brant. F. Brant. H. Brant, H. Hoptroff, G. Higgs, A. Clayton, E. Culley, D. Knight, Smith, C. Streamer, S. Thurmer, R. Thurmer, C. Taylor, C. Reed. T. Wetherhall.

Ptes. Streamer and Hoptrodd we understand have elected to join the new army.

We beg to congratulate Quarter Master Sargeant H. R. Oatway on gaining the M.S.M., and Sister Constance Druce on the honour of being mentioned in despatches.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/3)

Terribly sad

One Tilehurst man survived the war only to fall victim to the terrible influenza epidemic.

CONDOLENCE

We also deeply deplore the loss of Private Norman Cane, son of our friends Mrs and Mrs Cane of 27 Brisbane Road. Norman Cane was a member of the Tilehurst Section of our church before the separation, and continued his Broad Street connection afterwards. Early in the war he volunteered for active service, and went out with the Royal Berks Regiment. He came safely through many dangers and finally reached home in February. Unfortunately he was almost immediately seized with influenza, and pneumonia supervening, he passed away. It is terribly sad, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his parents and the members of his family in their very sore bereavement.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“Upwards of 50% of those who had made the great sacrifice from the Parish had received their education in this school”

A school wanted its own war memorial.

Speenhamland

Mar 10th

Visit of J E Robbins – Assistant Master of this school. He joined up in 1914 and had just been demobilised. He will recommence work here in about a fortnight’s time.

Meeting of Parishioners held in this room last evening to decide on a War memorial for those who have fallen. After several propositions for windows in the Church etc, I proposed that as upwards of 50% of those who had made the great sacrifice from the Parish had received their education in this school, it would be fitting to put some memorial here as well as elsewhere. I am pleased to say my proposal was received with approbation, and a list of names suitable inscribed will be placed in this school.

Sandhurst

March 10th 1919

Have received a communication from Mr. Newey, lately an assistant master here stating that he hopes to return to school as soon as he is demobilized.

St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1)

War service of children who had been emigrated by the Guardians

Some men who served in the war had roots in Berkshire despite having joined up in the colonies. They included boys who had been assisted to emigrate by charities.

4th March 1919

Emigration

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Local Government Board transmitting the following reports made by Canadian Immigration Officers upon children who had been emigrated by the Guardians.

From Reading parish by Dr Barnardo.
Walter —- age 25. This young man who came to Canada in 1906 at the age of 13 years has enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and is now at the Front.
24th September 1918.

From Reading Parish by Dr Barnardo.
Ernest —- age 26. With the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Reported missing, and discovered to be a prisoner of war.
27th August, 1918.

Mr Fenner, Relieving Officer

Reporting the receipt of a letter from Dr Hartnett to the effect that Mr Fenner, Relieving Officer No 1 District, was suffering from influenza and was unable to carry out his work. The clerk stated that Mr Kenner had now resumed his duties.

Report of Infant Poor Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

Curtailing consumption to an extent which might seriously prejudice the health of the poor

Poor law officials were concerned about the potential impact of flu in the workhouse.

25th February, 1919

Your Committee received and considered a circular from the Local Government Board urging the utmost economy in the use of coal in Institutions in view of the fact that consumption should not exceed 1 ¾ tons per head per annum or a total of 170 tons on an average number of inmates of 95. The actual consumption is about 2 tons ¾ cwt per head, and the allotment from the Fuel Overseer was placed at 245 tons. Your Committee are averse to curtailing the consumption to an extent which might seriously prejudice the health of the inmates, and will forward to the Local Government Board the report asked for in the circular with their remarks thereon. They have also asked the Master to weigh out the coal used for a period of a week to check the consumption.
Report of Special Committee re Relieving Officer’s Duties, Salaries, &c.

Your Committee … have enquired into the salaries and emoluments received by the two Relieving Officers both before the War and during the period of the War until Mr Widdows was called up for service. The latter has been acquainted with the decision of the Board of Guardians with regard to his reinstatement and his duties. The Committee recommend an annual inclusive salary for such duties, viz:

As Relieving Officer, Collector, Infant Life Inspector, Vaccination Officer £148 er annum.
War Bonus at 23/- per week as prescribed by the Local Government Board’s Schedule £59.16.0
Total £207.16s.

This is the total salary from all sources, except Registration, received for 1914, plus the War Bonus.

Mr Widdows is prepared to accept the sum…

With regard to Mr Bunce, your Committee recommend that he be paid the same salary as he was receiving in 1914 and when Mr Widdows was called up for service, with the addition of the War Bonus…

Your Committee have also enquired into the engagement of Miss Cooke as Assistant Relieving Officer. Under the altered circumstances, they suggest that her retention in this office will not be necessary, and recommend that the engagement be terminated by the payment of a month’s salary in lieu of notice…

It was Resolved that Miss Cooke, the Assistant Relieving Officer, be granted a testimonial in respect of her services.

Influenza Pneumonia

The Board considered what steps to take in the event of an outbreak of Influenza in the House.

It was Resolved That the question of the arrangements to be made be left in the hands of Mr Bate, The Medical Officer and The Master, and that they be authorised to incur expenditure in the provision of a gargling solution.

The Master was directed to arrange for the segregation of any cases occurring in the House.


House Committee Report, Bradfield Board of Guardians (G/B1/38)

The standard of bell ringing had been on the whole well maintained, due in no small measure to the ladies

11 January 1919

The annual general meeting of the branch was held at Wokingham on Sat January 11th, 1919..

At St Paul’s Church [Wokingham] … the secretary reported … that despite the call of more of their members to the Colours, the standard of Ringing had been on the whole well maintained, due in no small measure to the Ladies….

Two Ringing Members, A Hawkes & S Stacey of Arborfield, had laid down their lives, while G Collins & F Emblem were missing… 67 members were on active service.

Minutes of Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (for bellringers of the parish churches of Arborfield, Easthampstead, Finchampstead, Hurst, Sandhurst, Sonning, Wargrave, Wokingham All Saints and Wokingham St Paul) (D/EX2436/2)

“The turmoils of War, I hope are over, and the dark War clouds rolled away to give place to a brighter and serene sky of peace and goodwill”

Datchet Working Men’s Club was delighted by the end of the war.

January 1919

The turmoils of War, I hope are over, and the dark War clouds rolled away to give place to a brighter and serene sky of peace and goodwill. Throughout all this indescribable tension, in which the sorrows of our heart have been enlarged beyond the powers of human voice to describe the members remaining who through force of circumstance were not allowed to rally to the colours, but who have helped in various ways to keep on high the flag of liberty and justice, have stuck to the club with laudable courage and have ever striven to welcome to the utmost those returning on the various leaves, or to alleviate in the highest degree the conditions of the wounded – or prisoners of War.

Moreover their desire has been to resuscitate it as Phoenix from its ashes the reviving has been beyond measure the heart is in good working order and there is a good tonic in reserve to keep it regular in its action.

We have lifted our eyes to the hills for help and our optimism has soared to great heights even altho pessimism has striven to keep it down.

This has given us immense courage and endurance.

We look forward to the return of the Boys with jubilation and we shall give them a rousing welcome when they do so.

But alas! For those, who are waiting for yet more glorious day than the signing of the Armistice or of the Peace we shall ever think of them as warriors faithful, true and bold, and laurels of beautiful thought will ever encircled our memory of them, no matter whither fate my lead us.

The permeating influence of our worthy President has at no time been felt more magnetising than during the past years and I am sure we even now rise up as it were and call him blessed his great benevolence to us.

May the time be far distant when his heaven on earth prefess a call!

The Vice Presidents have again guided their thoughts with swords for one defence and have followed one leader’s call to win the “land of promise” from the enemies of true social intercourse and fellowship.

Mr Langton has another year supplied us with the “Daily Graphic” and this kind thought has inspired us to think unselfishly and so help the “Brotherhood” so often preached about but little practised.

Datchet Working Men’s Club annual report (D/EX2481/1/5)

“Right in front of the battalion, leading his men in true British style”

This supplement to the roll of honour’s bald list of names gives us more detail about the parish’s fallen heroes.

Supplement to the Wargrave Parish Magazine

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 among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness of all our sins, and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself to us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Baker, Edward
Private, 7th Wiltshire Regiment, killed in action on the Salonica Front, April 24th, 1917, aged 21. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baker. He was born at Wargrave and educated at the Piggott School. When the war commenced he was working as a grocer’s assistant in Wargrave. He volunteered in 1915 and was sent out in 1916. He was killed by a shell in a night charge.

Barker, Percy William

Private, 7th Batt. Royal Berkshire Regiment/ Killed at Salonica, July 4th 1917, aged 19. He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. William Barker at Yeldall Lodge. His father was for twenty years a gardener at Yeldall. He was born at Crazies Hill and educated at the village school. On leaving school he began work as a gardener. He was one of the most helpful lads on the Boys’ Committee of the Boys’ Club. He volunteered May 11th, 1916. On July 4th, 1917, he was hit by a piece of shell from enemy aircraft while bathing and died within an hour. The Chaplain wrote to his parents “Your loss is shared by the whole battalion”.

Bennett, William
Sergeant, 8th Royal Berkshire Regiment, killed in France, Dec 3rd, 1916 aged 25. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bennett, of Wargrave, and when the war broke out he was working on a farm. He volunteered at once. He was killed instantly by a shell. One of his officers wrote: “Sergt. Bennett was the best N.C.O. we had in the company. Fearless, hardworking, willing, he was a constant inspiration to his platoon. His splendid record must inevitably have led to his decoration. We have lost an invaluable N.C.O. and a fine man. He was buried with all possible reverence about half a mile from Eaucourt L’Abbaye”.

Boyton, Bertram
Lieut., 6th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds in Palestine, Nov. 9th, 1917, aged 36. He was educated at King’s College, London, and was a Surveyor and Architect by profession. He was a Fellow of the Surveyors Institute and had won Gold and Silver Medals of the Society of Auctioneers by examination. He was married to Elsie, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Morris, at the Parish Church, Wargrave, Sept. 7th 1905, He was a member of the London Rowing Club and the Henley Sailing Club, and keenly interested in all athletics. He enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company in April 1915. He was given a commission in the 6th London R.F.A., in July 1915 and was promoted Lieutenant soon after. He went to France with his battery in June 1916, and to Salonica in the following November. He was sent to Egypt and Palestine in June 1917, and was wounded while taking his battery into action in an advance on November 6th. He died at El Arish on November 9th, 1917.

Buckett, Ernest Frederick

Private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, killed in action Sept. 20th, 1917, in France, aged 23. The dearly loved husband of Dorothy May Buckett, married May 31st, 1917. He was educated at the Henley National School, and before the War was a slaughterman with Messrs. O’Hara & Lee, butchers, Henley and Wargrave. In 1910 he joined the Berkshire Yeomanry (Territorial Force), and was called up on August 4th, 1914, at the commencement of the war. He immediately volunteered for foreign service. He went to France in the spring of 1915. When he had completed his five years service, since the date of his enlistment, he volunteered for another year, but received his discharge as a time-expired man in January 1916. In July, 1916, he was called up under the new regulations and sent immediately to France where he remained, except for leave on the occasion of his marriage, until he fell in action, September 20th, 1917. (more…)

The names of all our men who have served in the war

All thos serving were to be commemorated in Cranbourne.

The Vicar wishes to print a Roll of Honour which will contain the names of all our men who have served in the war. It should record each man’s Regiment or Ship, the date of his enlistment, his rank, any decoration he has gained, the battles in which he has fought, or the places in which he has served, whether he was wounded or taken prisoner, and any other details of interest.

The names of those who have been killed will be inscribed on a memorial brass or stone which will be placed in the church.

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

Reading School’s contribution to the war

A complete listing of Reading School’s alumni who had served in the war.

OLD BOYS SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES.

This list has been compiled from information received up to December 14th, 1918; corrections and additions will be welcomed and should be addressed to: – R. Newport, Esq., Reading School, Reading.

Allnatt, Rifleman N.R. — London Rifle Brigade.
(killed in Action).
Ambrose, 2nd Lieut. L.C. — S.L.I.
Anderson, Pte. L.G. — Can. Exp. Force
Appelbee, 2nd Lieut. T. — 13TH West Yorks.
(Killed in Action).
Atkinson, Lieut. E.G. — Indian Army
Atkinson, Capt. G.P. — 6TH Royal North Lancs.
Atkinson, 2nd Lieut. J.C. — R.A.F.
Aust, 2nd Lieut. H.E. — Yorkshire Regt.
(Twice Wounded).
(Killed in Action).
Aveline, Lieut. A.P. — Royal Berks Regt,
(Wounded).
(Military Cross).
Baker, 2nd Lieut. A.C.S. — R.G.A.
Baker, Rifleman A.E. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Rifleman R.S. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Lieut. T.H. — 8TH Royal Berks Regt.
(Wounded)
Balding, Capt. C.D. — Indian Army.
Banks, Pte. W.R. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Bardsley, Capt. R.C — Manchester Regt.
(Wounded).
Barnard, F.P. —
Barroby, Trooper. F. — Strathcona Horse.
Barry, Capt. L.E. — R.A.F.
Baseden, Lieut. E. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Baseden, 2nd Lieut. M.W. — R.A.F.
Batchelor, Lieut. A.S. — Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.
Bateman, Capt. W.V. — Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Bayley, 2nd Lieut. F. — Chinese Labour Battalion.
Beckingsale, Pte. R.S. — Canadian Contingent.
Beckingsale, Capt. R.T. — Tank Corps (Military Cross).
(Wounded).

Belsten, E.K. — R.A.F.
Biddulph, 2nd Lieut. R.H.H. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Died of Wounds).
Bidmead, Pte. — Wilts regt.
Black, Pte. F. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Blazey, A.E.H. — R.A.F.
Blazey, 2nd Lieut. J.W. — Royal Berks Regt
(killed in Action).
Bleck, Lieut. W.E. — R.F.A.
Bliss, 2nd Lieut. A.J. — Leinster Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Bliss, Pte. W. — 2ND Batt.Hon.Art.Coy. (more…)

“Our pride and gratitude for the work so gloriously completed by our naval and military forces”

There were mixed feelings in Ascot as the war’s human price was still an open wound.

The Ascot Sailors and Soldiers’ Committee have decided that efforts must be made to let every man from our parish serving overseas receive a Christmas present and a message assuring him of our pride and gratitude for the work so gloriously completed by our naval and military forces. Arrangements have already been made for the sending of such presents by registered letter post, so that if not delivered they may be safely returned and presented to any who may have already returned home.

To raise the money required, the R.A.F. have most kindly offered to arrange a special performance in their Cinema, probably on Wednesday, December 11th. Please look out for the announcement and make sure that no seat is left vacant. Members of the Committee will be calling upon relatives to ascertain the latest addresses of the men abroad.

We congratulate Sergt. C.C. Parsons on the great distinction of receiving a bar to his military medal.

The Managers have decided to devote the money which would have been expended on prizes during the past three years, on a Christmas Entertainment for all the Children before the conclusions of hostilities.

While we are all full of thankfulness for the great victory, it is a specially sad to have to record the death of yet another Ascot man, who has died whilst serving his Country. George Smith, for many years in the service of Sir Charles Ryan, died in a military hospital at Tidworth, and was buried at Ascot, on Nov. 23rd. When he was called up for the R.A.F. last summer there were many who doubted whether he was strong enough for a soldier’s life, and our deepest sympathy goes out to his widow and little daughter.

We are glad to hear that George Maunder, who is suffering from gas poisoning, is making progress towards recovery, and we hope that this is the last casualty we shall have to record. We pray that very soon those who have relatives prisoners of war may be relieved of their anxiety, and that we may all share in welcoming them home in safety.

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

“Rarely, if ever, before, have we been called upon to mourn the loss of so many of our friends, in such a short time as during the past month”

Broad Street Church had endured many sad losses through the war, and the toll was not yet over.

CONDOLENCES

It is our sad duty to report from time to time the death of members of the church and congregation. But rarely, if ever, before, have we been called upon to mourn the loss of so many of our friends, in such a short time as during the past month….

Private Ernest Layton Francis, son of our esteemed Deacon, Mr Ernest Francis, and Mrs Francis, was well known and greatly beloved at Broad Street. Up to the time of his enlistment in the London Scottish Regiment he was a most faithful teacher in the Sunday School, and he exerted a powerful influence for good over his boys. Both teachers and scholars alike bear testimony to his patient and enduring work, and they all deplore his loss.

Mr Witcombe, Chief Warder at Reading Gaol, had been a loyal member of the church since 1911. During the whole of the war period he has given unstinted and devoted service in the work for men and women in khaki attending our rooms, and his cheery presence was always an inspiration. His early and unexpected death from pneumonia has fallen as a sad blow upon his wife and family.

Mr Harry Haydon was, in early days, a loyal worker in connection with the C[hristian] E[ndeavour] Society and Sunday School… a few months ago he had to join the army, but, as he was never strong, the period of training proved too great a strain on his constitution, and the influenza scourge found in him a victim. He leaves a wife and two young children to mourn his loss…

[Miss Rosa Millard and Miss Christina Codiferre are also named as among those dying of influenza.]

The influenza epidemic, which has been raging throughout the country lately, seems to have been worse in Reading than in most places. For several weeks the Sunday School had to be closed. So, too, had the Soldiers’ Rooms. Very many of or Broad Street homes have been visited, and some, unfortunately, with fatal results. It is a relief to know that the evil is now abating, and we trust that those friends who are still suffering may speedily be restored to health.

PTE E. LAYTON FRANCIS

The deepest sympathy has gone out from our whole community to Mr and Mrs Ernest Francis and their family, in the sad loss they have sustained through the death of their second son, Private E. Layton Francis. Layton Francis was a fine type of strong, intelligent, upright manhood, and his passing is deeply regretted by all who knew him.

When the war broke out he was anxious to volunteer at once for active service, but he was prevailed upon to complete his course of training as a Chartered Accountant before doing so. After successfully passing his final examination, he voluntarily joined up in the London Scottish Regiment, and saw much active service in France, Macedonia and Palestine. Readers of the magazine will remember the interesting descriptions he sent of various places in the Holy Land.

At Es Salt, on May 1st, 1918, he was seriously wounded in the right arm. After undergoing treatment in several Military Hospitals abroad, he ultimately reached England and was taken to the Military Hospital at Napsbury, near St Albans. Here, unfortunately, he was seized with influenza, and, pneumonia supervening, his weakened constitution was unequal to the strain.

We give below a couple of extracts from the many letters received by his parents. They testify to the very high regard in which he was universally held:

From a school friend:

“To me Layton was the best chum I ever had, or can hope to have. In fact he was more than a friend, he held the place of a brother. He was a real gentleman, and the life that God has taken will always be a great example and ideal for me to live up to.”

From a friend and former worshipper at Broad Street:

“Although I was considerably older than Layton you know what friends he and I were whilst I was at Reading. It was a friendship of which I was proud. He was the finest boy I have known. He was such a splendid combination of strong character, high principle and lofty ideals. He was absolutely straight – too great a character either to tell a lie or to harbour a mean thought. He was a fine example of young muscular Christianity.”

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