A splendid address on Duty and Patriotism that even the tiniest could understand

Empire Day was the focus for patriotic expressions in schools across the county.

Piggott Schools, Wargrave
Empire Day

The children of the Piggott Schools celebrated Empire Day (May 24th) in right loyal fashion. They assembled at the School, and with flags flying, marched down to Church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an appropriate address. Re-assembling on the Church Green they proceeded to the Schools and took their places round the flag pole from which the Union Jack was flying. A good number of parents and friends of the children with many of the soldiers from the hospital were waiting their return. As the boys passed the soldiers they gave them a salute in recognition of what they had done for their country.

The National Anthem was sung, and the flag saluted, and Miss. E. Sinclair gave a splendid address on Duty and Patriotism in such a way that even the tiniest could understand it. Capt. Bird proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Sinclair and hearty cheers were given in which the soldiers joined. Three Patriotic and Empire Songs were sung by the children, the Vicar called for cheers for the Teachers, and Mr. Coleby announced that Mrs. Cain had most kindly provided buns and sweets for all as they left the grounds. Hearty cheers were given her for her thoughtfulness. Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1917

Empire Day was celebrated today. The Headmaster addressed the children assembled in the Hall, and the National Anthem was sung. The children then went to their classrooms and ordinary lessons proceeded till 11 o’clock. Each class teacher then gave a lesson on “Empire” and kindred subjects till 11.30. This was followed by a Writing Lesson when some of the important facts were taken down.

The school assembled in the Hall again at 11.55 and after a few more remarks by the Headmaster the national Anthem was again sung and the children dismissed.

Opportunity was taken of this morning’s addresses to instil into the children’s minds the necessity of economising in the use of all food stuffs, and more especially of bread and flour.

A holiday was granted in the afternoon. (more…)

A Cross in memory of those belonging to Cookham Dean who have given their lives for their Country

Cookham Dean made some initial steps towards a parish war memorial.

The War Memorial

The principal Parochial event of the past month was the Meeting held in the Drill Hall on Thursday evening, May 24th, to consider the possibility of erecting a Village Memorial in connection with the War. Preliminary steps had been taken by the distribution of a circular throughout the Village by Mr. Edwards, the circular having been drawn up by Sir R. Melvill Beachcroft and signed by a considerable number of residents in Cookham Dean. The result of this was that the attendance at the meeting was large and thoroughly representative; apologies for absence were sent by the Vicar and Mr J.W. Stone, who were both unavoidably prevented from being present.

After considerable discussion the following resolutions were proposed and seconded, and carried unanimously:-

1) That a Cross be erected in memory of those belonging to Cookham Dean who have given their lives for their Country: that the Cross be erected on one of three sites suggested in the circular.

2) That a Committee be and is hereby appointed to give effect to the foregoing resolution, with authority to invite subscriptions; and that the Committee consist of those whose signatures were appended to the circular, dated May 1st, if willing to act, with power to add to their number, and that the question of the actual site to be selected for the Cross be determined by voting papers to be circulated by the Comnmittee.

The Singing of the National Anthem and a vote of thanks to the Chairman (Sir R. Melvill Beachcroft) brought the meeting to an end.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Hastening to rejoin her fallen son

Wesley Methodist Church in Queen’s Road, Reading, considered a request to put up a memorial in the church to a fallen soldier, whose family had worshipped there before emigrating to South Africa. Sadly the young man’s grieving mother had died 10 days after he was killed.

14 May 1917
Brass Memorial Tablet, Mrs Collins

A letter was read from Mr Moon containing extracts from a letter received from Mr E F Collins of South Africa, giving the information asked for as to the suggested lettering on the Memorial tablet he wished to be placed in Wesley Church.

The particulars given were as follows:

The size of tablet to be 3 ft by 2 1/3.

Inscription of Tablet: To the memory of Sarah Ann Collins, who hastening to rejoin her son left the Church Militant for the Church Triumphant on March 20th 1916. Also to the memory of Douglas Collins of the 7th SAI who fell in action on the night of March 11-12 1916 at Reala Lakma, East Africa.

The design of the Tablet ‘Gothic’.

[Resolved] That the Trustees accept the Tablet & will decide the placing of it on its arrival.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

A shock of personal grief

A Sulhamstead man’s death saddened his church as well as his family.

With deep regret we record the death of Henry Cooper, who was killed in action on February 17th. The sad news came to all of us who knew him as a shock of personal grief, and it seems almost impossible to realise that we shall not see him again in our little sanctuary at Sulhampstead, for he was really one of our Sulhampstead men, having grown up with us in our Sunday School, afterwards becoming a member of our choir, and a regular worshipper at our services. We as members cannot but grieve that we have lost him, and our hearts go out in united sympathy to his sorrowing widow and little girl, his mother, brother and sisters in their sad bereavement.

On Sunday evening, March 11th, Mr. Cole conducted the memorial service. Special hymns were sung, and a very helpful and comforting address was given based upon the text: “There shall be no night there” (Rev. xxi, 25). The beautiful thoughts given to us upon these words should prove a strength and consolation to all.

Sulhamstead section of Trinity Congregational Magazine, April 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Who are willing to offer themselves?

Clergy were expected to answer the call of the new National Service Scheme as well as laymen.

National Service.

We all know that the Country is calling upon able-bodied persons both men and women from the age of 18 to 61, to volunteer for National Service. It is a call addressed to the Clergy as well as the Laity. Our Bishop is making enquiries of the Clergy in his Diocese to ascertain who are willing to offer themselves, either for spiritual or secular work. The decision rests with him as to which and how many of the Clergy, who volunteer, can be spared from the Diocese. If any member of our staff of Clergy is thus withdrawn from Parish work, we must be prepared to reduce some of the Services and make the best use of our diminished opportunities. Perhaps, as things are, we have too many Services in the various Districts, and a little concentration would not be a bad thing for us. It is sometimes found to be the case that those who have fewer facilities for Public Worship make a better use of them than those who have too many. If the Bishop therefore counsels a temporary reduction in the staff of Clergy in this Parish, we must readily submit to it.

The War Shrines.

All the money needed for the War Shrines in Clewer Village and Clewer New Town has now been subscribed. Any money subsequently sent will be given to the permanent Memorial which we hope to have erected in the Church when the War is over.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

In memory of a candle-bearer

28 churchgoers in Earley had joined the parish War Savings Association.

Through the kindness of Mr and Mrs Salman, two seats in black oak will be provided shortly for the candle-bearers to be placed near the sedilia in the chancel in memory of their son 2nd Lieut. Clifford Salman for many years a candle-bearer in our church. Mr Comper is preparing a design.

War Savings Association

The membership of the War Savings Association, which was started in December, has now reached 28, and the hon. Treasurer (Nurse Goldsmith) and the secretary hope that many more members will enrol this month. Twelve certificates have been purchased, which means that a sum of £9. 6s has been sent from this branch to help our country in her need.

Earley parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P192/28A/14)

“All true life involves sacrifice”

Newbury parish church followed its neighbours in Thatcham in purchasing a copy of “The Great Sacrifice” by James Clark (1858-1943). The original painting is now at the Battenberg Chapel on the Isle of Wight as a memorial to Prince Henry of Battenberg, a grandson of Queen Victoria who was killed at Ypres.

An oil painting of the well-known picture “The Great Sacrifice” has been placed in the church by an anonymous donor; underneath the picture is a board surrounded with a laurel wreath, and on this board may be placed the names of those who have died in the war. Cards for this purpose may be obtained from the Church House. We trust that this memorial may not only keep in our minds our young men’s noble sacrifice, but may remind us of the fact that all true life involves sacrifice, after the One Perfect Example.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, November 1916 D/P89/28A/13

Thoughts of a war memorial

The people of Wokingham St Sebastian were already beginning to make donations to a fund for a war memorial. However, they had not forgotten the men still serving, as the war’s third Christmas approached.

War Memorials.
Several contributions have come in for a Parish Memorial to those who have given their lives in the War. The exact form which such a memorial will take will, of course, depend on the amount subscribed, and may well be left for consideration till the end of the War: in the meantime donations may be placed in the box in the Church.

It has been suggested that some little offering, conveying our Christmas Greetings, should be sent from the Parish to each of those who are serving in the Navy or Army. 1d. from every Parishioner (or even ½d.) will enable this to be done. Put your 1d. in the box in the Church.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1)

In the near future there will be probably many applications for permission to erect ugly and inartistic war memorials and monuments

There was concern that war memorials should be in good taste. Faculties are official authorisation from the diocese required of all alterations to Anglican church buildings.


I have received a letter from the Bishop pointing out that in the near future there will be probably many applications for permission to erect in Churches war memorials and monuments. The Bishop desires that Incumbents should guard against the introduction of such ugly or inartistic monuments as were in past years placed in many of our Churches and Cathedrals. And in order to ensure that future memorials should be both artistic and suitable to the Church in which they are to be placed, he has appointed a committee to advise parents and relatives upon these points. I will therefore refer any suggested monument, as far as Caversham is concerned, to this committee before advising application for a faculty.

Caversham parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P162/28A/13)

Weatherproof war shrines

Churches in Clewer set up outdoor shrines as a focus for intercessory prayer for those fighting overseas.

St. Andrew’s Parish Church, Clewer

A strong desire has been expressed to erect War Shrines in different parts of the Parish, as has been done elsewhere. We hope very shortly to organize through a Committee the carrying out of the work. We feel sure that all will be glad to contribute, and thus show their affection for those who are so dear to us and so much in need of our prayers.

St. Agnes’, Clewer

Before this Magazine is out the first of our War Shrines will probably be up: but as one alone can only take a comparatively few names, you will no doubt wish for several Shrines. You will have already seen that the first column on the Roll of Honour contains the names of those who are serving their Country, and the second column the names of those who have fallen in the war. These Rolls of Honour are of course for the names of those only who have gone from this District, as it is the system which is being adopted throughout the Country. One advantage of our Shrines is that they are weatherproof, and can therefore be left out day and night.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P39/28A/9)

A prominent wayside cross

Cookham Dean had already started to think about an appropriate memorial for those villagers who had lost their lives in the war.

War Memorial

A meeting was held at the Vicarage on Saturday, Oct.21st, to consider the advisability of making some preparation for a War Memorial in some prominent place in the Village. There were present: The Vicar (in the chair), Messrs. Saxon Snell and W. Baldwin (Churchwardens), Sir Melvill Beachcroft, Messrs. R.T. Jackson, T. Stretch, Gordon Hills and J.W. Stone. The subject was introduced by Sir Melvill Beachcroft, who eventually proposed that a Wayside Cross be the form of Memorial chosen, to be erected on some prominent site to be selected later. The proposal met with the unanimous approval of all present, and Messrs. Snell and Gordon Hills were asked to prepare designs to be submitted later to all whom it may concern. The proposal seems likely to meet with good support. Mr J. W. Stone, on behalf of Mrs. Stone and himself, promised a subscription of £100.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

The size of a memorial

A family with connections to Wesley Methodist Church in Reading wanted to have a memorial for their son who had been killed in action.

18 October 1916

A letter was read from Mr H Moon in which he said Mr E F Collins of South Africa, a former Trustee of Wesley Church, had asked him to request the permission of the Trustees to erect a Brass Tablet in the church to the memory of his wife and his son Douglas, the latter killed in the East African Campaign.

The request was favourably considered by the meeting, & the Secretary was desired to write Mr Moon to that effect, & to say they would like to know the size of the Tablet & proposed inscription of same.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

Death from wounds

Humphrey Dickinson was a relative by marriage of the Vansittart Neales. His story Thomson’s Friend, written in c. 1912-13, was privately published after his death by his grieving mother. A copy is held at Berkshire Record Office.

16 October 1916
Heard of Humphrey Dickinson’s death from wounds.

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

A great granite cross “would be something fresh”

Virtually every British village has its memorial to the fallen of World War I, often dominating the churchyard, and it can be hard to imagine the scene without them. But of course none was there during the war itself.

A Parish Memorial

It has been suggested by the family of one of those who have fallen that when the time comes to consider the erection of a permanent memorial to the courage and self-devotion of those whom we shall all wish to commemorate, it could take no better form than a wayside cross. The suggestion is an attractive one, and well worth thinking over. It chimes in with what people everywhere are thinking about at this time – how to bring the cross (that is our holy religion) out into the open everyday life of every village. There are plenty of crosses within the churchyard. An additional one there would scarcely make any appeal. But a great granite cross, set high up upon steps, and with a slab recording in leaded letters the names of those in whose honoured memory it is erected, would be something fresh, and could not fail to strike the imagination.

The original suggestion was that this might stand at the turning leading to the Parish Church. Clearly however there would not be room for it there. But on the green triangle opposite to S. John’s it would find a fitting position. Permission would, no doubt, have to be obtained for its erection there. But one cannot imagine that that would present serious difficulty. The idea is, at least, well worth thinking about.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P120/28A/14)

A Military Cross

Florence Vansittart Neale was proud of a family friend.

6 October 1916
Heard Percival Innes had Military X.

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