The great silence: the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain

The first Remembrance Day was observed in churches across the county.

Wargrave

Armistice Day

The first anniversary was well observed in the parish. There was a celebration of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. A muffled peal was rung from 10.30 to 10.45 a.m. A service in church was held at 10.45 and ended with the two minutes of silence when 11 o’clock was struck on the tenor bell. A full peal of bells, with firing, was rung in the evening. The services were well attended and ringing was exceptionally good.

Crazies Hill Notes

On November 11th an Intercessory Service was held in memory of those who laid down their lives during the War, and, at the hour of eleven, a silent tribute was paid to the fallen. Those moments of meditation were for many of us, accompanied by grief; but there were also hope and pride and high resolve in the thoughts of all who took part in that Service. Perhaps the uppermost thought was that the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain.

Burghfield

Armistice Day

Rural circumstances do not lend themselves to such striking manifestations as were to be seen in towns and cities during the “great silence”. But there can have been few in the parish who did not act upon the King’s suggestion and desire. Many of us would like this mute solemn commemoration to be repeated annually.


Ascot

On the Anniversary of the Armistice there was a special Celebration of the Holy Communion at 10.40 at which all our parishioners, who gave their lives in the War, were remembered by name.
The service was so timed that, at the moment of silence throughout the Empire, the large congregation was in the act of pleading the Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and the Dead.

In the evening there was a special Service of Thanksgiving , when we prayed for God’s Blessing upon the Ex-Service Men’s Club, the first portion of the Ascot War Memorial, which was declared open by Lady Roberts, and handed over to the Men’s Committee immediately afterwards. During the first week over 150 men joined the club.

Cranbourne

On Armistice Day a large number of our Parishioners came to Church at a few minutes before eleven o’clock and spent the time in silent prayer. After the bell had struck eleven strokes and the two minutes had elapsed, a Celebration of the Holy Communion took place. Instead of a sermon the Vicar read Mr. Arkwright’s no well-known hymn “O Valiant hearts” and before the Church Militant Prayer the names of all our fallen were read at the altar and specially commended to God’s keeping.


Newbury

On Armistice Day, November 11th, we kept the King’s command by holding a Special Service at 10.55, including the two minutes silence at 11 o’clock. There was a large congregation. The sights in the streets of our great cities, when all traffic stopped and men stood with bared heads, must have been most striking. Truly does the whole Empire honour the men who gave their lives in God’s Cause of Righteousness.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31); Ascot and Cranbourne in Winkfield District Magazine, December 1919 (D/P 151/ 28A/11/12); Burghfield parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4); Newbury parish magazine, December1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

(more…)

“The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world”

In the end the League of Nations would fail to prevent an even worse conflict, but in 1919 hopes were high.

School News
Christmas Term, 1919
Nov. 11th

We assembled in the School hall at 10.50 am, Sister read us the King’s proclamation, and at 11 am, when the Curch bell rang, we kept the two minutes’ silence, which was being observed throughout the British Empire. Afterwards, Mrs Everett spoke to us about the League of Nations…

We were all acquainted with the ordinary selfish person, yet perhaps we were less familiar with what is known as “family selfishness”, or people who do not mind what happens as long as their family does not suffer. But there is yet a third kind of selfishness, in thinking too much of one’s own country, a selfishness often disguised under the name of patriotism. A true patriot can never do too much for his own country, but in this great League of Nations, we have to include the greater part of the world – not only England, but Germany, Austria, Russia, Japan, and all the other great powers. We have to see that every nation has her fair and proper share, so that the strong shall not oppress the weak, and, moreover, the children of each country may have a chance of growing to healthy manhood and womanhood. The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world. The Headquarters will be at Geneva, where all disputes and other affairs will be settled.

Concluding, Mrs Everett said that the older people would do their “bit” as long as they could, but it rested with the younger generation whether the small beginnings would prove a success, and the children of another generation would have reason to look back and bless them.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1920 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

“This sense of freedom, this new opportunity, this cleaner world, has been purchased for us at the cost of life”

Jerusalem was sung at the dedication of the war memorial in Maidenhead Congregational (now United Reformed) Church.

November 1919
THE WAR MEMORIAL.

On Sunday evening, Nov. 2nd, a Special Service will be held at 6.30 in grateful and reverent memory of our young men who gave their lives in the Great War. The tablet will be unveiled by Mr. Lewis, who will also preach a sermon suitable to the occasion. We hope to see present every member of the Church and Congregation who is not unavoidably prevented.

December 1919
THE MEMORIAL BRASS.

The Brass Tablet erected to the memory of our young men who fell in the Great War was formally unveiled at the Sunday Evening Service, Nov. 2nd. There was a large congregation. The Minister was supported on the rostrum by the Deacons of the Church. The anthem was, “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again,” and the choir sang as a voluntary, Parry’s setting of Blake’s inspiring verses, which declare –

“We will not cease from mental strife,
Nor shall the sword sleep in our hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

Mr. Lewis took for his text, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He said that the cause for which our young friends had laid down their lives was great and worthy, and concluded,

“Let us remember that we are those for whom lives have been laid down. This sense of freedom, this new opportunity, this cleaner world, has been purchased for us at the cost of life. That we might live our lives safely, without being tyrannized over by coarse and godless men, free to develop our own life in the way that seems highest to us, men have suffered and died. Now all life must be more sacred to us. This dear England must be more sacred. It is because Christ has been denied the right to control the life of the nations that the great sorrows yet will come (for there are evils infinitely greater than war and death), if we will not strive to set right the life of the land, according to His mind and will. We don’t belong to ourselves any more, for Christ bought us long ago, and we have been bought again by British soldiers for the service of our brother men. May we be worthy of all that has been done for us.”

The brass is a splendid piece of workmanship, and has been greatly admired. It was executed by a London firm, to the order of Mr Hews.


Maidenhead Congregational magazine, November and December 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

All the names of those who had fallen should be inscribed on the Memorial

Once the joy and relief of peace was over, it was time to reflect soberly on our losses.

WAR MEMORIAL

A committee meeting was held at Sulhamstead House on Saturday, November 1st, at 6 pm. The accounts of the Peace Celebrations were audited and found correct, showing a balance in hand of £23.9s.3d.

It was unanimously decided that this balance should be carried to the fund for erecting the “War Memorial” as arranged at the Public Meeting held on Monday, July 8th. The following resolutions were carried unanimously:

1. That the balance of £23.9s.3d should be carried to the fund called the “War Memorial Fund”, and used in the erection of a Memorial.

2. That the Rev. A K P Shepherd be appointed Treasurer.

3. That a house-to-house collection for the fund should be made.

4. That all the names of those who had fallen should be inscribed on the Memorial.

5. That a special committee should be appointed to carry out these arrangements, consisting of the present Finance Committee and the following: Mr Flitter, Mr Jones, Mrs Palmer, Mrs Shepherd, Mr Tyser, Mr Wells.

6. A vote of thanks to Sir George and Lady Watson for allowing the Sports and celebrations to be held in their grounds, and for also allowing Sulhamstead House to be used for the tea.

7. A vote of thanks to the staff at Sulhamstead House for their hard work on Peace Day.

8. A vote of thanks to Mr Clay, the Secretary.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4)

England expects every one to do his duty, now, just as in Nelson’s time

21st Oct.

As today is “Nelson’s Day”, I gave a short address to the children of 1st Class on “Sea-Power”, showing how Britain is & has been for hundreds of years “Mistress of the Seas”, but that she has always used this power justly, allowing the true freedom of the seas to all nations, especially taking under her care the smaller nations, and keeping the seas clear of piracy and slave-trading. I also spoke of the Battle of Trafalgar, and of Nelson’s famous signal, impressing upon the scholars that England expects every one to do his duty, now, just as in Nelson’s time.

Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

Beautiful glass representing St George

The Earley war memorial porch plans were altered to save money.

Memorial Porch Committee Meeting

There was a good attendance on October 16. Present: The Chairman, Mr Churchwarden Brown and Mr FB East (hon. Treasurers), Messrs. W B Waters, H B Mole, W Lawrence, A H Salman, H Masters, H Knapman, J A Murray, G C T Carter, F C Edwards, E Clayton Jones, E Long; Ladies – Mrs Newbery, Miss Goose, Miss Lawrence, Miss Driscoll, Miss G Fanstone.

The meeting was occupied with many matters of importance for an hour and a half. It was decided by a majority of votes that a resolution to line the porch with stone to be rescinded on the grounds of expense, and that the walls be plastered. It was agreed that the question of slate or stone material for the slab upon which the names be inscribed be left to the judgement of the architect; and the committee confirm their previous resolution that all parishioners should have the right to place names of their sons who died on this tablet; they felt, however, that it was not desirable that this should be done in cases where the names were associated with a memorial in another church, without special reason. The chairman produced some figures supplied by the builder which are of general interest:-

Estimated cost of Porch £559 13s 0d
Less nett cost of stone lining £20 18s 0d
£538 15s 0d

Add cost of figure in niche, also slate or stone tablet with names cut, amount uncertain, Architect’s commission of 10% on above amount

£53 17s 6d
£592 12s 6d

At the close of the meeting the treasurers made the following statement

Subscriptions paid or promised, as already announced in October Magazine

£482 0s 2d
Less unredeemed promises £2 1s 6d
£479 18s 8d

Collection at dedication festival £39 11s 0d
New subscriptions Oct 16 £11 5s 5d
£530 15s 1d

The next meeting of the committee was fixed for Nov 20 at 7.30pm

The work is now growing rapidly, and it is interesting to watch the plan of dovetailing the new work into the old wall of the present building. To do this the old north doorway had to be lowered to meet the timbered ceiling of the porch, a new arch has also been turned on the inside and the door cut down correspondingly. Thus the new doors and doorway will be considerably lower. Adjoining this doorway, about three feet eastward, will be a small door leading to the stairs to the chamber over the porch. The stairway is cut partly in the thickness of the wall and abuts in part on the floor of the porch, being concealed by brick walls. For this purpose one of two lights has been removed and there remains one single window just east of the stairs doorway. This light will be filled with beautiful glass painted by Mr Bewsey, representing S George. It is a gift from Mr B H Butler in memory of his son Benjamin James Butler whose ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. The glass is finished and ready for fixing. The ceiling of the porch will be built of rebated oak joists with oak panels to ceiling covered with deal floor (above) and a layer of felt between. The chamber above will thus be impervious to sound and draught. It has been decided to plaster the walls of the interior; and not as stated last month to line the porch with stone; the expense, £20 18s, seemed not justified by the advantage.


Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

Commemorate God’s mercy to us, and the valour of our gallant dead

War Memorial Chapel

May I remind all Collectors that they should take their cards for initialling, together with any money they have collected, to Miss Apthorp, OBE, at Stanlow, High Town Road, on Monday, October 6th.

Miss Apthorp will be at home to receive them from 10 am till 1 pm, and again from 6 pm to 8 pm. If any Collector is ill, will she please send a card to Miss Apthorp, and she will call for the money. I hope to publish a list of subscriptions to date in the November Magazine. As Treasurer, I have already received a good many subscriptions, and one legacy of £100, and a promise of a beautiful oak Altar for the new Chapel from the Sawyer family, through Miss A E Sawyer. The Altar would be in memory of the Rev. W G Sawyer, formerly Vicar of this Parish.

In connection with this, I may say that while the oak panels will be kept exclusively for the Fallen in the War, the other ornaments of the Chapel can commemorate other past worshippers in St Luke’s…

We have thus made an excellent start, but we have still a long way to go in the next 11 months, if,as we all hope, we are worthily to commemorate God’s mercy to us, and the valour of our gallant dead.

PS – We still want a few more Collectors. Will any volunteers (ladies or Gentlemen) please apply to the Hon. Sec. Miss Apthorp, or to the Hon. Treasurer, the Vicar.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

“I want it to be in every way worthy of the greatness of the men’s sacrifice “

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners, …

I venture to appeal that our special effort for a War Memorial Chapel may not hurt our ordinary parochial funds, especially the Free Will Offering Fund. Unless we pay for our ordinary work in the Parish, our gifts to the War Memorial Chapel are not real thankofferings, but only a pretence. May I appeal for wider support for the Free Will Offering Fund (Assistant Clergy Stiepnds) …
Then I do beg of all who can to support the War Memorial Chapel we hope to build. I want it to be in every way worthy of the greatness of the men’s sacrifice and of the honour of being a part of the House of God…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

A want long felt

Clewer had decided on a recreation ground for its memorial.

The Parish War Memorial

The following circular has been issued by the Memorial Committee, and will be distributed amongst the subscribers:-

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Committee are glad to be able to announce that they have acquired a piece of land about six acres in extent in a very central part of the parish, for the purpose of a Recreation Ground – a want that has long been felt. The sum of £422 17s. 10d. has already been subscribed and some £250 more is necessary to complete the purchase, laying out and fencing. It is earnestly hoped that those who have not already supported the Fund will kindly contribute now and so share in providing a permanent War Memorial to the gallant men of the parish who have laid down their lives for King and Country.

Yours faithfully,

Clewer parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)

Peace Decorations in the Mall

Boys from Slough witnessed an important Act of Parliament being passed.

September 2nd 1919

On Thursday August 31st the boys of the Gardening Class were taken to London. The trip included a visit to the zoo, a visit to the British Museum to see the illuminated manuscripts and historical autographs, the Peace Decorations in the Mall, and the House of Commons. One and a half hours were spent in the Gallery listening to a debate on Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Pensions. By good luck Black Rod came and called the Commons to the House of Lords for the Royal Assent to the Bill.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1)

Soldiers asked to give those who had been at home these last five years the benefit of their unique experience of men and things

Earley men were warmly welcomed home.

Sailors and Soldiers Entertainment

A very kind and liberal support in money and provisions removed all anxiety as to the expense of the entertainment given on Aug 30. Our only regret was the comparatively few were able to be present. The weather was cold and threatening, and though the sky held clear till half past six we were then driven to take cover in the parish hall when an enjoyable concert filled up the remained of the evening. The committee under Mr george Love’s management had provided a sumptuous tea at 4 o’clock, the hall decorated with flags, and the guests were entertained by Mrs and Miss Lawrence, Mrs Love, Mrs Weait, Mrs and Miss Porter, Mrs Edwards, Mrs Shackleford, Mrs Wilby, Mrs Long, Mrs Box, and Miss West. Games on the lawn with competitions and prizes had been arranged by Mr Love (chairman), and Messrs Sturgess, Wright, Weait, Long, Edwards, West, Porter, Lawrence, Shackleford, Clayton-Jones, Wilby and Cyphus. The evening concert was the contribution of Miss Elsie Ruffel, Messrs. O West, F L Wing, R Wing, A H Earley, HE Wilby, and CE Cyphus (Pianist).

Our guests were as follows William H Pomeroy, HMS Ophir; William B Waters, Royal Berks; G E Gibbons, R.A.S.C., M. T.; F A Charlton, R.E.; Harry F Fulbrook, 2nd Batt. Hants. 29th Div.; Vernon Truss, RAF; Albert H Barlow, 7th Queen’s R.W. Surreys; Chas. Shackleford, R.A.S.C., M. T.; H J White, RAF, E Henwood, 10th Tank Bat.; E J E Capel, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; C W Green, RAF; O J West, HM Wireless Service; O H Long, 2nd O. Dorset Yeomanry; A W Long, R. A. S. C.; A H Earley, 219th Field Coy. R.E.; A G Earley, RAF; P G Canning, London Regt,; W H Andrews, Royal Berks and Tank Corps.; W G Ayres, R.G.A.; A J Franklin; G Gibbons; J A Earley, 1/4th R. Berks Regt.; C E Cyphus, Tank Corps.

At the close of tea the Vicar expressed the pleasure of the committee in welcoming the home-coming of their guests. He traced the steps which had led to this entertainment of them, and expressed his hope that they would gather together on more than occasion for counsel in the management of parish matters, and give those who had been at home these last five years the benefit of their unique experience of men and things.

The party dispersed soon after 9.30 after a thoroughly enjoyable time. We much regretted the unavoidable absence of Mr T R Stevens.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

“Our village is still like a battlefield”

The August issue of a Reading church magazine had news from a family of Belgian refugees who had now returned home.

Our Belgian Guests

Though we have now bidden good-bye to our Belgian family, they are not forgotten, and we gladly avail ourselves of Miss Hammond’s kind permission to print the following letter, (long held over through lack of space) telling of the return home.

Kelfs-Herent,
29TH March, 1919.
Dear Miss Hammond,

We reached home a fortnight ago, on the 15th of March, at half-past four in the afternoon. We found our house quite empty, for the Germans had stolen most of our things, and what they left others took. The doors and windows are broken, the walls both inside and out are damaged, and there is a large hole in the roof. The Germans did their cooking everywhere, leaving the house so dirty that it has taken me ten days to get it even a little clean! We must wait till next year for fresh wall-paper, it is still too dear.

Food is very scarce; there is hardly anything in the shops and everything is much dearer than in England. Meat costs 9-10 francs the Kilo, butter 15 franks, margarine 8.5 franks. A sack of flour costs 110 franks, and one cannot even then always get it. Every day we say that war for existence is now beginning, and happy are the people who live in the promised land of England or France. Our village is still like a battlefield; some of the houses have been re-built but not all. The people living next to us have so aged during these four years that we did not recognise them. We have no cow or horse, and they are so dear that we must wait a while before buying.

I hope that you will give our compliments to all the kind friends at your church, and thank them again for all they did for us during the four years of war.

Please accept the sincere respects of your grateful family.”

M. Van De Venne.
Elise De Kruster.

We are very grieved to hear that, since reaching home, our friends have sustained a very heavy loss in the death of their dear little girl, Elisa, on June 3rd, after an illness of three weeks. We shall all join in sympathetic remembrance of the sorrowing father and mother.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )

Victory in the Great European War

Lower Basildon CE School
30th July 1919

School closed this afternoon for the Summer Holiday. The Education Committee have granted an extra week’s holiday, in accordance with the wish expressed by King George, to commemorate the Victory in the Great European War.

Aldermaston School
30th July 1919.

School closed at noon today for summer holidays, His Majesty King George has expressed a wish that in commemoration of the signing of Peace the children should be granted an extra week’s holiday.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
31st July 1919

Peace Celebration sports were held in playground yesterday afternoon.

Log books of Lower Basildon CE School (C/EL7/2, p. 205); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 108); and Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School (90/SCH/5/5, p. 251)

“When we look back and see how terrible was the peril through which was passed, it is enough to make our blood freeze”

PEACE!

For the Peace which has been granted to us may the Lord’s holy Name be praised! The deliverance has been wonderful; we should be the most ungrateful people on earth if we failed to offer Him thanks. Our late foes are already threatening vengeance for peace terms which they describe as inhuman. But it is only just that the chief criminal should suffer most. As the Allied note stated, no fewer than seven millions of men lie buried in Europe as a result of Germany’s desire to tyrannise over the world, while twenty million other men carry upon them evidence of wounds and suffering. Something was bound to be done to make a repetition of the frightful crime impossible.

It was by a miracle of God’s mercy that we were saved from disaster. When we look back and see how terrible was the peril through which was passed, it is enough to make our blood freeze. But, defending the right, we were “under the shadow of the Almighty.” How better can we thank Him than by striving anew to get His Will done on earth? There are foes with whom we ought to come to fresh grips. Since we have won to-day, let us fight with more eagerness to-morrow. We can put aside machine-guns and bombing places and gas masks, and take up the old weapons of Faith and Prayer, the spear of Truth, and the sword of the Spirit. And may God bless our native land!

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, July 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)