The whole gamut of human emotion

The emotional toll of supporting loved ones at the front was beginning to tell in Maidenhead. One imagines the tears in church – but every now and then there was joy amidst the sorrow.

OUR ROLL OF HONOUR

The Minister has not for some time past read from the pulpit the list of our soldiers, because the strain upon the feelings of the more closely related friends was too great. This month there is space to spare in our columns, and we therefore print the list.

Five of our lads have fallen:

Harold Fisher …Royal Berks.
Duncan Wilson …A.S.C.
Robert Harris …8th Royal Berks.
Stephen Harris …3rd Royal Berks.
John Boyd …2nd Royal Berks.

Two have been discharged:

James Partlo …4th Royal Berks.
E.S. Mynett …Recruiting Sergeant

Forty-nine are still in the Army:

Cyril Hews …Royal Engineers
F.W. Harmer …Royal Berks.
W. Percy Pigg …A.S.C.
Cyril Laker …K.O. Scottish Borderers.
Reginald Hill …2nd Royal Berks.
Robert Anderson …4th Royal Berks.
John Bolton …23rd London.
Thomas Mulford …Royal Engineers.
J.O. Wright …8th Royal Berks.
George E. Dovey …9th Royal Berks.
Percy Lewis …R.A.M.C.
Arthur Rolfe …R.F.A.
Ernest Bristow …R.A.M.C.
Harold Islip …R.E.
Edward Howard …A.S.C.
George Belcher …R.E.
Horace Gibbons …11th Aus. Light Horse.
J. Quincey …A.S.C.
Donovan Wilson …A.S.C.
Aubrey Cole …A.S.C.
W.H. Clark …A.S.C.
Cecil Meade …A.S.C.
Benjamin Gibbons …6th Royal Berks.
David Dalgliesh …R.F.C.
Hugh Lewis …R.E.
H. Partlo …A.S.C.
Herbert Brand …8th Royal Berks.
George Phillips …A.S.C.
J Herbert Plum …R.E.
Wilfred Collins …Canadian Dragoons.
Alex. Edwards …R.F.A.
William Norcutt …A.S.C.
George Norcutt …R.E.
Victor Anderson …R.A.M.C.
Herbert G. Wood …R.E.
C.A.S. Vardy …R.E.
A. Lane …R.E.
Frank Pigg …R.F.C.
Leonard Beel …R.E.
P.S. Eastman …R.N.A.S.
A. John Fraser …A.S.C.
Charles Catliff …R.E.
Ernest A. Mead …7th Devonshires.
Robert Bolton …R.M.L.I
Frank Tomlinson …R.E.
George Ayres …L.E.E.
Thomas Russell …A.S.C.
G.C. Frampton …A.S.C.
W.J. Baldwin …Royal Navy.

In addition there are many who have passed through our Sunday School and Institute, but have not recently been in close connection with us. These also we bear upon our hearts, and bring in prayer before the Throne of Grace.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to say that Reginald Hill is still going forward, and that he is able to walk a little with the aid of sticks. He has now been at the Sheffield Hospital between five and six months. His parents are spending their holiday at Sheffield.

Robert Bolton has gone over with his Company to France.

Wilfred Collins is in Hospital at Sulhamstead, still suffering from heart trouble.

Sidney Eastman is at Mudros, doing clerical work.

David Dalgliesh has been home on leave, in the best of health and spirits.

GOOD NEWS!

In our last number we spoke of the fact that the son of Mr. Jones, of Marlow, was “missing,” and that all hope that he was still living had been relinquished. But the unexpected has happened, and news has been received that Second-Lieutenant Edgar Jones is an unwounded prisoner in the hands of the Germans. His parents have surely run through the whole gamut of human emotion during these weeks.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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Wholly wonderful results

Stratfield Mortimer was the latest parish to set up a war savings scheme.

War Savings Association

On the following evening [July 12th] a small company met in S. John’s Hall and listened for an hour to Mr. W. F. Anderson’s admirably told tale of the wholly wonderful results achieved by these Associations. It was unanimously resolved to begin at once such an Association for Mortimer. Sir Edmund Mowbray was elected chairman, Mr. Ponting hon. Treasurer, Miss Westall hon. Secretary. The office of the Association will be (pro tem) in S. Mary’s Infants’ School, by the kind consent of the managers of the school, and will be open every Friday from 5-30 to 6-30 p.m. Literature will be circulated in explanation of the scheme, and great results may be looked for.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

“Everyone can help to win the war by lending money to the Government”

The people of Wargrave were impressed by the call to help the war effort by placing their personal savings in a Government scheme.

War Savings Association

The Wargrave War Savings Association was very successfully started at a well attended Public Meeting on Tuesday, January 9th, 1917.

Mr. Henry Bond presided, and was supported by Mr. W. C. F. Anderson, Hon. Secretary for Berks, Mr. G. G. Phillimore, who is Secretary for a local branch, and the Vicar.

The Speakers explained that everyone can help to win the war by lending money to the Government. The Government gives 5 per cent, interest, so everyone can help himself at the same time as he helps the country. The man who saves now is helping our soldiers by going without something himself. The less we consume from over the seas, the more room we leave in the ships to carry necessities and comforts for our soldiers.

A resolution to form a Wargrave War Savings Association was unanimously passed.

Mr. Henry Bond was unanimously elected Chairman and Hon. Treasurer. The Vicar was elected Hon. Secretary.

The following were elected to the Committee of Management, with power to add to their number.

Wargrave: Mrs. Groves, Messrs. H. Butcher, W.H. Easterling, F.W. Headington, and E. Stokes.
Hare Hatch: Mrs. Oliver Young, Messrs. A. E. Chenery and A.E. Huggins.
Crazies Hill: Messrs. J.T. Griffin and T. Moore, the Rev. W.G. Smylie.

The Office of the Association is at the Vicarage. The Certificate if affiliation to the National War Savings Committee, the Rules and Statements of Accounts will be exhibited in the Parish Room.

Office Hours at Vicarage, SATURDAYS 9.30- 10.30 a.m. and 5.30-6.30 p.m.

Wargrave parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

“It is a most awful place where we are at present”

Soldiers associated with Maidenhead Congregational Church were grateful for Christmas gifts, and in return shared some of their experiences.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We have already received many acknowledgements from our soldier lads of the Christmas parcels from the Church, and they all speak of kindly gratitude. We can find room for a few extracts.

Edward Howard writes, “Many thanks for the most splendid parcel. It is awfully kind of the Church and Institute to think so much of us when we are out here…… It is a most awful place where we are at present. The mud is something like three feet deep, and we are living in tents, but of course we make the best of a bad job. I send you all a warm and affectionate Christmas greeting.”

Reginald Hill received his parcel in hospital at Etretat, where he has been slowly recovering from his gas injuries. He says “I cannot tell you much of my doings in a letter, but one of these Thursday evenings I will give you my experiences at a meeting of the Literary Society.”

Cyril Hews writes, “I can scarcely tell you in a letter what a great feeling of gratitude and pleasure the parcel and letter gave me…… We out here have no doubts as to the future. We are confident that before long victory will be given to the Allies, and the great cause for which they are fighting will be attained.”

Harold Islip says, “Please accept my thanks for the excellent parcel and letter of greeting sent by the Church, which I received two days ago. Both were most welcome. A letter of that description most certainly helps us all out here to “carry on” with our duties, even though they have now become so monotonous. On Sundays, and often during the week, I think of the Church and Institute, and wish I could be present! But by next Christmas the war will be over, and then…!”

J. O. Wright is overwhelmed with his Christmas duties as Post-Corporal (of course, he had a busy time!), but snatches a minute to send “a few lines thanking you and the Church for the splendid parcel, and also for the Magazine.”

Victor Anderson writes, “Many thanks for the parcel which I have just received, and also for the letter. I am in the best of health, and we are now in a very nice place, so I think we shall have as good a Christmas as can be expected out here.”

Percy Lewis is grateful for his parcel, and ventures to congratulate those who made the purchases. “They are just the things one appreciates most out here.”

And J. Quincy, “I thank you very much for the contents of the parcel, which were much appreciated and enjoyed, and I am sure you will extend my gratitude to the Members of the Church for their kindness. May you all have a truly happy Christmas and a bright New
Year.”

Ernest Mead has been placed in the 2/7th Batt. Devonshire Regiment (Cyclists), and is stationed at Exeter.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, January 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Christmas and its lessons in war-time

A Berkshire school saw its head teacher drafted to take over at another school whose head must have joined up, and half the children sent to yet another school.

Lower Basildon National School
20th December 1916

I have received a communication from Mr Anderson to the effect that, for the period of the war, I shall be transferred as Head Master to Cold Ash school.

The children from Std II upwards, will be transferred to Upper Basildon school, so that when school re-opens on Jan. 8., only the Infants and Std I will remain.

Lower Sandhurst School
December 20th 1916

Mr. W. J. Joye, Chairman of the Managers, visited the School and gave an address to the children on Christmas and its lessons in war-time. He at the same time commended them for their generosity in supporting the War Funds, over £16.10 and 1000 eggs having been contributed since August 1914.

Lower Basildon National School log book (C/EL7/2, p. 174); Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 383)

“We now have several families in which no less than five sons are serving King and Country”

Men from across Reading were joining up in their droves.

All Saint’s District
Congratulations

Our heartiest congratulations to Capt. A.H. Norris, R.A.M.C. on being awarded the Military Cross.

Roll Of Honour

The following additional names have been sent in for remembrance at the Alter:

Donald Anderson, William Ayres, Bert Ayres, Thomas William George Bernard, Frank Ernest Butler, Lawrence Darwall, Frederick Charles Dolton, Cecil Hankey Dickson King, Vivian Majendie, Arthur Ernest New, Arthur Herbert Norris, Norman Alexander Norris, Rowland Victor Norris, Harold Sales, Richard James Saunders, Joseph Styles, George Thomas, Frank Thomas, James Young.

It may be of interest to note that we now have several families in which no less than five sons are serving King and Country.

S. Saviours District
R.I.P.

Two more of our young men have, we hear, laid down their lives for their country. Sidney Ostridge, brother of Alfred Ostridge, server at S. Saviour’s, has been killed in France; and Corporal Walter Paice, son of Mrs. Lane, a faithful worshipper at S. Saviour’s, was killed instantly in action on the night of October 3rd, near Salonika, to the great regret of his comrades, officers and men, among whom he was very popular. Their families are assured of our sincerest sympathy. The officer of one of them writes: “He died a noble death,” and a sergeant writes: “ He was laid to rest just behind us and the Chaplain held the service and placed a Cross at the head of the grave.” There is hope in the Cross.

S. Marks District
R.I.P.

It was with very great regret that we heard Private G. W. Davis had been killed in action. He was very well known and respected in this District, and we offer to his widow and all his relations our very sincere sympathy.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P98/28A/14)

Sore losses

There was painful news for some Maidenhead families.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We deeply regret to record the death of Duncan Wilson, who fell a victim to a bomb dropped from an enemy aeroplane at the Front on July 11th. He was employed at Horlick’s Malted Milk Factory in Slough before joining the ranks and spending his Sundays in Maidenhead was a regular worshipper at our Church. He was a young man of character and promise, and his death is a sore loss to his friends and family.

It is painful too, to hear that Arthur Hedges has been missing since the beginning of July, and that his friends have practically given up hope.

Robert Anderson, who a few months ago received his discharge at the expiration of his term, has been compelled by recent legislation to join up again. John Bolton is in France.

Alas! Since writing the above lines, information has been received of the death of another of our lads. Robert Harris, one of the most devoted members of our Institute, who confessed his faith in Christ by joining the Church about two years ago, was killed by a bomb on July 24th. He was the eldest son of Mr. William Harris, Builder, Holman Leaze, and before enlisting was engaged in the Argus Press Printing Works. He was a young man of most amiable disposition, and was very popular among his fellow members in the Institute. He would have reached his 20th birthday on August 7th.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, August 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“The country wants every penny it can get for the war”

The County Council’s War Savings (Education) Sub-committee sent out to the Head Teacher of each primary school they controlled in the county (i.e. everywhere but Reading) a circular letter to encourage children and parents to contribute to the costs of the war:

Shire Hall
Reading
10 July 1916

Dear Sir (or Madam)

WAR SAVINGS

The Education Committee have been approached by the National War Savings Committee, and requested to promote in Berkshire, by all means in their power, the practice of saving among persons of all classes, particularly in ways calculated to assist the Government in their efforts to raise funds for the war. A small special War Savings Committee has accordingly been appointed, with certain limited powers.

Inquiries have been made by them as to the extent to which organisations already exist, in direct connection with elementary schools in the county, for the encouragement and maintenance of penny banks or other forms of saving. It appears that no less than 105 out of the 205 schools (council and voluntary) make no claim to the possession of any such organisation; and that even of the remaining 100 a certain number can point to no more than such institutions as clothing clubs or coal clubs, which, however useful in themselves to the depositors, can have practically no relation to the objects aimed at by the National Committee.

In many parishes organisations for war savings may have been established otherwise than in connection with the schools; and they have no wish to interfere with these… In particular they desire to avoid action calculated to produce the fictitious result of apparently benefitting the nation by investing in War Loan at high interest money which is already in the Post Office Savings Banks, at lower interest. Although this may profit the individual, it inevitably casts a corresponding new burden upon the State.

These objections, however, do not apply to any system of saving which leads to the investment of fresh money in any of the various forms of War Loan…. The most advantageous method of purchasing War Savings Certificates is through the medium of “Associations” formed for the purpose, which apply to the National War Savings Committee for affiliation. All books, forms &c, are supplied free.

The Committee urge that where in any school there is not already an existing Savings Scheme, the Managers should meet without delay and take steps to establish a War Savings Association, which need not be restricted to school children. In doing so, they can hold out to depositors the certainty of greater personal advantage than ever before. But they ought to appeal even more strongly to the patriotism of their parish. The country wants every penny it can get for the war, which is costing at present £5,000,000 a day, say £57 per second. Taxation alone cannot produce this. There must be borrowing. If the supply runs short, our military and naval operations are hindered and the war will last longer.

The extraordinary thing is that those who lend money to the nation are not only helping the war, but are also helping themselves. And they are doing so in two ways, first by having by, on good terms, money which they may very probably want in the difficult days after the war, and, secondly, by getting into the habit of saving, which when wisely used is one of the most solid foundations of security and well-being.

W C F Anderson
Education Secretary

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Three men go to war

Just three more men from Reading St Mary were reported joining up this month.

The Vicars Notes
S. Mary’s
Roll of Honour

William George Anderson, Harry Evelyn Cross, Robert White.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1916 (D/P98/28A/13)

Long drawn out sorrow

The March issue of Maidenhead Congregational Church’s magazine had news of the varying fates of its young men.

OUR SOLDIER LADS.

Harold Fisher has been missing since last September, and his family now consider that he must be counted among those who have given their lives for the great cause. We deeply sympathise with them in their long-drawn-out sorrow. Harold was a lad of intelligence and promise, and we believe was striving to live a Christian life. Robert Anderson having served his time in the Army has received his discharge, and has married and settled down to civil life. William Norcutt and Herbert Brand have been home from the front on leave, both in the best of spirits, and seeming to be in the pink of health. Thomas Mulford, Horace Gibbons, and Bert Plum are in Egypt, enjoying a sight of the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Copies of this Magazine are sent to all our soldier-lads each month.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, March 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

A long road still to travel

Members of Maidenhead Congregational Church had to face the fact that life was different in wartime. Particular difficulties were faced by Belgian refugees, who spoke little or no English in a less globalised world than today.

THE HOLIDAYS.
There has not been the usual spirit of happy freedom for any of us in this year’s holiday month. Some have not felt able to leave home at all, and others have been compelled to be content with a shortened time of leisure. But we shall do well to use every means to maintain our ordinary level of health and spirits. If “business as usual” is not an attainable ideal, we must try to live up to “health and nerve as usual.” It may be that we have yet a long road to travel before we see the end of the present horrors. It may be that anxieties and fears are yet to come to us in intensified forms. We must keep up heart. There is of course enough in the possibilities of everyone of us to make us depressed, if we calculate all the possibilities of evil, and sum them up into one terrifying spectre. There is nothing the heart of man needs more than a message of courage and confidence. And we can only get it out of faith, it grows as a blossom upon the plant of faith. Only as we learn to trust in God’s love, and become sure of the gracious purpose, can we maintain our hearts in balance and in peace.

OUR BELGIAN REFUGEES.
Some of our friends have been inquiring why the men of our Belgian household have not found some remunerative employment during these many months. As a matter of fact, they have not been altogether idle. Mr. Dykes kindly found them work on his farm for awhile, but the experiment was not wholly a success. The language difficulty was a serious handicap, they were quite unskilled in farming occupations, and there were other hindrances. One of them was for a time engaged in a local builder’s yard. At the time of writing one is at work for a boat builder in Oxford, and if the arrangement seems likely to continue, perhaps his wife and two little girls may join him there.

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A child’s house of cards in ruins

Maidenhead Congregational Church ponders the war, which seems to have come as something of a shock to them, and remembers its own young men who have joined up:

THE WAR.

To most of us the war came as an immense surprise. We thought war between the great nations, the civilized, not to say the Christian, nations, was at an end for ever. We heard with irritation and impatience the many prophecies that war was bound to come, thinking them nothing but stupid cries of “wolf”. We believed that Christian teaching and the influence of the Churches in England and Germany had built up an edifice of trust and good feeling, which made the talk of possible war nothing but a monstrous absurdity. But alas! That edifice at a touch tumbled into ruins like a child’s house of cards, and we were plunged into the most tremendous war in all history!

At the directors meeting of the London Missionary Society on Tuesday last a latter was read from the directors of a Missionary Society in Germany, comprising no doubt as sincere and godly a band of men as any in that country, which spoke of Germany’s passionate desire that peace should not have been broken, and of the wicked conspiracies of Germany’s enemies, which had forced war upon her! To us the case seems not a little different. Surely we are under no delusion in saying that there was nothing our statesmen would not have done to maintain peace, short of treachery to honour and pledged word! But there was a point beyond which it was not possible to go. “The whole value and beauty of life is that it holds treasures for which men will even dare to die!”

Let us never cease to pray that God will defend the right, and bring victory to our arms. And may it not be, that even by means of the thunder of monstrous guns, and the clash of ten millions of armed men, shall come a truer knowledge of the unspeakable blessings of peace, a new upspringing of the spirit of true brotherhood, a more earnest turning of the hearts of men to Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind, and the Prince of Peace.

 
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