Lieutenant East lost his leg in the service of the Country and Empire

Men were starting to return from imprisonment.

COMMISSION IN THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE

Mr and Mrs East, of Church Cottage, have received notification from General W Birdwood, CO, Australian Force, that their son, Mr Robert East, has been appointed Second Lieutenant from August 10th, 1917. The notification is dated 6/3/1918. It will be remembered that Lieutenant East lost his leg in the service of the Country and Empire.

RETURN OF PRISONERS OF WAR

The first prisoner of war to return to the parish has been Private Roland Pitherall, who returned at the beginning of November.

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

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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…)

“A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed”

Ralph Glyn’s sister and mother wrote to him. Meg’s circle of acquaintances in London included many army officers, and she reported some disappointment that talks of peace had not yet come to anything. Lady Mary was engaging in a private battle with the vicar of Bamber, where she and the Bishop were living, who thought the National Anthem inappropriately jingoistic for church.

Hardwicke House
Ham Common
Richmond
Surrey

27.10.18

My darling Ralph

Thank you so much for you letter & I am so sorry to hear you have got this beastly flu, it is sickening for you but by the time this letter reaches you I hope you will be quite fit again. No – flying doesn’t sound the best cure certainly, but I suppose you had to do it.

I was much interested to see the photographs you enclosed. They are copies of negatives taken by Addie of Royalist up with the Grand Fleet. If you have got the negatives it would be good of you to send them here to me, tho I cannot imagine how they got among your negatives, as I keep those ship photographs most carefully. But do send me all 3 negatives if you have them.

Jim & I stayed last night at Belgrave Square & dined with the Connaughts, a small dinner which was great fun. The Arthur Connaughts were there, she is a stick; Mr Spring Rice who was in Washington with Eustace & Ivar, & Mrs Ward who was Muriel Wilson. An A1 dinner too! The old Duke was in great form & full of funny stories of soldiers’ remarks in Palestine:

One soldier asked another, “Which is the way to the Mount of Olives?” & the other replied, “If that’s a public house I’ve never heard of it.” An Arab writing to the Governor concluded his letter with, “I write in the name of J. Christ, esq, who is well known to you & who your Excellency so much resembles”. An Australian wantonly killed a Jew & was remonstrated with, “Why did you do it?” “Well”, he said, “they are the people who killed Christ”. “Yes, but a long time ago”. “Well”, said the Australian, “I only heard of it yesterday”….

John went off to GHQ on Wednesday, & on Friday Maysie & I went over 2 houses she had the offer of in London. The larger one (both being tiny) was in Regents Park, & had lovely Chinese furniture, & nicely done up, the second in Hill Street, Knightsbridge, & very nicely done, but tiny. I strongly advised her to plump on the 2nd & she’s got it for 6 months, & I think it will do for her very wel indeed. Billy is home on leave & I saw him yesterday too. He looks v. fit, a Majr, & 2nd in command of his battalion!

A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed, but everyone feels thankful & the end must be in sight. But there’s some sickness with the Americans not getting on, it would have been splendid to cut the Huns off in that retreat, but you always said they have no staff to handle the men, and it does seem 10,000 pities that thro sheer silly pride they won’t brigade their men with ours & the French, doesn’t it….

Meg

(more…)

A strenuous time in the wake of the Australians

News of men from Remenham.

PARISH NOTES

Captain E C Eveleigh, Wilminster Park, is home on a month’s agricultural leave, and looks splendidly fit. We had the pleasure, too, of seeing Pte G A S Sargeant when he was back with us from France for fourteen days last month; he had had a strenuous time in the wake of the Australians in their advance, and we were glad to see him looking so well.

Lance-Corporal John Marcham has been wounded in the leg and is in hospital in Cardiff. We are thankful to hear that, in spite of a temporary set-back, he is now progressing satisfactorily.

Mr and Mrs Why, Aston Cottages, had a telegram last month from the War Office informing them that their son Pte Charles Why was dangerously ill on August 28 in hospital at Salonika. Charlie was always a good fellow, sound and clean and God-fearing; when he was home last it was a great happiness to us to see him at Holy Communion. May God keep him and raise him up to health and strength! As we go to press we have the joy of learning that the acute danger is over, and that he is likely to recover.

Remenham parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

“His services to the wounded in this respect during this and previous years have been simply priceless”

Wounded soldiers in Reading were treated to a lovely day out.

River Trip for Wounded Soldiers

On Friday afternoon, September 13th, our own particular River Outing for wounded soldiers, under the auspices of the Care and Comforts Committee, took place under perfectly ideal conditions. After several days of somewhat broken weather, we struck the one bright sunny afternoon when the river was at its best. The arrangements on the steamer had been made as usual, by Mr. Awmack, whose services to the wounded in this respect during this and previous years have been simply priceless.

The “Merry Mascots” Concert party provided just the right sort of musical entertainment, with the songs that our soldiers delight in, accompanied by piano, harp and violin. The tea would have been very good in ordinary times – under present conditions it was marvellous. And the abundant supply of cigarettes handed round by Mrs. A.T. Watkins and Miss Shorter was evidently appreciated to the full.

The goal of our journey was Park Place, the residence of Colonel Noble, and it was good to see the enjoyment of our guests as they made their way up the green slope and through the famous tunnel to the fine historic mansion, with its glorious views, and enchanting grotto, and gardens.

Our party include men from many distant parts of the Empire as well as from the Old Country – from Australia and South Africa, and the Rocky Mountains. By their words and their looks, they left us in no doubt that the object we all had in view was fully attained, and the expedition will long live in their memory, as in ours who were privileged to go with them.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, October 1918 (D/EX1237/1)

A sad casualty

Two men with Sulhamstead connections had fought their final battle.

Sergeant Major Robert East, Australian Expeditionary Force, has been obliged to have his leg amputated, and has returned to Australia for further treatment. He was to have been raised to the rank of a Commissioned Officer, but this sad casualty has prevented it.

ROLL OF HONOUR

We regret to have to announce that Mrs Painter has received news from the War Office that her husband, Private Albert Painter, Royal Berks, has been posted as killed. He was taken prisoner by the Germans on March 21st, and died on March 24th.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, August 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“If only Fritz would drop a bomb on it, it would save further argument”

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence to let her know how he was getting on. The following day he was to be wounded.

Aug 6, 1918
My dear WF

Almost I’ve forgotten how to write a letter. Lately I have been so busy picking up the threads and so on that I haven’t had time to write a line since July 14, I think it was – not even to write and wish you many happy returns of the 4th. However I’ll put the clock back a couple of days and do it now.

My diary has gone during the last few weeks and I’m racking my brain for news.

To go back, I finished my course on the 17th. My section, 4/7 of which was my Division, won the School cup. The runners up were also 4/7 my Division. So we set our caps at the Canadians, Australians & our friends from USA and swanked. Also individually my section scored highest marks in the examination. My own report read –
Qualifications Very good
Power of command Ditto
Keen

So there was much rejoicing and our [HLI?] instructor got very tipsy at our expense and insisted on singing all the Scotch songs ever written, and some which I believe had before scarcely escaped the boundaries of his “wee bit hoos ben” or some such foreign place.

After that I returned “here” – that’s interesting. From here I went up the line once or twice, and then went “there” and billeted the Battalion. With the aid of 200 men, made the area reasonably clean, and HQ habitable. There was even a piano and one evening we had our string trio over to play to us at mess, and afterwards the doctor (from USA) with a fine voice, sang to us and made us all homesick. And the adjutant begged for Raff’s [Cantina?] and got it, and wondered how I knew when I turned to him during the piece and said, “Your wife plays this”.

And then I came here again & the adjutant being inoculated & sick, I had to ride up the line and take over. And now I am here again (and it’s pouring with rain) in an abandoned cottage with an earth floor and leaky roof and really very comfortable. To a newcomer it would be startling to go round a battalion’s “billets” and hear our boys tell the visiting officer that they were quite comfortable in a tumbledown outhouse or barn. Someday again I expect we shall get luxurious again.

Had one very bad night here during an event I expect you are now reading about. Fritz bombed all night and generally played the devil. A few days before a billet of ours was gutted by fire due to another unit’s fault. Luckily overnight I had organised our people for such an event, and in 25 minutes we had it out and a large farm saved. The other unit having at last accepted liability, rebuilt the place. I remarked that if only Fritz would drop a bomb on it, it would save further argument. He did, but not till it had been rebuilt & occupied and the farmer was gloating over new buildings for old.

The CO has just turned up so I’ll close while I have the opportunity.
With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/58-60)

“The many bigamous marriages which have been contracted”

Many soldiers got married while on leave. Shockingly, we discover some of them were not actually free to marry…

My Dear Friends,

We have nearly reached the fourth anniversary of the war: The end is not yet in sight, but there are great reasons for hope, and we have very much to be thankful for. June and July were to have been two of the months in which we were told to expect the greatest scarcity of food, but the supply has been increased rather than diminished, and as regards to the war itself, our anxieties are certainly less than they were a month or two ago. Let us remember to keep August 4th as a special day of prayer and thanksgiving. We shall have a better opportunity of doing so as this time it falls on a Sunday.

I should like to call particular attention to the notice in the Bishop’s Message with regard to the “Marriage of Soldiers from Colonies and Dominions.” Men often require to be married quickly on short leave, and hitherto I have been able to marry them, provided that they have known each other for a considerable time, and that the parents of the intended bride have made enquires and satisfied themselves that all was right.

Henceforward, however, I can neither grant a licence to or marry any man from the Colonies or Dominions unless I have received the certificate of the officer in charge of military records. I am sorry to say that this order on the part of the authorities is due to the many bigamous marriages which have been contracted. A short while ago I heard of an officer forbidding five sets of Banns in one Church at one time because the men were all married.

It has been certain for some time that such protection was needed and the rule is an excellent one, but it will inevitably cause delay and disappointment. The best plan will be for any man, whether at home or abroad, who thinks there is a chance of his getting leave and being married within three months (during which period Licences and Banns are available) to write to me stating his native country, and also his rank, regiment and number, so that the certificate may be obtained, in which case no delay need take place.

Your friend and Vicar,

W.W. Fowler

Marriages of Soldiers from Colonies and Dominions.

It is my duty to call attention to a notice issued by authority as follows:

It is necessary to make sure that there is no matrimonial impediment to the marriage in England and Whales of men of all ranks serving in the Overseas Contingents. Every Clergyman therefore who is asked to publish the banns of marriage of such a bridegroom, whether Officer, Warrant Officer, No-Commissioned Officer, or Man, is requested to explain to the parties that before doing so he must receive the Certificate of the Officer in Charge of Military Records.

Australia
Officer in Charge of Records.
Telephone No. Victoria 8860.
Australian Army Headquarters,
130, Horseferry Road, S.W.1.

Canada
Officer in Charge of Records.
Telephone No. City 2691
Canadian Record Office
Green Arbour House, Old Bailey, E.C.

Newfoundland
Chief paymaster and Officer in Charge of Records.
Telephone No. Victoria147.
Newfoundland Army Contingent,
58, Victoria Street, S.W.1.

New Zealand
Officer in charge of Records
Telephone No. Museum 3360.
New Zealand Army Headquarters,
Southampton Row, W.C.1.

South Africa
Officer in Charge of Records
Telephone No. Victoria 4911.
South African Army Record Office,
65, Victoria Street, S.W.1.

Written on official paper stating the marital condition of the bridegroom as entered in the records. It is recognized that delay will be caused to those who wish to be married quickly. The certificate should be preserved.

This notice is issued in conjunction with the Military Authorities who are prepared to assist in this matter as and when the occasions arise. Similar instructions are being given to the Diocesan registrar with reference to the issue of marriage licences on behalf of such men.


List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s Forces

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list: Robert Whitworth, Albert Hannay, Freeman Holland.

In addition we commend the following to our prayers :

Died of Wounds or Illness: Edward Broad, Charles Cripps.

Wounded: Fred Brooker, Richard Embery.

Prisoner: Arthur Hosler.

Missing: Alfred Levens.


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

Influenza prevalent

The flu epidemic was starting to hit.

Datchet
1 July 1918

Only 190 present. Influenza prevalent.

White Waltham
July 1st 1918

Sergt Major London of Australian Expeditionary Force (Mrs Constable’s brother) visited the school this afternoon and spoke to the Mixed Group from 3.15 to 3.45 on “Children of Australia”. The children greatly enjoyed the talk.

Datchet National Mixed School log book (SCH30/8/3, p. 405); White Waltham CE School log book (D/P 142/28/3/2, p. 272)

“No wonder the Australians are No. 1 on the Hun blacklist”

Percy told sister Florence about a day off – visiting friends in the trenches.

June 17, 1918
My dear WF

I must have written you a pippy letter – a poor return for all you do for me. I’m sorry.

Many thanks for the splendid tinder lighter and the other items in the parcel. I think I must have left several pairs of socks at 27 Tattray Road, as I do not recognise those you have sent. You are quite right, it wasn’t eyelets but “the things you twist the laces round” I wanted.

I’m still here amongst the strange insects. Never have I seen such a variety of dragonflies, and just now a pair of very large gaudy yellow birds I can’t give a name to came & had a battle outside this bivouac.

Yesterday I had a rather hard but jolly holiday. I got up about 6 am, nightingales singing gloriously, had brekker, and started off up the line with my batman. Just as I started the Huns commenced to shell the village nearby I was going through, which I thought was very thoughtful of them as it gave me an opportunity to go by another route and avoid the place. After a couple of hours walk through charming scenery and peaceful valleys I arrived at my destination. I had only intended stopping an hour, but eventually stopped all day. To lunch so that I could first go round the trenches and see the boys. To tea so that I could play bridge with the CO. Walking across country, taking short cuts and dodging unhealthy places is awfully tiring so I slept gloriously last night and got up late.

Enclosed for John’s edification I send you a note from my rough diamond No. 6 [not found in the archive]. No wonder the Australians are No. 1 on the Hun blacklist.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/45-46)

Victory for Lloyd George, accused of making a mis-statement about man-power

Major General Sir Frederick Maurice made a controversial allegation that Parliament had been misled regarding the manning of the Western Front.

10 May 1918

Another officer here – Australian Captain Goudie – Artillery.

Victory for Lloyd George. Asquith’s motion about Sir F. Maurice’s letter defeated. He accused Lloyd George of making a mis-statement about man-power. Mesopotamian troops & Bonar Law’s statement about the interversion of the line not settled in Versailles Conference.


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

When will it end!!

The Australian Flying Corps was established in 1912. Lieutenant Keith Cecil Hodgson was born in 1892. He would survive the war.

1 May 1918

Young Australian FC officer came, Lt Hodgson. Very shy youth but pleasant…

When will it end!!

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

“Orders have a way of descending from the blue and we may get ours at any moment”

Percy Spencer anticipated his return to the Front would come at any minute. The battle of Bourlon Wood had occurred at the end of 1917. Captain Walter Stone won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his heroics.

21st (Res) Battalion London Regiment
G Lines
Chiseldon Camp
Nr Swindon

Feb 24. 1918

My dear WF

It seems ages since I wrote to or heard from you. So I’ve filled my pipe (my nicest & foulest one) with the fragrant Mr Fryers and sat myself down to write you a line.

My principal news is that I’m still here with no news of going. It occurs to me that the cadet course having been lengthened there should be a gap in home recruits which we may stay at home to fill for a few weeks. On the other hand orders have a way of descending from the blue and we may get ours at any moment, and incidentally a few days leave.

Did you read of the 47th at Bourlon Wood and the gallant fight put up by Capt. Stone & Lieut. Burgeery? The man next door to me was Capt. Stone’s CSM. I think he almost wishes he was with him, altho’ he would now be dead.

Well, I suppose we shall soon have another chance of doing real things, and none of us will be really sorry. Life here is frightfully destructive and only endurable by fighting for reforms. So far as I can see the main return a grateful country has obtained from me to date is the issue of overalls for mess orderlies.

We’re having pretty mixed weather. Thursday was glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed our route march – once away from the camp, the country is delicious.

I’ve had a letter from the red haired Australian (No. 6) and the cox; what’s happened to the rest, I don’t know.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/14-16)

A boastful Bosch killer

Percy Spencer told sister Florence about his current situation.

21st Battalion London Regiment
G Lines
Chiseldon Camp
Nr Swindon

Jan 20, 1918

My dear WF

Did I tell you I’m now in quarters – that is a narrow room with curtained window, carpeted floor and a stove. Well, I am, anyway, and feeling more dignified and comfortable, you’ll be glad to hear.
A large draft of our fellows have gone on embarkation leave today, and I just missed it by a few hours’ seniority so I expect to be here a little longer anyway. But I may not get quite such a nice long leave as they are having.

Yesterday I met two Australians (officers) who knew my No. 6 [in his rowing crew] very well and spoke very highly of him as a Bosch killer. He was a very boastful fellow, but sound enough and never bragged about his battle exploits, but apparently he has many scalps to his credit. So I think John ought to forgive his inclusion in my eight altho’ he was an Australian.

Did I tell you I fired a revolver course during the awful weather last week? Anyway I [censored] passed out a first class shot.

My application for leave has been turned down for the moment on grounds which have not applied to others. However, I’m old enough to be philosophical and shan’t worry if I can’t get my way.

I have asked Thrussell to send my boots here, thanks dear. Thanks too for … the wool and for the ammunition boots.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/7-8)

Invalided home from France

One of the Australian soldiers befriended by the Hallams would not be fighting any more.

18th January 1918
One of our Tasmanian friends came, P.Crane. He is invalided home from France.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)