Really British cheers

Wounded soldiers were entertained at a Tilehurst church.

The members of the choir entertained thirty-one soldiers from No 1 War Hospital on Wednesday, March 14th, in the Schoolroom. Decorations and furniture transformed the room into a drawing room, where games and frolic of varied kinds were enjoyed from 2.30 to 7.

Some of the guests themselves assisted in the work of providing amusement, and their items of singing and recitation were highly appreciated by the hosts and hostesses.

Tea was served by the soldiers, the choristers also having their meal with them and enjoying it all the more for having made personal contributions therefor.

The choirmaster (Mr Ball) welcomed the party on behalf of the choir, and the military men responded on leaving by really “British” cheers.

Several kind friends generously placed their traps at our disposal, and to them our gratitude is expressed. The task of conveying wounded soldiers grows more difficult each time.

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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“The Huns ran from the tanks like hares”

John Maxwell Image wrote to a friend with his latest thoughts, and passing on brother-in-law Percy Spencer’s impressions.

29 Barton Road
Tuesday 10 Oct ‘16

My Very Dear Old Man

I quite understand, and share with you, the absorbing interest of the daily War News. Nothing else matters, now-a-days. What do you make of this morning’s news of the U boat blockade of the United States coast? If America really shuts them out from supplies in her ports, it must be over in a month or so – and if it succeeds, the exasperation of the Yanks’ commerce must kick Wilson into activity. Anyhow it is a risky move for Germany on the brink of a Presidential election. Therefore I should judge it a sop to soothe German home politics – now that things are growing so disastrous on the Somme.

I went last Friday to see the German “Albatross” (captured by us on 15 October last year) which the WO has presented to the University. It is said to be a fine specimen, tho’ the class has been cut out since. I was very little impressed. For one thing it was so much smaller than I expected – a snout nosed, biplane, 2 seater.

We have had 2 Zepp raids since my last letter. I slept peacefully through both. In the latter of the two the Zepp dropped a starshell on Grantchester: and then passed over Barton Road, probably over our own garden, for Prof. Stanley Gardiner (opposite us) heard its drone, and turning over in bed said to his wife, “the raid is over – there are the trains running again”. We were at tea in his lovely house and garden yesterday when he told me this…

Brandon, one of the two airmen who got DSO for bringing down the flaming Zepp was at Trinity Hall.

A Tank passed through Camb[ridge] on Friday. The Signora got an amusing letter from one of her brothers at the Front, last Saturday, in which he says of the Tanks, “they are very funny, but the boundless faith in them of the folks at home is even funnier. On the day when they were first used, the Huns ran from them like hares – this, although they were aware of their advent” (clearly, nothing can be kept from the Hun spy). Two are known to have got in once to the place near Thetford where the Tanks were secretly built. To go on with Percy Spencer: “One of these contraptions was observed going through the main street of a captured village with our boys riding all over her and hanging on the back.” His chief praise, however, is for our Aeroplanes. “In the air, the Hun is a nonentity – and he owns it every day” – and I remember how, when he first went out, he used to laugh and vow that he had seen hundreds shot at, but never one brought down!

These submarine brutes, who torpedo ships without warning! Did you notice that the first question asked by the Submarine at Newport was for the Bremen? Why, his Government, weeks ago, published to the world the safe arrival of the Bremen in America. Does he presume to disbelieve his own Government? The Americans honestly know nothing of her, but we in England for some time past have heard it whispered that she is safe at Falmouth. The Falmouth watch for U boats is very strict, and has been (so they boast) inordinately successful. A lady who came back a few weeks ago from a holiday, recounted to me how she was one afternoon walking by the shore when a destroyer tore past her in furious haste, all the funnels vomiting columns of black smoke. No sooner as she past Pendennis Point than the firing began. It died away – and presently, soberly and slowly, the destroyer came back, another destroyer keeping pace, and between them – the German submarine. What wouldn’t I have given for that sight.

I am told – by Ball, so it is likely to be correct – that Trinity expects this term 47 men of all years, including BAs!

The Fellowship dinner was for tonight. It is postponed till Thursday – after the funerals of Keith Lucas (killed from an aeroplane) nd poor Alfred Humphry. He is buried today at Thaxted…

Our most affectionate wishes to you both.
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Toys for Belgian children

Eastbury children spent some of their time making toys for Belgian refugees of their own age. The head teacher of Eastbury Church of England School recorded in the school log book, on 27 November 1914:

Mrs Fosbery visited on 25th also 26th accompanied by Mrs Ball of Donnington who came to see the toys made by our children to give to Belgian refugee children for Christmas.

Eastbury C.E. Primary, Lambourn: log book (D/P79B/28/2, p. 308)

Soldiers of Jesus join up in Tilehurst

Tilehurst Congregational Church was small, but proud to report in the magazine published by its sister church in Reading that they had sent five young men to the army:

TILEHURST
Our church and Sunday School has, we are proud to say, contributed its quota of young men to the Army at the call of King and Country, and the five whose names we give below will, by the grace of God, we feel sure prove to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ as well as brave and true soldiers of the British Army.

Chas Wm Ball
Norman Cane
Albert J. D. Pounds
Herbert Thompson
Leonard Williams

Reading Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, October 1914 (D/N11/12/1/14)