The influence which temperance groups must exercise in preparing for after-the-war home life

Anti-alcohol campaigners wanted the wartime restrictions on pubs to act as a springboard for a new sober public life after the war.

The Church of England Temperance Society

On Thursday, June 21st, 1917, the Open-Air Meeting of the CETS was held on the Vicarage Lawn, the Vicar in the Chair. There was a fairly good attendance, about 150 adults and 70 children. The Maidenhead Band was present.

The Chairman presented the speaker, the Rev. B Long, Rector of Wokingham, whose speech was full of interest. Points to be remembered were: The importance of Temperance work in view of Government action, and possible changes in the management and sale of alcoholic drinks; the influence which CETS branches must exercise in preparing for after-the-war home life…

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

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Do the German hear our starlight singing in their distant trenches?

There was much news of soldiers from Maidenhead Congregational Church.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to report that Reginald Hill is so far improving, that he has been able to sit up a little each day. Thomas S. Russell has been called up, and is in training with the Motor Transport Section of the A.S.C. G.C. Frampton after about two hours drill was considered advanced enough for foreign service, and left England for France on May 18th. He is gone into Military Canteen work.

An interesting letter has come to hand from Sidney Eastman, which may justly be described as lengthy, for it is written upon a piece of paper some seven or eight feet long, and covers both sides. It is mostly occupied with a description of his travels and of the sights he has seen, and we are glad to gather that he is in good health and spirits.

G.C. Frampton has been unpatriotic enough to take German measles, and is in Hospital at Etaples. We hope to learn very shortly that he is quite well again.

Alfred Vardy, after a severe bout of pneumonia, caught on his way to the Front in France, is now at a Convalescent Camp in Thetford, gaining strength before returning to duty.

Wilfrid Collins is in hospital at Reading, suffering from heart weakness following upon a severe attack of “Trench fever.”

Reginald Hill has been out of bed for an hour, and is going on satisfactorily, though slowly.

Cyril Hews had a somewhat narrow escape recently. He was out with his motor-bicycle upon a French road during a thunderstorm, when the lightning struck a tree by the road-side, and a large branch fell upon the handlebars of the machine, providentially leaving the rider untouched.

Alfred Lane, after more than a year’s training in the Home Counties’ Engineers at Maidenhead, has been sent over with a draft to France.

Harry Baldwin, having attained the age of 18, and being called up, has elected to enter the Navy, and will probably enter a Training School.

One of our young men, who took an active part in the Messines victory, writes:

“Rather a good sight yesterday. I attended with my men a very large open-air drum-head Church Parade Service, as a sort of Thanksgiving Service for our recent great victory. A large number of Welshmen were present, and it really was great to hear these fellows sing “Aberystwith” and “St. Mary,” accompanied by a band.”

The papers, by the way, have been recently telling us that in all the Welsh regiments there are “glee parties,” who sing under the stars, until the Germans must hear and perhaps wonder, in their more or less distant trenches.

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

Cats bless food restrictions

John Maxwell Image wrote to his old friend W F Smith with news of how food rationing was affecting his household, including the pets cats, formerly fed on scraps and leftovers, but now treated to tasty offal not fit for human consumption. Lord Devonport was the Government Food Controller. More sadly, Rudolph Cecil Hutchinson, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, had been exceptionally severely wounded at the Battle of Loos back in 1915. After over a year’s suffering, he finally died in Cambridge in February 1917. He seems to have been generally known as Cecil. A memoir of him was published privately in 1918 and can be downloaded free.

29 Barton Road
13 Feb. ‘17

Praeclarissime EMY


The Signora … is away at a Newnham College concert, with a fair Marylander, youthful spouse of a Trinity MA, who on his part has been spirited off to scientific War Work at L’pool…

Well, as for Devonport, she accepted him enthusiastically. The hosue is put on rations of bread, meat and sugar – and so cannily that I can’t discover any difference. Helen and Ann, two excellent sisters, are devoted to their mistress’s will. Joe and Binnie bless Devonport all day, for, obviously, the house-meat cannot any longer be cast to the cats: so special supplied – I trust not 5 lb weekly – of lights and such like dainties come in for their use and behoof. Their little barrels bulge – and the 2 tails are rolling pins for size.

We have for many months baked our own bread – the best standard bread I ever ate! 12 lbs of flour produces a long loaf each day, which is bisected each morning, one half for the parlour and one for the kitchen. Helen, who is the surgeon, rigorously adheres to the Devonport law, and always I see some over on our table at night. The only difficulty is there being so very, very little flour for puddings. I don’t mind, and the petticoats don’t grouse….

We had a military funeral in Trinity this morning. A BA Lieut. There must have been over 100 troops – the coffin on a gun carriage, draped with the Union Jack. The first part of the service in Chapel at 11.45. And then the procession – band playing (very poorly) the Dead March went down Trin. St and Trin. Lane, through the Paddocks. Rudolph Cecil Hopkinson, Lieut. RE – died of wounds on Feb. 9th.

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

A real spirit of reverence: an army chaplain’s first Sunday at the Front

T Guy Rogers, former vicar of Reading St John, wrote back to his former parishioners to describe his new life as an army chaplain.

EXTRACT FROM A LETTER FROM Mr. ROGERS.

Dec. 6th

…My first Sunday at the front… I had several strenuous days trying to make arrangements, sometimes riding up and down a street or locality for about half an hour, trying to find a particular headquarters, or officer. My job was to arrange services for all units of the Division (as far as was humanly possible!) – quartered in my particular neighbourhood- the place where the dressing station is. That meant not only for my own Brigade (such part of it as would be out of the trenches) but engineering sections, pioneers, machine gunners, artillery and anything in the way of Divisional troops round me. No one seems to have had the job before, as the Guards have only recently come here. At any rate I was left to sink or swim. However, all my arrangements came through and I had a successful Sunday…

I started off at 8 a.m., with my servant, both walking, carrying communion bag, robes, hymn-books for the congregation etc. After about 20 minutes we reached a big barn, in the loft of which I was to take a parade service, followed by a celebration for a company of Engineers. When I arrived, men were sleeping and dressing, hanging up their clothes and sitting by the braziers making their breakfasts.
It was really rather an awful moment, but we soon got a fatigue party to sweep up the place. I got some forms, rather dirty I’m afraid, and fenced them round a rough table for communion rails; put on a white tablecloth and got ready. The bunks were pushed well back and we got a clear space, though rather a wet one, in the centre. Then the officers came in and we had a very happy little parade service of about 30 or 40. Everybody stood all the time. Of course we had no instrument but some of the men started some of the well known hymns. This was service number one. Then I took a short form of celebration for about 7 or 8. The surroundings were very odd, but there was a real spirit of reverence. (more…)

A year of horrors unimaginable, and the end not in sight

Across the county, the first anniversary of the declaration of war was solemnly commemorated with religious services.

At Mortimer West End, the services were dominated by the loss of two of its men who had given their lives.

Wednesday, August 4th, was the anniversary of the declaration of war by England, and we held a well-attended service in the evening of that day to pray about the past and the future. The service began with a Memorial for those who had fallen, remembering especially Captain Stephen Field, R.A.M.C., and Frank Goodchild, who went down on the “Good Hope.” Then we joined in intercession for our Rulers, our Army and Navy, and our Allies, the wounded and those tending them, and made an act of penitence for our national sins and shortcomings. The family of the late Captain Field has put up a memorial brass in the church bearing the following inscription:

“In loving memory of Captain Stephen Field, R.A.M.C., who died a prisoner in Germany, April 10th, 1915, aged 34. He was taken prisoner in the retreat from Mons while tending the wounded in a church. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The later news which has come shows that the text was true of Captain Field up to the very last, as he laid down his life attending to typhus patients in camp in the midst of appalling conditions.

If any parents should be summoned to France to see a son dangerously wounded (which God grant may not occur) will they communicate at once with the Vicar, who will put them in touch with an organization which will make things easier for them?

At Stratfield Mortimer:
August 4th
The anniversary of the outbreak of war was observed by large congregations at all the services, 7.45 a.m., 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. There was no preaching, only hymns and prayers, but there was impressive evidence of a deep reality and earnestness. And this we hope to see maintained at the two week-day war services throughout the autumn. We should like to see at these weekly services more of parents and friends of Mortimer men who are now at the Front.

All Saints’, Dedworth, reported:

August 4th, the anniversary of the Declaration of War, was kept as a day of solemn Intercession. There was, as far as possible, continual Intercession throughout the day, and Services at different hours. We were glad to see so many were able to take their part at sometime of the day. We hope these days help to make us realize the tremendous need there is for all to intercede humbly every day to God for our nation, our friends, and our foes.

Nonconformists took part as well as Anglicans. Maidenhead Congregational Church announced the town’s nonconformists’ contributions to the day:

A YEAR OF WAR!
It is a whole year since the world’s peace was broken up, and horrors unimaginable before have become our daily meat. And the end is not yet in sight. There are those who prophesy that the end will be as sudden and unexpected as the beginning, and that Christmas will see us settled down once more in ways of peace. Whatever happens, we are convinced that the Allies will not lay down their arms until their warfare is accomplished, and they have lost no jot of their conviction that their chivalrous and Christian struggle on behalf of a great cause will be crowned with a complete and satisfying victory. But it may be that vast sacrifices lie before us, and for those we shall need more and more the continual succours of grace of God. Fortitude must be fed and supported by faith.

We urge upon all our friends the duty of earnest and constant prayer. We ought to pray in private as well as in public services, that our soldiers and generals may be strong, and our rulers wise. We ought to pray for the Church, that it may be rich in counsel, and that it may guide the people to a more solemn faith in God. And we shall need to pray for ourselves, that our faith may not fail, however great the burdens may be that it may be called upon to carry.

A united meeting of the Free Churches of the town for Thanksgiving and Intercession has been arranged to be held in the Congregational Church on Wednesday, August 4th, the Anniversary of the outbreak of war, at 7.30 p.m. Rev. G. Ellis (the new Primitive Methodist Minister) will preside, and a brief address will be given by the Rev. G. D. Mason. We hope the faith and gratitude of Maidenhead Nonconformists will suffice to bring them together in large numbers, and that we shall renew and enlarge our trust in a ruling and guiding Will. Let us not dwell too much on the past, but let us think of our duty now, and let us set our hearts right before Him. When the nation is on its knees, the victory will arrive.

The minister of Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading, whose instincts were opposed to war in general, was less thrilled by the commemorations, although he allowed his congregation to take part in the town’s services.

Wednesday August 4th will see the first anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. War is not a thing that we rejoice in. Rather do we deplore the necessity for such a dire calamity. But we are in it – righteously, as we believe – and, God helping us, we are determined to see it through to a victorious conclusion. That is the thought that is animating the vast majority of our countrymen at this time, and a demonstration to give it expression on August 4th is now being organised by the Mayor…

Personally I cannot say that I am enamoured of processions and demonstrations at such a time as this; but that is neither here nor there. The thing I do rejoice in is that the religious element is to be prominent in the proceedings, and I hope my friends will help to make it and keep it so. In this connection I desire to draw attention to the United Service (arranged by the Executive Committee of the Free Church Council) which is to be held in our church that day at 5 p.m. Several of the Free Church ministers of the town will take part, and our organist and choir have promised their help. I trust we may see the church crowded for that service.

St John’s Church in Reading reported its own services and the interdenominational town ones:

Wednesday, August 4th, the anniversary of the Declaration of War, was observed among us principally as an occasion for earnest intercession. We began the day with a Celebration of Holy Communion at 5.30 a.m., at which there were 31 communicants, most of whom were on their way to work. At 10.30 a.m. we had a second Celebration, with an address by the Vicar. The hour of this service was fixed with a view to giving mothers an opportunity to come and pray for their sons at the Lord’s own service, and the number that came shewed how greatly they valued the opportunity. It was indeed a wonderful service, and will live long in the memories of those privileged to take part in it.

Later in the day, after Evensong in St Laurence’s Church, attended by the Mayor and Corporation, there was a great procession, in which all the public bodies in the town were represented, ending up with a demonstration in the Market Place, at which, after a short religious service, stirring addresses were delivered by Bishop Boyd-Carpenter and the Lord Chief Justice. St John’s Church was open from 8.30 onwards, and we ended the day with Family Prayers in Church, at which a large number of worshippers were present, thus ending the day as we had begun it – in prayer.

Churches in the Winkfield area also commemorated the anniversary of the war’s start.

ASCOT

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4th, the Anniversary of the Declaration of War, was observed in our Church, as in almost every Church throughout the land, as a day of Intercession before Almighty God in the spirit of deep penitence and true humility. We are thankful to be able to say that the chain of intercession was never allowed to be broken throughout the whole day. The great service of intercession, the Holy Eucharist, was offered at 8 a.m. and at 10.30 a.m.; and some of the grand old Offices of the Church were said: Sext, None, and Compline. The large attendance at all the services was something to be thankful for. It proved that our people have a sincere belief in the power of intercessory prayer and are willing to make an effort to do at least this much for our soldiers and sailors. But it also proved that mane more might, by a little sacrifice in the re-arrangement of their time, attend the Intercession Service which is held every Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. “Orare est laborare” – “to pray is to work,” and intercession for our men is a very important work in which we can all do our share, if we will.

CRANBOURNE

We were very unfortunate as regards the weather in our open air services of Intercession, four of them had to be abandoned owing to the rain. The Intercessions Services on the Anniversary of the Declaration of War were very well attended.

WINKFIELD

The special Services on August 4th were well attended, especially in the evening when we had a full Church; and the congregations were also large on the Sunday following. The anthem, “Lord for thy tender mercies sake,” being well rendered on both morning and evening.

Our thanks are due to the members of the C.E.M.S., who distributed notices of these services, which work was especially valuable in view of the notices in the Magazine being somewhat belated owing to its late issue this month.

Second Lieutenant Wilfred Loyd has just gone to the Front and will we trust be remembered in our prayers.

We are glad to be able to add two more names, Jack Dear and James Winnen to the list of Winkfield men serving, which was printed last month.

We regret to learn that Private R. Nickless has been wounded after having been at the Front only a few days. He has undergone an operation as is now progressing favourably.

The Vicar has sent a copy of the August Magazine to every man whose name is on the list published in that number.

WARFIELD

WAR ANNIVERSARY.- On August 4th there were two early celebrations of Holy Communion at 6.30 and 8, and though a week-day there were thirty communicants. The best attended service however was the open-air service held at Newell Green at 7 p.m. The Choir vested at the Brownlow Hall and preceded by the Processional Cross and followed by the Warfield Scouts made their way to the Cross Roads, where the service was begun by the singing of the National Anthem, followed by a short address by the Vicar on penitence and prayer, after which the hymn “Lord teach us how to pray aright,” was sung; prayers were offered for every Warfield belligerent by name.

The Vicar then asked all present to come up to the Church and to walk in couples and maintain strict silence while Church Litany was recited in procession. Just before reaching the Church the old Hundredth was sung; the service in Church was that sanctioned for use on the first Sunday in the year. The congregation which came in the procession numbered about three hundred. We thank God for His good hand upon us and for the great number whose hearts were touched and whose lips were opened on this solemn day.

The vicar of Warfield planned an open air service to commemorate the first anniversary of the war’s start.

THE VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

Wednesday, August 4th, ought to be a very solemn day for all of us this year, being as you know the Anniversary of the Declaration of War. A great example is being set to us all on that day by our King and Queen Mary by their intention to be present at a solemn Service of Intercession in St. Paul’s Cathedral at noon. What are we going to do? Let the King be represented by all his subjects in Warfield, and St. Paul’s represented by our own Parish Church. The hour of noon be substituted by 7 p.m. Let us have a united open-air service at the Crossways at Newell Green. The National Anthem will be sung, a short address will be given. All our village soldiers will be prayed for by name. The Litany will be recited on our way to Church, where the service will conclude with the special service used on the first Sunday of this year. The Holy Communion will be celebrated that morning at 6.30 and 8.

Anyone who is absent on such an evening I should feel was ashamed of his country, and deserved no blessing from God. Let us all be united about it, and come not in tens but in hundreds and not be afraid to confess the mighty working of God in our midst. This can be done and I want you all to say that it must be done. Let us confess our God and cry mightily to Him. I ask every parishioner to do his or her utmost to bring their neighbours. London has set us all an example, let the country do her part, and may God lift up your hearts to seek His great and abundant blessings in the coming year.

Yours affectionately in Christ,
WALTER THACKERAY.

More privately, the Community of St John Baptist held its own services at the House of Mercy, Clewer.

4 August 1915
Anniversary of our declaration of war with Germany. The Penitents were present at the 7 a.m. Eucharist. War Litany was said by one of the priests at 12; & at Evensong there were special prayers, hymns, & the National Anthem.

Florence Vansittart Neale went with a friend to attend the big national service at St Paul’s.

4 August 1915
Up by early train with Mary Hine to London for the service at St Paul’s! 1st year of war over! Long wait. Nice service. Artillery band. Royalties there. Over by 1. We missed 2 o’clock train so had lunch, came down 3.45. Church after.

Bubs’ men had motor drive & tea at Henley.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P120/28A/14); Clewer parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P39/28A/9); Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, August 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5); Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, August 1915 (D/N11/12/1/14); Reading St John parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P172/28A/24); Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8); CSJB Annals (D/EX1675/1/14/5); Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Florence Vansittart Neale attended an open-air service in London in support of the war. The Bishop of London preached an inspiring sermon on the soul of the nation. But there was worrying news about a nephew of Florence’s husband Henry.

25 July 1915

Service outside St Paul’s. Bishop. Troops – [illegible] bands.

Heard Lionel Dickinson wounded in Dardanelles.

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

Coffee and biscuits

The Earley branch of the Church of England Men’s Society was at the forefront of attempts to entertain locally billeted soldiers.

C.E.M.S.

Men’s services are not being held during July and August, but will recommence on September 12th. Two more concerts have been given to the members of the Army Service Corps stationed in Earley. The Hall is nearly full of soldiers at every concert and there is no doubt that these entertainments are much appreciated. The Army Service Corps has provided a band, which did capital service at the concert on July 22nd. Lack of funds has made it necessary to limit the refreshments to coffee and biscuits, and even then it was necessary to obtain a continuation of the support hitherto so generously afforded if these concerts are to be continued. It is hoped to hold one every fortnight. Donations should be sent to Mr. H. W. Keep, 7, Melrose Avenue, who is acting as Treasurer to the Soldiers’ Entertainments’ Fund.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P191/28A/22)

Last post for a Thatcham man

Not all those who died for their country did so on active service. Heart failure claimed one Thatcham father, who was rewarded with a full scale military funeral.

Military Funeral.

It is doubtful how long ago it may have been, if ever, that the honour of a Military Funeral at his own home, has been granted to an inhabitant of Thatcham, and certainly not within living memory. This honour was however accorded to George Hawkins, on June 8th, when his body was conveyed from Southampton by a company of his own regiment and interred in the Cemetery. He died rather suddenly while on duty at the Rest Camp, Southampton, serving his country as truly as those who have died in France at the hands of our foes, and after having himself offered to go to the front whenever his services were required. George Hawkins was probably one of the best known and popular among his contemporaries of Thatcham men, and the honour accorded him by the Military Authorities shows that they had not incorrectly estimated his character. His early but honourable death, from some form of heart disease, came as a surprise to most of them, though some of his friends appear to have known something of this constitutional weakness. Very impressive was the march of the soldiers, accompanied by the solemn sound of the Drums and Fifes from his home to the Church and thence to the Cemetery. At the Church all the members of the choir who could be there, were in attendance, and added what they could to the solemnity of the Burial Service by rendering it chorally. At the graveside the firing party at the close of the Service gave the customary farewell salute, and with the sounding of the “Last Post” all that could be done to show respect to an honourable soldier’s career was over. He leaves behind him a widow and three young children for whom much sympathy is felt, and the honour and respect shown to the Husband and Father will doubtless remain to them as a cherished memory and help them face more bravely whatever hardships and trials may be before them.

Thatcham parish magazine, July 1915 (D/P130/28A/1)

The “fun city”

Ascot was affected by the war in various ways: hosting a big hospital, losing teachers to the armed forces, and so on. A couple of the men who had joined up wrote home with their impressions of life at the front:

THE MILITARY HOSPITAL is closed for the present for the purpose of carrying out some necessary alterations. We have sustained a great loss in the death of Miss Blackburn, the Commandant of the Ascot Voluntary Aid Detachment, and of the Hospital. Her absolute unselfishness and devotion to her work endeared her to all who had the privilege of knowing her.

ASCOT SCHOOL.
MR.B.G.GIBBONS, Assistant Manager in the Boys’ School, has volunteered for Military Service. He will be much missed in the Church Choir, as well as at the Schools. His post will be kept open for him: and we shall welcome him back, if all is well, when the war is over.

THE WAR is at its height. It is difficult to turn our thoughts to anything else. Our faith in the justice of our cause, and our humble confidence that GOD will further the efforts of those who are fighting not for personal gain but for the Christian ideal of righteousness and honourable dealing, make us as sanguine as to the ultimate issue. But, in the meanwhile, the strain is terrible. Not only our deep recognition of the magnificent self-sacrifice and courage of our navy and army, but our prayers on their behalf, must increase more and more in their earnestness every day. On Wednesdays at 8 p.m., as well as on Sundays, special intercessions are offered in the All Saints Church.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.- Nearly 180 names are entered upon our All Saints Roll. The following extracts from letters to the Rector will be read with interest.

(i) From Lance-Corp. ARTHUR T. N. JONES.

At present we are billeted at a farm, and sleep in a barn about 60 N.C.O.s and men. Things of course are a little more rough and ready out here… We find the pack rather more trying now that we carry everything, including “Emergency Ration”: but we are very fit on the whole, and one feels far more at home with things after the first few days.

(ii) From Pte. AUGUSTUS T.TURNER.

It was about 6 p.m. on March 9th that the first half of our Battalion said au revoir to England. I shall never forget just those few moments. It was glorious, yet a very sad time. We lined the side of the boat facing the landing stage, and shouted “good bye” to the others on shore. To add to the impressiveness of the departure, our pipers played us away with “Auld Lang Syne” “The wearin’ o’ the green,” and other Irish airs. Those were glorious moments and in fact made one feel throaty…

On April 8th we first marched up to the “fun city.” While on the march and near our destination, shells began to whistle over our heads, just as a greeting I suppose… We seemed to go through miles and miles of trench before arriving in the firing line. The first half day was very quiet, excepting for the continual whiz of shells. You really would be astounded to see what trench life is like. It is almost as safe in a dug-out as you are in England. Of course, one has to chance a shell coming there, but rifle shots have no possibility of hitting you. The place where we were was a very important front, and seemed impregnable. The huge solid parapets of earth sand bags, the dug-outs, and trench itself, are marvellous.

***We have no more space for further extracts in the May Magazine from this most graphic and admirably written letter of our Ascot “lad” Gus Turner (if we may still call him so). But we will quote further from his letter in the Magazine for June. He tells about a German star-shell and its effect upon himself. And he tells of the Holy Communion celebrated early on Sunday mornings on the stage of a modern theatre. But you must wait till the June Magazine.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magzine, May 1916 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

A united shout for St George and Merry England

The Warden of the Community of St John Baptist, a clergyman who advised the Sisterhood at Clewer, suggested that 23 April, the feast day of St George, the patron saint of England, should form a new focus for patriotic prayers in support of the war effort.

23 April 1915
By the Warden’s desire, and in accordance with the wish of the Visitor [the Bishop of Oxford], St George’s Day would be specially observed as a Day of Prayer for our country…

There was a choral celebration of the Holy Eucharist, with special Collect, Epistle & Gospel appointed by the Visitor, at 8.30. A chain of Intercessory Prayer was kept up from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the “Special Litany” for the war was said at midday.

St George’s Day was celebrated by churchgoers in Warfield with the local Boy Scouts.

ST. GEORGE FOR MERRY ENGLAND.

At the request of the Bishop of the Diocese the Feast of St. George was kept with special honour. A special Collect, Epistle and Gospel were provided, and at Warfield there were two early celebrations at 7 and 8, and in the afternoon there was a meeting of the Mothers’ Union at 3, when the Vicar gave an address on the hero saint. In the evening there was a massed gathering of the Scouts from Bracknell, Chavey Down, Easthampstead, together with our own, who assembled in Bracknell and marched with two bands, one bugle and drum, the other fife and drum, to the Brownlow Hall, where they were met by the Vicar who gave them an address on St. George and the dragon. The meeting ended with a united shout for St George and Merry England.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist (D/EX1675/1/14/5); Warfield section of Winkfield District Magzine, May 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

Farewell to the Royal Engineers, champions of manliness

Wargrave gave a warm welcome to the troops billeted in the parish, and were sorry to see them moving on. The affection was returned, with the Royal Engineers donating a cup for “manliness” and other good qualities for a boy at the Piggott Schools.

The Royal Engineers
All Parishioners of Wargrave were sorry to say goodbye to the Officers and Men of the 83rd and 84th Companies of the Royal Engineers when they marched away on Monday, February 22nd, to the strains of their new band.

They did a great deal, during the two weeks of their visit, to establish a very close relationship between us. First there was the concert which they arranged for the benefit of the District Nurse Association and which resulted in the contributions of six guineas. Then there was the Treat for the children; an amusing entertainment played to a liberal accompaniment of buns and sweets, with a toy for every child at the end. Lastly, there was a Sacred Concert on their last Sunday with a collection for the Organ Fund amounting to £2. 11s. 6d. But the most touching act of kindness was the gift of a Silver Challenge Cup to the School explained by the following record:-

THE ROYAL ENGINEERS’ CHALLENGE CUP,
83rd and 84th. Companies

This cup is presented to the Wargrave Piggott Schools, to be held in trust by the Managers of the aforesaid Schools.

It is a mark of appreciation, from the Officers and Men of the 83rd and 84th Companies of the Royal Engineers, for the hearty way they were received during their training for active service in the Great War in 1915.

It shall be held yearly, for one year only, by the best boy in the Schools.

The method of awarding the cup shall be in regard to:
1st: CONDUCT; 2nd: KNOWLEDGE; 3rd: MANLINESS; 4th: SPORTS

Half Marks to be given by the Headmaster, and half Marks by vote of the boys themselves.

Signed on behalf of the Donors:
E. R. Kenyon,
Colonel,
C. R. E., 20th Division
February 13, 1915.
God save the King.

After all these acts of kindness it is pleasant to think that the concert arranged for the benefit of their new band was a thorough success in every way, and that they were enabled to get their instruments in time for Wargrave to hear them. We trust that they may be played in triumph after glorious victories.

We are now happy to welcome the 89th Company and hope that their stay in Wargrave may be a pleasant one.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

The Buffs brighten up Bracknell

The 5th battalion of the “Buffs” (the nickname for the East Kent Regiment) was a Territorial Army unit.

The 5th Buffs have been billeted for three weeks in Bracknell, Easthampstead and Binfield. They arrived on January 6th, and expect to move away on the 28th. It is pleasant to be able to say that their departure will be views with universal regret by the people of Bracknell. We have been brightened up by their visit and interested in what we have seen of their work. On each Sunday there has been a Church parade at 9.45, and afterwards the men, headed by their excellent band, have marched around the town. A good many of the men have also attended the Sunday evening Service, and a few have been singing in choir. The Victoria Hall has been open every day as a Soldiers’ Club and Recreation Room where the Soldiers could sit and read papers and play games. On Saturday, January 23rd, a short entertainment was arranged. Mrs. Arthur Lawrence recited and Mrs. Cowman and Miss M. Lawrence sang, and the Band, and Bandsman Head, a most excellent singer, helped to make up the programme. An entertainment, kindly provided by Mrs. Sheppee, on Tuesday and Wednesday night, will complete the work for the Buffs. The Workmen’s Club has also been thrown open for the use of the soldiers and has been much appreciated. A large number of stewards have attended every night at the Victoria Hall and done their best to make the soldiers comfortable.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/2)

A crowded church parade

Florence Vansittart Neale found the morning service at Bisham Church full with people involved with the war effort.

27 September 1914

Early church – Church parade – Nat. Reserve, nurses, men’s VAD, Scouts and Guides, band. Church crowded.

Harold accepted Naval Brigade.

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

Rule Britannia! Patriotic singing in London and Bisham

The Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist, an Anglican convent in Clewer, near Windsor, also noticed the start of the war. The Mother Superior had been visiting one of the Sisters at the daughter house in London, and witnessed the reaction of the city crowds:

5 August 1914
Mother returned in the afternoon. She said London was awake all night, crowds orderly but singing “Rule Britannia” & “God Save the King”.

Our 2 horses were requisitioned for the war, but were returned as being unsuitable.

One of the Sisters in London was Constance Vansittart Neale, whoses sister-in-law Florence is one of the voices we will hear from most regularly. Florence too witnessed patriotic singing on 5 August 1914, at the village flower show in Bisham:

Our flower show… Fairly good show, sports good. People seemed fairly happy. Nice little service in tent. Band played the hymns & National Anthem. Patriotic music.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5); diary of Florence Vansitart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)