“I know that the Mothers will take these restrictions in the right spirit”

One Reading parish offered war savings certificates in lieu of food at the Sunday School treat.

The Vicar’s Notes

This year, in accordance with directions of the food controller, there will be no tea in connection with our Sunday School treat; but to make up for this, it is proposed to give every child a 6d. War Stamp. So I hope all parishioners will give a warm welcome to our collectors when they come round for contributions. Wednesdays the 25th (St James’ Day) has been suggested as the probable date for the treat; and the schools in each district of the parish will arrange separately for sports to be held on any grounds that may be conveniently close by. There will be no joint gathering or procession of the children. I am sorry too that the Mother’s Meeting’s teas will have to be suspended this year throughout the Parish; but I know that the Mothers will take these restrictions in the right spirit.

Intercessions

Our wounded especially Roy Russell (now in hospital at Lincoln). Arthur Russell (just wounded in France).
For prisoners, especially Charles Mercott (one of our servers, now a prisoner of war in Germany).
For the fallen, especially John Middleton-Cross (killed instantly in action in Belgium on June 7th)
R.I.P.

Thanksgiving
For the recovery of Ian Dunbar Dickson (wounded near Salonika).

Reading St Mary parish magazine, July1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

May the memorial may be worthy of those commemorated

Future US President Herbert Hoover led efforts to help starving civilians in wartorn Belgium, allowing the people of Mortimer to concentrate on their war memorial.

War Working Party

It is hoped to start work again at S. John’s Hall on Thursday, September 6th. In the meantime all kinds of woollies are wanted to be ready for August delivery. Pyjamas are wanted, also sun shields and mosquito nets. If workers will kindly send a post card to Mrs. Alfred Palmer, to say what they will undertake to do, materials shall be sent to Mrs. Thorp, The Street, where they can be called for.

Belgian Relief Fund

Now that the United States have made themselves responsible for the relief of the people in Belgium our local fund is closed. In the nineteen months that we have been collecting we have raised £90 3s. 3d. It was decided at our last parish meeting that the monthly collection should continue and that the proceeds in future should be devoted to our parish War Memorial. It is hoped that those who have given so liberally in the past will continue their generosity in order that the Memorial may be worthy of those commemorated.

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

We shall never regret complying with the new restrictions

The new food restrictions were a worry in Cookham Dean, especially for the poorer who were already struggling.

The Vicar’s Letter

I expect we are all, more or less, feeling worried about the Food Regulations, not that we do not wish to do all we can do to support the Government’s arrangements at such a crisis, but the difficulty is, how to do it. In households where, as is the case with so many of you, there is never too great a supply of food, it must be most anxious work to know how best to carry out the regulations.

Let us try loyally and conscientiously to do our best: after all what is the inconvenience that we have to put up with compared with what our Allies in Belgium, France, Serbia and Roumania [sic] have had to suffer. If, as we are assured over and over again by those in authority, it is one of the ways that we can each one do our best to assure ourselves and our Allies of Victory, for which we long and pray, let us do our part as cheerfully and uncomplainingly as our brave men in their trenches and in the North Sea are doing theirs. We shall never, never regret it.

Notices

The week-day collections during Lent (apart from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) will be given to the National Institute for the Blind, which is doing so much at the present time for those of our wounded soldiers who have alas lost their sight.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

The Christmas Dinner Table Collection for Belgian children

The Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine issued an appeal to families to make a Christmas dinner collection for the benefit of children in wartorn Belgium.

December 1916
An Appeal is being made for Belgian children. An envelope will be left at every house. Will you pass it round at your Xmas dinner.

January 1917, p.49 “Belgian Children Relief Fund.- The Christmas Dinner Table Collection amounted to £12 5s. The distribution and collection of the envelopes in the Parish was undertaken and carried out by the ‘Wolf Cubs,’ and we are glad that their efforts were so successful.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 and January 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Funds are urgently needed to reinstate the farmers who have been entirely ruined in the countries of our Allies, Belgium, France, Serbia, Poland, &c

Vast swathes of farmland in the contested territories had been ravaged by the fighting. Berkshire farmers, safe at home, wanted to help out.

BRACKNELL

It is announced that an Agricultural Jumble Sale will be held at Bracknell on October 19th, at 11 a.m., in aid of the Agricultural Relief to Allies Fund and the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund. Contributions of Live and Dead Stock, Furniture, &c. should be notified to the Hon. Secretaries, Messrs. F.W. Hunton & Son, and donations can be paid to them or to P. Crutchley, Esq., Ascot, the Treasurer.

CRANBOURNE

We have been asked to mention that an Agricultural Jumble Sale will be held at Bracknell on October 19th, at 11 a.m., in aid of the “Agricultural Relief to Allies Fund” and the “British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund.” We believe a letter stating the objects of the Fund has been widely distributed, so we need say nothing more than express the hope that contributions any kind of Live and Dead Stock, articles of Furniture, &c will be made by members of the Parish.

These contributions should be notified to Messrs. F.W. Hunton & Son, the Hon. Secretaries, Bracknell, and donations of money may be paid to A.H.S. Elliott, Esq., N. Fitzroy, Esq., or Mr. F. W. Bowyer, who form the Winkfield Committee.

WINKFIELD

NOTICE.

Agricultural Relief to Allies Fund and the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund.-

We are asked to let our readers know that the Agricultural Jumble Sale in aid of the above, will be held at Bracknell on October 19th, at 11 a.m. The Committee, under the Chairmanship of Lord George Pratt, appeal for help to make the sale a success, by the sending of any kind of Live and Dead Stock, articles of furniture, &c. to be sold.

Funds are urgently needed to reinstate the farmers who have been entirely ruined in the countries of our Allies, Belgium, France, Serbia, Poland, &c, and also to help the Red Cross Society, which has been doing such noble work during the war.

It is proposed to print in the Catalogue the name of each donor, afterwards advising him what his gift realised. The local Committee for Winkfield are Messrs. A.H.S. Elliott, N. Fitzroy, and F. W. Bowyer, who will furnish any further information required.

WARFIELD

It is proposed to hold an Agricultural Jumble Sale at Bracknell on October 19th, at 11 a.m., in aid of the Agricultural Relief to Allies Fund and the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund. All articles of furniture etc. Live and Dead Stock or donations will be acceptable and all donations can be paid to Mr. R. Crow, Mr. H. Crocker, Mr. R. Lawrence, or Mr. Smewing. Other contributions in kind should be notified to Messrs. F.W. Hunton & Son, Bracknell.

Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

Goodbye to our first guests from Belgium

There was sad news of Warfield soldiers as some of the village’s refugees moved on.

We are very sorry to have to record the deaths on the field of battle of Herbert Gregory and Alfred Reeves, and convey our deepest sympathy to their relatives and friends.

We bid good-bye to M. Madame and Henri Taes, who were amongst our first guests from Belgium. They have gone to a Belgian settlement called Elizabethville, near Newcastle upon Tyne. On account of Henri van der Voordt being at the Maidenhead Sanatorium, his parents departure for the same place has been postponed for the present.


Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/9)

Anxious to feed the starving children of Belgium

Generous Abingdon 5-7 year olds were keen to offer up their school prizes to help hungry children in wartorn Belgium.

3rd July 1916

The County Council are not providing any prizes this year owing to the war. They give certificates instead – and have granted us 19.
The school managers, however, are making their customary gifts of prize money to the school. An appeal having been made to school on behalf of the starving children of Belgium. We spoke of this to our pupils today, and many of them appeared to be not only willing but anxious to give the prize money to the poor Belgians. A vote was taken later in the morning. It resulted in an almost unanimous wish to dispose of the money in this way – so we shall forward 10/- to the fund for starving Belgian children on July 10th (the day chosen by the appeal committee).

Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School log book (C/EL4/2, p. 157)

A terrible price – are we worth it?

Eric Guy Sutton, a member of the wealthy family which owned Sutton’s Seeds, Reading’s iconic horticultural business, had joined up soon after the start of the war. He was awarded the Military Cross a year later for saving a fellow soldier’s life, but was killed in action in April 1916. His home church, St John’s, was devastated by the news.

It was with great sorrow and deep sympathy for the bereaved family that we heard of the death of Lieut. E. G. Sutton. This most promising young officer, who had already been awarded the Military Cross for an act of great courage and self-sacrifice, was killed on Saturday, April 8th, in the gallant performance of his duty. We shall hope to publish some details of his career in the next issue of the magazine.

“Ye are not your own. You are bought with a price” (1 Cor VI.20)
Most of us were moved, I think, a few weeks ago by a story of almost unexampled heroism given in a list of recently conferred V.C.’s. A young officer attempted to throw a bomb into the enemy’s trench. The missile, however, struck his own parapet and fell in to his own trench. The officer cried a warning to his comrades and himself sprang back into safety, but then noting that his warning had been unheeded, turned back, flung himself upon the bomb and was destroyed by its explosion. And I wonder what were the feelings of his comrades and whether the thought of our text came into their minds, and they said to themselves: “We are not our own, we have been bought with a price.” And I wonder how many of us at home had the same thought in our minds as we read the account, or whether we have ever sufficiently thought at all that not to one such glorious act of heroism, but to countless splendid and ungrudging acts of devotion, do we owe today the security of our shores, the air we breathe untainted by foul poison emanations, the food we eat unstinted in quantity, our women their honour, our children their deliverance from brutality, our old people the quiet, even tenor of their placid lives, and all of us our immunity from the horrors that have desolated Belgium and Poland and Serbia.

We are bought with a price! Who will deny it? Vicarious suffering! Vicarious death!, say some. “We can’t understand it, we can’t accept it!” To such, I say: Alas for the poverty of your intellect and the hardness of your heart, when the very thing is happening today before your very eyes and crying to your souls. When not one minute passes, but even now in France, in Russia, on the seas, wherever the ceaseless battle rages, a man dies that other men may live. We are bought with a price, and day by day in that pitiful concentration of tragedy we know as the casualty list, the bill is presented, and every now and then, at longer intervals, the account is rendered up to date. And how stands it today? Some half a million of Englishmen slain, mutilated, sick, languishing in pestilent Wittenberg prison camps – for us. Mown down by machine guns, crashing from the air in the shattered aeroplane, settling to the ocean-bed in the sunken submarine, buried beneath the soil, buried beneath the waves, unburied in the hideous no-man’s-land between the trenches, tossing in our hospitals, limping about our streets, cry of the wounded and sob of the broken of heart, laughing boys who do not know what awaits them, grave-faced men who do, going forth in courage to do their part – behold the price that is paid; the price that is paid for us; in virtue of which we sit tranquilly in this church this morning, and shall walk tranquilly home to our tranquil and ample dinners.

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A window to keep alive for ever the memory of their gallant service

The tragedy of two brothers killed within a week of one another in the first few months of the war led to a beautiful stained glass window at Holy Trinity Bracknell.

The Church has been beautified by the erection of a new window which has been given by Mrs. Van Neck in memory of her two sons who have fallen in the war.

Under one window there is the following inscription: “To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Philip Van Neck, Lieut. Grenadier Guards, who fell in action at Kriessk, Belgium, on 26th October, 1914, aged 27”, and under the other, “To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Charles Hylton Van Neck, Lieut. Northumberland Fusiliers, who fell in action at Herlies, France, on 20th October, 1914, aged 21.”

It will be seen that these two young officers were both killed in the same week; they were well known to us in Bracknell when they were boys, and we greatly appreciate the honour of having this window in our Church to keep alive for ever the memory of their gallant service.

The collection of eggs for the wounded is going on apace. Last week 12 dozen were sent, more than half of which were brought by the scholars of the Ranelagh School. A few came from Bullbrook School and the rest from various contributors. Now that the eggs are plentiful, we hope to keep up a good supply. Anyone who wishes to contribute an egg or more will remember that they should be sent to Miss Avice Barnett at the Vicarage by 12 o’clock on Monday, or to Mr. May, Corn Dealer, High Street. They are sent to the National Egg Collection for the wounded (Reading Branch). We have to thank Mr. Barnard for conveying them to Reading free of charge.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, April 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/4)

The war will bring about theocracy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote a long letter to Ralph. She had strong, if eccentric, views about politics, and was almost as shocked by Australian soldiers’ democratic nature as she was by the Easter Rising.

April 26 1916
Peter[borough]

My darling own blessed Scraps

Easter Day makes me long for you, but all days make me long for you….

I distinguished myself at Windsor by getting bad with indigestion, but it was good to be with John & Maysie, & see them so happy in another Windsor spell of work, and yet being together. He heard when we were there that another operation will not be necessary, but as his Medical Board gave him 3 months they have taken a very good house, “Essex Lodge”, the present house being required by the owner, and this is a much better one with a garden & tennis ground. John is of course very busy, and up early, & at work till late. He looks well, and is in good spirits, evidently liking his work. We saw Cecily Hardy & her Giant, and Tony & Sylvia, & a new Coldstream acquisition – a very Highland McGregor who till lately was engineering in India – quite a new type in the Brigade!

The Political Crisis made those days full of excitement, but none of these soldier people seemed to care, or to look at the papers, and were sure the King would come whatever happened. And he did, but the Crisis was supposed to be over, and the Cabinet once more firmly (?) in the saddle of Compromise. Now the Secret Session, and the result whatever it may be of that settlement is to be made known to so many talkers & plotters and schemers that it will be impossible for all the cats to be in the bag long. Meantime there is a shaken confidence, a longing for a leader other than we have, for this strange growth of freedom to know its limitation, and to recognise its own dependence on laws not made by man, but inflexible because “just and true”, and belonging to the Kingdom that will endure throughout all ages. When we really will, that will come, and its obedience, and we shall learn what freedom is. It does not lie with Democracy, or in Kaiser rule, or in a Republic, but it does in a Theocracy – and my belief is that it is to be restored through this War and “tumult of the nations”….

France is surely ahead of us in the spirit of a new vision, & Russia is invincible because of that vision long accepted – and we wait for it, and you all are bringing it nearer.

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The Germans’ well laid plans

Ralph Glyn’s parents both wrote to him in Egypt after a visit to the Wake family at Courteenhall, whose father had just died. Joan (1884-1974), one of the sisters of Sir Hereward (1876-1963) mentioned here, was to become a pioneering archivist. One of the Wakes claimed to have evidence that the German invasion of Belgium had been long planned in advance. The Enver referred to is Ismail Enver Pasha (1881-1922), the Turkish Minister of War who had led that country into alliance with Germany and was responsible for the Armenian Holocaust of 1915.

March 21st 1916

Yesterday we went to Courteenhall and had a cosy hour & more with the dear people. It is good to know that Hereward wishes his mother & sisters to remain on. He has bought a house in London, & is now going back to the front as Lt Colonel, on OGS 1st Grade & will be with General Mackenzie’s Division. He goes about end of April, & he is now at Aldershot taking up his new work. Ida is to be his agent for Northants property, assisted by a good bailiff, & he has secured a good man for the Essex property who can always advise Ida when necessary. Phyllis is back at work nursing at Abbeville. Joan is at home helping all round. Lady Wake pays rent, & keeps up the house…

There is a most interesting & amusing nephew of Lady Wake’s in this Hotel, a Major Wake who has seen all sorts of service in E Africa, Egypt and Ulster!! And in between a recruiting job at home & Ulster he fought [for?] Turk against Italy! While so employed he shared a tent with 3 German officers who told him their well laid plans exactly! Even to the breaking through Belgium to destroy France, knowing her Vosges defences were too strong for other swift accomplishment of victory – but France destroyed, they would take us and Holland on – no wish to destroy either as all Teutonic peoples should come into the Zollverein which would then rule the world. Our practicality was required to wed with their “idealism”, & when this union was complete “we” would together be invincible. They said they liked us, but as long as we were separate they could not do anything, & must always come up against us. They expected all their colonies to be taken, but then at the crisis our Fleet was to be destroyed, & then they would regain their colonies & seize all ours. All this was described with perfect freedom to the English soldiers, and the answer to his enquiry “What do you wish to do with us”. They said this was all open unconcealed knowledge, and that we had such a wretched Government we would never fight, & though our Govt knew they would not prepare, so the thing was “fait accompli”. (more…)

Tragedy too deep for words

Burghfield schoolchildren celebrated Empire Day on 13 March 1916 with a set of patriotic tableaux.

MRS BLAND’S SCHOOL

The children of Burghfield Common have beaten all records in the matter of attracting an audience at the Technical Schools. Not a seat was empty when they gave their bright little performance on Empire Day, and whether or not the whole programme was evolved from Miss Jackson’s own brain, it was cleverly conceived and admirably carried out.

Gordon Prior, aged only 13, ably undertook the accompaniments, the chief item being a representation of the Allied countries now at war with the Central European Powers. Florence Pembroke, in gorgeous silver armour as Britannia, Elsie Love as France, Kathleen Bunce as Belgium, Raymond Batts as Japan, Italy by Ernest Brant, Russia and Servia [sic] by Frank Lalouette and William Emms, made a tableau which reminded us, alas! of a tragedy too deep for words, and only a strong personal interest in the performers themselves and their capable achievement enabled us for a moment to forget the anguish of the reality.

A collection made at the doors raised £4 12s 6d, which has been devoted to the aid of soldiers blinded during the war, whose case perhaps makes a greater appeal to our sympathies than any other, and we sent all our love and pity with the pennies so freely and cheerfully contributed by all the company.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1916 (D/EX725/3)

A tremendous boon for the nurses

The Surgical Dressing Emergency Society in Wargrave, a group of women who spent their spare time making dressings for wounds and also clothes and general comforts for the wounded found their efforts were gratefully received by the matrons of the hospitals.

Surgical Dressing Emergency Society: Wargrave

Dressings have been sent to France, Belgium, Servia [sic], all along the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force Area, and especially to outlying Casualty Clearing Hospitals and Stations.

Old linen and comforts are coming in very well, and parcels of lovely shirts, pyjamas, socks etc, have been sent out this month with the “Kits”.

Letters Received
To the S.D.E.S., Wargrave
Somewhere in the Mediterranean. No. 1
Dear Madam,

A most splendid Bale arrived here today from you. I cannot tell you how very grateful I am to receive it, and all the things, (shirts, socks, pyjamas, etc.) we are always so glad to use – Many, many thanks.

It is such a tremendous boon for the Nurses to find these dressings so ready for them to use, it is the utmost help, for we are all as busy as we can be.
Yours very gratefully
——————-,
Matron

This is a large tent Hospital, in a well-known Island. The Matron and Nurses are under-staffed and need everything. There are 4000 cases.

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Our first brother killed in this cruel war

The Broad Street Brotherhood, the men’s group at the big Congregational Church in central Reading (now Waterstone’s bookshop) was still sending its members off to the armed forces. They were sobered by their first death in action.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

As we all know, our brother L Victor Smith left England some weeks ago to carry out duties in France. We miss him very much. He has done a tremendous amount of “spade work” in connection with our Society … the beautiful Rolls of Honour, which are hanging up in the vestibule, were amongst his latest pieces of work.

We have now got a very large number of our brothers either serving in France, or in the old country, and we are very glad and grateful to learn that the members of the church and Mrs Rawlinson are sending each of our brothers a parcel of good things at Christmas. In addition, we as a society are sending a cheery personal letter signed by our Presidents, so that our brothers will not be forgotten.

Our Mass Meeting and collection on behalf of the PSA fund for the relief of distress in Belgium, will be held in the early part of the New Year. Mr Rawlinson is arranging for one of the leading orators of the movement to address the meeting, and Mr Mann, secretary of the National Federation, will explain the objects of the fund.
Our choir has been through troubled waters. During the last few months they have had no less than three conductors, two leaving to join the army…

It is with deepest regret that we have to report the death of Brother V M May, of the 8th Royal Berks Regiment, who died in action last month. He is our first brother who has been killed in this cruel war.

ROLL OF HONOUR. POSTAL ADDRESSES.
The following names should be added to the church list given in the magazine last month:-
Cane, 2776 Pte, Norman, 1st Platoon A Co, 1/4th Royal Berks Regiment, BEF
Fletcher, Driver E A, Motor Transport Service, G and H Block, Grove Park, London
Jones, Off. Std. Wm Fletcher, No 12 Hut, East Camp, Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine (D/N11/12/1/14)

A gallant but homeless army

Cookham Dean parish church decided to make a collection for our gallant allies, the soldiers of Belgium.

Collections
It is some little time since we have given a collection in Church to any of the Patriotic Funds, and with the consent of the Churchwardens it is proposed to devote the Collections on Sunday, Nov. 14th, to the Belgian Soldiers’ Fund. This Fund has been organized by Baron de Brogueville, Prime Minister and Minister of War for Belgium, and many leading English Bishops and others, to provide winter necessities for the great homeless Army of Belgium. England owes so much to the gallant Belgian Army that we shall be glad to have the opportunity of showing our sympathy with them in a practical way.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P43B/28A/31)