Two sons killed within three months

The war was taking a heavy toll.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

With much regret we have to record this month the death in action of yet two more Winkfield men. Pte. George Holloway and Pte. Tom Simmonds.

Mr. and Mrs. Holloway have now lost two sons within three months, and deep sympathy is felt for them in these heavy bereavements. Pte. Tom Simmonds was for many years one of our bell-ringers, and we tender his parents and family heartfelt sympathy.

Pte. W. J. Johnson is also reported killed in action. His mother has lately been living in Winkfield and will have the sympathy of many friends here.

Pte. Albert Carter, who has been out at the Front ever since the outbreak of war, is wounded; he is in hospital in England and we are glad to learn that he is doing well. His brother, Pte. John Carter is dangerously ill in hospital. As we write we hear that he has had a turn for the better and so hope that he is now on the road to recovery.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

The war has drawn bellringers closer together

Bellringers pondered the war. Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers was an umbrella organisation for bellringers of the parish churches of Arborfield, Easthampstead, Finchampstead, Hurst, Sandhurst, Sonning, Wargrave, Wokingham All Saints and Wokingham St Paul.

The annual meeting of the branch was held at Wokingham on Jan. 6th [1917]. Proceedings commenced with Evensong, address, & Intercessions for those engaged in the war, at St Paul’s Church, at 5.30 pm. Some 40 members attended. The Rev. S M Winter, vicar of Wargrave, gave an excellent address, based upon Judges XIV.14, in the course of which he pointed out how out of peril came forth sweetness, out of death a new life, out of dry bones a busy hive of industry, out of a barren field a fruit which shall be sweet to those that come after. There was no one, at that time, but was thinking of the “War”, which had now reached its 3rd year, & no one could foresee when it might end. Out of it had come a new binding & uniting force for the Empire that had made it stronger than ever before. It had given a new value to time, to money, a shame to idleness, selfishness & waste not understood before, & many a new triumph over disease.

We might apply the same sort of lesson to our church belfries. The bells played their part in peace & war. Now silent, might they again ring many a peal of thanksgiving in God’s good time – for the restoration of peace in equity & justice, a peace that should advance God’s Kingdom throughout the world! All had learnt a noble lesson of self-sacrifice from those members of their belfries, who had endured such terrible sufferings, & those who had laid down their loves for King & Country; each member, he hoped, might learn to do his duty, “as unto God, & not unto man”, in a better & higher way. The war had drawn them all closer together both in the Belfry, & outside of it; and so they gave their answer to the riddle, “out of the eater came forth meat, out of the strong came forth sweetness”….

Mr Winter… trusted that the restrictions upon bell-ringing would soon be removed, & joyous peals be forthcoming by reason of a secured peace. The Rev. H M Wallis congratulated the members upon the numbers attending the service, & hoped that some sweetness might accrue, even from the bitterness of the enemies’ hate….

Since their last annual meeting, the Master of the Guild, Rev. C W O Jenkyn, had won the Military Cross.

Minutes of Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (D/EX2436/1)

“Wargrave is to be congratulated in this time of War”

Several of the Wargrave church bellringers had joined up, but they were still keeping the peals ringing.

The Belfry:

A Meeting of the Belfry was held on Wednesday, December 27th.

There were present: the Vicar in the Chair, the Foreman (Mr. W. H. Easterling) and 11 members.

The official list of the Belfry now numbers 20 men.

Wargrave is to be congratulated in this time of War, both on having sent 4 Ringers to the Front and on having 14 men and lads still ready to ring the eight bells at home.

The names of the members and probationers are as follows, the names of those serving in His Majesty’s Forces are printed in Italics,

H. Attlesey W. Elsley F. Hanson S.P. Nash
G. Bayliss P. D. Elsley R. Lawrence J. Neighbour
W. Burrows E. Field E. Ladd E. Thatcher
A.E. Cox A. Guy F. Pocock C. F. Shersby
W. H. Easterling W. Herbert J. Preston

FINANCE
It appeared that the most important need, in regard to apparatus, was the provision of eight mats, to take the fall of the ropes as they touch the floor, and a set of Mufflers.

The Foreman was requested to enquire about the cost of suitable squares of carpet.

No resolution was passed in regard to Mufflers. It was suggested that if a set could in an emergency be borrowed from a neighbouring tower a purchase might be deferred until after the War.

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

“The Message of Peace seems so unheeded in the outside world, amid the din of battle”

A Christmas message from the vicar of Wargrave:

Christmas:

May the Message of Peace, which seems so unheeded in the outside world, amid the din of battle, being solace to all Christian hearts. Those who, obey the call of duty to fight for their country find indeed a peace which passes all understanding, for they have made the great surrender and offered their lives to God. Those who serve at home, or only wait and pray, may find some peace if they fill the place to which God calls them. We do not choose our place or tasks: He allots them to us all, if we are alert to hear His call. And if we are content to do out best therein we shall find Peace; the same as that which sanctified the life in Bethlehem, and in the upper room, and in the garden, and on Calvary. The Peace which belongs unto our Lord and which He has the power to give.

Gifts for Men at the Front:

As the gifts of Tobacco and Cigarettes at the Harvest Festival were not nearly enough to go round, another opportunity will be given to the congregations on Christmas Day. Any further gifts received then will be distributed among those who did not get anything from the Harvest Festival.

The letters received by the Vicar from those who have already received the little presents show how very gratefully they are appreciated.’

A Gift to the Bell-Ringers:

A very handsome medal has been presented by Mr. W.E. Cain to all who were members of the Belfry at the time of the Re-Opening of the Tower.

It is the size of half-a-crown, with a very effective view of the Church on one side and a little inscription on the other.

All the men were delighted with it, it is a gift which will certainly give the keenest pleasure to those who are now fighting and were away from home at the time.

The Bell-Ringers tender their most grateful thanks to the kind donor and their gratitude for such kindly thought is shared by all who have their interest at heart.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

The fair sex learn bellringing

In the absence of so many men, women were learning to ring the church bells for the first time.

O.D.G.C.B.R.- what on earth does this stand for? So thought the Editor when he received his invitation from this venerable society. It is a short way of expressing the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell-ringers. Their annual meeting was held at Wokingham on January 15th. Service in All Saints Church at 5.30, followed by a meat tea at 6.30 in St. Pauls School, after which a few speeches were made and business matters attended to, after which the tower of both Churches were opened to the ringers. A strong feeling was expressed that Warfield ringers should join the Guild, which they may now do, the Vicar having joined the Guild. There were about one hundred present and a good sprinkling of the fair sex, who have lately learnt the art. Hurst has a band of lady ringers, as well as its usual band.

Warfield section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

No men have offered themselves as readily as the bellringers

The annual meeting of Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (for bellringers of the parish churches of Arborfield, Easthampstead, Finchampstead, Hurst, Sandhurst, Sonning, Wargrave, Wokingham All Saints and Wokingham St Paul) paid tribute to bellringers’ contributions to the war effort.

This meeting of the Sonning Deanery Branch was held on Sat Jan 13th. A service of Intercession was held at All Saints’ Church at 5.30 pm. There was a good attendance of men, considering the absence of many men on active service in the war; there were also present several Lady Ringers, who had joined since the war began. The Rector read out a list of those members (37 in number) who had joined HM Forces, including 2 who had given their lives for their country – A M Priest (Hurst) and C Rideout (St Paul’s, Wokingham); G Collins (Sandhurst) reported “missing”.

The Rev. P H Ditchfield gave an earnest & appropriate address. Usually, he said, they met in the atmosphere of gladness & rejoicing at their Festival, but a something, like a muffled peal, seemed to go through their belfries, owing to the war. No body of men had offered themselves so readily & willingly for the sake of their King & Country as had the Church Bellringers. That was but to be expected of men who had been accustomed to place their God, their duty, before ease & pleasure, the cause of right before the cause of wrong. Some of their brothers had made the supreme sacrifice, had given the highest pledge of their love for dear ones & for home. Wonderful it was how again and again the home prayers had helped & sustained them through the dangers & hardships they had been called upon to endure. Let them pray for their brothers who once stood beside them in the belfry tower. The sound of the bells brought courage & hope & confidence to many a troubled spirit. God grant that long before another year dawned they might call their teams together to ring the triumphant peal of victory!…

The Chairman… said he felt sure that the sympathy of members would go to the Bishop of Buckingham (a Vice-President of the Guild) who had just lost a 3rd son in the war.

Minutes of Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (D/EX2436/1)

“Happiness does not consist in freedom from suffering and anxiety, but in doing service for God and Country”

A middle aged church verger had joined the ranks of those fighting for their country.

The Vicars Notes

A happy New Year to all the people of S. Mary’s Parish! I say “Happy” advisedly, first, because we have learnt that whatever may be in store for us, happiness does not consist in freedom from suffering and anxiety, but in doing service for God and Country; and secondly, because we all hope and fervently pray that this New Year may bring us the blessing of peace, and such a peace as shall forward the purposes of the Kingdom of God.

All Saints District

After the first Sunday in January [2 January 1916], a very familiar figure will be missing from the church. Mr J. Mundy, who has been a tower of strength to us since he became connected with All Saints’ Church, and to whom many members of the congregation owe much of its care and thoughtfulness, has joined the Army. He is well over military age, but was extremely anxious to do what he could for King and Country. He will be much missed, and we hope that it may not be long before we shall have the pleasure of seeing him back again in his accustomed position as Verger. We feel sure that he will carry with him the good wishes of all the congregation. During his absence we shall have to make temporary arrangements to “carry on” as best we can. Mrs. Maskell, 21 Western Road, has been appointed caretaker of the church for the time being. It will be remembered that her husband acted as organ-blower and bell ringer for some time before the war broke out, and, after recovering from a severe wound, has been sent back to France again.

Roll of Honour

The following additional names have been sent in for remembrance at the Altar.

Frederick Cox, Harry Cox, Walter Cozens, Eric George Holden, Henry Leonard Gore Hurst, Frederick Hunt, Honor Austen-Leigh (Nurse), Arthur Charles Philbrick, Samuel Pike, Frederick Povey, Reginald Villiers Saunders.

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

The noblest death a man can die

Theale men were continuing to join up, even as another paid the price of patriotism. The church paid tribute to him, while praying for peace.

FOR KING AND COUNTRY.

The following names of those serving are added to those already published:

Harry Janes, Third Officer, H.M. Transport, No. 186.
Harry Ernest Webber, Royal Berks Reserve.

ROLL OF HONOUR.

Killed in Action.
Oct. 5th. – George Bedford, 1st Royal Berks Regiment, No. 6627.
Aged 32 Years

The Service of Intercession on Thursday, November 19th, was devoted to his memory.

“He was a good Churchman, and a good man, steady and industrious, a devoted Husband and Father. He has given his life for his King and Country, the noblest death a man can die. We commend his soul to the gracious keeping of our Heavenly Father, and pay Him to comfort and support his widow and orphaned child.”

From the Rector’s address.

George Bedford, having been a member of the Diocesan Guild, and a ringer in our Belfry, a muffled peal was rung to his memory on Saturday evening, November 21st.

CHRISTMAS.
We cannot utter the traditional wish for a “Merry Christmas this year, for the dark cloud of War will still overshadow us. But we wish our readers and all in our parish a “Blessed” Christmas, which is the Bible word for “Happy.” And let us all pray on the Birthday of the Prince of Peace, that God may soon give to use and all the world the Blessing of Peace.

Theale parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P132B/28A/4)

A fine body of men

Ascot welcomed a Kent regiment.

PARISH NOTES.

We were glad to welcome four Companies of the Royal West Kent Regiment, now stationed in the neighbourhood, to their first Church Parade here on Sunday, November 22nd, and the Bellringers gave them a welcoming peal.

The men, who completely filled the Church, joined heartily in the short service, and in spite of the difficulty of providing them at such short notice with sufficient hymn books, it was stirring to hear the singing of the well known hymns by such a fine body of men.

Several of the men also attended the Evening service and if desired we hope to arrange a special early celebration of the Holy Communion at 7 a.m. once a month.

Ascot portion of Winkfield District magazine, Decemmber 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12)

Berkshire children and Field Marshal Roberts’ funeral

Ascot said goodbye to one of its most famous residents, Field Marshal Lord Roberts. Frederick Roberts (1832-1914) was a veteran of earlier wars, in Afghanistan and the Boer War in South Africa, and even the Indian Mutiny of 1857, when an act of gallantry won him the Victoria Cross. His title, awarded in 1901, is one of the very few British Earldoms to be heritable in the female line (another being that of Mountbatten), a special gift to Roberts, who had only daughters living. His only son had been killed in the Boer War, in which he won the Victoria Cross. As he approached retirement in 1903, he moved to Englemere House in Ascot. Over 80 when the First World War broke out, he had anticipated that a great European war would result from German aggression, and had urged conscription for years. Much of his military career had been in the Empire, and he died of pneumonia while inspecting Indian contingents in France. He got the rare honour of a state funeral, and is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The bellringers on All Souls Day rang a muffled peal in commemoration of those who have fallen in the War. It was a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles, 1260 changes, rung by F. Blunden, Treble; E. Simmonds (2); J. Simmonds (3); W. Eatwell (4); J. Brant (Conductor); S. W. Hughes (Tenor); and on Thursday evening, Nov 19th, the day of Lord Roberts’ funeral, another quarter peal in the same method with F. Blay ringing the treble and A. Head, tenor.

The funeral of Lord Roberts also affected the children from two south-east Berkshire schools.  At Ascot Heath Girls’ School, it was reported on 19 November 1914 that:

A holiday was given on Thursday morning on account of the funeral of Field Marshal Lord Roberts.

The following day, St Michael’s CE School noted the involvement of some of their pupils:

Several boys – Scouts – formed the Guard of Honour at Englemere on the occasion of the funeral of the Field Marshal.

Florence Vansittart Neale also mentioned the funeral, along with her concern for young friends in the armed forces.

19 November 1914
I to call on Maud Mackenzie. She in bed. Long talk. Kenneth may go in 3 weeks. Alick better but boot still in his wound….

Had nice letter from Charlie. Going into trenches.

Lord Roberts military funeral at St Paul’s.

Ascot portion of Winkfield District magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12); Ascot Heath Girls School Log Book (C/EL109/2, p. 230); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed (88/SCH/32/3, p. 173); diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

We are all going to be poor

The vicar of Warfield’s concerns during the early months of the war included caring for Belgian refugees, while parishioners were keen to train men at home in shooting.

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS.-

In a time of great anxiety like the present we still lift up our hearts in thankfulness to Almighty God, that He has put it into the hearts of so many young men to offer themselves for service of King and Country. Warfield has forty-five on the list and there are many others closely related to Warfield parishioners also at the post of duty. Both our Choir and Belfry have empty places as well as the nave formerly occupied by those who answered the call. May I ask you all once again to remember them at noon every day. God is above the water-flood, but God works through mankind. Our Soldier and Sailors are performing His calling, so they have a rightful claim upon the prayers of Christian people. The present crisis throws a partial gloom over the Harvest Festival and the Dedication Festival this year. We must learn the Apostolic maxim, “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”; there are many rifts in the cloudy days of war, many reasons for a real thankfulness.

Ever yours affectionately in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY.

IS WARFIELD TO HAVE A RIFLE CLUB?

At a meeting held on September 21st, the Brownlow Club Committee decided to call a meeting on the 30th to consider in a friendly way whether in the light of the present warfare it would be advisable to form a Rifle Club in our village and build a range. The outcome of the meeting will be given in our next issue.

BELGIAN REFUGEES.

What are we doing about these poor people? Has anyone in Warfield a house they would lend or give for a small rent, in order that we may have a few Belgian people to look after as a thank-offering for our land being free from the sword. The Vicar would be glad to hear of such a house as soon as possible. We are all going to be poor, but let us try and make those who have nothing the gainers of a little. It would be a real enrichment to try to make some as happy as we can.

Warfield parish magazine (D/P151/28A/6)