A Lawson Tait bed

The doctors recommended a special bed to aid in Phyllis Vansittart Neale’s recovery from influenza.

30 December 1918

Left Lawn for EVN’s flat. Luggage ready by 11 o’clock.

Called at Hospital. Found Mr Edmunds very full of “Lawson Tait” bed & mattress. So H & I took Johnson to flat & went on to Mortimer St. Heard it had to come from Birmingham.

Went Hospital & lunch at Lawn.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

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“Too particularly sad just at this time when we are rejoicing at the thought of Peace”

There was something particularly poignant in the timing of Sydney Spencer’s death so soon before the end.

King Edward’s School for Girls
Handsworth
Birmingham

22.X.’18

My dear Mrs Image

Mother has written to tell me of your sad news, and I felt I should like to write you a wee note to send you my love and sympathy. I am so awfully sorry – more than I can say – it seems too particularly sad just at this time when we are rejoicing at the thought of Peace….

I have often thought of your brothers and hoped they were safe. Will you excuse me if I quote a few lines from Rupert Brooke –

“Yet behind the night
Waits for the great unborn, somewhere afar
Some white tremendous daybreak, & the light
Returning, shall give back the golden hours,
Ocean a windless level, Earth a lawn
Spacious & full of sunlit dancing places,
And laughter, & music, & among the flowers
The gay child’s heart of men, & the child faces
O heart in the great Dawn.”

With love
from
I V Wanstall

Letter of sympathy to Florence Image on the death of Sydney (D/EX801/81)

“Our soldiers, sailors and flying men need our prayers

New Year’s Eve was set to be the first of three special days of national prayer for the war. Several Berkshire parishes give us their slant on it. The vicar of All Saints, Dedworth also had a story from the Front about attitudes to the enemy.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The year 1916 still sees us engaged in a war even more terrible than the beginning of 1915. The Nation is bidden by its spiritual leaders, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church to keep Friday, December 31st, as a day of special prayer and intercession. Saturday, January 1st, is to be a day of preparation for Communion, which all are asked to make on Sunday, January 2nd. The duty of the Church is to carry on the fight against the World, Flesh and Devil, and it is the duty of the Church’s officers to lead in that fight. The response at times to that call seems small, it may be larger than it looks, but at any rate it makes the work as hard, if not harder, to carry on than other warfare. How grand has been the response to carry arms for King and Country, but the real victory for which we are fighting will not be won unless at the end we are a Nation nearer to God; having shown to the world that Christianity is the greatest power in war and peace.

Mr. Begbie narrates the following from behind the English lines in France:-

“The other day a doctor fell in with a British soldier whose blood was maddened by what he had seen of the German treatment of our wounded men. ‘Do you know what I mean to do,’ he demanded, ‘when I come across one of their wounded? I mean to put my boot in his ugly face.’ The doctor replied, ‘No you won’t; it’s not your nature. I’ll tell you what you will do – you’ll give him a drink out of your water-bottle.’ To which the soldier after a pause, in which he searched the doctor’s face, made grumbling and regretful answer, ‘Well, may be I shall.’”

Reading St John

Mr Rogers has now been moved up to the Front. He is where he wished to be when he offered for service as a Chaplain, and where he will have the opportunity of speaking to men at the most solemn moment of their lives of the things that matter eternally. We shall continue to be much in prayer for him, that he may be kept from all harm, and that his messages may be with great power.

Now may I commend to your very careful notice the arrangements which have been made to enable you to observe the last day of December and the first two days of January as our King and our Archbishops and Bishops desire that they should be observed. We stand on the threshold of a year that promises to be fateful beyond any in our previous history, a year that will probably test severely our fortitude, our courage and our faith.

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Sulhamstead and the wounded

News of new recruits and wounded men dominated the Sulhamstead parish magazine this month, as Sulhamstead House (now the Police Training College) joined the ranks of war hospitals.

THE WAR
Commissions

Mr Norman Watson has been given a commission of Second Lieutenant in the Kings Royal Rifles.

Mr General Merton has gained his “wings” after many months of practice in flying and has been appointed a Second Flight Lieutenant.

The Recruiting Sergeant has been busy in Sulhamstead and in the neighbourhood. At the time of going to press it is stated that nine more recruits have been obtained in Sulhamstead.

Wounded
We regret to hear that Lieutenant Grimshaw has been seriously wounded. Although a cavalry officer, he was serving in the trenches when he received his wounds from an explosion of shrapnel causing 18 wounds. He has been brought to Guy’s Hospital.

Robert East is also amongst the wounded, and is lying at the Hospital at Birmingham.

Lieut. Noel Carter was wounded in the trenches near Ypres some weeks ago, and was taken to the hospital at Fishmongers’ Hall, London. The Scouts will be glad to hear that he has recovered and is expecting to return to France.

CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL: SULHAMSTEAD HOUSE
Sir George and Lady Watson have opened their house as a Convalescent Hospital for the wounded. Fourteen wounded soldiers were sent from the Reading Base Hospital, of whom, ten had left at the time of writing, after more than a fortnight’s stay. They were very loth to leave as they had so thoroughly enjoyed their convalescent stage at Sulhamstead House.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, June 1915 (D/EX725/3)