Garments are so very urgently needed for the wounded

Burghfield people continued to make clothes and hospital supplies for wounded soldiers.

Holiday House

The Committee regret that they are unable at present to arrange for any Evening Entertainments &c, due to the Lighting restrictions.

The Holiday House work party wish to thank all those who so kindly subscribed to the thousand penny fund, which was raised in answer to the appeal for funds from the Reading Depot. The amount subscribed more than reached our expectations, and we were able to send the sum of £7 10s 0d in all to the depot, £3 (i.e. 720 pennies) profits on a Whist Drive and Dance at Holiday House, and £4 10s 0d (i.e. 1,080 pennies) collected.

The Work Party would be glad to welcome more workers, as garments are so very urgently needed for the wounded, and also any help in providing wool for “operation” stockings.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Mass in a barn, no room at the inn

The Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist at Clewer had a quiet wartime Christmas, while their Sub-Warden, a clergyman who helped to see to their spiritual needs, was serving as an army chaplain.

25 December 1917

Christmas Day. Midnight Mass (plain) in the old chapel on account of necessity for screening lights at night.

The Sub-Warden

“Christmas Day. This morning my first Mass was said in a barn. The altar set up against a door, surrounded by straw, piled arms, etc. Again “there was no room for Him in the Inn”. The service over, I rode to a neighbouring village, my servant following on a bicycle with the bag of Sacred Vessels. There I had a whole Battalion in a hall & a band to play the hymns.”

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer, 25 December 1917 and 3 January 1918 (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

The risk of permanent injury to eyesight

Calls for a blackout to guard against air raids caused problems for ladies at one Berkshire church.


The method of obscuring our chapel windows to satisfy the Regulations has not been quite satisfactory, and a new method has now been adopted. Mr. Leach most kindly gave us a supply of “casement cloth,” and some of our ladies fixed it up. We hope now that all our friends will again be able to read their bibles and hymn-books without risk of permanent injury to their eyesight.

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

Impossible to go round carol-singing as in happier years

An unexpected casualty of the war was carol singing.

The Vicar’s Letter

The War affects us in so many ways, and this year, owing to the darkness and the prohibition of the use of lanterns giving anything more than a modicum of light, the Choir regret that it will be impossible for them to go round carol-singing as in happier years. I suppose this is the first time for fifty years or more that the carol-singing out of doors will have been given up.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

We do not forget

The Bishop congratulated the Revd T Guy Rogers, the Reading vicar turned army chaplain, on being awarded a medal for bravery.


The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the November Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are asked especially
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies and especially for Roumania [sic].
For the National Mission…

Your thanksgivings are asked…
For the liberation of the Missionaries in German East Africa.


I most heartily trust that neither in town parishes nor in country parishes will the evening service on Sundays be abandoned without a very strong effort to carry it on under conditions of lighting which the police can sanction…


I wish to call attention again to the ruling under which I act, given by my Chancellor… to the effect that a person’s normal home where he or she is known may be reckoned as place of residence, though the person in question is at the moment absent whether on military service or for some other purpose.

We are all delighted to know that Mr Guy Rogers has been given the Military Cross. We do not forget him.


I have received a letter from the Director General of Voluntary Organisations expressing great anxiety as to the sufficient supply of comforts for the troops, such as mittens, mufflers, helmets and socks, especially the three first. I am asked to ‘secure the co-operation of the clergy’ in my dioceses to make the anxiety known. The following are depots of the V.O.A. in this diocese…

Berkshire: W. C. Blandy, esq, 1 Friar Street, Reading…
Reading: D. Haslam, jun., esq, 16 Duke Street, Reading…



The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

William Monger, George Slaughter, William Hewett, Harold Hales, Cecil Hales, William Brown, Albert Bishop, George O’Dell, Frederick Eady, Herbert Ballard, Alfred Clibbon, George Breakspear, Albert Gray, Harry Rixon, Walter Rosser, Rupert Wigmore, William Butler, Walter Drown, Percy Prater.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Killed: Percy Wyer, Walter May, Ernest Bishop.
Sick: Edward Iles, Charles Webb, William Wright.
Wounded: William Holmes, Frank, Fowler, Harry Merry, Arthur Morrice, Leonard Strong.
Wounded and Missing: Frank Snellgrove.
Missing: Edward Taylor.


On Wednesday, November 29th, there will be a concert in St Peter’s Hall to help provide funds for giving a Christmas Dinner and Entertainment to a party of Wounded Soldiers. Mr E. Love and party are working up an excellent programme, and we hope our readers will help to make the concert a great success by supporting it as much as they can.

Earley parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/11)

Darken the windows on account of Zeppelin raids

St Peter’s Church in Caversham decided to have curtains made rather than actually painting the windows with black paint, as had been done previously.

Parochial Church Council
We must have our church windows darkened before the end of September, on account of Zeppelin raids. The windows are in too bad a condition to endure being painted again. Perhaps some of the ladies might help us by making curtains of some cheap dark material.

Caversham parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P162/28A/7)

A light before the air raid

Spy fever fuelled claims of lights being left on to attract bombers.

5 September 1916
Heard from P. L. Joy – who heard raid & saw light in there! JLK ought to reach Hill last night.

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

An expense which has to be faced and met without murmuring

Bracknell church goers were asked to chip in to help insure Holy Trinity Church against potential air raid damage.

The cost of darkening the Church windows, and insurance against damage by air raids, is being met by special donations. The cost has been £37, and towards this £22 4s. 0d. has been contributed.

We are therefore short of the required amount by £14 16s. 0d., and the Churchwardens appeal to any of the parishioners who have not already contributed to send them a donation. This expense has been incurred in consequence of the war and has to be faced and met without murmuring.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6)

No April fooling in the shadow of air raids

Air raids were a worrying experience for people at home – even if they were not directly affected.

Florence Vansittart Neale
1 April 1916

Papers & letters very late owing to Zepps – big raid over east coast. 5 Zepp: altogether. One brought down in Thames – crew captured….

Wire saying Bubs safe at Boulogne. Also letter from her from Folkestone.

Community of St John Baptist
1 April 1916

Air raid during past night in some parts of the country. Stricter orders as to lights.

William Hallam
1st April 1916

I had just gone up to bed at 10 last night when the hooter blew a Zepp warning but still, I was not at all anxious but got into bed and went to sleep although the rest were nervous. No April fooling here now to-day.

To night I put 4£ in P. B. bank and 15/6 in War Saving Certif.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5);
Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

A single cabbage helps the war

Sulhamstead people were supporting the war effort in their vegetable gardens, while rejoicing in good news of local soldiers.

Lieutenant H. A. Grimshaw has been mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. This makes the second time that he has been so honoured. He has also been awarded the additional honour of the Military Cross.

It is with great thankfulness that the news has been received that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, of the “Tera”, sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, is safe, although held a prisoner.

George Derring, second footman at Folley [sic] Farm when the war broke out, was killed by the bursting of a shell at the Front in France.

It is a bad time of the year for vegetables, but the Boy Scouts are trying to send a hamper to Reading every week. If any have got vegetables they would like to give to the hospitals, and would send them to the School on Mondays, or leave word at the School in the previous week, a Scout would fetch them. The hamper goes on Tuesdays. A single cabbage, half a dozen potatoes, etc, soon swell the contents.

This order will not affect our Lower End Service as the room is furnished with dark green curtains, but it will prevent services being held on week days in Lent in the Church or School, and accordingly special meetings will be held in the large room at the Rectory on Thursdays at 7 pm.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1916 (D/EX725/3)

“The precautions now being taken at Newbury are doubtless spreading consternation among our enemies”

St Nicolas’ Church in Newbury was insured against potential air raid damage.

Unusual darkness having been imposed upon us, on account of the danger of Zeppelins, the time of evensong at the Parish Church has been altered to 5.30, but we hope that this will make no difference to the attendance at the Service: the parishioners will also have the opportunity of spending a longer Sunday evening at home, an opportunity not to be despised. Our readers will be glad to know that the Churchwardens, with their usual forethought, have specially insured the Church against the danger of aerial attack, this insurance involving the additional expenditure of £34. Dark blinds are being made for the Parish Room, so that the usual evening meetings, etc, may be held there, and we hope to be spared the attention of the Police. The precautions now being taken at Newbury are doubtless spreading consternation among our enemies.

We desire to offer our sincerest sympathy to the Rev. H C Roberts, who has lost a brother at the War, and also to Mrs Walter Lawrence on the death of her husband, and to his mother and relations. Sergeant Major Lawrence had done a great deal in Newbury for the Volunteer movement, and letters received by his widow from officers with whom he had served bring out his splendid soldierly qualities, keen patriotism, and unfailing cheerfulness: greatly though we regret his loss, we are truly thankful for examples such as his.

The Rev. F Streatfeild is returning home from the Front for a well-earned week’s rest.

Newbury parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Proud to add a naval chaplain to our Roll of Honour

Spencers Wood Congregational Church was another to bring services forward to comply with new blackout rules.

Owing to the new lighting order, Sunday School commences at 2.30 instead of 3 o’clock. And, for the present, we are having Service in the Church at 3.30 pm instead of 6.30. We hope all our friends will do their best to be at this service, and to make it as bright as possible; the change is only for a little time, as with light evenings we hope to return to our usual time…

We are proud to add to our Roll of Honour another Spencers Wood boy – the Rev. F Ballard of Knutsford, who is chaplain on HMS Maramara. We hope his services may be much blessed.

Spencers Wood Congregational Church section of Trinity Congregational Church magazine, March 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

Topsy turvy times, as darkness shrouds us all

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading, had been forced to hold evening services in the afternoon thanks to the blackout.

Echoes from the Deacons’ Vestry

If anyone had prophesied two years ago that we should now be holding Evening Worship at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, we should have advises him to consult a doctor, and yet, so topsy turvy are the times, that the improbable has come to pass. We took the step with some trepidation, partly in the interests of economy (for to darken our church would have meant a large expense), but also because we knew many of our members preferred the walk in the daylight rather than in the darkness that shrouds us all at night in these days.

Trinity Roll of Honour

This month the call of “King and Country” has claimed yet another of our useful workers. Mr Eric Bowsher, our Publication Secretary, has joined the Army Service Corps, and is now in training at Osterley, Isleworth. We are very sorry to lose him…

Another name is that of Private Joseph Woodley (whose services in the choir are greatly missed), 5th City of London Territorial Regiment, London Rifle Brigade.

Mr Hubert Cox and Mr Fred Gleave, of the 9th Worcesters (Garrison Battalion) have also been called up, and are stationed at Gosport.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, March 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

A small opportunity of making a sacrifice necessitated by the time of war!

Bracknell Church fitted pricy curtains to comply with the new blackout rules. You may remember local teacher Mr Penwill joining up last September, and it seems he had been posted to India.

Owing to the necessity for darkening the windows of the Church, curtains have been placed over the windows. As this will involve considerable expense, the Churchwarden, Mr. Western, will gladly receive any contributions which any parishioner may wish to make. Here is a small opportunity of making a sacrifice necessitated by the time of war!


A letter has recently been received from Mr. Penwill, our Assistant Master, who is now serving with the Devon Territorials in India. Mr. Penwill has been made into a Lance-Corporal, and writes cheerfully and full of interest about what he has seen in India.

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

“We doubt very much whether a German Zeppelin would find Warfield Church at night”

Warfield Church was another to install curtains at night, although they were sceptical of the actual risk.



As there is much news this month, my letter must be short and of a very practical kind. We have, as you know, been compelled to darken our Churches or stop the evening Services. The latter I felt we could not do, as it would mean that a very large number who can only come once would be deprived of their opportunity of Sunday worship. We have therefore darkened the Church. The fixing of the curtains over the two west windows and the shades over the lamps have cost, roughly estimating, between £5 and £6. As soon as I receive the accounts I shall make my appeal in the Church. I am unwilling to make it a charge on the usual Church expenses, as special calls demand special efforts. I feel sure that you will agree with me that I have chosen the better plan. To lose the present evening congregation would be disastrous for the Church. We doubt very much whether a German Zeppelin would find Warfield Church at night, as English visitors have great difficulty in finding it by daylight! However let us be the first to obey orders.

Yours affectionately in Christ,



We wish to convey our sympathy to Mrs. Bye and family on the loss of their son on the field of battle.

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