The bridegroom was under orders to hold himself in readiness for service abroad

A nurse married an army officer – and had to face the thought of his being sent to the front soon afterwards.

We present our congratulations to Miss Hilda Sturgess on the occasion of her marriage on April 16th with 2nd Lieut. Harold Bloomfield. Miss Sturgess was an exemplary Sunday school teacher previous to the war; since 1914 she has been a nurse in England, Eygpt, and France, and her long standing engagement ended with her marriage at the village church near Swindon camp, which was attended by the colonel and officers, who, by their hospitality in providing the wedding breakfast and enthusiastically welcoming the bride, more than covered the disappointment caused by the bridegroom being under orders to remain at Swindon and hold himself in readiness for service abroad.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P192/28A/15)

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Excellent work with the hand grenade

Clewer parishioners were proud of accolades awarded to Dedworth man William Bloomfield.

All Saints’, Dedworth

It is with great pleasure we insert the following letter:-
To 2617 Private W. Bloomfield,
1st Bucks Bn.

Your Commanding Officer, and Brigade Commander, have informed me that you have distinguished yourself by your conduct in the field on the night April 1-2, 1916.

I have read with much pleasure,
(Signed) R. FAREHAM, Major-General,
Commanding 48th S.M. Division.

William Bloomfield has done splendid work for his country. His conduct under fire is wonderfully calm, and he has been awarded the above for his excellent work with the hand grenade.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P39/28A/9)

A concert for refugees from heroic little Belgium

Yesterday we reported the upcoming concert at Reading Town Hall, now discover how it went:

CHOIR CONCERT FOR BELGIAN REFUGEES
As briefly reported in our December issue, the concert given under the auspices of our Church Choir and Brotherhood Choir on November 25th last proved a most gratifying success, all concerned, performers and audience alike doing their part in a manner worthy of the occasion, – the occasion being the raising of money towards a special Christmas Fund in aid of the Belgian refugees in the town. The Mayor (Mr Leonard Sutton, JP) graced the proceedings and at an interval in the programme delivered a short speech. His Worship said he would like to express the gratification all felt at the effort being made that evening on behalf of the unfortunate refugees from heroic little Belgium, and he assured the Belgians who had come to Reading, and of whom there were a good number in the hall that night, that no effort would be spared to make their stay in the town as happy as possible.
With characteristic generosity the conductor of the choirs (Mr F. W. Harvey) had arranged a programme of almost too ample proportions, but the audience evidently were out to enjoy themselves and few left before the close.
Dealing with the work of the choirs it may be said that the Church Choir well maintained its reputation, singing a number of part-songs in excellent style. “The Viking Song” (Coleridge-Taylor), “Hymn To Music” (Dudley Buck), and “The Vagabonds” and “Our Island Home” (Eaton Faning), all of the vigorous order, were rendered with expressive enthusiasm, and a tuneful part-song by Parry, “Sweet day, so cool”, a competition test piece for which the choir gained first prize at the Crystal Palace last year, was given in a very finished manner.
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As happy a Christmas as possible for the Belgian refugees in Reading

Broad Street Congregational Church wanted its Belgian friends to have as happy a Christmas as possible in the circumstances. The church magazine tells more:

Our Belgian Friends & Christmas
Christmastide will soon be with us. In many an English home it will be a sad time – for there will be mourning for the loss of dear ones who have bravely fought and died for their King and Country.
In many towns, too, much distress has been occasioned by unemployment caused by the war.

We hope and believe that everything that can be done for these homes and families will be done by HM Government and by help from the Price of Wales’ Fund.

We have however with us this year thousands of Belgians who have been driven from their homes and country by a cruel and merciless invader. Though there is no necessity to narrate the history of events which have well nigh ruined Belgium and temporarily crushed its brave people, we can never forget that as a nation we owe an immense debt to Belgium, since were it not for the gallant stand made by the brave sons of that noble little country in the early days of the war, the work of Great Britain and France would have been infinitely harder than it has been.

Here, in Reading, we have a large number of Belgians, and more are expected shortly. We should like to make this Christmastide for them, and especially for the children, as happy as may be possible under the sad circumstances of their being in exile and of their having lost all their worldly possessions. For this purpose the Broad Street Church Prize Choir & the Broad Street Brotherhood Prize Choir will give a Grand Concert in the Large Town Hall (kindly lent free by the Mayor and Corporation) on Wednesday November 25th, 1914, at eight p.m. Full particulars will be advertised. Tickets: 2s, 1s and 6d. Donations to the Fund will also be gladly received. The Concert Committee appeals with confidence to the people of Reading for their support on this occasion. The whole of the takings, including donations, without any deduction whatever, will be handed to His Worship the Mayor of Reading as a Special Christmas Fund for the Belgians.

Donations will be thankfully received by
(Minister) Rev. W. Morton Rawlinson, Glendower, Western Elms Avenue
(Treasurer) Mr W. J. Brain, Kendrick House
(Conductor) Mr F. W. Harvey, 34 Addington Road
(Secretaries) (Miss L Bloomfield, 168 Wantage Road
(Mr W. J. Church, 35 Sherman Road
Concert tickets from the secretaries or any members of the choir.

Broad Street Church magazine, November (D/N11/12/1/14)