Britain’s great army in “civies” again after their unforgettable experiences

Maidenhead men were coming home.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Britain’s great army, having gloriously accomplished its tremendous task, is being rapidly broken up, and already something like one-half of our men are demobilised. F.W. Harmer, R. R. Hill, J.H. Bolton, Harold Islip, Heorge Belcher, Cecil Meade, C.S. Vardy, C. Catliff, in addition to those who have been previously named, are in “civies” again, and others are shortly expecting their papers. Percy Lewis has been sent home from France, and is for the present doing duty at an Army Hospital in Camberwell. It is a great pleasure to welcome all these friends home again, after their unforgettable experiences.

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, March 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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“He speaks well on the whole of his treatment in the prisoners’ camp”

Cigarettes were this year’s Christmas gift for Maidenhead soldiers.

OUR SOLDIERS.

A letter of Christmas greeting was again sent to each of our soldiers, and a packet of cigarettes to those who were overseas. We hope that in a very short time the majority of them will be back amongst us. Robert Bolton and Alfred Isaac have already been discharged. Reginald Hill was at home for Christmas leave, looking quite recovered after his long hospital experiences. Wallace Mattingley and George Ayres are in Germany.

We are glad to hear that 2nd Lieut Edgar Jones, son of Rev. G H. Jones, of Marlow, who, after a few days in France was taken prisoner about 17 months ago, returned home in time for Christmas. He speaks well on the whole of his treatment in the prisoners’ camp.

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, January 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“Right in front of the battalion, leading his men in true British style”

This supplement to the roll of honour’s bald list of names gives us more detail about the parish’s fallen heroes.

Supplement to the Wargrave Parish Magazine

ROLL OF HONOUR.
R.I.P.

Almighty and everlasting God, unto whom no prayer is ever made without hope of thy compassion: We remember before thee our brethren who have laid down their lives in the cause wherein their King and country sent them. Grant that they, who have readily obeyed the call of those to whom thou hast given authority on earth, may be accounted worthy among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness of all our sins, and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself to us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Baker, Edward
Private, 7th Wiltshire Regiment, killed in action on the Salonica Front, April 24th, 1917, aged 21. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baker. He was born at Wargrave and educated at the Piggott School. When the war commenced he was working as a grocer’s assistant in Wargrave. He volunteered in 1915 and was sent out in 1916. He was killed by a shell in a night charge.

Barker, Percy William

Private, 7th Batt. Royal Berkshire Regiment/ Killed at Salonica, July 4th 1917, aged 19. He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. William Barker at Yeldall Lodge. His father was for twenty years a gardener at Yeldall. He was born at Crazies Hill and educated at the village school. On leaving school he began work as a gardener. He was one of the most helpful lads on the Boys’ Committee of the Boys’ Club. He volunteered May 11th, 1916. On July 4th, 1917, he was hit by a piece of shell from enemy aircraft while bathing and died within an hour. The Chaplain wrote to his parents “Your loss is shared by the whole battalion”.

Bennett, William
Sergeant, 8th Royal Berkshire Regiment, killed in France, Dec 3rd, 1916 aged 25. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bennett, of Wargrave, and when the war broke out he was working on a farm. He volunteered at once. He was killed instantly by a shell. One of his officers wrote: “Sergt. Bennett was the best N.C.O. we had in the company. Fearless, hardworking, willing, he was a constant inspiration to his platoon. His splendid record must inevitably have led to his decoration. We have lost an invaluable N.C.O. and a fine man. He was buried with all possible reverence about half a mile from Eaucourt L’Abbaye”.

Boyton, Bertram
Lieut., 6th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds in Palestine, Nov. 9th, 1917, aged 36. He was educated at King’s College, London, and was a Surveyor and Architect by profession. He was a Fellow of the Surveyors Institute and had won Gold and Silver Medals of the Society of Auctioneers by examination. He was married to Elsie, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Morris, at the Parish Church, Wargrave, Sept. 7th 1905, He was a member of the London Rowing Club and the Henley Sailing Club, and keenly interested in all athletics. He enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company in April 1915. He was given a commission in the 6th London R.F.A., in July 1915 and was promoted Lieutenant soon after. He went to France with his battery in June 1916, and to Salonica in the following November. He was sent to Egypt and Palestine in June 1917, and was wounded while taking his battery into action in an advance on November 6th. He died at El Arish on November 9th, 1917.

Buckett, Ernest Frederick

Private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, killed in action Sept. 20th, 1917, in France, aged 23. The dearly loved husband of Dorothy May Buckett, married May 31st, 1917. He was educated at the Henley National School, and before the War was a slaughterman with Messrs. O’Hara & Lee, butchers, Henley and Wargrave. In 1910 he joined the Berkshire Yeomanry (Territorial Force), and was called up on August 4th, 1914, at the commencement of the war. He immediately volunteered for foreign service. He went to France in the spring of 1915. When he had completed his five years service, since the date of his enlistment, he volunteered for another year, but received his discharge as a time-expired man in January 1916. In July, 1916, he was called up under the new regulations and sent immediately to France where he remained, except for leave on the occasion of his marriage, until he fell in action, September 20th, 1917. (more…)

Shot through the head

News of the last days of Berkshire soliders continued to trickle in.

Casualties

Sergeant A E Bolton (2nd DG, Queen’s Bays), died in France; Private W H Brown (8th Royal Berks), twice wounded, and prisoner since last April (omitted before); Frank Hicks (2nd Royal Berks), at last officially presumed killed on 9th May, 1915; W Painter (RE), wounded and gassed; J W G Phillips (RAF Labour Company), killed; H J Pembroke (1st Royal Irish Fusiliers), killed in action, 1st October, 1918; G H Poulton-Smith (RGA), wounded; died (of pneumonia) in Italy.

Captain Bullivant’s Death

One day last September, his unit, the 1st Middlesex Yeomanry, was holdig a line of out-posts in Palestine, when a Turkish column was reported to be moving across the front. He rode forward with an orderly to reconnoitre, sending his trumpeter back with orders for the squadron to follow. When they did, however, they at once came under fire, and had to go into action (no doubt dismounted), without having see him or being able to gather which way he had gone in the tangle of ridges and valleys; and the engagement continued for some hours, finishing up in the dark, miles from where it began. Search was made for him early next morning, and a patrol brought in his body. He had been shot through the head, and “must have come right on to them when he galloped over the ridge”, writes his subaltern. His orderly had had his horse shot, and could not himself be traced at the time of writing. A gallant death: but a sad loss to his family and to this parish, in which he took great intrest, and in whose affairs we hoped he was destined to play an active part. He was a Rugby and Cambridge man.

Lieut. Alfred Searies has made a wonderful recovery, and been home on leave. He was buried and damaged while occupying a “pill-box”, and only recovered consciousness five days later in hospital. His MC has been duly awarded him.

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

“Surely he has earned his discharge!”

oMaidenhead men had mixed fortunes, but some had returned home after severe wounds.

At the time of writing, Reginald Hill is in Ireland, waiting for decision of his medical board concerning his future. Surely he has earned his discharge! John Bolton, Percy Lewis, Harry Baldwin, Ernest Mead, and George Frampton, have been home on leave, all in sound health and good spirits. Ernest Bristow is at the Red Cross Hospital, Marlow Road, suffering from a slight set-back in the healing process. David Dalgliesh is expecting to return any day to active service in France. Ernest Saunders has been discharged. He received an injury to his skull in some blasting operations in Italy. Alex Edwards is out of hospital, and is back to his old post.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Home to train for a Commission after three years active service

There was news of some Maidenhead soldiers.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Harold Islip is home to train for a Commission. He is to join a Cadet Corps, and hope to enter the R.G.A. He has had three years of active service.

Reginald Hill and Ernest Bristow are still at Cliveden.

John Bolton has been transferred from Egypt to France.

Alec Edwards is at a hospital in the Isle of Wight, suffering from a heart complaint. His condition a few weeks ago seemed critical, but we are glad to know that he has taken a favourable turn.

A.J. Lane is home on furlough, after 14 months absence. He is looking bronzed and well.

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, September 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

We must still wait patiently for this terrible war to end

Maidenhead Congregational Church kept in close touch with the young men it had sent to the war.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are very sorry indeed to record that Ernest Bristow, whose wounding we reported in November, was more seriously injured than we knew, and that his leg has been amputated above the knee. His arm, too, was badly hurt, though there seems every hope of a recovery for that. He is now at the Ontario, Canadian Red Cross, Hospital, Orpington, Kent. Mr. and Mrs. Bristow spent their Christmas holiday in that neighbourhood.

Reginald Hillis still awaiting his final operation, and we shall all rejoice with him when he is successfully past the last of the wearisome series.

Robert Bolton is in Hospital at Newcastle-on-Tyne, suffering from skin trouble.

Ben Gibbons and David Dalgliesh have been home on leave.

The Christmas letters and parcels sent out in the name of the Church were evidently keenly appreciated by our boys, and many letters of gratitude have already been received. Here are a few extracts.

“Just a few lines to thank you for that glorious parcel which the Church so kindly sent me, and which I enjoyed immensely. At the time of receiving it we were in the line, and were having a warm time, and I could not have it then, but when the trouble was all over, I set to and enjoyed it all the more.”

“Thank you very much indeed! And we boys do not forget to be thankful, too, for all the lessons we have learned at our Church.”

“It was with a good deal of pleasure that I received your letter. I am sure we derive immense help from our prayers and thoughts of those at home.”

“Thank you for the Christmas greeting! It is very nice to feel that we are still in your thoughts, especially those who are farthest away.”

“Please thank the Church for the very welcome parcel. Last year I expressed a hope that this terrible war would be over before now, but we must still wait patiently. Meanwhile, it is a great comfort to know that the Church is thinking of us and praying for us.”

“Will you be good enough to tender my heartiest thanks to all those good people responsible for the sending of the package I received yesterday? It is exceedingly kind, and I am sure I will be appreciated by us all.”

“Will you please convey my best thanks to the Church for the most acceptable parcel and message received. My thoughts are often with you all.”

And one of the boys sends us a rhyme, with which we may conclude this short series of extracts:-

“Though I’m only one of millions
Doing bots for Freedom’s fame,
You, I know, will keep a corner,
In your heart to hold my name;
And amid this world-wide welter,
With its terrors, blood and shame,
All my thoughts this Christmas centre
Back to you, and mem’ries frame;
Memories that from our war’s darkness,
Peace and happiness proclaim.”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, January 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all

The vicar of Earley issued a reproach to those at home not supporting the war but behaving with only their own interest at heart.

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends

Winter is fast coming upon us and during the cold and wet days and nights our thoughts naturally go forth to our men fighting for us at the front; and when we think of them and all they have to endure, how can we grumble, as many are grumbling, at the increasing difficulty of obtaining many of the necessaries of life, and how can we be self-indulgent and wasteful, as so many are, in spite of all appeals for economy.

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all; we have hardly yet felt its real pinch, and if all will but share alike, there is no need why we should feel it to a greater extent than we do at present. We are not speaking of Reading or any part of it, for we believe that Reading as a whole has set a very good example, but there are always some people who think only of themselves, and the appeals from the authorities show that the need for self-denial is very great.

We heartily congratulate Mr Sarjeant, our people’s churchwarden, on being elected for a second time to fill the office of Mayor of the borough; he has carried out his arduous duties to the satisfaction of all, and Mrs Sarjeant has ably helped him as Mayoress: may it fall to her lot this coming year to preside at our town’s celebration of peace….

Your friend and vicar
W W Fowler

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

your prayers are asked
For the Irish Convention and the maintenance throughout our own country of the spirit of unity.
For the upholding of the courage and determination of the Allies.
For those suffering from raids…

C. OXON.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

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

Frank Hamblin, Frederick Argent, John Bolton, Frederick Winkworth, Albert Neill, George Bolton, Reginald Taylor, Herbert Guy, Albert May, William Allen.

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

SICK OR WOUNDED – George Cane, John Rosser, Harold Jones, Harry Rixon, Victor Gaines.

MISSING – Norman Black.

KILLED – Leonard Dann, Allan Smit, Frederick Nunn.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

The whole gamut of human emotion

The emotional toll of supporting loved ones at the front was beginning to tell in Maidenhead. One imagines the tears in church – but every now and then there was joy amidst the sorrow.

OUR ROLL OF HONOUR

The Minister has not for some time past read from the pulpit the list of our soldiers, because the strain upon the feelings of the more closely related friends was too great. This month there is space to spare in our columns, and we therefore print the list.

Five of our lads have fallen:

Harold Fisher …Royal Berks.
Duncan Wilson …A.S.C.
Robert Harris …8th Royal Berks.
Stephen Harris …3rd Royal Berks.
John Boyd …2nd Royal Berks.

Two have been discharged:

James Partlo …4th Royal Berks.
E.S. Mynett …Recruiting Sergeant

Forty-nine are still in the Army:

Cyril Hews …Royal Engineers
F.W. Harmer …Royal Berks.
W. Percy Pigg …A.S.C.
Cyril Laker …K.O. Scottish Borderers.
Reginald Hill …2nd Royal Berks.
Robert Anderson …4th Royal Berks.
John Bolton …23rd London.
Thomas Mulford …Royal Engineers.
J.O. Wright …8th Royal Berks.
George E. Dovey …9th Royal Berks.
Percy Lewis …R.A.M.C.
Arthur Rolfe …R.F.A.
Ernest Bristow …R.A.M.C.
Harold Islip …R.E.
Edward Howard …A.S.C.
George Belcher …R.E.
Horace Gibbons …11th Aus. Light Horse.
J. Quincey …A.S.C.
Donovan Wilson …A.S.C.
Aubrey Cole …A.S.C.
W.H. Clark …A.S.C.
Cecil Meade …A.S.C.
Benjamin Gibbons …6th Royal Berks.
David Dalgliesh …R.F.C.
Hugh Lewis …R.E.
H. Partlo …A.S.C.
Herbert Brand …8th Royal Berks.
George Phillips …A.S.C.
J Herbert Plum …R.E.
Wilfred Collins …Canadian Dragoons.
Alex. Edwards …R.F.A.
William Norcutt …A.S.C.
George Norcutt …R.E.
Victor Anderson …R.A.M.C.
Herbert G. Wood …R.E.
C.A.S. Vardy …R.E.
A. Lane …R.E.
Frank Pigg …R.F.C.
Leonard Beel …R.E.
P.S. Eastman …R.N.A.S.
A. John Fraser …A.S.C.
Charles Catliff …R.E.
Ernest A. Mead …7th Devonshires.
Robert Bolton …R.M.L.I
Frank Tomlinson …R.E.
George Ayres …L.E.E.
Thomas Russell …A.S.C.
G.C. Frampton …A.S.C.
W.J. Baldwin …Royal Navy.

In addition there are many who have passed through our Sunday School and Institute, but have not recently been in close connection with us. These also we bear upon our hearts, and bring in prayer before the Throne of Grace.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to say that Reginald Hill is still going forward, and that he is able to walk a little with the aid of sticks. He has now been at the Sheffield Hospital between five and six months. His parents are spending their holiday at Sheffield.

Robert Bolton has gone over with his Company to France.

Wilfred Collins is in Hospital at Sulhamstead, still suffering from heart trouble.

Sidney Eastman is at Mudros, doing clerical work.

David Dalgliesh has been home on leave, in the best of health and spirits.

GOOD NEWS!

In our last number we spoke of the fact that the son of Mr. Jones, of Marlow, was “missing,” and that all hope that he was still living had been relinquished. But the unexpected has happened, and news has been received that Second-Lieutenant Edgar Jones is an unwounded prisoner in the hands of the Germans. His parents have surely run through the whole gamut of human emotion during these weeks.

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

Four Earley men killed in action

More news of Earley men:

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following names have been added to our prayer list:

Frederick Parsons, Victor Phelps, Gordon Turner, Ernest Phillips, Fred Elliott, George Polden, Cecil Ludlow, Oscar Mount.

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

KILLED IN ACTION: Leonard Leaver, Walter Reeve, Charles Bolton, William Mears.

SICK: Walter Hayward, William Durman, William Hewett, George Polden.

WOUNDED: Tom Durman, Horace Stamp, William Childs, George Slaughter, Albert Hiscock, Alfred Still, Charles Seely.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

“We shall all do our best to keep our end up until the happy day when he can once more return”

The leader of the Church Lads’ Brigade in Earley, a wounded soldier, had recovered sufficiently to join the Army Service Corps, while some of the group’s former members had been killed or wounded.

CLB

We are once again – let us hope for only a short time – losing our Adjutant, Captain C J O’Leary, who has joined the MTASC.

Since his discharge after being wounded at the Battle of the Aisne, Captain O’Leary has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the work of the Battalion, as well as working up his own St Peter’s Earley Company to a high state of efficiency, and we shall miss him terribly. Our very best wishes will go with him wherever he may be sent, and we shall all do our best to keep our end up until the happy day when he can once more return to us.

We greatly regret to say that two more of our first members have been killed in action, Leonard Leaver and Charles Bolton, and we would express our deepest sympathy with their relatives in their sorrow. RIP.

We tender our heartiest congratulations on being awarded the Military Medal. As we are going to press we hear that Sergeant Seely is seriously wounded and are anxiously awaiting further news.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

The army continues to make its demands upon our young men

Maidenhead Congregational Church had news of its young men serving their country.

OUR SOLDIER LADS.

The army continues to make its demands upon our young men. George Ayres has joined the ranks of the London Electrical Engineers, and his friend Harry Baldwin is on the point of assuming khaki. P.S. Eastman sailed for the East on February 13th, and was delighted to discover Arthur Ada upon the same boat. Robert Bolton is in the R. M. Light Infantry. Arthur Rolfe has been promoted to corporal. Alfred Vardy has been moved to Southampton. Ernest Bristow went over to France at the end of January. Cecil Meade has arrived at Salonika.

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

Praying it may please God soon to grant us a just and lasting peace

The young men of Earley who had graduated from the Scouts and Church Lads’ Brigade in the decade before the war to serving their country overseas were not forgotten at home.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE AND CHURCH SCOUTS

January 29th was the ninth anniversary of the enrolment of St Peter’s Earley Company of the CLB, and December 17th the seventh of our Patrol of Scouts. At the Corporate Communion on Sunday, January 21st, the long list of names of past and present members who are serving in His Majesty’s Forces was read out and special prayers offered on their behalf.

Since our last anniversary two more of our first members have been killed in action, Percy Howlett and Alfred Bolton, and another, Frank Snellgrove, reported wounded and missing. We offer our deepest sympathy to their relatives and friends…

We know many of our comrades past and present are regular readers of this magazine, so we take this opportunity of sending them our very best wishes and earnest prayers that it may please God soon to grant us a just and lasting peace and that they, our members who are serving, may be safely restored to us.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Pray for the good hand of God upon us in the war

More Earley men had joined up, while churchgoers across the county were urged to pray for army chaplains.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE
The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the October Diocesan magazine:
Your prayers are specially asked

For the National Mission….
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the chaplains to the forces, especially those from this diocese.
For the wounded in hospital, especially those in this diocese, and those who minister to them…
For the supply of candidates for Holy orders, especially from among those now serving as soldiers.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

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

William Waite, William Wright, Harry Cartwright, James Maxwell, Edwin Jerome, Harold White, Lionel Dunlop, Brian Dunlop, William Illsley, Albert Flower, Tom Brooks, Harry Shepherd, Albert Andrews, Robert Lewis, Harry Longshaw, Horace Gilbert, George Stacey, Maurice Love.

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

Killed: Alfred Bolton, Percy Howlett, Ralph Hayes Sadler.
Died: Harry Stevens.
Wounded: Jack Howlett, Percy Hamilton, George Bungay, Sidney Saunders, Leonard Rixon, Frank Jones.
Sick: William Fisher, Sidney Farmer.

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)

Special prayers for members serving in HM Forces

Members of a church group remembered members serving in the armed forces.

GUILD OF ST PETER

The September Devotional Meeting of the Guild took place on Thursday the 14th, in Church…

Special prayer was offered on behalf of those members serving in His Majesty’s Forces, viz:

Alfred James Wilson, Frederick Goodyer, Owen Lewington, Albert Harry Spratley, Douglas Clarke, Albert Ballard, and Albert Brown; also on behalf of Alfred Bolton who has been killed in action (R.I.P.)

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)