Arrest of escaped German Prisoners of War

The Standing Joint Committee heard how Berkshire policemen had helped to recapture escaped PoWs.

5 October 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE’S REPORT

Arrest of Escaped German Prisoners of War

Two German Prisoners of War, who escaped from Bramley Camp on 4 September, were arrested at Woolhampton by PC 117, Brooks, assisted by Special Constable Charles Taplin and two civilians.

Another, who escaped from the same Camp on 5 September, was captured by PC 64, Holloway, at Maidenhead Thicket.

The War Office Authorities, to mark their appreciation of the services rendered, sent a reward of £5, viz £1 for each of the Constables and civilians who assisted, and I have, under the circumstances, allowed them to receive the same.
Approved.

PC 158 Giles Rejoining Force

PC 158, Giles, who joined the Army on 6 December 1915, under the terms of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, has been discharged from the Army as medically unfit for further military service in consequence of his left wrist being injured by a gunshot wound.

He rejoined the Force on 1 September, 1918, and has been given indoor work for the present, on the understanding that he will be medically re-examined in three months’ time by the Police Surgeon to see of there is any probability of his being fit for further Police duty.
Approved.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Newbury’s Roll of Honour: Part 1

So many men from Newbury had been killed that the list to date had to be split into several issues of the church magazine. Part 1 was published in March 1918.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Copied and supplied to the Parish magazine by Mr J W H Kemp

1. Pte J H Himmons, 1st Dorset Regt, died of wounds received at Mons, France, Sept. 3rd, 1914.
2. L-Corp. H R Ford, B9056, 1st Hampshire Regt, killed in action between Oct. 30th and Nov 2nd, 1914, in France, aged 28.
3. L-Corp. William George Gregory, 8th Duke of Wellington’s Regt, killed in action Aug.10th, 1915, aged 23.
4. Charles Thomas Kemp Newton, 2nd Lieut., 1st Yorkshire Regt, 1st Batt., killed in action June 3rd, 1914 [sic], at Ypres.
5. 2nd Lieut. Eric Barnes, 1st Lincolnshire Regt, killed in action at Wytcheak, All Saints’ Day, 1914, aged 20. RIP.
6. G H Herbert, 2nd Royal Berkshire Regt, killed at Neuve Chapelle, 10th March, 1915.
7. Pte J Seymour, 7233, 3rd Dragoon Guards, died in British Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, Dec. 8th, 1914, aged 24.
8. Pte H K Marshall, 2/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action in France July 13th, 1916.
9. Pte F Leslie Allen, 2nd East Surrey Regt, killed in action May 14th, 1915, aged 19.
10. Pte Harold Freeman, 6th Royal Berks, died of wounds, Sept. 6th, 1916.
11. Joseph Alfred Hopson, 2nd Wellington Mounted Rifles, killed in action at Gallipoli, August, 1915.
12. Sergt H Charlton, 33955, RFA, Somewhere in France. Previous service, including 5 years in India. Died from wounds Oct. 1916, aged 31.
13. Harry Brice Biddis, August 21st, 1915, Suvla Bay. RIP.
14. Algernon Wyndham Freeman, Royal Berks Yeomanry, killed in action at Suvla Bay, 21st August, 1915.
15. Pte James Gregg, 4th Royal Berks Regt, died at Burton-on-Sea, New Milton.
16. Eric Hobbs, aged 21, 2nd Lieut. Queen’s R W Surrey, killed in action at Mamety 12th July, 1916. RIP.
17. John T Owen, 1st class B, HMS Tipperary, killed in action off Jutland Coast May 31st, 1916, aged 23.
18. Ernest Buckell, who lost his life in the Battle of Jutland 31st May, 1916.
19. Lieut. E B Hulton-Sams, 6th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, killed in action in Sanctuary Wood July 31st, 1915.
20. Pte F W Clarke, Royal Berks Regt, died July 26th, 1916,of wounds received in action in France, aged 23.
21. S J Brooks, AB, aged 24, drowned Dec. 9th, 1915, off HMS Destroyer Racehorse.
22. Pte George Smart, 18100, 1st Trench Mortar Battery, 1st Infantry Brigade, killed 27th August, 1916, aged 27.
23. Color-Sergt-Major W Lawrence, 1/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action at Hebuterne, France, February 8th, 1916.
24. Pte H E Breach, 1st Royal Berks Regt, died 5th March, 1916.
25. Pte Robert G Taylor, 2nd Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds received in action in France November 11th, 1916.
26. Alexander Herbert Davis, Pte. Artists’ Rifles, January 21st, 1915.
27. Rfn C W Harvey, 2nd KRR, France, May 15th, 1916.
28. 11418, Rfn S W Jones, Rifle Brigade, France, died of wounds, May 27th, 1916.
29. Alfred Edwin Ellaway, sunk on the Good Hope November 1st, 1914.
30. Guy Leslie Harold Gilbert, 2nd Hampshire Regt, died in France August 10th, 1916, aged 20.
31. Pte John Gordon Hayes, RGA, died of wounds in France, October 4th, 1917.
32. Pte F Breach, 1st Royal Berks, 9573, died 27th July, 1916.
33. L-Corp C A Buck, 12924, B Co, 1st Norfolk Regt, BCF, died from wounds received in action at Etaples Aug. 3rd, 1916.
34. Pte Brice A Vockins, 1/4 Royal Berks, TF, killed in action October 13th, 1916.
35. Edward George Savage, 2nd Air Mechanic, RFC, died Feb. 3rd, 1917, in Thornhill Hospital, Aldershot.
36. Percy Arnold Kemp, Hon. Artillery Co, killed in action October 10th, 1917.
37. Pte G A Leather, New Zealand Forces, killed in action October 4th, 1917, aged 43.
38. Frederick George Harrison, L-Corp., B Co, 7th Bedford Regt, killed in action in France July 1st, 1916; born August 7th, 1896.
39. Sapper Richard Smith, RE, killed in action at Ploegsturt February 17th, 1917.
40. L-Corp. Albert Nailor, 6th Royal Berks, killed in action July 12th, 1917.
41. Frederick Lawrance, aged 20, killed in action November 13th, 1916.
42. Pte R C Vince, 1st Herts Regt, killed in action August 29th, 1916, aged 20.
43. Pte Albert Edward Thomas, King’s Liverpool’s, killed in action November 30th, 1916.
44. Pte A E Crosswell, 2nd Batt. Royal Berks Regt, killed February 12th, 1916.
(To be continued.)

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

Back to school

Two war heroes visited their old primary school when home on leave.

September 21st 1917.
Visited by two old boys who have received the military medal, Sergeant J. Ferguson and Lance Corporal F. Brooks.

Crowthorne C.E. School log book (D/P102B/28/3, p. 15)

“The soldiers are in dire need of comfort both physical and spiritual”

A Congregational minister from east Reading had spent the winter with the YMCA, working with British troops in France.

VISIT OF REV. LEONARD BROOKS

The minister of Park Congregational Church, Reading, paid us his first visit on the 23rd of May, when he gave to a splendid congregation part of the story of his experiences with the troops in France during the winter. Mr Brooks told the incidents with great feeling and force, and revealed to us in striking fashion the need there was for religion to be manifested as a very practical thing.

What we heard of his work among the relatives of the wounded and the dying was most interesting, and to many of us it was a section of YMCA enterprise of which no thought had ever been held. We imagine quite readily that the soldiers are in dire need of comfort both physical and spiritual, but that there should be poignant sorrow among the wives and mothers had very rarely occurred to us as calling for the special labours of the YM.

Mr Brooks did not dwell altogether on the grave side of the matter; there were tales of much merriment, of muddled recipes, failing lights, pilgrimages up and down long flights of steps, etc, which kept us from taking the more serious aspect of the war too seriously. We felt much indebted to Mr Brooks for coming over to open out to us a new side of things, as well as for going to France at all, and we hope that his labours over there are resulting in a greater acceptance of the higher things in which he ministered.

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, July 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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)

Men from Reading St Mary

More Reading men were serving.

Roll of Honour
Additional names, S. Mary’s District

Frederick Day, Leonard Day, Frederick George Taylor, Frederick Eggleton, George Critcher, Thomas Critcher, Albert Humphries, William Barnes, Robert Hester, Albert Jennings, Charles Gould, Keith Long, Ernest Dunk, William George Bennett, George Brooks, William Russell Hall (wounded), Arthur Brill, Walter Long, Walter Taylor, Reuben Potter, Hubert Hunt, Peter Barmby (wounded), William Green (rejoined after discharge).

R.I.P.
Harry Brown.

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

A splendid programme

Thatcham parishioners entertained local soldiers with a concert on 18 January 1916.

Soldiers’ Concert.
Much praise is due to the ladies who so kindly rendered such a splendid programme on the 18th inst. There seemed to be an endless source of talent, which made it hard to discriminate between good and very good. Much appreciation was shown of Mr. Fyfield’s merry band of musicians, who are now eagerly looked forward to at concerts. Misses Wyatt and Brooks gave songs from their repertoires, and the choruses were eagerly taken up by the men. Mr. Lane gave two of his delightful character studies, and in one of them made people feel they were back in Ireland about 40 years ago. During the interval light refreshments were handed round, and that which was not eaten then was immediately pocketed for another time. The concert closed with God Save the King. It is to be hoped that this is only one of the series of happy evenings which will be much needed whilst the evenings remain dark.

Thatcham parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P130/28A/1)

“In some parishes practically all the available men have gone”

A forgotten group who contrtibuted to the war effort were the navvies – the despised railway labourers who put their digging skills to use making trenches. Their contribution was brought to the attention of the parish of Newbury St Nicolas.

We want some more men for the Choir: if there are no young men left, are there any old ones who can sing? We also want some more servers, as several have joined the Forces. These difficulties are not peculiar to our parish: in some parishes practically all the available men have gone.

There will be a meeting of the Missionary Guild on Tuesday night, January 11th, at 8.15 pm, when an address will be given by one of the Missionaries on behalf of the Navvy Mission – 2 vs, mind. This Mission is doing excellent work among the men, and we hope there will be a good attendance of members. A large number of navvies are, or have been, at the Front digging ditches for the troops, so that the work of the Mission should have a special interest for us at this time.

We desire to offer our sympathy to Mrs Parsons, of Brixton Rise, who has lost her husband at the war, and also to Mrs Brooks, of 12 Adey’s Buildings, and for many years a member of the Parish Room Mothers’ Meeting, whose sailor son has been accidently [sic] drowned from a destroyer. These losses are most grievous, and are a continual call to us all for sympathy and intercession. May God watch over all our brave sailors and soldiers during the coming year, and grant us in His Mercy Victory and Peace.

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

A minister ‘called to do his own “little bit” for our young men at the war’

The minister of Trinity Congregational Church in Reading felt called to follow the young men from his flock who had joined up, by taking service as a nonconformist army chaplain.

This year has also seen the departure of a number of Trinity Boys from the training camps of the old country to their posts of danger and fierce conflict at the Front. No doubt their numbers will be largely increased in the coming months. We are all one in our constant prayers for their safety, and for their friends that they may have divinely-given courage and patience to “keep the home fires burning” against the longed-for day of their return. Our Forward movement, which has already meant so much to many of us, will mean yet more as the new days bring new tests and fresh opportunities for showing that we recognise in the call that came to us our master’s voice, summoning each and all to greater sacrifices and deeper devotion to the sacred cause committed to our charge. Surely there was never a time when the things that Trinity stands for were more urgently needed, or when it was better worth while to give up precious time and put forth one’s best strength, for the great work’s sake.

The Pastor of Trinity little thought, when he delivered his message on that Sunday morning in October, how soon the call, – or rather how soon the opportunity would come for him to do his own “little bit” for our young men at the war. But the call was clear, and the response of the Church to his request for freedom to answer it was so hearty and unanimous, that it would have been removed from his mind any shadow of doubt (had such existed) as to his duty. At the time of writing he expects to cross the channel on or about Wednesday, December 29th. At Calais he hopes to meet at least one of our Boys. From thence he expects to be sent after a few weeks to a destination “somewhere in France.”

He goes with a glad heart, rejoicing in the chance that has come to him, and in the wealth of goodwill and prayerful thoughts that he knows go with him, and in the knowledge that the work at home is in the hands to which of all others he could most willingly and confidently leave it. He relies on his friends at Trinity to support Mr. Brooks with the same unfailing sympathy and loyal co-operation that have made his own ministry during the last three years so full of joy and blessing for himself. He goes in the confident expectation that when he returns at the end of March or beginning of April he will find that the work has indeed gone forward in his absence.

That will certainly happen is only each member and friend of our cause will bear in mind these parting words of exhortation:-

Be in your place at the main services of the Church with, if possible, more than your usual regularity. Put all the old zeal, and a bit extra, into that particular bit of work that belongs to you. If ever, when service time comes, you feel, slack and that amr-chair starts pulling, consider what would happen if other folks all yielded to the same impulse. When the little voice whispers, “You will not be missed,” ask yourself, “Is that really true, honour bright?” But if so, whose fault is that? Before ever you start to Church, go first to your own room, and pray that God will bless the coming service to yourself and to others. If you can bring someone else with you, do. You never know what good you may be doing in that way. If ever you, or any other member known to you, should be ill or in trouble, let Mr. Brooks know at once. Don’t take for granted that someone else will tell him. Tell him yourself, and so make sure. Do your part in making any strangers within our gates welcome to Trinity. Never let a day pass without at least one prayer for God’s mercy to rest on Trinity, on those who worship there, and on your absent Pastor. Be sure that he needs your prayers, and that if he knows you as belonging to Trinity, he will never be too busy, even in France, to pray for you.

Trinity Congregational Church magazine, January 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

“Rather too much” for a hero

A chance encounter at church with a soldier friend on leave gave Florence Vansittart Neale more news of life at the Front. The man awarded the VC was probably Sergeant Oliver Brooks from Midsomer Norton, Somerset. By coincidence, though, there is a Berkshire connection, because he moved to Windsor after the war, where he worked at the White Hart Hotel, and is buried there. (See the link for more about him.)

31 October 1915

Church early… Church again… Harry Paine there, back for 4 days. Not moving much in his part, only keeping the line while the French move on. Michael came – amusing experiences of fellow officers!…
King decorated VC man in ambulance train. Rather too much for him.

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

Asking after the Bisham boys

As the wife of an old-fashioned benevolent landlord and employer, Florence Vansittart Neale visited tenants to ask about their sons at the Front. She was also aware of the case of George Watson Smyth, heir to Wadhurst Castle in Sussex, being nursed at Highclere. He was to have his leg amputated.

1 October 1915

Called on Horner, Howard, Paine, Steptoe, Brooks & Simmonds – enquire after boys. Rumour Bob Paine killed. William Randall died – overworked.

Girls & I took Moll home – round by Wargrave to leave French flags….

George Watson Smyth at Highclere Hospital. Foot shattered.

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

Greatly missed: Longworth mourns its dead – and Charney sees new recruits

Longworth and Charney remembered their soldiers:

The men from this village who are serving their country as sailors and soldiers are prayed for by name every Friday at the intercession service in church at 3:30. How glad we should be to have yet more of their friends join us there in prayer for them, and for our nation and all concerned.

ROLL OF HONOUR
Private Lewis Brooks – killed in action
Private Henry Timms – killed in action
Lewis Brooks has lived in Longworth all his life, and will be greatly missed. He and his wife were confirmed lately and made their communions in this Church in July, so short a time before he was recalled to his regiment.
Henry Timms had only been in the parish a short time, since his marriage. To both families we desire to express our most sincere sympathy.

Of Longworth men at the Front the following have been wounded: John Loader, Corporal W. Hutt, Albert Adams, Richard Painton, John Leach, but they are now either back at the Front or recovering at home. Albert Hobbs has been made Lance-corporal, and John Porter Colour-Sergeant, both in Kitchener’s Army. We shall be very glad of any further particulars for next month’s magazine.

CHARNEY
James Douglas (Territorial Reserves), Albert John Haines (Territorial Reserves) and William Sergeant (Army Service Corps) are among those who have recently joined the Army. Our prayers and good wishes go with them.

Longworth parish magazine, April 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/4)

Few Belgian refugees settle in the countryside

The parishioners of Longworth and Charney Bassett continued to support the war effort:

We desire to express our deep sympathy with Mrs Timms, whose husband has been “killed in action,” and with Mrs Lewis Brooks and the whole family in their prolonged anxiety and suspense. Corporal W. Hutt, Privates Albert Adams and John Loder, who were wounded, have happily recovered, and are now, we believe, on their way back to the Front, where our prayers follow them. Some more men have volunteered for service but they have not yet (at the time of going to press) been passed, we will reserve their names for the February Magazine. We heartily congratulate them on their decision. It is a great pleasure to welcome back to Longworth from time to time, such of our recruits as are able to get leave. For the most part they look in excellent health and spirits.

Longworth has been anxious to do its duty towards the Belgium refugees. A meeting was called to discuss the matter. It was agreed that it would probably be better to offer to support a family in Oxford rather than to get one to live in Longworth. The following quotation from the Oxford Secretary’s letter will show that the decision was a wise one:-

Thank you very much for your kind offer from Longworth village to provide for a Belgium [sic] Family in Oxford. It is exactly the kind of offer we most appreciate. I am afraid you would find great difficulty in making a family happy in the country in the winter, all the Belgians appear to be townspeople, and very few settle down in the country here. We are having a great deal of rearranging and resettling families here just now, and your offer will help us very much with our plans.

It is proposed that we should undertake to provide for a family for three months. The time to be prolonged later if it is found advisable. Offers of help have been received ranging from 6d to £1 a week for this time. A paper will be put somewhere in the village on which further subscriptions and donations may be entered; or they may be sent direct to Miss Crum (who is acting as Treasurer) or to Mrs Illingworth. One of the boxes in Church will also be devoted to this purpose. Any sums, however small, will be most acceptable. Vegetables, fruit and flowers may be sent to the Oxford Belgian Relief Committee, Ruskin College.

CHARNEY
The school girls have worked a number of socks, mittens, cuffs and scarves for the benefit of the sailors on board H.M.S. Antrim which is in the North Sea. The school children have also subscribed the sum of 10s towards the Belgian Relief Fund.

Longworth parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/1)

Longworth recruits include a woman

The people of Longworth who had remained at home were keen to support the war, while others had volunteered to serve – including one woman, at the Front with the Red Cross. The parish magazine reports:

Mr. Moon’s Ambulance Lectures were so much appreciated that they are (we believe) to be repeated. Miss Bartlett’s Nursing Lectures are also admirable, and the attendance from thirty to thirty-three proves that they are valued.

We give below a complete list, so far as we possess it, of the Longworth men who are serving their country in the Navy or the Army. If any corrections or additions are necessary, please send them to the Rectory as soon as possible.

Navy: George Painton, John Richings, Oscar Wilcox, Frederick Thatcher (Recruit).

Soldiers at the Front: Capt. Fitzwilliams, Lewis Brooks, Henry Timms, John Loder, Ernest Godfrey, Gilbert Beechy, William Hutt (Corporal, wounded), Reginald Harris, Albert Adams (wounded), Henry Newport, Herbert Hughes, John Leach (wounded), Richard Painton, James Hale, Mary Wilson (Red Cross).

Soldiers not yet at the Front: Major Crum, Charles Painton (Colour-Sergeant), Percy Painton (Quartermaster-Sergeant), Ewen Truman, Tom Sollis, John Hale, Walter Henley, James Webb, Harry Webb, Edward Webb.

Recruits: Edward Tyrhwitt-Drake, Herbert Wilson, Albert Hobbs (Lance-Corporal), John Porter (Corporal), Fred Heath, Ernest Ridge, William Pimm, George Pimm, Albert Pimm, Headley Luckett, John Rivers, Percy Butler, Alfred Leach, Harry Clarke, James Floyd, Vincent Adams, Robert Ashfield, Raymond Hobbs, Arthur Henley, Stephen Pike, and (although he is no longer with us in Longworth) Frank Knowles (Sergeant).

There is a Service of Intercession for all engaged in, or suffering through the War, on Fridays, at 3:30, in the Church.

Longworth parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P83/28A/9)

The people of Longworth and Charney support the war effort

Many young men from Longworth and Charney Bassett had answered the call and joined the armed forces. The Longworth parish magazine reports on these men, and what people at home could do to support them:

A poster calling upon us to remember in prayer our soldiers and sailors at the front, also the wounded, the prisoners and the bereaved, has been placed in the Church porch and elsewhere in the village. We hope it may be possible to ring the church bell at noon each day in order to remind us of this call. We shall be joining our prayers with thousands of others offered at the same time in every part of the country.

The names of men who are serving from this village are given, so far as we have been able to get them, below. They will also be found in the Church porch. Perhaps we could copy the list into our books of prayer, and so remember the men individually.

Soldiers- Henry Timms, John Loder, Ernest J. Godfrey, Lewis Brooks, Oscar Wilcox, Charles Truman, Charles Hammond, John K. L. Fitzwilliams.

Sailors- George Painton (North Sea), John Richings (China).

Recruits- Fred Heath, Ernest Ridge, George Pimm (Shorncliff), John Porter, Percy Butler, Alfred Leach, Harry Clarke, Hedley Luckett, Albert Hobbes, Francis John Rivers (Oxford), Richard Adams, Albert Pimm (Weymouth).

From Charney- George Shorter, George Wheeler, Ernest Franklyn.

In addition to the above, six have volunteered and been rejected as “medically unfit.” All honour to them notwithstanding, for they have done their best, and no man can do more. Will our readers be so kind as to help us to make this list complete.

CHARNEY
A service of Intercession on behalf of our soldiers and sailors engaged in the war is held each Wednesday at 7pm. The church bell is tolled a few times each day at noon as a call to private prayer on the same behalf. We should remember in our prayers the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, whose work is carried on chiefly in German territory. The sum of 7s. 8d. was collected in Church on Sunday, August 16, towards the Prince of Wales’ National Defence Fund.

Lady Hyde has kindly taken some “Quiet Afternoons” with the Charney mothers, and supplied them with material for making clothing for the soldiers and sailors.

Longworth parish magazine, October 1914 (D/P83/28A/9)