Vive l’Entente Cordiale!

A wealthy Frenchman living in Burghfield enmtertained wounded British soldiers on river trips. Georges Fiessinger – possibly the obscure artist of that name – married Gertrude Davidson in London in 1912. The couple later moved to Sussex.

More Water Trips for Wounded

A propos of the kind owners of the “Cecilia”, and their good work (see November magazine), it is pleasant to record the kindness shown last summer by our new neighbours at the Manor House, Mr and Mrs Fiessinger, to convalescent soldiers at Oxford. Having fitted out a good sized motor boat with cabins, etc, they took her up the Thames and made Oxford their headquarters, living on board her there for several months, during which time they took wounded soldiers from the War Hospitals daily for trips up and down the river. Mr Fiessinger is of a French family, and was rejected in France for military service, owing to a weak heart. This, however, as our readers will agree, has not affected its warmth, or his will to be of use, somehow, to his Allies, his wife’s native country. Vive l’Entente Cordiale!

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

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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)

An Exhibition of Soldiers’ Work

Wounded soldiers engaged in handicrafts in order to help their comrades.

The Reading War Hospitals Care and Comforts Committee hope to hold an Exhibition of Soldiers’ Work, and a Sale, on 4th December, in the Corn Exchange, Reading, to raise money for the funds. They hope to have stalls for all kinds of articles old and new, useful and ornamental, gifts suitable for Christmas presents, provisions, etc, and would be particularly grateful for articles of value. Gifts may be sent to Care and Comforts, 62, Minster Street.

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

Delightful excursions for the wounded

People gave according to their means – whether that was lending a luxury yacht or giving handcraft skills.

Colonel Sir Wyndham Murray’s Yacht “Cecilia”

The kindness shown by Sir Wyndham and Lady Murray towards our sick and wounded soldiers is perhaps not so well known as it ought to be. This is the fourth year in succession in which he has devoted his beautiful little vessel during the whole summer to the service of Netley Red Cross Hospital. She is a steam yacht of 200 tons, on the roll of the Royal Yacht Squadron, of which Sir Wyndham is a member. And daily, weather permitting, she has taken parties of patients, medical officers, or sisters, for trips on the Solent, from Southampton Water to Ryde, Cowes, &c. except in the matter of coal, which the Admiralty have supplied, the whole upkeep of the yacht and crew is borne by the generous owner: and no one enjoys the outings more than he and Lady Murray when they find themselves able to be present in person for a few days on board. The Cecilia has carried about 1,000 passengers each summer, and the Hospital authorities have often expressed their appreciation of the benefits conferred upon all who have taken part in these delightful excursions.

The boys attending the handicraft centre at Mrs Bland’s School, under Mr Stavely Bulford’s tuition, have made no less than 2,500 splints and surgical appliances between February, 1916, and August, 1918, besides other work. The demand for wooden appliances is diminishing, owing to introduction of other material, but the young workmen need have no doubt that their labour has not been in vain. Mr Bulford is resigning his appointment as Instructor under the Education Committee, as he wishes to take up honorary work in connection with the War Hospital Supplies Depot. We shall all be sorry to lose him.

Blackberries

School collections sent in: C of E School, 5 cwt, 17 ½ lbs; Mrs Bland’s, 2 cwt, 3 qr 14 lbs.

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

A very narrow escape

There was news of the fate of several men from Burghfield.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Temporary Captain G H B Chance, MGC, to be Assistant Instructor, graded for pay at Hythe rate.

Casualties

Captain R P Bullivant, MC (1st County of London Yeomanry), killed in action, in Palestine; 2nd Lt A Searies (Suffolk Regiment), severely wounded; Albert Bond (13th Royal Fusiliers), wounded last April; L Clarke (2/4th Royal Berks), wounded; Eric G Lamperd (London Regiment), prisoner; F J Maunder (Devon Regiment), wounded; Lance Corporal Percy Watts (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded; Lance Corporal Alfred West (Inniskilling Fusiliers), prisoner.

No details have yet been received about the lamented death of Captain Ritchie Bullivant, of which the whole parish will have heard with regret. It is hoped to give some fuller notice in a future magazine. Meanwhile his brother may be assured of general sympathy.

It is to be deplored that gallant Alfred Searies should have been seriously wounded, gunshot wounds in face and hand. He has, however, been able to be removed to hospital at Wimereux, so his mother may hope for the best. He had been doing duty for some time as acting captain; and we hear that he had also been recommended for the Military Cross, so he had been distinguishing himself before receiving his third wound.

2nd Lt G D Lake, ASC, MT, has lately had a very narrow escape from a shell bursting close to him and killing and injuring several men. We hope to see him safe and sound home for his approaching marriage, which is to take place (if he gets his expected “leave”) about mid-November.

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

At last the “cease fire” has sounded from end to end of the long front

The news was sinking in, even for the girls at the House of Mercy.

Burghfield

THE WAR

At last the “cease fire” has sounded from end to end of the long front; and the stern terms of Armistice have been perforce accepted by Germany, following on similar surrenders by Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria. With deep, heartfelt thankfulness to God, Who alone giveth victory, we rejoice, and trust that a just and lasting Peace will in due time follow. Meanwhile, if ever men may be proud of their race, we of the British Empire have that right. With men, with ships, with arms and munitions, with coal, with money, and by our high example, we Anglo-Saxons have indeed played our part. And terrible as our losses have been, we may now feel sure that they have not been in vain.

It was good to see the church nearly full at the Evening Service of humble thanksgiving, which was promptly arranged by the Rector on Tuesday, 12th November, the day after the Armistice was signed: and to feel the earnestness and unity of spirit which all showed, and which we hope will ever be with us in the parish in peace as well as in war.

Wargrave
Hare Hatch Notes

Thanks giving services. A large congregation assembled in the Mission Church, on Tuesday, November 12th, at 7 p.m., to render thanks to God for our glorious victory. It was a simple but yet most impressive service. The collection on behalf of the King’s Fund for disabled officers and men amounted to £2.

CSJB
12 November 1918

Choral Eucharist at 8.30 in thanksgiving for cessation of war. The Warden dispensed us from silence. The girls had a talking dinner & tea, & holiday in evening.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1918 (D/EX725/4); Wargrave parish magazine (D/P145/28A/31); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Very special efforts to be made shortly in the hopes that we are at least in sight of the end of the War

There was still a perceived need to raise money for munitions.

War Savings

The National War Savings Committee are arranging for very special efforts to be made shortly in the hopes that we are at least in sight of the end of the War, and in the confidence that we may reach it if only we do not relax now. There will be a “Guns Week” during which the aim of each Association will be to raise as nearly £5 per head of population (not of members) in War Bonds, War Savings Certificates, and Post Office Certificates combined – and a continuous offensive lasting until 30th September 1919, during which the object should be to secure that by that date five certificates per head of population (including the Guns Week ones) shall have been taken up. This only means about 6d per head per week. Details will be issued before long.

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

Those who go short will only have themselves to thank

Fuel for household heating was in ever shorter supply.

Fuel

Everybody who can do so is strongly advised to lay in as much wood as possible against the winter. The supply of coal will probably run short. Many people have already fetched a good deal of “top and lop” from the tree-felling on the common. But there must still be some which it is permitted to take, although so much has been actually burnt on the spot. This has seemed to be shocking waste at this time, when we are told to economise fuel in every way. But we understand that the ground has to be cleared for re-planting; and the Government (who are responsible – not the landowners, who have nothing to do with it) having allowed a certain time for removal of the best stuff, gave orders for the destruction of the remainder. Those who go short will only have themselves to thank.

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

Mentioned in the Gazette again

News of Burghfield men.

THE WAR

Honour
Lt-Col. H A Anderson, CMG, RAMC, again mentioned (Gazette of 3rd Sept.)

Casualties

W H Lay (Sapper RE), killed in action, August, 1918; Sidney Keep (1st Royal Berks), wounded, August, 1918.

Discharge
J S Rance (Royal Navy, HMS Rocket), 11th July, 1918, neurasthenia.

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

To help our Allies with some corn and implements &c, when they can get their land back again

Country people donated money for the reconstruction of occupied areas.

SOUTH BERKS ASSOCIATION

This Association embraces all parishes within the radius of six miles from Pangbourne, and it is agreed that the Show should be held early in October. We feel that as it is for the encouragement of Production of Food, and like the Burghfield and Sulhamstead Horticultural Show, we have no band &c, we are justified in holding it. Prizes will be given for Ploughing with Horses, Tractor Ploughing, Rick Building, Thatching, Milking, Length of Service, Shepherds’ Prizes, Horses, Cattle, Roots, Corn, Butter, Poultry and Eggs. We hope that Burghfield will come well to the front, and that several will come and see the Show.

We have just sent a donation of £10 10s 0d to the Relief of the Allies Fund, which is to help our Allies with some corn and implements &c, when they can get their land back again.

J.L.

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

Winter will come without fail and coal is urgently wanted

Coal was in ever shorter supply.

Coal

We have summer now, but winter will come without fail. And we are asked to use as little coal and coke as we can. Indeed, by the recent Coal Order, we are to be allowed considerably less than the amount which we have been in the habit of consuming. Nor is it at all certain that we shall be able to get even as much as the allowed amount, owing to shortage of production. Coal is urgently wanted in the War for our ships, for our troops’ comfort and conveyance at home and abroad, and for munition work in all its many forms. More than this, it is wanted for our Allies’ use in similar ways: and they will have to face the cold with a far shorter supply than ourselves. We must all, therefore, make provision for the winter in every other way we can. Fortunately, the devastation of the beautiful woods, now being affected in order to supply timber for War purposes, has its good side: and there are excellent opportunities of storing up large supplies of wood. We strongly advise everybody to do this as far as they possibly can. Those who can get peat will be wise to do so. And as to coal and coke, the Coal Controller urges all people with sufficient storage to get their full supplies as early as may be, that those who can only store small quantities, and must get coal often, and at short notice, may not be hindered in time of need.

Local Fuel Overseer

The parish may feel gratified that the Bradfield District Local Authority has had to come to Bradfield for its Fuel Overseer, and that Mr F T Wenman has been able to see his way to accept this important appointment. He has already held many posts, and rendered good service in the parish and district…. We wish him success in his new duties; and are sure that he will do his best to secure it.

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

These days of war taxation, war claims and war prices

Before the advent of the National Health Service a generation later, hospitals like the Royal Berkshire Hospital were a mixture of private, charitable and subscription-based. Subscribers paid an annual fee to ensure treatment if they needed it. But the war’s disruption of the economy put hospitals at risk.

ROYAL BERKS HOSPITAL

An Urgent Appeal

The hospital is in serious need of money. As times go on subscribers pass away. Their places are hard to fill in these days of war taxation, war claims and war prices. On the other hand, expenses rise. Special departments become necessary, operations cost more. All maintenance costs more. The number of patients grows. Altogether, increased support to the amount of £5000 is needed if the work is not to suffer.

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

Fruit and nuts in demand

The country wanted fruits and nuts to be collected.

COLLECTION OF FRUIT STONES AND NUTSHELLS

The National Salvage Council are most anxious to get as many of these as possible for the manufacture of a special charcoal for anti-gas masks.

Miss Edith Keevil, of Coley Park, Reading, has undertaken to receive and forward any amounts, large or small.

Last year’s stones (from jams, preserves, etc) are as good as this year’s. All hard fruit stones, including dates, and all hard nutshells, are good; but not green almonds, beech nuts, or fircones. Fruit stones should be kept separate from nutshells. They need not be washed, but should be well dried. Further particulars can be obtained at either Post Office.

COLLECTION OF BLACKBERRIES

So far as this is not being done by individual owners for their own use, this is being organized through the schools. Managers have power to grant occasional half holidays, and of course Saturdays can be used. Children, however, must not go wandering wherever they like without leave, and school parties are to work in organized gangs under their teachers, taking care to do no damage, and to close gates after them. All berries picked under this scheme must be reserved for Government use, and none may be sold. A payment of 3d per lb will be made to the children; and Head Teachers acting as local agents will be entitled to £3 per ton.

Braywick
10th September

Another attempt was made to-day to gather fruit, but a heavy storm came on, and school went on as usual.

Buscot
Sept. 10th

Older children taken out blackberrying in the afternoon; 44 pounds gathered, packed and sent to central agent.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1918 (D/EX725/4); Braywick CE School log book (C/EL65/4, p. 204); Buscot CE School log book (C/EL73/2)

1,200 feet below the level of the sea – but not submarined

News from two Burghfield men.

THE WAR

It is confirmed that Sergeant E Wigmore is a prisoner in German hands (see magazine for June).

A letter has been received from Captain Ritchie Bullivant, MC, written from a place 1,200 feet below the level of the sea. We are glad to say that this does not mean that our gallant neighbour has been “sub-marined”, but only that he is probably not far from the Dead Sea.

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

“Few workers have shown such a stout heart and cheerfulness under trials””

Burghfield women contributed to the national need as their talents offered. Olive Hockin (1881-1936) was a fervent suffragette with links to arson attacks. Her book was republished in 2016.

THE WAR

The Village Red Cross Working Party is in “full swing”, and much good work still continues to be done each week by the following members:

Mrs Appleton, Mrs Butler, Miss Bedford, Miss Brown, Miss Cullum, Miss Davidson, Mrs Evans, Mrs George, Mrs Groves, Miss Kent, Mrs Chamberlain, Mrs H Chamberlain, Mrs Lamperd, Mrs Marlow, Mrs Moore, Mrs Montague, Mrs Gray, Mrs Overton, Mrs Philpotts, Mrs Richards, Miss G Richards, Mrs Stroud, Mrs E Wise. Surely there are still more who would like to devote an hour and a half each Thursday afternoon to so good a cause.

We have pleasure in announcing the engagement of Miss Jolie B. Buck (grand-daughter of our honoured old friend and neighbour the late General Buck of the Hollies) to Captain James McCallum, of the Canadian Forestry Corps. Captain McCallum is probably going to France shortly, and the wedding will not take place for some time. Miss Buck is at present serving as a lady driver to the Forestry Corps at the Canadian Camp, Ufton.

“Two Girls on the Land – War Time on a Dartmoor Farm”, by Olive Hockin (Edward Arnold, 1918, 2s 6d). A record of a whole year’s work told with sympathy and directness. Few workers on a farm have shown such a stout heart and cheerfulness under trials as the authoress, Mrs Kirkwood’s daughter; and her Burghfield friends will find every page of her story interesting.

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