God’s wonderful deliverance of our own nation and the world from the tyranny of lawless force

The first Sunday after the Armistice was the occasion for services of thanksgiving across Berkshire.

Newbury

Monday, November 11th, St Martin’s Day, will for ever be remembered in the history of our country as the day on which the greatest of all wars came to an end, and the strongest and most ferocious of military nations confessed itself beaten. It has been a tremendous triumph for right and justice, and we have endeavoured to express our thankfulness to Almighty God, who has so signally vindicated His mighty power and has so wonderfully blessed our arms and those of our Allies. May we now as a nation and Empire prove ourselves more worthy of His goodness to us, and endeavour to work together to make the world a better, and therefore happier, world.

Thanksgiving Services were held at the Parish Church: on Tuesday morning [12 November], a celebration of the Holy Communion, when there were 88 communicants; on Wednesday afternoon [13 November], when the church was full; and the following Sunday [17 November]. There was also a United Thanksgiving Service in the Corn Exchange, under the presidency of the Mayor, on Sunday afternoon, when there must have been 2,000 people present, and when several hundred failed to gain admittance. Mr Liddle had got together a splendid orchestra for the occasion. May this spirit of thanksgiving remain with us, and may we not forget the spiritual lessons of the war.

The streets presented a very gay appearance, and there were processions (authorised and unauthorised) much to the delight of the young. All the fireworks possible to be obtained were let off in the streets, and one unexploded bomb was found inside the Churchyard gates, and handed over to the police. It appeared afterwards that another member of the Police Force had put it there for safety. We were very glad to see the excellent and sober spirit of the merry-makers. It was indeed an occasion for rejoicing with great joy.


Speenhamland

It was with feelings of profound thankfulness that we heard the Armistice had been signed. Our feelings were deeply stirred at the thought that at last this terrible War, which has oppressed us for over four years, was over, and that there were good prospects of a peace being signed, which we trust will be a righteous and lasting one. Our rejoicings took various shapes during the week, and culminated in our services in Church. We were glad to see many at the Celebrations and at other services; and it was a happy thought to hold a joint service in the Corn Exchange, which was crowded with a devout and reverent congregation. We shall long remember the sight of that vast audience.

Earley

Sunday, November 17, being the first Sunday after the declaration of peace, naturally was observed as a day of thanksgiving. The families of those on our roll of honour responded quickly to the invitation to send flowers, which were massed on the window shelf and corner where the roll hangs. The black oak was relieved by a magnificent display of colour, by flags hanging from the rood loft on the west side.

Reading

Such tremendous things have happened since the last issue of the Magazine that it is almost impossible adequately to express all we should like to say. On S. Martin’s Day, November 11th, about 11.15, came the great news of the signing of the Armistice, and the cessation of hostilities. At 12 o’clock at S. Marys a short impromptu Service of Thanksgiving was held which was attended by quite a number of the faithful. None of us will ever forget the crowded Civic Service held at S. Mary’s, on Wednesday November 13th, when the Mayor and corporation came in state to render solemn thanks to Almighty God for His wonderful deliverance of our own nation and the world from the tyranny of lawless force. Sunday, November 17th was observed as the special Day of Thanksgiving. At the Eucharist at 11 and at evensong at 6.30 the Church was fuller than it has ever been of late years. This is an encouraging sign that our people in in times of joy, as well as in times of trouble and distress, turn instinctively to God.

At 3.30 on the same Sunday the Church Lads’ Brigade came in full strength to S. Mary’s for their parade service; several Officers and Lads were admitted, and the address was given by the Rev. Edgar Rogers, Chaplain at C.L.B. Headquarters in London, who also preached at Evensong. It should be mentioned among the special features of the service of this great Sunday that a large and handsome silk Union Jack was carried in the Procession and also two laurel wreaths to which were tied bows of patriotic colours.

“Deo gratias.”


Broad Street Brotherhood

The Brotherhood held a great mass meeting on Sunday, November 17th, to celebrate, and give thanks for, the Armistice recently concluded with Germany.

Principal Childs of the Reading College [later Reading University] delivered a most impressive address on “The Responsibilities of Victory”, which gave us much food for thought, and left with the members present a clear conception of the trying and serious times with which our country is faced. It was truly a great meeting, and our best thanks are due to the President for arranging it.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P89/28A/13); Speenhamland parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2); Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P192/28A/15); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P98/28A/13); Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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Lessons on Patriotism for Empire Day

Children across the county celebrated Empire Day with patriotic displays and collections.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1918, 22nd-24th May

On Empire Day the children marched past and saluted the Flag. Recitations and Patriotic Songs were sung and 16/2 was sent to the Overseas Fund.

Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School
24th May 1918

Being Empire Day the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted by all the children, many of whom wore the colours. Each half year since the commencement of the War, the children have contributed liberally to the “Over Seas” Club Tobacco Fund, by means of which nearly £7000 has been spent in sending parcels of “smokes” to the soldiers and sailors at the Front.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
24th May 1918

The morning was kept as our “Empire Day” celebration. The ordinary timetable was not adhered to, lessons on Patriotism taking the place of the ordinary lessons and at 11 a.m. the Flag was raised by the Mayor of Reading (F A Sarjeant Esq) who is one of the School Managers. Speeches were made by the Mayor, the Vicar, Colonel Weldon & R Lea esq, and patriotic songs were sung by the assembled school.

In the afternoon, following the usual custom, May Day celebrations took place… Between 400 and 500 friends of the school & the children were present. A collection was made on behalf of some of the War Funds, and together with donations sent later, amounted to £2.17.6.

Reading: All Saints Infant School (89/SCH/19/2)
24th May 1918

The parents assembled in the school at 11.30am to hear the children sing the special songs they had learned for Empire Day. The Rev. Wardley King gave a short address. The children had a collection for St Dunstan’s Hostel for the blind soldiers and sailors. A half day holiday was given in the afternoon.

Coleshill CE School
24th May 1918

To-day being ‘Empire Day’ the children saluted ‘the flag’ in the girls’ playground and sang the National Anthem. The Empire Pennies brought by the children amounted to £1.0.3½. This sum was sent to The Overseas Fund for Comforts for our Soldiers & Sailors.

Reading Christ Church

On Empire Day May 24 the girls of our Day School presented Sutherlands VAD with a bath chair. The presentation was made by Rose Gillings on behalf of the girls, who asked the Commandant, Mrs Childs, to accept it. The chair was purchased by money raised entirely by the children themselves. Mrs Childs expressed her thanks for the gift. Three soldiers from the Hospital were present and at the end of the proceedings one of them was wheeled in the chair down the schoolroom, greatly cheered by the girls.

Log books of Abingdon Girls CE School (C/EL 2/2); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School (89/SCH/7/6); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Reading: All Saints Infant School (89/SCH/19/2); Coleshill CE School log book (D/P40/28/5); and Christ Church parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P170/28A/24)

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)

Four Earley men lost at sea

More Earley men had joined up, while several sailors from the parish had lost their lives in the Battle of Jutland.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Stuart Adams, Joseph Corby, Ernest Attewell, Alfred Wilson, Frank Lloyd, Ernest Farmer, Percy Childs, William Childs, Archibald Childs, Vincent Robertson, Charles Silver, Alfred Soper, William Martin, Reuben Martin, Arthur Jermey, Leonard Upton, Alfred Bolton, Frank Masser, Thomas Bluring, William Sales, William Cane, George Allen, Arthur Palmer, Walter Hayward, William Wells, Arthur Eighteen, Frederick Seymour, Frank Ambrose, George Freeman.

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

Sick and Wounded: George Hiscock, William Purdue.
Killed: Hilton Parker, Thomas Brown.
Lost at Sea: Harry Tillin, Harry Stevens, Percy Baker, Percy Bunday.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/7)

Our growing debt to Foreigners

The vicar of Reading St Mary urged parishioners to save money and support the war effort.

The Vicar’s Notes
The War
Thanksgivings.

For the hope of the speedy liberation of the oppressed Armenian people from the tyranny of the Turk.

Intercessions.
For the hastening of the day of victory, and of peace.
For God’s Blessing upon our preparation for the National Mission of Repentance and Hope.
For the spirit of thrift amongst our people.

Three Reasons Why We Should Save now!

It is now the duty of every citizen to save as much as he possibly can, because of,

1. The huge cost of War.
The expenditure which has to be met from the public Exchequer which has to be met from the public Exchequer of the nations is estimated at nearly £5,000,000 a day, or £1,825,000,000 a year.
Except to the extent that we can borrow, or sell securities, abroad (which we cannot rely on doing beyond some 400 millions a year) we must find this sum in this country by saving it and handing it over to the government either in tax payments or in subscriptions to loans.

£1,400,000,000 at least must therefore be found this way. Before the War, we paid less than £200,000,000 a year in taxes, and we were estimated to be saving and investing about £400,000,000 a year. So that we have to make a great effort, everyone of us, if the remaining £800,000,000 is to be found.

2. The scarcity of labour.
It is not only a question of finding money. If that were all, the government could print notes and it would be done. It is goods and services that are needed for the War, directly or indirectly, and these can only be provided if we go without them. The nation’s power to produce them is limited, and every article and every service that we buy for our own use makes goods and services dearer and more difficult to get for the Government. When every worker is wanted to make things for the War or for export, so as to pay for things brought abroad. We have no right to ask people to work for us, except for supplying our barest needs for life and health.

3. Our growing debt to Foreigners.
Owing to our workshops being occupied on war tasks, we are buying much more, and selling much less, abroad than before and so we are piling up a debt to other peoples which is a danger to our financial position. By saving and going without things we help to correct this.

If we go without imported things we decrease this debt directly. If we go without things of British make we decrease it likewise, because we set free our labour that worked for us, to work for export, or to work for the war and so save imports. Everything that we can go without helps.

All Saint’s District.

Roll of Honour

The following additional names have been sent in for remembrance at the Altar.

John Childs, George Stanley Childs.

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

Playing at soldiers

Berkshire Education Committee was interested in national proposals for a scheme to train teenage boys not yet old enough to join the armed forces. A committee comprising councillor and chair of the committee, H G Willink and Messrs Mansfield and Childs of Reading University reported back. Their main concern was that the men most suitable for running such a programme were away at war, but they also felt that younger boys should not be militarised. Another big issue was the connection between social class and officer status.

Report of Cadet Training Sub-committee to the Education Committee

First report of the Special Sub-committee appointed on 29 April 1916 by the Berks Education Committee to consider the Lord Mayor of London’s “Scheme for the National Organisation of Cadet Training”.

We have met and considered this Scheme; and have also had before us a detailed Scheme of the Essex Education Committee “for the formation and organisation of Cadet Units”.

While not prepared to recommend either Scheme in its entirety, for reasons which will appear, we desire to express our appreciation of the aim underlying both, and to state that in our opinion there is need for some well-considered system by which lads below 18 years of age may not only gain the benefits of discipline but may also undergo a training which will exercise and develop their intelligence. We are convinced that this is essential if the youth of the country is to be adequately prepared either for future naval or military service or to be efficient and useful citizens of the Empire.

The Lord Mayor’s proposals fall under two heads, viz:

1. The establishment of a “National Cadet Council”, with certain relations to other authorities and with a quasi-subordinate system of City and County Cadet Committees…

2. The early introduction of a uniform system of training, upon lines following generally those of the Australian Cadet Scheme (which is established by law) but on a voluntary instead of a compulsory basis.

Under such a Scheme, lads above elementary school age and under 18 would be organised as Senior Cadets, who would receive a minimum of training in Physical Drill, Company (and some Battalion) Drill, Field Training, and Musketry. Boys from 12 to (say) 14, or Junior Cadets, would undergo a training which could only be called military in the sense of being preparation for military work. It would consist of Physical Exercises and Marching Drill, together with any two of the following: Miniature Rifle Shooting, Swimming, Organised Games, and First Aid. Senior Cadets to have a simple uniform, but Juniors none.
As regards the relations with existing formations – OT Corps would not come under the Council at all, the Boys’ Brigade, Church Lads’ Brigade, and YMCA, as well as the Boy Scouts, would remain separate, but close communication between them and the Council would be encouraged; and no objection is raised to lads or boys passing to or from them and Cadet Units, or even belonging to one of them and to a Cadet Unit also.

Note: The Essex Scheme, which contains no reference to the Lord Mayor’s proposals, invites “the co-operation of District Educational Sub-committees, School Managers, Teachers and others, with a view to the formation of Cadet Units”, the membership age to be from that of leaving the elementary school till 19, but no admission after 18….

The Scheme … lays down an elaborate curriculum of instruction, to be given in connection with the Evening Continuation Schools…

One further point may be noted. The Australian lad of 14 receives a “Record Book” in which his military history is entered up to the age of 26 years, and individuals unable to produce a Record Book with a clean service sheet are debarred from any service under the Commonwealth Government. There would, however, appear to be insuperable difficulties in the way of including this valuable feature in any voluntary Scheme, at any rate before the system was in practically universal operation.

Taking the Scheme as its stands, we are of opinion, in regard to the first “head”, that the establishment of some such central consultative body as the proposed “National Cadet Council” is desirable, provided that its functions are in the first instance confined to inquiry, ventilation and discussion; and do not extend to an immediate setting-up of a definite new Scheme, still less to its actual bringing into action.

We give due weight to the objection that the absence on active service, or the employment on other war work at home or abroad, of so many of the men best fitted to construct or introduce a system of such importance is a serious obstacle to arriving at a satisfactory decision upon the best lines for it. But we also feel strongly that the present united spirit of patriotism in public opinion ought to be utilized before reaction sets in, as may very likely be the case when the end of the war comes into sight…

The important point to bear in mind is that no new Scheme can be satisfactory which will not fit into a general plan for National Training for Home Defence, or which will in any way prejudge the question whether such training is to be on a voluntary or compulsory basis….

There are certain points which to us seem fairly clear, and which may be worth stating, if only to elicit discussion.
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“Housewives – you can help your country in this hour of need”

The vicar of Reading St Mary outlined a programme of prayer for our allies, and encouraged women to respond to the Food Economy Campaign.

The Vicar’s Notes
The week-day Eucharist’s suggested intercessions

1. In connection with the War. Prayers for our Allies.
Mondays. The Serbians and Montenegrins.
Tuesdays. The Belgians.
Wednesday. The French.
Thursday. The Russians.
Friday. The Italians.
Saturday. The Japanese.

On Fridays, intercessions will also be offered
1. For all the wounded, the prisoners, and the sick.
2. For all the suffering nationalities, e.g. the Armenians, etc.
3. For our enemies, that their hearts may be turned, and that our own hearts may be renewed.

S. Mary’s
Save the food of the Nation

To the Housewives of Great Britain and to all who are responsible for the buying and cooking of food. You can help your country in this hour of need. No one too rich or too poor to help. You are asked to save food so that those who are destitute though the War may be fed. Do this wisely and your family will be better fed.

Under the auspices of the Reading Health Society and National Food Economy League, Four Demonstration Lectures in Food Economy will be given in the Reading Gas Company’s Lecture room on Fridays, March 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th. Morning Lectures, 11-1, for mistresses and cooks, Course Tickets, 2/6. Afternoon Penny lectures, 3-5, for working woman. Tickets may be had from Mrs. Childs, Principal’s Lodge, Upper Redlands Road; Mrs. Coleman, Muttusmore, Castle Hill. Ask for the Handbook for Housewifes, price 1d.

All Saint’s District
Roll of Honour

Walter James Banten, Richard John Darvall, F. H. Hill, Charlie Morgan, Robert John West Saunders, William John Saunders, Frederick Taylor.

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

A masque for Serbian relief

An enterprising drama teacher put on a performance in aid of our suffering Serbian allies. To get an idea of the evening, here is the script of The Masque of the Two Strangers.

THE TOWN HALL, READING

MISS MARY HAY, A.L.A.M. ELOCUTION, ASSISTED BY HER PUPILS, Has much pleasure in announcing Two Dramatic Recitals of the “Masque of the Two Strangers” (by kind permission of Lady Alix Egerton), And Scenes found on incidents in Dante’s “Vita Nuova”, On Wednesday, October 20th, 1915 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., IN AID OF THE SERBIAN RELIEF FUND,
And under the distinguished patronage of

The Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire and Mrs Benyon,
His Worship the Mayor of Reading
His Excellency Monsieur Creddo Miyatovich (Serbian Minister)
Mr. Henry Ainley
Lady Armstrong
The Rev. and Mrs Beloe
Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Benson
Mr. Acton Bond
The Principal of University College, Reading and Mrs. Childs
Mr. John L. Child
The Ven. Archdeacon of Berkshire and Mrs. Ducat
Mr. and Mrs. C. I. Evans
Mrs. Downing Fullerton
Countess Gurowska
Viscountess Hambleden
Miss Holmes
Miss Knighton
The Misses Lacy
Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Mackenzie
Lady Makins
Mrs. W. A. Mount
Mrs. Murdoch
Miss Musson
Mrs. G. W. Palmer
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Palmer
Miss Prebble
Mr. and Mrs. Rannie
Lord and Lady Reading
Mr. F. G. T. Rowecroft
The Rev. Gore Skipwith and Mrs. Skipwith
Mr. W. Stewart
Mrs. Tyser
Lady Wantage
Mrs. Waring
Miss White
Mrs. Leslie Wilson.

Doors open at 2.30 and 7.30 P.M.

Tickets: Afternoon Sofa Stalls, 4- Reserved Seats, 3/- Admission 2/-
Evening Sofa Stalls, 3/- Reserved Seats, 2/- Admission 1/-
Special Terms to Schools.

Box Office : – Attwells, Binfield & Co., 162 & 163 Friar Street, Reading. Telephone No. 11 .

Programme for recitals at Town Hall in Aid of Serbian Relief Fund, 1915 (D/EX1734/1)

Self-denial: a challenge we cannot ignore

The temperance movement – opposing alcohol consumption – was small but intense in pre-war England. The national crisis gave the campaign a new impetus, especially when King George V led the way with a public pledge to abstain during the war, and October 1915 saw renewed efforts to discourage drinking. The Reading parishes strongly suppported the movement:

Reading St John

‘THE KING’S PLEDGE.’
The most important Meeting which has been held for a long time in the interest of the great temperance cause is to be held in the Large Town Hall on Monday, October 11th, at 8 p.m. The specific object of the meeting is to further the taking of the pledge of total abstinence during the period of the war. This pledge called originally ‘The Emergency Pledge’ has been rechristened ‘The King’s Pledge,’ since it was taken by His Majesty himself at the time that he banished all intoxicating liquors from the royal household.
The speakers on this occasion will be the Bishop of Oxford and Principal Childs of University College, who have both followed the King’s example. Let us recall the words of the Bishop’s Pastoral issued last May. They justify and define the purpose of the Meeting:-

‘Brethren,- That the King should have banished from his household and from his own use all alcoholic liquors for the period of the war is a challenge to us all which we cannot ignore. He has taken this step because in his position of unique responsibility he believes that it is the right step to take in the interest of the country generally and of his forces by land and sea, and because drink is acting as a serious hindrance to the production of the materials of war. Lord Kitchener has done the same.

At an earlier period the Archbishops had invited us all to take a pledge of total abstinence during the period of the war. I daresay that there are people who cannot follow these impressive examples and respond to these exhortations on serious grounds of health. But for the vast majority of us in all classes this is not the case.

I have no doubt that we hold different opinions as to the general necessity or desirability of total abstinence, and as to the relative magnitude of the havoc wrought by the sin of excessive drinking among the various sins of our nation. But I do not think that we can deny the weight of the appeal now made to us. In particular the King’s example, expressing his deliberate sense of the urgency of the present need, ought to make a great impression upon us. I have myself felt bound to follow his example, and I am writing to encourage all to whom I have a right to appeal as their bishop, to do the same.

If it involves, as to some of us it undoubtedly does involves, a real and sustained act of self-denial, this is exactly what we who cannot be combatants should desire to make, on behalf of our soldiers and sailors who are training, fighting and suffering wounds and death on our behalf.’

Earley

The King’s Pledge

The Bishop of Oxford is to speak at a public meeting in the large Town Hall on Monday Oct 11th at 8pm on behalf of the “The King’s Pledge” of total abstinence during the war. The meeting is being widely supported, and it is hoped that our Churchpeople may be well represented.

Reading St Giles

“THE KING’S PLEDGE”

The Bishop of Oxford is to speak at a public meeting in the large town hall on Monday October the 11th, at 8 p.m. on behalf of “The king’s pledge” of total abstinence during the war. The meeting is being widely supported and it is hoped that our church people may be well represented. We may recall the words of the Bishop’s pastoral last May.

Reading St John parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P172/28A/24); Earley parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P192/28A/13); Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

“The Germans are murderers, not clean soldiers”

A selection of letters from Reading soldiers at the Front, in England, and in Egypt, which were printed in their home church’s magazine.

Letter From the Front. Come out and help.
When we are out of the trenches on a Sunday (like to-day) we have a short service which come as a luxury and which reminds me of old times when singing in the choir at S. Stephen’s. I had a scarf sent out to me by my sister which was made at the Girls’ Club, I understand, but it is very handy when we have nights out, which we often do, for it is very cold at nights. We have been out here practically eight weeks, and I suppose have seen as much of the trenches as any battalion out here during that short time. I never thought that when I went to see you when home on leave from Chelmsford that we should have been up in the firing line so quick as we were….

We are always thinking of all the friends and people we have left behind, and I know that you are thinking of us while we are away from everybody doing our bit. I hear that you call the names out on a Sunday and I know that there are quite a number, but I hope that before long that list will be twice as long, for the more men and young chaps we get out here the sooner it will end, and I am sure that we all want to see that as soon as possible.
G. KING.

Poisonous Gases.
Just at present we are having a very troublesome time with the Germans. They are trying their very hardest to break through and we have very hard work to keep them back because they are using those poisonous gases which is something terrible for our poor men, and you can’t do anything at all with them. I think myself that the Germans are murderers, not clean soldiers.
L.H. CROOK. (more…)