Conspicuous bravery

A member of Reading’s Broad Street Church was awarded a medal.

The news that our friend, 2nd Lieut. Victor Smith, had won the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery at the Battle of Arras, has caused considerable pleasure throughout our whole community. Lieut. Smith has a host of friends and well-wishers at Broad Street, who hold him in the highest regard for his own sake, as well as for his work’s sake. They rejoice in his new honour. I wish to offer heartiest possible congratulations to Lieut. Smith and our earnest hope and prayer that he may be spared for many years to enjoy his new distinction….

Sunday June 17th is the day fixed for the Annual Choir Festival this year, when special music will be rendered by the choir at both morning and evening worship…

For many years now the members of the choir have been entertained to a River Trip, the expenses incurred being met, in large part, by the collections taken at the Festival. This year, owing to the conditions brought about by the war, they have decided to forego this outing. Instead they propose to invite a number of wounded soldiers to a Garden Party at which tea will be served and a concert provided. The cost of this entertainment will be more than usual, as it will be impossible to invite friends to buy tickets and thus share the expense.

We feel sure that the congregation will appreciate this patriotic desire of the choir members, and encourage them in their good work by giving generously to the collections.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“An old French lady follows all soldiers’ coffins buried from this hospital, to represent the absent mothers”

A much loved Caversham teacher died after an attack of appendicitis at the front.

Sorrow.

It is with a keen sense of loss that we at Trinity heard of the death of yet another of our noble band of soldier heroes, Percy White who passed away 0n May 10th after an operation for appendicitis. The operation itself was most successful, and he rallied splendidly from it, seeming to be doing well, but later complications set in, and though he made a good fight, his strength was gone.

Percy enlisted in The Army Service Corps in October 1915, fully realising that by reason of long-standing delicacy, he thereby ran more risks than many men, but his action was prompted by a keen sense of duty and a desire above all things to do right. He was an able musician, and for a long time had been a much valued member of the choir. There his help has been greatly missed.
His happy nature, his unfailing good temper, and love of peace, won for him a high place in the regard of all that knew him. All who came in to contact with him felt his worth, and the memory of his quiet, good life will add fragrance to the many undying influences which cast a halo round these walls. As our Pastor said in a sympathetic reference on Sunday afternoon, “He was a musician to his very core, and he made music his life.”

He was a staunch friend, a good brother and a devoted son, and to those of his nearest and dearest called to bear this heavy blow we offer our deepest sympathy. Our hearts go out to them in tenderness, praying that the Father Himself will draw very near all strength and consolation.

One of his comrades in France (where he had been 15 months) writes: “I hardly know how to begin this letter. As I told you in my letter of the 9th, poor Percy was much improved that day, but he had a relapse about one in the morning of the 10th, and passed away about 9 a.m. I truly believe everything possible was done for him, he himself said so to me the last time I saw him. It was a great blow to us all, and we know by what he was to us who have only known him such a comparatively short time, what his loss must be to you. We are only plain men, and as such we offer our deepest sympathy. You knew your boy, we knew him. He lived a clean, honest, upright life, and will, I know, reap the rewards such a life merits. We laid him to rest this afternoon in the British cemetery in a soldier’s grave with full military honours, and it was all we could do for him. The whole section and all ranks attended, and he was followed by an old French lady who follows all soldiers’ coffins buried from this hospital. I believe she represents the absent mothers. She has done it all through this long winter in all weathers; it is a great task she has set herself, but surely a kind one. I can say no more except to repeat that we all mourn the loss of the best of comrades.”

The headmaster of the Caversham Council School, where his great ability as a teacher was much appreciated, gives his testimony: “We trust that the memory of Percy’s cheery disposition, high sense of duty, and good life, will bring some solace to you. I think I may truly say that Percy won the esteem of all those with whom he came in contact, and I know that, in the case of those who became more intimately acquainted with him, that esteem ripened quickly into real affection.”

A fellow-teacher also testifies: “To-day has been indeed a sad one at school, where we felt we all knew and loved him. His nobleness and character had endeared him to all. Working and talking with him as I did, I can say that his daily life was one that helped others to be strong, and I am sure those who were privileged to know him must feel as I do, that they have lost a friend. The children at school loved him.”

Several of our “Kitchener’s Men” have this month laid down their lives for King and county, among them Lance-Corporal W. Dewe, whom many of our friends will remember. He attended our rooms every night, and never forgot Trinity, being a faithful correspondent up to the last.

Trinity Congregational Church Magazine, June 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

“Wounded no less than three times”

Men connected with All Saints’ Church and its choir were serving their country.

All Saints’ District
Choir

We feel sure that members of the congregation will like to see the following list of members of the Choir who are serving with His Majesty’s forces.

Lieut. C. Atkinson – R.N.A.S.
Sergt. J. C. Hinton – Royal BERKS
Sergt. W. H. Clemetson
Sergt. H.E. Hopcraft – A.S.C.
Sergt. W.Smith – Devons.
Pte. F.R. Johnson – Royal Berks.
Pte. H.N. Gaze – R.F.C.

We are glad to welcome to the Choir Lance-Corporal A. Beedson, of the Royal Warwicks, and Pte. S. Baron, of the Devon Regiment, who have kindly volunteered to give us their help during their stay in Reading.

In addition to the above it will be remembered that our Verger, Pte. J. Mundy, is serving with the Royal Veterinary Corps in France, and that our Organ-blower, Pte. A .H. Maskell, who served in the Royal Berks Regiment and has now been transferred to the Essex Regiment, has been wounded no less than three times. We congratulate him and Sergeants Hinton and Clemetson on their recovery from wounds.

Our Congratulations to Company Sergt-Major S. C. Nowlan, Yorks and Lancs Regiment, of 46 Somerstown, who has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

Really British cheers

Wounded soldiers were entertained at a Tilehurst church.

The members of the choir entertained thirty-one soldiers from No 1 War Hospital on Wednesday, March 14th, in the Schoolroom. Decorations and furniture transformed the room into a drawing room, where games and frolic of varied kinds were enjoyed from 2.30 to 7.

Some of the guests themselves assisted in the work of providing amusement, and their items of singing and recitation were highly appreciated by the hosts and hostesses.

Tea was served by the soldiers, the choristers also having their meal with them and enjoying it all the more for having made personal contributions therefor.

The choirmaster (Mr Ball) welcomed the party on behalf of the choir, and the military men responded on leaving by really “British” cheers.

Several kind friends generously placed their traps at our disposal, and to them our gratitude is expressed. The task of conveying wounded soldiers grows more difficult each time.

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

No charge

A concert version of the opera Tom Jones in aid of YMCA war work was performed in Reading Town Hall by the choir of Broad Street Congregational Church. (A report of the concert appeared in the Berkshire Chronicle on 2 February 1917.)

Our Choirmaster (Mr F W Harvey) and the members of the choir are to be congratulated upon the pronounced success of their concert on January 31st. it was a great achievement to attract once more an audience which filled the large Town Hall…

The following Saturday [3 February], the programme was repeated for the wounded soldiers, nurses and orderlies from the various War Hospitals in the district…. There was no charge for admission on this occasion, as the expenses for the full orchestra, etc, had been met by a collection taken at the close of the original concert, supplemented by contributions from a number of friends.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“Should the Choir Boys take up the matter seriously the War may end sooner than we think”

Two East Berkshire villages publicised their new War Savings Associations.

Crazies Hill Notes

As regards the War Savings Association Mrs. Gladdy has most kindly consented to be what is officially called “The Collector”. That is any member having a Card can purchase stamps from Mrs. Gladdy at her shop in the village. The stamps are called “Coupons.” The Cards are divided into squares for 31 Coupons. 30 Coupons together with Mr. Bond’s bonus of 6d. entitles the member to a 15/6 War Certificate – the benefits of which are well known to most of us by now.

A certain patriotic gentleman in the neighbourhood has promised to place the first stamp on the card of any Choir Boy (from Crazies Hill Choir) who wishes to become a member.

Should the Choir Boys take up the matter seriously the War may end sooner than we think.

Hare Hatch Notes

For those who desire to help their Country by paying into the War Savings Association, Cards and Coupons can be obtained any Monday evening 6.30 p.m., Hare Hatch Mission Room “in the Vestry.”

Coupons only can be had on application at Kiln Green Post Office any day during office hours.

Wargrave parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

A Christmas spirit in defiance of all the might of Central Europe

The vicar of St Luke’s, Maidenhead, urged hope.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

Christmas is come and gone, and the New Year looms up before us doubtful and uncertain, yet we hope full of promise. We know all things are in God’s hands, and if we are faithful, God will bless mightily all our honourable prayers, wishes and deeds. Let us hope that no faint-heartedness may, as a Nation or individuals baulk us of a goal half-won. But let us pray for a righteous Peace on Earth, as in Heaven, so soon as ever God may see fit to let us be given this great Grace.

As regards Christmas, we had a few more Communicants than last year, which is a very good sign, as the strain of the War affects the Parish much more this year than last. Thanks to many kind ladies, both St Luke’s and St Peter’s were beautifully decorated, while the excellent singing showed the hard work Mr Garrett Cox and Mr Snow, and St Luke’s and St Peter’s Choirs, must have put in, often under circumstances of considerable difficulty…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Future Festivities

Owing to the War everything will have to be on a quiet scale, but we must do something to show a Christmas spirit in defiance of all the might of Central Europe. The two things for which I ask subscriptions and donations are firstly: the Band of Hope Tea and Prizes, to be held on Jan. 8th. We must keep up the children’s interest in Temperance, especially in War time; secondly the Sunday School treat and prizes.


Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“We wish him God’s protection on the field”

A Warfield man headed for the front would be sorely missed at home.

CHOIR SUPPER.

The Vicar and Mrs. Thackery entertained the senior members of the Choir to supper at the Vicarage on Thursday, December 30th, at 7.30. Only two were absent; Mr. Brockbank was away from home and Mr. Dyer was unavoidably prevented at the last moment from coming. After supper we enjoyed some music and singing, after which a variety of games brought us to a late hour, when Mr. E. Pearce, our senior member, kindly expressed their united thanks for the pleasant evening.

There was general regret expressed from perhaps a selfish point of view at the approaching departure of George Higgs, though we do not grudge his services to the King and Country. He is one of those wonderfully apt fellows who fills in the odd corners and remembers to do all the endless little things amounting in all to a great thing, which others are apt to forget. We felt that we should be lost without him, and strive as we do to fill in the odd duties, we have been “at sea” more than once, and say that this or that would not have happened if George had been here. We are glad to hear that he is getting on well at Andover, where he seems to be sampling the bells in various towers. He expects shortly to be going to the front, and we wish him God’s protection on the field and a safe return to his old place in the Choir and Belfry of Warfield Church.

Warfield section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

Impossible to go round carol-singing as in happier years

An unexpected casualty of the war was carol singing.

The Vicar’s Letter

The War affects us in so many ways, and this year, owing to the darkness and the prohibition of the use of lanterns giving anything more than a modicum of light, the Choir regret that it will be impossible for them to go round carol-singing as in happier years. I suppose this is the first time for fifty years or more that the carol-singing out of doors will have been given up.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Torpedoed in night attire mid the cold wind and pouring rain

A Winkfield man returning to his job in the colonies was in a ship sunk by enemy action.

A member of our choir, Mr. J. Moir, has lately experienced an unpleasant and thrilling adventure. He left England early in October to return to duty at Nairdi, but in the Mediterranean his ship was torpedoed and sank in seven minutes.

Fortunately all were able to get into the boats safely, and after an hour or so were rescued by a British destroyer, but only just in time, for a great storm arose, and their plight on the deck of the little vessel in night attire mid the cold wind and pouring rain was far from enviable; however after a few hours they were safely landed, and Mr. Moir eventually reached England none the worse except for the loss of all his belongings.

He left England again on November 17th and we sincerely trust that this time he will arrive safely to again take up his Government work at Nairdi.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1916 (D/P151/28A/12)

Back in the trenches again

More and more Winkfield men had headed to the Front.

Gunner Daniel Taylor has been wounded in the foot, and Pte. Edward Holloway in the shoulder; both are doing well.

We regret to learn that Pte. A.E. Burt, who was convalescent from a serious illness, has had a relapse, and is again in hospital. We sincerely hope that his relatives will soon have better news of him.

Pte. Edward Still having served his time in the Coldstream Guards, has rejoined the Colours and is now with the 14th Devons at the Front.

Pte. George Holloway has also just gone to the front.

Pte. Cecil Jenden recently wrote to the vicar that he has quite recovered from his wound, and is now back in the trenches again.

We were very glad to see Pte. George Benstead again in his place in the Choir for two Sundays; though lame from his wound he is able to get about, and we trust will soon be completely recovered.

We congratulate Lance-Corporal Edward Thurmer and Lance Corporal Brant on gaining their stripe.

The following men from our Parish have just joined His Majesty’s Forces:-

Pte. Albert Brown, A.S.C. Mechanical Transport.
Pte. George Clayton, 3rd Royal Berks.
Pte. A. E. Gardner, 4th Northants.
Pte. George Franklin, 10th Sussex Regt.
Pte. William Harwood, 3rd Royal Berks.
Pte. James Summer, R.F.A.

We hope this Christmas to be able again to send small Christmas presents to the men from our parish now serving, but as their numbers this year are so great we shall need more generous help than ever to enable us to send even a very small token of remembrance to each. Mrs. Maynard is arranging to have a small rummage sale in the Parish Room at the end of November to help raise some of the necessary funds, and she would welcome any articles for this sale.

She would also be glad to receive as soon as possible from their relatives the full addresses of any men serving in Mesopotamia or Egypt, for their gifts ought to be dispatched by the middle of November.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, November 1916 (D/P151/28A/11)

Honour the splendid dead

The October issue of the Reading St John parish magazine pointed out how important All Saint’s Day was at a time when so many lives were being lost.

ALL SAINTS DAY, NOVEMBER 1ST

This Festival has for us all a very special significance in these days of war. It is fitting that on it we should commemorate all those who have sacrificed their lives ungrudgingly and gloriously on the altar of patriotism and duty, and are now numbered in the great army of all saints, “not dead, but living unto God”.

There will therefore be held in St John’s Church, at 8 pm on All Saints’ Day, a Memorial Service in which we shall remember lovingly and gratefully those who have fallen in the war, and give God praise for that they were found faithful unto death, and have been accounted worthy to join in that great chorus whose mighty voice rolls through Heaven like the sound of many waters. At this service we would wish to remember before God by name the fallen who went out from our own midst, and the vicar would be glad if his people would send in to him the name of any fallen relative that they would wish so to be remembered. Finally, such a service must be worthy of the splendid dead whom we seek to honour; let us see to it that the congregation which gathers in our church on All Saints’ Day is not a small one.

There was a last-minute reminde in the November issue.

ALL SAINTS’ DAY

All Saints’ Day this year is to be marked by a Memorial Service for those who have lost their lives in the present war….

The anthem will be the beautiful quartette and chorus, “O Blessed are the Departed” from Spohr’s “Last Judgment”.

Reading St. John parish magazine, October and November 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

The first great military award gained by a Winkfield man

A number of Winkfield men had been wounded or were unwell.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING

We regret to learn that Pte. Jack Dean has been wounded with a bullet wound through the left leg. He is in hospital in England and writes cheerfully, so we hope he is doing well.

Pte. George Benstead has been moved from the hospital in France to England. He writes to the Vicar that he is so much better that he hopes shortly to be home and able once more, for a time, to take his place in the choir again.

Pte. Fred Holmes, Pte. W. Franklin, and Pte. C. Jenden have also been wounded; they have been in England some time and are now convalescent.

Pte. C.E. Burt has been seriously ill with rheumatic fever, but is better, and we trust now out of danger.

Pte. Fred Blay joined the Army Service Corps last month and Fred Knight joined H.M.S. Impregnable.

Corporal Reginald Nickless and Privates Leonard Cox and George Faithful, having recovered from wounds or sickness have returned to the front, also Private Norman Nickless has gone out, and we trust all will find a place in our prayers.

Most of us have heard with great pleasure and satisfaction that the Military Medal (and promotion to Lance-Corporal) was won by Edwin Gray for gallantry on July 1st at Deville Wood. This good news ought to have appeared in the August Magazine, but though now belated it is fitting that a record be made in the Parish Magazine of what is, we believe, the first great military award gained by a Winkfield man, and we heartily congratulate Lance-Corporal Edwin Gray and his relatives on this distinction.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

The right spirit

Several soldiers from Clewer had been reported killed.

In Memoriam

The sad news has come to us that two of our late Servers, Walter Bedford and Alfred Hearn, have fallen on the Field of Battle. They have left behind them a memory, which will be long cherished amongst us, as that of two young men of blameless life, devoted to the service of the Church, who gave their all to the Cause of God and their Country.

Alfred Hearn has left a widow and one child to mourn his loss. Walter B. Bedford had been in our Choir from his childhood, until some few years ago when he took up work in London, where he also joined a Choir. R.I.P.

The Major of his Brigade writes of Walter Bedford:- “I am more than sorry to lose him, and so is every one from the General downwards. The two years he has been with me he has always taken things in the right spirit and never complained of hardships.” A comrade also writes:- “He was such a good pal, and always did his duty as a Briton should.” He was brought up from his childhood by his aunt, Mrs. Squelch, in the Surly Hall Road.

We have just heard the sad news of the death of Luke Bowler, Lance-Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, aged 22, also killed in action. We offer our sympathy to his mother. – R.I.P.

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

Vegetables and cigarettes

The village of Crazies Hill dedicated its harvest festival to supporting the troops, with gifts of varying levels of healthiness.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Harvest Festival was held on October 15th. Throughout the day the Services were bright and hearty. The congregations were large; indeed everything was in keeping with the joyous occasion. The Children’s Service also, in the afternoon, was well attended. The Children’s offerings were made during the singing of a hymn when the children marched in procession and placed the various articles in a basket. The basket was large, yet was well supplied with packets of cigarettes, sweets, and other things. These were carried to the Parkwood Hospital after the Service as the Children’s gifts for the wounded soldiers.

At the Evening Service the anthem ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ was rendered very nicely by the Choir. The Special Preacher was the Rev. H. I. Wilson, Rector of Hitcham, to whom we are much indebted for coming.

The decorations were carried out with much care and skill – the building looking a veritable flower garden. It would be difficult to realize the amount of labour and time spent in arranging the flowers, plants, corn and vegetables. The result was certainly beautiful. We are very grateful to the following who so generously gave their labour and time: Mrs. Light, Mrs. Habbitts, Mrs. Wakefield, Mrs. Woodward, Miss Rose, Miss Stanton, Miss Beck, and Miss Doe, and the following who so kindly sent gifts: – Mrs. Whiting, flowers and vegetable marrow; Miss Beck, flowers; Mrs. William Willis, plants; Mrs. Hull, flowers; Mrs. Weller, flowers; Mrs. Goodwin, flowers; Mr. Kimble, flowers and vegetables. Mr. Griffin, flowers; Mr. Bacon, bread; Mr. Stanton, flowers. Miss Fleming, corn and wheat; Miss Rose, flowers; The Hon. Mrs. Crawford, corn; Capt. Willis, flowers.

We are also indebted to Parkwood for so kindly sending a collection of choice plants.

The collections throughout the day, which were in aid of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, amounted to £1 10s. 7 ½ d.

The vegetables and flowers were sent to Wargrave Military Hospital, Mr. Whiting most kindly conveying them thither.

Throughout the day offerings of cigarettes, etc., were most generously made for our men serving at the present time.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)