Cards of welcome to all sailors and soldiers who have been demobilised

Earley men were welcomed home.

Short Notes

The men’s association has been active in sending out about 100 cards of welcome to all sailors and soldiers who have been demobilised. This involved a good deal of inquiry and care. Now they are following up this by a proposal to entertain such as are able and willing to come to tea and sports on the vicarage lawn on Aug 30th or the first week of September. To do this, a committee of ladies is being appointed, also for the sports a committee of men themselves. An appeal for the provision of the tea and gifts in kind will be made later, and there is little doubt of a generous response to this. Any immediate promises of help in this way will be welcomed by the Vicar or Mr T R Stevens.

We offer a welcome home to Mr William Long after four years and three months absence in Egypt. Mr Long served in the Army Service Corps, and is now set free. His return to Reading gives us the pleasure of having him back in the choir, where with alto Mr Leslie Grinstead his presence will be much valued.


Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

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Demobilization has helped the singing wonderfully

Choristers returned from the front.

The Choir

Demobilization has helped the singing wonderfully at all services. It is delightful to have the men’s choir seats filled full again. A summer party for the choir is also again possible. The men hope to go up the river on July 10th, and the boys something of the same sort when August comes.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

“Now that we are once again at peace we are glad to see this custom revived”

Park Place was actually in the Berkshire parish of Remenham.

CHOIR OUTING

Without any complaints, the members of our Choir have foregone their annual excursion during the years of war, and now that we are once again at peace we are glad to see this custom revived. On July 9th, at 9.30 am, a party, numbering 37, left the Tilehurst landing stage on board the steam-launch “Mystery”, bound for Park Place, Henley [sic].

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The boys have had no Summer treat during the War

After years of privation, life was getting back to normal.

On Whit-Sunday [8 June] our offertory will be for the Choir Fund: the boys have had no Summer treat during the War, but this year we hope to arrange an outing for them. Will the congregation kindly keep the object in mind?

Remenham parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

In memory of the men of the Albert Works who fell in the War

The Albert Steam Joinery, run by local firm Elliotts, had sent many of its workers to the war.

A well-attended service was held on May 24th, in memory of the men of the Albert Works who fell in the War, and when the new carved Litany Desk is presented by the Works was dedicated. It is a very handsome piece of work. Mrs Clifford Phillips sang “I know that my Redeemer liveth”, and “The Last Post” and the “Reveille” were sounded by two Buglers from Reading. The choir was present, and Mr Liddle played several appropriate pieces on the organ. We were glad to see a number of the employees of the Works present.

Newbury parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

A cordial welcome home to our demobilised soldiers,

Vicar’s Letter

We all offer a cordial welcome home to our demobilised soldiers, notably Mr Albert Rider, Mr Fred Rider, Mr Ernest Jupe, Mr Ernest Bryant (who, to our great joy, is returning to the choir of which he was once a leading voice), Mr Reginald Sturgess, Mr O West and Mr Goodson (already in their old place in the choir), Mr Aubrey Grinsted, Mr Stanley Hayward, Mr Frank Ellis, Mr Augustus Love, Mr Leslie Grinsted, Mr George Turnbull and others. We are very glad to see them again.

Short Notes

The Vicar is trying to compile a list of all the demobilised soldiers and sailors who have returned to our parish. He will be very glad of the names and address of any such, if anyone will kindly give him information.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

At least we may hope that the bloodshed is past, and that the Peace terms may help to right the many wrongs committed

What would a post-war world look like, many wondered.

My dear friends,

We open our New Year with hearts relieved of the heavy anxiety which all of us felt at the dawn of the year past. At least we may hope that the bloodshed is past, and that the Peace terms may help to right the many wrongs committed.

But our victory, so largely brought about by the English speaking nations, lays upon those nations no light responsibility. How wide and how deep that responsibility will be, and into what spheres it will penetrate, is something one can more easily feel than formulate into words. We may take it for granted that things which had grown old are now becoming new, and that those things which were cast down are now being raised up; and that all things are returning to perfection, through Him from whom they took their origin.

Statesmen are of one accord that the world must be built up on new lines. Are they inspired with the truth that perfection cannot lie apart from Jesus Christ? We have seen a pagan efficiency brought down with a run. The years 1914-18 are pages of history which may well make Statebuilders think. Where Christ was banished, there lay already the germ of failure. The worship of power and wealth has brought a proud nation to its knees before a horror-struck and outraged world. Is this nothing to us who wield perhaps the greatest influence since the days of the old Roman Empire?

But it is more about matters at home I am concerned. If a league of nations is possible beyond our Empire, surely it is possible to be at home as a city at unity in itself. Class differences in outlook perhaps there always will be, but class antagonisms are mutually suicidal. If we could learn to respect each other’s outlook, and help that so far as the outlook is just and right, England could be a happier, more united country. God has given us such proof of His confidence that He has given us this victory. Let us begin by being at least just at home.

And it is in the spiritual sphere also that the consequences of victory is to be felt. We see the stirring of conscience in religious bodies that disunion and schism are not the Mind of Christ. These Bodies are not to be brought into unity piecemeal. The resulting bitterness of individual conversion only makes the antagonisms worse. I do not think we as Christians sufficiently realise the loss to Christ through conflicting Christianity; and we should be prepared to make any concession to those separated from us as does not involve a breach with the true Catholic Church of Christ. Just as prejudice is not to be allowed to stand in the way of England’s reconstruction, neither should it stand in the way of the reconstruction of the Church….
One fallacy which has been exploded by the war was that unity by command meant the sacrifice of national independence. We now know that diversity of effort meant playing into the enemy’s hand. The English army had its part to play, as the English Church will always have her part to play; and the English army suffered no loss of prestige or national self-determination because it correlated its effort with the armies of the allied forces under a supreme command. It has been a great lesson, and one which can be so pointedly applied…

The coming year must be full of matters of deep moment. I pray God that we may meet it under His guidance.

We owe a debt of thanks to Mr Self Fowles for the great help he has given as a temporary choirmaster. He has given himself heart and soul to the work, and has been loyally backed up by the choir. His heart is in the Church, and we hope that he may find a sphere as congenial to him as All Souls has been. Mr Clarke will resume his place at the organ at once, and he will receive a hearty welcome back from many old friends.

The cost of Magazines has again risen. We do not propose to raise the price, but we hope that those who can afford it will raise the sum they usually pay for the year. As the Magazine has been in existence for 23 years the vicar has determined to continue it; but it was after some hesitation.

Your affectionate priest and friend,

Barrington B. Murray

South Ascot Parochial magazine, January 1919 (D/P186/28A/19)

Carols for blinded soldiers

Wokingham carol singers collected money for soliders blinded in the war, and their children.

Blinded Soldiers.

The outcome of the Carol Singing has been very satisfactory, and the Choir hope to hand over £20 or so as the fruit of their efforts. Such a result has of course entailed the expenditure of considerable time and trouble, which however has been given most ungrudgingly by all the members. We congratulate them on their success. Needless to say, the generous contributions and kindly welcome everywhere received have greatly added to the pleasure of their good work.

For the children of Blinded Soldiers, nearly £10 has been contributed by means of Xmas Dinner Table envelopes.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“Beginning again in the dark”

There was great sympathy for soldiers’ whose war wounds had left them blind.

FOR ST DUNSTAN’S

We have done a good many generous things as a church, but it is doubtful if we ever responded quite so well as when we helped the cause of the Blinded Soldiers and Sailors during the Christmas season. Starting in quite a modest way with the suggestion that our choir should provide a carol service in the evening of Christmas Sunday [28 December 1918], the plans gathered sympathy, until they included a United Carol Service in the Village Hall on the Sunday evening referred to, a collection at the Watch-night service, and a special gathering of personal donations from members of our church and congregation. By this means £10 3s. 4d. was raised for those “beginning again in the dark”. We recognise that this was a united effort, and do not take the credit to ourselves, but we do appreciate the kindly sympathy that our folks showed in both subscribing to and organising such a fund.

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A foretaste of the judgment of Christ falling upon a nation which would have none of Him

Celebrations at Ascot were not dimmed by the failure of the electric supply in the middle of the service.

Advent, 1918

My dear friends,

It is with the most profound relief that I am able this year to address to you the Advent letter with the good hope of restored peace. We must feel that Advent has taken on a new meaning for us. It has been in a very real sense that Christ has come to the world. We make a mistake if we relegate the word Advent to His Final Coming. We have watched amazed these last few months a foretaste of the judgment of Christ falling upon a nation which would have none of Him. Whatever causes writers of History may attribute to the dramatic collapse of our enemies, those of us who believe in the immediate Rule of Christ over the world he won for Himself will see in that collapse His judgment at work. It was in truth an Advent, a foretaste of what the Final Advent must mean.

But the Advent of Jesus is not just to destroy, it is to build anew. There lies before us a period of intense activity where without His Guidance our efforts can so easily go in the wrong channels. I say with the utmost deep conviction that man unaided is not sufficient for this opportunity. We must aid our statesmen by our prayers. Here at All Souls’ we shall begin Advent with the daily Eucharist restored to the Parish.

Our thanksgiving services were marked by a real heartfelt thankfulness on the part of our people. Both morning and evening we paid our debt of honour to all who have served their country on active service, and pleaded for the peace and joy of those who had shown the greatest love which man can show. In the morning the congregation with choir and wardens made a pilgrimage to the Shrine, and in the evening to the Rolls of Honour in the Church. In both cases the simple act of respect and honour proved deeply affecting and impressive. It was greatly appreciated by those who have beloved names on our rolls.

An upsetting incident occurred in the failure in the morning of the electric current which put the organ out of commission in the midst of a hymn. The choir, however, rose well to the occasion, and went on as steady as rocks supported by the congregation who sang with a heartiness we have never heard before. Fortunately, our practice piano was standing in the church, and Mr Fowles was able to keep the choir well supported till the current was restored. It was nevertheless a great day and one which no one will ever forget. The Church had touched the need of the people.

A generous benefaction of £100 has been given to the Parish by Mr F A Keating in memory of his son.

The victory was marked by the gift of a large St George’s Cross Banner to the Church by Lady Radnor. It waved bravely over the Church on Thanksgiving Day. It will enable us to express ourselves on great occasions in the future. It is a great addition to the Tower, and helped to hide its unfinished appearance.


South Ascot Parochial Magazine, 1918 (D/P186/28A/18)

There are no greater tragedies in connection with the war than those of the brave fellows who have come back blinded from the Front

Broad Street Church put on a concert in aid of men blinded at the front.

December

CHOIR CONCERT

On Wednesday evening, December 18th, our choir will hold its twenty-second annual concert. We have been fortunate, by the kind permission of Lieut-Col P. de Dombasle, in securing the Large Town Hall. This year we propose to repeat the concert version of “Tom Jones” (by permission of Messrs Chappell & Co), which was rendered two years ago. This is the sixth concert we have given for war charities, and this year the call for the co-operation of all our friends is more urgent than ever. We propose to devote the proceeds of the concert to St Dunstan’s Hostel, London, where there are many hundreds of our soldiers who have been blinded during the war. Surely this cause is one which will appeal to the heart of everybody. This will be the happiest Christmas that many of us have known for four years; can we not try to make it brighter for those brave fellows, who, away from their own homes, will miss the usual good cheer of Christmastide?


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On behalf of our Blinded Heroes

There are no greater tragedies in connection with the war than those of the brave fellows who have come back blinded from the Front, all of them young men who have been deprived of their sight at the very outset of life. We have at St Dunstan’s Hostel, London, many hundreds of thses Blinded Soldiers.

Christmastide will soon be with us. We want to make this Xmas as bright and happy as possible for these brave men. Away from home and relatives, they will sadly miss the usual cheer and comforts. Will you please help to give them something of Xmas gladness in return for what they have so nobly done for us all?

BLINDED FOR YOU, WILL YOU NOT CARE FOR THEM?

Broad Street Congregational Church Choir
22nd Annual Concert, 6th Concert for War Charities

On Wednesday evening, December 18th, 1918, in the Large Town Hall (by kind permission of Lieut-Col P. de Dombasle)

The concert version of German’s Opera “Tom Jones” (by permission of Messrs Chappell & Co) will be rendered by the Choir

Artistes

Mrs E. C. Dracup
Miss M. Phillips
Miss M. Tyrrell
Mr Muir Millar
Mr H. J. Collier
Full Band & Chorus
Leader: Miss Lily Davis, ATCL
Conductor: Mr F. W. Harvey

Tickets: West balcony, three front rows, 3/-; three back rows, 2/4; front area, 2/4. All numbered and reserved.
Unreserved: side balconies and area. 1/3; admission 8d.
May be obtained of Messrs Barnes & Avis, members of the Choir, at at the doors.
Doors open at 7 o’clock. Commence 7.30.

January

CHOIR CONCERT

The concert given by our Church Choir in the Town Hall on Wednesday, December 18th, in aid of our blinded soldiers and sailors at St Dunstan’s, was an unqualified success in every way. As the Berkshire Chronicle said:

“It was gratifying to see such a large audience, not emrely on account of the excellence of the object, but as a recognition of the persevering efforts of the choir, which has done so much to brighten us all up during the depressing period of the war. The performance was also in every way worthy of the large gathering.”

Edward German’s “Tom Jones” was the work presented, and the various solos were most capably rendered by Mrs E. C. Dracup, Miss M. Phillips, Miss Muriel Tyrrell, Mr Muir Millar, and Mr Harry Collier. Valuable assistance was also given by Mr and Mrs G. F. Attwood, Mrs Newbery, Mr waite, and the very efficient orchestra led by Miss Lily Davies, ATCL.

“The choir work maintained a high standard, the chorus singing with fine intelligence and unfailing vivacity; the tone was good and nicely contrasted and the balance well preserved. The work of the orchestra did justice to the inherent beauties of the score.”

We all felt tremendously proud of our choir, and we offer our heartiest congratulations to the conductor (Mr F. W. Harvey) on the accomplishment of another triumph. When the accounts are made up there ought to be a considerable sum for the very worthy object for which the concert was promoted to help.

February

By their concert given in the Town Hall on December 18th, the Church Choir raised the sum of £52 for the blinded soldiers and sailors at St Dunstan’s. This is a highly satisfactory result. Altogether, during the period of the war, the choir has raised in this way over £240 for War Charities. This is a record of which any choir might justly feel proud, and we offer our heartiest congratulations to the conductor, Mr F. W. Harvey, and all who were associated with it.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918 -February 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

PEACE! What a blessed word!

The Broad Street Brotherhood rejoiced at the end of the war.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

PEACE! What a blessed word! How often we have sung “In God’s good time there will be peace”.

And now after four years of awful slaughter, turmoil and anxiety, there is at hand that righteous and lasting peace for which we have so fervently prayed.

It is a time for great joy. Praise and prayer. But let us remember with proud and loving thankfulness those who have won us this great blessing by the sacrifice of all they had. God give us a real peace, peace amongst the nations, and peace at home.

Our heartiest congratulations are extended to our secretary, Brother A S Hampton, on being presented with the coveted Red Triangle by Princess Marie Louise, for his untiring zeal in connection with the YMCA.

We are sorry to learn that our Brother C. Saxby, well-known to the choir members, is still a prisoner of war in Germany, but we are hoping by the time these notes are out, that he will have been released.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918

A memorial worthy of the men and lads fallen in the War, and the cause for which they have laid down their lives

Influenza was making inroads at home, while the town of Newbury started to think about a war memorial.

The influenza epidemic, if it is the influenza, has been and still is causing a great deal of illness in the parish, both among adults and among children. The Day Schools and Sunday Schools have both had to be closed, and there have been several deaths. We would offer our sympathy to those who are in sorrow at this time, especially to Mrs Philip Webb, Mrs Berry, Mrs Jones, Mrs Hosier; also to Mr and Mrs Barber, whose son Pte William Barber, one of our old choir boys, has died on service in Norfolk; to Mrs Frederick Newport and Mrs Lipscombe, whose husbands have died on service; to Mr and Mrs Buckingham, whose eldest son Lieut Edward Buckingham, RAF, has been killed by accident in France…

We ought to be thinking what form the Memorial to our men and lads fallen in the War is to take. We wish to do something worthy of them and the cause for which they have laid down their lives, and it is probable that there will be several suggestions as to what the Memorial should be. When Christmas is over we must have a meeting of parishioners to consider the matter, and get to work upon it.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

A reputation for utter disregard of personal safety, but with it an equal regard for the safety of his men

Two young men from Ascot were confirmed killed.

Many of our readers will have felt the most profound sympathy for his parents in their loss of their only son Harold Keating. He fell in action on June 28th whilst carrying out a duty full of danger. After a school career of extraordinary brilliancy, in which he had gained the gold Asiatic Medal, open to all the youth of England, he had begun his Oxford life when the war broke out.

In September, 1914, he received a commission in the Royal Engineers, and was in France soon after. There he gained a reputation for utter disregard of personal safety, but with it an equal regard for the safety of his men. He would expose himself to risks from which he carefully kept those under him. In 1916 he was wounded and sent home, but in the following year was back again in France. In March, 1918, he was in the Amiens salient, and shared to the full the dangers and hardships of the great retreat. His letters showed how galling that failure to hold the line was to his sensitive mind, but he was spared to see the tide turn, and his own sacrifice not in vain.

Apparently, like many others, he had a premonition that his life here was to end; and before the engagement in which he met his death, he left behind for his parents a letter of the deepest affection and unusual perception.

“I am enough”, he wrote, “of a philosopher not to fear the thought of death, and enough of an adventurer to feel excitement and thrilling sensations of adventure at entering continents unknown. That is how I would have you think of me. The captain of my ship setting sail for some most glorious Eldorado, while the rising sun blazes into my face”.

That is something of the martyr spirit, and the adventure he speaks of is the spirit of faith which God asks from all who step out into the unknown. That a career which might well have left its mark in history has been cut short is obvious, but God has greater rewards to grant than the rewards which men can give. It will be when we can read life in its unabridged edition that we shall know that God does not so lose the gifts he gives to me.

After a long delay of mingled anxiety and hope, the authorities have reluctantly resigned all hope of further news of Robert Brown. Many will recollect the boy solo in All Souls’ choir, with his remarkable pure boy’s voice. He was badly wounded on October 9th, 1917, but from that day onwards not the slightest trace has been heard of him. It is thought that on his way to the clearing station he must have come under shell fire, and been blown to pieces. It is God’s mercy that his only brother has been spared to his parents after a desperate and usually fatal illness.

To the parents of both these young boys of our parish we offer our deepest sympathy. For their souls we shall continue at each requiem to pray, “Grant unto them, O Lord, eternal rest, and let Thy light perpetual shine on them”.

South Ascot Parochial Magazine, October 1918 (D/P186/28A/18)

“A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed”

Ralph Glyn’s sister and mother wrote to him. Meg’s circle of acquaintances in London included many army officers, and she reported some disappointment that talks of peace had not yet come to anything. Lady Mary was engaging in a private battle with the vicar of Bamber, where she and the Bishop were living, who thought the National Anthem inappropriately jingoistic for church.

Hardwicke House
Ham Common
Richmond
Surrey

27.10.18

My darling Ralph

Thank you so much for you letter & I am so sorry to hear you have got this beastly flu, it is sickening for you but by the time this letter reaches you I hope you will be quite fit again. No – flying doesn’t sound the best cure certainly, but I suppose you had to do it.

I was much interested to see the photographs you enclosed. They are copies of negatives taken by Addie of Royalist up with the Grand Fleet. If you have got the negatives it would be good of you to send them here to me, tho I cannot imagine how they got among your negatives, as I keep those ship photographs most carefully. But do send me all 3 negatives if you have them.

Jim & I stayed last night at Belgrave Square & dined with the Connaughts, a small dinner which was great fun. The Arthur Connaughts were there, she is a stick; Mr Spring Rice who was in Washington with Eustace & Ivar, & Mrs Ward who was Muriel Wilson. An A1 dinner too! The old Duke was in great form & full of funny stories of soldiers’ remarks in Palestine:

One soldier asked another, “Which is the way to the Mount of Olives?” & the other replied, “If that’s a public house I’ve never heard of it.” An Arab writing to the Governor concluded his letter with, “I write in the name of J. Christ, esq, who is well known to you & who your Excellency so much resembles”. An Australian wantonly killed a Jew & was remonstrated with, “Why did you do it?” “Well”, he said, “they are the people who killed Christ”. “Yes, but a long time ago”. “Well”, said the Australian, “I only heard of it yesterday”….

John went off to GHQ on Wednesday, & on Friday Maysie & I went over 2 houses she had the offer of in London. The larger one (both being tiny) was in Regents Park, & had lovely Chinese furniture, & nicely done up, the second in Hill Street, Knightsbridge, & very nicely done, but tiny. I strongly advised her to plump on the 2nd & she’s got it for 6 months, & I think it will do for her very wel indeed. Billy is home on leave & I saw him yesterday too. He looks v. fit, a Majr, & 2nd in command of his battalion!

A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed, but everyone feels thankful & the end must be in sight. But there’s some sickness with the Americans not getting on, it would have been splendid to cut the Huns off in that retreat, but you always said they have no staff to handle the men, and it does seem 10,000 pities that thro sheer silly pride they won’t brigade their men with ours & the French, doesn’t it….

Meg

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