The great silence: the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain

The first Remembrance Day was observed in churches across the county.

Wargrave

Armistice Day

The first anniversary was well observed in the parish. There was a celebration of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. A muffled peal was rung from 10.30 to 10.45 a.m. A service in church was held at 10.45 and ended with the two minutes of silence when 11 o’clock was struck on the tenor bell. A full peal of bells, with firing, was rung in the evening. The services were well attended and ringing was exceptionally good.

Crazies Hill Notes

On November 11th an Intercessory Service was held in memory of those who laid down their lives during the War, and, at the hour of eleven, a silent tribute was paid to the fallen. Those moments of meditation were for many of us, accompanied by grief; but there were also hope and pride and high resolve in the thoughts of all who took part in that Service. Perhaps the uppermost thought was that the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain.

Burghfield

Armistice Day

Rural circumstances do not lend themselves to such striking manifestations as were to be seen in towns and cities during the “great silence”. But there can have been few in the parish who did not act upon the King’s suggestion and desire. Many of us would like this mute solemn commemoration to be repeated annually.


Ascot

On the Anniversary of the Armistice there was a special Celebration of the Holy Communion at 10.40 at which all our parishioners, who gave their lives in the War, were remembered by name.
The service was so timed that, at the moment of silence throughout the Empire, the large congregation was in the act of pleading the Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and the Dead.

In the evening there was a special Service of Thanksgiving , when we prayed for God’s Blessing upon the Ex-Service Men’s Club, the first portion of the Ascot War Memorial, which was declared open by Lady Roberts, and handed over to the Men’s Committee immediately afterwards. During the first week over 150 men joined the club.

Cranbourne

On Armistice Day a large number of our Parishioners came to Church at a few minutes before eleven o’clock and spent the time in silent prayer. After the bell had struck eleven strokes and the two minutes had elapsed, a Celebration of the Holy Communion took place. Instead of a sermon the Vicar read Mr. Arkwright’s no well-known hymn “O Valiant hearts” and before the Church Militant Prayer the names of all our fallen were read at the altar and specially commended to God’s keeping.


Newbury

On Armistice Day, November 11th, we kept the King’s command by holding a Special Service at 10.55, including the two minutes silence at 11 o’clock. There was a large congregation. The sights in the streets of our great cities, when all traffic stopped and men stood with bared heads, must have been most striking. Truly does the whole Empire honour the men who gave their lives in God’s Cause of Righteousness.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31); Ascot and Cranbourne in Winkfield District Magazine, December 1919 (D/P 151/ 28A/11/12); Burghfield parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4); Newbury parish magazine, December1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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“Come to the cookhouse door, boys”: the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle

Burghfield celebrated the end of the war.

Peace Celebrations

These took place on Saturday, July 26th, in fine weather and were a great success. The church bells were rung early in the morning, and at intervals afterwards. At 2.15 there was a short service, with a sermon by the Rector, in the church, attended by practically all the children from our four schools, over 260 of them, with the teachers, as well as many mothers and a number of ex-service men. The church inside was like a flower garden with the happy throng of young folk and their bright flags and banners and pretty dresses; but it was an earnest service too! The Burghfield Brass Band, under ex-bandsman W J Hathaway, late of the Royal Berks, met the long procession on the way from church, and played them into Hillfields lower park [the home of Mr Willink], where tents and a marquee (in preparation for the approaching Flower Show) had already been pitched, and were available in case of rain – which never came.

Sports for the children began at once, and at 4 o’clock they sat down on the grass to a good tea, after which the men’s sports were carried on till 5 o’clock, when 106 ex-service men, residents in Burghfield, were summoned by the now familiar “Come to the cookhouse door, boys” call, to an excellent meat tea in the marquee (provided by Mrs Sherval). Mr Willink said a few words of welcome at the end of the meal; but the fullest speech was well made by Mr Lousley, Chairman of the memorial and Celebrations Committee, later in the evening at the distribution of the sports prizes by Mrs Geoffrey Chance, when he gave a clear explanation of the aims and methods of the Committee, and thanked all those who had done so much for the Festival (except himself, who had as usual done his share and more), especially Mr H D Higgs (the Hon. Sec.), Mr Hannington, for conveying the Pinge Wood children; and Major Chance, Lieut. Searies, and Messrs E Lousley, Page, G Pembroke and Sheppard, with other teachers, as active members of the Sports Sub-Committee.

The day ended with dancing on rather rough sun-baked ground – but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Indeed there were no complaints all day, and it was a real pleasure to see so many friends and neighbours celebrating in such good fashion the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle – yet those were not forgotten over whose lives the war has cast an abiding shadow. The Hillfields grounds were open during the day.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Welcome home after long and weary months

The first man to come home to Remenham was welcomed by the church bells.

On Saturday, November 23, our Church bells rang a “Welcome, home”, and we had the joy of seeing once again our Sidesman, Lieut. C Percival Holloway, after his long and weary months first of imprisonment, and, afterwards, of internment.

Remenham parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

The flag of St George is hoisted

Cranbourne greeted the end of the war with joy.

The news of the signing of the Armistice on Nov 11th reached Cranbourne about noon. The ringing of the Church bells announced the fact to the village, the flag of St. George was hoisted, very quickly flags appeared on most of the houses, and everywhere one heard expressions of deep thankfulness. An impromptu service of Thanksgiving, which was very well attended was held at 12 o’clock on Nov. 13th.

On the following Sunday the form of service drawn up by the Archbishops was used, and the names of all our men serving in H.M. forces was read, also the manes of those who have made the great sacrifice. The large congregation joined most heartily (we might say fervently) in the Hymns, and the singing was much helped by a cornet played by Bandmaster J. Dennison of the R.A.F., at Ascot and by a violin played by Miss E. Hern. Before the singing of the hymn, “For all the saints,” special reference was made to our men who have been killed, or died of wounds.

“Our dead lie scattered far and wide, On Mount, and Plain and Sea, But since for Thee they fought and died, They surely rest with Thee. O Love Divine, O Living Lord, Heal every broken heart; Who gives to God hath great reward, And they — the better part.”

And we remembered too those who have fought for us and worked for us, and whom we hope soon to welcome home, for them also we thanked God with thankful hearts.

“From that Brute force its saddle hurled, And that the sword no more can rule the world, For that Thy Justice is again restored, And War as arbiter abhorred, For high heroic bearing under stress, For hearts that no ill-fortune could depress, For noble deeds as simple duty done, In their Christlikeness known to God alone. We thank Thee Lord, We Thank Thee Lord.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)

Cheers for the allies and the old boys fighting

Schools celebrated the end of the war.

Riseley Common
Nov. 11th

Acting on the assumption that peace has been declared (or rather an armistice arranged), as we could hear sirens sounding and church bells ringing, we have sung the National Anthem, “Praise God” etc.

St Stephen’s Boys’ School, Windsor
November 11th 1918

Armistice day.

Stoke Road School, Slough
November 11th 1918

School was re-opened this morning – 63% (194/308). The M.O.H ordered the school to be closed until November 18th.

During the morning I received the news that Germany had accepted the Allies’ terms and signed the Armistice.

The children formed a hollow square in front of the flag-staff, to which a new rope had been attached in readiness. The flag was hoisted by the youngest boy in the school to the singing of the National Anthem. The flag was then saluted and cheers were given for the allies and the old boys fighting. Edw. J Baldwin “shinned” up the pole to attach the rope. John Cross hoisted the Flag.

Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School
11th November 1918

Beginning of Armistice. On the occasion of this I addressed the children, & hoisted the Union Jack. The National Anthem was then sung.

Stanford Dingley National School
November 11th 1918

Today, news was received that the Armistice was signed at 11 o’clock AM between Germany and the allies, this concluding the Great European War. After signing several National Songs concluding with the National Anthem. The children dispersed at 3 o’clock this afternoon.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1918

There were 107 children present this morning. The news of the signing of the armistice made a difference to the attendance this afternoon. 73 children present.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School log book
11th November 1918

News of Germany’s signing of the armistice reached the school at 11.10 am. At midday the whole school assembled and cheered the news after singing “God Save the King”. A half holiday was given by the mayor in honour of the great event.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1918, 11th-15th November

Children were dismissed at 3 o’clock on Armistice Day at the Vicar’s request.

Coleshill CE School
15th November 1918

On Monday (11th) when news of ‘The Armistice’ arrived the children sang ‘The King’ and saluted the ‘flag’ with cheers for our Army and Navy; they were then sent home.

Sonning CE Girls and Infants
11th November 1918

School closed in the afternoon to celebrate the signing of the Armistice.

Littlewick CE School
November 11th 1918

At 11.30 AM we heard bells and hooters going and knew that the Armistice was signed and that the war was over. The children cheered and sang “God Save the King” and Rule Britannia, and put up the Union Jack.

Buscot CE School
Nov. 11th

News that the armistice had been signed reached Buscot in the afternoon. The Flag was hoisted, cheers given, National Anthem sung and the hymn “Now thank we all our God”. The children were dismissed at 3 pm, and a holiday given next day Nov 12th.

Aston Tirrold
11th November 1918

We re-opened this morning after a closure of nearly a fortnight on account of influenza. Only 42 children are present out on 75 on roll. Just before noon the rector brought in the news that the Armistice had been signed. Secular work was suspended, and we humble fell upon our knees and heartedly thanked God for His great mercy vouchsafed unto us. A holiday to commemorate the Victory was given in the afternoon.

Braywick
11th November 1918

School opened again this morning [following closure for influenza] with a very fair amount of scholars and after consulting the doctor it was decided to mark register and proceed with usual work which was done accordingly. Peace however was declared in the morning and great excitement presided, many scholars remaining at home in the afternoon. School was resumed on Tuesday, the national anthem was sung, patriotic songs, flag waving etc and children kept quite excited.

Great Coxwell
11th November 1918

War Ended. Holiday in the afternoon to celebrate the great event.

Milton
Nov 11th

Re-opened again this morning [after closure for influenza] with 28 children, several still being ill. Heard in the dinner hour of the Armistice being signed, & gave the children the half holiday.

Log books of Riseley Common CE School, Swallowfield (C/EL99/3); St Stephen’s Boys’ School, Windsor (88/SCH/23/7, p. 167); Stoke Road School, Slough (89/SCH/28/1); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School (88/SCH/32/3); Stanford Dingley National School (C/EL21); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School (C/EL72/3); Abingdon Girls CE School (C/EL 2/2); Coleshill CE School (D/P40/28/5); Sonning CE Girls and Infants (89/SCH/1/4);Littlewick C.E. School(85/SCH/5/2, p. 197); Buscot CE School (C/EL73/2); Aston Tirrold CE School log book (C/EL105/1, p. 169); Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4, p. 208); Milton CE School (D/P85/25/25); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)Great Coxwell CE School (C/EL81/2, p. 83); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3); Purley CE School (C/EL85/2)

“Remember those in tasks of peril by land and sea, in the air and beneath the water”

During Lent, the parish of Wargrave called for daily prayers for the war.

Lent Services

Daily Mattins 8 a.m. Evensong 5 .p.m.

A Bell will ring at Noon to remind everyone that the hour is observed for prayer in this time of War. There is no Service in the Church, but all who hear it are asked to pause for a few moments in their work, to remember those who are engaged in tasks of peril by land and sea, in the air and beneath the water, and to ask God to bless them.

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

“We will keep the Home fires burning and the Church bells ringing till our lads come home”

The vicar of Winkfield drew parishioners’ attention to the spiritual needs of men at the front.

THE VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

I think most of us know that we are sending to all the men from our parish now serving in the Army or Navy, Christmas greetings accompanied by a present, to let them know that whilst they are spending Christmas far away they are not forgotten by those at home. Each man will receive with is present a Christmas card with the words “We will keep the Home fires burning and the Church bells ringing till our lads come home,” and also the message, which I ask you to specially note “We are praying for you at our Christmas Communion.” Those of us who have relations at the front will hardly need to be invited to come to Church on Christmas Day and there, especially in Holy Communion, the Lord’s own Service, commend their dear ones to His keeping; but I trust there will be but few in the parish who will not make a point of attending Divine Service on such a solemn and unique Christmas as this will be, to remember in earnest prayer those who cannot be with us in the home circle.

I want to draw the attention of those who have relatives serving to the article on “The Little Calendar.” One of these calendars, together with a pocket Testament and Prayer Book will be sent in each Christmas parcel to our men, and I should be glad to supply any who would like one of these calendars in order to read the same passage daily and use the same prayer as a bond between themselves and their absent loved ones.

In closing let me commend to your thoughtful consideration the message from the Archbishops urging us to make the first Sunday in the New Year a special day of Intercession in connection with the War. Notices of Services will be issued later.
Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H.M. MAYNARD

* * *

THE LITTLE CALENDAR.

The other day, when one of our Army Chaplains was home for a short furlough, he mentioned a difficulty met by men on active service who were trying to lead a Christian life. They wished to read a few verses of the Bible every day. But the various Bible Reading Unions all chose passages from all over the Bible, and a Testament was as much as they could conveniently carry. Moreover, the Prayer Book Calendar Lessons were generally too long. So there was a need for a series of Short Readings, confined to the New Testament.

This want THE LITTLE CALENDAR is intended to meet. On Sundays and Holydays the Reading is usually from the Epistle or Gospel. On other days the Readings are for several days nearly consecutive, and month by month they illustrate some aspect of Christian Calling.

Much Bible Reading is of little profit, because the pith and marrow of it is not gathered up into prayer; and much prayer is stale and unhelpful because it has no fresh inspiration behind it. So a reference to some suitable Prayer Book prayer follows each reading. In this way the reading can be made more practical, and some of the wealth of devotional material in the Prayer Book can be illuminated by the lamp of God’s Word.

It is suggested also that THE LITTLE CALENDAR may serve as a bond between the absent. If soldiers and sailors on active service knew that their friends at home were daily reading the same passage and using the same prayer, it would make the Communion of Saints a more real and stronger thing, and as THE LITTLE CALENDAR, though specially prepared for soldiers and sailors, has nothing in it that is not adapted for general use, it is hoped that other people may like to use it, and be glad to think of those who are using it too.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/12)

Berkshire children and Field Marshal Roberts’ funeral

Ascot said goodbye to one of its most famous residents, Field Marshal Lord Roberts. Frederick Roberts (1832-1914) was a veteran of earlier wars, in Afghanistan and the Boer War in South Africa, and even the Indian Mutiny of 1857, when an act of gallantry won him the Victoria Cross. His title, awarded in 1901, is one of the very few British Earldoms to be heritable in the female line (another being that of Mountbatten), a special gift to Roberts, who had only daughters living. His only son had been killed in the Boer War, in which he won the Victoria Cross. As he approached retirement in 1903, he moved to Englemere House in Ascot. Over 80 when the First World War broke out, he had anticipated that a great European war would result from German aggression, and had urged conscription for years. Much of his military career had been in the Empire, and he died of pneumonia while inspecting Indian contingents in France. He got the rare honour of a state funeral, and is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The bellringers on All Souls Day rang a muffled peal in commemoration of those who have fallen in the War. It was a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles, 1260 changes, rung by F. Blunden, Treble; E. Simmonds (2); J. Simmonds (3); W. Eatwell (4); J. Brant (Conductor); S. W. Hughes (Tenor); and on Thursday evening, Nov 19th, the day of Lord Roberts’ funeral, another quarter peal in the same method with F. Blay ringing the treble and A. Head, tenor.

The funeral of Lord Roberts also affected the children from two south-east Berkshire schools.  At Ascot Heath Girls’ School, it was reported on 19 November 1914 that:

A holiday was given on Thursday morning on account of the funeral of Field Marshal Lord Roberts.

The following day, St Michael’s CE School noted the involvement of some of their pupils:

Several boys – Scouts – formed the Guard of Honour at Englemere on the occasion of the funeral of the Field Marshal.

Florence Vansittart Neale also mentioned the funeral, along with her concern for young friends in the armed forces.

19 November 1914
I to call on Maud Mackenzie. She in bed. Long talk. Kenneth may go in 3 weeks. Alick better but boot still in his wound….

Had nice letter from Charlie. Going into trenches.

Lord Roberts military funeral at St Paul’s.

Ascot portion of Winkfield District magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12); Ascot Heath Girls School Log Book (C/EL109/2, p. 230); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed (88/SCH/32/3, p. 173); diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The people of Longworth and Charney support the war effort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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