Treatment for gas poisoning contracted in the trenches

One of the many institutions run by the Community of St John Baptist was a Convalescent Home in Folkestone, Kent – the ideal place for one of the clergymen who assisted the Sisters to go to rcover from his war experiences.

27 January 1919
The Sub-Warden went to St Andrew’s Home in order to have treatment for gas poisoning contracted in the trenches.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

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

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

Burghfield

THE WAR

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

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

Wargrave
Hare Hatch Notes

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

CSJB
12 November 1918

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

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

In open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea

Three Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist had a terrifying experience as they travelled home from India.

20 April 1918

Sister Alexandrina, Sister Marion Edith and Sister Edith Helen, who had left Calcutta March 9th, arrived safely after an adventurous voyage. They had only been allowed to travel with special permission from the Government of India on account of Sister Alexandrina’s state of health, which made it necessary for her to leave India.

Their ship was torpedoed by an enemy sub-marine in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Africa. Then passengers were transferred to the ship’s boats and all were saved. They were in open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea. The Sisters & their companions were picked up by a British sloop-of-war and landed at Bizerta, where they remained for 4 days. Then they were taken on board a French mail boat carrying troops and were safely landed at Marseilles after a very uncomfortable voyage owing to the crowded condition of the steamer.

From Marseilles they travelled by train to Paris & Havre, & from thence crossed to Southampton.

Owing to rationing orders limiting the quantity to each House of certain articles of food, & the scarcity of others, the Sisters from the other Houses cannot for the present come to the House of Mercy for tea on Sundays, as has been the custom, nor have their meals there when having day’s retreats.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

A priest called up for service as a chaplain

Magdalens were the ‘fallen women’ who had originally come to Clewer House of Mercy as Penitents. Most such women only stayed for two years before leaving for respectable jobs, but a few were inspired by the religious life and chose to take permanent vows similar to those of the full Sisters. Even their life was disrupted by the war.

20 November 1917
The Magdalens’ Retreat began, conducted by the Revd G B Budibent. The retreat had been postponed from the original date in October because the priest who was then to have taken it had been called up for service as Military Chaplain.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

The Russians are giving in

Florence Vansittart Neale was depressed by the war news, both at home and abroad – and concerned about new food restrictions on sugar.

3 September 1917

Raids at Chatham & Sheerness – 107 sailors killed…

Mr Austman still here. All down about Riga gone. Russians giving in.

Wrote for sugar for jam!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Meanwhile the Sub-Warden of Clewer House of Mercy was heading to France as an army chaplain.

3 September 1917

The Sub-Warden returned from Strensall Camp on short leave before reporting himself at the War Office previously to going to France.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

‘How the words of a war memorial – “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying” – can be true in the face of present facts’

A war memorial was unveiled in Clewer.

St. Agnes’, Clewer

Our wayside Memorial of the Fallen, which was dedicated on July 4, appeals very strongly to those who have seen it. This is a great satisfaction to the many who have contributed towards it: and numbers from a distance who have passed by have been much struck by the beauty of the Figure. Several people, not connected with each other, and who have seen many another wayside Crucifix, have volunteered the remark “I have never seen such a beautiful Figure.”

We are most grateful to Canon Eliot for having come over to dedicate the Memorial, and on one of the wettest days too, that even this July has brought us: but providentially not so much as a drop of rain fell during the time of service, though it came on again immediately afterwards. So were the goodly company who mustered in honour of the Fallen rewarded for braving the elements: and it was cheering to have with us the Rector, the Warden of the House of Mercy, Mr. Warlow, and our other good friends.

Some have expressed wonder how the words over the Cross – “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying” – can be true in the face of present facts, thinking that the words apply to what ought therefore to be here and now. But they tell of what will be, not now, but hereafter when the Crucified shall come in the greatness of His glory: and the present widespread sorrow which death all around is bringing into so many homes makes the more striking that comforting truth, revealed by Jesus Christ after His triumphant return to His Own Home in Heaven, that the time is most surely coming when for ever this shall be no more. The record of this revelation by Jesus Christ to St. John, which took place in the year 96 on the island of Patmos, is Revelation XXI.4.

Others have asked the meaning of the letters “I.N.R.I.” on the scroll at the head of the Cross. So it may be a help to mention, in case any one else should not understand them, that they stand for “Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum,” which is the Latin for “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The Letter “I” was in olden times used for “J”. If we look at St. John XIX, 20 and 21, we see that this title was written by Pilate over the Cross in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the merits of His most sacred Passion, be between us and our enemies.

Clewer parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)