“The most wonderful thing in the whole story of the war is the marvellous heroism of our men”

Worshippers in Maidenhead were stirred by thoughts of the heroism of the men at the front.

EXTRACTS FROM A WAR ANNIVERSARY SERMON, AUGUST 5TH, 1917.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing in the whole story of the war is the marvellous heroism of our men. We were inclined to think that courage and the power of facing death for high ends belonged only to the past, that our age was too soft to risk life or maiming for an ideal. But it has turned out that the heroism and self-sacrifice of our men has been more wonderful than anything in the world’s history. The stories of Greek, Roman, Spartan bravery, have nothing to match it. Indeed, the conditions were wholly different. It is one thing to face death for a few hours in a brief battle or even series of battles, it is quite another to live for weeks and months while death in its most tremendous form is being rained incessantly upon you, and not a moment’s lull can be secured. So civilization, far from weakening man’s moral and physical fibre, has strengthened it, has given him a more masterly self-control, has made him capable of acts of courage and sacrifice which were not thought possible.

Before this war, we had stock illustrations of sublime heroism, the 300 at Thermopylae, brave Horatius at the bridge, and so on; and we had stock examples of generous self-sacrifice for comrades, Sir Philip Sidney at Zutphen, for instance. But we shall never dare to refer to these stories again, they are all obsolete, outfaced and outmatched a hundred times in the story of what our wonderful men have done. Our brothers are finer, nobler fellows than we had ever dreamed of! How many there have been like Julian Grenfell (Lord Desborough’s eldest son), of whom a short biography says that he went to the war as to a banquet for honour’s sake, that his following of Christ did not affect his ardour for the battle, that his intense moral courage distinguished him even more than his physical bravery from the run of common men, and his physical bravery was remarkable enough, whether he was hunting, boxing, or whatever he was at.

That is the spirit in which our Christian warfare must be waged. We shall do nothing if we go on in a haphazard sort of way. Said a scholar and saint not long ago, “Thoughtful men have no use for the Churches until they take their distinctive business in the world more seriously.” If we believe in God and salvation and another life, it is stupid to go out and live as though they were only fables. We must take God seriously, as men and women who believe that the rule of God is a grand reality. We must take worship seriously, knowing it to be the food of the soul; not playing with it as though it were a child’s pastime to be taken up or laid aside according to the mood of the moment. We must take Christian life seriously, remembering that if we are Christ’s, the first claim upon us (not the second or the twentieth) is to be seeking the widening of His Kingdom.


Maidenhead St Luke

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

May I draw your attention to two Parochial things: firstly, the Anniversary of the War, which we hope to observe with special forms of Service on Sunday, August 5th. I hope many will make a real effort to come, and, if possible, to attend the Holy Communion Service to pray for the speedy coming of a Righteous Peace, and for strength to do our duty, however hard it might seem…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Cookham Dean
Special Services during August

Sunday, August 5th – Services as appointed in connection with the Anniversary of the Declaration of War. Service books will be provided.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5); Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P181/28A/26); Cookham Dean parish magazine, Augst 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Useful work

The War Savings Association at Cookham Dean School had started a little too late to attract all potential local members.

The War Savings Association, under the care of Miss Lomas, is doing useful work, though the number of contributors is not very large. The fact is that several of the children and others were already making use of the Post Office for the same purpose. Payments are received at the School, on Tuesdays, at 4 p.m.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

A Cross in memory of those belonging to Cookham Dean who have given their lives for their Country

Cookham Dean made some initial steps towards a parish war memorial.

The War Memorial

The principal Parochial event of the past month was the Meeting held in the Drill Hall on Thursday evening, May 24th, to consider the possibility of erecting a Village Memorial in connection with the War. Preliminary steps had been taken by the distribution of a circular throughout the Village by Mr. Edwards, the circular having been drawn up by Sir R. Melvill Beachcroft and signed by a considerable number of residents in Cookham Dean. The result of this was that the attendance at the meeting was large and thoroughly representative; apologies for absence were sent by the Vicar and Mr J.W. Stone, who were both unavoidably prevented from being present.

After considerable discussion the following resolutions were proposed and seconded, and carried unanimously:-

1) That a Cross be erected in memory of those belonging to Cookham Dean who have given their lives for their Country: that the Cross be erected on one of three sites suggested in the circular.

2) That a Committee be and is hereby appointed to give effect to the foregoing resolution, with authority to invite subscriptions; and that the Committee consist of those whose signatures were appended to the circular, dated May 1st, if willing to act, with power to add to their number, and that the question of the actual site to be selected for the Cross be determined by voting papers to be circulated by the Comnmittee.

The Singing of the National Anthem and a vote of thanks to the Chairman (Sir R. Melvill Beachcroft) brought the meeting to an end.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“The dear boy was not 19 years of age”

Two families in Cookham Dean had to face the worst news of their beloved sons.

Roll of Honour

Sincere sympathy must be expressed with Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Hobson, of Dean House, in the loss of their brave young son, Geoffrey Hamilton Hobson, 2nd Lieut., Hampshire Regiment, who died of wounds received in action early in the month. The dear boy was not 19 years of age.

Our very sincere sympathy also is with the wife and parents and other relatives of Pte. John Usher, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, the news of whose death from wounds, on April 24th, has been (unofficially) received.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Sale on behalf of hospital supplies

Cookham Dean women raised money to support their making bandages etc for the wounded, by selling their other needlework.

The sale of work, in aid of the purchase of material for use in War Hospitals, will be held in the Drill Hall, on Thursday, April 12th. Price of admission from 2.30-4.30 – Sixpence; from 4.30-7.30 – Threepence.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

War Savings Associations in Cookham schools

Schools in Cookham were keen to embark on war savings schemes with the children and their parents.

Acting under the advice from the Education Authority, at Reading, War-Savings Associations have been formed in connection with the Schools (Mr. H. Edwards, Hon. Sec.; Mr. James Tuck, Hon. Treasurer). Sums from 1d to 15/6 may be paid in once a week. Miss Lomas has kindly undertaken to issue Coupon Cards and to receive payments from residents and children of Cookham Dean, on Tuesdays, at the Schoolroom, from 4 to 4.30pm, commencing Tuesday, April 3rd. Arrangements for receiving payments are also in force at Cookham Rise and at Cookham School.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

A prisoner of war in Germany

A Cookham Dean man had been taken prisoner.

Roll of Honour
With sincere regret and sympathy we hear that Corporal H. Winkworth, Royal Berkshire Regiment, is a prisoner of war in Germany.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

We shall never regret complying with the new restrictions

The new food restrictions were a worry in Cookham Dean, especially for the poorer who were already struggling.

The Vicar’s Letter

I expect we are all, more or less, feeling worried about the Food Regulations, not that we do not wish to do all we can do to support the Government’s arrangements at such a crisis, but the difficulty is, how to do it. In households where, as is the case with so many of you, there is never too great a supply of food, it must be most anxious work to know how best to carry out the regulations.

Let us try loyally and conscientiously to do our best: after all what is the inconvenience that we have to put up with compared with what our Allies in Belgium, France, Serbia and Roumania [sic] have had to suffer. If, as we are assured over and over again by those in authority, it is one of the ways that we can each one do our best to assure ourselves and our Allies of Victory, for which we long and pray, let us do our part as cheerfully and uncomplainingly as our brave men in their trenches and in the North Sea are doing theirs. We shall never, never regret it.

Notices

The week-day collections during Lent (apart from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) will be given to the National Institute for the Blind, which is doing so much at the present time for those of our wounded soldiers who have alas lost their sight.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Hope for an honourable, righteous and lasting peace

The vicar of Cookham Dean had a New Year wish for peace to come in 1917.

The Vicar’s Letter

From my heart I wish you a Happy New Year. We all feel that the good old wish that year after year kind friends have expressed for us in one way or another ever since we can remember, carries now a meaning far deeper than it used to do in days gone by. We cannot but wonder with some anxiety, what 1917 has in store for us! What sorrows it may be? What joys? We are now being taught to take a wider outlook than in years gone by and should be learning, slowly it may be, but surely to look, not merely on our own things, but also as St. Paul bids us, upon the things of others: so that at the present time, ‘A Happy New Year’ means first and foremost:-

May God send us during the coming year the opportunity with our Allies of making an honourable, righteous and lasting peace – a peace that will bring with it for the whole world, especially for War-stricken Europe, and most especially for our own dear country, higher ideals than ever before of brotherhood and mutual service, together with the determination on the part of each one of us to rise to these ideals and unselfishly to work for their fulfilment.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

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)

The sad loss of one of our very best soldiers

A bride of a few months suffered the loss of the husband she had met when he was recovering from an earlier wound.

Roll of Honour

We have alas to record the sad loss of one of our very best soldiers – Sgt. Archibald Howard Lucker of the 7th Royal West Surrey (Queen’s Own) Regt. Sgt. Luker had been twice wounded and on his recovery was married in August last to Miss Florence E. Poynter, of Cranbourne, Windsor Park. He was killed by a shell explosion, instantaneously, on Nov.8th. He bore the highest character and will ever be remembered by those who knew him and loved him, not least by the Vicar, with real affection. The sincerest sympathies of many in Cookham Dean and beyond, are with those near and dear to him who are mourning their loss. The Memorial Service was held in Church on Sunday, Nov. 26th. R.I.P.

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

“They have given their best for their country”

Two Cookham Dean men had died of their wounds.

Roll of Honour

It is almost impossible to keep pace with the additions and constant alterations in our list. Lieut. J. del Riego has been promoted Captain and, alas, George Higgs and Reginald Foster have died of wounds, the former at Salonika and the latter in France. Each bore an excellent record and have given their best for their Country. A Memorial Service for both was held in Church on Sunday evening, October 22nd. May they rest in peace.

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

A prominent wayside cross

Cookham Dean had already started to think about an appropriate memorial for those villagers who had lost their lives in the war.

War Memorial

A meeting was held at the Vicarage on Saturday, Oct.21st, to consider the advisability of making some preparation for a War Memorial in some prominent place in the Village. There were present: The Vicar (in the chair), Messrs. Saxon Snell and W. Baldwin (Churchwardens), Sir Melvill Beachcroft, Messrs. R.T. Jackson, T. Stretch, Gordon Hills and J.W. Stone. The subject was introduced by Sir Melvill Beachcroft, who eventually proposed that a Wayside Cross be the form of Memorial chosen, to be erected on some prominent site to be selected later. The proposal met with the unanimous approval of all present, and Messrs. Snell and Gordon Hills were asked to prepare designs to be submitted later to all whom it may concern. The proposal seems likely to meet with good support. Mr J. W. Stone, on behalf of Mrs. Stone and himself, promised a subscription of £100.

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

“Going on as well as can be expected”, having lost a foot

Two Cookham Dean officers had been wounded, while another had received promotion.

The Roll of Honour.
2nd Lieut. Gerald Badger Clark has been most seriously wounded and has been obliged to lose his left foot: Sergeant Luker has also been wounded in his left wrist: both are going on as well as can be expected. Lieut. R. H. Kersey, A.S.C., is gazetted Captain.

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

Excellent work with cushions

Women and children in Cookham Dean industriously sewed supplies for was hospitals.

The War Working Party which meets at the Drill Hall has sent up some excellent work both as regards quantity and quality:-

12 pillow cases, eight feather pillows, 36 Cushions, 80 hospital bags, 36 jug covers, 12 bandages. The School children materially helped in the work needed for the 36 cushions.

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