A very memorable occcasion

Cookham Dean soldiers were entertained on their return home.

Lack of space prevents an attempt even at an adequate account of the Supper to our demobilised Soldiers and Sailors, presided over by Sir R. M. Beachcroft, in the Drill Hall, On Sept 27, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, and the friends that helped them, cannot be too highly congratulated on the excellent taste shewn in the arrangement of the room and of the tables, nor on the beneficent fare provided for the Supper. From first to last the whole proceedings, under the guiding eye of Mr. Edwards, ably backed up by his committee, passed off most satisfactorily.

The Concert, kindly arranged by Messrs. Carr and Kiff, gave the greatest pleasure, and the thanks of all are due not only to the Artistes, but also to Capt. Campbell, who himself went to London in his motor to fetch those who had been prevented from coming by the stoppage of the trains. Each guest received a dainty little programme of the evening, which will doubtless be preserved by many as a pleasant reminder of a very memorable occasion.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

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Donkeys and drums

Some clergy had reservations about the unbridled nature of the peace celebrations.

July 1919

Vicar’s Letter

The Signing of the Peace will naturally turn the thoughts of many towards the ‘Peace Celebrations,’ proposed to be held on Saturday, July 19th. I do not think I can do better than quote a few sentences from a letter written by the Bishop of Norwich, which was published in The Times on Saturday, June 28th. With regard to organised festivities in connection with the Celebration of Peace, the Bishop fears lest these should bring out the poorer and not the nobler side of a natural outburst of high spirits, and he says:

‘We do not wish to substitute mere excitement for that quiet sense of fellowship with the living and the dead and that sober thanks-giving which ought to be the real notes of such a day. At this time we have to think not only of peace abroad, but also of true peace and good will at home, and no stimulated and unrestrained merrymaking helps to give us these. The expression of our joy should not be inappropriate to the tender and solemn remembrance of those who have fallen in the war, nor regardless of those who are mourning for the desolation of their homes. This is, indeed, an occasion for joy, but elaborated celebrations are costly, and the country is in no financial position, and many chastened people in no frame of mind, to spend large sums on extravagant exhibitions of rejoicing. Much sacrifice has gone before the day of thanks giving, and much sacrifice must follow it if the Peace is to be as great as the war. I venture to suggest that we should concentrate our efforts on giving the children a happy day, as many of us do at Christmas time when we commemorate the birth of the Prince of Peace. This, I believe, while shielding us from the risks of orgies protracted into the night, would evoke what is best in the hearts of all classes, and would make a memorable occasion for the boys and girls upon whom will eventually rest the task of fully working out the problems of the new age which the Peace has brought with it.’

No words could I think express better my own feelings with regard to the ‘Peace Celebrations,’ and I hope they will equally commend themselves to you all.

August 1919

The Vicar’s Letter

I feel that my first duty is to thank most heartily the Members of the Committee, and all others, who rendered such very efficient help in collecting funds, arranging and cutting up for the tea, and in superintending and devising the capital Sports, etc., which gave so much pleasure to our young guests on the occasion of the Peace Celebration. If only it had been a really fine day! The dampness of the unpleasant drizzle had no apparent effect on the spirits and excellent conduct of the children, yet we all felt it would have been so much brighter had the sun shone out. Provision for the tea was ample and much appreciated. The donkeys were quite up-to-date, and behaved as donkeys have ever done at a Children’s Fête! Most grateful were we to Mrs. Young, Mr Reynolds and Mr. Stretch for the loan of them; they were quite a feature in the programme. And what shall be told of the glory of the bonfire, which apparently surpassed in brilliance any other that could be seen far or near! As soon as the gentleman with the drum was satisfied that he had done enough in celebrating Peace, one was able to get to bed about 1.30 a.m.! thankful that all concerned had had a happy day, and may God grant that the occasion for keeping such a day shall never occur again during the life-time of the youngest of those who were present with us!

Cookham Dean parish magazine, July and August 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

From telegraph pole to war memorial

The Cookham Dean war memorial was on its way.

The Vicar’s Letter

There has been no meeting of the War Memorial Committee since April 26th. I understand that a few corrections have been made in the list circulated last month, and also a few names have been sent in; these, of course, though it is impossible to say more at present, will receive the sympathetic consideration of the Committee, whose decision in the matter will be final. The Post Office authorities have consented to the transfer of the telegraph pole that at present stands upon the site where the Memorial is to be placed, and it will be moved to its new position in the course of a few days.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“It is urgently requested that any accidental omission of a name, any mistake in the spelling of a name, or any mistake in rank or description may be notified”

The Cookham Dean war memorial was back on track.

The Vicar’s Letter

The efforts made (thanks especially to Sir R. M. Beachcroft, Chairman) to raise further subscriptions for the War Memorial have been rewarded with great success. The amount now in hand and promised will justify the signing of the contract for its erection as soon as arrangements for that purpose can be made. By request of the Committee a list of the names to be inscribed upon the panels is being issued with this month’s Magazine. And it is urgently requested that any accidental omission of a name, any mistake in the spelling of a name, or any mistake in rank or description may be notified before Saturday, May 24th, to Mr. H. Edwards, Tars Pitt, Cookham Dean, Hon. Sec. to the Committee. The Committee after this notice will not hold themselves responsible for any omission or mistake, for when once the list is finally made up, it will be too late to alter it.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“I trust there are many amongst those now returned from Active Service who are hoping to make their Easter Communion”

Soldiers were welcomed back to church.

The Vicar’s Letter

I trust there are many amongst those now returned from Active Service who are hoping to make their Easter Communion. I propose to have a Service of Preparation for any such on the Thursday in Holy Week, April 17th, at 8 p.m., gladly of course welcoming any other men, old or young, who may like to join us.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Unable to proceed with the present war memorial design

Inflation meant that Cookham Dean had to postpone its war memorial plans.

The Vicar’s Letter

You will along with the Parish Magazine receive the design of the proposed War Memorial. Circumstances are now so very different from the time when it was first mooted, the cost of material and of labour have so considerably advanced, that the estimated expense of erection is found to be more than £50 beyond what was expected, and I am asked by the Chairman of the Committee (Sir R. Melvill Beachcroft) to state that unless further subscriptions come in, the Committee will be unable to proceed with the present design. It is possible that some have waited to see the design before promising a subscription; in that case I hope they will at once come to the help of the Committee, so that they may be able to complete the work that they were asked to undertake. I might add that the names of men fallen in the War, from whatever cause, would be carved on the panels shewn blank in the design.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

A beautiful war memorial

Cookham Dean settled on a design for its war memorial.

The Vicar’s Letter

It is some time since any mention has been made in The Magazine of the proposed War Memorial, but Meetings of the Committee have been held from time to time, and Mr. Eden, the architect , who is the great Authority on Wayside Crosses, has submitted a design which, with one or two slight alterations, was approved by the Committee at a Meeting held at the Vicarage on Saturday, January 18th. Mr Eden has been asked to produce an estimate of the cost of erection, and as soon as this has been received the design and all matters connected with it will be submitted to a Meeting of the Subscribers, of which due notice will be given.

The design is undoubtedly a beautiful one, and arrangements are being made to enable me to enclose a lithograph of it in each copy of next month’s Magazine. The site chosen by vote of the subscribers is the triangle to the S.W. of the Green, close to the spot on which the King George V. Coronation Tree was planted. Mr. Eden visited the spot, and his design has been executed with careful consideration of the position chosen, and its immediate surroundings. The Treasurer would be glad to receive Subscriptions already promised, and to enrol additional subscribers on his list. Subscriptions should be sent to T. Stretch, Esq., Five Elms, Pope’s Lane, or to Mr. Edwards at Tars Platt, Hon. Secretary.

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

“We know he rests in peace”

Another young man died soon before the war’s end.

The Roll of Honour

With very real sorrow we record the death of Corpl. Albert Stubbles, R.E., who died of pneumonia while on Active Service in November last. Years ago he was a lad in our Choir, and was one of the best of all the boys who have thus been associated with us. When ‘on leave’ he never failed to come to Communion before returning to the Front. We know he rests in peace, and our sympathy with those near and dear to him is beyond what words can say.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Our fourth war-time Christmas: a joy none can take from us

Food shortages, and the use of adulterated products, had one unexpected casualty – the quality of communion bread. The vicar of Cookham Dean reflected on the fourth Christmas of the war.

The Vicar’s Letter

Since the war began I have found increasing difficulty to obtain bread suitable for use at the Holy Communion. For years I have had a special loaf sent every week from Edinburgh, but it is impossible to depend now upon its quality, and some of the ingredients with which bread is at present made are quite unsuitable for the holy purpose for which it is used. For a long time past I have used, both for sick people and on Saints’ Days, wafer bread, made as the Prayer Book directs, ‘of the best and purest wheaten flour’: Its use secures reverence, and its quality never varies, so that from Advent Sunday onward I intend to use it on Sundays also: I am obtaining it for the present from the same place that supplies the Bishop with that used by him in the Palace Chapel at Cuddesdon.


The Vicar’s Letter

This will be our fourth war-time Christmas. As each year goes on one realises how less like Christmases of former days each succeeding one becomes; and yet, beneath all the changes and turmoil of war, there must ever be the gladdening in our hearts at the thought of the Redemption of the World by our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be ready to offer our worship at the Manger Throne, and find the same comfort and the same grace as ever before at the Altar Throne if our hearts have been duly prepared in Advent by penitence and faith to seek Him, and receive Him there.

Some of the dear lads from the village will spend their Christmas very near to Bethlehem: What an un-looked-for experience for them! May they, and we, and all our dear ones, far and near, bound together in love for Him who was born at Bethlehem – ‘born for us’- find in His Presence a joy none can take from us, and thus realise in a very true way a happy Christmas.

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

“They would be bitterly disappointed if they could see how few really care”

Enthusiasm was flagging among those who had committed to praying for the troops in Cookham Dean – but the village’s children cared about injured horses.

The Vicar’s Letter

Might I plead once more for more regular attendance at our ordinary Intercession Services? Why has the attendance dropped in numbers so seriously – especially on Wednesdays at 11? As far as possible I vary the Services so that they should not be the same – and I would urge those who began well and attended so regularly during the first months of the war to begin again. ‘Be not weary of doing well’, says St. Paul, who there enforces a lesson we all need to learn over and over again. The thoughts of so many on Active Service turn for comfort and support to the thought that at certain times, ‘Many are gathered together praying’ for them in the Church which at home they know best and love most; and I fear they would be bitterly disappointed if they could see how few really care to come with any regularity to the Services provided for them. Do think of this, and act upon it.

The Roll of Honour

The promotion of Pte. E. Blinko to be Corporal should have been notified some months ago. We should like to congratulate most heartily Capt. Vesci Batchelor M.G.C. (elder son of the Vicar of Cookham), who has recently been promoted Major, and 2nd Lieut. C. Edwards promoted Lieut.

Parish Registers

The children of the school have made a Collection on behalf of the Wounded Horses Fund, and have sent up £1 to the R.S.P.C.A. Society.


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

A great blessing to the hospitals

The work of women and children in Cookham Dean was gratefully received.

Cookham Dean War Working Party.

The Vicar has been asked to make the following known, through the Magazine:

From June 6th to Ocober 25th the undermentioned work has been sent out:

(A) To the Surgical Emergency Dressing Society at Maidenhead, 571 ‘T’ bandages, 14 flannel bed jackets, four nightingales, eight flannel shirts, 10 pairs of socks, 13 mufflers, 14 pairs of mittens, four helmets, 244 capelines;

(B) To Lady Smith-Dorrien, 68 hospital bags. The total number of articles being 950.

Mrs. Hunt and Miss Hawkes desire to thank all workers who have so kindly contributed to the result; those who have attended the working party; those who have done work in their own home; and last, but not least, the children in the mixed school who have given up their playtime, and who have helped on the work so willingly…

The following letter has been received from Miss R. Bulkeley:

Redcroft, Maidenhead, October 11th, 1917.

Dear Mrs Hunt, Miss Hawkes has sent me from your War Working Party such splendid hospital and other comforts, and I do not know how to thank you all enough. They are so beautifully made, and will be a great blessing to the Hospitals and Units to which they are sent.

In answer to their appeal yout ‘T’ bandages and capelines go regularly on the 6th of every month to No.2 New Zealand General Hospital, and they say they are just what they like.

Many, many thanks again for all your generous help.

Yours sincerely, Ruby Bulkeley.

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

“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)