The response to the appeal for subscriptions has been, on the whole, deplorably bad

Would St Bartholomew’s School memorial be able to go ahead?

THE WAR MEMORIAL.

Committee.
E.W. Mansfield, Chairman of the Govenors.
C.A. Hawker, Mayor.
F.W. Thoyts, Chairman of the School Committee.
H.F.E. Peake, Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Governors of the School.
A.E. Allnatt, formerly Cricket Captain.
E. Bradfield, formerly Senior Prefect.
I.K. Fraser, formerly Senior Prefect and Editor of “The Newburian”.
A.J. Coles, formerly Senior Prefect, “Editor of The Newburian,” Captain of Football XV.

Old Boys.
B.C.L. James, Senior Prefect.
E. Sharwood-Smith, Head Master.
C. St. A. Lee, Second Master, Hon. Sec. and Treasurer of Committee.

All communications should be addressed to Mr. Lee.

THIRD LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS.

In publishing the third list of subscribers to the War Memorial Fund, we would point out that the response to the appeal for subscriptions has been, on the whole, deplorably bad. It is to be hoped that the many Old Boys and others connected with the school who have not already sent in their donations will make an immediate response to this most important appeal.

£ s d

Pte. A.E.J. Chislett 10 0 0
H. Chislett, Esq. 5 0 0
E.B. Milnes, Esq. 5 0 0
P. Williams, Esq. 5 0 0
J. Rankin, Esq. 3 3 0
Lt. W.B. Collins 2 0 0
Mrs. Shaw 2 0 0
K.P.Leng, Esq. 2 0 0
Corpl.H.S. Hobbs }
Sgt. P.R. Hobbs} 1 0 0
Capt. J. Allee 1 1 0
J.F. Cannan, Esq. 1 0 0
T. Bradfield, Esq. 1 1 0
Lt. W.H. Glover 1 1 0
Miss Brough 1 10 0
Miss Gibson 1 0 0
P. Simmons, Esq. 1 1 0
Miss Farmer 10 6
J. Parr, Esq. 10 0
J.B. Webb, Esq. 10 6
W.C. Franks 10 6
B.C.L. James 10 6
Mrs. Huxham 10 0
Mrs. Staples 10 0
Mrs. Hale 10 0
J.W.Knight, Esq. 5 0

ROLL OF THE FALLEN

ALLEN, Pte. W.H., Grenadier Guards.
BANCE, Lieut., R.A., 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment.
BUCKINGHAM, Lieut., P.E., R.A.F.
BURGESS, Lieut., N.G., Croix de Guerre, R.N.V.
CANNON, H.S., Motor Despatch Rider.
CHISLETT, Trooper, H.J.W., 1/1st Berkshire Yeomanry.
COWELL-TOWNSHEND, Lieut., R., R.A.F.
COX, Pte., C.W., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
CURNOCK, Lieut., C.A., 10th East Surrey Regiment.
DAVIES, Corpl., P.E., 10th East Surrey Regiment.
DAVIS, A.H., London Artists Corps.
EDWARDS, 2nd Lieut., F.A.L., M.C., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
EVERS, Capt., B.S., 9th West Yorkshire Regiment.
GRIFFIN, 2nd Lieut., H.S., 2/24th Royal Berkshire Regiment.
HALLEN, Corpl., J.V., 1st Surrey Rifles.
HARRIS, L.A., Royal Warwick Regiment.
HERBERT, Pte. G.W., Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
JONES, Rfn., S.W., 2nd Rifle Brigade .
MATHEWS, Trooper, S.W., 2nd Rifle Brigade.
MORTIMER, Pte. F.C., 4th North Staffordshire Regiment.
MYDDELTON, 2nd Lieut., E.G., Suffolk Regiment.
NASH, Pte. J.O., Royal Engineers.
PATTERSON, Capt., R.A., 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade.
PAYZE, A.R., 50th Canadian Gordon Highlanders.
PEARSON, Pte. K.H., Artists’ Rifles.
PLENTY, Major, E.M., R.A.F.
QUARTERMAN, 2nd Lieut., P.H., 2/24th East Lancashire Regiment.
RAVENOR, Lieut., G.P., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
RAVENOR, Corpl., H., Australian Contingent.
ROBINSON, 2nd Lieut., A.H., 1st Manchester Regiment.
SOLWAY, Pte. D.G., Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry attached Royal Berkshire Regiment.
SAVAGE, 2nd Air Mechanic, E.G., Royal Flying Corps.
SHARP, Lieut., F.H., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
SHIPLEY, Trooper, A.J., Berkshire Yeomanry.
SHUTLER, Pte. R., Berkshire Yeomanry.
SOMERSET, Lieut., F.H., South African Infantry.
STEVENS, Pte. E.J., M.M., Royal Army Medical Corps.
SWINLEY, Lieut., G.N.B., 3rd Battalion K.O.S.B.
WARREN, Sergt.-Major, C.M.
WILDE, Lieut., E.J., Leicester Regiment.
WYLLIE, Corpl., A., Berkshire Yeomanry, attached Worcester Regiment.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

Separate memorials or a harmonious whole?

Newbury Borough councillors debated the kind of war memorial the twon should choose. Civic offices might not be everyone’s choice, but whatever they chose, the councillors didn’t fancy putting it to a public vote.

February 25, 1919

Finance etc and Selection Joint Committee: War Memorial

The report of this Committee of the 20th February instant was taken as read and the adoption moved by Alderman Stradling who stated that the Committee had considered various suggestions with respect to a War Memorial, and recommending that a War Memorial do consist of a Town Hall, further than that the Committee had not at present gone, but they had also considered some special memorial to those who had fallen in the War. Seconded by Alderman Jackson.

Councillor Carter offered the suggestion that a Recreation Ground for the Borough should be provided.

Alderman Lucas thought that the opinion of the Burgesses should be taken as to the position in the Borough of a Town Hall. He also thought that there should be a separate Memorial to those who had fallen. Alderman Gould was of the same opinion.

Councillor Parfitt thought that early steps should be taken for the provision of a separate Memorial to the fallen.

Councillor Shaw thought that the Memorial to the fallen should not be divorced from the Town Hall Scheme but should form part of a harmonious whole. This was supported by Councillor Davies.

Alderman Stradling replied on the discussion; he was not favourable to a general referendum.

The Committee’s report was carried….

Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Reading School’s contribution to the war

A complete listing of Reading School’s alumni who had served in the war.

OLD BOYS SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES.

This list has been compiled from information received up to December 14th, 1918; corrections and additions will be welcomed and should be addressed to: – R. Newport, Esq., Reading School, Reading.

Allnatt, Rifleman N.R. — London Rifle Brigade.
(killed in Action).
Ambrose, 2nd Lieut. L.C. — S.L.I.
Anderson, Pte. L.G. — Can. Exp. Force
Appelbee, 2nd Lieut. T. — 13TH West Yorks.
(Killed in Action).
Atkinson, Lieut. E.G. — Indian Army
Atkinson, Capt. G.P. — 6TH Royal North Lancs.
Atkinson, 2nd Lieut. J.C. — R.A.F.
Aust, 2nd Lieut. H.E. — Yorkshire Regt.
(Twice Wounded).
(Killed in Action).
Aveline, Lieut. A.P. — Royal Berks Regt,
(Wounded).
(Military Cross).
Baker, 2nd Lieut. A.C.S. — R.G.A.
Baker, Rifleman A.E. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Rifleman R.S. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Lieut. T.H. — 8TH Royal Berks Regt.
(Wounded)
Balding, Capt. C.D. — Indian Army.
Banks, Pte. W.R. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Bardsley, Capt. R.C — Manchester Regt.
(Wounded).
Barnard, F.P. —
Barroby, Trooper. F. — Strathcona Horse.
Barry, Capt. L.E. — R.A.F.
Baseden, Lieut. E. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Baseden, 2nd Lieut. M.W. — R.A.F.
Batchelor, Lieut. A.S. — Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.
Bateman, Capt. W.V. — Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Bayley, 2nd Lieut. F. — Chinese Labour Battalion.
Beckingsale, Pte. R.S. — Canadian Contingent.
Beckingsale, Capt. R.T. — Tank Corps (Military Cross).
(Wounded).

Belsten, E.K. — R.A.F.
Biddulph, 2nd Lieut. R.H.H. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Died of Wounds).
Bidmead, Pte. — Wilts regt.
Black, Pte. F. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Blazey, A.E.H. — R.A.F.
Blazey, 2nd Lieut. J.W. — Royal Berks Regt
(killed in Action).
Bleck, Lieut. W.E. — R.F.A.
Bliss, 2nd Lieut. A.J. — Leinster Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Bliss, Pte. W. — 2ND Batt.Hon.Art.Coy. (more…)

“Died through lead poisoning contracted while on Government work in France”

The Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund tried to help people thrown into economic disarray as a direct result of the war.

24 June 1918
Shire Hall

The Secretary reported that he had been successful in obtaining work for Mrs Swain with Messrs Gill & Sons, Tailors, Reading. Mrs Swain had, however, since stated that she wished to go to Holland where it was understood her husband had been transferred. The Secretary stated that he had informed Mrs Swain that he did not think it would be possible for her to obtain a permit to do this, and nothing further had been heard in the matter.

The case of Mrs Coleman, Station Road, Twyford, whose husband was killed in an Air-raid on London was considered, and a letter was read stating that the Lords Commissioners had sanctioned an award of £250 to Mrs Coleman. The Committee were asked to inform the Government Committee of their proposals for the disbursement of the amount in the best interests of the dependents, and in order to do this it was agreed that the Chairman and Mr F Bate should interview Mrs Coleman on the following Monday, 1st July.

The Chairman stated that he had authorised as a case of urgent necessity, two grants of £5 to be expended by the Rev. H Tower of Windsor, on behalf of Mrs Kate Clarke, St Leonards Road, Windsor, whose husband had died through lead poisoning contracted while on Government work in France.

The action of the Chairman was confirmed and a further grant of £5 authorised to be paid if necessary.

An application for assistance received from Miss Lipscombe, Maidenhead, was considered and refused, as it was not considered one of distress directly due to the present war.

The Secretary reported the result of his enquiries of Mr Davies, Maidenhead, in the case of Mrs Willis, to the effect that it would appear that Mrs Willis would not be able to take up employment. It was suggested that the case be referred to the Central Office asking whether a final grant might be given to the woman, and the Secretary was instructed accordingly.

The Treasurer reported that the loan of £3 made in April 1917 to Mrs Lake, Yew Tree Farm, Swallowfield, the period for repayment of which had been extended, was now five months overdue, and asked for instructions as to any necessary action in the matter.

After consideration it was agreed that the promissory note be returned to Mrs Lake and the loan treated as a gift.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Adventures in armoured cars and tanks

Old Boys of Reading School continued to serve their country, and share their experiences.

O.R.NEWS.

Mr. A.J. Wright has kindly sent the headmaster extracts from a letter of R.F. Wright’s, who was then in the 2nd squadron Russian Armoured Cars. The letter gives a vivid description of the threat on the Galician front and for the adventures of the Armoured Cars. The most striking sight was the explosion of the huge ammunition dumps at Crosowa, – apparently caused by a chance shot,- which Wright witnessed from a distance of 5 or 6 miles. It was most fortunate that the British cars got away with such small loss.

We must congratulate Capt. Rev. A.G. Wilken, Brigade Chaplain, Canadian Force on his return from Germany. He has been a prisoner of war for a year and eight months, during which time he has made the acquaintance of no less than six prison camps, Gutersloh, Minden, Crefeld, Schwarmstedt, Holzminden and Frieburg. We understand that some of these were comfortable enough, others very much the reverse. We hope that someday perhaps Capt. Wilken will tell us of some of his experiences.

Captain Haigh, M.C.

We are now in a position to publish news of the great honour which has been conferred upon Capt. Richard Haigh, M.C., Tank Corps, son of Mr. W. Haigh, of “Llanarth,” Hamilton Road, Reading. Capt. Haigh has been selected from all the officers of “His Majesty’s’ Land Ships” to take charge of the tank which has been touring Canada and the United states to help boom the U.S. Liberty Loan. He and his crew all of whom, by the way, have been wounded, have been touring the chief cities of the Republic for the past three months polarizing the great loan which our Allies have been raising. Such work is, of course, of the highest responsibility, and the fact that the gallant officer has been entrusted with this duty speaks well for his ability and for the confidence which the authorities place in him.

Educated at Reading School, where he distinguished himself in every form of athletics, particularly long distance running and football, Capt. Haigh obtained a commission in the Royal Berks Regt. just after the outbreak of war. He was wounded at Loos in 1915 and again on the Somme in 1916. In January of last year he was awarded the Military Cross, and for the last twelve months he has been attached to the Tank Corps.

Lieut. Fielding Clarke. – On Wednesday in the last week Captain Fielding Clarke of Ampthill, Craven Road, Reading, received a telegram intimating that his second son, Sec. Lieut. A. Fielding Clarke, R.F.C., was missing. The previous Saturday he had been with his squadron carrying out a bombing raid on and around Metz, and his machine was the only one which did not return. Lieut. Clarke, whose age is 18 and a half, was educated at Reading School and Bradfield College, and joined the R.F.C. at the age of 17 years and four months. He had been in France about three months and had just returned from his first Furlough. It is supposed that the cause of his failing to return must have been engine trouble, for on the occasion of the raid there was particularly little German anti-aircraft fire.

(Later). Lieut. A. Fielding Clarke is now known to be a prisoner of war interned at Karlsruhe.
(more…)

Promise of such a splendid leader

A young man with a bright future was the latest to fall at the Front.

Walford Vernon Knowles

By the death of Walford Knowles on the last day of the old year, yet another name is added to the Roll of boys from Trinity who have laid down their lives in defence of home and country and of human liberty, whose names will live while Trinity stands.

In a letter dated the 6th of January, 1918, Capt. H. A. Curtis writes:

“It is with deep regret that I have to write and inform you of the death of your son. It happened at about 6.15 on the morning of December 31st. We were ‘standing to’ at the time, and the enemy put down a heavy barrage on to the position we were holding. As is usual, all Officers were on duty at the time, and it appears that a heavy shell fell within a yard or so of your son, killing him instantaneously. I am more than sorry to have lost him, as during the short time he was with us he had become very popular amongst his brother Officers, N.C.O’s. and the men, and we all miss him dearly. It seems all the more sad owing to the fact that this was his first tour of trench duty, and he gave promise of such a splendid leader.”

The elder son of our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Knowles, he was born in January, 1898 and educated at Reading School, into which he took an open Scholarship in 1909, one of the first Scholarships offered by the Reading Town Council. In 1916 he passed the Higher Certificate Examination with distinction in French and German. During his last year at school he won the Laud Scholarship (the blue ribbon of Reading School). Also an exhibition at Worcester College, Oxford, and was further awarded the Ewelme Exhibition at New College, Oxford.

It was not only in his studies that he did well, but in every side of School life he made his mark, becoming a member of the Rugby Football and cricket teams, a sergeant in the Officers’ Training Corps, and finally Captain of the School. Of those who have in recent years held this coveted position he is the third to make the supreme sacrifice during the war, the other two being Marsden Cooper (another Trinity boy) and D.J. Davies.

“As head of the school,” says Mr. Keeton, the Headmaster, “he was extremely conscientious and energetic, and in all departments showed the same qualities and zest and keenness and the desire to do his very best. He won the esteem and affection of all, both masters and boys.”

On reaching military age he carried the same characteristics into the sterner school of war, passing with credit through his cadetship at Gales and afterwards Portsmouth. He went out to France early in October as a Second Lieutenant in the County Regiment and in his all-too-brief period of service had already won the affection and esteem of his comrades and superior officers.

Walford Knowles was in the fullest sense of the words a child of Trinity. There he was baptized, and there he attended during the whole of his life. For several years a loyal member of the Institute, he joined this Church and was received into its fellowship on his confession of faith on September 13th, 1914. During the early winters of the war, and especially during last autumn, before leaving for France, he showed a very keen interest in the Trinity Soldiers’ Club, where his presence and companionship was always appreciated by the men.

The sad news of his death reached us a few minutes before the January Church Meeting, and a resolution of deepest sympathy with his parents and family was passed with the heartfelt consent of all present. In moving that this message be sent, the pastor spoke of the very fine qualities both in mind and heart which had endeared Walford to so a wide circle of friends, and caused them to entertain high expectations for him of a successful career at the University and after that of a life of fruitful service. He referred to his own close and intimate friendship with him, and the great opinion he had formed both of his character and abilities. Undoubtedly there were in him the making of a genuine scholar, a sincere and able thinker, a trusty friend, and a particularly fine type of Christian citizen.

We are sure that the sympathy of Trinity folk as a whole goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Knowles, and their family in this sorrow, and the prayer of us all is that they may be greatly comforted.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, February 1918 (D/EX1237/1)

Determined not to give in until an end has been made of the menace of tyranny and despotism

The vicar of Earley continued to be exercised by the unpatriotic refusing to restrain their consumption of limited food and drink supplies.

The Vicar’s Letter

We can hardly realise that we have almost reached the end of another year; it seems but a few weeks to our last Advent, our last Christmas, yet how much has happened since. How the war drags on from week to week, month to month, and how, in spite of it all, it finds us as determined as ever not to give in until an end has been made of the menace of tyranny and despotism. There is no fear as to the final result, but we shall have need of all our self-control and self-denial during the next few months. And yet how many are absolutely refusing to exercise that self-control in matters of food and drink.

A short while ago a foreman of some railway works in the west of England told us that he had spoken to his men about the probability of the cost of beer being raised to a shilling a pint, and asked them what they meant to do. “We shall have it”, was the reply. Here lies the real danger for our country, far more than in the direct attacks of our enemies…

If we think as we ought of what the season means for us, we can at any rate spend a Happy Christmas, even if a Merry Christmas is out of the question.

Your friend and Vicar
W W Fowler.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have [sic] been added to our prayer list: Harold Davies.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED: Harold Giles, Rupert Wigmore, Harry Hewett, Eric Fowler, Ernest Thompson, George Fulford, Harry Ayres.

KILLED: Arthur Buskin, Frank Buskin, Charles Smith.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Pray for wisdom in dealing with the objectors to military service

The Earley parish magazine was to be sent out to men from the parish serving overseas.

The following are extracts from the Bishop’s message in the May Diocesan magazine:

Your prayers are asked specially…

For candidates for Holy Orders: for the maintenance of vocation in those who have gone to the war: and an increased supply after the war….
For our army in Mesopotamia.
For guidance for our rulers.
For the maintenance of industrial peace.
For wisdom in dealing with the objectors to military service.
For British and other prisoners of war in German camps.

C.E.M.S.

It has been suggested that some of those now on Active Service would appreciate a copy of the Parish magazine or the quarterly magazine of the C.E.M.S., and the members of the Earley Branch have undertaken to forward a number of copies each month.

If this should come to the notice of anyone living in the parish who has a friend or relation at the Front or with the Fleet likely to be interested in a copy, I should be grateful for his name and full service address.

Wm H Keep
Acting Hon. Secretary
7, Melrose Avenue

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Herbert Bacon, Robert Neale, Philip Pocock, Percy Smith, Louis Taylor, Albert Davies, Jesse Chivers, Frank Burchell, Arthur Hosler, Owen Lewington, Walter Copperthwaite, George Smith, Reginald Merry, Tom Bosley, Frank Fowler, Albert Newberry, Sidney Newberry.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Sick: Renton Dunlop.
Killed in Action: Sidney Marshall.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/5)

“Our soldiers, sailors and flying men need our prayers

New Year’s Eve was set to be the first of three special days of national prayer for the war. Several Berkshire parishes give us their slant on it. The vicar of All Saints, Dedworth also had a story from the Front about attitudes to the enemy.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The year 1916 still sees us engaged in a war even more terrible than the beginning of 1915. The Nation is bidden by its spiritual leaders, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church to keep Friday, December 31st, as a day of special prayer and intercession. Saturday, January 1st, is to be a day of preparation for Communion, which all are asked to make on Sunday, January 2nd. The duty of the Church is to carry on the fight against the World, Flesh and Devil, and it is the duty of the Church’s officers to lead in that fight. The response at times to that call seems small, it may be larger than it looks, but at any rate it makes the work as hard, if not harder, to carry on than other warfare. How grand has been the response to carry arms for King and Country, but the real victory for which we are fighting will not be won unless at the end we are a Nation nearer to God; having shown to the world that Christianity is the greatest power in war and peace.

Mr. Begbie narrates the following from behind the English lines in France:-

“The other day a doctor fell in with a British soldier whose blood was maddened by what he had seen of the German treatment of our wounded men. ‘Do you know what I mean to do,’ he demanded, ‘when I come across one of their wounded? I mean to put my boot in his ugly face.’ The doctor replied, ‘No you won’t; it’s not your nature. I’ll tell you what you will do – you’ll give him a drink out of your water-bottle.’ To which the soldier after a pause, in which he searched the doctor’s face, made grumbling and regretful answer, ‘Well, may be I shall.’”

Reading St John

Mr Rogers has now been moved up to the Front. He is where he wished to be when he offered for service as a Chaplain, and where he will have the opportunity of speaking to men at the most solemn moment of their lives of the things that matter eternally. We shall continue to be much in prayer for him, that he may be kept from all harm, and that his messages may be with great power.

Now may I commend to your very careful notice the arrangements which have been made to enable you to observe the last day of December and the first two days of January as our King and our Archbishops and Bishops desire that they should be observed. We stand on the threshold of a year that promises to be fateful beyond any in our previous history, a year that will probably test severely our fortitude, our courage and our faith.

(more…)

The calamity of war teaches us a lesson

Maidenhead Congregational Church was girding itself for another year of war.

SOLDIER GUESTS.

There seems every probability that Maidenhead will be again called upon to receive a number of soldiers in training, and that in consequence our Schoolroom may be again required for their entertainment in the evenings. If it be so, we will cheerfully face the disturbance to our own arrangements, and no doubt the willing workers of last winter will feel it a privilege to serve again.

A Word for the New Year

With what spirits are we going forward into this strange New Year? …

We move into the New Year with the calamity of war upon us, and we may calmly wait the issue, if we believe in God, and if we are sure that for us, yea and for all the nations too, even our enemies, the end of it will bring us nearer to the goal of all true civilization. God has always brought blessings out of calamities. He who knows nothing of surgery might denounce the cruelty of the surgeon’s knife, but wisdom is sure that the hand that holds it is mercy. National putrefaction is a worse thing than national sorrow, and when God’s judgments are written in flaming letters across the lands, many who could not have heard the lesson in any other way, begin to understand that there is a God in the earth.

The virtues of courage and endurance are everyone’s admiration just now, so magnificently are they exemplified by our khaki-clad heroes. Is there not room and occasion for them in the lives of us all?…
T F Lewis.

SOLDIER GUESTS.
There seems every probability that Maidenhead will be again called upon to receive a number of soldiers in training, and that in consequence our Schoolroom may be again required for their entertainment in the evenings. If it be so, we will cheerfully face the disturbance to our own arrangements, and no doubt the willing workers of last winter will feel it a privilege to serve again.”

OUR ROLL OF HEROES.
There are a few changes to make since our last record. Charles Hurrell has been discharged from the Navy, in consequence of a breakdown in health. Cyril Hews has left Newhaven, where he has been since August of last year, and expects to proceed to the front immediately. Thomas Mulford has left for Egypt. Horace Gibbons is still in hospital, but is going on well. Percy Lewis has been gazetted Captain, Hugh Lewis has received a Second Lieutenancy in the Royal Engineers, and is stationed at Northampton. No news has been received of Harold Fisher, reported missing on September 28th, but it has been ascertained that some of his Company were taken prisoners on that day, and we may hope that he is among them. Benjamin Gibbons and David Dalgliesh have gone with their regiments to the scene of action in France. John Bolton has been promoted Company Quarter-Master Sergeant. Robert Harris is on the point of crossing to France, perhaps has already crossed. Bert Plum has gone down the Mediterranean, destination unknown. May our Heavenly Father, to whose gracious care we lovingly commend all our lads, preserve and bless them, and enable them to be faithful to their duty and their God.

OUR SOLDIERS’ LETTERS

Many acknowledgements have been received of the Church’s letter: we quote extracts from two.

“I write to thank the Church for the very kind and thoughtful letter which I received last week. It brings to my mind the happy days I spent in the Sunday School, which I look back upon as days of sunshine. It gives me great satisfaction to know that yourself and the Church have not forgotten one who has been away from your midst for a few years.”

“Let me thank you, as our Church’s representative, for the very nice letter of greeting and good will which I received on the 18th November. It has been a great comfort to me on several occasions to remember that I am a member of the Church, and I was very much gratified to receive the kind message, and the assurance that God is on our side, and is always with us.”

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, December 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Music and feasting for the soldiers in Maidenhead

Soldiers billeted in Maidenhead were making good use of the Congregational Church Sunday School premises in their spare time, and there was a party on Christmas Day.

THE SOLDIERS’ CLUB ROOM.
Our Schoolrooms are again at the disposal of the soldiers for recreation and letter writing. The kind friend who provided a piano last winter has renewed his generosity for the present need. We have borrowed a bagatelle table, and would be most grateful for the loan of another, or indeed of several others. The ladies of the B.W.T.A. have again undertaken to be in attendance every evening to mend clothing and to put on buttons, and the refreshment bar is once more in active operation. The rooms were highly decorated for the Christmas holidays, and on Christmas evening Lieut. Davies, of the 2/3 East Anglians R.E., gave his men a party therein with music and feasting.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, January 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Our Russian Allies have been nobly bearing the chief brunt of the enemy’s attack

Women and children were at the forefront in Burghfield, Sulhamstead and Theale fundraising efforts on behalf of wounded Russians, while efforts were also made in Reading.

Sulhamstead

RUSSIAN FLAG DAY

An energetic canvass of the parish on behalf of the Russian Red Cross Society was mad eon Saturday, September 18th, by an enthusiastic band of workers, organised by Miss B Leake. It is said they met with a bright welcome at almost every house at which they called, or every person whom they asked. All the flags had been sold by 2 o’clock, and givers after that time were content to have no recognition. The collecting boxes were taken unopened to Canon Trotter on Saturday night by Miss Leake, but the counting was deferred, and was not known at the time of going to press.

The St Michael’s Scouts gathered blackberries, which they sold for the Russian Red Cross, and added £1 to the fund from their sale.

Theale

RUSSIAN FLAG DAY

It is interesting to record the efforts made, and the sums contributed, in our parish towards meeting the manifold needs of our Allies and ourselves in this time of War. During the last two months appeals have been made to the Country to assist the Russian wounded and sick, and our own Red Cross and St. John Ambulance Association. On both occasions Mr. D. M. Davies took up the work with zeal, invited the collectors and assigned them their districts.

“Russian Flag Day” was September 18th, and £8 18s. 9d. was contributed. The following collected: Mrs Charles Blatch, Miss Bunce, Miss Cowing, Miss Dance, Miss Ivy Forrester, Miss Pickford, Miss Elsie Janes, Mrs Sly and the Misses Windle.

Burghfield
RUSSIAN FLAG DAY
Our parishioners gladly and willingly responded to the appeal made by the Mayor of Reading to help the Russian Red Cross by buying flags on Saturday, September 18th, and the very satisfactory sum of £11. 13s 7d was realized as our contribution to the good cause. The Rector and Mrs George are most grateful to all the collectors who responded to their appeal, and who spared no effort to make the day a success.

Reading

A Reading church had a special fundraising day in aid of wounded Russian soldiers.

The Vicar’s notes

Our Russian Allies have been bearing so nobly the chief brunt of the enemy’s attack during the last few months that it was only fitting that we should do our best to help their wounded, who I fear, must be numbered by hundreds of thousands. So Saturday, Sept 18th was kept as Russian Flag Day, and the results were splendid; the total amount reaching, I believe, some £2,000.

Sulhamstead and Burghfield parish magazines, October 1915 (D/EX725/3); Theale parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P132B/28A/4); Reading St Mary parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P98/28A/13)

Happy relations with our Belgian guests

The people of Theale had undertaken to support a Belgian family living in the village.

THEALE BELGIAN RELIEF FUND
A meeting of the subscribers to this Fund was held in the Parish Room on July 6th, at which the Rector, president of the Committee, was in the chair, and there were also on the platform the Rev. F. G. Steel, Vice-President, Mr. D. M. Davies, Hon Secretary, and Mr. A. G. Phillips, Hon. Treasurer. Mr. Phillips presented the Balance Sheet, which showed total receipts of £114 10s. 10s., and an expenditure of £94 18s. 9d., leaving a balance of £19 12s. 1d., which it was decided to allot as follows:

£5 for the benefit, at the discretion of the Committee, of the Belgian family still in our village. £5 to the Belgian National Relief Fund. £5 to the French Relief Fund, and the balance of £4 12s. 1d. to the Berks County Red Cross Society.

The Rector congratulated the parish on the large sum raised, on our happy relations with our Belgian guests and on the harmonious working of the Committee and to the ladies who had done such good work. We are happy to hear that Monsieur and Madame Rémonchamps have obtained satisfactory positions in London, and that the rest of our guests in Devonshire House, where they lived for seven months, are well provided for.

Theale parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P132B/28A/4)

As happy a sojourn as possible in the sad circumstances of exile

One lucky Belgian family arrived in Theale to take possession of the house which local well-wishers were renting for them. They even furnished it for the refugees, who had of course (less luckily) had to leave all their own possessions behind.

On Monday, November 9th, our Belgian guests, Monsieur and Madame Remonchamps, and four relatives arrived at Theale at 5.13 p.m. Mr Herbert Blatch and Mrs. D. M. Davies, on behalf of the Committee, kindly escorted them from London, and they were welcomed at the station by the Rector and Mrs. Angel-Smith, and Mr. D. M. Davies. The Committee have taken Dr. Carter’s house for the remainder of his lease at a reduced rent, and it has been furnished almost entirely by gifts, and the ladies of the Committee and others worked hard for several days in getting it ready. We trust that our Belgian guests find themselves comfortable there, and will have as happy a sojourn among us as the sad circumstances of their exile permit.

Theale parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P132B/28A/4)

A home for ‘better class’ Belgians in Theale

On 26 October a public meeting was held in Theale to discuss the problem of the Belgian refugees in the area:

Belgian Refugees
A Public Meeting Of Parishioners & Neighbours of Theale, will be held in the Parish Room, On Monday, October 26th, 1914 At 7 p.m.

I. To discuss the suggestion of providing a Home in Theale for a Belgian family.
II. If adopted, to appoint Committees to raise a fund, and make the necessary arrangements.

Signed –
Stuart C. F. Angel-Smith, Rector.
F. G. Steel, Congregational Minister.
D. H. Davies, Chairman of Theale Parish Council.

The parish magazine subsequently reported on the decision made to provide free housing for a family of Belgians (of the better class only).

BELGIAN REFUGEES.
A well-attended and business-like meeting was held in the Parish Room on Monday, October 26th. The Rector presided and opened the Meeting with Prayer. In his introductory remarks the Chairman said that we in Theale wanted to take a part, however small, in discharging the debt that England and France especially owed to Belgium and her heroic Army. We wished to provide a Home for a party of Belgian Refugees. A house must be provided, rent free, and furnished. Much of the furniture would be lent. We must raise a fund for preliminary expenses, and another fund of weekly contributions for maintenance of the guests. Mr. Herbert Blatch, in an interesting and informing speech, thought we should do well to choose a party of better-class Belgians. Te Rev. F. G. Steel proposed a resolution pledging the meeting to support the scheme. This was carried unanimously. Mr. D. M. Davies then proposed the names of several ladies and men to form a Committee, with power to add to their number, meanwhile papers were handed to the audience, on which to put down their contributions to the Starting Fund, and weekly maintenance fund. Promises to the first came to £14 3s. 6d., to the second to £1 18s. 0d. The Rector then announced that he had received, through Miss Blatch, the promise of a donation of £5 from her eldest sister, Mrs. Parlett. This generous gift was much appreciated.

The Committee then met for a short time, and the Rector was elected Chairman, the Rev. F. G. Steel, Vice-Chairman, Mr. D. M. Davies, Hon Secretary, and Mr A. C. Phillips, Hon. Treasurer. The question of choosing a house arising, the Chairman proposed that Mr. Herbert Blatch, Mr. Davies and Mr. Cumber for a Sub-Committee to negotiate for an appropriate house. This was passed.

The parish is to be heartily congratulated on the unanimity with which this good work has been inaugurated, and on the generous support given to the first appeal for subscriptions. Many more offers will doubtless come from those not present at the Meeting.

Theale parish magazine, November 1914, and flier (D/P132B/28A/4)