Sympathy for Mr Slade

A Burghfield man survived the war, only to encounter unexpected tragedy at home.

Much sympathy is felt for Mr J Slade on the death of his good wife after a very short illness. Mr Slade, who joined up in September, 1915, has seen service at the Dardanelles and in France, and was only discharged in January last.

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

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When the boys come home

One ex soldier was able to go back to his old job almost at once.

“WHEN THE BOYS COME HOME”

It has been splendid to welcome home half a dozen of our “boys” for their twelve days. … Will Ball’s “twelve days” have, we are delighted to know, been indefinitely extended. He has “come home” and we greet him warmly, and hope that in the coming happiness he may find an ample compensation for all that he has endured during his four years’ absence. The jobs he left in September 1914 are still open for him to re-enter.

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

They cannot be demobilised in advance of general demobilisation

January 28th, 1919

Letter from Mr Gulliver, Assistant Master, read, stating that he is willing to resume his former duties as male Attendant, at the old salary, from the date Mr Lockhart leaves.

Letter from the Local Government Board read, stating that the Guardians’ application for the discharge from the army of Messrs Wood and Edwards, Porter and Labour Master, respectively, has been considered but they cannot be demobilised in advance of general demobilisation.


Windsor Board of Guardians minutes (G/WI1/26)

Missing, believed killed

There was news of several Burghfield men.

THE WAR
Casualties

R T Montagu (East Surrey) missing, believed killed
Harry Woolford (5th Royal Berks) missing
F J Painter (5th Royal Berks) prisoner
Cecil Gibbs (6th Ox. And Bucks) wounded
G Budd discharged (eyesight)

Burghfield parish magazine, February 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Hospital accommodation for disabled soldiers and sailors who have been discharged

Some servicemen who were not going to recover their full health were discharged from the forces – but still needed medical care.

8th February 1918
Ministry of Pensions, Letter from.
A letter from the Ministry of Pensions re. Hospital accommodation for disabled soldiers and sailors who have been discharged was considered by the Board, and it was decided on the proposition of Capt Pretyman & seconded by the Revd. C. Fry that the Board offer 4 beds after the War for the same.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, p. 354)

“A terrible blow to his parents”

Tribute is paid to Burghfield men whose deaths had been reported.

THE WAR

Casualties
C Searle (killed)
Sidney Cooper (wounded and missing, reported killed)
Ernest F Bunce (died of wounds)

Discharge
R Jordan (wounded)

Obituary Notices

Lance-Corporal Ernest Bunce is reported as having died from wounds received on the 18th November; he was on 1/1st Berks Yeomanry in Palestine during General Allenby’s victorious advance. No news except the telegram of his death has reached his parents, deepest sympathy is felt for them and his twin sister Elsie in their great sorrow. They wish to return grateful thanks for many kind messages.

Christopher Searle of the Royal West Surrey was killed on October 4th in France. His Commanding Officer writes of him that he had just gone through an attack with his Battalion safely, and on going to fetch some water, a shell burst close to him, and he was killed instantly.

“The Company all regret him, he did his work well and was very popular.”

It is a terrible blow to his parents, he was their only son, but he was a brave lad, and they must feel very proud of him.

Sidney Cooper, 2nd Royal Berks, of Pinge Wood, was reported as “wounded and missing” some time ago, he is now believed to have been killed.

Fred W Fisher died in hospital at Brighton on December 6th after a long sad illness partly due to a kick from a mule. He enlisted in the ASC in March 1916, and was fit for duty for only a few months.

Burghfield parish magazine, January 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Demonstrations of War Time Cookery

The Education Committee was facing challenged with fewer teachers and more children (the latter due to the arrival of voluntary evacuees). They also encouraged cookery teachers to learn how to cope with food restrictions.

Report of the Higher Education Committee, 12 January 1918

Secondary Schools

MAIDENHEAD COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL
In consequence of the increased number of pupils and the difficulties caused by a further member of the staff leaving for military service, the Sub-committee have approved of the vacant place being filled by a whole-time Mistress and a part-time Master.

WALLINGFORD COUNTRY GRAMMAR SCHOOL

Mr Preece, one of the Assistants, has returned from military service, and in view of the increased numbers in attendance, the Sub-committee have authorised the retention of the substitute Mistress on the staff for the present.

Report of the School Management Sub-committee, 12 January 1918

WAR TIME COOKERY

The Domestic Subject Instructresses of the County attended on December 13 and 14 a series of demonstrations on War Time Cookery arranged by the Ministry of Food, who paid their expenses.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Training is given free to disabled soldiers who are unable to take up their old employment

Big problems were faced by former soldiers who had been sent home because they were no longer medically fit to serve, often because they were now permanently disabled. The Burghfield parish magazine offered advice:

Discharged Soldiers and War Pensions

A man’s discharge dates, not from the day he leaves the colours, but from three weeks afterwards, ie. from three weeks after his return home. For those three weeks he should receive his pay, also a gratuity of £1 and an allowance of 17/6 in place of plain clothes, and also any arrears that are due to him. If a wife or dependant is receiving an allowance it should be continued, and the ring paper not withdrawn, for two weeks after the expiration of the three weeks. if the pension which is due after discharge is not paid, application should be made to the War Pensions Sub-committee, either through Mr and Mrs Willink, who are serving on it, or to the Secretary of that Sub-committee at the Shire Hall, Reading, any day except Monday or Wednesday.

If there should be a delay in the issue of the pension, this Sub-committee has power to give a returnable grant till the money is forthcoming. Training is given free to disabled soldiers who are unable to take up their old employment. The following are some of the trades being taught: Engineering, including Aeroplane work, Building and House Decorating, Printing, Furniture, Leather Goods and Boot and Shoe Making, Cane and Willow Industry, etc. A form is issued for each disabled soldier to sign and fill up, so that his case may be investigated should there be any distress or need.

MGW

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1917 (D/EX725/4)

He “saved an officer’s life by carrying him on his back out of danger, under fire”

There was news of many Burghfield men, some of whom had performed acts of heroism at the front.

Honours and Promotions

We congratulate 2nd Lt Wheeler and his parents Mr and Mrs E C Wheeler on his promotion, he having been given a commission in the King’s Liverpool Regiment. His brother, T Wheeler, is now training as a Pilot in No 5 Cadet Wing, RFC. Cadet (ex Corporal) Alfred Searies is training in Scotland, having been recommended for a commission. He has been twice wounded, and has saved an officer’s life by carrying him on his back out of danger, under fire. The following are now Sergeants: E Cooke (5th R W Surrey), R J Turfrey (ASC< MT), E Wise (2/4th Royal Berks).

Casualties

E N Pike (killed in action), P C Layley (scalded), J Cummings, A Newman, and A Ware (wounded). W Butler, whose parents long lived in the parish, but have lately gone to Sulhamstead, is also wounded.

Discharges

Jos. West, ex 2nd Rifle Brigade (wounds); Herbert C Layley, ex 5th Royal Berks (wounds); Fred W Johnson, ex 2nd Royal Berks (heart); Isaac Slade, ex 4th Royal Berks and RE (heart); J D Whitburn, ex Royal Berks (rheumatism), just moved to Five Oaken. Arthur L Collins, in last magazine, should have been described as ex 5th Royal Berks.

Other War Items

Lieutenant Francis E Foster, RNVR, of Highwoods, who since the outbreak of war has been looking for trouble in the North Sea, has been rewarded by transfer to a quieter job further south, for the present. Lieutenant Geoffrey H B Chance, MG Corps (of the Shrubberies) is in hospital in Egypt, suffering from malaria.

Roll of Honour
Mr Willink thanks all who have given him information. He is always glad to receive more. It is difficult if not impossible, especially since the Military Service Act, to keep the Roll up to date.

Obituary Notices

The following death is recorded with regret.

Mr E N Pike, of Burghfield Hatch, son of Mrs Pike of Brook House, lost his life as above stated, for his country on 11th November, less than a week after returning to the front from a month’s leave which had been granted him to enable him to get in his fruit crop. An officer in his Battery writes: “In the short time that Gunner Pike has been in the Battery we have learned to appreciate him not only for his work but for the man he was”. He leaves a young widow and a little boy. He had good hopes of obtaining a commission in time.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1917 (D/EX725/4)

A gallant lad who enlisted “because he thought it was his duty”

The service of several Burghfield men had ended, either through death or illness.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Major Richard Kirkwood, who as temporary Lieutenant Colonel has since the beginning of the war been in command at Exeter of the Depot of his old Regiment (the Devons), has been seriously ill. He is now being relieved, and is receiving the permanent honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and we hope to see him and his wife back at Boldrewood in November.

Discharges

So far, only the following names have come to hand of Burghfield men discharged from the Navy or Army in consequence of wounds or sickness contracted on service, viz:

Joseph Bedford, ex 8th Royal Berks (wounds)
E H Bracey, ex MGC (wounds)
Arthur L Collins, ex 2nd Anzacs, AEF (sickness)
Ernest Goddard, ex 1st Royal Berks (wounds)
William Goddard, another son of Joel Goddard, born and bred in Burghfield, but not resident for some years, has also been discharged, ex RE, on account of wounds.

Obituary Notices

Percy G Day, a gallant lad who enlisted “because he thought it was his duty”, though he broke his apprenticeship by doing so, was son of George Day of Trash Green. He was in the 2/4th Royal Berks, but was found not strong enough to go to France with the Battalion in May 1916, and was latterly employed on munition work in Leeds, where he died on 6th October in hospital.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1917 (D/EX725/4)

The introduction of compulsory service has rather changed the situation

The parish of Burghfield was keeping track of local men serving in the war.

THE WAR

The Roll of Honour

A list kept by the Rector, of those Burghfield men who since the beginning of the war have laid down their lives for their country and the just cause of the Allies, hangs near the reading-desk in the Church.

The full Roll, including those who have offered and been accepted for immediate or deferred service, is kept up to date by Mr. Willink so far as possible, and hangs in the Church Porch. The introduction of compulsory service has rather changed the situation: but he will be glad to receive names of men not already on the Roll but actually serving, together with the exact title of their ship or unit, also notice of any honours or promotions, wounds or deaths.

The list of wounded is growing long. Happily most cases are light. But it should be known by everybody that any disabled man is entitled to free training, if necessary or possible in some trade, and to be helped in finding employment. Information can be obtained at any Post Office. In cases of delay or difficulty in this matter, or in regard to Pensions or Allowances, applications should be made to the Berkshire War Pensions Committee through Mr. or Mrs Willink, who are on the Reading Rural Sub Committee.

Honours

Colonel Sir Wyndham Murray, of Culverlands, formerly C.B whose distinguished services in past times are well known, has been made K.C.B. He has acted as King’s Messenger during the War, and has repeatedly visited the front. He and Lady Murray have also received certain Japanese decorations.

Captain G. O. W. Willink was mentioned in Despatches in May, and has just been awarded the Military Cross for distinguished conduct in August. He has commanded “A” Coy in the 2/4 R. Berks Regt. Since he went out in July 1916, and has seen service in many parts of the line in France and Flanders.

Burghfield parish magazine, October 1917 (D/EX725/4)

The whole gamut of human emotion

The emotional toll of supporting loved ones at the front was beginning to tell in Maidenhead. One imagines the tears in church – but every now and then there was joy amidst the sorrow.

OUR ROLL OF HONOUR

The Minister has not for some time past read from the pulpit the list of our soldiers, because the strain upon the feelings of the more closely related friends was too great. This month there is space to spare in our columns, and we therefore print the list.

Five of our lads have fallen:

Harold Fisher …Royal Berks.
Duncan Wilson …A.S.C.
Robert Harris …8th Royal Berks.
Stephen Harris …3rd Royal Berks.
John Boyd …2nd Royal Berks.

Two have been discharged:

James Partlo …4th Royal Berks.
E.S. Mynett …Recruiting Sergeant

Forty-nine are still in the Army:

Cyril Hews …Royal Engineers
F.W. Harmer …Royal Berks.
W. Percy Pigg …A.S.C.
Cyril Laker …K.O. Scottish Borderers.
Reginald Hill …2nd Royal Berks.
Robert Anderson …4th Royal Berks.
John Bolton …23rd London.
Thomas Mulford …Royal Engineers.
J.O. Wright …8th Royal Berks.
George E. Dovey …9th Royal Berks.
Percy Lewis …R.A.M.C.
Arthur Rolfe …R.F.A.
Ernest Bristow …R.A.M.C.
Harold Islip …R.E.
Edward Howard …A.S.C.
George Belcher …R.E.
Horace Gibbons …11th Aus. Light Horse.
J. Quincey …A.S.C.
Donovan Wilson …A.S.C.
Aubrey Cole …A.S.C.
W.H. Clark …A.S.C.
Cecil Meade …A.S.C.
Benjamin Gibbons …6th Royal Berks.
David Dalgliesh …R.F.C.
Hugh Lewis …R.E.
H. Partlo …A.S.C.
Herbert Brand …8th Royal Berks.
George Phillips …A.S.C.
J Herbert Plum …R.E.
Wilfred Collins …Canadian Dragoons.
Alex. Edwards …R.F.A.
William Norcutt …A.S.C.
George Norcutt …R.E.
Victor Anderson …R.A.M.C.
Herbert G. Wood …R.E.
C.A.S. Vardy …R.E.
A. Lane …R.E.
Frank Pigg …R.F.C.
Leonard Beel …R.E.
P.S. Eastman …R.N.A.S.
A. John Fraser …A.S.C.
Charles Catliff …R.E.
Ernest A. Mead …7th Devonshires.
Robert Bolton …R.M.L.I
Frank Tomlinson …R.E.
George Ayres …L.E.E.
Thomas Russell …A.S.C.
G.C. Frampton …A.S.C.
W.J. Baldwin …Royal Navy.

In addition there are many who have passed through our Sunday School and Institute, but have not recently been in close connection with us. These also we bear upon our hearts, and bring in prayer before the Throne of Grace.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to say that Reginald Hill is still going forward, and that he is able to walk a little with the aid of sticks. He has now been at the Sheffield Hospital between five and six months. His parents are spending their holiday at Sheffield.

Robert Bolton has gone over with his Company to France.

Wilfred Collins is in Hospital at Sulhamstead, still suffering from heart trouble.

Sidney Eastman is at Mudros, doing clerical work.

David Dalgliesh has been home on leave, in the best of health and spirits.

GOOD NEWS!

In our last number we spoke of the fact that the son of Mr. Jones, of Marlow, was “missing,” and that all hope that he was still living had been relinquished. But the unexpected has happened, and news has been received that Second-Lieutenant Edgar Jones is an unwounded prisoner in the hands of the Germans. His parents have surely run through the whole gamut of human emotion during these weeks.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Long drawn out sorrow

The March issue of Maidenhead Congregational Church’s magazine had news of the varying fates of its young men.

OUR SOLDIER LADS.

Harold Fisher has been missing since last September, and his family now consider that he must be counted among those who have given their lives for the great cause. We deeply sympathise with them in their long-drawn-out sorrow. Harold was a lad of intelligence and promise, and we believe was striving to live a Christian life. Robert Anderson having served his time in the Army has received his discharge, and has married and settled down to civil life. William Norcutt and Herbert Brand have been home from the front on leave, both in the best of spirits, and seeming to be in the pink of health. Thomas Mulford, Horace Gibbons, and Bert Plum are in Egypt, enjoying a sight of the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Copies of this Magazine are sent to all our soldier-lads each month.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, March 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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)

Disabled soldiers will get pensions, so shouldn’t need extra help

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund met to consider various needy cases resulting – or allegedly resulting – from the war:

9 March 1915
The Ass. Sec. reported that John Nobes of E Hanney had obtained an Army Pension, & therefore no longer required assistance from the NRF, nor had the grant made for him at last meeting been given on his behalf.

It was further reported that a letter from Mr Mount, MP, had been received, in which the following passage occurred. “Every soldier who is discharged for disability due to military service & whose disability interferes with his capacity for earning a living is eligible for Pension under the regulations”, & Mr Mount stated that this was the official reply of the War Office to his question on the subject of men invalided from the New Army.

Applications for relief were considered from
Russell of Woodley, Wokingham RDC, Taylor & Capell, Windsor RDC, each of which was adjourned for further enquiry.
Mills of Kintbury. Resolved that upon the information supplied the Committee did not consider the applicant suitable for relief from the N R Fund but that the secretary should make further enquiry into the conditions by communicating with Colonel Willes.
Tyrrell, Abingdon Borough. The Chairman reported that he had authorized a grant of 5/- a week for four weeks beginning Feb 24th to the applicant. The Committee confirmed this grant.
Gunn, Binfield, Easthampstead RDC. A grant of 10/- a week for two weeks was made to applicant, the secretary being instructed to ask the local Hon. Sec. for a report upon the case from the Local Sub-committee of the NRF.
Cole, Maidenhead Borough. Resolved upon the information given the applicant, being an invalided soldier, was not a suitable case for this Fund. The Secretary was instructed to draw the attention of the local Hon. Sec. to the statement in Mr Mount’s letter (as above quoted) regarding the claim of disabled soldiers for a pension, & also to inform him that it is possible for a recommendation to be given by the Army authorities to local National Insurance authorities by which a disabled tuberculous soldier may obtain tuberculosis treatment.
George, Maidenhead Borough. The Chairman reported that he had authorized a grant of a sum not exceeding £2 on behalf of the applicant, should the local Committee consider the case one of urgent necessity. The Committee confirmed such grant.
Allen, Cookham RDC. Resolved that the applicant was a case for Poor Law relief & not for the Nat. Relief Fund.
Bailey, Cookham RDC. Resolved that as the information produced shewed no evidence that the applicant was in distress owing to the war, no grant be made on her behalf.
Ashford, Cookham RDC. Resolved that a grant of 6/- per week for one month beginning March 8th be made.
White, Shinfield. Resolved that as the information upon this case shewed a difference of opinion between the officer & local Committee of the Old Age Pensions as to the suitability of the applicant for relief, no grant be made from the Nat. Relief Fund until such divergence of views cease.

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