Double recognition of a soldier’s gallantry

A Mortimer man killed on the Somme was honoured.

The Military Medal has been awarded to Sydney Eatwell, who was killed 1st July, 1916, on the Somme. His friends have also only recently been informed that he had been promoted to be Sergeant. We congratulate his parents heartily on this double recognition of their son’s gallantry.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

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Our hearts go out in sorrowful sympathy to the families of the dead

More Berkshire men had fallen in the summer’s fierce fighting, including the father of a baby girl.

The War

We have to record three more deaths in France since the big advance began.

Mr. and Mrs. George Hunt had heard indirectly that their son George, affectionately known as Sammy, had been badly wounded on July 1st, but it was not until a month later that official news came from the War Office to say that he had died of his wounds two days after receiving them. We deeply sympathise with Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, and also with the widow, who has a little daughter whom the father never saw.

Percy and Sidney Eatwell are also among those killed. They figure on our Roll of Honour because they are in the civil, though not the ecclesiastical, parish of West End. To their relations and friends too our hearts go out in sorrowful sympathy.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P120/28A/14)

Berkshire children and Field Marshal Roberts’ funeral

Ascot said goodbye to one of its most famous residents, Field Marshal Lord Roberts. Frederick Roberts (1832-1914) was a veteran of earlier wars, in Afghanistan and the Boer War in South Africa, and even the Indian Mutiny of 1857, when an act of gallantry won him the Victoria Cross. His title, awarded in 1901, is one of the very few British Earldoms to be heritable in the female line (another being that of Mountbatten), a special gift to Roberts, who had only daughters living. His only son had been killed in the Boer War, in which he won the Victoria Cross. As he approached retirement in 1903, he moved to Englemere House in Ascot. Over 80 when the First World War broke out, he had anticipated that a great European war would result from German aggression, and had urged conscription for years. Much of his military career had been in the Empire, and he died of pneumonia while inspecting Indian contingents in France. He got the rare honour of a state funeral, and is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The bellringers on All Souls Day rang a muffled peal in commemoration of those who have fallen in the War. It was a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles, 1260 changes, rung by F. Blunden, Treble; E. Simmonds (2); J. Simmonds (3); W. Eatwell (4); J. Brant (Conductor); S. W. Hughes (Tenor); and on Thursday evening, Nov 19th, the day of Lord Roberts’ funeral, another quarter peal in the same method with F. Blay ringing the treble and A. Head, tenor.

The funeral of Lord Roberts also affected the children from two south-east Berkshire schools.  At Ascot Heath Girls’ School, it was reported on 19 November 1914 that:

A holiday was given on Thursday morning on account of the funeral of Field Marshal Lord Roberts.

The following day, St Michael’s CE School noted the involvement of some of their pupils:

Several boys – Scouts – formed the Guard of Honour at Englemere on the occasion of the funeral of the Field Marshal.

Florence Vansittart Neale also mentioned the funeral, along with her concern for young friends in the armed forces.

19 November 1914
I to call on Maud Mackenzie. She in bed. Long talk. Kenneth may go in 3 weeks. Alick better but boot still in his wound….

Had nice letter from Charlie. Going into trenches.

Lord Roberts military funeral at St Paul’s.

Ascot portion of Winkfield District magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12); Ascot Heath Girls School Log Book (C/EL109/2, p. 230); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed (88/SCH/32/3, p. 173); diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

For King and Country

More young men from Theale had joined up by October 1914.

FOR KING AND COUNTRY.
In addition to the names published in the Magazine for September, the following from our Parish have offered themselves:-
William Corderoy, King’s Royal Rifles
Arthur Eatwell, Kitchener’s Army.
Jesse Eatwell, Oxfordshire Light Infantry.
Albert Howard Morland, Grenadier Guards.
Harry Morland, Grenadier Guards.
James Janes, Royal Berks Yeomanry.
Owen Wyatt, Royal Berks Yeomanry.

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

It may almost be called a World War

The Theale parish magazine may be one of the first places to use the phrase “World War”.

THE WAR.
During the last four weeks out thoughts have been full of what may almost be called the ‘World War’ in which Great Britain and the Empire have been forced to intervene to make good her solemn and repeated pledge to support the neutrality of Belgium, ruthlessly attacked by Germany, which had signed the same pledge, to fulfil our obligations to our allies, the French, suffering from wanton military despotism, and for our own preservation. In this righteous cause tha nation is prepared to make every sacrifice, and its justified in appealing to God to bless her efforts and to give us victory. Prayers have been offered in our Church since the opening of the War. But alas! it is likely to be a long struggle, and we must go on praying. ‘Prayer must be made without ceasing of the Church,’ so we invited out people to attend a short ‘Service of Intercession’ every Friday evening at 7 o’clock, and to attend the Sunday Services in far larger numbers for the same purpose.

The collections made in our Church on Sunday, August 16th , amounted to £12 14s. 6½d., to which were added subsequent contributions, bringing the total sum sent to the ‘Prince of Wales’s National Defence Fund’ up to £16 9s. 0d., a most generous gift from our parish. A receipt for this amount has been received from Buckingham Palace by Mr. D. M. Davies, Churchwarden, and have been placed in the Church Porch.

‘God Save the King’ will be sung in our Church at the close of each Sunday Evening Service. The rector is making a list of all who are gone forth as sailors or soldiers from our parish to serve their Country, which he read out in Church last Sunday evening. He will be glad to receive the names of any that have been omitted, or who may join in future. Let us remember them by name in our prayers.

The following have already gone from their homes in Theale to serve their Country:-

Thomas Beasley, Kitchener’s Army.
George Bedford, Royal Berks Regiment, Bellringer.
Percy Bowley, Territorials.
George William Burgess, R.A.M.C.
Walter Butler, R.A.M.C.
Albert Chapman, Territorials.
Sergeant-Major Davies, R.A.M.C.
Alfred Day, Territorials.
George William Duckett, Kitchener’s.
Frank Eatwell, Royal Marines.
Albert George Fisher, Kitchener’s.
William Fisher, Royal Horse Artillery.
Lance-Sergeant Frank Hill, Royal Berks Regiment.
Lieutenant Clarence Krabbè, Royal Berks Yeomanry.
Reginald William Leavy, Territorials.
Sidney Parsons, Royal Navy.
Herbert Parsons, Royal Navy.
Richard Parsons, Territorials.
John Parsons, Territorials.
George Henry Pusey, Territorials, formerly 5th Lancers.
Edwin William Rouse, Kitchener’s, Bellringer.
Edward Theodore Van Veen, Yeomanry Territorials.
James Wright, Kitchener’s.
Oscar Wyatt, Artillery Territorials, Bellringer.

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