Recruits for the great army

A quiet man from Reading’s Broad Street Church was reported killed in what is now Pakistan.

At the beginning of August news was received that Lance-Corpl Frank Ward had died of wounds on July 30th at the British General Hospital, Rawalpindi, India. Frank Ward was quiet and reserved, but a man of real sterling worth. Before the war he was most regular in his attendance at the Brotherhood and the Sunday evening service, and after leaving home he kept in touch with what was going on. He said that next to his home, he had missed Broad Street Church and his Sundays more than anything else. We deeply regret his loss, and we extend our deepest sympathy to his mother and the other members of his family in their sore trouble.

Recently we have had the great pleasure of welcoming home on short furlough, Lieut. Oswald Francis and Lieut. Leslie Francis, after lengthened periods of service in France. Their many friends were pleased to see them both looking so well. Our thoughts and prayers go with them as they return to their arduous duties.

Among recent recruits from Broad Street for the great army is Mr Gerald S Hampton, only son of our esteemed church treasurer. He has joined the Artist Rifles, OTC. Our best wishes accompany him as he starts out on his new career.

Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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Ashamed to be connected with strikers

Lockinge-born William Hallam, living and working in Swindon, felt strikers and trade unionists were behaving in an unpatriotic way.

20th May 1917

There was a Trade Union demonstration and procession round the Town. I left it severely alone. Thousands of our T.U. men are out on strike in different parts of the country and as I told some of our fellows I should be ashamed to be seen in anyway connected with them by young fellows in khaki who have come from all parts of our Colonies to fight for us; for hundreds come in every Sat & Sun from Draycott Camp. Australians, New Zealanders & Canadians.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

We shall all share in the blessings of Victory as we should all share in the Miseries of Defeat

A rousing call to arms, or rather to joining in the National Service Scheme to help out on the home front.

Twelve good Reasons

1. BECAUSE the Greatest War the World has ever seen is nearing its climax, when we and our Allies must either conquer or be conquered.

2. BECAUSE Victory will mean the preservation of our homes, our lives, our liberties and all we hold dear, while Defeat will mean the loss of all these things and triumph of a Despotic Military System which seeks to destroy the British Empire and impose itself on the whole world.

3. BECAUSE having passed laws to compel men of certain ages to fight it is the bounded duty not of one man or one set of men, but every man to see that the Army and Navy are provide with everything they need to secure Victory, and to help to that end as far as possible.

4. BECAUSE our food supplies from abroad being threatened or reduced, and many agriculturists at home having been called up, men are urgently required to maintain and if possible to increase, our home supplies.

5. BECAUSE we cannot do these things unless all the manpower of the country is available and is properly organized, for which purpose the National Service Department has been formed.

6. BECAUSE our enemies the Germans are already organizing every man, woman and child for a similar purpose, but by the much less desirable method of Industrial Compulsion, which we are especially anxious to avoid.

7. BECAUSE if everyone helps who can , the war will be shortened, thereby saving at least six million pounds per day in money, and what is of infinite greater importance the lives, limbs and health of human beings, including in many cases our own relatives and friends.

8. BECAUSE every right-minded and patriotic man desires to help, but many do not know how or where to begin. Like an untrained and undisciplined Army, we are helpless without organization.

9. BECAUSE the National Service Department provides this organization, and when it has the names and qualifications of every one between the ages of 18 and 61, it will be able to supply man power where it is most needed, and to prevent the waste of it by putting “round men into round holes and square men into square holes” the right man in the right place.

10. BECAUSE certain occupations are essential while others are non-essential, and at any cost to ourselves or our comfort, the former should not want for a moment for labour which can be supplied by those engaged in the latter, or by those who are not engaged in either.

11. BECAUSE we shall all share in the blessings of Victory as we should all share in the Miseries of Defeat and it is therefore “up to” everyone of us to offer our services, whether they are accepted or not. To take part in civil occupations of National Importance involves little sacrifice when compared with that which we call upon our Soldiers and Sailors to make.

12. BECAUSE every man who enrols will be able, with a clear conscience, to reflect that in the hour of the Nation’s peril, he offered “to do his bit” by placing himself at the service of his country.

Note. If you agree that the above reasons are good reasons why all should enrol, go to the nearest Post Office, National Service Office or Employment Exchange and get a free form of application , fill it up (whether you are engaged already in work of National Importance or not) and post it (unstamped) to the Director General of National Service.

Reading St Mark section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

“There is a consolation in knowing that he did his duty fearlessly”

One man after another from Stratfield Mortimer was reported dead or missing. The toll was beginning to tell.

Garth Club

We have received with the greatest possible regret the news of the death of yet another member on the Field of Honour. When war broke out many members volunteered, and have been serving in most of the fighting zones, – in the Persian Gulf, in Egypt, at the Dardanelles, and Salonica, whilst a number have been in France in the thick of the fighting.

The first to give his life was Frank Goodchild, Pte., R.M.L.I. (enlisted 1913), who went down in the H.M.S. “Good Hope” when she was sunk in action off the Chilian Coast, November, 1914. He took a prominent part in all Club doings and entertainments, and was a general favourite – “one of the best,” and greatly missed.

Next came the sad news that Lance-Corp. Chas. Wickens, who joined on the 11th August, and was drafted to France in the 1st R. Berks the following November, was reported missing on the 15th-17th May, 1915. And it is since believed that he was amongst those killed at Festubert or Richebourg. In the long period of uncertainty the greatest sympathy has been felt with his family and his many friends. He earned his stripe very early in his training, and was a most promising young soldier.

Swiftly came the news of the death of Sidney Raggett, Pte. In the R. Montreal Regt., who also joined in August, 1914, and after three months in Canada came home to complete his training on Salisbury Plain. He went out in February, 1915, was wounded in April, but returned to his duty in May, and on the 21st was killed by a stray shot at Richebourg. His Sergeant wrote of him, “I was awfully sorry he was hit, as he was one of the best boys I had,” and Major-General Sir Sam Hughes, in a letter of condolence to his mother, says, “…there is a consolation in knowing that he did his duty fearlessly and well, and gave his life for the cause of liberty and the upbuilding of the Empire.”

Another period of anxiety has been the lot of Harry Steele’s family and of his wide circle of friends and chums. He, too, felt directly war broke out that it was his duty to join, and he and a friend enlisted in the 10th Hants, and had a long training in Ireland and England. He went in July to Gallipoli, and was in the great charge on the 20th-21st August. He was reported missing, and after many anxious months there seems a sad probability that he may have fallen in that heroic effort. But no details are as yet known. He was a regular and loyal member of the Choir and of St. Mary’s Bellringers, and will be long remembered in the village for his clever impersonation of Harry Lauder, and for his realistic acting at the Club entertainments.

Associated with him, and one of his close chums, was Pte. W. G. Neville, whose death we now mourn. He enlisted in the Hants Regt., and went out early in this year. After a long period of suspense, the War Office have now announced, with the usual message of condolence, and also one of sympathy from the King and Queen, that it is feared he was killed in the great advance on the 1st July last. He was a regular bellringer at St. Mary’s, and he also took a keen interest and a leading part in all Club affairs, and his topical songs and really clever acting were always enthusiastically received at our concerts. He, too, will be most affectionately remembered and greatly missed by his many friends.

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

Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons

The vicar of Reading St Giles was worried about the fate of British missionaries, and local converts, in German-controlled parts of Africa.

NOTES FROM THE VICAR

Zanzibar Diocese

When war broke out in 1914, 42 missionaries of the Zanzibar Diocese were at work in German East Africa, and hardly any direct news of them has since been received. Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons. It adds to our anxieties to know that a great number of our African Christians are unshepherded and deprived of the sacraments. Now that a determined attempt is being made to take this, the last remaining colony of the Germans, the dangers and difficulties of our 19 Englishmen and 22 Ladies may be greater than ever.

Nyasaland Diocese

The war has debarred our missionaries from continuing their work on the north-east shores of Lake Nyasa, and the Diocese also is inconvenienced through the commandeering by the British Government of the Mission steamers “Chauncy Maples” and “Charles Jansen.”

To be added to our Intercessions List:

Private Albert Henry Oliver, R.M.A., Lieut. Commander C.J. Benton, R.N.R., Driver J. Cutter, R.E., Sergt. J. Burridge, A.O.C. Bombadier H. Burridge, R.G.A. Gunner G. Moss, R.G.A. Private W. Burridge, Scots. Fusiliers. H. Case, R.G.A.

Missing: Private A. Smith. Wounded: Private S.H.Truss. Private J. Wiltshire. Lieut. G.R. Goodship.

To the list of the departed: Private Sadler, T.J. Seymour, Hyde (R.Berks), E.J.Andrews, Criddle (A.S.C.), Capt. R. Attride (R.Berks).

Reading St Giles parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P191/28A/24)

“These Colours speak to us of a mighty struggle which involves sacrifice even unto death”

Windsor said a formal goodbye to the Canadians who had been stationed nearby as they headed to Kent, and then to the front.

Church and Empire

Wednesday, August 16th, was a red-letter day in the history of our Parish Church. A request had come from the Colonel of the 99th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, recruited in Windsor, Ontario, that their Colours might be deposited in our church for safe keeping during the war. It is needless to say that the request was most willingly and gladly granted, and August 16th was arranged as the day on which the ceremony should take place. Forthwith the citizens and church people of the Mother city prepared to welcome their brothers from the Overseas Daughter.

Our leading citizen [the mayor], ever ready to uphold the honour of the Royal Borough, at once declared his wish to extend his hospitality and official welcome to our guests. It was decided that as a parish we should entertain them at tea, and our churchwardens met with a ready answer to their appeal for funds and lady helpers. Permission was asked and gladly granted for them to see St George’s and the Albert Memorial Chapels, the Castle, Terraces and the Royal Stables.

The party, which included Lt Col Welch, commanding the 99th Battalion, Col Reid, Agent General for Canada, Lt-Col Casgrain, commanding the King’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Bushey Park, Mr W Blaynay, representing the Canadian Press, several officers of the Battalion, the Colour Guard, and the Band, arrived at the SWR station at 11.30, and were met by the vicar, who had come up from his holiday for the occasion, and several representatives of the church. From the station they marched, the band playing, and the Colours unfurled, to the Guildhall, which by kind permission of the Mayor was used as “Headquarters” for the day. Sightseeing followed till 1 o’clock, when the Mayor formally received his guests and entertained them in sumptuous fashion at lunch.

For an account of the speeches we must refer our readers to the Windsor and Eton Express of August 18th, in which will be found a very full and interesting report of the whole day’s proceedings.

Next came the event of the day, the ceremony of depositing the Colours in the Parish Church.

It is not likely that any one of the very large congregation which filled the church will ever forget what must have been one of the most interesting and impressive services ever held in the church.
It is probably true to say that most of us realised in a new way the meaning of our Empire, and the part the Church plays and has played in the building and cementing of that Empire’s fabric; and to that new realisation we were helped both by the ceremony itself and the most eloquent and inspiring words spoken from the pulpit by the vicar. (more…)

Empire Day celebrated with earnestness

On 24 May 1916 Berkshire schools celebrated Empire Day and used it to encourage pupils’ patriotism – except in Bracknell, where they were stymied by a storm.

Bracknell

We were unable to keep any public celebration of Empire Day at the School. This was partly because in the recent gales our flag staff was blown down and broken. Is there any patriotic person who would come forward and present us with a new one? The flag is an important feature in the celebration of Empire Day, and we really need to be able to fly our flag on suitable occasions. What shall we do on the happy day when Peace is declared if we have no flag staff?

Winkfield

EMPIRE DAY was observed as usual at our Schools. In the presence of the Managers and a few friends the children sang very sweetly a song saluting the flag and the infants gave a very credible patriotic recitation.

The Vicar spoke on briefly on the importance of all – children as well as grown up people – “doing their bit” in the way of sacrifice, if we are to win this war and help write a great and glorious chapter in our History, and he gave each child a leaflet entitled “What you can do for your Country” in which children are reminded that if our Empire is to continue great, it will be through the character and sense of duty of those still at school.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1916
Empire Day.

The School was opened this morning with prayer as usual, but instead of Hymn, the National Anthem was sung.

The Headmaster then gave an address to the children on “Empire Day” and this was amplified later in the Classrooms by the Class Teachers, who gave addresses on Empire, Our Colonies, The Union Jack, The Army and Navy.

Composition and Transcription Exercises were given bearing on the subjects taught in the lesson.

At 11.20 the children assembled again in the Hall, the National Flag was saluted and Patriotic songs were sung.

At 12 o’clock the school closed for the day.

Warfield CE School
24th May 1916

Empire Day was celebrated today with earnestness after an address on the unity of the allies. Special war prayers form a part of the proceedings the national anthem was sung, the scholars marched and saluted the flag and seemed to realise the act of patriotism and the need of gratitude to god for the unity of the nations, the combined efforts of both soldiers, sailors and workers, and the need for their weekly act of self sacrifice by which we are able to send our boys in the war. A small token on festivals we sent 15/6 to the overseas club for food for our prisoners in Germany.

All Saint’s Infant School, Reading
24th May 1916

The Time Table was not adhered to this morning. The children assembled in the playground, saluted the flag and sang patriotic songs. Many parents came to see them. A half holiday was given in the afternoon.

Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School
24th May 1916

Being Empire Day, the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted, by all the children, many of whom wore the colours. The lessons during the morning were on Empire Day.

St Michael’s CE Mixed School, Sunninghill
24th May 1916

Empire Day. Empire Lessons given & flags saluted. No holiday, on account of the War.

Crazies Hill CE School, Wargrave

Empire Day was observed as usual by the Day School. The children assembled in Church, at 9.30, and after the service gave a performance of drill in the Recreation ground. They then returned to the School House where patriotic songs were sung and a short address was delivered. The saluting of the Union Jack and distribution of buns concluded the proceedings.

Basildon CE School
24th May 1916

The children bought their pennies for the Over Seas Club which provided tobacco and cigarettes for the troops.

Bracknell and Winkfield sections of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6); Cookham Alwyn Road School log book (88/SCH/18/1, p. 273); Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 343); Reading: All Saints Infant School log book (89/SCH/19/2, p. 208); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6, p. 178); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School log book (88/SCH/32/3); Wargrave parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P145/28A/31); Basildon CE School log book (90/SCH/16/1, p. 414)

“The war is doing us a lot of good”

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn in Egypt with the news that she and her wounded husband were going to be based in Windsor until he was well enough to return to the Front. Their aunt Sybil was still receiving letters from her son Ivar, written before his recent death in action.

Feb 11/16
11 Bruton St W
Darlingest R.

I had a mysterious message from Meg’s house today saying Colonel Sykes had called leaving a small parcel from you, & saying he was just home from the Dardenelles [sic]. I had the said parcel brought here, & it is a couple of torch refills apparently unused from Stephenson. I must get hold of Colonel Sykes for an explanation.

Our plans are now fixed up to a point. The doctor, [dear?] man, said John was not to return to France for 3 months, this being so the regimental powers that be used much pressure to get him to reconsider his refusal of the 5th Battalion Adjutancy, & so after being told they won’t try & keep him after he’s fit for France, he has said yes. There is no doubt it’s good useful work for home service, if it has to be, & I am glad for him, though I suppose I shall now see little or nothing of him at all. He begins on Monday. He went house hunting on Tuesday – a depressing job, as there are hardly any houses to be had, & those one more beastly than the other! However – nothing matters – it’s just wonderful to be there at all. We shall take what we can & when we can – that’s all. The house we long for, but it’s not yet even furnished, is one, & a charming old house done up & owned by that old bore Arthur Leveson Gower, you remember the man, we met at the Hague, years ago. Tony has been ill again with Flu, the 2nd time this year…

We’ve just had tea with Aunt Syb. She got another letter from Ivar written Jan 1, last Friday. It’s awful for her, & yet I think there is most joy, rather than pain, the hopeless silence is for a moment filled, though but as it were by an echo. Joan looks pale & oh so sad. She’s wonderfully brave & unselfish to Aunt Syb. Poor little Joanie…

I hear Pelly’s opinion is that Kut must fall. London was filled with rumours of a naval engagement on Monday & Tues, but as far as I can make out without foundation.

I met Ad[miral] Mark Ker[r] in the street the other day, & we had a long talk. I fear he’s not improved – & I think very bitter at being out of it all. He was interesting over Greece etc, but there is so much “I” in all he says, one cannot help distrusting a great deal. He’s very upset as he was starting to return to Greece a week ago & at the very last moment was stopped, & now he’s simply kicking his heels, not knowing what’s going to happen next. “Tino” now is of course his idol & here – I feel a pig saying all this, as I do feel sorry for him, & he was most kind. Yesterday he asked us to lunch to meet Gwladys [sic] Cooper, Mrs Buckmaster, how lovely she is, & seems nice, almost dull John thought! We then went on to the matinee of her new play. Most amusing, she is delightful, & Hawtrey just himself…

As you can imagine air-defence & the want of it is now all the talk. One of our airships has taken to sailing over this house from west to east every morning at 8.30 am. I hear we broke up 6 aeroplanes & killed 3 men the night of the last raid. All leave is now stopped from France. We’ve just lunched with Laggs Gibbs, who came over a day before the order came out. He says it’s said to be because of some new training scheme we have & not because of any offensive either way.

John had a Med Board today, & narrowly escaped being given another 3 months sick leave apparently. They implored him to go to Brighton & said he was very below parr [sic] etc, however he bounced them into giving him home duty, & they’ve made it 3 months, & “no marching”, etc, tc, etc. Of course as Adjutant he wouldn’t have that anyhow.

We think we have got a house, but can’t get in for a fortnight.

Bless you darling
Your ever loving Maysie (more…)

How can we be calm in days like these?

A sermon preached by the Revd W. Britton as he began his ministry at St John’s, Reading, on Sunday evening, January 9th, 1916, impressed parishioners enough to reprint in the parish magazine.

I come tonight to give you a message at a time like this when this people of England undoubtedly is faced by a great danger and by a great difficulty. He that denies we are compassed about by danger and difficulty and that our future is going to be no easy future dwells in a fool’s paradise. We live in dangerous days and difficult. This empire which has been built up by our fathers is being tried and tested in these days of their sons.

What does this empire most need? I say without any hesitation that the greatest need of this empire today is that her sons and daughters should be tranquil people, calm people, not flurried, not flustered, not uneasy; calm because strong, strong because they have faith, strong and able to strengthen their brethren. Those are the men we want, at home as well as abroad. Men who are not intimidated by danger, men who are not cast into abysses of despair because plans miscarry, and armies have to be withdrawn; men who meet disaster with unruffled composure and repair mistakes – mistake after mistake if need be; men who move forward in loyal and unflinching obedience to their leaders, and in a trust which never falters in the justice of their cause and the certainty of its ultimate triumph. We have such men in our ships upon the seas.

I have had this text, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength”, often on my mind these last few weeks. It rarely comes without this thought – that in that great Navy, which does its work so quietly, with so little fuss and with such great efficiency, we have almost its best example. These men are efficient, and they are confident; they have a certain faith in the speed of their ships, in the great range of their guns; they have a certain strength and faith in their own efficiency for every call which shall come. They are strong, they are confident; they know something, that is why they are strong.

We have such men on the seas, in the trenches, in the air. But look at home. Have we got such men in our editorial chairs; have we got such men representing every constituency in Parliament? Are there such men in the streets; are the men as they chatter in the clubs such men as these? it is not confidence, it is not strength that bubbles out in indiscreet questions in Parliament; that gushes out in fatuous and foolish advice in the columns of our newspapers, or in peevish complaints in the mouth of the citizen….

You may say legitimately, “I am an uneasy sort of being, and I cannot help it. I have enough to make me uneasy. My boys are out in the Dardanelles; my business is in the worst of conditions; my home is even threatened; how can I be quiet with all this coming upon me?” Sir! There can be no quietness where there is no confidence; there can be no strength where there is no faith. But the finest tempered strength is bred of a certain conviction, a faith that our God lives and that he goes marching on. That is what we need if we are to be calm and strong. If you had such a conviction your friend who met you in the street might say, “Calm in days like these?” And you might answer, “I am calm, quiet, tranquil, because I know something.” “O! you have got hold of some military secret, some great naval secret, some political secret.” “O no, it is not a secret I have got hold of… it is the eternal truth that God lives”… Though our foes roll up in ever increasing numbers, though Turkey be added to Germany and Austria, though Bulgaria adds itself to them…

Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Patriotism is not enough

The Maidenhead parish magazine included various inspiring stories arising from the war, some well known today like that of Edith Cavell, other less so.

Sons of the Clergy.

All classes of the community have vied with each other in manifesting courageous self-sacrifice in the nation’s hour of need. But without drawing undue distinctions it is generally admitted that the sons of the clergy have been conspicuous in the Roll of Honour throughout the War. Week after week the long list of names appearing in the Church newspapers bear eloquent testimony to this fact. The work of the clergy in ministering to those left behind in a variety of ways has been of the greatest value.

“How Can I Help England – Say?”

Miss Helena L. Powell, the Principal of St. Mary’s College, Lancaster Gate, has written an earnest and helpful leaflet for children, showing how children can help in the War. It is addressed to the elder children in our Day and Sunday Schools, and copies required for distribution to these may be had free of charge from Miss Edith Neville, Banstead Place, Banstead, Surrey.

A Daughter of the Parsonage.

Edith Cavell, Directrice d’Ecole des Infirmières, Brussels, who was shot by order of Court-Martial in Brussels on a charge of aiding the escape over the frontier of British, French and Belgian soldiers, was the daughter of the late Rev. Frederick Cavell, Vicar of Swardeston, Norfolk. She was formerly a nurse in the London Hospital. In 1907 she went to Brussels, and when the Germans entered the city she refused to leave.

The Rev H. S. Gahan, British Chaplain at Brussels, has given a touching account of her last hours.

“She said, ‘I have no fear nor shrinking. I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me.’ She further said, ‘I thank God for this ten weeks’ quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’

We partook of Holy Communion together, and she received the Gospel message of consolation with all her heart. At the close of the little service I began to repeat the words ‘Abide with Me,’ and she joined softly in the end. We sat quietly talking until it was time for me to go. She gave me parting messages for relations and friends. She spoke of her soul’s needs at the moment, and she received the assurance of God’s Words as only the Christian can do.”

(more…)

Khaki testaments

People in Hare Hatch were interested to hear that the Bible Society was supplying Bibles to soldiers from the colonies, our allies, and even captured enemy soldiers.

Hare Hatch Notes

A Most interesting Lantern Lecture was given on Wednesday, December 1st, at 6.30 p.m., by the Rev. E. W. G. Hudgell, Diocesan Secretary for the British and Foreign Bible Society. The lecturer, after having introduced us to the Society’s Headquarters in London, gave a vivid description of the noble work done among the brave soldiers and sailors of our Empire. He next told us how the Bible is translated into the various languages of our Allies, thus bringing them under the influence of the Society’s good work. We also learnt that even our enemies, so far as it is possible, are supplied with the little ‘Khaki Testament’ printed in their own language. It is interesting to note that wherever a missionary goes the work of the British and Foreign Bible Society follows him.

Wargrave parish magazine, January 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

“The spirit arrayed against us threatens the very foundations of civilised order”

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a general pastoral letter to members of the Church of England, challenging them to support the war effort. The Winkfield church magazine printed it in full:

The ARCHBISHOPS’ PASTORAL LETTER

BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

God is laying upon us, at this hour in our lives, a great trust. Never in the world’s history have such things happened as are happening now. And our Heavenly father trusts us to face the solemn hour in quietness and confidence, with unshakeable resolve, in the power of prayerful hope.

The Bishops of our English Dioceses at their Whitsuntide meeting resolved, in words now made public, that we should do what in us lies to rally Christian folk to loyal service and persistent prayer. At their united wish we give you this message.

After ten months of war we see more clearly than at first the greatness and the severity of the ordeal which is putting the spirit of our nation to the test. What is at stake is not only the honour of our plighted word, but our safety and freedom, and the place entrusted to us among the nations of the earth. The spirit arrayed against us threatens the very foundations of civilised order in Christendom. It wields immense and ruthless power. It can only be decisively rolled back if we, for our part, concentrate the whole strength of body, mind, soul which our nation, our Empire, holds.

We therefore look with confidence to the Government, deliberately chosen to represent us all, that it shall take, and take with courage, whatever steps it considers necessary to summon and control every possible resource which we have of body and brain, of wealth and industry. We solemnly call upon all members of the Church, and urge upon all our fellow citizens, to meet with glad and unstinted response whatever demands of service or of sacrifice the Government decides to make. A great war righteously waged calls out that spirit of willing sacrifice with a plainness and an intensity which nothing else can rival. On behalf of righteousness and in our country’s cause there is no one, there is nothing, too dear or too sacred to be offered. God has taught us. Let us obey. By what we give and by what we are may His will be done.

But we have more to say, and it matters most of all. It is the office of the Church of Christ to quicken and to guide the spiritual forces on which the strength, the steadfastness, and the nobility of the national sprit depend.

Are these forces as alert, as watchful, as persistent now as they ought to be? We have cause to fear that they have languished a little since the earlier weeks of the war. A reaction comes, and it may be that the Whitsuntide message of the Holy Spirit’s call is falling upon ears which have become less swift to hear. The reiterations of many months have been allowed to mar and dull the eagerness with which we prayed when the leaves were yellow last autumn.

We are girding ourselves afresh for the material conflict, and for providing whatever is needed to ensure its full and final success, but we lack determination and persistence in the output of our spiritual force. Foremost therein we place unhesitatingly the power or prayer. Twice since the war began we have bid people set apart a day for solemn Intercession. Successive Forms of Prayer which we put forth have been everywhere used to help the spirit of prayer, which we trust has taken a wider range and found more free and varied utterance. What we chiefly need at present is not a new appointment of special days or a new set of published forms. Rather we want a more literal fulfilment of the plain duty of “continuing instant in prayer.” The duty lies imperatively upon all of us who profess and call themselves Christians; but it grows incalculably in weight by the solemnity of these tremendous weeks of tense conflict, of crushing bereavement, and of continuous suspense and strain. Are the Christian people of our land putting into the high service of prayer anything like the energy and resolution, or the sacrifice of time and thought which in many quarters are forthcoming with a ready will for other branches of national service?

Remember always that prayer means something even larger and deeper than asking wisdom for our King and his Ministers, protection for our sailors and soldiers, comfort for the anxious and bereaved, victory for the cause of our nation and its Allies. Prayer implies a reverent sense of the Sovereignty of God, a hold even when we are bewildered in the darkness and confusion upon the certainty that He is set in the Throne judging right. And prayer means- for without which we dare not come into His Presence – the humble, deliberate, heartfelt confession of our sins – sins of selfishness and self-indulgence, sins of hardness and complacency, sins of sheer laziness and lack of thought. We have in days of quiet made too little of the claim of God upon our lives. Can we wonder that in stern hours like this it is hard to kindle afresh the deep and simple thoughts which we have allowed to grow languid and uncertain? But such rekindling there must be. Give earnest heed to this most sacred of all duties. Set yourselves, in the midst of all the exigencies and passions of war, to be loyal to the Spirit of Christ. Strive to keep openness of mind and soul for such message as the Holy Spirit may reveal to us at an hour when God is judging what is base and inspiring what is best in England’s life. He may speak in the ordered ministry of Word and Sacrament, or in the roar of battle, or in the silence of a shadowed home. He does, for we have all seen it, give, to those who lie open to His gift, courage and understanding and patience and high hope. “O put your trust in Him always, ye people, pour out your hearts before Him; for God is our hope.”

RANDALL CANTUAR.

COSMO EBOR.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

A cheap form of patriotism

The parish of Reading St John ponders the conflict between concerns for the war effort and concerns for the church’s usual mission:

The Church Missionary Sale of Work at the Town Hall, which is announced for Tuesday and Wednesday, November 17th and 18th, brings to an issue the question which has been in many minds: What is the proper relation between our Church responsibilities and our national responsibilities at the present moment? Let me say at once that it ought not to become a question of precedence between the two, but rather that both should be faced courageously at the same time, and the amount of sacrifice which we are prepared to make should be divided between them. We are citizens of Kingdom of God as well as citizens of the British Empire. A very little consideration will show that to give up supporting missionary and colonial work for which we have made ourselves responsible, unless compelled by dire necessity, would be certainly desertion, possibly treachery. Is Mr. Kay, who sailed for India the other day as Our Own Missionary, to have his salary cut off? Do we want missionaries to be starved or recalled? Do we want the present check to the Kingdom of God owing to this desolating war to be turned into positive disaster through the enfeebling of the Forces of the Cross in far distant lands? It is a cheap form of patriotism which meets the first demands upon it by the method of transferring subscriptions. It is not a method which I think will commend itself to us. Whether trials may await us in the future – and no one can calculate the amount of strain which the war may eventually involve – our present duty is clear. It is encouraging to note how successful the Drawing Room Sale on behalf of the Colonial and Continental Church Society proved last month, and I believe we may look forward with confidence to the C.M.S. [Church Missionary Society] Sale in the Town Hall.

Reading St John parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P172/28A/23, p. 1)

Going the wrong way: a missionary leaves the war behind

A Reading-sponsored missionary reports on the effects of the war on his journey back to what is now Pakistan, in a letter to members of the congregation at St John’s Church in Watlington Street. It was printed in the parish magazine, and gave Reading people a glimpse of the war from the colonies:

Church Missionary Society,
Lahore.
October 21st. 1914.
My dear Vicar,

Here I am at the Headquarters of the Punjab Mission, tho’ by no means at the end of my travels. At the last moment it was found impossible to run the Language School at Lucknow this year, which is rather a blow. However, Canon Wigram is trying to arrange that the three Punjab recruits shall work together for some months at language study. Probably we shall go to Multan in a fortnight’s time, and until then I am going up to the Batala by way of Amritsar.
I have so much to write about that it will be very difficult to be concise, but I will make an effort.

We had an excellent voyage and never once was it rough, though for two half days I was hors de combat owing to the ship pitching in a horrid swell. We saw signs of war the whole way. On the first night we very nearly ran down a British destroyer near Dover. At Gibraltar we saw the ‘Highflyer’ and the ‘Carmania,’ both covered with renown after their fights in the Atlantic. Off Malta we passed quite close to four troopships from India under the escort of three French cruisers: and at Port Said we saw no less than thirty-five troopships on their way to the Front. We passed them amid tremendous cheering, tho’ everywhere we were greeted with shouts of ‘You’re going the wrong way.’ At every port we touched at we saw captured German and Austrian merchant ships. On reaching Aden we heard that the German cruiser ‘Konigsberg’ had got through the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb into the Red Sea and was coaling at Jeddah; if this is true we must have passed within a very few miles of her and we may be thankful that our voyage wasn’t terminated on the Arabian coast.

From Aden to Bombay we ran with very few lights on at night and these few were darkened by brown cardboard funnels, so we were more or less invisible after dark. The second night out from Aden all lights were suddenly switched out and the ship’s course was completely altered. We thought that the ‘Emden’ was on our track, and some of the ladies went so far as putting on lifebelts. The Captain had spotted a glare in the distance, which turned out to be only an Arab dhow fishing in an unusual part.

We were a party of seven C.M.S. Missionaries on board, and I fear usually the noisiest table at meal-time; however, I hope noise is a sign that we were enjoying ourselves.

I was quite sorry in many ways when the voyage came to an end and we dropped anchor in Bombay harbour at sunrise on October 16th. There were at least a dozen crowded troopships to greet us as we steamed up the bay; and the Tommies didn’t seem to mind standing in the full glare of the sun to watch us pass. …..

Yours affectionately,
Arnold I. Kay.

A second letter provides more details. (more…)