A great honour and a proud record

A Berkshire landowner’s wife was only the fifth woman in the country to be awarded the title of Dame – equivalent of a man being knighted. Men from the are were also being honoured for their roles.

THE WAR

The great honour that has been conferred upon the lady now to be known as Dame Edith Benyon, is of importance to other parishes besides Englefield. Apart from the share in this honour that the county justly claims, a considerable portion of Sulhamstead belongs to, and is farmed by, the Englefield estate, and Sulhamstead has its own reasons for being glad. Apart from Queen Alexandra, only four other ladies in the United Kingdom have received this honour.

We take the liberty of quoting the following, which is appearing in the Englefield Parish Magazine:

“DAME EDITH BENYON

It was a great honour that the King conferred on the lady who now enjoys the above title. It means that she has been appointed a Dame of the Grand Cross of the British Empire, for her services in connection with the VAD work at the Englefield Hospital, as well as in the County. It is, we need scarcely say, a well-deserved reward for her untiring services. Dame Edith looks upon it as an honour not only to herself, but to the village and the County of Berkshire. It may be useful here to mention that letters should be addressed to her, ‘Dame Edith Benyon, GBE’ on the envelope, and inside she will be addressed as ‘Dear Dame Edith’. So her old title of ‘Mrs Benyon’ will be dropped for good and all.”

Flight-Lieutenant Jock Norton has received a Bar to his Military Cross for recent military services.

Private William Marlow has been awarded the Military Medal in France, and was to have returned home to have it presented to him, but has now been sent to another front.

The following from the “Westminster Gazette” will greatly interest all who remember Sir Reginald Bacon, when in the old days, as nephew of Major Thoyts, he used to visit at Sulhamstead House.

“Another change is announced in the appointment of Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon as Controller of the Munitions Inventions Department, for which office he gives up his command of the Dover Patrol. Despite the fact that thousands of men are crossing between this country and France every day, he can claim that no life has been lost in the cross-Channel traffic from Folkestone or Dover during that time. That is a proud record, and if his successor achieves as much we shall have every reason for satisfaction.”

Lieutenant H A Benyon has been gazetted Captain.

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

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Very fortunate to be able to go to the front

The vicar of Reading St Giles said he envied his fellow Reading clergyman T Guy Rogers, who had signed up as an Army chaplain. Incidentally, you may recognise one of the names on the wounded list – the heroic Fred Potts.

Notes from the Vicar

The following names should be added to those on our Intercession list:

Henry Charles Pyke, A.P.C.; F. Mathews, 5th Worcestershire Regt; France Scott Stokes, “H.M.S. Alastia”; Francis Lancelot Temple Friend, Canadian Contingent; Waller William Horlock, “H.M.S. Chatham”; J.C. Englefield, 21st R. Fusiliers; J. Gooding, 14th Glousters; S.J. Curtis, Inns of Court O.T.C.; F. Turner 6th North Staffords; Private Dwyer, 10th Warwicks

Wounded G. Brown, Sherwood Foresters; Trooper F. Potts and Trooper R. West

Missing – R. Ayers, Berks Yeomanry

TO THE LIST OF THE FALLEN
Percy Hamilton, Rifle Brigade; Norman Eady and Charles Butler, Berks Yeomanry ; Alan McKinley, Australian Field Artillery ; Horace Percival Cadman, R.W. Fusiliers. The Yeomanry and our 1/4th Batt. Royal Berkshire Reg. and the 7th and 8th Batt. are very much in are thoughts and prayers.

I am sure we shall not fail to remember in our prayers the Rev.T. Rogers who is resigning the living of S. John’s and going out within the next 2 weeks as Chaplain to the troops in France. He has realized the call and made the sacrifice. S. John’s will greatly miss him and so will the town of Reading where he has done great and useful work. Personally I will miss him, we have worked together in many ways (e.g. the Convention) and although we differed strongly on some point, yet we remained great friends, and I shall not easily forget very and happy (and very solemn) hours spent together.
He is very fortunate to be able to go to the front. God bless him in his work.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

Wounded soldier turned tram driver

Henry Stephen Tuttle of Sulhamstead was one of the first local soldiers to return sufficiently disabled to have his post-war career affected.

THE WAR

We are pleased to hear that Henry Stephen Tuttle, who name has figured in our Intercessions amongst the wounded for many Sundays, has now sufficiently recovered to leave his hospital. He has courageously accepted a post as a driver of a London tram. He is not well enough to undertake the walking that is required for a tram conductor. This family has given four brothers to the war.

We hear that a cricket match has been arranged between the soldiers at Sulhamstead Home and those at Englefield and is to be played at Englefield, after this has gone to press, on July 17th.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, August 1915 (D/EX725/3)

Slippers for the wounded

The hospital at Englefield may have been at Englefield House, home of the Benyon family. It may alternatively be the Red Cross Hospital at Englefield Green, in Surrey.

JUMBLE SALE FOR RED CROSS
A sale promoted by Mrs Grimshaw, with the primary intention of supplying slippers for the wounded at Englefield, and to further assist the Red Cross Society if sufficient funds were realised, was held at the School on May 17th. The effort was warmly supported by members of the parish, and resulted in the handsome total of £7 14s.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, June 1915 (D/EX725/3)

A wedding before seeing active service

Some young couples rushed into marriage because the bridegroom was in the armed forces. One such groom was Henry Benyon (1884-1959), heir of the Englefield estate. (He survived the war, and wnet on to follow his father as Lord Lieutenant of the county.) The Burghfield parish magazine tells us more:

The marriage of Lieut. Henry A Benyon, son and heir of the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire and of Mrs Benyon, to Miss Violet Eveline Peek, daughter of the late Sir Cuthbert Peek and of the Hon. Lady Peek, of Ronsden, Devon, took place at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, London, on March 10th.

It was originally intended that the wedding should be celebrated in Devonshire at a later date, but this arrangement had to be altered in consequence of the bridegroom’s regiment (the Berkshire Yeomanry) being ordered abroad.

Lieut. Benyon is so well known in Burghfield that we feel sure all our parishioners will unite in congratulating both him and his bride, and in wishing them long life and happiness.

Burghfield parish magazine, April 1915 (D/EX725/3)

A Christmas party for soldiers’ families in Wokingham

St Sebastian’s Church in Wokingham held a Christmas party for the families of local soldiers, who must have been particularly lonely at this time of year:

‘On Service.’ The following is a complete and amended list of those from this Parish. Any additions should be notified as soon as possible.
Akers, Frank, Royal Berks
Annetts, Samuel, HMS Minerva
Annetts, Arthur, 8th Royal Berks
Bingham, Wilfred, Royal Engineers
Bunce, Joseph, 4th Hants
Butler, John, Grenadier Guards
Butler, Thomas, Grenadier Guards
Carter, Col. Duncan, Remount Depot
Casserly, Corpl John, RFA [Royal Field Artillery]
Chaplin, Sidney, 4th Royal Berks
Chamberlain, Charles, 8th Royal Berks
Clacey, Sergt Frank, 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Collar, Robert, 6th Inniskillings
Darbourn, George, 4th Royal Berks
Englefield, William, 4th Royal Berks
Frost, Capt. Frank, S & T Indian Corps
Fisher, Alfred, 4th Royal Berks
Hurdle, James, 2nd West Yorks
Hurdle, Herbert, RFC [Royal Flying Corps]
Hurdwell, Alfred, 4th Royal Berks
Jewell, James, Royal Berks
King, Egbert, ASC [Army Service Corps]
King, Sergt Edwin, Royal Irish Fusiliers
King, William, RFA
Littlewood, Herbert, 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Milam, Ernest, 2nd Royal Berks
Munday, William, 8th Gloucesters
Newman, William, HMS Assistance
Parker, Alfred Charles, 3rd Royal Berks
Perry, Alfred, 21st Lancers
Perry, James, 2nd Hants
Perry, Charles, 2nd Lincolns
Phillipps, Francis, HMS Lancaster
Povey, Frederick, 2nd West Yorks
Povey, William
Povey, Ernest, Royal Berks Yeomanry
Prater, Daniel, Royal Engineers
Prior, Gerald, 4th Hants
Rance, Albert Victor, 4th Hants
Readings, Charles, HMS Talbot
Robertson, John, 5th Royal Berks
Rose, Charles, RFA
Stafford, Lieut. John Howard, Royal Engineers
Townsend, Charles, 7th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Townsend, Lance-Corpl Albert, 5th Queen’s Royal West Surrey
Tucker, Sergt Harry, 5th Royal Berks
Tyrrell, Edwin, 4th Royal Berks
Waygood, John, Royal Berks

A Prayer Book, in a special binding, was sent to all these at Christmas, as a little remembrance from ‘their fellow Parishioners,’ and judging by the letters received, the gift has been much appreciated.

On Wednesday, December 30th, the wives and children of those ‘on service’ were invited to the Parish Room. The arrangements for their entertainment were undertaken and admirably carried out by Miss Radcliffe, to whom, and to those who assisted, hearty thanks were given.”

Wokingham St Sebastian parish nagazine, January 1915 (D/P154C/28A/1)

School swimming lessons saved his life

Children at a Slough school got to hear first hand about the near miss enjoyed by two old boys who had joined the Navy when their ship was torpedoed.

November 3rd 1914

Mr Greenaway has enlisted in the Army Pay Services.

Two old boys Frank Gomm and William Hobbs who were saved from the ‘Hermes’ when torpedoed by a German Submarine on Sat. last – came to the school. The scholars were delighted to congratulate them on their fortunate escape. Hobbs told the top class boys that the school swimming lessons had been the means of saving his life, as he had to swim 200 yards in his clothes before getting some support from a petrol can. Gomm managed to get on a waterplane float. They were in the water for ¾ of an hour.

Other schools continued to see disruption. A teacher at Bradfield CE School was involved with the movement to help Belgian refugees, when she took one group to the Benyon family at Englefield:

November 3rd 1914
Miss Robinson was allowed to leave before the close of the afternoon session to escort Belgian Refugees to Englefield House.

A Cookham school depleted of staff had to completely rearrange its classes:

November 3rd 1914

School reopened after Half Term holiday.

In consequence of the depletion of staff owing to the war, the Upper Standards V, VI, VII have been today rearranged. Standard V has been placed in No.2 classroom and the Boys and Girls of the First Class put together in the 1st Classroom. This has appeared to me to be the most reasonable way of dealing with the classes under the present circumstances.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1, p. 359); Bradfield CE School log book (D/P22/28/2, p. 124); Cookham Alwyn Road School log book (88/SCH/18/1, p. 240)