Especial commendation

Speenhamland children were apparently especially interested in the Navy.

Ap 16

The Mayor, accompanied by Mr E J Forster, came at 3.15 and a very pleasing little function took place. The Prize-winners were five in number in order as follows:

Boys: 1 George Bourne aged 11, 2 Fred Bogg aged 13
Girls: 1 Evelyn Herbert aged 13, 2 Rose Watling aged 12, 3 Hilda Curtis aged 10.

The Mayor mentioned that this was the only school in the Borough that had gained 5 prizes, and George Bourne was singled out for especial commendation.

St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

Mayor to present prizes from the Navy League

Apr 15

Letter from Mr Forster to say the Mayor would be here tomorrow at 3 pm to present the Prizes won by scholars of this school (two boys and three girls) in connection with the Navy League.

St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

A strange looking man who looked ill, got into a trench & started making charts

Sydney Spencer was obviously a suspicious looking character! Halma is a strategy board game involving constantly moving pieces across the board.

Sydney Spencer
Friday 10 May 1918

Got up at 7 am and went over to my platoon front to make out my range charts. I was taken for a spy and questioned by an Essex officer. The sentry had described me rather comically. I was to him a strange looking man who looked ill (!!) & wandered about, & finally got into a trench & started making charts!

At 9.45 gave evidence in a case at the orderly room & then had a bath at old brewery. Met Forster & another chap with whom I walked back.

Found that once made, our battle positions were to be changed! We seem to be sort of playing at Halma! After lunch I had a long sleep from 2.15 pm till 4.30 & much I enjoyed it too. Now I am writing to dear old Jumbo [Kenneth] Oliphant who wrote me last night. His address is St Margaret’s, Fern Hill Park, Woking.

Stand to tonight is at 8.15 pm. I took out a carrying party. Two journeys down a road you wot of, master diary. We had one casualty from machine gun fire. A C Company man. Got back at 11.30.

Letters from Florence, Broadbent & Father. Wrote a long letter to Florence.

Percy Spencer
10 May 1918

A glorious day. Paterson lunched with us. The Lance Corporal who was no good – only offence apparently that he plastered tracts on latrine seats.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15); and Percy Spencer (D/EX801/67)

The duties of children during these strenuous times

Bradfield children were subjected to a lecture on the war.

Bradfield CE School
March 8th 1918

Mr E Forster of Newbury addressed the children on the War, its causes, progress etc. and the duties of children during these strenuous times. He also spoke upon the subject of War Savings Certificates.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
8th March 1918

School closed for teachers to assist with Food forms.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
8th March 1918

Owing to her husband being home on leave from the Front, Mrs Webb, Assistant in the Infants’ Room, has been absent since Tuesday – Miss Hatch has been in entire charge of the Infants.

Log books of Bradfield CE School (D/P22/28/2, p. 196); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3, p. 41); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3)

Appeal to the children to do their duty in helping to end the War

The National War Aims Committee, and its local affiliates, were a new venture in 1917 to bolster patriotic fervour and commitment to the war effort.

30th January 1918
Messers Forster and Wright, joint secretaries of the South Berks War Aims Committee called this morning, and distributed a number of leaflets bearing on their work and appealed to the children to do their duty in helping to end the War.

Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 81)

Why should the young do all the fighting and the dying and offer the great sacrifice by themselves?

The people of Winkfield were urged to support the young men who were heading to the Front.

VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

When you receive this Magazine we shall be nearing the completion of a year of War, and this fact cannot fail to solemnize in our minds and make us seriously consider whether we are one and all doing our duty in this supreme crisis of our Nation’s history.

The call to service and sacrifice has been answered by numbers of our young men – a list of whom is printed in this month’s Magazine – but have we who are unable to offer ourselves for active service contributed all we can and ought to the common cause? As the Bishop of London says, why should the young do all the fighting and the dying and offer the great sacrifice by themselves? The sacrifice that is for all should be offered by all, and all are bound to make the resolution “I will pray, I will repent, I will serve, I will save.”

And yet we must sorrowfully confess that the army of intercessors to offer prayer as sacrificial as the self-oblation of the millions of men who have offered themselves for war, has not been forthcoming; unlike France or Russia, out Churches have not been filled with men and women to pray for the men whose peril and blood is their shield, and I must confess to much heart sickness and disappointment that even our intercessory services in the second Sunday evenings and the last Sunday mornings in the month have not been better attended.

What is the explanation? It cannot be that we are indifferent to our country’s need or without love to our brothers at the Front; nor is it that England does not believe in God; there is enough love of our country and enough belief in God to crowd our Churches with earnest suppliants. What then is lacking? Is it not the belief in prayer and especially the belief in united supplication in God’s house? Is not the lack of this the reason why the men and women who ought to be in the praying line have not proved so steadfast as the men in the fighting line, who so greatly need our prayers, and surely have a right to expect them.

I sincerely hope therefore that large numbers will make a real and special effort to attend the special Intercession Services on Wednesday, August 4th and on Sunday, August 8th, of which notice is given in another column. The result of this war will depend very largely on the atmosphere of prayer which has been created, for prayer is the strongest force in the world, and as has been truly said, through prayer we bring our nation and our Allies into contact with Christ, and set the life of the whole Society as well as individuals in the stream of that purpose of redemptive love which can overrule even war for God.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H. M. MAYNARD.

PARISH NOTES

Lieut. Godfrey Loyd and Private Henry Hoptroff have just gone to the Front, and Privates Edwin Gray, Ernest Gray, Edward Holloway and Lance-Corporal Reginald Nickless are under orders to be in readiness to go immediately. We trust that they and their naturally anxious relatives will have a place in our prayers.

Much sympathy is felt for the family of Private John Williams (Royal Field Artillery) who died in hospital after a very long and distressing illness. He was buried with full military honours at Cosham Cemetery on July 1st, and special memorial prayers were said for him on Sunday, July 4th.

NOTICE

On Wednesday, 4th August, the anniversary of the declaration of war, a great service in St. Paul’s Cathedral has been arranged, when the King and all the leaders of the nation will attend to inaugurate the second year of the war be asking God’s help. In Winkfield Church, there will be Celebration of the Holy Communion at 8 a.m., and Litany and Intercession at 11 a.m. Also Evensong and Intercession at S. Mary the Less at 7.30 p.m.

On Sunday, August 8th, both morning and evening, there will be special services with Intercessions and Thanksgivings for the way in which the country has been preserved from many dangers.

The following is list of Winkfield men serving in His Majesty’s Forces at Home and Abroad.
(more…)

The essential parts of a soldier

The Burghfield parish magazine for June was supporting a Belgian refugee’s attempts to earn a living. Meanwhile, political opponents were working together to raise money to help the wounded.

FRENCH LESSONS
The daughters of Monsieur Laurent – our Belgian guests, who are still living at the Old school, Burghfield, are very anxious to give some lessons in French, chiefly conversational. They would be very glad to hear of any pupils: the terms would be very moderate. Applications to be made to Mademoiselle Laurent, at “The Old School”.

PENNY FUND FOR THE SICK AND WOUNDED
Arranged by the St John’s Ambulance and British Red Cross.

The collection amounted to &8. 15s.0d in Burghfield, and a letter was received from Mr Forster, expressing gratitude from the Central Committee to all who helped in so successful a result, adding that:

“While he was responsible for the organisation of the South Berks district, Mr Wright, the Liberal Agent, dealt with the Borough of Newbury, which fact ought to be mentioned to prevent any misapprehension, as there was no idea of making it a party matter in any sense.”

Mrs Willink takes this opportunity of thanking most heartily all those who helped so kindly and willingly in making the collection.

THE TRUE SOLDIER

The following lines are by Philip Massinger, a dramatist of the 17th century. We shall agree that the qualities which merit “the noble name of Soldier” are the same in the 20th century as they were in the days of our forefathers – qualities which are conspicuous today in the conduct of thousands of our heroic officers and men at the Front.

If e’er my son
Follow the war, tell him it is a school,
Where all the principles tending to honour
Are taught, if truly follow’d: but for such
As repair thither, as a place in which
They do presume they may with licence practise
Their lusts and riots, they shall never merit
The noble name of soldiers. To dare boldly
In a fair cause, and, for their country’s safety,
To run upon the cannon’s mouth undaunted;
To obey their leaders, and shun mutinies;
To bear with patience the winter’s cold,
And summer’s scorching heat, and not to faint,
When plenty of provision fails, with hunger;
Are the essential parts make up a soldier,
Not swearing, dice, or drinking.

Philip Massinger

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

Recruiting children or putting pressure on their relatives?

Children in Bradfield were subjected to a lecture from those encouraging their older brothers and fathers to join up.

February 15th 1915

Messrs E J Forster and F Wright, a deputation from the South Berks Recruiting Association were allowed to address the children on the War, for a short time before noon today.

Bradfield Church of England School log book (D/P22/28/2, p. 129)