“We shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace”

St John’s was just one of the Reading churches united in prayer for the war to end.

Letter from the vicar

I write this on the eve of starting for a short holiday in Devonshire. I am to return in time for Sunday, August 4th, when we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the entry of this country into the world war which is still raging. Following the lead given by our King and the civic authorities in the chief city of our Empire and in many others, we shall observe the day as a solemn day of prayer. In the churches of our own parish the services throughout the day will be of a specially devotional character. We shall remember before God the heroic dead, with gratitude for the inspiration of their lives and with prayer that we may not falter in devotion to the ideal for which their lives were laid down. We shall pray for the heroic living, still battling on land and sea, in the air, and under the sea, for the cause which we believe God has summoned us to uphold. We shall pray for ourselves that we may be saved from selfishness and sin, uplifted to self-sacrifice and steeled to endurance; and we shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace, and may incline all men’s hearts everywhere to do his will.

It is estimated that on the battlefields of Europe ten millions of men have already laid down their lives. Under the shadow of this great tragedy let us draw near to our God, who alone can bring us out of the darkness, and whose law of righteousness provides the only basis upon which any permanent peace can be established.

In the afternoon all the religious bodies at our end of town are uniting in a solemn service of intercession, to be held at 3.30 pm on St John’s Lawn. I hope that the afternoon will be fine and that the greatest crowd ever seen there will assemble on the Lawn….

Your sincere friend and vicar
W Britton

UNITED SERVICE OF INETRCESSION

It is hoped that all Christian people in the east end of the town will uinite in a service of intercession on St John’s Lawn at 3.30 o’clock on Sunday, August 4th. The following congregations have been invited to take part, and up to the time of writing this, most of them, through their ministers,have accepted:

Earley, St Bartholomew’s, St Luke’s, St John’s, St Stephen’s, Wycliffe, Trinity, Wesleyan, St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Anderson Memorial, Cumberland Road, Park, King’s Road. His Worship the Mayor has kindly signified his intention to be present.

Should the weather be wet, the service will be held in St John’s Hall.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

The following gifts have been received during the month:

Miss Rebbeck 5/- and material for 64 face cloths, Miss Hewett 3/6, Mrs Bowyer 5/-, Mrs Dauncey 1/-, Mrs May 2/6, Miss Bradley 2/6, Mrs Morley 10/-. In addition the members of the working party subscribe one penny per week each.

The following things have been made, 3 white shirts, 5 pairs pants, 3 cushion covers, 20 sterilizing bags, 7 treasure bags. Total 3259.

The balance sheet shows an expenditure on materials for over 3000 pieces of work, of £37 11s 4d, and subscriptions amounting to £38 4s 2d, so that the funds in hand are in a very low state just now, and the treasurer appeals for donations, however small, so that a stock of woollen stuffs for the autumn work may be obtained as soon as possible. The workers meet in the Princes Street Mission Room on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30 pm, and anyone who would like to visit them at that time will be welcome.

Donations should be sent to Miss Rundell, 7 Alexandra Road.

September 1918

Letter from vicar

We must all, I think, feel stronger for the solemn and helpful services of August 4th, as we are cheered by the good news which came to us from the Western Front the same week. There is, may we not believe, more than a coincidence in this sequence of events. God does answer prayer. If our people would but turn to Him and wait upon Him in the spirit of our Day of Remembrance continually, He will hear and answer the pleadings of a penitent people who call on Him day and night. Not the least impressive of our services was the great gathering for united intercession on St John’s Lawn, when we had the satisfaction of uniting with so many of our brother Christians of all denominations in earnest prayer to God for His blessing and help….

Reading St. John parish magazines, August and September 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

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“God bless our wives and kids” – not the King

Should patriotism, and loyalty to the Crown, be mixed with religion? John Maxwell Image was sceptical – while his wife’s foray into pig keeping was a mixed success.

29 Barton Road
4 Aug. ‘18
Tres Cher

Before I forget, let me tell you a tale of Warren, the gardener we share with the Foster Coopers. He is minister of a Grantchester Chapel, and father of a Lieutenant in the Army, and is himself worthy of such exalted claims – but he turns out to be incapable of bloodshed. All the wives in Barton Rd (my own excepted) are allowed to keep rabbits and fowls… Under Warren’s hands the pigs would die of old age – but that we have arranged with Warrington, our butcher, for the execution, I believe, in October….

I doubt if die Madame [Mrs Smith] would entirely have approved of the blending of all denominations in the afternoon service today at St Mark’s (recently appointed our parish church). Florence was present and tells me that the lesson from Revelation was read by a Sergeant (and beautifully read, with all aspirates correct) who, as he turned away from the reading desk, subjoined “And may God add his blessing to the reading of his ‘Oly Word”. He was followed by a Trinity Cadet from the Front – a gentleman, and who probably had been some sort of missionary…

Are you affected by the singing of the National Anthem, now so usual in Church? But it upsets me. We were told that at the Front, when it is sung, the men never mention King George, but the words they sing are “God bless our wives and kids”. Is that true, I wonder?

I am, most fraternally, yours
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Personal help given to the Belgian refugees & soldiers during the war

Two of the Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist were recognised for their caring work with wounded soldiers and Belgian refugees.

28 June 1918

Notice was sent out that Sister Edith Katharine had had the “medaille de la reine Elisabeth” bestowed upon her by the King of the Belgians, in recognition of personal help given to the Belgian refugees & soldiers during the war. Also that among the King’s Birthday Honours, Sister Mary Victoria has the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal bestowed upon her.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Saluting the Roll of Honour of Old Scouts now serving in H.M.’s Forces

Boys joining the Scouts were not just having fun – they anticipated possible military service.

Several friends attended a Parade of the Windsor Forest Boy Scouts which was held on the Sunday School, on Saturday, June 22nd, when the following scouts were admitted after passing the tests of a tenderfoot. A. Kleinod, H. Hyde, R. Harrington, F. Fasey, J. Robb, A. Johnson, W. Prior, H. Welch, M. Adams, E. Payne. Mr. Asher very kindly presented the badges and Miss Ducat (a Scout Mistress) the certificate of admission. The troop was formed into a semi-circle as each Scout made the Scout’s promise, which is as follows: “I promise on my honour to do my duty to God and the King, to help other people at all times and to obey the Scout Law.” Mr. Asher then addressed the troop with kindly words of encouragement, and said he trusted each Scout would at all times remember their promise. The troop then did some staff and cart drill, and after saluting the Roll of Honour of Old Scouts now serving in H.M.’s Forces, the proceedings ended with the national anthem.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, July 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/6)

We can trust our brave soldiers absolutely and entirely

The vicar of Reading St Mary encouraged parishioners to pray for all involved in the war.

The Vicar’s Notes

We are now in the thick of the most terrific struggle in the history of the world. We can trust our brave soldiers absolutely and entirely; they are fighting with a magnificent spirit and courage that is the wonder and admiration of all. The point is that they should be able to trust us, the civilian population; a great deal of the issue of this battle depends on the moral and spiritual backbone of those who are here at home. We ought at this critical time to make our prayers a deeper and greater reality and so I am putting in front of our magazine this month some simple heads of intercession.

Let us pray for:
Our King, and all our leaders at home and at the front.
Our fighting men and those of our allies.
The wounded and the prisoners.
The fallen.
The doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers, the chaplains, on or near the field of battle.
The people at home that may be steadfast and true.
For final victory and after victory, lasting peace.

S. Mary’s Church is open each day till 9 o’clock in the evening so as to give opportunities of quiet prayer and intercession in this time of need.

S. Saviour’s District
R.I.P.

It is with great sorrow that we have heard of the death of George Courtnell, our late esteemed Verger, and our hearty sympathy is with Mrs. Courtnell in her sad bereavement. He died in the Canadian hospital at Doullens, having been brought there with many other wounded at the beginning of the recent big battle in France, and was buried with military honours near there. He died as he had lived, trying to do his duty. He was a faithful servant of Christ, and a loyal worker and helper at S. Saviour’s.

Our deep sympathy is also with Mrs. Lane, who has for the second time been called to make the sacrifice of a son, Henry Paice having been recently killed in France. He leaves a widow and children, to whom also, as to his mother, we offer our sincere condolence.

S. Mark’s District
R.I.P.

It is with sincere regret that we have to record the death of George Martin, one of our old S. Mark’s choir boys. He met with a very serious accident some six months ago, while engaged in the service of his country, from which he never recovered and passed away in the Royal Berkshire Hospital on April the 8th. He was most wonderfully patient and cheerful through all his illness. We offer his parents and sisters our sincere sympathy.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

“Our brave soldiers are fighting with a magnificent spirit and courage that is the wonder and admiration of us all”

Reading churchgoers were urged to pray.

We are now in the thick of the most terrific struggle in the history of the world. We can trust our brave soldiers absolutely and entirely; they are fighting with a magnificent spirit and courage that is the wonder and admiration of us all. The point is that they should be able to trust us, the civilian population; a great deal of the issue of this battle depends on the moral and spiritual backbone of those who are here at home. We ought at this critical time to make our prayers a deeper and greater reality and so I am putting in front of our magazine this month some simple heads of intercession.

Let us pray for:-

Our King, and all our leaders at home and at the front.

Our fighting men and those of our allies.

The wounded and the prisoners.

The fallen.

The doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers, the chaplains, on or near the field of battle.

The people at home that they may be steadfast and true.

For final victory and after victory, lasting peace.

S. Mary’s Church is open each day till 9 o’ clock in the evening so as to give opportunities of quiet prayer and intercession in this time of need.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

The Nation can be proud of its young sons and daughters

The Royal Family was impressed by the commitment shown by Berkshire children and their teachers to supporting the war.

The following copy letter received by the President of the Board of Education from the King’s Private Secretary has been forwarded to this Committee, and they have directed a copy to be sent to each Head Teacher of the schools in the county:

Windsor Castle

It has given the King and Queen much pleasure to visit recently Schools of various types, and thus gain an insight into the daily life of the rising generation at work and at play.

Their Majesties are aware of the magnificent response which the Educational Service throughout the County has made to the demands of the present time, not only in its contribution to the Fighting Forces, but also in the assistance which it has rendered in many kinds of important War Work.

Above all, they wish to express their admiration of the self-denial and devotion of the Teachers, who it is evident, while training the mind and body of their pupils, recognise the importance of the formation of character.

These visits have brought home to the King and Queen the keenness and patriotism of the Youth of the Country.

They realise the unselfish and hearty manner in which boys and girls, inspired by the example of their Teachers, have formed War Savings Associations; subscribed money for charitable purposes; and, by their handiwork, contributed to the personal needs and comforts of the Troops.

Their Majesties feel that the Nation can be proud of its young sons and daughters, whose example during this great War augurs well for the future of our race.

I am commanded to request you to convey to the School Authorities and Teachers the hearty congratulations of the King and Queen upon the admirable manner in which the Public Service of Education is being maintained, the progress of which Their Majesties will ever watch with interest and sympathy.

Believe me
Yours very truly
Stamfordham

Report of Berkshire Education Committee, 27 April 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Pray for victory in the great struggle in the west

Reading people continued to support the war effort in various ways.

The Vicar’s Notes

Reading did well during its “Monitor” Week; we were asked to raise £250,000 and we actually raised over £376,000; so that we can well imagine the pleasure with which our Mayor was able to tell His Majesty the King of the real success gained largely through the efforts of the Reading Chamber of Commerce, and of Miss Darker and her workers at 6 Broad Street. We should also like to take this opportunity of congratulating all those connected with S. Mary’s Parish who had the honour of being presented to the King and Queen.

Thanksgiving

For the happy visit of our King and Queen to Reading.

Intercessions

For all our fighting men, especially among the wounded, Charles Gould, one of our Choirmen.

For victory in the great struggle in the west.

For the fallen.
R.I.P.

Mission to Seamen

Help is urgently needed. Subscriptions or donations, however small, will be most gratefully received, or any information as to other ways of helping will be gladly given by the Hon. Secs. For Reading: Miss Fanny Bird, Ivy Bank, Downshire square; Mrs Laing, 80 Crescent Road.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

The King offers congratulations and sympathy

A bereaved Newbury mother received a medal on her son’s behalf from King George V himself.

Mrs George, of The Wharf, has been honoured by receiving personally from His Majesty the King, on March 12th, at Reading, the Military Medal for bravery awarded posthumously to her son, Albert Jacob. The King shook hands with her, and spoke words of congratulation on her son’s bravery and sympathy with her in her loss, and we feel proud to think that one of our old National School and CLB boys should have done so splendidly. The account of Pte George’s act may be read in the Newbury Weekly News of March 14th.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine (D/P89/28A/13)

Flag waving children greet the Royal Family

Reading children were excited to witness a royal visit.

George Palmer Boys’ School
12th March 1918

Visit to Reading of H.M. King George & H.M. Queen Mary. Assembled school at 9.30 and marched along Elgar Rd, Field Road, Carey St. & Howard St to Oxford Road, lining the street between the premises of Messrs Callas, Sons & May Ltd, and Messrs Dunlops Ltd. The royal party was seen on its way to No.1 War Hospital & on its return. Flags were kindly lent to the boys by Mr Drew, proprietor R.F.S.C.

St Giles Boys’ School, Reading
12th March 1918

Boys were allowed to go to Jackson’s Corner to see HM the King and his Queen. They returned to school.

Battle Infants School
15th March 1918

The Head Mistress was not in school till 1.50 o’clock on Tuesday [12 March] as permission was granted to witness the ceremony of the reception of representative inhabitants and war workers of the town, by their Majesties, the King and Queen, in the Town Hall.

Redlands Boys’ School, Reading
March 12th 1918
The School marched to Broad Street marching at 1.55, in order to see the King and Queen passing the factory. At 3.30 the Scholars returned and were dismissed when close to the School.

Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading
12th March 1918

The Infants’ school is very small on account of the King’s visit, the Junior pupils are being taken by the teachers to see the procession.

Sonning CE Girls and Infants
12th March 1918

School closed for children to see the King in Reading.

Lower Sandhurst School
March 12th 1918

I was absent from school during the latter part of the afternoon as I was attending a War Savings Conference at Wellington.

Log books of George Palmer Boys’ School (89/SCH/8/1, p. 149); Reading St Giles Boys School (R/ES2/9, p. 259); Reading: Battle Infants School (SCH20/8/2, p. 312); Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30, p. 335)Alfred Sutton Primary School log book (89/SCH/37/1, p. 246); Sonning CE Girls and Infants’ School (89/SCH/1/4, p. 284); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1, p. 429)

The Royal Family visits Reading

George V and Queen Mary visited Huntley & Palmers’ factory in Reading, causing great excitement – as did a plane crash further west.

Reading
12th February 1918

Owing to the visit of the King & Queen to Reading, the attendance today has been very small indeed – number present this morning 108, this afternoon 73.

Thatcham
February 12th 1918

Several boys stayed away from school this morning to see an aeroplane which had come down.

Log books of Christ Church CE Infants School, Reading (89/SCH/7/6, p. 190); and Francis Baily Primary School, Thatcham (90/SCH/15/1, p. 45)

Every man, woman, and child should subscribe 1d. a day to help the King and the Country to beat the enemy and gain victory and a lasting, good peace

Cranbourne people were urged to contribute financially.

On the 1st of February the Munition Works, Spital, Windsor, War Savings Association completed the first year. As so many residents of Cranbourne and Winkfield are subscribers, it may interest them to hear that 14,353 sixpenny coupons have been collected during the year, representing a sum of £358 16s. 6d. paid into the Treasury, London, for war services. Members are urged to press and invite others to subscribe and support the good cause. Every man, woman, and child should subscribe 1d. a day or 6d. per week to help the King and the Country to beat the enemy and gain victory and a lasting, good peace. No one should hesitate, but join at once; and remember, every penny lent to the Government helps in the long run to win the war.

Mr. Lenoard Creasy, of Hurstleigh, Windosr Forest, will be glad to furnish all particulars to any one who wishes to subscribe to the National War Savings Fund.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, March 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/3)

A strenuous time with tanks

There was news of several soldiers associated with Broad Street Church in Reading, while the men’s group was trying to help displaced civilians in France.

PERSONAL

Captain L. Victor Smith, MC, has many friends and well-wishers at Broad Street, and they were all delighted to see him once more when he was recently home on furlough. Captain Smith had been having a most strenuous time with his tanks, and we were all glad to know that he had come safely through many perils “without a scratch”. We pray that God’s protecting care may continually be about him. During his stay he was summoned to Buckingham Palace to receive his Military Cross at the hands of the King.

News has been received that Air-Mechanic Fred W. Warman, of the RNAS (eldest son of our friends Mr and Mrs Warman) is interned in Holland. He was in an air-ship which “came down” there a few days ago. Whilst we deeply regret this misfortune, we rejoice to know that our young friend’s life has been spared, and we trust he may be as happy as circumstances permit. We all sympathise with his parents in their anxiety.

At the time of writing, 2nd Lieut. Leslie Pocock is on his way to India, and the thoughts and prayers of many at Broad Street go with him. We trust he may have a safe journey, that he may come safely through every experience, and that some day in the not distant future we may have the joy of welcoming him home. He will be missed in many branches of our church work.

Quite a number of our “men in training” have been home recently for a short furlough. We refrain from mentioning names for fear lest some should be overlooked. It is always a pleasure to see them at the services, and we take this opportunity of telling them so. The Minister is not always able, as he would wish, to speak to them. They get away too soon. He wishes they would “stay behind” for a few moments at the close of the service so that he might have opportunity for a word of greeting.

We should like to join our Brotherhood Correspondent in his appreciation of the generosity of Mr Tyrrell. At the conclusion of the Brotherhood meeting at the Palace Theatre, Mr Tyrrell promised £40 to provide one of the huts which the Brotherhood National Council propose to erect for destitute families in the devastated districts of France. Mr Tyrrell requested that his name should not be publicly mentioned in the matter. He wished the money to go from Broad Street Brotherhood. But seeing that someone “gave away the secret” to the local press, there is no reason now why the name should be withheld. We hope this generous lead will inspire the Brotherhood Committee to renewed efforts on behalf of their distressed brethren in Northern France.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, January 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

An accountant’s gallant conduct

A Reading man received his second medal for bravery. Oswald Francis (1896-1982) was only 21. After the war he had a successful career with the family accountancy firm Ernest Francis, and their current premises are named Oswald House after him.

Lieut. Oswald S. Francis, MC, has won further distinction by being given a Bar to his Military Cross. Writing to Lieut. Francis from the Headquarters of the 8th Army Corps on January 11th 1918, Lieut-General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, KCB, DSO, MP, said:-

“I heartily congratulate you on the honour done you by His Majesty the King in awarding a Bar to your Military Cross for your gallant conduct on the 30th November and 1st and 2nd December 1917.”

We, too, would heartily congratulate Lieut. Francis on his achievement.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations

Churches in the Bracknell area joined in the National Day of Intercession.

Ascot

Sunday, January 6th (The Epiphany) has been appointed as a day of Special Prayer for the War and the alms at all services will be for the Red Cross Fund.


Bracknell

‘THE WAR.—In accordance with the King’s Proclamation the first Sunday in the New Year, January 6th,the Feast of the Epiphany, will be observed as a special day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Bracknell. The services in the Church will be held at the usual hours, but special forms of prayer will be used, and every one who desires to seek the help of God in these anxious times should make a point of being present. The collections will be given to the Red Cross Society.

Cranbourne

THE DAY OF NATIONAL PRAYER.
As we all know, the 1st Sunday in the New Year has been appointed as a “Day for Intercession on behalf of the Nation and Empire in this Time of War.” There will be celebrations of the Holy Communion as 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Special forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving have been issued under the authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and will be used at our services. January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany. The idea of the Epiphany is the manifestation of God among all nations nations, and our Bishop has pointed out “how deeply we stand in need of such a manifestation to day, and how “the great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations – would truly, if it were realised, be a manifestation of God, and a preperation for the Kingdom of Christ, for which our most earnest and constant prayers are needed.

It is to be hoped that, whatever the weather is, none of us will be absent from the services on January 6th, but that we shall, as a Parish kneel before the Throne of Grace and offer up our petitions to Him who judges the peoples of the world, and is our only refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.

Winkfield

VICAR’s LETTER.

My Dear Friends,

Once again the New Year will find us in the midst of the horrors of war, and in our King’s words, “this world wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering on its last and most difficult phase when we shall need our courage fortified to face the sacrifices we may yet hace to make before our work is done.”

Very justly does the King call upon all his people to make the first Sunday of the New Year a Day of special Prayer and Thanksgiving, a day of National Intercession to Gon on Behalf of our Country, for the great casuse of rightousness entrusted to us, and for the men (so many of them near and dear to us in Winkfield) who are fighting for it on sea and land.

We all long for a victorious Peace, but can we expect that almighty God will, as a matter of course, give it us, if we do not think it worth while to ask Him for it by humble and united Public Prayer; for until we, as a whole Nation, realise our need od something more that material force, we do not deserve to win.

It is then a real patriotic duty for every man and woman to attend their Parish Church on January 6th and take their part in this National wave of Intercession. Our Sailors and Soldiers have a right to expect our prayers; and the help and co-operation of those who seldom or never go to Church or Chapel is specially asked on this great and solemn occasion.

I can only solemnly repeat what I wrote last year that I should not like to have on my own conscience the responsibility which that man or woman takes who could help their Country by joining in this movement, and yet is too careless and indifferent to do so.

If you belevie in God, and have any love for your Country, come and help.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H.M. Maynard

The Services on January 6th will be:

8 a.m., Holy Communion.
11 a.m. Service and Holy Communion.
6.30 p.m. Special Intercession Service (copies of which will be provided.)

Bracknell, February

The Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in connection with the War on January 6th was fairly well kept in Bracknell. The congregations were larger than usual in the morning and evening, and in the afternoon a considerably number of people attended the special service. The weather was bad and hindered some who would have wished to be present, but it was a little disappointing not to have had quite crowded congregations on such a day.

Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)