Immediate help in an emergency

With many clergy acting as army chaplains, a former chaplain who had got stuck in England when the war started was helping out a Berkshire church.

Crazies Hill Notes

General sympathy is felt for the Rev. W. G. Smylie who has had a serious breakdown of health, which occurred quite suddenly the first week In March. He is now at the Bournemouth Hydro and the doctor gives a very good report of his progress. It is hoped that he will return in a month’s time thoroughly restored to strength.

The Bishop referred the Vicar to the Diocesan Clerical Agency for immediate help in the emergency. The Agency is in constant communication with a number of Clergy all of whom are licensed by the Bishop of Oxford for work in this diocese. The Vicar was thus introduced to the Rev. C. S. G. Lutz who was a tutor with Mr. Pritchard in Wargrave many years ago. Mr Lutz has been an Army Chaplain in Malta and Gibraltar. At the time of outbreak of war he held an S.P.G Chaplaincy on the Continent but was in England on leave.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

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War in a nutshell

Ralph Glyn wrote to his father from the Dardanelles. He painted a vivid picture of the compact fighting area, not to mention the shirtless Australians.

HdQr XIII Division
August 27th [envelope postmarked Field Post Office Aug 27, 1915]

My darling Dad

The weather is changing a bit & it is blowing great storms of dust all over us. I together with four other fellows have had a go of dysentery – but after an injection I am nearly all right. It takes it out of you all the same. Nearly everyone here is the same! Aubrey Herbert who is with the NZ Division next door has had it badly & is being sent on board a hospital ship today.

I have now been with the general round all the [fire?] trenches of our own & the adjoining Brigades. It is like trying to capture Gib: & the moral is that the men had been able to do what they have done. As for going further from their spot I rather doubt it being worth the inevitable cost. The Divisions all are reduced to about ½ strength but reinforcements are on their way. We are having shells all round us today & a good many bullets. The casualties have not been heavy so far. One great difference between the fighting here & in France is that here everything is so much more compressed – sort of war in a nutshell. The firing line is close by – not more than a few hundred yards in some cases. Then close behind are the supports & reserves – hospitals, cemeteries – supply depots. There is therefore no peace for man or beast.

Last night was lovely & calm. We have our ‘mess dug-out’ in the side of the hill facing the sea about 50 ft up. One cannot go down to the sea-edge because they can snipe out – here we are just sort of round the corner from direct fire. Well, about 9 last night up came a destroyer & monitor close off shore & put her search-light on a Turk trench at the top of the cliff behind. In a minute the row was tremendous – the 6” guns & the machine guns & rifles action. It soon died down but was lively whilst it lasted. There is so little elbow room. That’s what one feels. And all the time in spite of all these difficulties the spirit of the men is splendid & they are cheery & happy all the time. The physique of the NZ & Australians is extraordinary. They wear nothing except a pair of shorts & are burnt by the sun as dark as Indians.

There is a move in the wind for this Division. We shall go for a period in reserve. I don’t know yet how long I’m to remain with this Division. It is all very interesting & the General was very kind indeed. I shall, I think, have to go to GHQ again before I’m sent back with dispositions by Sir Ian [Hamilton]. One knows very little being here – even in comparison with GHQ, & then the outside world is fairly remote. I’m longing to know what is going on – usually I know so much that I suppose I’m spoilt!

I wonder if my other letters have fetched up all right…

Yours
Ralph

Letter from Captain Ralph Glyn to his father E C Glyn, Bishop of Peterborough (D/EGL/C1)

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…)