“In Glasgow in Stob Hill Hospital they are lying dead by the tens”

A friend or relative of Lady Mary Glyn had some insight into the mixture of pro-Zionism and anti-Semitism in upper class circles. William “Billy” Ormsby-Gore (later Lord Harlech was a convert to Judaism and a leading British Zionist. Meanwhile the terrible influenza epidemic was beginning to make its presence felt.

Oct 26/18
My dear M.

I had a good letter from Ralph of Oct. 22. I answered his queries re Frank, in a long letter, & as I had lunched with Arthur I had some War Cabinet talk. A curious lunch, it had been arranged by Frank, a Jew officer friend of his violently opposed to Zionism. I thought I should see a grave Rabbi, but enter a bubbling schoolboy type, bursting with his views. It was most comic. A. J.’s interruptions. “We must remember there was a Tower of Babel”. And, when some fears were expressed re the Jews, “Don’t be afraid, they will take very good care of themselves – very good care. Every 6th man in New York a Jew”. Billy Gore was there to put the Zionist view. Stern lunches here tomorrow to meet Buffy. I have an intense desire to fall back on ham as the piece de resistance. Stern by name, & no doubt a German in a past, but in the present body an intense Britisher….

I heard yesterday how the American troops are attacked in the transports with this septic pneumonia. No doctor, no nurses, no medicines. On one transport some nurses going to France banded together improvised a hospital, and by shere [sic] nursing, they had no drugs, pulled a lot of men through. In Glasgow in Stob Hill Hospital they are lying dead by the tens. The Times obviously knows it by its leader today….

Ever
[Illegible]

[Sybil or Niall Campbell?] To Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

A concert for our soldiers and sailors who have been blinded in the war

A concert was held in Maidenhead to help support men who had lost their sight in the fighting.

ST DUNSTAN’S HOSTEL FOR THE BLIND

This institution, that does so much for our soldiers and sailors who have been blinded in the war, is to be supported by a Concert on Monday, October 15th. There are to be performances at 3 pm and 8 pm, and the musicians themselves are blind. Tickets can be obtained from Mr Marsh, High Street, and also from Miss Mary Gore, Oldfield House, Maidenhead, who is organising the entertainment. Prices range from 4/- to 1/-.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Greater love hath no man than this

Caversham men’s service was honoured.

ANOTHER DISTINCTION FOR CAVERSHAM.

Hearty congratulations to 2nd Lieut. A.F.C. Hill, upon receiving the Military Cross for gallant conduct with the Salonika Expeditions. This is the fourth Military Cross awarded to Caversham men, the other recipients being the Rev. C.W.O. Jenkyn, Army Chaplain; 2nd Lieut. D.T. Cowan, A. and S. Highlanders; and Sergt.-Major Wilfred Lee, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

Lieut. E.J. Churchill, R.E., has been “mentioned in dispatches.”

Sergt. E. Canning, of 1/4TH Royal Berks, is one of the two non-commissioned officers selected out of his battalion for the honour of a Commission.

Caversham roll of honour.

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friend”

Name, Ship or Regiment and address, Date of death
(more…)

“We soldiers do need the prayers of those left behind”

The vicar of Reading St Mary had some Christmas thoughts for his flock, despite the ongoing war, and the large numbers leaving home to join the armed forces.

The Vicar’s Notes

How much we hoped that this Christmas would be a Christmas of peace! But as the King said in his noble appeal to his people, “The end is not in sight.” So we must be patient, and even in the midst of the terrific struggles of this great war, must try and enter into the spirit of the Christmas festival with its strong message of hope and encouragement, and the certainty that it assures us of, that God will bring good out of evil.

Roll of Honour
Additional names, S, Mary’s District

Harry Day, Norman Day, William Day, William Kemp, Frank Goddard, George Hunt, Jesse Gore, Albert Gore, John Gore, Sidney Gore, William Peirce, William Eaton, Robert Hinder, William Noakes, Frederick Wild, George Swain, Herbert Allen, Charles Smith, Clement Green, Albert Gibson, Alec Barker, John Noakes.

All Saint’s District
Roll Of Honour

George Baker, Frederick Montague Brown, Arthur Budd, Alfred Bernard Carter, Harry Clay, Arthur William Crook, Charles Frederick Fox, Fred Fuller, Bert Fuller, William Hanson, Albert Charles Lambden, Walter Howard Lee, Walter John Malham, John Henry Malham, Herbert William Macdonald, Frank James Noble, F. William Pomeroy, Fred Povey, Ernest Frank Sopp, Harold Stagg, Charlie Turner, John Turner, Ernest Wicks, Albert Wiggins.

S. Saviours District
War Intercessions

The service at 3 p.m. on Wednesday will be continued during Advent. Several more men from this district have joined the Army and Navy during the past month, among them being Reginald James Barnes and Albert Edward Griffin, two of our servers, whom we may hope to see at Christmas.

In letters, which have been received, occur such words as “We soldiers do need the prayers of those left behind”; “indeed I miss S. Saviour’s very much”; “I did not get the chance of going to Church either last Sunday or this … I was very disappointed.”

Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P98/28A/13)

“We are all very cheery about the war”

The army chaplain with friends in Mortimer had more information about his life behind the lines in France, preparations for Christmas, and dramatic and musical entertainments for the troops.

Mr. Bowdon writes happily about his cinematograph; “quite a lot of stuff has been given, and the Globe Film Co. have promised to supply me with a weekly programme free of charge except cost of carriage.”

He also sends the following for publication:

14, Stationary,
Wimereux,
Boulogne.

20th December.

Dear Vicar,

I feel I must devote half-an-hour or so to writing a few lines for the magazine, though I am busier than ever in the midst of preparations for Xmas. We are arranging a concert party to go round to all the wards in the hospital, and in the largest there will be a Xmas tree for patients there, and all convalescents who can crawl so far. On Xmas Eve a party of sisters and officers are going round singing carols with lanterns, &c. Then on the Monday we have a big Xmas dinner for our orderlies and N.C.O.’s and a concert and tea at the Recreation Hut in the evening. I regret to say the cinema is not yet ready – the goods are delayed at the Millwall Docks. It is a terrible job getting things out from England and getting work done here, but we hope to overcome all difficulties in time.

I am also arranging a pantomime, a play, and a grand concert by the officers of the A.S.C., to include if possible Kennedy Rumford and the chief tenor from the Italian Opera, so we look forward to a very gay and enjoyable Xmas season. We have built a magnificent stage at the Hut with spacious ‘green rooms,’ draw curtains, electric head and foot-lights. The hut has become very popular, and our lady helpers are kept hard at work from early morn till dewy eve. They all work like bricks, and have been serving on an average 200 hot lunches and suppers a day, in addition to all the usual canteen fare.

The hospital, I am glad to say, is rather empty, so I am not quite so rushed as I have been – at any rate I have more time for seeing to the Xmas festivities. There will be a great number of Xmas communions, in almost all the wards, all over the compound and in the camp services will have to be held. I think they will have to extend over Xmas Day, Sunday and Monday. Much time will be occupied in preparing the patients. We also have three celebrations at our little church, and a special service for the orderlies of our isolation compound who are not allowed to go outside.

We are to have the great pleasure of welcoming Dr. Gore amongst us on Sunday week. He is going to preach, at my request, at our church in the evening, and will dine with me at the Mess afterwards. He is visiting the Boulogne Base for a fortnight. We are having splendid congregations at church, especially at Evensong; when the Bishop comes I doubt if we shall fit them all in.

We are all very cheery about the war, and expecting great things in the Spring. I could a tale unfold but mustn’t. One hears interesting things at our Mess from the innumerable visitors of note who come to dine with the general and other of the Olympians.

With every best wish for Xmas and kindest remembrances to all friends at Mortimer.

Yours very sincerely,
W.S. Bowdon.
C.F.

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

No peace or victory till the politicians have been exterminated

Maysie Wynne Finch wrote from Wales, where she and her wounded husband had taken refuge at his family home, to her brother Ralph Glyn. She was not impressed by British politicians, or by men trying to avoid service.

Sunday 28 Nov/15
Voelas
Bettws-y-Coed
N. Wales
My dear darling R.

No, I had not seen anything about attacks on Col Sykes – How scheming. All lies I am sure. Oh dear, these politicians, will they never be stamped out & exterminated, we shall have no peace or hope of victory till they are. How people can give presents to Miss Asquith & make it an occasion to tell lies about olf Asquith – God knows – & people like the Speaker too….

Col Toby Wickham … has been recalled from France & is waiting to hear what if anything he’s to do next. All his Yeomanry have been broken up into Div. Cav. & he’s been PM of Ypres for the last month. He’s miserable being home.

What a delightful couple the Harlechs are. She’s enchanting. He was busy trying to get recruits for Welsh Guards, of which he’s Colonel… Billy Gore is off any day, with his Yeomanry Brigade. They go east – where no one knows of course. They have been waiting to start over 10 days now….

John is having a rare lot of “shooting at something which can’t shoot back” as someone put it. At first it hurt his jaw rather, but now it doesn’t seem to often. His back hasn’t healed up even now. I had no idea it would take so long. Of course at the hospital they said it was one of the dirtiest little holes they’d seen. It only missed his spine by a nick too, you know! I expect you’ve heard the story but it was new to me, of the Sergeant to a frightened private under fire, “Now then my man, what’s the matter with you, they ain’t h’after you – you ain’t no blooming cathedral or bloody work of h’art”!! I love it.

Best love darling…
Your own loving Maysie

At last the brave yokels in this district are enlisting having made sure they must go or be fetched! They all try ASC of course!!

Letter from Maysie Wynne Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

Straw and gunfire: Communion in a crowded barn

The Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine is filled with references to the war, some clearly taken from elsewhere – such as the story of a martial Midlands clergyman moonlighting in a munitions factory. In September 1915 they included a moving depiction of religious worship at the Front.

A Bishop’s Loss.
Much sympathy is felt for the Bishop of Winchester and the Hon. Mrs Talbot on account of the death of their youngest son, Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot, who was killed in action while leading his men. A brilliant career had been predicted for the young officer, who was a man of exceptional ability and promise.

Holy Communion on the Battlefield.

A chaplain at the Front gives the following description of his work:

All the services were very inspiring. The work and experiences which the men had so bravely undergone but a day or two before impressed them with the all-availing power of the Christian religion…

My first service was a celebration of Holy Communion. And how uplifting it was! There, in a barn, with the door littered with straw which had served as a mattress for the men who had occupied it during the night, and with men’s equipment and rifles so placed as to be ready for immediate use in case of alarm – The Holy Mysteries were celebrated with the utmost reverence, though the quietness of the morning hour was broken by the thrilling sound of gunfire. It was a weird accompaniment to Christian worship. Ration boxes covered with a fair linen cloth served as the Table of the Lord.

The barn was crowded to overflowing, and some, unfortunately, could not gain admission. Commanding officers, with majors and adjutants, knelt side by side with the last joined soldiers. Here, indeed, was that religious atmosphere which arises from sincere devotion in prayer and praise. This was specially to be noticed when we came to the beautiful words in the prayer for the Church Militant – ‘And we also bless Thy Holy Name for all Thy Servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear…’ And then they whispered ‘Amen.’ You know of whom we are thinking, the brave ones known to us so well, who were unflinching to the end at the call of duty. Words fail – indeed, they are unnecessary – but you will understand.

The Bishop of Oxford and the War.

Dealing with the subject of the Church and the War, Dr. Gore says:

We believe that we are fighting for liberty and justice and fidelity to obligations and the rights of smaller nations, and that Germany is using its matchless intellect and power of organization to trample on these sacred things. None the less, in expressing this our confident conviction we must be careful not to use language which sounds self-righteous. There is a history behind us, and our own history is very far from being immaculate. If we wish to say that we are fighting against Antichrist, we must always show that we recognize how very much that is antichristian there is in us – in our politics, in our industrial, social and religious life. Self-righteousness becomes us very ill. Something more like national penitence is what we want, and we are not, I fear, showing anything like national penitence on a wide scale.

Clergymen as War Workers.

Writing in his Parish Magazine, the Rector of Quinton explains that his assistant-curate and himself are each devoting three days and three nights every week to making shells. Their action has the warm approval of the Bishop of Birmingham, and any money they earn after the cost of overalls, etc., has been deducted, will be devoted to the Assistant-Clergy fund.

The Bishop of Khartoum for the Front.

The War Office has issued an announcement that in view of the large number of Church of England chaplains now serving with the troops under Sir John French’s command, and of the increases which are in course of being made to the British Forces in France, the Bishop of Khartoum has been appointed to represent the Chaplain-General at the Front, and to be his deputy there for all purposes connected with the Church of England chaplains and Church of England troops.

The Rt. Rev. Llewellyn Henry Gwynne, who has been chosen for this responsible post, was at Khartoum in 1901 and acted as chaplain to the troops when the British forces recovered the Soudan [sic], and was subsequently appointed Archdeacon and then Bishop in that region with the formal title “Suffragan-Bishop in Khartoum.” He has visited the Front in France and Flanders during the present war and has therefore some experience of the conditions in which his future work, for a very restricted period let us hope, will lie.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P181/28A/24)