“These men had fought for truth and justice, they had fought that England might live”

The little parish of Remenham wanted to provide medical care as the best form of war memorial.

April 1919

The new Parish Council will come into office on Tuesday, April 15, and they intend to hold a public meeting that evening in the Parish hall at 6.30 pm, when all householders are asked to attend, so that we may decide on the best War memorial for the Parish. So will every-one, please, make a note of Tuesday, April 15, at the Hall at 6.30 pm?

May 1919

We have had our public meeting about the Parish war memorial, and you will see by the report that feeling was practically unanimous that it will take the form of a “Remenham Bed” in the proposed Memorial Cottage Hospital in Henley. When information has been obtained as to te sum required by the Henley Committee to guarantee that a bed shall always be available, when required, for a patient from Remenham, an appeal will be issued for subscriptions.

REMENHAM WAR MEMORIAL

There was quite a large gathering of parishioners in the Parish hall on Tuesday evening, April 15, for the purpose of considering the question of a war memorial. Amongst those present were Viscount Hambleden, Mr Heatley Noble, Captain E H Noble, Rev. G H Williams, Mrs Ames, Miss Ames, Mrs Burnell, Mr E C Eveleigh, Mr C T Holloway, Mr H V Caldicott, Mrs Lovegrove, Mr R Ansell, Mr Frank Butler, Mr Tunbridge, Mr Drummond, Mr W Baker, Messrs F Fassnidge, W Ebsworth, J Dixon, W Sears, B Moring, C Langford, G Challis, J Challis, D Marcham, and many others.

At the commencement of the meeting Mr Holloway occupied the chair, and in the course of a few remarks expressed his pleasure at seeing such a large number present to consider the question of a war memorial to those brave fellows who fought, suffered, and laid down their lives for them and their country. He would like to propose that Mr Heatley Noble be the Chairman of the War Memorial, for they who had been associated with him well knew his business qualities – (applause).

Mr Tunbridge seconded and the proposition was agreed to with acclamation.

Mr Heatley Noble on taking the chair said he would rather that Viscount Hambleden accepted the position of chairman, but his lordship said he would prefer not to. Continuing, Mr Noble said whatever they did he trusted it would be unanimous. He was aware that there were differences of opinion, but he hoped the minority would give way to the majority – (applause).

The Rev, G H Williams, at the request of the Chairman, forst addressed the meeting. He said he would like those present to feel that what he was going to say was as an individual parishioner, and whatever the meeting decided on he should loyally fall in with. They were there to do their best in a moment of sacred and solemn responsibility. He had kept an open mind on the subject from start to finish, but after considering all the schemes he had heard propounded, he certainly leaned towards a bed to be called “The Remenham Bed” in the proposed Henley Memorial Cottage Hospital. A meeting was recently held in Henley at which he was present. It was a very representative gathering, the room being practically full, and the meeting unanimously decided upon a hospital as a suitable memorial. In fact, the proposal swept the board, no other proposition being made. He asked, if Remenham joined in the Henley Scheme, could a bed be provided to be named the “Remenham Bed”, and he received an unequivocal “Yes” from both the Mayor (who presided) and the Town Clerk. Therefore if they co-operated with Henley they would do so with a direct Remenham touch. That cleared the ground to some extent. The first question they had to consider was as to the need. So far as Henley was concerned it did not touch them. was there a need in Remenham? (Mrs Ames: Most strongly.) He agreed with Mrs Ames. Reading was most awkward to get to and it would be a great boon to have a hospital close at hand. There had been cases in the parish which had had to wait weeks before getting a bed in the Royal Berks Hospital, and if they had their own bed in Henley the difficulty would be overcome. He would like to say that the proposed hospital in Henley was to be an entirely new one, built on the most modern lines, and to contain as a start eight beds. Round the institution it was suggested should centre all the activities of the new health ministry. As regards the cost, it was intimated that from fifteen to twenty thousand pounds would be required. If he looked into the hearts of some of those present, he knew they would be saying that such a large sum could never be raised. He thought otherwise. There were many substantial people amongst the audience at the meeting he attended, and letters were read from others promising their support. They would find that the rich people would do their duty, and if the rich people in Henley did theirs, he was sure the parishes which were invited to co-operate would not be lacking in their financial assistance. What would be required from them he did not know. It might be £500 or £800, but it would be nice if they could reach £1,000. Some of them might ask why they should do Henley’s work for Henley, but there was another side, and that was, did they want Henley to do for Remenham what they should do for themselves. How did they meet these two questions. Would the idea of a “Remenham Bed” be a sufficiently personal memorial. He thought it would. They would have their inscription over the bed, and could they not add to it a small scroll containing the names of their fallen? That would supply the personal touch. As to the men who had died, they had the personal touch in the parish through the kind provision of the late Mr Wilson Noble, by whose will his executors were enjoined to expend a sum of money for a memorial to be placed in the Church, containing the names of their fallen heroes. In order that all might have an opportunity of participating in the cost of that tablet, it had been agreed that any subscription the relatives and friends liked to give would be handed to the executors. That further secured the personal touch. Then, wpuld the form of memorial he had suggested be worthy of the men whom they wanted to honour. As he had said at the outset, they were at a moment of solemn responsibility and wanted to do their best, and he thought such a memorial would be a worthy one. These men had fought for truth and justice, they had fought that England might live. What about the proposed “Remenham Bed”? Patients would receive attention at the hands of skilful doctors, have careful nursing, the latest appliances would be used, and they would receive good food at a critical time. It might be a child, or a mother, or probably one who had been a soldier or a sailor who was stricken down. No matter who it was, they would be well cared for. So he thought in caring for the sick and suffering, they would be carrying out the spirit of the men who fought for them; it might mean a life saved for England.

The Chairman said that personally he was in favour of what Mr Williams had said, but he would like to hear opinions expressed by others in the room.

Mr Ansell said he had not a scheme of his own as he favoured the hospital idea himself, but one or two who were unable to be present had expressed themselves to him. One favoured the placing of what was contributed to the parish towards putting discharged soldiers on the land. Another suggestion was that they should provide a cottage for a blinded soldier. He would like to ask whether if they endowed a bed they could have the immediate call of it in case of necessity. To name a bed did not necessarily mean that they could always have the call of it.

The Rector said that was a detail which would have to be considered later. The impression he gained at the meeting at Henley was that they would have first claim on the bed, and if there was room they could send more than one patient to the hospital.

Mr Ansell thought if there was going to be only eight beds, Henley could do with that number itself.

The Rector said the doctors at the meeting thought eight beds would suffice, but of course there might be occasions when there was a pressure, which would be provided for. If they went into double figures by way of beds the expense would be greatly increased.

The Chairman thought if they had a “Remenham Bed” it should be reserved for Remenham when required. He would like to say that the comrades of one man who died subscribed together and sent home about £18 to be used in memory of him, and hid friends favoured giving it to the Henley Hospital scheme if Remenham joined it. He had spoken to many of the labouring men and others and they all favoured the hospital scheme.

Mr Caldicott thought if they had a “Remenham Bed” in the Henley Hospital it would be lost sight of after a time. He favoured a memorial in their own parish, and begged to propose that a permanent memorial be erected in the churchyard containing the names of the fallen, and that if the subscriptions more than sufficed the balance be given to the Cottage Hospital at Henley.

This found no seconder, and it fell to the ground.

The Rector submitted the following resolution: “That a War memorial for Remenham should be the endowment of a bed, to be named the ‘Remenham Bed’, in the proposed Cottage Hospital in Henley-on-Thames.”

Viscount Hambleden said if that resolution was passed they ought to give the Committee instructions, before agreeing to join in the scheme, to ascertain if the bed would always be available for Remenham patients. He was afraid from his knowledge of things, there would be a little difficulty over the matter. It would prove unpopular to keep a bed vacant for one particular parish, and he was afraid the Henley people would say they could not give a guarantee. He would also like to know what sum was required for the endowment, and further it should be made clear whether any annual payment was expected from them for its upkeep.

The Rector said he would be happy to embody what his lordship had said in the resolution he had drafted.

Viscount Hambleden thought they might pass the resolution as it stood and pass on to the committee instructions to deal with what he had suggested, and if they failed to come to an agreement to call another general meeting. He would move the resolution.

The Rector seconded and it was carried almost unanimously.

The Committee was then elected and constituted as follows: Mr Heatley Noble (chairman), Mr Ansell (hon. sec.), Viscount Hambleden, Miss Ames, the Rev. G H Williams, Mr Eveleigh, Mr Holloway, Mr Tugwood, Mr Caldicott and Mr Stephens. The Chairman and the Rector were appointed to represent the parish on the Henley Committee.

On the initiative of Viscount Hambleden the Chairman was heartily thanked for presiding.

Remenham parish magazine, April-May 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

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“Right in front of the battalion, leading his men in true British style”

This supplement to the roll of honour’s bald list of names gives us more detail about the parish’s fallen heroes.

Supplement to the Wargrave Parish Magazine

ROLL OF HONOUR.
R.I.P.

Almighty and everlasting God, unto whom no prayer is ever made without hope of thy compassion: We remember before thee our brethren who have laid down their lives in the cause wherein their King and country sent them. Grant that they, who have readily obeyed the call of those to whom thou hast given authority on earth, may be accounted worthy among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness of all our sins, and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself to us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Baker, Edward
Private, 7th Wiltshire Regiment, killed in action on the Salonica Front, April 24th, 1917, aged 21. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baker. He was born at Wargrave and educated at the Piggott School. When the war commenced he was working as a grocer’s assistant in Wargrave. He volunteered in 1915 and was sent out in 1916. He was killed by a shell in a night charge.

Barker, Percy William

Private, 7th Batt. Royal Berkshire Regiment/ Killed at Salonica, July 4th 1917, aged 19. He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. William Barker at Yeldall Lodge. His father was for twenty years a gardener at Yeldall. He was born at Crazies Hill and educated at the village school. On leaving school he began work as a gardener. He was one of the most helpful lads on the Boys’ Committee of the Boys’ Club. He volunteered May 11th, 1916. On July 4th, 1917, he was hit by a piece of shell from enemy aircraft while bathing and died within an hour. The Chaplain wrote to his parents “Your loss is shared by the whole battalion”.

Bennett, William
Sergeant, 8th Royal Berkshire Regiment, killed in France, Dec 3rd, 1916 aged 25. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bennett, of Wargrave, and when the war broke out he was working on a farm. He volunteered at once. He was killed instantly by a shell. One of his officers wrote: “Sergt. Bennett was the best N.C.O. we had in the company. Fearless, hardworking, willing, he was a constant inspiration to his platoon. His splendid record must inevitably have led to his decoration. We have lost an invaluable N.C.O. and a fine man. He was buried with all possible reverence about half a mile from Eaucourt L’Abbaye”.

Boyton, Bertram
Lieut., 6th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds in Palestine, Nov. 9th, 1917, aged 36. He was educated at King’s College, London, and was a Surveyor and Architect by profession. He was a Fellow of the Surveyors Institute and had won Gold and Silver Medals of the Society of Auctioneers by examination. He was married to Elsie, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Morris, at the Parish Church, Wargrave, Sept. 7th 1905, He was a member of the London Rowing Club and the Henley Sailing Club, and keenly interested in all athletics. He enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company in April 1915. He was given a commission in the 6th London R.F.A., in July 1915 and was promoted Lieutenant soon after. He went to France with his battery in June 1916, and to Salonica in the following November. He was sent to Egypt and Palestine in June 1917, and was wounded while taking his battery into action in an advance on November 6th. He died at El Arish on November 9th, 1917.

Buckett, Ernest Frederick

Private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, killed in action Sept. 20th, 1917, in France, aged 23. The dearly loved husband of Dorothy May Buckett, married May 31st, 1917. He was educated at the Henley National School, and before the War was a slaughterman with Messrs. O’Hara & Lee, butchers, Henley and Wargrave. In 1910 he joined the Berkshire Yeomanry (Territorial Force), and was called up on August 4th, 1914, at the commencement of the war. He immediately volunteered for foreign service. He went to France in the spring of 1915. When he had completed his five years service, since the date of his enlistment, he volunteered for another year, but received his discharge as a time-expired man in January 1916. In July, 1916, he was called up under the new regulations and sent immediately to France where he remained, except for leave on the occasion of his marriage, until he fell in action, September 20th, 1917. (more…)