By wasting food we are helping our enemies

The vicar of Earley issued a rebuke to those wasting food.

THE VICAR’S LETTER
My dear friends,

After one of the longest and coldest winters that have been recorded for a century, we have suddenly plunged into summer; May has been a perfect month for the crops, most of the time lost has already been made up, and there are on every side signs of an abundance of produce of all kinds. Ought we not to be thankful to God for this answer to our prayers, and to pray that he may grant us in these times of stress a successful ingathering?

Ought we not also to be thankful that the prospect of a serious shortage in our food supplies seems gradually to be diminishing? Let us remember, however, that it depends upon ourselves; if we are lavish or wasteful the danger is a very imminent one: if only everyone would realise the evil of waste, things would be very different, but, in spite of all that is said or done, it still goes on.

We still see bread and other food thrown away in the streets, apparently by children whose parents have carelessly given them more food to take with them than they can eat; it may not be much, but it is a sign of the times that wants strict looking after. By wasting food we are helping our enemies, there is no doubt whatever of this, we are prolonging the war and so endangering the lives of thousands of our soldiers and our fellow countrymen…

Your friend and vicar
W W Fowler

Earley St Peter parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

National Service is just now very much to the fore

Paid employment on Sundays was severely restricted before the war, but necessity was leading to relaxation of the rules. The vicar of St Luke’s in Maidenhead had his doubts.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and parishioners,-

We have spent, I think, on the whole a very profitable Lent… The older men who were able to do so, came well to the three Services for Men; many of the younger ones, as we all know, were employed on their Country’s work elsewhere…

Just now the loss of friends is so common that I can usually make no reference to it in this Letter…

National Service is just now very much to the fore. I feel sure that the Churchpeople of this Parish will respond to any call made upon them. I ought perhaps to say, though I do it reluctantly, as it is a personal thing, that Mr. Sellors and I have both given in our names to the Bishop in case we are needed for Service elsewhere, but nothing has happened as yet. In the meanwhile and probably all the War, we are obeying the Director General’s advice and are remaining in our present work.

I have been asked to say a word or two about the difficult question of Sunday work. I suppose the old Christian rule is that works of necessity and charity are allowable…. This year I gather that during say six weeks of the sowing season, many gardens, and some farm lands, must be cultivated on Sunday. After that till Harvest, I should say that ordinary weeding, etc, could be done during the week, especially under the Daylight Saving Bill…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

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

“Nothing out here seems so nice as that which comes from home”

Wargrave men were deeply grateful for little remembrances from the people at home and Christmas saw another set of donations.

Gifts to the Men at the Front:

A quantity of tobacco and cigarettes for the men at the Front was brought to the Church on Christmas Day and will be carefully distributed among those who were left out at the time of the Harvest Festival.

The letters from the front show how much these little presents are appreciated. We have heard from S. Briscoe, K. F. Buckett, F. Cunnington, A. Haycock, C. M. Hodge, J. Hodge, A. J. Hollis, J. Milford, S. Piggott, J. Pithers, J. Wigmore, and others. A few extracts are printed below:

“I am writing to thank you and also the inhabitants of Wargrave for the cigarettes they kindly sent out here for me, as nothing out here seems so nice as that which comes from home.”

“I now take pleasure in writing to thank you very much indeed for the cigarettes and kind wishes, which I received quite safely. I am sure I am very grateful to all those kind friends which have helped you to do this and although I cannot thank them personally I wish you to do so.”

“Believe me it does one good to know that we out here are not altogether forgotten. I send to you and all friends in Wargrave, many thanks and best wishes for a merry Christmas and a much happier New Year.”

“I cannot express how pleased we are out here to get the news and good wishes from all at home, letters etc. being the great connecting link with the dear homeland and we all thank you most heartily for them.”

“We are out of the trenches now staying in a small village, our Division was inspected by the Duke of Conaught. I expect it was a grand sight for those who were watching us. I do not know of anyone from Wargrave in this Battalion but I have met one from Hurst. I think we are lucky to be out of the trenches now as we have had a lot of rain this last week which would make them in an awful state. Our Chaplain has recently been awarded the Military Medal. We have a service every Sunday morning.”

Wargrave parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

“The Message of Peace seems so unheeded in the outside world, amid the din of battle”

A Christmas message from the vicar of Wargrave:

Christmas:

May the Message of Peace, which seems so unheeded in the outside world, amid the din of battle, being solace to all Christian hearts. Those who, obey the call of duty to fight for their country find indeed a peace which passes all understanding, for they have made the great surrender and offered their lives to God. Those who serve at home, or only wait and pray, may find some peace if they fill the place to which God calls them. We do not choose our place or tasks: He allots them to us all, if we are alert to hear His call. And if we are content to do out best therein we shall find Peace; the same as that which sanctified the life in Bethlehem, and in the upper room, and in the garden, and on Calvary. The Peace which belongs unto our Lord and which He has the power to give.

Gifts for Men at the Front:

As the gifts of Tobacco and Cigarettes at the Harvest Festival were not nearly enough to go round, another opportunity will be given to the congregations on Christmas Day. Any further gifts received then will be distributed among those who did not get anything from the Harvest Festival.

The letters received by the Vicar from those who have already received the little presents show how very gratefully they are appreciated.’

A Gift to the Bell-Ringers:

A very handsome medal has been presented by Mr. W.E. Cain to all who were members of the Belfry at the time of the Re-Opening of the Tower.

It is the size of half-a-crown, with a very effective view of the Church on one side and a little inscription on the other.

All the men were delighted with it, it is a gift which will certainly give the keenest pleasure to those who are now fighting and were away from home at the time.

The Bell-Ringers tender their most grateful thanks to the kind donor and their gratitude for such kindly thought is shared by all who have their interest at heart.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

Vegetables and cigarettes

The village of Crazies Hill dedicated its harvest festival to supporting the troops, with gifts of varying levels of healthiness.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Harvest Festival was held on October 15th. Throughout the day the Services were bright and hearty. The congregations were large; indeed everything was in keeping with the joyous occasion. The Children’s Service also, in the afternoon, was well attended. The Children’s offerings were made during the singing of a hymn when the children marched in procession and placed the various articles in a basket. The basket was large, yet was well supplied with packets of cigarettes, sweets, and other things. These were carried to the Parkwood Hospital after the Service as the Children’s gifts for the wounded soldiers.

At the Evening Service the anthem ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ was rendered very nicely by the Choir. The Special Preacher was the Rev. H. I. Wilson, Rector of Hitcham, to whom we are much indebted for coming.

The decorations were carried out with much care and skill – the building looking a veritable flower garden. It would be difficult to realize the amount of labour and time spent in arranging the flowers, plants, corn and vegetables. The result was certainly beautiful. We are very grateful to the following who so generously gave their labour and time: Mrs. Light, Mrs. Habbitts, Mrs. Wakefield, Mrs. Woodward, Miss Rose, Miss Stanton, Miss Beck, and Miss Doe, and the following who so kindly sent gifts: – Mrs. Whiting, flowers and vegetable marrow; Miss Beck, flowers; Mrs. William Willis, plants; Mrs. Hull, flowers; Mrs. Weller, flowers; Mrs. Goodwin, flowers; Mr. Kimble, flowers and vegetables. Mr. Griffin, flowers; Mr. Bacon, bread; Mr. Stanton, flowers. Miss Fleming, corn and wheat; Miss Rose, flowers; The Hon. Mrs. Crawford, corn; Capt. Willis, flowers.

We are also indebted to Parkwood for so kindly sending a collection of choice plants.

The collections throughout the day, which were in aid of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, amounted to £1 10s. 7 ½ d.

The vegetables and flowers were sent to Wargrave Military Hospital, Mr. Whiting most kindly conveying them thither.

Throughout the day offerings of cigarettes, etc., were most generously made for our men serving at the present time.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

Cigarettes and chocolate for the troops – but not enough for all

The Harvest Festival at Wargrave Church gave the opportunity for parishioners to send gifts to the troops.

The Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival will be held on Sunday, October 8th. The collections will as usual be divided between the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

The sermons will be preached by the Vicar. Several invitations have been given to special preachers but all our friends have been obliged to decline owing to the present exceptional circumstances, shortness of staff and the approach of the National Mission.

Presents for Men at the Front

Gifts of Tobacco, Cigarettes and Chocolate will be gladly welcomed at the Harvest Festival as on the previous occasions during the war. These presents are not large in size when divided up into separate packets for all our men on the roll, but they are greatly appreciated as many letters testify. There seems no better plan than that adopted last year when small packets were made up, with a few lines of greeting in each, and given to relations to be enclosed in the next parcel from home.

The results were reported in the following issue of the parish magazine.

Presents for the Men at the Front

There was a goodly collection of Tobacco, Cigarettes, and Chocolate received at the Church and Mission buildings on the occasion of the Harvest Festival. The Church of England Men’s Society met and divided it all up into suitable packets, which have now been distributed. There was sufficient for some fifty parcels but not nearly enough to enable us to send something to everybody.

Perhaps we may be able to have another such collection at Christmas time so that we may show all the others that they are not forgotten. Or if there are any who would like to extend the list of recipients at once their gifts can be received at the Vicarage at any time and will be carefully distributed.

Wargrave parish magazine, October and November 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

“These young lives so bravely laid down at the call of duty are not wasted”

The melancholy news of the death of a Winkfield man cast a pall over harvest festivities.

Again with sincere regret we have to record the addition of another name to the honourable list of those from this parish who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country, and deep sympathy is felt for the bereaved relatives of Lieutenant Gerald Ralph Hayes-Sadler, who was killed in action on September 3rd.

A Memorial Service was held on Friday, September 22nd in the Church, which was decorated for Harvest Festival; but in view of this memorial service, only mauve and white flowers had been used, striking a note of sadness amidst our Harvest rejoicing appropriate for these sad times, but also reminding us that these young lives so bravely laid down at the call of duty are not wasted, but will surely have their harvest, not only in the Great Beyond, but in the happier and better England which their sacrifice will have ensured for many generations.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

Scarcity of farm labour leads to the recruitment of children

Farmers were so desperate for labour they had to recruit schoolchildren – and schools had to extend the summer holiday to accommodate this.

11th September 1916.

The managers decided to extend the holidays till the 11th to enable the children to help in the harvest field owing to the scarcity of labour.

Tom Hoodley (12 yrs) has been granted conditional exemption [to leave school before the statutory age], he is working for Mr A. Buckland, Forsters Farm.

Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 58)

“It’s not very pleasant out here”

The people of Wargrave continued to contribute to the war effort, but were starting to slack off a little. Perhaps the war was already seeming too long. They may have been inspired to redouble their efforts by the letters in the parish magazine from serving soldiers grateful for their gifts of cigarettes.

Surgical Dressing Emergency Society

The society has had a great many dressings and comforts sent in from the Branches and outside friends, but, the workers in Wargrave have considerably fallen off. The need for dressings is becoming more urgent every day and we do hope very much that those who can spare more time, and make a special effort to come to the workrooms more often, will do so, as the Hospital is taking away some of our best workers. Mr Butcher has become a regular worker, and has undertaken to entirely pack all the bales. This is heavy work, taking up a great deal of time, and it is an enormous help.

We have most thoroughly enjoyed the Thursday Readings by the Vicar, and we are most grateful to him for sparing us so much of his time.

Harvest Gifts

Letters continue to arrive from Sailors and Soldiers, at sea and in the trenches, expressing their thanks for the Tobacco and Cigarettes sent from the Harvest Festival. During the last month there have been letters from Fred. Brown, A. Creighton, Percy Elsley, W. A. George, J. H. Hodge, A. W. Hall, M. Hutchings, F. G. Mayne, H. Ogbourne, C. Pugh and H. Shaw. (more…)

Disappointment in the garden

The Burghfield Flower Show had expected the numbers of young men who had gone to the war to affect local horticulture – but it was surprised how much difference it made.

PRIZES FOR AUTUMN CROPPING

It is very disappointing that the offer of these prizes to Cottagers and Allotment Holders by the Flower Show Committee has had so little effect.

No one would have been surprised if the standard of cultivation and cropping had been found low, as so many men and youths are away owing to the war, and the harvest must have fully occupied the time of most who have remained.

But this does not account for the few entries, only two for allotment prizes, three for small gardens, four for large gardens. Considering that the number of first and second prizes was unlimited in each of these classes, i.e. that there were sums of 7/- and 4/- obtainable by all who could reach moderate degrees of excellence, it was to be expected that at least 30 applicants would have entered in each class. There was no charge for entry, only the trouble of putting down the name. it is to be hoped there may have been some misunderstanding, and that another time there will be many entries.

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

Bring a pound of anything

Even the numbers of clergy had been reduced at home with many younger men leaving their parish work for a role as an army chaplain. Women mostly had to contribute to the war effort at home. Some joined Voluntary Aid Detachments as untrained nurses. Those in Wargrave undertook to open a small hospital for the wounded.

The Clerical Staff
It has not been found possible as yet to fill the vacancy on the Staff. A great number of the younger clergy have been allowed to go as Chaplains in the Army: Their brethren count them fortunate and wish them every blessing in the great work. It is only natural, therefore, to find that there are not as many as usual for home work. The Vicar has been in correspondence with a few clergymen, but in each case the curate has had relations dependent upon him, and the stipend offered has therefore been inadequate for his needs in these expensive times.

Harvest Gifts
Many messages have been received from those on the sea and across the sea thanking the people of Wargrave for their gifts of tobacco and cigarettes. And very nice letters have been written to the Vicar by Corporal Reginald Over and Privates George Gregory, Arthur Haycock, Edward Tarry, William Bradford, Christopher Brown, Charles Critcher, William Larkin, and James Pithers, saying how pleased they were to receive the gifts and asking him to convey their thanks to the friends at home.

V.A.D. Hospital
The Wargrave Voluntary Aid Detachment Berks/58 received orders to mobilize as soon as possible and to prepare a Hospital for the reception of wounded soldiers. After carefully considering ways and means, they approached the Trustees of Woodclyffe Hostel as to the possibility of using their premises.

The Trustees met on October 14th, and on the same day communicated with the tenant of the Hostel and with the Working Men’s Club. The Trustees stated that they received the request with much sympathy so long as the rights of the tenant could be satisfied.

The Working Men’s Club Committee then met, and expressed the desire to fall in with the wishes of the Trustees if the Hostel in the furtherance of so good a cause.

In due course an amount of compensation was arranged which was acceptable to the tenant and was paid by the V.A.D.

A General Meeting of the Working Men’s Club was also held and suitable arrangements were made for the loan of their billiard table and other furniture to the V.A.D.

During the last fortnight the Members of the Detachment have been busily employed in converting the Hostel into a Hospital for 20 beds, under the direction of the Commandant, Mrs. Victor Rhodes, and the Quartermaster, Mrs. Oliver Young.

It is now near completion and it is proposed to hold a Pound Day just before it is opened, when all who are interested and who would like to inspect the Hospital before the patients arrive, will be asked to bring a pound of anything which will help to stock the larder or store room. The date will be announced later.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

Wargrave D/P145/28A/31

Harvest cigarettes for soldiers

Harvest, normally a joyous affair, could not be the same for a nation at war. The Harvest gifts at Crazies Hill in Wargrave included a generous supply of cigarettes, intended for the troops.

Knowl Hill

It will be impossible to have this year anything like our usual enthusiastic Harvest Festival. Most of our adult male Choristers have joined the Army. Our greatly valued Choir Master will probably be absent on account of fever in his house. Some of our female Choristers will also be unable to help. However, a chastened Festival may be deeply blessed. The Vicar, in his sermons on the Sunday evenings lately, has been suggesting some needful thoughts derived from the accounts of the greatest of the Jewish Festivals, which are fulfilled in the Christian Church (see S. John VII, 37 ff). The Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the Harvest Month (Levit. XVI, 29 ff) should lead us to a confession of our unworthiness of Gods bounteous gifts. The social gathering of all sorts and conditions of men at the House of God (Deut. XVI, 14) should lead us to our “Holy Convocation” (Levit. XXIII, 36) There should be the fullest response amongst Christians to the overflowing love of God: as at the Feast of Tabernacles burnt offerings were sacrificed in far greater numbers than at the Passover or Day of Pentecost (see Numbers XXIX). The Name, the Feast of Tabernacles, should remind us of the Iraelites dwelling in booths (Levit. XXIII; Nehem. VIII) with the Tabernacle of God in the midst of them: to make them blessed, and a blessing at last in the Church of our Lord Who deigns to tabernacle in us (S. John I, 14). Yes, a subdued, thoughtful Harvest Festival may be an excellent preparation for the Festival of the In-gathering at the end of the Christian age, at which the reapers are the Angels (S. Matt. XIII, 39). At a time when we are so specially reminded of God’s mercies we should indeed “surely rejoice; and not ‘appear before the Lord empty”. “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord they God, which He hath given thee”. (Deut. XVI, 17; Rom. XII, 1).’

Crazies Hill Notes

The Harvest Thanksgiving Services were held on Sunday the 17th. The number of Communicants throughout the day was not as large as might have been expected. Except in this respect everything was in keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, and Crazies Hill acquitted itself in a manner worthy of the occasion.

A marked feature of the musical portion of the Services was the way in which the Congregation joined in the singing. It seemed as if everyone was singing; this gave a brightness, or rather a heartiness to the Services which was exceedingly cheering.

Too much praise could not be given to the many willing friends who, as early as the Friday previous, began the work of decoration. The results achieved well justified all the time spent in this labour of love. Indeed it would not be too much to say that the building was a picture – tall palms, miniature sheaves of corn, flowers, fruits and vegetables being arranged with great taste and very real skill. Very much gratitude is due to the kind friends who so generously sent the various gifts.

Dr. Batchelor, the Vicar of Cookham, preached at the Evening Service, when the building was more than filled to its utmost capacity. His sermon, with its allusions to the war, sent us home not only being greatly helped but cheered. We are all very grateful for his kindness in coming. We are also very grateful to a kind and generous parishioner who had the Doctor met at the Railway Station before, and motored back to Cookham after, the Service.

The offerings of tobacco, cigarettes and other things for our soldiers throughout the day resulted in a very large number of such gifts during the same week to respective families. The offerings were of a most liberal nature and were greatly appreciated. Offerings of a similar kind were made at the Children’s Service, and these were given to the sounded soldiers at Parkwood Auxiliary Military Hospital – some of the children carrying them over directly after the service and giving the presents themselves. A letter of appreciation of this kind and thoughtful act on the part of the children has been received from the Matron of the Hospital.

Wargrave parish magazines, October and November 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

Eggs, chocolate and cigarettes

The Wargrave churches celebrated Harvest by collecting chocolate and cigarettes to send to local men serving in the armed forces, and eggs for the wounded in Reading.

Hare Hatch Notes
October 1915

We shall begin our Thanksgiving Services with the Holy Communion at 7 a.m., the Vicar will celebrate Children’s Service in the afternoon at 3 p.m., we invite them to bring new laid eggs for the sick and wounded soldiers in the Reading Hospital, this will be an acceptable gift.

November 1915
The Harvest Festival

The little iron Church looked very pretty when the sanctuary was decorated and nearly every seat was filled both in the morning and the evening. We had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Acworth, the Vicar of Twyford, as the preacher in the morning and Mr Wrenford, the Vicar of Littlewick in the evening.

Instead of bringing fruit and flowers people made offerings of chocolates, tobacco and some eight thousand cigarettes for the Sailors and Soldiers. These have been done up into small parcels, one for every man on the sea and across the sea. Relatives are asked to out the little present into the next parcel they send out. Three pounds weight will go for a shilling, so one can often find room for a little packet.

If any parishioners who have relations who have left England in the service of the country and have not yet received a parcel, they are requested to call at the Vicarage for one.

Wargrave parish magazines, October and November 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

We must hope that we may pass through this dreadful time of suffering and struggle to a fairer civilisation

The vicar of Windsor hoped for a kinder, gentler world once the war was over.

HARVEST THANKSGIVING SERVICES.

Wednesday, October 13th, was observed as a day of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth. There were celebrations of the Holy Communion at 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and after Matins. Evensong was sung at 7.30 p.m., when the preacher was the Rev. E. M. Blackie, Vicar of Windsor. His text was JOB xii, 8, “Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee.”

One of the lessons to be drawn from the teaching of the earth, the preacher said, is the lesson of beauty, but this beauty is the outcome of age-long struggle and striving and pain. Applying this truth to this war, the preacher said that we must hope that we may pass through this dreadful time of suffering and struggle to a fairer civilisation, and more definite acceptance of Christian principles, a new spirit among men, a more beautiful world in which truth, love, purity, justice and freedom will indeed be the ruling principles.

The altar and chancel and also the font were beautifully decorated, and many kind gifts of fruit and vegetables were received. These were sent on the following day to the Soldiers Hospital at Ascot. The collections were for the local Hospitals and amounted to £5.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, November 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/11)

An offering in which all can join

Wargrave Church decided to replace the usual Harvest Festival displays of produce with cigarettes to send to the troops.

The Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival at the Parish Church will be held on Sunday, October 10th. The Collections will be as usual divided between the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Association and the Royal Berkshire Hospital at Reading.

It would seem that in place of the offerings of fruit and flowers, for which there is no space in the iron Church, there can be a better plan than that adopted last year. Tobacco and Cigarettes for our Soldiers will be an offering in which all can join, and will be received at the Church door throughout the day.

The preacher at Mattins will be the Rev. R. W. H. Acworth, Vicar of Twyford and at Evensong the Rev. T. H. Wrenford, Vicar of Littlewick.

The decorations will be of simple character, as on other Festivals in the temporary Church. We shall be grateful if the ladies will give their kind help as usual, both in sending flowers and by coming early on Saturday morning to do all that is possible to add beauty to the Sanctuary.

Wargrave parish magaizine, October 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)