Although their clothes may have been wet, the spirits of both adults and children were apparently in no way dampened

A good time was had by all at the Sulhamstead peace celebrations.

SULHAMSTEAD PEACE CELEBRATIONS

The following full and graphic account of the meetings and celebrations has been received for publication. The whole of it is worth reading and preserving. As it cannot all be printed in this copy, no attempt is made to curtail it, and the remainder will be published later. In addition to the debt which it states the parish owes to certain of its members, there must not be forgotten the admirable executive work conducted by Mr Clay, which enabled the whole to proceed without a single hitch.

A public meeting was held in Sulhamstead Schools on July 8th, when it was decided to hold our Peace Celebrations on the official day, July 19th, and to put a cross on the site of the old Church as a War Memorial. It was very well attended, and we understand it was one of the largest meetings ever held in Sulhamstead.

The following committees were appointed in connection with the Peace Celebrations, with Mr H Clay as Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.

A Catering Committee, under the guidance of Lady Watson, as follows: Mrs Cooper, Nurse Harvie, Miss Hughes, Mrs Price, Mrs Shepherd, Mrs Sheringham, Mrs Steele, Mrs Suhr, Mrs Tyser, Mrs Taylor, Mrs Jos. Wise.

A Sports Committee, under the Chairmanship of Sr W G Watson, bart, as follows: Mr Arlott, Mr A Clarke, Mr Clay, Mr Theo Jones, Mr Leake, Mr Metcalfe, Mr Ralph, Rev. A J P Shepherd, Mr Sheringham, Mr Stokes, Mr Suhr, Mr Norman Watson, Mr Winchcombe.

A Finance Committee, with Sir W G Watson, bart, as Chairman, as follows: Lady Watson, Mrs Sheringham, Miss Hughes, Mr Arlott, Mr Clay, Mr Leake, Rev, A J P Shepherd, Mr Sheringham, Mr Winchcombe.

The various committees appointed carried out their work admirably and amicably, and made the Celebrations on July 19th a great success.

Sir George Watson very kindly threw open his grounds for the occasion.

All the residents of Sulhamstead and Sulhamstead Lower End were invited to the Sports and Tea, and invitation cards were delivered by mebers of the committees to each house. These were collected, and tickets of admittance given out.

Unfortunately the weather was showery, but this did not prevent people being there, and although their clothes may have been wet, the spirits of both adults and children were apparently in no way dampened.

The children’s sports commenced at 2.30 in Sulhamstead Park by a variety of races for those under 14. There were plenty of competitors and the prizes consisted of money given by the committee and special (including two fishing rods, reels, knives, handbag and handkerchiefs) kindly given by Mr and Mrs Sheringham.

[Continued in October issue]

CONTINUATION OF REPORT ON PEACE CELEBRATION

At 4 o’clock tea was provided on the verandah at Sulhamstead House. The Adults’ Tea was served at 5 o’clock, at which meat was provided. The Rev. A J P Shepherd at this stage reminded us of those who had fallen in the war, who had gone from Sulhamstead, and read out the names. During the reading everyone stood in an impressive, solemn silence.

The Sports re-commenced at 6.30 for Adults, in which Pillow-Fighting and Blindfold Boxing caused great amusement. Mr Hayes kindly gave two 10-lb cheeses as special prizes, and money prizes were given by the committee…

The Sports concluded with Tugs of War for Men and Women, which were energetically contested. Each team was cheered by its own supporters. Mr Suhr’s team won the Men’s Tug of War, and Mrs Butler’s tem the Women’s. Mr Leake took charge of the Sports, Mr Norman Watson acting as Starter and Mr Sheringham and Mr Hayward as Judges.

During the afternoon, Bowling for a live pig, which Mr Stokes kindly gave, proved a great attraction. This was won by Mr H G Batts, who succeeded in putting down six skittles with three balls.
We are pleased to say £3.2s.11d. was received from this source as Entrance Fees.

Beer and mineral waters were provided free after 6.30.

Lady Watson presented the prizes to the winners, and vote of thanks was then given to the Catering Committee for their work in providing the tea.

Hearty cheers were given to Sir George and Lady Watson, Mr Norman Watson, and to those who gave the special prizes.

The Celebrations terminated with the National Anthem.

The gathering was a splendid success, and the thanks of everyone are due to the various committees for so ably providing pleasure for all.

Sulhamstead parish magazines, September and October 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Advertisements

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War

A final list of the Wargrave men who served in the war. NB: where this symbol † appears in the list, an entry for this soldier exists in the corresponding supplement to follow.

ROLL OF HONOUR.

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War.

Additions and Corrections for this Roll should be sent to the Vicar as soon as possible.

Adby, L.
Adby, C.
Adby, W.
Adby, O.
Alderton, F. J.
Allen, C. W.
Allum, H.
Amos, G.
Andrew, H.
Arnold, A. E.
Arnold, W.
Attlesey, H. F.
(more…)

An impossible position

Yesterday the Irish internees had asked for their own doctor to be allowed to exercise his skills. Dr Freeman, the prison doctor, was against the idea.

H M Prison
Reading

Oct. 26.18

From the MO to the Governor

I certainly would not be answerable for Mr Hayes’ treatment and care of the Irish prisoners here. I am of course responsible for their condition.

Furthermore I should object to Mr Hayes interfering in any way with my stock of drugs here, and should decline to dispense for him. Such a position would be impossible.

If the Commissioners desire it, I should see no objection to Mr Hayes prescribing for his fellow prisoners if the medicines &c were obtained from outside, but even in such a case I decidedly think I should see and approve of all prescriptions.

W T Freeman

I can imagine the nature of Mr Hayes’ reports if he is allowed to send them to the Commissioners.


Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

There will be no volunteers during winter & spring

The authorities agreed that internees should continue to work in the prison garden – but would not let the Irish bypass the prison doctor, who they did not care for.

Commissioners’ Minute

Work in the Garden cannot be considered as the “Service of the Prison” and interned Civilians cannot be forced to work at it.

The punishment must therefore be cancelled.

JW
24.X.18

Noted.

Hitherto the service of the Place of Internment has been considered to be such things as are necessary for its ordinary upkeep, and consisted of – cooks, bakers, laundry, engineers’ party, garden party (the vegetables are grown for the Place of Internment only), cleaner, whitewashers, and this has been the practice throughout, men being paid according to the scale for each class of service approved by the Commissioners. Will the Commissioners please instruct me as to what is to be done about the garden? It grows a considerable amount of vegetables, but there will be no volunteers during winter & spring when all the digging & planting has to be carried out, and unless kept up, both it and the paths will be soon overgrown with weeds.

The garden party in the past also assisted the stoker with ashes, & in wet weather cleared out the basement.

My practice throughout has been for men to arrange for all the duties amongst themselves and no man to leave such employment until his successor is appointed.

I hope the Commissioners will not think I am saying more than I should if I say that I regret their present decision and inability to support me.

C M Morgan
Governor

25.10.18

The commissioners do not wish to alter the practice which has hitherto been in vogue at Reading, but digging etc in the garden was not included when Reg 9 was approved. As it appears to be understood that gardening is part of the upkeep of the P of I, the practice will be continued.
JW 30/10/16

25th Oct 1918

F. Thornton, Irish prisoner, applied today. He states on behalf of the Irish prisoners that Dr R. Hayes, who is an Irish internee, act as Medical Officer for them in place of the Medical Officer appointed for duty here, and that Dr Hayes be allowed to write to Ireland for his medical appliances. Drugs to be obtained from here.

Report from Medical Officer attached.

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

The Commissioners are unable to sanction the proposal.
A J Wall
Sec: 30/10/18

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Full of political excitement

The Reading Prison doctor was unimpressed by claims of ill health among Irish internees.

Sept. 23 18
From the MO to the Governor

Concerning the report of the Secretary to the Prison Commission for a report upon the mental and physical condition of W T Cosgrove.

In the petitions of Laurence Ginnell and Richard Hayes, dated respectively Sept. 11 and Sept 12 1918, I have already dealt with this matter.

I have again carefully examined him today. His mental condition is sound. His physical condition is [illegible]. There are perhaps indefinite signs of some past [illegible] in the left lung but it is quiescent now, and there are no subjective symptoms.

He is full of political excitement and in my presence at all events quite cheerful.

He certainly is not in imminent danger.

W T Freeman

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

“We are all in good health and spirits, thank God”

Supporters of interned Irish MP William Cosgrave were concerned about his health in Reading Prison. Frank Fahy (1879-1953) was another Sinn Fener who would have a distinguished post-independence political career.

HM Prison
Reading

Sep. 12 1918

From the MO to the Governor

Concerning the petition of Richard Hayes about the health of W T Cosgrave I have nothing to add to my remarks concerning the petition of L. Ginnell on the same subject.

I have today however seen a letter signed by Frank Fahy in which he states, “We are all in good health and spirits, thank God. W. Cosgrave, MIP [Member of Irish Parliament] is much improved in appearance, though he continues to qualify for lightweight champion”.

W T Freeman

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

More fool than knave, an excitable kind of man & not very evenly balanced

One of the Irish internees in Reading had a nasty skin infection.

4 July 1918
Irish Joint Petition

Report from Medical Officer attached.

Davys told me on Sunday that he thought he had a skin disease caught from the soldiers at Holyhead as the beds there were dirty, and that he did not catch it here. He also asked to be allowed to occupy a cell on second floor so as to be isolated. I allowed him to do so, but he plays handball with the others.

Coles and Hayes stated that they petitioned in hopes of getting Davys released; that he was excitable and eccentric, but had conducted himself here much better than they had anticipated, and that whatever offences they had committed, Davys had not done anything and was more fool than knave. My own opinion is that they rather want to get rid of him as he is an excitable kind of man & not very evenly balanced. The others are more reading men.

The Prison was whitewashed throughout since it was last occupied by the Sinn Feiners.

C M Morgan
Gov.

[to] The Commissioners

They were anxious that he should not know that they had [illegible].

H M Prison
Reading

July 4.18

To the Governor
Concerning R. Davys

He has been suffering from an eczema of the face since the 17th of June. It may be a little troublesome to get well. In the ordinary sense of the words it is neither infectious nor contagious.

In fact, it [sic] technically I am satisfied that it is not a hyphogenic sycrosis and if there be any colligenic element about it, it is secondary.

It is in my opinion ridiculous to make any scare about it.

The mask is an ordinary and useful element in the treatment. I have felt for some days that such a petition might be forthcoming and mentioned my suspicions, you may remember, to you.

W T Freeman, MD, FRIS

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

“Irish National Poems were not allowed when they were here before, but I suppose they know them all by heart”

The new Irish internees arrived at Reading – and their books were immediately (and unlawfully) confiscated.

Place of Internment
Reading
27th May 1918

Walter L Cole
William T Cosgrove
Richard Davys
Frank Fahy
Richard Hayes
John Hurley

17.5.18 Chief Secretary for Ireland’s Order, Defence of the Realm Regn (14B) Internment.

Sir.

I have the honour to report that the above named Irish prisoners were received into my custody on Saturday the 25th inst: from HM Prison, Gloucester.
C M Morgan
Governor
[to]
The Under Secretary of State
Home Office
Whitehall
SW

27.5.1918
Place of Internment
Reading

The attached papers & book entitled “Irish National Poems” were taken from the Irish prisoners when they arrived here. They have had them in their possession up to the date of arrival here on Saturday evening. Irish National Poems were not allowed when they were here before, but I suppose they know them all by heart.

[reply]

Please say why these are submittted to the Commissioners. There does not appear to be anything to object to in them.

A J Wall
Sec.
28/5/18

Noted. These were submitted because I cannot read Gaelic. As regards the book of poems, its approval is noted. It was submitted because it was disallowed when the Sinn Feiners were here before – to the best of my belief.

C M Morgan
Gov
30/5/18

The instructions as to their treatment and that they may retain papers &c in their possession was only received today.

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Newbury’s Roll of Honour: Part 1

So many men from Newbury had been killed that the list to date had to be split into several issues of the church magazine. Part 1 was published in March 1918.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Copied and supplied to the Parish magazine by Mr J W H Kemp

1. Pte J H Himmons, 1st Dorset Regt, died of wounds received at Mons, France, Sept. 3rd, 1914.
2. L-Corp. H R Ford, B9056, 1st Hampshire Regt, killed in action between Oct. 30th and Nov 2nd, 1914, in France, aged 28.
3. L-Corp. William George Gregory, 8th Duke of Wellington’s Regt, killed in action Aug.10th, 1915, aged 23.
4. Charles Thomas Kemp Newton, 2nd Lieut., 1st Yorkshire Regt, 1st Batt., killed in action June 3rd, 1914 [sic], at Ypres.
5. 2nd Lieut. Eric Barnes, 1st Lincolnshire Regt, killed in action at Wytcheak, All Saints’ Day, 1914, aged 20. RIP.
6. G H Herbert, 2nd Royal Berkshire Regt, killed at Neuve Chapelle, 10th March, 1915.
7. Pte J Seymour, 7233, 3rd Dragoon Guards, died in British Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, Dec. 8th, 1914, aged 24.
8. Pte H K Marshall, 2/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action in France July 13th, 1916.
9. Pte F Leslie Allen, 2nd East Surrey Regt, killed in action May 14th, 1915, aged 19.
10. Pte Harold Freeman, 6th Royal Berks, died of wounds, Sept. 6th, 1916.
11. Joseph Alfred Hopson, 2nd Wellington Mounted Rifles, killed in action at Gallipoli, August, 1915.
12. Sergt H Charlton, 33955, RFA, Somewhere in France. Previous service, including 5 years in India. Died from wounds Oct. 1916, aged 31.
13. Harry Brice Biddis, August 21st, 1915, Suvla Bay. RIP.
14. Algernon Wyndham Freeman, Royal Berks Yeomanry, killed in action at Suvla Bay, 21st August, 1915.
15. Pte James Gregg, 4th Royal Berks Regt, died at Burton-on-Sea, New Milton.
16. Eric Hobbs, aged 21, 2nd Lieut. Queen’s R W Surrey, killed in action at Mamety 12th July, 1916. RIP.
17. John T Owen, 1st class B, HMS Tipperary, killed in action off Jutland Coast May 31st, 1916, aged 23.
18. Ernest Buckell, who lost his life in the Battle of Jutland 31st May, 1916.
19. Lieut. E B Hulton-Sams, 6th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, killed in action in Sanctuary Wood July 31st, 1915.
20. Pte F W Clarke, Royal Berks Regt, died July 26th, 1916,of wounds received in action in France, aged 23.
21. S J Brooks, AB, aged 24, drowned Dec. 9th, 1915, off HMS Destroyer Racehorse.
22. Pte George Smart, 18100, 1st Trench Mortar Battery, 1st Infantry Brigade, killed 27th August, 1916, aged 27.
23. Color-Sergt-Major W Lawrence, 1/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action at Hebuterne, France, February 8th, 1916.
24. Pte H E Breach, 1st Royal Berks Regt, died 5th March, 1916.
25. Pte Robert G Taylor, 2nd Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds received in action in France November 11th, 1916.
26. Alexander Herbert Davis, Pte. Artists’ Rifles, January 21st, 1915.
27. Rfn C W Harvey, 2nd KRR, France, May 15th, 1916.
28. 11418, Rfn S W Jones, Rifle Brigade, France, died of wounds, May 27th, 1916.
29. Alfred Edwin Ellaway, sunk on the Good Hope November 1st, 1914.
30. Guy Leslie Harold Gilbert, 2nd Hampshire Regt, died in France August 10th, 1916, aged 20.
31. Pte John Gordon Hayes, RGA, died of wounds in France, October 4th, 1917.
32. Pte F Breach, 1st Royal Berks, 9573, died 27th July, 1916.
33. L-Corp C A Buck, 12924, B Co, 1st Norfolk Regt, BCF, died from wounds received in action at Etaples Aug. 3rd, 1916.
34. Pte Brice A Vockins, 1/4 Royal Berks, TF, killed in action October 13th, 1916.
35. Edward George Savage, 2nd Air Mechanic, RFC, died Feb. 3rd, 1917, in Thornhill Hospital, Aldershot.
36. Percy Arnold Kemp, Hon. Artillery Co, killed in action October 10th, 1917.
37. Pte G A Leather, New Zealand Forces, killed in action October 4th, 1917, aged 43.
38. Frederick George Harrison, L-Corp., B Co, 7th Bedford Regt, killed in action in France July 1st, 1916; born August 7th, 1896.
39. Sapper Richard Smith, RE, killed in action at Ploegsturt February 17th, 1917.
40. L-Corp. Albert Nailor, 6th Royal Berks, killed in action July 12th, 1917.
41. Frederick Lawrance, aged 20, killed in action November 13th, 1916.
42. Pte R C Vince, 1st Herts Regt, killed in action August 29th, 1916, aged 20.
43. Pte Albert Edward Thomas, King’s Liverpool’s, killed in action November 30th, 1916.
44. Pte A E Crosswell, 2nd Batt. Royal Berks Regt, killed February 12th, 1916.
(To be continued.)

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

Gallant conduct in action

The heroism of two young men was noted by their former school.

February 7th 1917
Percy Selwood and Harold Hayes, old scholars of this school, have been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct in action in France.

Maidenhead Gordon Road Boys School log book (C/EL/107/1, p. 99)

Social Evening for Wargrave’s wounded soldiers

Wounded soldiers recovering in the Wargrave area were invited to a social evening including cards and refreshments.

Social Evening

The Wargrave Tennis Club arranged a most successful Social Evening on February 16th in the Woodclyffe Hall, when over 130 guests were present including most of the wounded soldiers from the V.A.D. Hospital in Wargrave and Sir Charles Henry’s Hospital at Crazies Hill. In the Whist Drive the prize winners were:- Ladies, 1st Miss Pilworth, 2nd Miss Hayes, Mystery, Miss Blackwall, and Consolation, Mrs. H. Barker. Gentlemen:- 1st, Trooper Foster, 2nd, Mr. W. Hunt, Mystery Sergeant Fawcett, Consolation, Mr. W. Hope. The prizes were kindly provided by Mrs. Hinton, Mrs. Pennell (Lawrence Waltham) and Mrs. Ward (Osterley Park). The Committee were able to hand over a sum of three guineas to the V.A.D. Hospital authorities. The catering for refreshments was most capably superintended by Mrs. Hanson.

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

Uniforms allocated according to height

Sydney Spencer was beginning to get accustomed to military drill, when he met an old acquaintance from his YMCA work at the start of the war:

27 January 1915
This morning’s drilling was much more satisfactory. The Sergeant made us so several new motions which go under several terms which I recognise when I hear them but which I cannot yet remember apart. At 10 o’clock we went to the OTC headquarters and there we were measured for our overcoats. Not a careful examination, but according to height. I am 5’5”. After Latin Prose I went to Shepherds with Loughton & we were both measured for our OTC uniforms. We are to be fitted on Saturday. I met two people whom I knew. One was, of all people on earth, Hayes of Merton, with whom I worked at Harwich (YMCA work). He is staying at No. 41, only just a few yards down. He has been doing YMCA work at Havre for some time & has left his studies at Edinburgh for a time. The other person I met was the Rev. Demans of Hedsor.

We won’t be hearing from Sydney for a couple of months, as he was too busy with his new activities to write in his diary.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/14)

‘Up to our waist in mud and water’: talking to the Germans across the trenches

This letter appears to be from one of the soldiers Sydney Spencer had met while helping at a YMCA camp for soldiers early in the war. He gave Sydney a frank depiction of the grim reality of the trenches – but also some sense of fellow feeling with the enemy soldiers:

Pte S Brown
No 7799 B Company: 2nd Essex Regiment
12 Brigade: 4 Division
Expeditionary Force
14.12.14

My dear friend

Just a few lines to let you know I am still in the land of the living & in the best of health. I have wrote to Mr Hayes but have not received an answer up to yet so I expect he is travelling about. I have heard from Mr Warren at the Corp Stores at Packerton but received his letter a month late. It is rather wet out here in the trenches and we are up to our waist in mud & water, & are only 10 yards from the Germans’ trenches so they often shout to us & we shout to them. The other day we through [sic] a tin of meat over & they returned the compliment with a bunch of carrots so I think the Germans are as fed up of the war as we are. I often think the war won’t last much longer but on the other hand, I think that us & the French are relying on Russia too much & we shall have to do something to help them, & I expect that we shall have to lose a lot more men yet, but I hope it will not last much longer. I think this is all at present, hoping to hear from you soon. I enclose wishing you a merry Xmas & a happy new year, & remain

Yours sincerely

S. Brown

Letter from Private S. Brown to Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/78)

‘Unhappily he is American!’ – more on the YMCA at Harwich

Sydney Spencer took the opportunity of his 26th birthday to reflect further on his work with the YMCA with soldiers at Harwich, and record his impressions of some of his co-workers – and one ordinary soldier – for posterity. His brother Will, also mentioned here, was a refugee from Germany, where he had been teaching the piano at Cologne Conservatory.

Sunday October 4th
My birthday!…
Dear old Will has just come in to wish me many happy returns & would make me accept a gift of 5s, which I would much rather he had not given me at such a time!…

There is so much about my experiences at Harwich which I want to write on, but as I have written some pages & must just read them over & see what has been left out. I have just read through the 20 pages of my diary at Harwich & find that there are a fair number of little anecdotes which I wanted to chronicle, also I find that I have not written my impressions of Hayes yet, and I promised him he should not be let off but would go down to posterity – or oblivion – according as my diary should [illegible] in the future! I will begin with him first. He is a man 6 ft 2 ins in height; a finely built man, ruddy brown with grey blue eyes & a small moustache. He strikes one as being a splendid specimen of a full grown & well proportioned Englishman. Unhappily he is American! His people left England somewhere about 1727. His parents are missionaries in China. He studied first at a college in America & afterwards as a Rhodes scholar at Merton College, Oxford. He has just finished his course at Oxford taking “greats”. He is a Leander Club man, & just missed getting his “blue” for the sake of getting “Greats”. In fact in Oxford the name “John Hayes” of Merton was a name of one of the “Bloods” of Oxford. He was a remarkably refined and sensitive man. He was alive to every wind of thought, & his sarcasm was of that refined & polished order which made me almost long to offend him so as to be subjected to some of his sarcasm. I used to just hug myself with delight when I saw him put on a lazy sleepy expression for I knew then that the game was up and someone was in for it. The fun he had in his “study” of the officers was delicious & I can see him now marching up and down our marquee with his fingers on his chin or viciously biting his little fingernail, thinking out in the dim light of our post-9.30 candle, just precisely the right message & its exact wording to boot which he should send over to the mess the next morning in return for a rather enigmatic one received by us during the evening…

After I had played at the service in the Co-operative Hall on the first Sunday night I was there, on coming into the body of the hall I was accosted by one of Kitchener’s men who wanted me to have a cup of tea with him at his expense, as a mark of his appreciation of my work. This of course I willingly did & we drank mutual goodwill to each other in cups of tea. I was delighted with this expression of his goodwill. On the night of our concert, that is the Wednesday night, after the preparations for the concert had been made, I found at 6.45 that the tent was already filling with men, while I was in a desperately begrimed condition & needed to find a place to wash & clean myself up. This operation had to take place on the concert platform & I had the curious experience of making my ablutions before an audience of some thirty or forty men! In the middle of these ablutions Captain Watson walked in & chuckled with delight over my idea for footlights, which by the way if I have not before mentioned it were 8 or ten candles placed in saucers on a form.

Dr Marks whom I mentioned in connection with Gravel Hill was a dear old man. A child psychologist – I think a professor of Sheffield University, he had a very beautiful character, & spent himself in his eagerness to do all he could in this YMCA work.

Diary of Sydney Spencer, 1914 (D/EX801/12)

Heavy breathing and foul language – but a great success

Sydney Spencer faces his last day at the YMCA camp, and looks back over his experiences.

Thursday Sept 24th
[Opposite a page setting out the Morse code]
The following is the Morse Code written in this book for me by one of the privates here. He lent over our impromptu letter box & wrote it earnestly with much heavy breathings. I want to learn this code if at all possible…

Tomorrow I leave the camp. Am I sorry? Yes, I must own that I have quite a number of regrets in leaving Harwich. The last two or three days have been such a pleasure & I have so warmed to the work that I shall distinctly leave behind many pleasant memories, & but very few unhappy ones. With the exception of one man’s foul language to myself, for which I just straightly attacked him, I have had not one unpleasant passage of arms with the men. Our concert last evening was really a huge success. The place after a most strenuous two hours preparing looked – use a university modernism – “top hole”. I had a very busy time of it preparing, & when it was done – the platform made, the counter covered up, and candles placed in saucers on a form for footlights, then I really felt that we were well rewarded for our labours. The items on the programme were all or nearly all quite successful, & Private Macgregor who sang Father O’Flinn and Long Live The King, & other songs, really was the best item of the evening for his healthy figure & his splendid voice, & his splendid taste in singing made him for me the best of the bunch. He took a real joy in his singing & made the whole air tingle with the splendid swing of his singing. Today has been a rather hard day for me, as Hayes has been out most of the day to get a rest from yesterday’s concert. Tonight he has gone out with the “light” signallers, with Lieutenant Chadington who was last night at our concert, & also sang. He sang very well indeed – rag times – and delighted the men. Daldry was very cut up because we had the counter closed up. I should think that the concert would have been lowered 80 or 90 per cent at least.

Sydney Spencer’s diary, 1914 (D/EX801/12)