“We shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace”

St John’s was just one of the Reading churches united in prayer for the war to end.

Letter from the vicar

I write this on the eve of starting for a short holiday in Devonshire. I am to return in time for Sunday, August 4th, when we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the entry of this country into the world war which is still raging. Following the lead given by our King and the civic authorities in the chief city of our Empire and in many others, we shall observe the day as a solemn day of prayer. In the churches of our own parish the services throughout the day will be of a specially devotional character. We shall remember before God the heroic dead, with gratitude for the inspiration of their lives and with prayer that we may not falter in devotion to the ideal for which their lives were laid down. We shall pray for the heroic living, still battling on land and sea, in the air, and under the sea, for the cause which we believe God has summoned us to uphold. We shall pray for ourselves that we may be saved from selfishness and sin, uplifted to self-sacrifice and steeled to endurance; and we shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace, and may incline all men’s hearts everywhere to do his will.

It is estimated that on the battlefields of Europe ten millions of men have already laid down their lives. Under the shadow of this great tragedy let us draw near to our God, who alone can bring us out of the darkness, and whose law of righteousness provides the only basis upon which any permanent peace can be established.

In the afternoon all the religious bodies at our end of town are uniting in a solemn service of intercession, to be held at 3.30 pm on St John’s Lawn. I hope that the afternoon will be fine and that the greatest crowd ever seen there will assemble on the Lawn….

Your sincere friend and vicar
W Britton

UNITED SERVICE OF INETRCESSION

It is hoped that all Christian people in the east end of the town will uinite in a service of intercession on St John’s Lawn at 3.30 o’clock on Sunday, August 4th. The following congregations have been invited to take part, and up to the time of writing this, most of them, through their ministers,have accepted:

Earley, St Bartholomew’s, St Luke’s, St John’s, St Stephen’s, Wycliffe, Trinity, Wesleyan, St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Anderson Memorial, Cumberland Road, Park, King’s Road. His Worship the Mayor has kindly signified his intention to be present.

Should the weather be wet, the service will be held in St John’s Hall.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

The following gifts have been received during the month:

Miss Rebbeck 5/- and material for 64 face cloths, Miss Hewett 3/6, Mrs Bowyer 5/-, Mrs Dauncey 1/-, Mrs May 2/6, Miss Bradley 2/6, Mrs Morley 10/-. In addition the members of the working party subscribe one penny per week each.

The following things have been made, 3 white shirts, 5 pairs pants, 3 cushion covers, 20 sterilizing bags, 7 treasure bags. Total 3259.

The balance sheet shows an expenditure on materials for over 3000 pieces of work, of £37 11s 4d, and subscriptions amounting to £38 4s 2d, so that the funds in hand are in a very low state just now, and the treasurer appeals for donations, however small, so that a stock of woollen stuffs for the autumn work may be obtained as soon as possible. The workers meet in the Princes Street Mission Room on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30 pm, and anyone who would like to visit them at that time will be welcome.

Donations should be sent to Miss Rundell, 7 Alexandra Road.

September 1918

Letter from vicar

We must all, I think, feel stronger for the solemn and helpful services of August 4th, as we are cheered by the good news which came to us from the Western Front the same week. There is, may we not believe, more than a coincidence in this sequence of events. God does answer prayer. If our people would but turn to Him and wait upon Him in the spirit of our Day of Remembrance continually, He will hear and answer the pleadings of a penitent people who call on Him day and night. Not the least impressive of our services was the great gathering for united intercession on St John’s Lawn, when we had the satisfaction of uniting with so many of our brother Christians of all denominations in earnest prayer to God for His blessing and help….

Reading St. John parish magazines, August and September 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

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Care and comforts

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

Gifts received during the month: Miss Hewett, 3/-; Mrs Robotham, 3/-; Mr Pretty, £1 10s 5d (being 1d per day for 1918); Miss Saler, 2/6; Miss Turquand, socks and muffler.

Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

Determined not to give in until an end has been made of the menace of tyranny and despotism

The vicar of Earley continued to be exercised by the unpatriotic refusing to restrain their consumption of limited food and drink supplies.

The Vicar’s Letter

We can hardly realise that we have almost reached the end of another year; it seems but a few weeks to our last Advent, our last Christmas, yet how much has happened since. How the war drags on from week to week, month to month, and how, in spite of it all, it finds us as determined as ever not to give in until an end has been made of the menace of tyranny and despotism. There is no fear as to the final result, but we shall have need of all our self-control and self-denial during the next few months. And yet how many are absolutely refusing to exercise that self-control in matters of food and drink.

A short while ago a foreman of some railway works in the west of England told us that he had spoken to his men about the probability of the cost of beer being raised to a shilling a pint, and asked them what they meant to do. “We shall have it”, was the reply. Here lies the real danger for our country, far more than in the direct attacks of our enemies…

If we think as we ought of what the season means for us, we can at any rate spend a Happy Christmas, even if a Merry Christmas is out of the question.

Your friend and Vicar
W W Fowler.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have [sic] been added to our prayer list: Harold Davies.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED: Harold Giles, Rupert Wigmore, Harry Hewett, Eric Fowler, Ernest Thompson, George Fulford, Harry Ayres.

KILLED: Arthur Buskin, Frank Buskin, Charles Smith.

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

Four Earley men killed in action

More news of Earley men:

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following names have been added to our prayer list:

Frederick Parsons, Victor Phelps, Gordon Turner, Ernest Phillips, Fred Elliott, George Polden, Cecil Ludlow, Oscar Mount.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

KILLED IN ACTION: Leonard Leaver, Walter Reeve, Charles Bolton, William Mears.

SICK: Walter Hayward, William Durman, William Hewett, George Polden.

WOUNDED: Tom Durman, Horace Stamp, William Childs, George Slaughter, Albert Hiscock, Alfred Still, Charles Seely.

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

We do not forget

The Bishop congratulated the Revd T Guy Rogers, the Reading vicar turned army chaplain, on being awarded a medal for bravery.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the November Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are asked especially
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies and especially for Roumania [sic].
For the National Mission…

Your thanksgivings are asked…
For the liberation of the Missionaries in German East Africa.

THE DIFFICULTY ABOUT EVENING SERVICES

I most heartily trust that neither in town parishes nor in country parishes will the evening service on Sundays be abandoned without a very strong effort to carry it on under conditions of lighting which the police can sanction…

THE DEFINITION OF RESIDENCE FOR PURPOSES OF BANNS

I wish to call attention again to the ruling under which I act, given by my Chancellor… to the effect that a person’s normal home where he or she is known may be reckoned as place of residence, though the person in question is at the moment absent whether on military service or for some other purpose.

We are all delighted to know that Mr Guy Rogers has been given the Military Cross. We do not forget him.

COMFORTS FOR THE TROOPS

I have received a letter from the Director General of Voluntary Organisations expressing great anxiety as to the sufficient supply of comforts for the troops, such as mittens, mufflers, helmets and socks, especially the three first. I am asked to ‘secure the co-operation of the clergy’ in my dioceses to make the anxiety known. The following are depots of the V.O.A. in this diocese…

Berkshire: W. C. Blandy, esq, 1 Friar Street, Reading…
Reading: D. Haslam, jun., esq, 16 Duke Street, Reading…

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

William Monger, George Slaughter, William Hewett, Harold Hales, Cecil Hales, William Brown, Albert Bishop, George O’Dell, Frederick Eady, Herbert Ballard, Alfred Clibbon, George Breakspear, Albert Gray, Harry Rixon, Walter Rosser, Rupert Wigmore, William Butler, Walter Drown, Percy Prater.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Killed: Percy Wyer, Walter May, Ernest Bishop.
Sick: Edward Iles, Charles Webb, William Wright.
Wounded: William Holmes, Frank, Fowler, Harry Merry, Arthur Morrice, Leonard Strong.
Wounded and Missing: Frank Snellgrove.
Missing: Edward Taylor.

CONCERT IN ST PETER’S HALL

On Wednesday, November 29th, there will be a concert in St Peter’s Hall to help provide funds for giving a Christmas Dinner and Entertainment to a party of Wounded Soldiers. Mr E. Love and party are working up an excellent programme, and we hope our readers will help to make the concert a great success by supporting it as much as they can.

Earley parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/11)

Fathers at the front, children in trouble

On 15 April 1916 The Chief Constable of Berkshire delivered his annual report to the County’s Standing Joint Committee which oversaw police matters. There had been a reduction in serious crime, but an increase in minor and juvenile offences, which he ascribed to the numbers of absent fathers.

General remarks as regards crime during the year 1915

During the past year the number of Indictable and Non-Indictable Offences again shows a very satisfactory decrease compared with previous years. There is little doubt that the war largely accounts for this.

I would, however, point out the fact that there has been a very large increase in the total number of offences, both Indictable and Non-Indictable, committed by Juveniles. In 1914, the number of Juvenile offences (Indictable) was 39, whereas in 1915 it has risen to 82, and in the case on Non-Indictable Offences it has risen from 38 in 1914 to 82 in 1915.

These Juvenile Offences largely account for the increase in Stealing and Malicious Damage… and no doubt the want of control over children due to the absence of their fathers on Military Service and the consequent extra burden of work thrown upon the mothers, may be looked upon as a primary cause of this youthful indiscipline. The increase in the number of offences under the Education Act may also in a sense be attributable to the same case, owing to children being kept at home to help their mothers….

As regards Tramps, I do not think any comparison can be made between this year and other years, as the whole question of vagrancy has so altered owing to the exigencies of the war. Several Casual Wards have been closed altogether, and no doubt many of the men who would otherwise be classed as Tramps are now serving their country in some capacity or other or have found employment elsewhere.

Death of PC 144, F. B. Hewett
I regret to report the death on 30th December 1914 of PC 144, Francis B. Hewett, who lost his life when HMS Natal exploded and sank. He rejoined the Navy as a ship’s steward on 1st June, 1915, under the provisions of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915. He was 21 years of age, was unmarried, and had served 2 years and 2 months in this force at the date of his death.

Chief Constable’s Report to the Standing Joint Committee (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Policemen joining up

The Chief Constable of Berkshire was anxious to restrict the flow of his men flocking to the Armed Forces, to the younger unmarried men. He wanted to keep the police service going.

5 July 1915
Police (Emergency Provisions) Act of 1915
The following Constables left to join the Army or Navy under the provisions of this Act on the dates mentioned:-

Dependants
PC 143 C. Lindsay 31st Jan Single Nil
PC 200 T. Spratt 22nd Feb Single Nil
PC 24 G. P. Gould 30th April Single Nil
PC 27 J. Bedingfield 31st May Single Father and mother
PC 144 F. B. Hewett 31st May Single Nil
PC 188 Fredk Batten 18th June Single Nil
PC 153 F. Pill 18th June Single Nil
PC 80 E. Pill 19th June Single Nil
PC 219 A. F. W. Davis 19th June Single Nil
PC 11 T. J. Moss 19th June Single Nil
PC 199 J. Green 19th June Single Nil
PC 47 T. J. Dean 30th June Single Nil
PC 40 V. Burt 30th June Single Nil
PC 176 H. Higgs 30th June Single Nil
PC 126 A. P. Durmon 30th June Single Nil
PC 113 H. Robey 30th June Single Mother

In addition to the above, PC 186 Jordan joined the Army (and Life Guards) for a period of 12 years, but is applying to purchase his discharge from the Army at the end of the war when he would be allowed to rejoin the Force and his case taken into consideration; and PC 66 Legg who joined the Berkshire Yeomanry does not wish to rejoin the Force at the termination of the war.

I would ask that the authority granted by you … last year for the grants to the wives and children of married Constables, and to the dependants of single Constables, be extended to PC 27, J. Bedingfield, and to PC 113, H. Robey…

I have had very carefully to consider the Act together with the need for retaining the Police Force in an efficient condition, especially at a time when so many extra duties Police Forces are called upon to perform [sic].

I have, therefore, considered that it is necessary to limit applications to join the Navy or Army at present to those Constables who are single, under 30 years of age, and have less than 10 years service, until I see how many wish to enlist in the Navy or Army. It may be possible to spare other Constables, but I must see that the Force is kept up to an efficient working state.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Soldiers and sailors from Earley

The roll of honour of Earley parish was quite an impressive one even this early in the war.

The following are the names of the sailors and soldiers on the roll of this parish. A note of interrogation signifies that the name of the regiment or ship has not been furnished us.

On Active Service

Albert Ernest Allnutt HMS Iron Duke
Arthur Sidney Allnutt
James Allen Royal Berks. Regiment
Ernest Brown Ryl Oxfordshire Regt.
Edward Brown HMS Weymouth
George Bond Royal Berks. Regiment
Cecil Caulfield Royal Scottish Rifles
Herbert Collier Ryl Oxfordshire Regt.
Alfred Eyres Royal Berks. Regiment
Edward Fisher Grenadier Guards
Thomas Fullbrook HMS Blake
Stephen Gibbons ?
Alfred Gibbings Royal Navy
Sydney George Gough HMS Glasgow
Charles Samuel Gough HMS Larne
William Golding Royal Field Artillery
William Grace Life Guards
Edgar Robert Gunningham HMS Amphitrite
Ernest Holton (Surgeon) HMS Goliath
James Hussey Royal Berks. Regiment
Percy Walter Hewett HMS Fearless
Ernest Albert King Rifle Brigade
William James Kinchin Royal Berks. Regiment
Leonard Love Royal Horse Artillery
William Walter Love HMS Venerable
Thomas Pilkington Norris Royal Engineers
Edward Parvin HMS Tiger
William Henry Pomeroy HMS Magnificent
William Poffley Grenadier Guards
Ralph Pusey Grenadier Guards
Albert Povey Royal Berks. Regiment
Edward Price Royal Berks. Regiment
George William Rixon HMS Euryalus
Francis Harry Stevens HMS Euryalus
William Davis Stevens Ryl. Warwickshire Regt.
Lieut. Robert Sturgess HMS Exmouth
Lieut. Austin Charlewood Turner Connaught Rangers (P.O.W)
Joseph Tull Rifle Brigade
Harry Wise Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders (wounded)
Charles Henry White Royal Berks. Regiment
Frederick Charles Edwards HMS Bramble on service in
China
(more…)