“Help the country and benefit yourself”

St John’s Church in Reading was a latecomer to promoting war savings, but explained its scheme very clearly.

S. JOHN’S WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION

Though somewhat late in the field, an Association for War Savings has now been started. Early in the month of March a meeting of the parishioners was held with the object of forming the Association for the parish and congregations of the two churches. A committee was formed as follows: the Rev. W Britton, chairman; Mr Haslam, vice-chairman; Miss Winter, treasurer; Mr Penson, secretary, with Miss Ridley and Miss Rundell as assistant secretaries; the other members of the committee being Mr F Winter, rev. R W Morley, Mr Badcock, Mr Hopcraft, Mrs Harrison Jones, Miss Wilkinson, Mrs Herbert Kingham, and Miss Ayres.

Subscriptions will be received at the Princes Street Mission Room, on Monday in each week from 12 noon to 12.45 pm; and also once a month after the District Vistors’ Meeting at 3.15 pm. Subscriptions will also be received at the Albert Road Mission Room, on Tuesday in each week, from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm. The first day of attendance to receive subscriptions will be Monday April 2nd…

By this scheme, subscribers purchase from the collector a 6d coupon, which is stuck onto a card with 31 spaces for 31 coupons. When all the spaces are filled with coupons value … in total 15s 6d, a certificate for £1 will then be given in exchange for the card. This certificate can be cashed for 15s 6d at any time within twelve months from the date of issue, and for 15ts 9d at the end of one year, at the end of 2 years for 16 s 9d, at the end of 3 years for 17s 9d, at the end of 4 years for 18s 9d, and 5 years for £1.

The advantage of joining this Association is that, if there are say 31 members and they each purchase a 6d coupon, a certificate for 15s 6d is immediately purchased by the secretary. The first member to complete his or her card by having purchased 31 coupons, will receive this certificate, which will be dated some weeks back, viz at the time of purchase by the secretary. By the time it comes into the hands of the member a small sum by way of interest will have accrued…

Note the following points: Saving helps the Country which needs labour and materials for winning the War, and money with which to pay for them.

By saving, later on you will have £1 to spend instead of 15s. 6d. In this way you help the country and benefit yourself. Begin at once and get all the benefit you can.

Reading St. John parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

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“Wounded no less than three times”

Men connected with All Saints’ Church and its choir were serving their country.

All Saints’ District
Choir

We feel sure that members of the congregation will like to see the following list of members of the Choir who are serving with His Majesty’s forces.

Lieut. C. Atkinson – R.N.A.S.
Sergt. J. C. Hinton – Royal BERKS
Sergt. W. H. Clemetson
Sergt. H.E. Hopcraft – A.S.C.
Sergt. W.Smith – Devons.
Pte. F.R. Johnson – Royal Berks.
Pte. H.N. Gaze – R.F.C.

We are glad to welcome to the Choir Lance-Corporal A. Beedson, of the Royal Warwicks, and Pte. S. Baron, of the Devon Regiment, who have kindly volunteered to give us their help during their stay in Reading.

In addition to the above it will be remembered that our Verger, Pte. J. Mundy, is serving with the Royal Veterinary Corps in France, and that our Organ-blower, Pte. A .H. Maskell, who served in the Royal Berks Regiment and has now been transferred to the Essex Regiment, has been wounded no less than three times. We congratulate him and Sergeants Hinton and Clemetson on their recovery from wounds.

Our Congratulations to Company Sergt-Major S. C. Nowlan, Yorks and Lancs Regiment, of 46 Somerstown, who has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

‘A lot he could tell, only he wasn’t allowed to’

A serving sailor visited his old primary school in Reading while on leave. He took naval secrecy seriously, as this report in the parish magazine reveals:

It is delightful to see the way in which old scholars now serving in the Army and Navy find their way back to their Headmasters of their old day schools when they are on leave. Herbert Pendlebury of H.M.S. ‘Irresistible’ paid a welcome visit to S. Stephen’s School the other day to greet Mr. Hopcraft. He told us ‘there was a lot he could tell us only he wasn’t allowed to.’ It appears he was stationed at Sheerness at the time the ‘Bulwark’ blew up.

Another local man, who had joined the army before the war started, also made contact:

One of Mr Heaton’s lads, William Sawyer – (Mr. Heaton was the first Manager of the University College Lads’ Club in the parish) – writes thus to the Vicar from the front. The Vicar spent a night with the Club in camp years ago:-

‘I was attending a Field Service on Sunday last when I thought perhaps you would be pleased to hear from a Reading lad, as before I enlisted I lived in your parish. I have been in the service for nearly three years…

My mother informs me that us soldiers are always included in your prayers, which I think is very kind and thoughtful of you. This war is a very terrible thing, Sir, but I am sure, Sir, that the right will prevail in the end.’

Reading St John parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P172/28A/24)

A Bible for a church’s ‘old boys’ at the Front

St John’s Church in Reading was anxious to provide spiritual sustenance for the young men it had sent off to war:

The War

We publish a further list of boys or ‘old boys’ connected with our congregations who are now in training or actually engaged in active service on behalf of the Empire. We are always glad to hear news of our boys and they are constantly remembered by us in prayer. George Townsend, Cyril Keatly, Alfred Richard Allum, Horace Arthur Church, Albert Stevens, William Ernest Charles Egan, Arthur John Robert Egan, Albert Fanstone, Ralph Shepherd, Sidney J Luker, Viney Flint, Percy Froude, William Grantham, Arthur Walters, J J Cooper, A Beckett, Walter Crane, Basil Sutton, Edmund Terry, John Edwin Hopcraft, Durward Sydney Hopcraft, James Lyons, William Lyons, – Allaway, A Blake, T J Blake, O L Stagg, W Phipps, A Phipps, Lionel Dymore-Brown, Hugh Dymore-Brown, Arthur Robotham, Arthur Richard Penson, E W Hunt, Victor Fowler, J H Cane.

The Clergy will be very glad to write to any of our lads and to enclose an attractive little copy of S. John’s gospel, which contains also hymns with their tunes and pictures, and Lord Roberts’ letter to the troops, if they are asked to do so. Will parents and friends please communicate with whichever of the clergy knew the young man, giving the full address on paper. In cases where the young man is unknown to the present staff the Vicar will be glad to write.”

Reading St John parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P172/28A/23, p. 4)