Reading School’s contribution to the war

A complete listing of Reading School’s alumni who had served in the war.

OLD BOYS SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES.

This list has been compiled from information received up to December 14th, 1918; corrections and additions will be welcomed and should be addressed to: – R. Newport, Esq., Reading School, Reading.

Allnatt, Rifleman N.R. — London Rifle Brigade.
(killed in Action).
Ambrose, 2nd Lieut. L.C. — S.L.I.
Anderson, Pte. L.G. — Can. Exp. Force
Appelbee, 2nd Lieut. T. — 13TH West Yorks.
(Killed in Action).
Atkinson, Lieut. E.G. — Indian Army
Atkinson, Capt. G.P. — 6TH Royal North Lancs.
Atkinson, 2nd Lieut. J.C. — R.A.F.
Aust, 2nd Lieut. H.E. — Yorkshire Regt.
(Twice Wounded).
(Killed in Action).
Aveline, Lieut. A.P. — Royal Berks Regt,
(Wounded).
(Military Cross).
Baker, 2nd Lieut. A.C.S. — R.G.A.
Baker, Rifleman A.E. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Rifleman R.S. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Lieut. T.H. — 8TH Royal Berks Regt.
(Wounded)
Balding, Capt. C.D. — Indian Army.
Banks, Pte. W.R. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Bardsley, Capt. R.C — Manchester Regt.
(Wounded).
Barnard, F.P. —
Barroby, Trooper. F. — Strathcona Horse.
Barry, Capt. L.E. — R.A.F.
Baseden, Lieut. E. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Baseden, 2nd Lieut. M.W. — R.A.F.
Batchelor, Lieut. A.S. — Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.
Bateman, Capt. W.V. — Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Bayley, 2nd Lieut. F. — Chinese Labour Battalion.
Beckingsale, Pte. R.S. — Canadian Contingent.
Beckingsale, Capt. R.T. — Tank Corps (Military Cross).
(Wounded).

Belsten, E.K. — R.A.F.
Biddulph, 2nd Lieut. R.H.H. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Died of Wounds).
Bidmead, Pte. — Wilts regt.
Black, Pte. F. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Blazey, A.E.H. — R.A.F.
Blazey, 2nd Lieut. J.W. — Royal Berks Regt
(killed in Action).
Bleck, Lieut. W.E. — R.F.A.
Bliss, 2nd Lieut. A.J. — Leinster Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Bliss, Pte. W. — 2ND Batt.Hon.Art.Coy. (more…)

A very gallant officer and gentleman, recklessly brave and a fine example of cool courage

The Old Boys of Reading School were distinguishing themselves at the Front.

O.R. NEWS.

Killed in Action.

2nd Lieut. Norman A. Howell, King’s Shropshire Light infantry. On December 23rd.

He is the second son of Mr. W. Roland Howell, architect, of this town. Born at Reading in April 1897, he was educated at Reading School and St. Laurence College, Ramsgate, and had been about a year in his father’s office before joining the Army in November, 1915. His cadet training at school and college enabled him to get his commission. He was posted to the King’s Shropshire’s, was ordered to the front at the end of June last, and has been in the thick of the Somme fighting for six months. Lieut. Norman Howell came home on his first leave on December 6th and returned on the 16th. Within a week he had made the great sacrifice.

His Commanding Officer wrote to Mr. Howell on December 24th:

“I deeply regret to report the death of your son, who was serving in my Battalion. Whilst going up to the front line trenches in charge of a party last night an enemy sniper shot him through the head, killing him instantly. This morning his body was buried by the Chaplain near where he fell, with military honours, officers and men attending.

“I had trench mortars and rifle grenades on the sniper’s post, patrols had reported 8 to 10 Huns there, none there now! On behalf of his comrades, officers, N.C.O.’s and men, I wish to convey to you our profound sympathy . He was loved and respected by all of us, and we mourn the loss of a very gallant officer and gentleman. To all of us he was known as recklessly brave and a fine example of cool courage, devoted to his duties, which he discharged most cheerfully under the most trying conditions.”

“I placed him in charge of the Lewis Gun detachment, on which he had set his heart and soul. He belonged to my own Headquarters’ mess, and I took particular interest in him. A cross has been put up on the grave near Les Boeufs.”

It will be remembered that in October, 1915, Mr. Howell’s elder son, 2nd Lieut. Roland Basil Howell, was reported “wounded and missing.” Nothing has since been heard of him, and any hopes of his being alive hangs on the very slenderest thread. On the 16th of last month the War Office wrote saying that they were now forced to believe he was killed.

Lieut. Basil Howell was born in October, 1895, and received his commission in the 4th North Staffordshire’s three months after the war started. He was attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers (the Fighting Fifth), and went to the front in May, 1915.

Reports received from the front show that on the night of October 1st-2nd, 1915, the battalion to which Lieut. Howell was attached were in severe action. After all the officers of the company had been killed he gallantly led a bombing party to attack a German trench, but was never seen again.

Every possible enquiry was made through the War Office, the American Embassy, the Red Cross, and the wounded men who returned to England. Many references were made by the latter to the respect and love they had for the brave young officer. Like his brother he was educated at Reading School and St Laurence College, and had started his training to follow in his father’s profession. For many years he was an enthusiastic scout, and took a big share in starting the South Reading Troop.

Lieut. Cedric Charles Okey Taylor, East Kent Regiment, attached to Trench Mortar Battery, only son of Mrs. Taylor, 39, Weltje Road, Ravenscroft Park, W., and of the late Mr. Charles Warmsley Taylor, of Reading. Further details are now to hand of Lieut. Taylor’s death.

He died for King and country on December 3rd, 1916, in his 22nd year. Young in years but old in endurance, he was in constant action for 15 months at Ypres in 1915 and on the Somme in 1916. He is laid to rest in the cemetery, at Faubourg d’Amiens, Arras.

2nd Lieut. W. Marsden Cooper, Worcestershires, only son of Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper, 107, London Street, Reading, aged 19.

Cooper was only 19 years of age and went out to the front in the Worcestershire’s about the middle of December, shortly after completing his course at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was educated at Reading School, where he gained a Council scholarship in 1909. His School career was unusually distinguished. In 1914 he gained a School Certificate followed the next year by a higher certificate.

In response to his country’s call, he decided to take a commission, and in the entrance examination for the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, held in February, 1916, he came out second on the list, gaining a Prize Cadetship. At Sandhurst his success was no less pronounced than at school, and he gained the position of Sergeant in his cadet unit, the highest position a cadet can obtain, before he left College. Not only did he have considerable intellectual gifts, as his record shows but he was a fine athlete as well. He was an excellent all round cricketer and his natural powers as a bowler would have enabled him to make his mark in really good company. As a Rugby Football player he showed great promise, and before he left school he had the distinction of being captain of football, captain of cricket and captain of the school. Yet he was never elated by success, and perhaps it was more than anything else his modesty which made him so popular with the boys and the masters alike. Those who have watched his career, for the last two years, and marked the way in which his development always seemed to keep pace with his new responsibilities feel a special grief that a young life so full of promise should have been brought thus prematurely to a close.
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The exigencies of war are taking constant toll on the Scouts

Three leaders of a Scout troop in Reading were called up.

The exigencies of war are taking constant toll of our workers. During recent days the Scouts have been most seriously affected. First came the news that the two assistant Scoutmasters (Messrs Leslie Pocock and Brian Moore) would have to go; and now we hear that the Scoutmaster (Mr Arthur Pocock) must go too.

Mr Pocock has been admitted to the Inns of Court OTC; Mr Brian Moore has become a Motor Driver in the RFC; Mr Francis is likely to obtain an appointment in connection with the RNAS. Whist we are terribly sorry to lose these friends, we feel deeply grateful to them for their splendid service in connection with the Scouts, and our best wishes go with them as they respond to the call of King and Country. We shall hope to have them back at the end of the war.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

That dread word “missing”

Broad Street Church in Reading continued to care about its men who had gone to war.

November 1915

We desire also to express our sympathy with the relatives and friends of our brother, Trooper G P Lewis, of the Royal Berks Yeomanry. Mr Lewis has been a member of our church for some years. He was one of the first to respond to the call of his country in August 1914. He has been reported “missing” in the Dardanelles, for some weeks. We can imagine what that dread word “missing” means to his loved ones, and we tender them our affectionate sympathy.

News reached Reading a few days ago that Private Reginald S Woolley, son of our friends Mr and Mrs W A Woolley, 85 Oxford Road, had been seriously wounded “somewhere in France”. It is a pleasure to be able to report that our young friend is now making good progress towards recovery, and hopes before long to be home on sick leave. We congratulate his parents upon this relief from their anxiety, and we hope that their natural desire to have their son home may soon be realised.

The call for recruits for the army and navy is sadly depleting our ranks in the Sunday School, and there is the possibility of further loss in the near future…

Talking of recruits reminds me that eight more names have been added to the church section of our Roll of Honour.
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Very fortunate to be able to go to the front

The vicar of Reading St Giles said he envied his fellow Reading clergyman T Guy Rogers, who had signed up as an Army chaplain. Incidentally, you may recognise one of the names on the wounded list – the heroic Fred Potts.

Notes from the Vicar

The following names should be added to those on our Intercession list:

Henry Charles Pyke, A.P.C.; F. Mathews, 5th Worcestershire Regt; France Scott Stokes, “H.M.S. Alastia”; Francis Lancelot Temple Friend, Canadian Contingent; Waller William Horlock, “H.M.S. Chatham”; J.C. Englefield, 21st R. Fusiliers; J. Gooding, 14th Glousters; S.J. Curtis, Inns of Court O.T.C.; F. Turner 6th North Staffords; Private Dwyer, 10th Warwicks

Wounded G. Brown, Sherwood Foresters; Trooper F. Potts and Trooper R. West

Missing – R. Ayers, Berks Yeomanry

TO THE LIST OF THE FALLEN
Percy Hamilton, Rifle Brigade; Norman Eady and Charles Butler, Berks Yeomanry ; Alan McKinley, Australian Field Artillery ; Horace Percival Cadman, R.W. Fusiliers. The Yeomanry and our 1/4th Batt. Royal Berkshire Reg. and the 7th and 8th Batt. are very much in are thoughts and prayers.

I am sure we shall not fail to remember in our prayers the Rev.T. Rogers who is resigning the living of S. John’s and going out within the next 2 weeks as Chaplain to the troops in France. He has realized the call and made the sacrifice. S. John’s will greatly miss him and so will the town of Reading where he has done great and useful work. Personally I will miss him, we have worked together in many ways (e.g. the Convention) and although we differed strongly on some point, yet we remained great friends, and I shall not easily forget very and happy (and very solemn) hours spent together.
He is very fortunate to be able to go to the front. God bless him in his work.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

Wargrave’s roll of honour

Wargrave was one of many parishes to publish a list of men serving in the parish magazine. This allowed parishioners at home to pray for them all by name.

‘The Roll of Honor for the Parish of Wargrave

The Royal Navy
Bywater, Darol. Lieut. R.N.D
Grey, Thomas Robinson. Sub-Lieut., R.N.A.A.V.C.
Blackburn, Ernest. H.M.S. Glory
Bucker, J. H.M.S. Laurel
Carr, Joseph, Fireman. Transport
Clarke, William. H.M.S. Laconia
Coleman, Charles William. H.M.S. Glasgow
Doughty, Albert. H.M.S. Irresistible
Doughty, Arthur. H.M.S. Tartar
Doughty, Herbert. H.M.S. Queen Mary
Doughty, Horace. H.M.S. Donegal
Doughty, John. H.M.S. Hindustan
George, Walter. H.M.S. Agamemnon
Haskett, Bernard. H.M.S. Jason
Haycock, Charles William. H.M.S. Ajax
Hollis, Alfred John. H.M.S. Implacable
Jemmett, Leonard Oakley. H.M.S. Galatea
Mayne, Frederick. H.M.S. Britannia
Parritt, Edward. H.M.S. Defiance
Pauline, Leonard. H.M.S. Hebe
Payne, William. H.M.S. Britannia
Pugh, Charles. H.M.S. Hibernia
Sandleford, James. H.M.S. Mars
Waldron, Jesse. H.M.S. George V.
Waldron, William. H.M.S. Dido

George, William. Royal Marines, H.M.S. Agamemnon
Pugh, Herbert. Royal Marines, H.M.S. Prince George
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A serious and urgent matter

The rush to join up had left many voluntary organisations short of staff, and churches were no exception, as Newbury discovered. Even women were in shorter supply than usual. But that did not stop the rector from encouraging still more to join up.

We need several more Sunday School Teachers for the Boys’ School and for the Infants School, and the Rector will be glad to receive the names of volunteers. We also need some more men in the Choir. Of course we know that a number of men have left to join the forces, and that a number of women are busily engaged during the week in work for their country and the soldiers: yet this is not the time to let things get slack at the Church and it ought to be a point of honour with the parishioners to keep everything connected with their Parish Church at a high pitch of excellence.

May we once more remind our readers and the parishioners generally of the duty of regularly attending the Parish Church during the War, and of taking part in the frequent intercessions which are used there. The special prayers at Evensong on Sunday are now said at the Altar after the Sermon – they are also used at all the daily services – and are there not a number of those who have relatives at the Front, and who therefore need much encouragement in their anxiety, who might try to come to either the Wednesday or Friday night choral evensong at 7.30pm, when they would be cheered by the bright service?

The Editor will be glad to receive any news from the Front, which relations of men may care to send to him for insertion in the Parish Magazine. There are now a large number of our young men in the forces, and we have a long list of names on the Intercession Board at the Church. It is a great pleasure to see our old boys at home on leave looking so fit and well, and it is clear that the training and discipline which they receive is a splendid thing for them. All honour be to them for their courage and self-sacrifice. We should like to congratulate Lieut. Mayers on his promotion to be Captain, and the two Messrs. Belcher, Mr. Masters and Mr. Swinley, on obtaining their commission.

We had a large invasion of soldiers one week in May, and the resources of Newbury in the matter of billeting was severely taxed. There were over 20 men in S. Hilda’s mission room, and 95 in the Parish Room, and we all, who were privileged to entertain them in our houses, found them most quiet and well-behaved guests. The men in the Parish Room were well cared for by Mr. & Mrs. Stillman, and were very grateful for the attention which they received; they were all given, while there, an extra pair of socks, and thanks are due to all those who kindly provided powder for the men’s feet. They badly needed these things after their long marches in the wet. Before leaving the men contributed, as a thank-offering, to the Parish Nursing Work Box. May God watch over them all and bless them.

The Inns Of Court Officers Training Corps
The Rector has been appointed as one of the local representatives of the above, and is prepared to give forms containing the necessary information to suitable applicants. This Form states that “It is to be understood that all men joining this Corps are willing to take Commissions in the Special Reserve, the New Army, or the Territorial Force, as soon as they are sufficiently trained. No one is accepted without a personal interview with the Commanding Officer, and every candidate must be passed by the Medical Officer of the Corps.” The great and lamentable loss in officers that has taken place must make it clear that the provision of officers is a very serious and urgent matter for the prosecution of the war.

Newbury parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

The Church Lads join the Cadets

The new Wargrave branch of the quasi-military Church Lads’ Brigade were settling into their existence.

On May 2nd and Whitsunday the Church Lads Brigade attended Morning Service at our Church. We are glad to publish the following report.

St Peter’s Church Lad’s Company
No. 3184

The Lads are making steady progress in their drill and other work. The Sunday Class and Church Parades have been well attended. They have now received their full equipment and look quite smart.
On Monday evening, April 5th, the Company were invited to join the Cadets, in camp at Bartletts, by Capt. Marrow (Commanding Officer).

On reaching the ground the Company were inspected by Capt. Marrow, who complimented them on their smart appearance, and in course of a short address appealed to them to aim at becoming efficient by prompt attention to all the duties they were called upon to perform.

After being dismissed the Lads joined the Cadets and a pleasant evening was spent in games, songs, etc. At the close Capt. Marrow thanked all present for their share in welcoming the Cadets at Littlewick. He said they had been shewn every kindness by everyone and they had done their utmost to make their stay pleasant. Especially he wished to thank Mr. Bates for their ideal camping ground.

We have to thank several Littlewick friends for the sum of £3 6s. 0d. towards our funds; and there are other promised gifts yet to be received.

It is hoped to give a full list of Subscribers and a statement of accounts, as soon as the Pass Book is received form Headquarters.
We have to record that Corporal A. Arnold has joined Kitchener’s Army.

Signed
T. Butterworth, Capt.
F. C. Barham, Incumbent.

The Vicar has been asked and has consented to act as Parish Representative of the “Inns of Court Officers Training Corps.” He has papers on the subject to show to any who would like to see them. There is an urgent need for well-trained Officers.

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

A hero’s death: who will follow his example?

One of the first Berkshire men to fall in the war was a regular soldier from Cookham Dean. He was killed at the First Battle of the Aisne which ended with stalemate. He was a private in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. The parish magazine gave the following tribute to him:

In Memoriam
On Sept. 14th, in the Battle of the Aisne, George Carter, of Hoveden Cottages, was killed in action. George Carter was a born soldier, he was only 23 years of age, and had served nine years in the army and had joined the Militia six months previously to entering the Regulars. He came home in February last from eight years’ service in India, the same bright cheery face greeting us as it used to do in old days when he was a boy in school. He was one of the first to be called up and went off waving his goodbyes to his many friends in the village early one morning at the beginning of August. He lies in a soldier’s grave in France, having died at the post of duty a hero’s death. His name will not be forgotten in Cookham Dean.

The list of all those who are on Active Service at the Front or who are on Home Defence or who have recently joined the Army as Recruits or who are otherwise in training will be found below. I hope it is accurate and complete; I have done my best to make it so; but it is only too possible that a mistake may have occurred here or there, if so, I hope my attention will be called to it, and that anyone concerned will kindly accept my apologies for it. It has been my earnest endeavour to avoid mistakes, and I have repeatedly asked for information, but scarcely anyone has responded to my request. Our daily prayers in Church are offered for these dear men and lads who have so nobly come forward at the call of duty. It is not too late for others to place their names on this roll of honour and there are some few whom I should be proud and pleased to see doing so. Is there no one who feels an ambition to take George Carter’s place?

Roll of Honour
The first list contains the names of those whose homes are in Cookham Dean, and who, it is believed, are actually serving at the Front or who are on Home Defence. The second list contains the names of those who have, since war was declared, joined either the Officers’ Training Corps or who are in training as recruits. On the third list are the names of some closely connected with Cookham Dean but not actually resident here.
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