The whole gamut of human emotion

The emotional toll of supporting loved ones at the front was beginning to tell in Maidenhead. One imagines the tears in church – but every now and then there was joy amidst the sorrow.

OUR ROLL OF HONOUR

The Minister has not for some time past read from the pulpit the list of our soldiers, because the strain upon the feelings of the more closely related friends was too great. This month there is space to spare in our columns, and we therefore print the list.

Five of our lads have fallen:

Harold Fisher …Royal Berks.
Duncan Wilson …A.S.C.
Robert Harris …8th Royal Berks.
Stephen Harris …3rd Royal Berks.
John Boyd …2nd Royal Berks.

Two have been discharged:

James Partlo …4th Royal Berks.
E.S. Mynett …Recruiting Sergeant

Forty-nine are still in the Army:

Cyril Hews …Royal Engineers
F.W. Harmer …Royal Berks.
W. Percy Pigg …A.S.C.
Cyril Laker …K.O. Scottish Borderers.
Reginald Hill …2nd Royal Berks.
Robert Anderson …4th Royal Berks.
John Bolton …23rd London.
Thomas Mulford …Royal Engineers.
J.O. Wright …8th Royal Berks.
George E. Dovey …9th Royal Berks.
Percy Lewis …R.A.M.C.
Arthur Rolfe …R.F.A.
Ernest Bristow …R.A.M.C.
Harold Islip …R.E.
Edward Howard …A.S.C.
George Belcher …R.E.
Horace Gibbons …11th Aus. Light Horse.
J. Quincey …A.S.C.
Donovan Wilson …A.S.C.
Aubrey Cole …A.S.C.
W.H. Clark …A.S.C.
Cecil Meade …A.S.C.
Benjamin Gibbons …6th Royal Berks.
David Dalgliesh …R.F.C.
Hugh Lewis …R.E.
H. Partlo …A.S.C.
Herbert Brand …8th Royal Berks.
George Phillips …A.S.C.
J Herbert Plum …R.E.
Wilfred Collins …Canadian Dragoons.
Alex. Edwards …R.F.A.
William Norcutt …A.S.C.
George Norcutt …R.E.
Victor Anderson …R.A.M.C.
Herbert G. Wood …R.E.
C.A.S. Vardy …R.E.
A. Lane …R.E.
Frank Pigg …R.F.C.
Leonard Beel …R.E.
P.S. Eastman …R.N.A.S.
A. John Fraser …A.S.C.
Charles Catliff …R.E.
Ernest A. Mead …7th Devonshires.
Robert Bolton …R.M.L.I
Frank Tomlinson …R.E.
George Ayres …L.E.E.
Thomas Russell …A.S.C.
G.C. Frampton …A.S.C.
W.J. Baldwin …Royal Navy.

In addition there are many who have passed through our Sunday School and Institute, but have not recently been in close connection with us. These also we bear upon our hearts, and bring in prayer before the Throne of Grace.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to say that Reginald Hill is still going forward, and that he is able to walk a little with the aid of sticks. He has now been at the Sheffield Hospital between five and six months. His parents are spending their holiday at Sheffield.

Robert Bolton has gone over with his Company to France.

Wilfred Collins is in Hospital at Sulhamstead, still suffering from heart trouble.

Sidney Eastman is at Mudros, doing clerical work.

David Dalgliesh has been home on leave, in the best of health and spirits.

GOOD NEWS!

In our last number we spoke of the fact that the son of Mr. Jones, of Marlow, was “missing,” and that all hope that he was still living had been relinquished. But the unexpected has happened, and news has been received that Second-Lieutenant Edgar Jones is an unwounded prisoner in the hands of the Germans. His parents have surely run through the whole gamut of human emotion during these weeks.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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“His parents have relinquished hope that he may be alive”

There was bad news for many Maidenhead families.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to know that Reginald Hill is still progressing. Harold Islip has been wounded in the arm, and after a fortnight or so in the hospital, is now recruiting at a Convalescent Home in France. It is fifteen months since his last leave. Alfred Vardy has been at home on special leave, lengthened by a slight attack on influenza, but is now back on light duty at the Convalescent Camp at Thetford. Percy and Hugh Lewis have been home on leave, both looking well. The two brothers passed each other unknowingly in the Channel, one coming and the other returning. Fred Hearman, who has been for three weeks in hospital with trench fever, is now in a Convalescent Home in France.

We have heard with deep sorrow that Lieut. Edgar Jones, son of the Rev. G.H. and Mrs. Jones of Marlow, has been posted as “missing” since the fierce enemy attack in the Nieuport sector in June which ended so unfortunately for us, and his parents have relinquished hope that he may be alive. Our hearts are full of Christian sympathy with our stricken friends.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, August 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Living at an awful rate

Percy Spencer told his sister Florence about his experiences training as an officer.

No 5 OCB
Room G8
New Court
Trinity College
Cambridge

Aug 18
My dear WF

We’re living at an awful rate and feel very used up at the end of the week. No doubt as soon as we have the rough edges taken off, it won’t be such a physical strain and we shall all be as fit as fiddles.

At the Cadet Club my first cup of coffee was handed to me by the girl you introduced me to. I can’t think of her name.

A wounded soldier has recognised me. I couldn’t remember his name, but being reminded by him that he belonged to the 4th Welsh Fusiliers of our Division, I plunged desperately, addressed him as Sergeant Jones and won….

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/65-66)

Most forms of disablement can be usefully dealt with

Provisions for men left disabled as a result of wounds were becoming personal for Ascot people.

The name of William Tidy (son of Mr. Tidy of the Royal Nurseries) has, we regret to say, to be added to our Prisoners of War.

We also feel deep sympathy for the anxiety of the families of William Nobbs and Walter Barton, both of whom are reported missing.

Sergeant Major Arthur Butcher and Corporal William Jones have been called to the Front.

Pte. Thomas Statham is wounded, but we are thankful to say he is progressing favourably.

Pte. Ernest Taylor has been ill in Mesopotamia.

Corporal Claud Parsons (Machine Gun Corps) has received the Military Medal for gallant conduct.

Lieutenant Ernest Monk (R. West Surrey) has been promoted Captain. He gained his commission owing to conspicuous gallantry. He married the daughter of Mr. Jones, London Road. Both he and Corporal Parsons are wounded.

Pte. Walter Talbot is home, and has been discharged “disabled.”

We would like to say that extensive arrangements for the training of disabled men have been set up all over the Country, and most forms of disablement can be usefully dealt with. Any disabled Sailor or Soldier in the Parish requiring training should apply to Mr. Tottie, who will be very glad to give information and assistance.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

“Just now on the threshold of a good roll up of the Huns I’m afraid there’ll be no time for reading in the army”

Percy Spencer and his colleagues had the opportunity to socialise with French girls behind the lines – and some romances developed, as Percy told his sister.

April 17 1917
My dear WF

Circumstances have prevented me from writing sooner, but please don’t ever imagine just because I sometimes cease my very occasional letters for a while that therefore I’m fighting in every battle on the Western front. I have always made a point of sending at least a field card whenever I am in any danger or you may have reason that I may be.

I’m enclosing a few souvenirs just to show that all our times are not anxious ones. The photos were taken in the rain in a quiet little village on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. You’ll note that all married and attached have vanished from the “mascot” group. We have had a very good, if strenuous time. The fellow who is understudying me against my departure (if that ever happens) and our mess mascot were mutually smitten, and altho’ I have done my utmost to persuade him from making the lady an alien, he is in daily correspondence with her, getting frightfully absent minded, and goes around humming her favourite tune until we put up a solid barrage of the same tune in the lady’s Anglo-French style.

As for my Benjamin (“Miss Mary Jones”, the junior clerk) the case is indeed desperate. All thoughts of his first love Lily of Clapham Common seem to be banished at the mention of “Jacqueline”, the blue-eyed maid at the second estaminet on the right. Her winsomeness was a great trial to me, as “Mary” was dangerously enchanted by her charms. On the day he was inoculated and should have kept very quiet, he was missing – sitting at the shrine of his goddess, drinking benedictions and secret smiles: as I find him out to his billet he assured me with tears in his eyes, “I’ve only had 2, sergeant”. Of course he ought to be dead, but he isn’t – and Jacqueline regards me as an ogre. However I think she judged me a little bit better before we left, for on the day we went away Mary had a scrawly pencilled note as follows –

My dear Dolly
I must see you at once. Tell your sergeant that if you no come quick I finish with you for ever.
With love & kisses
XXXXXX
from your
Jacqueline

He went.

And every now and then I see him take out an old passport and look at the left hand corner, and smile at her miniature there.

Dear old Will has sent me a long letter enclosing a photo of Johanna & himself and offering a selection from a number of books as a birthday present. I’ll let you know later what I’d like, but just now on the threshold of a good roll up of the Huns I’m afraid there’ll be no time for reading in the army.

I believe my affairs are going thro’ all right, but it may be some time yet or not at all before my promotion comes through – I hope it will be very soon or not at all. Further promotion would be very remote, if the job hung fire for long.

With my dear love to you both
Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/26-28)

“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)

Khaki chit-chat

There was plenty of news of men belonging to a Congregational church in east Reading.

Khaki Chit-Chat.

Friends will be pleased to hear that Segt. Leslie Smith, who lies in hospital at Stourbridge, is now making very good progress. I believe I am right when I say that he received his wounds as far back as three months ago. The injury to his ankle has been proving rather seriously troublesome, and that, combined with the low state to which his general health sank, gave grave cause for anxiety about a month ago. Since then, however, bad news has turned to good, and good, which we hope will yet grow better.

Sergt. Gilbert Smith, his brother, arrived home last month on leave, to the joy of his family circle and his friends. We congratulate him upon looking so well, and trust that good fortune will continue with him.

We are sorry to hear through Mrs. Jordan that our caretaker has been in hospital recently with frost-bite. This is not altogether surprizing when one remembers that the weather in France where our men are is not one whit less severe than it is at home here. We are glad he is out of hospital again, and hope he will get the boots he needs. If he doesn’t, then we hope that next time he will be invalided home for a spell.

Sergt. Taylor, son of Mr. A Taylor, of Bishops Road, is at present in a hospital in Scotland, going through the slow process of recovering from shrapnel wounds. We sympathize with his home people and especially his wife, in their feeling that to be so far north means that he is just as much out of reach as he would have been had he been kept in France.

Mr. Taylor, of Talfourd Avenue, has been home on leave recently from Salonika. It was extremely unfortunate that he happened to be so unwell for a great part of his visit here. Better luck next time, or rather let us hope that when next he returns it will be for good.

Leslie Newey is “joining up” the 1st of March. We admire his eagerness to follow his brother’s steps, but hope for several reasons that he will be disappointed in his desire to get to France.

Mr. Goddard wrote from Bedford the other day a cheering and encouraging letter to the Sunday School, in he stated that he is taking a class in the Sunday School there. A man who can do that when he joins the army and leaves home is “keeping fit” in more senses than one.

Sergt. Jones, son-in-law of Mr. Lindsey, is in one of our local hospitals undergoing treatment for his right arm, we regret to say that the degree of future usefulness of this unfortunate limb is a matter of uncertainty. There is ground for hope, however, and we trust that the best possible will be eventually be realized.

We were glad to see Mr Planner and Mr. Clement Tregay looking so well during their recent visits home. Mr. Watkins has also been home recently on leave. The first and last of these are now “somewhere in France,” as is also Mr Thomas who, we hoped, was destined to stay in the old country.

Mr. T. Brown is at present enjoying the gentler climate of Lower Egypt.

Jess Prouten is still in Mesopotamia, and I believe would be glad to hear oftener from old Reading friends.

Old friends of Park will be pleased to hear of the visit of a certain man in khaki to the Institute the other day. He was an Australian on leave (Tom Vinicombe, an old scholar of the Sunday School), and he explained his appearance by saying that he thought he would like to have a look at the place where he had spent such happy times as a boy.

Recently our Week-night Services have been rather changing in their character. The subjects taken are matters of general interest and they are treated from the strictly Christian and spiritual point of view. Among those dealt with hitherto have been “The Local Controversy on Spiritualism,” “President Wilson’s Attitude and Ideals,” “The Work of British Women in France,” and “The Housing Problem in the Light of the War.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

“If keeping your heart up & your head low will carry us through…”

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence from behind the lines with a few cheerful words.

Feb 4, 1917
My dear WF

If the ink lasts in my pen I hope to write you a few lines – if it doesn’t, you’ll have to wait for the ink in the filler is frozen solid.

It’s a perfectly grand day and we’re all enjoying it with the full pleasure that comes to those who feel they have well earned it. Garwood & Tyrrell are both outside the hut playing footer while “Miss Jones” (the latest addition to my staff) and I “hold the fort”. The weather is and has been bitter cold, but grand for those out of the line. There have been times though, since I came back when we’ve all thoroughly hated the beauty of the day; when our only remark has been that of the parrot of the monkey, and the night has seemed full of charm.

Well, “here we are”, “here we are” all right, and here we all mean to keep, if keeping your heart up & your head low will carry us through. Germany seems to be following the normal course of its hydrophobia: it ought pretty soon to reach the climax of its disease.

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/12-14)

“His parents have received no official report from the War Office”

There was news of the Winkfield men serving.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

Our deep sympathy goes out to the parents and relations of Pte. John Lunn who was killed inaction in the beginning of November. At the time of writing his parents have received no official report from the War Office, but they heard the sad news from his Commanding Officer who, in a sympathetic letter speaks in high terms of their dead son and the regret felt at his loss.

Lieut. Cecil Hayes-Sadler, R.E., and Privates Albert Fletcher, George Higgs, Earnest Woodage have gone to the front in France, and Dr. Albert Jones has sailed for Salonika. Their names are added to our long list read out in Church, with the request for special prayer in our Intercessions on the second and last Sundays in the month.

We have just learnt that Pte. F. Street has recently joined the M.T.A.S.C.

We are glad to hear that Pte. C.E.Burt is now doing well after his relapse and is in Reading Hospital.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1916 (D/P151/28A/12)

“A good son, and cheery friend, we trust he rests in peace”

Men from Bracknell and Cranbourne had been wounded, or worse.

Bracknell

THE WAR.

Amongst the recent casualties reported we regret to have to number two more of our Bracknell men:-

Stanley Prior, whose home is in the Binfield Road, but whose work was in Bracknell, has been badly wounded, but is going on well.

Hubert Gregory has also been wounded, after a short time at the front.

Cranbourne

We have to record with deep regret the death of Private Frank Jones, of Woodside. He was killed in France early in the month, and will be much missed by many friends. A good son, and cheery friend, we trust he rests in peace.

Corporal A.R. Hatcher is now able to get about on crutches.

Winkfield District Magazine, November 1916 (D/P151/28A/11)

Pray for the good hand of God upon us in the war

More Earley men had joined up, while churchgoers across the county were urged to pray for army chaplains.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE
The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the October Diocesan magazine:
Your prayers are specially asked

For the National Mission….
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the chaplains to the forces, especially those from this diocese.
For the wounded in hospital, especially those in this diocese, and those who minister to them…
For the supply of candidates for Holy orders, especially from among those now serving as soldiers.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

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

William Waite, William Wright, Harry Cartwright, James Maxwell, Edwin Jerome, Harold White, Lionel Dunlop, Brian Dunlop, William Illsley, Albert Flower, Tom Brooks, Harry Shepherd, Albert Andrews, Robert Lewis, Harry Longshaw, Horace Gilbert, George Stacey, Maurice Love.

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

Killed: Alfred Bolton, Percy Howlett, Ralph Hayes Sadler.
Died: Harry Stevens.
Wounded: Jack Howlett, Percy Hamilton, George Bungay, Sidney Saunders, Leonard Rixon, Frank Jones.
Sick: William Fisher, Sidney Farmer.

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)

Wounded Australians visit Bisham Abbey

A group of wounded Australians came for an afternoon at Bisham Abbey.

29 September 1916
Dull day, some rain. Party of 17 Australian wounded came in afternoon about 3. Saw over house – had large tea in drawing room with maids. Miss Billyard Leake brought them! Maisie came & sang. Sapper Jones! Also. Left about 6.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Special friends, together again for eternity

Several Ascot men were reported to have given their lives for their country.

THE WAR.

Again we have to record the death, in service of his country of another of our choicest Ascot young men. William Taylor. What we said last month of Charles Edwards is an exact counterpart to the character of William Taylor. He was a very real soldier of Christ as well as of his country. He was the special friend of Arthur Jones, in the same regiment, and generally sharing the same quarters. They are together again now. May they both be together in peace throughout eternity. R.I.P. Our deep sympathy goes out to the bereaved family.

Edward Charles Cannon has been killed at the front. He is the son or Mr. and Mrs. Cannon of Swinley. His brother was drowned off the Dardanelles rather more than a year ago. To the family we also offer our heartfelt sympathy. R.I.P.

Alfred Thompson is dangerously wounded. His parents have been summoned to the Hospital in France where he is lying.

THE BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ SALE.

We give further details of this most successful Sale (from a Correspondent).

“The Boys’ School undertook the fruit, vegetables, and flower section: and in addition 2 stalls filled with a beautiful and varied collection, small articles (made by the boys) which displayed much ingenuity in the making, were offered for sale. The Belgian ladies and gentlemen from Ascot Wood House brought many interesting articles for sale. Two bran tubs arranged by Mrs. Tustin gave great delight to the children.

The Girls’ School had made itself responsible for the sale of useful and fancy articles. Many things were made by the girls themselves, who gave much time after school hours to complete their work. Many pleasant surprises came in the form of garments and fancy articles made and given by former pupils of the School. Many mothers, not to be outdone by their daughters, helped us much. On the Girls’ stall was a fascinating collection of baskets and other items made by our Infants.

The Infants’ School stall displayed all sorts of delicacies in the shape of cakes, sweets, jam, &c.: but although the store was large, it was quickly sold out, and not even a sweet remained.

Other attractions were the weighing machine which did a flourishing trade: the “village pump,” which brought much “solid water” in the form of prize packets at a surprising rate, and a beautifully dressed baby doll (given by an “old girl”). To win the doll one only had to guess the name that had been given to it at the beginning of the sale.

Our Teachers and Scholars would like to thank all those kind people who so generously helped by giving and by buying.

The sale realised £42 6s. 0d. (for Belgian children).

Winkfield District Magazine, September 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/9)

Exemption from school

Some young boys were allowed to miss school to help farmers out due to the numbers of agricultural workers who had joined up.

6th July 1916.

Tom Jones, age 12, has been granted conditional exemption for farm work owing to shortage of labour on account of the War.

Aldermaston School log book, p. 57 (88/SCH/3/3)

“Very severely wounded in many places by a bursting of a bomb in the trenches”

More men from Winkfield were headed to the Front.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

The following have joined His Majesty’s Forces during last month:-

Gunner Albert Jones, Royal Berks. Horse Artillery.
Pte. William Chater, Scots Guards.
Gunner Bernard N. Greatham, Royal Garrison Artillery.
Pte. Frederick Jackman, Royal Engineers.

Let us especially remember just now in our prayers the following who have just left for the Front:-

Pte. Edward Thurmer, Pte. Sidney Thurmer, Pte. Alfred Shefford. Also L.M. Donald Thurmer, who has recently sailed for Mudros, and Pte. Bernard Greatham who has sailed for Garrison duty at Hong Kong.

We regret to announce that Pte. Wilfred Church has been invalided out of the Army; we trust he will soon recover his health and be able again to take up useful work.

Pte. Walter Woodage, 1st Royal Fusiliers, was very severely wounded in many places by a bursting of a bomb in the trenches. He is now in hospital in England and recently wrote to the Vicar saying that he was getting on well, so we trust his recovery will now be rapid.
We are sorry to hear that Pte. James Moir was severely wounded in the campaign in East Africa, but he is now reported to as doing well. His brother, Pte. Joseph Moir, we welcome home on a well earned leave of several months and look forward to having the benefit of his services again to the choir.

Winkfield section of Warfield District Magazine, July 2016 (D/P151/28A/8/7)