“We could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again”

Teenage boys from Earley had the fun of a camp dispelled by sad news of old friends who had gone to the Front.


We had a most enjoyable time on the School journey in spite of the weather. A very full account is being published in the “Reading Observer”, and we are hoping that Mr Albert Smith will be able to spare the time to come and give us a Lantern Lecture describing our travels, so we shall not enter into details now. Several of the Cadets and two more Scouts joined us at Hungerford when we spent a most delightful four days, everyone showing us the greatest kindness.

The news of the death of our late Staff-Sergeant George Maskell came as a great shock to us on our return, and we could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again. We had a Memorial Service after Matins on Sunday, August 12th, some of our friends from St Giles’ and St John’s Companies joining us for the Parade Service and staying to the Memorial Service. We offer our deep sympathy to the relations and friends of one whom we all loved – RIP.

On going to press we have just heard of the death of another of our CLB Staff Sergeants, John Parker. Jack was one of our very keenest and best CLB workers and we shall miss him terribly. We offer our deepest sympathy to his mother and other relations and friends. RIP.

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


Women on the land

You may recognise the name of Miss Pott from the extracts we have reported from the National Relief Fund Berkshire Committee. Gladys Pott (1867-1961), daughter of the Revd Alfred Pott, a former Archdeacon of Berkshire, was a well known speaker against female suffrage, but she was a strong speaker and organiser. She served as a Woman Inspector of the Women’s Branch of the Board of Agriculture from 1916 to 1919, and was awarded an MBE for her efforts after the war.

Women on the Land

A well attended meeting was held in S. John’s Hall on the evening of Thursday April 6th, to consider the question of the employment of women in gardening and general farm work, to take the places of men called up for military service.

The chair was taken by Mr. Alfred Palmer, who was supported by Miss Gladys Pott, Miss Ludlam, Miss Watson and Mr. Job Lousley.

The Chairman, in opening the meeting, spoke in glowing terms of the splendid way in which the women of the cities had come forward to help with the work on the land, and pointed out how the local women could help in this good work. He said instruction in dairying and farming was provided by the Berks Committee for those who could leave their homes, and for those who could only give a part of their time Miss Watson had offered the use of her garden and grounds every Saturday afternoon to all women (or others) who desired instruction in gardening. Those who wished to aid in the movement were urged to give in their names to Miss Ludlam, the Registrar.

Then Miss Pott, in a most interesting speech, told how much had been done by women since January, 1915, to the present time, and insisted that the question of the food supply was one of the supremest importance, and that every woman could do something to increase the productiveness of their own gardens and allotments, even if it were simply to make two lettuces grow where only one grew before.

Mr. Lousley gave some practical details of the movement, and referred to the successful outcome of women’s outdoor work in his parish and on his own farm.

After the speeches, pictures showing the work of wives and daughters of the French farmers were thrown on the screen. Miss Potts, who explained the pictures and had herself been present as a member of the Women’s Mission to France when these pictures were taken, said, that what they saw in France proved conclusively the glorious way in which the French had understood and answered the call of their country, and such an object lesson should serve to animate English women with a like spirit of devotion to their native land.
Miss Potts thanked Mr. Methold for manipulating the lantern, and a vote of thanks to the chairman and speakers brought the meeting to a close.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P120/28A/14)

The religious work of the war

The people of Sulhamstead heard a lecture about evangelistic work in the trenches.

A lecture accompanied with the exhibition of Lantern Slides will be given on Friday, January 7th, at the School, at 7 p.m., by the Rev. J. Hobson, MA, London District Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, on Religious Work at the Front and in the Trenches.
Admission 2d and 1d. There will be a collection to support the work.

A box into which anyone may place small contributions to help support this stall at the S. Eastern Railway Station, Reading, is on the counter as the Post Office. These stalls are doing a great work throughout the country, and the Post Office Mistress will be grateful for any donations.

We regret to state that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, has been missing since the “Tera” was sunk in the Mediterranean. A body of some 300 men was seen on the shores of Africa, about 300 miles west of Alexandria, and it is hoped they are safe, and that he is among them.

The lecture went ahead, as the February issue of the parish magazine reported:

The Lantern Lecture on the Religious Work of the War, by the Rev. J Hobson of the Religious Tract Society, with Sir George Watson, bart, as Chairman, was given to a crowded audience. The views of the trenches and camps were very fine, and we wished we could have had more of them. The entrance money and collection amounted to £2. 11s. 10d., which was handed over to Mr Hobson for the work amongst the soldiers.

Sulhamstead parish magazines, January and February 1916 (D/EX725/3)

Khaki testaments

People in Hare Hatch were interested to hear that the Bible Society was supplying Bibles to soldiers from the colonies, our allies, and even captured enemy soldiers.

Hare Hatch Notes

A Most interesting Lantern Lecture was given on Wednesday, December 1st, at 6.30 p.m., by the Rev. E. W. G. Hudgell, Diocesan Secretary for the British and Foreign Bible Society. The lecturer, after having introduced us to the Society’s Headquarters in London, gave a vivid description of the noble work done among the brave soldiers and sailors of our Empire. He next told us how the Bible is translated into the various languages of our Allies, thus bringing them under the influence of the Society’s good work. We also learnt that even our enemies, so far as it is possible, are supplied with the little ‘Khaki Testament’ printed in their own language. It is interesting to note that wherever a missionary goes the work of the British and Foreign Bible Society follows him.

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

A sad postscript

Those left behind in Cookham Dean had the opportunity to attend an illustrated lecture on the war, while mourning the loss of one of their own.

I am issuing the Roll of Honour once more; it is astonishing how many alterations and additions take place in it during three months. Let us thank God that, so far, no further serious casualties of any kind have occurred to any whose names are in the accompanying list.*

*P.S.- Since writing the above the sad news has reached us that Lieut. Russell Simmons was killed in action on Saturday, Sept. 25th, and that Sergt. Luker and Pte. E. Carter have been wounded.

Under the auspices of The League of Honour, a lecture, illustrated by lantern views, will be given by Miss Bridgeman on ‘The War,’ in the Drill Hall.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Shirts for Serbia instead of Christmas presents

The people of Cookham Dean took an interest in the civilians of Serbia, who were suffering badly from living in a warzone, as the April 1915 edition of the parish magazine reveals, with the children giving up their Christmas treat:

The League of Honour
The Lantern Lecture on The War, illustrated by slides kindly lent by the Central Committee in London, was well attended and most attentively listened to. As no special lecturer could be sent by the London committee, the vicar himself gave the lecture, being very kindly assisted at the lantern by Mr H Edwards. After paying for the carriage of the slides on their return journey, a sum of 18/- remained out of the admission money, and was given to the Relief of Serbia.

A parcel of twelve well made flannel shirts has been sent as a first instalment of our gift to the Serbian Relief Fund. The flannel was purchased with the money which would otherwise have been spent at Christmas on the Children’s Sunday School Treat presents, and skilful and willing hands made up the material. A second instalment will be forwarded shortly. The Vicar received the following acknowledgement of the gift on March 26th- ‘The Committee of the Serbian Relief Fund beg to express their thanks to the Rev. H. F. Hunt very warmly for the parcel received on March 25th containing gifts from his parish.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, April 1915 (D/P43B/28A/11)

‘Misery, brutality and wickedness’: Lantern slides will bring home the awful reality of the war

The people of Cookham Dean were informed about the war by means of an illustrated talk. The vicar wrote in the parish magazine with his views on how this should energise people’s responses:

Mrs Hunt has been at some trouble to arrange a Lantern Lecture, in connection with The League of Honour, on the subject of The War… It is open, of course, to all comers, but I distinctly wish it to be understood that it is not an ordinary Entertainment. The Lecture, and the pictures that will be shown, should bring home to people in this village the awful reality of the War, and God’s infinite mercy to our country in having so far preserved us from the misery, brutality and wickedness to which so many of our Belgian and French Allies have been subjected. It will be seen that the Lecture is intended to stir up people to their religious duties in connection with the War, to summon the careless and indifferent to prayer, and to give deeper earnestness and reality to the prayers of those who do pray; and I shall be very disappointed if the lecture does not help us in these ways. It is sad to see how little trouble even some of those who have husbands, brothers, sons at the Front, will take to come to our Intercession Services, whether held on a Sunday or a week day. A nominal charge will be made for admission to the lecture, and the proceeds after paying expenses will be given to the Serbian Relief Fund.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, March 1915 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Entertainments in Winkfield for war funds

Ladies in Winkfield raised money to help the war effort by putting on a series of concerts for their neighbours.


Miss Graham Loyd repeated her excellent entertainment on Tuesday, December 29th, and a large audience enjoyed the programme provided.

Miss Loyd contributed two capital songs. Comic songs by Major Egerton and Messrs Green, Company and Woollatt were much appreciated, as was the song contributed by Mr. Worsfold, and those by Colour-Sergeant Brett, who received vociferous encores. The dialogue in costume, “Geese,” by Mrs And Miss Loyd, was excellently rendered and evoked well merited applause.

Miss Montgomerie is much to be congratulated on the success of the entertainment organised by her in the Parish Room on January 19th and repeated on the 22nd, on both occasions to a crowded house.

The first part was the play, “Hansel and Gretal,” which was prettily staged and excellently acted by Master L Guinness, the Misses M and T Guinness, Miss Viva Montgomerie, Miss Violet Sandford, Miss Camilla Finlay, Miss Frances Osman, the Misses F and A Wilder, and Miss Jean Baikie.

The children threw themselves thoroughly into their parts, and the acting of Master L Guinness as Hansel, Miss M Guinness as Gretal, and Miss T Guinness as the Witch, was especially praiseworthy. Mrs Guinness went to great trouble and expense in arranging the stage and scenery, and her efforts contributed largely to the success of the play.

The second part of the entertainment consisted of a Lantern Lecture by Miss Hunter who gave a most interesting account of her travels in far off lands, illustrated by a large number of splendid slides from photographs that had been taken on the spot. The net proceeds amounted to £7 18s. 3d.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/2)

A Watchnight service with a difference

Watchnight services are traditionally held on New Year’s Eve.  Originally a Methodist tradition, they were adopted by other denominations, including St John’s Anglican church in Reading, and its daughter-church St Stephen’s.  As 1914 drew to a close, the Watchnight service took on a special significance:

The Watch-Night Service at S. John’s will be of a unique character this year. A Service entitled ‘The National Crisis,’ illustrated with the most beautiful lantern slides, specially arranged by Messrs. Newton, will be used. At S. Stephen’s also the special circumstances of the time will be remembered and a suitable Service arranged.

Reading St John parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P172/28A/23)

Lantern lectures on the war

Lectures on the war were offered to both civilians and servicemen in Winkfield.

C. E. M. S.
The usual monthly meeting was held at the Vicarage on Wednesday, Dec. 18th at 8.15 p. m. After joining in Intercessions for the War… the Vicar then explained that he was anxious to make the great day of National Intercession on Jan. 3rd as widely known as possible, and it was arranged that, as the magazine would come out too late for the purpose, the members should take round a special letter on the subject to every household in the parish.

The members are to be congratulated on the success of their house to house collection for the Belgian Refugee Fund, since their efforts resulted in the raising of £17 1s. 10d.

We have now sent up to this fund the sum of £22 13s. 10d., made up as follows:
£ s. d.
C. E. M. S. collection 17 1 10
Donation from Choir Men 2 0 0
Choir Girls of S. Mary the Less (in lieu of having their Annual Treat on Nov. 5th) 1 10 0
Offertory at Church Parade (Dec. 6) 2 2 0

A Public Lecture on the War, illustrated by 80 Lantern Views was given on Dec. 2nd in the Parish Room at 8 o’clock when the chair was taken by Lord George Pratt. The members of the C. E. M. S. worked hard to sell the tickets, with the result that the attendance was very good, and after all expenses had been paid the sum of £4 8s. 4d. was sent to the Prince of Wales Fund.

Another War Lecture entitled “How the British soldier fights” was given on Dec. 15th. This was a free lecture for “service men” only and about 70 attended.

Our warm thanks are due to the Secretary of the C. E. M. S. for kindly working the lantern at both these lectures.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/1)

An earnest appeal to young men in Charney

On 10 December 1914, an illustrated lecture on the war was delivered in the north Berkshire village of Charney Bassett, followed by an impromptu recruitment drive.

A very interesting and instructive Lecture on the War, illustrated with lantern pictures, was given in the Schoolroom on Thursday, December 10, at 8pm by Captain F. C. Loder Symonds. The pictures were shown by Dr Woodward. There was a large audience. The lecturer made an earnest appeal to Charney young men to come forward and join Lord Kitchener’s Army.

Longworth parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P83/28A/10)

Patriotic songs in Longworth

The parishioners of Longworth decided patriotic singing should take the place of their usual programme of winter concerts, as their thoughts were with the village’s young men who had volunteered for active service:

We have not felt it right or seemly to arrange for ordinary entertainments and dances while this terrible war is on us. But Lady Hyde is most kindly in arranging for a Lantern Lecture in the Rectory Barn and for some practices of patriotic songs; and Ambulance classes are being given by Dr. Woodward’s kindness in the Manor Barn for men, and by Mr. Moon for young women in the Rectory Barn. We have also applied for Nursing Lectures for women later on.

Please add the names following to the lists in your Prayer Books of the men who are serving their country in the Army or Navy. This is still far from complete. Soldiers: Charles Painton, Richard Painton, Percy Painton, William Hutt, Reginald Harris, Thomas Sollis, William Furley, James Hale, John Hale, J. Leach. Recruits: William Pimm, S. Pike, James Floyd, Richard Adams, Albert Hughes, Raymond Hobbs, A. Henley. John Loder was wounded but is reported as doing well.

Longworth parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P83/28A/9)

A masterly account of the war

The people of Cookham Dean were well informed about the war.  The parish magazine reports on a lecture given by a representative of the Conservative organisation, the Primrose League:

A most admirable lecture, illustrated by lantern views, was given in the Drill Hall, on Monday evening, October 26th, in aid of the Belgian Relief Fund, by Mr. H. Lankester – Provincial Agent of the Grand Council of the Primrose League. Mr Lankester gave a masterly account of the reasons why we were at war, and of the general progress of it up to the occupation of Antwerp…

It is hoped that about £9 will be handed over to the Fund for the Relief of the Belgians. The room was crowded, all classes being well represented. This certainly suggests that many more might come to the Intercession Service on Friday nights, which after all is of far greater importance than a lecture. To set apart half an hour on one week night at a serious time like this for united prayer for those who are giving their lives for us, and for the great cause in which we and our Allies are engaged is surely not too much to ask; and after the numbers that were present on Monday night at the lecture there can be no real reason why the Intercession Service should not be far better attended than it is. If we believe in the power of united prayer, let us be consistent and show by our presence and the earnestness of our intercessions that we do believe in it.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P43B/28A/11)