We are nothing better than worms – but mustn’t grumble!

Sunday 4 April 1915 was Easter Day. The parishioners of Reading St John (now the Polish Catholic Church) had sent Easter greetings to their young men at the Front. It resulted in a number of letters from the recipients describing their experiences.

Letters from the Front: replies to our Easter letters and cards.

Cards similar to those recently seen on the Church notice boards were sent with covering letters for Easter to some fifty men at the front at the request of their relatives. The following are extracts from some of the replies received by the Vicar:-

A Terrible War.
Here is a much-needed reminder of the seriousness of our task:
‘Two of my men I laid to rest yesterday, just put their heads too far over the parapet; of course killed instantly. It is a terrible business and we are nothing better than worms, dug in and stop there, but hope that happier times are in store and very soon. We all hope and pray for it every day. I don’t think the people at home quite realise what a gigantic task we have; but we mustn’t grumble, but do it.’- GILES AYRES.

Valued Cards.
‘I wish to thank you very much for the good thoughts and wishes of yourself and everyone who remembered us on Easter Day. Thank you very much for the card. I am sending it home to-day so that I shall not lose it.’- A. L. BLAKE.

‘The card you sent me I have hung on to the wall and it shall go where I go. I shall always remember Good Friday, the day I received it.’- D. CAMPBELL.

Neuve Chapelle.
Speaking of the welcome letter just received, the writer adds: ‘Just lately we have been engaged in a big battle at Neuve Chapelle, and it was something awful and also a terrible loss on the German side.’- L.H. CROOK. (more…)

A concert for refugees from heroic little Belgium

Yesterday we reported the upcoming concert at Reading Town Hall, now discover how it went:

CHOIR CONCERT FOR BELGIAN REFUGEES
As briefly reported in our December issue, the concert given under the auspices of our Church Choir and Brotherhood Choir on November 25th last proved a most gratifying success, all concerned, performers and audience alike doing their part in a manner worthy of the occasion, – the occasion being the raising of money towards a special Christmas Fund in aid of the Belgian refugees in the town. The Mayor (Mr Leonard Sutton, JP) graced the proceedings and at an interval in the programme delivered a short speech. His Worship said he would like to express the gratification all felt at the effort being made that evening on behalf of the unfortunate refugees from heroic little Belgium, and he assured the Belgians who had come to Reading, and of whom there were a good number in the hall that night, that no effort would be spared to make their stay in the town as happy as possible.
With characteristic generosity the conductor of the choirs (Mr F. W. Harvey) had arranged a programme of almost too ample proportions, but the audience evidently were out to enjoy themselves and few left before the close.
Dealing with the work of the choirs it may be said that the Church Choir well maintained its reputation, singing a number of part-songs in excellent style. “The Viking Song” (Coleridge-Taylor), “Hymn To Music” (Dudley Buck), and “The Vagabonds” and “Our Island Home” (Eaton Faning), all of the vigorous order, were rendered with expressive enthusiasm, and a tuneful part-song by Parry, “Sweet day, so cool”, a competition test piece for which the choir gained first prize at the Crystal Palace last year, was given in a very finished manner.
(more…)