“The many bigamous marriages which have been contracted”

Many soldiers got married while on leave. Shockingly, we discover some of them were not actually free to marry…

My Dear Friends,

We have nearly reached the fourth anniversary of the war: The end is not yet in sight, but there are great reasons for hope, and we have very much to be thankful for. June and July were to have been two of the months in which we were told to expect the greatest scarcity of food, but the supply has been increased rather than diminished, and as regards to the war itself, our anxieties are certainly less than they were a month or two ago. Let us remember to keep August 4th as a special day of prayer and thanksgiving. We shall have a better opportunity of doing so as this time it falls on a Sunday.

I should like to call particular attention to the notice in the Bishop’s Message with regard to the “Marriage of Soldiers from Colonies and Dominions.” Men often require to be married quickly on short leave, and hitherto I have been able to marry them, provided that they have known each other for a considerable time, and that the parents of the intended bride have made enquires and satisfied themselves that all was right.

Henceforward, however, I can neither grant a licence to or marry any man from the Colonies or Dominions unless I have received the certificate of the officer in charge of military records. I am sorry to say that this order on the part of the authorities is due to the many bigamous marriages which have been contracted. A short while ago I heard of an officer forbidding five sets of Banns in one Church at one time because the men were all married.

It has been certain for some time that such protection was needed and the rule is an excellent one, but it will inevitably cause delay and disappointment. The best plan will be for any man, whether at home or abroad, who thinks there is a chance of his getting leave and being married within three months (during which period Licences and Banns are available) to write to me stating his native country, and also his rank, regiment and number, so that the certificate may be obtained, in which case no delay need take place.

Your friend and Vicar,

W.W. Fowler

Marriages of Soldiers from Colonies and Dominions.

It is my duty to call attention to a notice issued by authority as follows:

It is necessary to make sure that there is no matrimonial impediment to the marriage in England and Whales of men of all ranks serving in the Overseas Contingents. Every Clergyman therefore who is asked to publish the banns of marriage of such a bridegroom, whether Officer, Warrant Officer, No-Commissioned Officer, or Man, is requested to explain to the parties that before doing so he must receive the Certificate of the Officer in Charge of Military Records.

Australia
Officer in Charge of Records.
Telephone No. Victoria 8860.
Australian Army Headquarters,
130, Horseferry Road, S.W.1.

Canada
Officer in Charge of Records.
Telephone No. City 2691
Canadian Record Office
Green Arbour House, Old Bailey, E.C.

Newfoundland
Chief paymaster and Officer in Charge of Records.
Telephone No. Victoria147.
Newfoundland Army Contingent,
58, Victoria Street, S.W.1.

New Zealand
Officer in charge of Records
Telephone No. Museum 3360.
New Zealand Army Headquarters,
Southampton Row, W.C.1.

South Africa
Officer in Charge of Records
Telephone No. Victoria 4911.
South African Army Record Office,
65, Victoria Street, S.W.1.

Written on official paper stating the marital condition of the bridegroom as entered in the records. It is recognized that delay will be caused to those who wish to be married quickly. The certificate should be preserved.

This notice is issued in conjunction with the Military Authorities who are prepared to assist in this matter as and when the occasions arise. Similar instructions are being given to the Diocesan registrar with reference to the issue of marriage licences on behalf of such men.


List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s Forces

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list: Robert Whitworth, Albert Hannay, Freeman Holland.

In addition we commend the following to our prayers :

Died of Wounds or Illness: Edward Broad, Charles Cripps.

Wounded: Fred Brooker, Richard Embery.

Prisoner: Arthur Hosler.

Missing: Alfred Levens.


Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

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Helping to look after our splendid troops

The Boys of St Peter’s, Earley, normally borrowed camping equipment from the army. It was of course all in use during the war.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE AND SCOUTS

We are hoping to have a three days’ camp at Newbury from August 5th to 8th. We shall be obliged to sleep in schoolrooms, &c, as tents are not allowed, and we shall have to take our own blankets, &c, as it is quite impossible to get any from the military stores.

ST PETER’S HALL

The Hon, Treasurer appeals for help as the funds are now practically exhausted, and opportunities for assisting these are, in the difficult times we are passing through, few and far between. In normal times various entertainments and other schemes were carried through successfully by the Committee to augment the receipts, but other interests have crowded these out, and yet the Hall must be kept going.

We most earnestly appeal to our readers to help the funds of the above Hall. The Hall has been invaluable during the war, for, in addition to all the ordinary work carried on in it, we have used it constantly for entertainments for the M.T.A.S.C. and the wounded soldiers, so that those who subscribe to the Hall will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are also helping to look after our splendid troops.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
William Ellis, Thomas Neilan, George Barnes, Frank Williams, Richard Smith, Archie Morris, Alfred Levens, Henry King, William Cook, Reginald Wyer, Leonard Rixon.

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

Sick: Jack Parker.
Wounded and Missing: Bernard Tait.
Wounded: John Rosser, Joseph Powell, Charles Barton, Charles Bolton.
Killed in Action: Allan Brown, Dick May, Hereward Sadler.

Earley parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/8)