“Even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles”

On an antiquarian trip to his home region in the Vale of White Horse, William Hallam took the time to pay his respects at a war shrine.

18th May 1918

Got up at 7. Went to Challow sta. at 20 past 9. Walked thro’ Goosey across the fields – then onto Charney. Here I looked in the church as a young woman was cleaning it and getting ready for a wedding she told me. Notice that queer carving in chapel. Then I copied down all the Inscriptions I could decipher. The I went to a cottage and enquired the way to Cherbury Camp but the old man said I meant Chawberry. He told me the nearest way but I mistook it and went a devil of a way round. However I enquired again and got there alright about 1 o’clock. I was surprised to find such a perfect camp still existing in the midst of agricultural land. I sat on the bank and ate my lunch of bread and butter and a hard boiled egg and revelled in the sun. The cuckoo had been on all day long. The first day I’ve heard him this spring. There was not a cloud in the sky and even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles. I sat here and thought for an hour. I looked over the ploughed field in the encampment and found one flint chip.

I came back into Charney the way I should have come – much nearer- and went into the Pub and had a pint and a ½ of ale. This landlady Shepherd knew me by seeing me regularly at St. Paul’s as they lived at Swindon until 3 years ago when they took this Pub. Her husband a smith now working she told me at Cheltenham in aeroplane works and rides on a bike to & from every week end- 45 miles. I asked about this old house near the Church. She told me a lady had bought it 2 or 3 years ago and spent a lot of money on it – then before she had finished it got tired of it and sold it to a Col. Colmes for 1800£ and now he is spending as much as he gave for it in restoring it. Fortunately in antiquarian lines the chapel & all being put back as it should be. When I started back I sat on the Oak bridge and saw the wedding – not a khaki one – party came out – quite a village wedding – all walking.

It was a scalding hot day and as I sat on a heap of stones resting and having a smoke 2 Swindon men passed by and had a chat on their way to Longworth. Further along the road I turned off and went to Denchworth & looked over the Church & churchyard and here I saw the first war shrine. A frame with a crucifix and list of the names of all the young men gone from the village with a prayer for the passer by to offer up for them so took off my hat and said it. Before it on a ledge were 2 brass vases of fresh flowers. I got back to Challow St. at 6 o’clock and got up home here at ½ past 7. The Country is at its best now especially the Vale.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

A gloom over all our celebrations

The parish magazine of Longworth had sad news for villagers from Charney Bassett, but some pious hopes for the new year.

By the time this Magazine is in our readers hands, Christmastide with its conflicting memories of joy and sadness will have passed away. The shadow of the Great War has cast a gloom over all our celebrations during this festive season, but it is to be hoped that in the hour of sorrow this glad festival has been the means of easing many an aching heart and brightening the sad homes that have been desolated by the war. May the New Year, by God’s blessing, bring peace, unity, and concord to all the nations of the world, and happiness and prosperity to all our parishioners.

CHARNEY

We are sorry to have to think that Private Frederick Franklin, Royal Berks., lost his life at the Front some weeks ago, although the War Office at present has only notified that he is missing. We feel much sympathy for the mother in her long anxiety about her son, but can only think that he is one of those who have so bravely and nobly laid down their lives for King and Country. Fred Franklin was the first Charney man to join Lord Kitchener’s New Army.

Longworth Parish Magazine, January 1916 (D/P83/28A/11)

At great personal risk

Two Longworth men who had joined the forces were mentioned in the parish magazine. A sailor had been killed, and a soldier from the village was recognised for an act of bravery, rescuing a fellow soldier from drowning.

It is with greatest pleasure that we put into the Magazine the following words about two of our old boys. It is happiness, indeed to know of George Painton’s faithfulness to his religious duties and privileges and a delight to see the things which are said of him in the Looe Parish Magazine, from which we take the word:

“On the night of the 12th May, George Painton, 1st Class P.O., lost his life through the sinking of H.M.S. Goliath by torpedo in the Dandanelles. By his death the country has lost a brave, capable, petty officer, who was a devoted husband and father, and a good Christian. The only Sunday he was home on leave since war broke out, he received the Holy Communion with his wife at the Parish Church.”
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Wonderful generosity at a time of rising prices

Longworth fundraising for Belgian refugees amounted to what was then a substantial sum. The latest element of war work was the making of cakes for wounded soldiers.

The Longworth Belgium Fund is now closed. £42 has been sent to the Committee in Oxford, and we give below the letter of thanks addressed to Mrs. Crum as Treasurer. Further gifts may, of course, be sent to the address given on the letter.

29, Holywell
Oxford
Dear Mrs. Crum,

Thank you so very much for all you have done for us. Will you very kindly express to the people of Longworth the warm gratitude and appreciation of their efforts felt by the Oxford Committee. To subcribe and to continue subscribing so long, so regularly and so large a sum is really wonderful, specially as we know and realize how the cost of living has risen and how that makes itself felt at once by all villagers, and to all who have no large incomes. Please tell your people how much we feel indebted to them and express our sincere thanks.

Our best thanks to you yourself.
Yours very sincerely,
Monte Carlyle.

Cakes are wanted for the wounded soldiers in Red Cross Hospitals. Will any who would like to provide one regularly, give their names to Mrs. Illingworth, and she will tell them when they are wanted, and collect them for Lady Hyde, who will send them to the Hospitals.

Longworth parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/6)

‘Out of five sons, three have been killed and one is a prisoner’

The June issue of the Longworth parish magazine reported on the latest news of local soldiers.


Walter Carter, Fred Carter and our morning postman, Albert W. Walker, have joined the Army during the last month. Several more did their best to join, but were rejected on the score of health or age.

George Painton was serving on H.M.S. Goliath, and his name is not among the list of survivors. There was not a more popular lad in the village than George, or a nicer one. We do most sincerely hope that even yet it may be found that he was rescued. His home is now in Cornwall, and we are deeply grieved for his wife and family in their anxiety. And every heart in the village, we have cause to know, goes out in sympathy to our neighbours, Captain and Mrs Loder-Symonds and their family. Out of five sons three have been killed in this war and one is a prisoner. We give below some words of great comfort, and hope from our Bishop’s paper on “Patriotism in the Bible” (Mowbray, 2d).

The courage and self-sacrifice of the soldiers is a magnificent and inspiring virtue, and we are thrilled with a kind of holy exultation in the quality of our soldiers and sailors. A great many of us who cannot be soldiers find ourselves envying them a road so direct and simple into the divine kingdom. They are ordinary Englishmen, most of them by no means saints. But we cherish the words, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ And we trust that, whatever their faults or vices, Christ can find in those who, so simply and unostentatiously, give their life for their country, that of which He can avail Himself, even in the world which lies beyond death, so that all that is inconsistent with the divine kingdom may be purged away, with the help of the prayers of all the Church, and those brave sons who have fallen in battle or died of their wounds may be fitted for an eternal fellowship with ‘the spirits of the just men made perfect.’

Longworth parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/6)

An awful experience

Although Berkshire was spared the fear of air raids, many local people had friends and relatives ho were directly affected. A former District Nurse in Longworth, who had left the area on her marriage, shared her frightening experiences with her old friends.

We think the following extract from a letter from Mrs Poole, dated May 13, (better known to us as Nurse Dora Sheldon), will interest our readers. It is written from her home at Maldon.

“It was marvellous how we escaped the Zeppelin raid here as we did. The bombs were dropped so near us, and our drawing-room window was blown out and the bottom of a bath shared the same fate. It was an awful experience. And the nights are very nasty. The place has to be in absolute darkness; such a business to exclude every scrap of light.”

We congratulate Bombardier Richard Painton on his promotion to the rank of Sergeant.

Longworth parish magazine, July 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/7)

Gifts of rabbits lessen distress

Longworth and Charney Bassett remembered their soldiers, while rising prices caused distress for poorer families at home.

Will our readers please add the following names to their list of soldiers for whom we in Longworth are specially bound to pray – Sydney Niker, William, Fred, George and Alan Hutchings. Would not more of the men’s relations and friends like to come and join their prayers with ours at the Service in Church on Fridays at 3:30.

We acknowledge with much gratitude Lady Hyde’s kindness to the village. During the winter months she arranged with the bakers that every family where there were three children and over, should receive their bread at the same price as it was before the war, and the widows and old age pensioners received 1 cwt. of coal in the month. This and her weekly gifts of rabbits did greatly serve to lessen the distress.

CHARNEY

William C Whitfield has joined the Territorial Reserves; Ernest C Franklin has been invalided home. We shall remember them both in our intercessions.

Longworth parish magazine, May 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/5)

Greatly missed: Longworth mourns its dead – and Charney sees new recruits

Longworth and Charney remembered their soldiers:

The men from this village who are serving their country as sailors and soldiers are prayed for by name every Friday at the intercession service in church at 3:30. How glad we should be to have yet more of their friends join us there in prayer for them, and for our nation and all concerned.

ROLL OF HONOUR
Private Lewis Brooks – killed in action
Private Henry Timms – killed in action
Lewis Brooks has lived in Longworth all his life, and will be greatly missed. He and his wife were confirmed lately and made their communions in this Church in July, so short a time before he was recalled to his regiment.
Henry Timms had only been in the parish a short time, since his marriage. To both families we desire to express our most sincere sympathy.

Of Longworth men at the Front the following have been wounded: John Loader, Corporal W. Hutt, Albert Adams, Richard Painton, John Leach, but they are now either back at the Front or recovering at home. Albert Hobbs has been made Lance-corporal, and John Porter Colour-Sergeant, both in Kitchener’s Army. We shall be very glad of any further particulars for next month’s magazine.

CHARNEY
James Douglas (Territorial Reserves), Albert John Haines (Territorial Reserves) and William Sergeant (Army Service Corps) are among those who have recently joined the Army. Our prayers and good wishes go with them.

Longworth parish magazine, April 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/4)

More than was promised: Longworth supports refugees and wounded soldiers

The parishioners of Longworth contributed to the war effort in their prayers, and in their donations for war related good causes. The parish magazine for March reported:

I would remind the Diocese that the second Wednesday in Lent (February 24) is the day appointed for Intercession for Home Missions. I would suggest that, besides the ordinary subjects of intercession, we should pray especially for the work among the troops.

As our readers know, Longworth has promised to send help to the Belgian refugees in Oxford to the extent of £2 a week for three months. It is delightful to be able to do more than was promised. Help will be sent as long as subscriptions continue to come in. The amounts already received are as follows:

per Mr Webb – W.J. Church, £1; Mr E. Webb, 10s; box in Post Office, 1s 2d;
Per Mr Hunter – W. Goodenough, 2d; Mr G Hunter (six weeks), 3s; Mrs Rivers, 2d; Nurse King (ten weeks), 5s; Charles Broad, 2d; Mr Prince (sixteen weeks), £2; Miss King, 2s.6d; Mrs W. Edmonds 2s; The Rector (eight weeks) 16s; Mrs Cooper (ten weeks) 5s; Anon 9d; from Church Box £1 16s;
Per Mrs Crum – Lady Hyde £13 (thirteen weeks); Mrs Powell, £1, Mr Crum £13; Miss Liebscher 10s (twenty weeks) ; Mrs Porter 2s.

The collections on the Sundays, January 3 (Intercession day) and 10th, including the contents of the collecting box, amounted to 15s 2d, and were given to the British Red Cross Society, for the benefit of the wounded soldiers now in hospital at Faringdon.

Longworth parish magazine, March 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/3)

Rejected on account of ill health

The Longworth parish magazine reported various matters relating to the war in their February issue:

Four of the men who offered themselves as recruits were rejected on account of health. There remain to be added to the previous list Albert Underwood (Marines), Charles Batts, William Bestly, Frederick Weston, and Bartholomew Green.

Miss Bartlett’s very excellent Nursing lectures were greatly appreciated by those who attended them, but we wish that this has included more of the village mothers.

£7 10s was sent to the British Red Cross Society and the Society of St John of Jerusalem for the wounded soldiers. The carol singers collected £3 10s. 9d. The rest was made up by the collections in Church. We will give the amounts subscribed for the Belgium Fund next month.

Longworth parish magazine, February 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/2)

Few Belgian refugees settle in the countryside

The parishioners of Longworth and Charney Bassett continued to support the war effort:

We desire to express our deep sympathy with Mrs Timms, whose husband has been “killed in action,” and with Mrs Lewis Brooks and the whole family in their prolonged anxiety and suspense. Corporal W. Hutt, Privates Albert Adams and John Loder, who were wounded, have happily recovered, and are now, we believe, on their way back to the Front, where our prayers follow them. Some more men have volunteered for service but they have not yet (at the time of going to press) been passed, we will reserve their names for the February Magazine. We heartily congratulate them on their decision. It is a great pleasure to welcome back to Longworth from time to time, such of our recruits as are able to get leave. For the most part they look in excellent health and spirits.

Longworth has been anxious to do its duty towards the Belgium refugees. A meeting was called to discuss the matter. It was agreed that it would probably be better to offer to support a family in Oxford rather than to get one to live in Longworth. The following quotation from the Oxford Secretary’s letter will show that the decision was a wise one:-

Thank you very much for your kind offer from Longworth village to provide for a Belgium [sic] Family in Oxford. It is exactly the kind of offer we most appreciate. I am afraid you would find great difficulty in making a family happy in the country in the winter, all the Belgians appear to be townspeople, and very few settle down in the country here. We are having a great deal of rearranging and resettling families here just now, and your offer will help us very much with our plans.

It is proposed that we should undertake to provide for a family for three months. The time to be prolonged later if it is found advisable. Offers of help have been received ranging from 6d to £1 a week for this time. A paper will be put somewhere in the village on which further subscriptions and donations may be entered; or they may be sent direct to Miss Crum (who is acting as Treasurer) or to Mrs Illingworth. One of the boxes in Church will also be devoted to this purpose. Any sums, however small, will be most acceptable. Vegetables, fruit and flowers may be sent to the Oxford Belgian Relief Committee, Ruskin College.

CHARNEY
The school girls have worked a number of socks, mittens, cuffs and scarves for the benefit of the sailors on board H.M.S. Antrim which is in the North Sea. The school children have also subscribed the sum of 10s towards the Belgian Relief Fund.

Longworth parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/1)

Longworth recruits include a woman

The people of Longworth who had remained at home were keen to support the war, while others had volunteered to serve – including one woman, at the Front with the Red Cross. The parish magazine reports:

Mr. Moon’s Ambulance Lectures were so much appreciated that they are (we believe) to be repeated. Miss Bartlett’s Nursing Lectures are also admirable, and the attendance from thirty to thirty-three proves that they are valued.

We give below a complete list, so far as we possess it, of the Longworth men who are serving their country in the Navy or the Army. If any corrections or additions are necessary, please send them to the Rectory as soon as possible.

Navy: George Painton, John Richings, Oscar Wilcox, Frederick Thatcher (Recruit).

Soldiers at the Front: Capt. Fitzwilliams, Lewis Brooks, Henry Timms, John Loder, Ernest Godfrey, Gilbert Beechy, William Hutt (Corporal, wounded), Reginald Harris, Albert Adams (wounded), Henry Newport, Herbert Hughes, John Leach (wounded), Richard Painton, James Hale, Mary Wilson (Red Cross).

Soldiers not yet at the Front: Major Crum, Charles Painton (Colour-Sergeant), Percy Painton (Quartermaster-Sergeant), Ewen Truman, Tom Sollis, John Hale, Walter Henley, James Webb, Harry Webb, Edward Webb.

Recruits: Edward Tyrhwitt-Drake, Herbert Wilson, Albert Hobbs (Lance-Corporal), John Porter (Corporal), Fred Heath, Ernest Ridge, William Pimm, George Pimm, Albert Pimm, Headley Luckett, John Rivers, Percy Butler, Alfred Leach, Harry Clarke, James Floyd, Vincent Adams, Robert Ashfield, Raymond Hobbs, Arthur Henley, Stephen Pike, and (although he is no longer with us in Longworth) Frank Knowles (Sergeant).

There is a Service of Intercession for all engaged in, or suffering through the War, on Fridays, at 3:30, in the Church.

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

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)

The people of Longworth and Charney support the war effort

Many young men from Longworth and Charney Bassett had answered the call and joined the armed forces. The Longworth parish magazine reports on these men, and what people at home could do to support them:

A poster calling upon us to remember in prayer our soldiers and sailors at the front, also the wounded, the prisoners and the bereaved, has been placed in the Church porch and elsewhere in the village. We hope it may be possible to ring the church bell at noon each day in order to remind us of this call. We shall be joining our prayers with thousands of others offered at the same time in every part of the country.

The names of men who are serving from this village are given, so far as we have been able to get them, below. They will also be found in the Church porch. Perhaps we could copy the list into our books of prayer, and so remember the men individually.

Soldiers- Henry Timms, John Loder, Ernest J. Godfrey, Lewis Brooks, Oscar Wilcox, Charles Truman, Charles Hammond, John K. L. Fitzwilliams.

Sailors- George Painton (North Sea), John Richings (China).

Recruits- Fred Heath, Ernest Ridge, George Pimm (Shorncliff), John Porter, Percy Butler, Alfred Leach, Harry Clarke, Hedley Luckett, Albert Hobbes, Francis John Rivers (Oxford), Richard Adams, Albert Pimm (Weymouth).

From Charney- George Shorter, George Wheeler, Ernest Franklyn.

In addition to the above, six have volunteered and been rejected as “medically unfit.” All honour to them notwithstanding, for they have done their best, and no man can do more. Will our readers be so kind as to help us to make this list complete.

CHARNEY
A service of Intercession on behalf of our soldiers and sailors engaged in the war is held each Wednesday at 7pm. The church bell is tolled a few times each day at noon as a call to private prayer on the same behalf. We should remember in our prayers the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, whose work is carried on chiefly in German territory. The sum of 7s. 8d. was collected in Church on Sunday, August 16, towards the Prince of Wales’ National Defence Fund.

Lady Hyde has kindly taken some “Quiet Afternoons” with the Charney mothers, and supplied them with material for making clothing for the soldiers and sailors.

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

Everyone’s hearts and minds are full of the war

The editor of the Longworth parish magazine had this to say about the war news:

The Rector and I shall still be away from Longworth when this magazine is delivered, and we are sure that every one’s heart and mind will be, as ours are, full of the War which, as we write, is raging in Europe. Instead of news therefore, this month we publish our Bishop’s letter to us his people, being very sure that many will desire to possess and ponder over his message. We have been privileged to join these holidays with many Christian people, at the daily Eucharists and other services, in intercessions for our army and navy, and our allies, and we hear of intercession services and work parties for the same cause at home. We should like to have the names of all those who have volunteered for, or been recalled to active service from Longworth, in order that they may be constantly remembered by name before the Throne of God. We would specially ask the members of the M.U. [Mothers’ Union]; C.E.M.S. [Church of England Men’s Society], and other communicants, to undertake this work on their behalf.

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