“The most wonderful thing in the whole story of the war is the marvellous heroism of our men”

Worshippers in Maidenhead were stirred by thoughts of the heroism of the men at the front.

EXTRACTS FROM A WAR ANNIVERSARY SERMON, AUGUST 5TH, 1917.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing in the whole story of the war is the marvellous heroism of our men. We were inclined to think that courage and the power of facing death for high ends belonged only to the past, that our age was too soft to risk life or maiming for an ideal. But it has turned out that the heroism and self-sacrifice of our men has been more wonderful than anything in the world’s history. The stories of Greek, Roman, Spartan bravery, have nothing to match it. Indeed, the conditions were wholly different. It is one thing to face death for a few hours in a brief battle or even series of battles, it is quite another to live for weeks and months while death in its most tremendous form is being rained incessantly upon you, and not a moment’s lull can be secured. So civilization, far from weakening man’s moral and physical fibre, has strengthened it, has given him a more masterly self-control, has made him capable of acts of courage and sacrifice which were not thought possible.

Before this war, we had stock illustrations of sublime heroism, the 300 at Thermopylae, brave Horatius at the bridge, and so on; and we had stock examples of generous self-sacrifice for comrades, Sir Philip Sidney at Zutphen, for instance. But we shall never dare to refer to these stories again, they are all obsolete, outfaced and outmatched a hundred times in the story of what our wonderful men have done. Our brothers are finer, nobler fellows than we had ever dreamed of! How many there have been like Julian Grenfell (Lord Desborough’s eldest son), of whom a short biography says that he went to the war as to a banquet for honour’s sake, that his following of Christ did not affect his ardour for the battle, that his intense moral courage distinguished him even more than his physical bravery from the run of common men, and his physical bravery was remarkable enough, whether he was hunting, boxing, or whatever he was at.

That is the spirit in which our Christian warfare must be waged. We shall do nothing if we go on in a haphazard sort of way. Said a scholar and saint not long ago, “Thoughtful men have no use for the Churches until they take their distinctive business in the world more seriously.” If we believe in God and salvation and another life, it is stupid to go out and live as though they were only fables. We must take God seriously, as men and women who believe that the rule of God is a grand reality. We must take worship seriously, knowing it to be the food of the soul; not playing with it as though it were a child’s pastime to be taken up or laid aside according to the mood of the moment. We must take Christian life seriously, remembering that if we are Christ’s, the first claim upon us (not the second or the twentieth) is to be seeking the widening of His Kingdom.


Maidenhead St Luke

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

May I draw your attention to two Parochial things: firstly, the Anniversary of the War, which we hope to observe with special forms of Service on Sunday, August 5th. I hope many will make a real effort to come, and, if possible, to attend the Holy Communion Service to pray for the speedy coming of a Righteous Peace, and for strength to do our duty, however hard it might seem…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Cookham Dean
Special Services during August

Sunday, August 5th – Services as appointed in connection with the Anniversary of the Declaration of War. Service books will be provided.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5); Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P181/28A/26); Cookham Dean parish magazine, Augst 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

A peer’s potato plan

Berkshire people were being encouraged to grow their own food. A local peer offered his advice.

Below is a short article which will be read with interest by many of our readers who were present at the meeting which was held on “Food Production.” We desire to take this opportunity of thanking Col. Wedderburn and Mr. Crisp for their helpful counsel at that meeting.

Potatoes
From Lord Desborough

Sir – it may be of interest to some of your readers who have gardens, and who are in want of seed potatoes, to hear of a plan which I have practised for some time.

For every potato which comes into the house has one eye cut out. The eye is put in a wooden tray in a leaf mould sufficient to cover it. When it sprouts it can be planted in the usual way, about the beginning of April. As this house has been used for some time as a Home of Rest for War Nurses, there is a large consumption of potatoes, but it is satisfactory to think that each potato consumed has a chance of producing six others. The surplus of sprouting potatoes can be given to those who can grow them.

Taplow Court, Taplow. Bucks. DESBOROUGH.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

River maintenance suspended

River maintenance seems to have come to a halt as a result of the war. Hugh Russell, representative of Berkshire County Council on the Thames Conservancy Board, reported as follows:

In common with other Authorities, the Conservators were affected by the War, and as about 100 of their employees were called up for service with the Forces, some of the works in hand, such as dredging and weed cutting, &c, had to be temporarily suspended. The Conservators were requested by the War Office, and other Authorities, to take measures for the protection of certain railway bridges, and other important points, and the measures taken met with the approval of the Army Council, who wrote to Lord Desborough, the chairman of the Board, expressing their appreciation and thanks for the steps which had been taken.

Hugh W Russell
18th January 1915

Report to Berkshire County Council (C/CL/C1/1/18)