Reading School’s contribution to the war

A complete listing of Reading School’s alumni who had served in the war.

OLD BOYS SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES.

This list has been compiled from information received up to December 14th, 1918; corrections and additions will be welcomed and should be addressed to: – R. Newport, Esq., Reading School, Reading.

Allnatt, Rifleman N.R. — London Rifle Brigade.
(killed in Action).
Ambrose, 2nd Lieut. L.C. — S.L.I.
Anderson, Pte. L.G. — Can. Exp. Force
Appelbee, 2nd Lieut. T. — 13TH West Yorks.
(Killed in Action).
Atkinson, Lieut. E.G. — Indian Army
Atkinson, Capt. G.P. — 6TH Royal North Lancs.
Atkinson, 2nd Lieut. J.C. — R.A.F.
Aust, 2nd Lieut. H.E. — Yorkshire Regt.
(Twice Wounded).
(Killed in Action).
Aveline, Lieut. A.P. — Royal Berks Regt,
(Wounded).
(Military Cross).
Baker, 2nd Lieut. A.C.S. — R.G.A.
Baker, Rifleman A.E. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Rifleman R.S. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Lieut. T.H. — 8TH Royal Berks Regt.
(Wounded)
Balding, Capt. C.D. — Indian Army.
Banks, Pte. W.R. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Bardsley, Capt. R.C — Manchester Regt.
(Wounded).
Barnard, F.P. —
Barroby, Trooper. F. — Strathcona Horse.
Barry, Capt. L.E. — R.A.F.
Baseden, Lieut. E. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Baseden, 2nd Lieut. M.W. — R.A.F.
Batchelor, Lieut. A.S. — Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.
Bateman, Capt. W.V. — Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Bayley, 2nd Lieut. F. — Chinese Labour Battalion.
Beckingsale, Pte. R.S. — Canadian Contingent.
Beckingsale, Capt. R.T. — Tank Corps (Military Cross).
(Wounded).

Belsten, E.K. — R.A.F.
Biddulph, 2nd Lieut. R.H.H. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Died of Wounds).
Bidmead, Pte. — Wilts regt.
Black, Pte. F. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Blazey, A.E.H. — R.A.F.
Blazey, 2nd Lieut. J.W. — Royal Berks Regt
(killed in Action).
Bleck, Lieut. W.E. — R.F.A.
Bliss, 2nd Lieut. A.J. — Leinster Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Bliss, Pte. W. — 2ND Batt.Hon.Art.Coy. (more…)

“When my enemy is dead then he is but a soul thrown into the boundless space of infinity, & he is no longer my enemy”

We have followed the story of Sydney Spencer from timid young man scared by the roughness of the army, but driven to join up; through his finally ariving at the front in 1918, to an experience with shell shock in August. Sadly, he would not survive the war. This is the last full letter written by Sydney to his beloved sister Florence; a couple of field postcards followed, before his death in action less than two months before the end of the war. Here he describes his current bivouac, and spares a thought for the enemy. His story epitomises the tragedy of the war, and his spirit shines through the years between us.

Sept 15th 1918
7th Norfolks
My Dearest Florence

My pillow is my haversack containing iron rations, my bedding, borrowed Burberrys eyc. (My kit – all of it – is still wandering about between here & Cox & Co’s London!) Now for the door which is the chef d’oeuvre! It is about 2 ½ feet square i.e. the opening of it! The door is a lid of a sugar box which just fits it! Hence when I go to bed, I lie down on the ground & pull myself into the bivouac by my hands. When I go out, I have to go feet first, & back out probably looking about as dignified in the action as does a dog over whose head some wretched boy has tied a paper bag! Dear old Dillon [his captain] chuckles with delight when he sees me getting in & out. My batman is about as big as I am [Sydney was rather small] & he & I are about the only two who can fit inside! Mind you I believe that he & Bodger (Dillon’s batman) made the entrance small on purpose, a covert pulling of my leg. Nevertheless it is so ‘cumfy’ [sic] & warm & dry I love the little spot. Its dimensions are 7 feet length, 4 feet breadth. Height 2 ½ to 3 feet high. Voila ma cherie. Vous avez une phantasie vraisemblable de ma maisonette qui doit vous donner a rire? [This rather bad piece of French translates as “there you are, my darling. You have a vision resembling my little house which will make you laugh”.] …

Two nights ago German aeroplanes (note I say German, I hate ‘Hun’, ‘boche’ etc, it is petty!) came over on bombing intent. A low moon sickly behind a cloud hung (it could not do much else by the way!) in the sky! Planes over. Lights out! The usual boredom. Then about 14 search lights crisscrossed in the sky. Hallo, they have got one in the ray. I had my strong field glasses & there sure enough in the focus of about a dozen searchlights I could see him. He glowed against the deep blue green of the sky, like those lovely flies of May which have transparent emerald green wings. The usual rat-a-tan of machine guns & the muffled boom of shells bursting round him followed. Then high above him appeared a speck of light like a star which winked & glowed & winked again. Machine gun fire stopped. This was one of our men after him. A moment of waiting, a dull spark of light like a shooting star (a tracer bullet) sped by the enemy plane, another one, a momentary pause then a sheet of flame curved gracefully to earth followed by a brilliant stream of coloured lights – some mystic comet from a Miltonian chaos & dark night it looked – & the soul of an enemy passed into the infinite. Over lonely wooden crosses in shell holes one sees in German characters a name & above it the one word ‘Ruhe’ [rest]. I felt that for him. Through all this I cannot help preserving the thought that when my enemy is dead then he is but a soul thrown into the boundless space of infinity, & he is no longer my enemy. Another enemy plane came, another fight took place & he sped to earth at a sickly pace, his signal rockets all colours bursting out behind him in reckless profusion. I suppose he crashed to earth too somewhere, but he did not set on fire.

This afternoon I was in my nothings & a very smart sergeant came up to me & said, “Are you Sydney Spencer”? Well I thought “Yes I am Sydney Spencer as it happens but anyway what the – is it to do with you”, & then “My word, it is Frank Godfrey!” My dear, I was so overwhelmed at meeting someone from Cookham, that I nearly fell on his neck in front of the whole company – all with their nothings on – & wept. I had not seen him since Aug 1914. Thus does anyone from home stir one!

Percy. How is he? I hoped he would be held in bed for months to prevent his coming out soon….

Leave. Think, Florence, I have been out here 6 months & possibly before Christmas I may get leave! And then a rug in front of a warm fire, your sweet selves to charm me to laziness and – oh well – let’s wait till it comes off. I might get impatient if I wrote more on that score. …

Cigarettes. By the way, you said in one of your letters that you had sent Dillon 500 cigarettes. I think from a business point of view you should know that the parcel contained 200. He did not tell me for a long time, but when he did, I thought you ought to know in case Coln Lunn [the merchant] made a mistake & only packed 200, charging you with 500.

The men were delighted with the share they got of them. Dillon, dear old chap, was almost pathetically grateful….

My kit & cheque book are wandering about somewhere in France or England & have been doing so for the last about 40 days, & at present I sit twiddling my thumbs & waiting! When I came out of hospital, lo! I had no hat, no belt, no change of linen, no nothing except for a pair of Tommy’s slacks & a tunic! I managed to go to Le Havre where I spent fabulous sums on making myself look like an officer, having managed to borrow a cheque, which I changed at Cox & Co’s…

By the way, darling, you may send that kit for which I asked although probably by the time I get it all my other kit will come tumbling back & then I shall be once more told I possess too much.

All love to you my sweet sister & to John, of whose approbation – told me through your letters – I am more proud than I can say

Your always affectionate Brer Sydney

Letter from Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EZ177/8/3/79-82)

That weird & wonderful place known as “up the line”

Percy Spencer had recovered from the rough sea crossing, and anticipated his arrival at the Front.

Apl 17, 1918

My dear WF

In a few days time I expect to be in that weird & wonderful place known as “up the line”.

My posting order is through, and my address will be “15th Lon Regt, 140th Infantry Brigade, BEF, France”.

I’m the only one going to the 15th. Everyone else is going to his own regiment, as apparently the authorities, if slow, have a long memory, and my fortune may not be bad.

When you have time, will you please place an order with Colin Lunn for 1/6 of Fryers “Original” per month – 1/6 to be sent out now.

I’m afraid my letter last night [poss 7/7/28] was rather incoherent. The boat still rocks if I look down, but I’m almost enjoying a pipe again.

Today we have been doing gas again, and that I think is about all that will be required of us until we go up.

I’ll write more when I have more news.

With love to all

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/29)

Killed by a shell on his way back to the trenches

A Cranbourne was killed in unfortunate circumstances.

We have to record, with much regret, the death of Private Ernest Lunn. He had been in the Hospital and was killed by a shell on his way back to the trenches. A memorial service was held on Sunday afternoon, May 13th. He leaves a widow and two young children with whom much sympathy has been expressed.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

Remembering Frederick Lunn

Soldiers were generally buried where they died, but their friends and families often held church services to remember them.

A Memorial Service for the late Pte. Frederick Lunn was held in the Church on December 10th.

Winkfield section of Winkfield district magazine, January 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/1)

“His parents have received no official report from the War Office”

There was news of the Winkfield men serving.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

Our deep sympathy goes out to the parents and relations of Pte. John Lunn who was killed inaction in the beginning of November. At the time of writing his parents have received no official report from the War Office, but they heard the sad news from his Commanding Officer who, in a sympathetic letter speaks in high terms of their dead son and the regret felt at his loss.

Lieut. Cecil Hayes-Sadler, R.E., and Privates Albert Fletcher, George Higgs, Earnest Woodage have gone to the front in France, and Dr. Albert Jones has sailed for Salonika. Their names are added to our long list read out in Church, with the request for special prayer in our Intercessions on the second and last Sundays in the month.

We have just learnt that Pte. F. Street has recently joined the M.T.A.S.C.

We are glad to hear that Pte. C.E.Burt is now doing well after his relapse and is in Reading Hospital.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1916 (D/P151/28A/12)

Temporary shades not effective

It proved impossible to get Winkfield church dark enough to comply with new laws aimed at preventing air raids.

THE VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS.

I want all to clearly understand why it is that we are unable for a few weeks to have Sunday Evening Service in the Parish Church. The new lighting regulations are the cause, but if shades on the lamps had been sufficient to meet the requirements of the authorities there would have been no need to discontinue the Evening Services. To make sure I asked the Sergeant of Police to attend Church on Sunday, January 9th, when it would be lighted up. He kindly came, and after the Service we tried some temporary shades which Mr. George Brown was good enough to bring, but as, in spite of these, the light was still reflected through the unstained windows, the Sergeant reported that only curtains over the windows on the north side and over the vestry and belfry windows could meet the case.

I therefore consulted the Churchwardens and we came to the conclusion that we were not justified in going to the considerable expense of putting up curtains when the Church at Winkfield Row could be darkened at a trifling cost; especially since it was only a question of about six weeks, and by the second Sunday in March we should be able to resume evening service in the Parish Church. Moreover I felt that it might be well to try the experiment of seven Sunday evening services at the other end of the parish, as if it were shown that these were valued, it might be possible another winter to have occasional services there, and judging from the good congregations that have assembled, it seems that the experiment was justified.

You will find in this magazine a leaflet addressed to the women of our neighbourhood by the District War Agricultural Committee. I hope it may meet with some real response, and I should be glad if I can be of any help in explaining the matter or on forwarding the names of any who would like to be put on the register.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H. M. MAYNARD.

PARISH NOTES

The following have recently joined His Majesty’s Forces:-

Alfred Brant, Queen’s Own Ox. Hussars.
John Carter, Royal Engineers.
Albert Higgs, King’s Royal Rifles.
Fred Lunn, 5th Rifle Brigade.

Pte. George Chaney has recently been in hospital at the Front, but we are glad to hear that he is now in a Convalescent camp and likely to be completely restored to health.

THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS TO OUR MEN.- These accounts have been kindly audited by Mr. A. Elliot. They show:

Total Receipts … £24 5 11
Expenditure … 19 5 5½

Mrs. Maynard has handed the balance of £5 0s. 5½d. to Mrs. Ferard for Red Cross work in the parish.

Winkfield section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

Why should the young do all the fighting and the dying and offer the great sacrifice by themselves?

The people of Winkfield were urged to support the young men who were heading to the Front.

VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

When you receive this Magazine we shall be nearing the completion of a year of War, and this fact cannot fail to solemnize in our minds and make us seriously consider whether we are one and all doing our duty in this supreme crisis of our Nation’s history.

The call to service and sacrifice has been answered by numbers of our young men – a list of whom is printed in this month’s Magazine – but have we who are unable to offer ourselves for active service contributed all we can and ought to the common cause? As the Bishop of London says, why should the young do all the fighting and the dying and offer the great sacrifice by themselves? The sacrifice that is for all should be offered by all, and all are bound to make the resolution “I will pray, I will repent, I will serve, I will save.”

And yet we must sorrowfully confess that the army of intercessors to offer prayer as sacrificial as the self-oblation of the millions of men who have offered themselves for war, has not been forthcoming; unlike France or Russia, out Churches have not been filled with men and women to pray for the men whose peril and blood is their shield, and I must confess to much heart sickness and disappointment that even our intercessory services in the second Sunday evenings and the last Sunday mornings in the month have not been better attended.

What is the explanation? It cannot be that we are indifferent to our country’s need or without love to our brothers at the Front; nor is it that England does not believe in God; there is enough love of our country and enough belief in God to crowd our Churches with earnest suppliants. What then is lacking? Is it not the belief in prayer and especially the belief in united supplication in God’s house? Is not the lack of this the reason why the men and women who ought to be in the praying line have not proved so steadfast as the men in the fighting line, who so greatly need our prayers, and surely have a right to expect them.

I sincerely hope therefore that large numbers will make a real and special effort to attend the special Intercession Services on Wednesday, August 4th and on Sunday, August 8th, of which notice is given in another column. The result of this war will depend very largely on the atmosphere of prayer which has been created, for prayer is the strongest force in the world, and as has been truly said, through prayer we bring our nation and our Allies into contact with Christ, and set the life of the whole Society as well as individuals in the stream of that purpose of redemptive love which can overrule even war for God.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H. M. MAYNARD.

PARISH NOTES

Lieut. Godfrey Loyd and Private Henry Hoptroff have just gone to the Front, and Privates Edwin Gray, Ernest Gray, Edward Holloway and Lance-Corporal Reginald Nickless are under orders to be in readiness to go immediately. We trust that they and their naturally anxious relatives will have a place in our prayers.

Much sympathy is felt for the family of Private John Williams (Royal Field Artillery) who died in hospital after a very long and distressing illness. He was buried with full military honours at Cosham Cemetery on July 1st, and special memorial prayers were said for him on Sunday, July 4th.

NOTICE

On Wednesday, 4th August, the anniversary of the declaration of war, a great service in St. Paul’s Cathedral has been arranged, when the King and all the leaders of the nation will attend to inaugurate the second year of the war be asking God’s help. In Winkfield Church, there will be Celebration of the Holy Communion at 8 a.m., and Litany and Intercession at 11 a.m. Also Evensong and Intercession at S. Mary the Less at 7.30 p.m.

On Sunday, August 8th, both morning and evening, there will be special services with Intercessions and Thanksgivings for the way in which the country has been preserved from many dangers.

The following is list of Winkfield men serving in His Majesty’s Forces at Home and Abroad.
(more…)

A fight for liberty and honour

The Winkfield parish magazine had news of local soldiers, and a report on the Christmas gifts sent out to the Front. It also took a look back at the lessons of history and the possible meaning for the present war.

We have heard with regret of the death in action of William Cartland, aged 21. He was severely wounded and died the same day.

William Cartland lived here until he enlisted in the Army about three years ago; he was confirmed in 1909, and was a communicant and member of our Guild. He will be deeply mourned by many friends in Winkfield who loved and respected him, and much sympathy is felt for Mrs. Cartland and family in their great loss.

Our wounded.
We welcome home Pte. Albert Carter for a brief rest and convalescence.

Pte. Charles Reed who left for the Front only a few weeks ago, is in hospital at Southampton with frost-bitten legs and rheumatic fever, but we rejoice to hear that he is already convalescent; also that Pte. Charles Lunn, who was wounded, is progressing well in hospital.

We much regret that no further news has been heard of Pte. Charles Streamer, who was reported wounded. It was thought that he was in hospital in England, but the War Office can give no news of his whereabouts, and much sympathy is felt for his relatives in their great anxiety.

We were delighted to see at the beginning of the month Cecil Hayes-Sadler who obtained a few days well earned leave from the Front after some months of most useful and hazardous work as a despatch rider. Mr. Hayes-Sadler has the honour of being the first of our Winkfield Volunteers to get out to the Front.

‘15

In the days when Britannia’s rule of the waves was being established, “the Fifteen” was a common phrase in England to describe the attempt of the “Old Pretender” to regain the crown which his father James II., lost by interfering with the liberties of the English people. A. D. 1715 was the date of that attempt. Few of us, in the present time of trouble, are likely to forget another “Fifteen,” when on June 18th, 1815, 22,000 British Soldiers with a mixed force of 45,000 allied troops withstood 80,000 French veterans on the field of Waterloo. That, too, was a fight for liberty and honour. But the greatest “Fifteen” of all was seven hundred years ago. John, King of England and France had made one of the many attempts of the Norman Kings to destroy the customs and freedom of the English over whom he ruled. At the Island of Running-mead in the Thames Valley, on June 19th, 1215 he was brought to book, signing the Magna Charta, which has since become the charter of freedom not only in England but of the whole civilised world. Again and again John’s successors have tried to revoke that charter – again and again they have been brought to book. At last England grew tired of the incessant struggle and banished the last to break the peace of the realm (James II.). This settled the question, perhaps for ever. Is it too much to hope that out of 1915 may come a similar judgement on rulers who break the peace of Europe?

SOLDIERS’ AND SAILORS’ CHRISTMAS PRESENT SCHEME.

This has now reached a satisfactory conclusion, and 51 parcels have been dispatched. The following warm things were sent out : 24 undervests, 22 pairs of gloves, 8 pairs of socks, 9 helmets, 2 mufflers, 7 mittens, 2 knitted purses, 1 belt, 4 dozen khaki handkerchiefs, 4 air cushions, 2 other presents; and each parcel contained also such items as these: cigarettes, matches, candles, chocolate, soap, string, writing paper, safety pins, a “first aid” to French, and cough lozenges.

Miss Montgomerie wishes to thank all those who helped to bring this undertaking to a satisfactory issue, especially Mrs. Brant and Miss. Jenden, both of whom have given most kind assistance.

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

Every young man should know his duty

The Winkfield parish magazine was proud that many of its young men had joined up (and one female nurse), but urged others to follow them. They also shared a poem more notable for its keen patriotism than its literary merits.

Our Choir has been denuded of about half its senior members, five of them having volunteered for Foreign Services in answer to their country’s call.

We may perhaps feel rather proud of the number of men from this parish who are now serving their Country in this great National crisis, but it may well be that there are still some holding back who ought to come forward in response to the stirring appeal “Your King and Country need you.” As the Bishop of Chelmsford has truly said, “In this war or right against wrong every young man should seek to know his duty, and when he knows it face it even unto death.”

Besides a large number who have enrolled themselves as Special Constables, 45 young men of the parish are now either serving at the Front or undergoing training to take their part in this great war. We print a copy of the list posted on the Church door, and hope that more names will soon be added to this list of honour which perhaps at the end of the war may take more permanent form of a board or tablet so as to hand down to future generations the names of those who fought in the brave days of old.

NOW AT THE FRONT

Blunden, Horace Frank Ottaway, Ernest (Navy)
Brant, George Ottaway, Harry
Carter, Albert Reed, Charles
Harris, Herbert Rixon, Fred
Hayes-Sadler, Cecil Simmonds, John S. (Navy)
Lunn, Charles Streamer, Charles
Mitchell, George (Navy) Taylor, William (Navy)
Mitchell, Henry Thurmer, Ernest
Ottaway, Albert Woodage, Walter

Sister Constance Druce.

UNDERGOING TRAINING

Banstead, George Hoptroff, Henry
Berney, Thomas Reedham Jenden, Cecil
Chaney, George Kimble, Archibald
Chaney, John Maynard, Forster H.M.
Diaper, Arthur Nickless, Reginald
Fisher, William Nickless, Wallace
Gray, Edwin Parrott, William
Greatham, Charles Reed, Walter
Harris, Ernest Rixon, Henry
Hayes-Sadler, Ralph Spears, William
Hipple, George Thurmer, William
Holloway, William Thurmer, Robert
Holmes, Arthur Webb, Albert
Holmes, Fred

(more…)