Many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others

The hard work of women from Newbury and Speen during the war is reviewed.

RED CROSS WORKING PARTY

The Parish Red Cross Working Party, under the superintendence of Mrs L Majendie, was started by her at the Rectory, Newbury, on May 1st, 1915.

The first meeting was hastily summoned for the purpose of making respirators, but as it was found these were not required, being provided by the War Office, work for hospitals and other objects was substituted.

Mrs Majendie carried on the meetings at more or less regular intervals from a fortnight to three weeks, with suspension of these generally during Lent.

She was assisted, first by Miss Boldero (who also held a number of supplementary meetings for mending for Newbury District Hospital), and later by Mrs and Miss Majendie, Speen.

The number of names on the books was between 50 and 60, and of these over 30 attended regularly from the first meeting, May 1st, 1915, to the last, February 18th, 1919. Thanks are due to all the members, but more especially to these last, also to the various hostesses who provided tea, and lent their houses for meetings (many more would have been glad to do this, if lack of space had not forbidden it).

The hostesses were Mrs L Majendie, Miss Boldero, Mrs A Majendie and Miss D Majendie, Miss Godding, Mrs Gould, Mrs Hawker, Mrs Porter, Mrs Camp, Mrs O’Farrell, Mrs Colbourne, amd Miss Bellinger. Some entertained at their own houses, some at the Conservative Club, and a large number of meetings were held at the Parish Room.

Some members have left Newbury, including several Belgian ladies, who worked regularly for a time.

The objects worked for were very numerous, 24 in all, and included the following:

1. Reading War Hospital, twice.
2. Newbury District Hospital, 9 times.
3. Newbury War Depot, 6 times.
4. Miss Power’s Hospital, once.
5. General Hospital No. 18, France (to Miss Hayne), once.
6. The Minesweeper Newbury, 7 times.
7. HMS Conquest (to Lieut. Burgess), once.
8. Submarine F3 (to Lieut. Burgess, once).
9. The Navy League, 3 times.
10. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Malta, once.
11. Malta and Near East Special Red Cross Appeal, once.
12. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Rouen, twice.
13. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Stationary, No. 3, France, 12 times. Extra parcels were often sent to Dr Heywood’s Hospital at other times.
14. Ripon Camp Hospital (Dr Mackay), twice.
15. French Red Cross, twice.
16. French War Emergency Fund, 11 times.
17. National Committee for Relief in Belgium and Northern France, twice.
18. Belgian Red Cross, once.
19. Italian White Cross, twice.
20. Russian Prisoners of War, once.
21. Serbian Relief Fund, 7 times.
22. Syria and Palestine Relief Fund, 5 times.
23. Air Raid victims in London, once.
24. Soldiers’ Children Aid Committee, twice.

Making 73 meetings in all.

The many grateful letters received are too numerous to quote, but each one showed clearly how much the recipients appreciated the parcels of well made clothing despatched from Newbury. Not only were new clothes sent, but many gifts of garments slightly worn, but in good condition were also sent to various Societies. These were received with special thankfulness for the many refugees in France, Belgium, and Serbia, and as the work of repatriation in some of these terribly devastated regions will have to be carried on for months to come, parcels might still be forwarded from time to time if members cared to collect for them.

Thanks are specially due to those members who were kind enough to continually lend their sewing machines for ten meetings, and to several who undertook from time to time cutting-out at home.
The sum of £92 7s 8d was collected in donations and subscriptions, and was expended in flannel, flannelette, linen, twill, sheeting, muslin, gauze, lint, and cotton wool, which were all worked up into about 2,653 different articles, comprising, roughly speaking, the following:

735 treasure bags, 386 bandages, 376 miscellaneous things (such as washers, dusters, hot water bottle covers, table napkins, etc), 253 children’s garments, 210 men’s shirts, 177 knitted articles (socks, helmets, mufflers, operation stockings, etc), 128 collars and ties for hospital wear, 108 men’s vests and other underclothing, 106 women’s underclothing and blouses, 86 towels, 68 pillow cases and sheets, 20 pair steering gloves (leather palms): total 2,653.

The pleasant fellowship in which the members worked so untiringly through many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others, may well have strengthened not only parochial and personal ties, but also many wider ones with those they were privileged to help.

Newbury parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Advertisements

Westminster Chimes in the Tower or a Calvary or Crucifix in the Churchyard?

Newbury began to consider its war memorial.

A Meeting of Parishioners was held at the Parish Room on January 22nd to consider the question of a War Memorial to the memory of those fallen in the War. There was a fair attendance, though more might have been there. Various suggestions were brought forward and considerable discussion took place. Finally, it was decided to consider the putting of a Memorial of some kind in the Church to contain the names of the men; the putting of the Westminster Chimes in the Tower; and the erection of a Calvary or Crucifix in the Churchyard. For this a Committee was appointed, consisting of the following: the Rector and Churchwardens, The Mayor, Mr C Hawker, Mr G W Roberts, Mr D Geater, The Mayoress, Mrs L R Majendie, Mrs H E Pratt, Miss Godding, Miss Plows, Miss K Harrison, Miss L H Barnes, amd Miss P Belcher, with power to add to their number.

Newbury parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Killed instantaneously by a shell

Working in labour groups doing manual logistical work behind the lines could be as dangerous as actually fighting in the trenches.

We offer sincere sympathy to Mrs Canning, whose son Arthur has been killed in France, and also to Mr and Mrs Joseph Bosley who have also lost a son, Francis James. He was working with a Labour Battalion behind the lines, and was killed instantaneously by a shell.

Brevet Lt-Col. B J Majendie, DSO, recently commanding the 4th Batt. King’s Royal Rifles at Salonica, has been promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in command of the 65th Infantry Brigade.

Capt. Wilfred Belcher has been promoted to the rank of Brigade Major.

RED CROSS WORK PARTY

The total amount collected from January to December, 1917, was £22. 8s. 6d. Twenty-three meetings were held during 1917, working for about 12 different objects, some two or three times during the year.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, July 1918(D/P89/28A/13)

“This year we shall be obliged to keep Lent, whether we like it or not”

Shortages were beginning to affect everyone.

LENT

It seems that this year we shall be obliged to keep Lent, whether we like it or not. Railway travel has been curtailed, food prices are still rising, food is getting scarce, and all the efforts of the nation are to be devoted to winning the war. As Church-people we are used to the season of Lent, but there is a question whether we have kept it as we ought, in fact it is certain that many Church-people have paid very little attention to the Church’s injunctions in this respect. But we cannot disobey the State with impunity, and we should be extremely selfish if we did not do our bit to practise economy, and so help to save the Nation’s food. There are many who might, with advantage, purchase War Savings Certificates, to help the country and to make provision for the future; and we would beg all our readers to do their very utmost to carry out the Food Controller’s instructions, in the spirit in which they were issued. The Germans are not yet decisively beaten – if this is to be done, everyone of us will have to help.

We should like to offer our sincere sympathy to Mr and Mrs Savage on the untimely death of a good son and promising young soldier. Edward George Savage was confirmed at the Parish Church in 1912. He passed away from the effects of pneumonia, following upon an attack of measles… The coffin was borne by soldiers, and there was a following party of the Royal Flying Corps.

We would also offer our sincere sympathy to Mrs Manley on the death of her husband on service, as announced in the “Newbury Weekly News” of February 15th.

The National Schools have had a bad time during the long continued frost: first of all on account of the heating apparatus misbehaving itself; and secondly, on account of the water being frozen. The Managers have endeavoured to remedy the former by adding to the boiler: it is possible that the coke does not nowadays give out so much heat, as certain properties have to be taken out for the manufacture of explosives.

The Parish Room has now been evacuated by the Military, and has returned to its usual state. The soldiers were very quiet and well behaved during their stay there. The occupation brought in a little money to the Parish Room Fund. We trust that outside people, who have been accustomed to use the room, will now appreciate the privilege more. The men who were billeted in the Parish Room desire, through the medium of the Parish Magazine, to sincerely thank all those who so kindly contributed to their comfort during their stay there.

Mrs L R Majendie would be grateful for gifts of material, such as cretonne, for the members of the Mothers’ Meetings to make “treasure bags” for wounded soldiers.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

“We now have several families in which no less than five sons are serving King and Country”

Men from across Reading were joining up in their droves.

All Saint’s District
Congratulations

Our heartiest congratulations to Capt. A.H. Norris, R.A.M.C. on being awarded the Military Cross.

Roll Of Honour

The following additional names have been sent in for remembrance at the Alter:

Donald Anderson, William Ayres, Bert Ayres, Thomas William George Bernard, Frank Ernest Butler, Lawrence Darwall, Frederick Charles Dolton, Cecil Hankey Dickson King, Vivian Majendie, Arthur Ernest New, Arthur Herbert Norris, Norman Alexander Norris, Rowland Victor Norris, Harold Sales, Richard James Saunders, Joseph Styles, George Thomas, Frank Thomas, James Young.

It may be of interest to note that we now have several families in which no less than five sons are serving King and Country.

S. Saviours District
R.I.P.

Two more of our young men have, we hear, laid down their lives for their country. Sidney Ostridge, brother of Alfred Ostridge, server at S. Saviour’s, has been killed in France; and Corporal Walter Paice, son of Mrs. Lane, a faithful worshipper at S. Saviour’s, was killed instantly in action on the night of October 3rd, near Salonika, to the great regret of his comrades, officers and men, among whom he was very popular. Their families are assured of our sincerest sympathy. The officer of one of them writes: “He died a noble death,” and a sergeant writes: “ He was laid to rest just behind us and the Chaplain held the service and placed a Cross at the head of the grave.” There is hope in the Cross.

S. Marks District
R.I.P.

It was with very great regret that we heard Private G. W. Davis had been killed in action. He was very well known and respected in this District, and we offer to his widow and all his relations our very sincere sympathy.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P98/28A/14)

“Our fear of the Censor forbids us saying what he has done”

There was good news about some of the Newbury men in the armed forces.

A new departure has been made at the close of the Sunday evening service, in reading out the names of those who are entered on the Intercession List in the Church. Owing to the number of names, the list is being divided into about four parts, and thus should be completed during the month. May we once more remind the parishioners that we have prayers for the war twice daily, and sometimes more, and also that the Great Service where they can specially find Help for themselves in trouble or anxiety, and where they can best pray for their absent friends, is the Service of the Holy Communion.

Another room is being opened, this time in St John’s Parish, as a recreation room for wounded soldiers at the Hospital, an institution which was much needed. The old Boys’ British School has been lent by the Local Education Authority, and the Hon. Secretary, Mr Harrison, writes to appeal for donations, writing materials, books, magazines, papers, tables, sofas, easy chairs, screens, cards and games.

Major B J Majendie, KRRC, has been promoted to the rank of temporary Lieut-Colonel, and given command of the 12th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.

Lance-Corporal Charles Crossman is a prisoner of war in the hands of the Germans. We are sorry for him in his incarceration, but we should have been still more sorry if he had been killed, as there was some fear of for some days. Mr Crossman has been a steadfast member of the CEMS and a most useful Sunday School teacher, and we should have missed him very much in either capacity.

One of our old choir boys, Gordon Burgess, formerly in the Merchant Service, and now in the Royal Navy, has been distinguishing himself. Our fear of the Censor forbids us saying what he has done, but a large German Flag and a message of congratulation from the Admiral, which Mrs Burgess now possesses, go to prove that he has been making himself very useful to his country on the sea.

The Rev. F Streatfeild has been home on leave from the Front, and, we are glad to know, is in good health.

Newbury parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Every additional sand-bag may mean the preservation of a soldier’s life”

As Newbury men fell at the Front, the town’s women were trying to save lives by making sandbags.

The War has been lately still further brought home to us by the casualties which have occurred among our old lads. We should like to express our sincerest sympathy with the parents of those who have been killed or wounded, or reported missing, among the latter being Sydney Isaac Hughes, Joseph Alfred Hopson, and Harry Brice Biddis; and especially with Mr Gregory and his family on the death of his only son, William George, one of our old choir-boys, who was killed at that terrible scene of war, the Dardanelles. Willie Gregory was one of our best choir-boys, and was a young man of much promise, and we now hold his memory in special honour for his noble death of self-sacrifice. It has been truly said that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’, and those who die today in the sacred cause of truth and justice, are adding strength and glory to the Church to which they belong, and are giving fresh incentive to us to lead a true Christian life.

A special War Intercession Service for men has been organised by Mr Rupert Adey, and has been held on Monday nights in the Parish Room. It is possible that this will be combined with the Men’s Bible Class, which starts again on the first Monday in October.

A Committee has been formed for the purpose of providing additional sand-bags for our troops. The committee consists of Mrs A Camp, Mrs H Cooke, Mrs C A Hawker, Nrs G W Roberts, with Miss Boldero as Treasurer, and Mrs L R Majendie in the chair. A large number of bags have been cut out by Mr H Godding, and these can be obtained at the Parish Room on Tuesday mornings from 11 to 12, beginning with Tuesday, October 5th, and Thursday evenings, from 7 to 8, beginning with Thursday, October 7th. We hope that many people will come and take the bags home to sew up, instruction as to which will be obtainable at the Parish Room: and the Treasurer will be very glad to receive subscriptions towards the cost of the material, which is between six and seven pounds. Every additional sand-bag may mean the preservation of a soldier’s life.

Newbury parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

A privilege much appreciated at the Front

Frank Streatfeild, an Anglican clergyman who had been living in Newbury, became an army chaplain in 1914. He was with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France.

The Rev. Frank Streatfeild has courageously gone to the Front as Chaplain to the Forces, and we hope his friends in Newbury will remember him in his new and responsible work. The Rector received an interesting letter from him, describing among other things an open-air Communion service, where all the Communicants were men, and it is evident that the privilege is much appreciated at the Front. It will be remembered that a former Newbury curate, the Rev. F A Hill, is also out with the men.

The energetic ladies have opened St George’s Mission Room on week-day evenings as a Club for Soldiers. A considerable number have made use of the Room and have found there games, writing paper, music and refreshments. One evening a Whist Drive was held which the men – and the ladies – much enjoyed. Some male help would be appreciated with the Club.

In answer to an appeal for the wounded from the Dardanelles in the Hospitals at Malta, where Dr Heywood is working, the following generous response was made:

Given by members of the Newbury Parish and Donnington Square Red Cros Work Parties and by Anon: Miss A Boyce, Mr Bragg, Miss Cotton, Mr H Davis, Miss Davis, Miss Etty, Rev. W S and Mrs Edgell, Mr and Mrs J Morgan Ellis, Mr Harrison, Mrs J H Hopson, Misses Harrison, Miss A Hoad, Mrs Howard, Mr Josselyn, Rev. and Mrs L R Majendie, Mrs Milward, Mrs Pettican, Mrs Plows, Mrs B Pinniger, Rev. H G Rogers, Misses Sperring, Miss Watts, Mrs Wellock.

3 pairs sheets, 13 pillowcases, 21 Towels, 16 table napkins, 6 pairs pyjamas, 11 cotton shirts, 14 pairs socks, 4 handkerchiefs, 20 holland bags, 12 jig-saw puzzles, 1 book, 2 boxes cigarettes, 2 india-rubber hot water bottles, 3 hot water bottle covers, 11 pieces toilet soap, 2 Price’s service boxes, 2 yards macintosh sheeting, 2 yards jaconet, 4 lbs cotton wool, 6 lbs lint, 1 lb boracic lint, 5 dozen bandages, 4 boxes rubber plaster.


Newbury parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

Socks and prayer

The parish of Newbury St Nicolas suggested supporting their men at the front both with prayer and more practically.

Major Majendie and his men are now at the front, and enduring the discomforts of the Trenches, with rests inbetween. It is evidently impossible for us at home to realise all that our brave soldiers are going through at the Call of Duty, but we can at least help them with our prayers and sympathy. Should this take the practical form of sending out more socks for the men, they will be received with real gratitude, and may be the means of warding off illness.

Newbury parish magazine, February 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

Summer clothes in an English winter

Some troops were brought over from service in far flung parts of the Empire, and had relatively little time to prepare for the change in climate. One battalion who had been serving in the summer heat of India suddenly faced a chilly English winter. The parishioners of Newbury offered them some warm clothes (not to mention something to smoke).

The warm garments so generously contributed by the members of the congregation were distributed to the men of the 4th Batt. Kings Royal Rifles the day after they arrived at Winchester from India, and were much appreciated, especially in view of the cold and wet weather into which they came. Another appeal was made, this time in the Parish Church, and resulted in the following articles being given:

1 sweater, 1 cardigan jacket, 4 vests, 6 helmets, 6 khaki handkerchiefs, 22 pairs of socks, 32 body belts, 33 pairs of mittens, 34 mufflers, 16 packets of tobacco, and some strong leather bootlaces.

Major Majendie in a letter of thanks said “they were magnificent gifts and very much appreciated, as we all arrived in summer clothes. Every man in my company had something. Please let the workers know how grateful the men were.” The Battalion is now at the Front, and as Mrs. B.J. Majendie hopes to send out contributions to them every fortnight, any additional gifts will be welcome at the Rectory.

Newbury parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

A German invasion is not an impossibility

The Newbury parish magazine urged parishioners with military experience to consider joining a new local defence force to act as a last line of defence in the event of invasion.

Christmas is coming, and although it seems certain that the war will not be over, and that there must still be much sadness and anxiety on all hands, which will naturally interfere with the usual festivities.

Mrs Lionel Majendie having made a private appeal for warm garments for the men of the 4th Battalion of the 60th Rifles, met with a most generous response, and was enabled to send off the following:-

1 Sweater
8 Shirts
30 Pairs of Mittens
35 Helmets
56 Belts
75 Mufflers
109 Pairs of Socks
Total 314

Major and Mrs Bernard Majendie send their best thanks to all those who have so kindly sent warm garments for the men of the 4th Battalion Kings Royal Rifles, for which they are most Grateful (November 1914).

The number of the National Reserves at the Race-Course is growing less, as also is the number of prisoners; the reason being that the authorities have decided that the camp is too cold and damp to have men quartered there during the winter, and the prisoners are now being removed elsewhere with their guards.

The C.E.M.S. have shewn their interest in the welfare of the troops by giving a concert to the Yeomanry, and another to the National Reserves. The former looked as if it would be a failure, for at first there were considerably more performers present than audience, but more were fetched in, and in the end the entertainment was quite a success – moreover it was continued on the following night with the help of the men themselves. The other concert was held in the Y.M.C.A. tent at the Race Course, and the performers boldly ran the gauntlet of the armed sentries and of a powerful draught which raged in the tent. The concert ended with prayer and the singing of hymn 27, in which all present joined heartily.

The number of men appealed for by the government and Lord Kitchener has not yet been by any means completed, and it is a question whether other means should not now be employed to obtain them. The Rector has received an invitation from the War Office to see if he can find any non-commissioned officers among the congregation, for such are needed for drilling the new recruits, – so that if this catches the eye of any such, perhaps he will remember his duty to King and Country, and offer his services. Mr. Ranshaw, with his usual energy, is taking an active part in raising the new Newbury Defence Force, which is intended for those who are not eligible for the Army. Let us remember that a German invasion of England is not an impossibility, and that the more men that get ready now, the less will be the danger should it come.

Newbury parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P89/28A/13)