A marvellous escape from an airship crash

Broad Street Church kept in contact with all its men who had joined up.

News has now been received from Air-Mechanic Fred W. Warman to the effect that he is interned at Croningen in Holland. He was acting as wireless-operator in the air-ship which came down there, and had a marvellous escape. We are glad to know that he writes in a bright and cheerful strain, and that he is trying to make the best of things.

Flight Sub-Lieut W. R. Taper of the RNAS has been appointed for duty in Malta. It has been a pleasure to see him frequently in our midst in recent weeks. The good wishes of many friends at Broad Street will go with him as he takes up his new duties.


Brother Woolley has consented to continue his good services by acting as correspondent with our members on service. This [is] a quiet piece of work which is bound to have its good results when things are normal again.


The list of our men who have responded to the call of God and King and Country. (more…)


Cheer him in his pain and solitude

Members of Maidenhead Congregational Church were serving in various fields. One man was having a nice break in Malta on his way to the east, while another was suffering with a severe wound.


Sidney Eastman sent us a message announcing his arrival at Malta. He says,

“A line of greeting from an isle of sunshine and blossoms! The brilliant blue of sea and sky, white sails and grey giants, sandstone rocks and golden architecture, vividly focussed by the eyes of an enthusiast, convey to the chambers of memory a mental masterpiece in the producing of which nature and man work hand in hand – nature gives light while man gives shade. I am very fit now, and much enjoying a day or two of respite here.”

Evidently the “sunshine and blossoms” have got into our deacon’s soul.

Reginald Hill has been rather badly wounded and is at the Wharncliff War Hospital at Sheffield. We may be quite sure that letters from any of his old friends of the West Street Church would cheer him in his pain and solitude, and would be joyfully welcomed. Letters should be addressed, “17 Ward, 6 Block.” We are glad to know that his doctors anticipate that he will probably make quite a good recovery.

Ernest Bristow is in Hospital in France, suffering from influenza.

Alfred Vardy was married on March 8th to Miss Coxhead, and is now on active service in France.

We were glad to see Ernest Mead on Sunday last looking quite fit and well.

W.H. Clark has arrived at Salonika.

A. Lane has been transferred with his section to Marlow.

Charles Catliffe is with a Signal section at a Camp near Bedford.


Most of the Engineers who have been for some months in training at Maidenhead have been removed elsewhere, and at least an equal number have been brought to our town to take their place. The new-comers seem to appreciate the comforts of the Clubroom more than their predecessors, and use it in much larger numbers. But the Free Church parade service has suffered. So far, only a few attend, instead of the eighty or more of recent months. Perhaps the organization has been at fault, and we will yet hope for better things.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, April 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

A million sheets of notepaper

Reading St Giles Church of England Men’s Society had contributed to the well-being of soldiers at the front through the CEMS Huts.

The following letters have been received giving information concerning the Reading and Windsor C.E.M.S. Huts…

January 31st 1917

This is a large and important centre always well organized. The religious and social side of the work is everything that can be desired. We also have a tea room built in addition to the hut. This gives us more room. It is a most valuable hut being in the centre of many things: hundreds of letters are written daily, Services are not forgotten, and it is now being used by the Canadian Chaplain, the Canadian troops being quartered in that district.

Funds are now urgently required to enable the headquarters to supply the huts with the proper necessaries which is very large. The provision of stationary is a considerable matter and already the society has sent out about a million sheets of notepaper and 500,000 envelopes for the use in the forty huts in France, Flanders, Egypt, Malta, Salonika and England.

I am sure the members of S. Giles’ who contributed to the hut mentioned above will be glad to hear of its usefulness.


Reading St Giles parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P96/28A/34)

Mourning the death of a footballer

A keen amateur footballer was among the Reading men recently reported killed.

Notes from the Vicar
Intercessions list

Albert Henry Eaton, R.G.A. Malta; Private C.A. Pritchard, 2/4 Royal Berks; Private Edwin Gerald Ritchie, 2/21 1st London Regiment.

Sick and Wounded: Private James A. Dutton, Royal Scots. Privates Harry, George, and Walter Barnes, (on active service). Stoker Albert Edward Ayres, R.N.; Gunner Harold Whitebread, R.G.A. Lieut. Robert Carew Hunt; George G. Lanitz.

Departed: Martin Sinclair David; Lieut. Cedric C. Okey Taylor; Lieut. W.F.F. Venner; Robert D. Bruce; Private G Cooper; Capt. W.F. Johnson, R.N.; Private Walter Michael Carew Hunt (Canadian Infantry). Henry Bilson Blandy R.I.P.

Prisoner: William Henry Cook.

Our sympathy and prayers go out to those who are mourning the death of these loved ones. Lieut. Venner was the 1st Captain of our S. Giles’ football club and took an active part in its formation.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P96/28A/34)

Sending dressings right out to the firing line

People in the villages of Wokingham Rural District gave their money generously, while those in Wargrave were proud to know that their handmade surgical dressings were being put to use at the front where they were most urgently needed.

Our Day

Very hearty congratulations and our best thanks are due to Mrs. Oliver Young and all her collectors, for the splendid contribution sent this year from the district to the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The Cheque sent to the County Secretary from the Wokingham North District was for £168. 10s. 1d. and was made up as follows:-

£. s. d.
Wargrave per Mrs. Victor Rhodes: 19 3 2
Wargrave per Mrs Vickerman 36 0 0
Hare Hatch per Mrs. A. W. Young 20 7 2
Twyford per Mrs. F. C. Young 23 4 0
Remenham and Crazies Hill per Mrs. Noble 21 1 7
Mr. Noble per Mrs. Noble 20 0 0
Sonning per Miss Williams 13 0 0
Woodley per Miss Pantin 3 6 2
Hurst per Mrs. Roupell 12 8 0

£168 10 1

Wargrave Surgical Dressing Emergency Society

Since March 23rd, 1915 over 300 Bales of dressings and comforts have been sent to Casualty Clearing Stations in France, Malta, Egypt, Alexandria and Port Said. The Society is now approved by the War Office, and properly licensed under the New War Charity Act. In future it is intended to print the hospitals where dressings are sent every month, in the Parish Magazine, as it cannot fail to be a source of satisfaction to know that while the Hospital is doing all it can for the men who have come back, the Surgical Dressing Society is sending every month about 20 Bales right out to the Firing Line, for the use of the men who come out of the trenches on the field of Battle.

List of Hospitals for October and November:

B. Ex. F. France:
No. 5, Casualty Clearing Station
No. 27, Field Ambulance – 9th Scottish Section
No. 3, Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

No. 19 General Hospital, Alexandria
No. 31, General Hospital, Port Said

These Hospitals have 4 Bales of Dressings etc. each:
No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station
No. 5 Casualty Clearing Station
No. 2/2d London Casualty Clearing Station
No. 1/1 Midland D. Casualty Clearing Station
British Exped. Force, France.

4 Bales each.

By order of the Director General. Vol. Organizations
Scotland Yard.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

“It is appalling these awful losses, goodness knows where we find all the officers”

Two of Ralph Glyn’s fellow officers wrote to him with their opinions on the war.

June 20th [1916]
Dear Glyn

Very many thanks for your letter. I was very pleased to hear from you. Georgevitch has evidently done something to get himself into very hot water, I believe the question of decorations has something to do with it, anyhow he is absolutely shelved. You will have heard that a Colonel Nikolauivitch has been appointed Military Attache in London; it is just as well no one proposed Georgevitch for there, as he would have been refused. When they were discussing the question of who to send, they privately asked me & I suggested G, but was at once told that his name would not be entertained for a moment. I fear that there is nothing more that can be done for him. He got into trouble once before I understand over his treatment of his soldiers, & was for this reason only not with a battery in the Field Army.

It is appalling these awful losses, goodness knows where we find all the officers. Still one hopes on the whole the thing is going well though slowly.

I am glad to say I am better, though I have had a bit of [fun?] lately, everyone is having it too. [Hemlis?] & his division have left as you will have heard, most of them I believe going to help at Malta & elsewhere. The country is [illegible] fun from Typhus now, & there is a general air of cleanliness & sanitation about. All his troops practically are inoculated against Cholera.

My wife has been in the North all this time working up relief funds for Serbia, & has collected quite a lot of money; so anyhow you would not have had a chance of meeting her, thanks very much all the same. Things are very quiet here, but I am busy enough with wires & things the WO want. We were visited by 3 Austro-German aeroplanes the other day who dropped some bombs & made a lot of noise, but did not do much damage. We bagged one on its way back.
Wishing you the best of luck.

Yrs sincerely
Arthur Harrison


Too busy with amputation for frostbite to make bandages

The hardworking bandage makers of Wargrave were pleased to find their work was appreciated by its recipients.

Surgical Dressing Emergency Society: Wargrave

Some of the letters received:

No. 4 Clearing Station Dardanelles Army
Dear Madam,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter and bales (9 bales) of Hospital Clothing and dressings with many thanks. Everything sent will be most useful out here.
A.W., Capt. R.A.M.C.

St ——– Hospital, Malta.
Dear Madam,

Would you kindly convey to your Committee and Branches how very much we appreciate the gift of 2 bales of dressings which arrived safely on Xmas Eve. They arrived at a time when we were so busy with amputation cases after frost bite, and have little or no time to cut or make dressings. Our very best thanks.
Believe me, yours gratefully, E.M. Matron.

Serbian Relief Fund
Dear Madam,

The parcels were called for (2 bales) and we beg to offer our very best thanks for the kind and generous gifts, which are most acceptable.
Yours truly, p.p. Mrs. Carrington White.

Croix Rouge Française
The London Committee of the Croix Rouge Française beg to acknowledge with sincere thanks having received from you 2 bales – they have been sent to Ambulance 116, Bataillon De Chasseurs à Pied Secteur Postal 179.

Chasseurs à Pied correspond with our Highlanders, men from the Highlands who fight in the mountains.

Another Hospital writes to say that a bale of comforts has not reached them. This is only the fourth bale that has not reached its destination. 18 bales have already been sent out this month. The 4th, 10th, 13th (Boulogne) and 24th British Ex. Force France General Hospitals, and the 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station each got two bales, one of dressings and one of comforts, consisting mostly of pyjamas, flannel shirts and warm comforts.

The 5th, 10th and 14th Stationary Hospitals, British Ex. Force, France, and the 1st Canadian Stationary Hospital had 1 bale each containing comforts and dressings. 2 bales went to the Serbian Relief Fund, 2 bales to the French Red Cross.

The work of the Society is greatly increased since the dressings have been “Requisitioned”. But thanks to more help at home and the very excellent work of our Branches, we are going very well, and hope to be able to send an increased number of dressings and comforts to the Front.

Wargrave parish church magazine (D/P145/28A/31)

Lives complete in self-sacrifice

A naval and army chaplain with links to Windsor reports on his experiences at Gallipoli ad in Egypt. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was open to learning from the non-white and non-Christian peoples he encountered, and respected the Turks as an honourable enemy.

The Vicar has received the following letter from Mr Everett:

Hospital Ship “Asturias”
February 1st, 1916

My dear Vicar

Since I last wrote I have seen so much, and gathered so many new impressions, that I find it difficult to decide what to write, and what to leave out. I have been several times through the Aegean Sea, either from Malta or Alexandria, on my way to Lemnos, the Gallipoli Peninsula, or Salonica [sic], from which places we, of course, brought back sick and wounded…

What thoughts are produced by Mount Olympus – hoary Olympus – once believed of men the home of the greater Gods! There, standing lofty and snowcapped, it has looked down through the ages on the surrounding country and the Gulf of Salonica. What has it seen in the past, and what now! Then, men seeking an unknown God in their own way, making wars, too, or carrying on their simple business, or cultured lives, on land and sea; using their frail ships with their banks of oars, or driven by contrary winds, and now, watching the great ships go by, battle cruisers and hospital ships (two strange contrasts), huge transports for the gathering of armies, and busy torpedo boats, all more or less independent of storm and tempest, and defeating space with their wireless installations.

But my pen has run away with me over my fascinating travels, nd I must turn to twentieth century history. The Dardanelles campaign is over, but I am not likely to forget my brief visits to Anzac Beach or Cape Helles; nor will those splendid men of all ranks, who spent months there and at Suvla Bay, under conditions which are well known. At Cape Helles I was sometimes ashore, and went over ground once held by fire and sword. It would take too long to describe it – the camps, landing places, “River Clyde”, and the town and fortress of Sedd El Bahr; but one enclosed space, of pathetic interest, held me – the little grave yard studded with crosses, some elaborate, but the majority rough and ready, marking the resting places of some of the many on the Peninsula whose lives, though so short, were so complete in their voluntary self-sacrifice. I eagerly scanned the names and rude inscriptions, in case I could recognise some brave friend from Windsor or elsewhere, in order to tell someone at home about it, and bring back a photograph, but found none I knew. I venture to think that the Turk, who has been an honourable foe, now that he is again in possession of Cape Helles, will reverence that little spot. I might add that I carefully looked at the crosses on Lemnos Island, over the graves of those who had died in hospital there, and have also seen the military burying place in Alexandria, but have only come across one name I knew.


A geographical error

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her son Ralph with her comments on the news. The Appam was a British civilian ship transporting some wounded soldiers and German prisoners of war, as well as civilians, from West Africa. Sir Edward Merewether (1858-1938) was the British Governor of Sierra Leone, and was also onboard. The ship was captured by a German vessel, and taken to neutral America.

My own darling Scrappits…

It is Monday Jan 31 [1916] …

I have been seeing people all day – no time to write or read – even the account of the Paris Zeppelin raid. Poor Sir Edward & Lady Merewether of Malta [dogs?] lost in this Appam tragedy. It is too sad. And Lady Wake’s brother Beau St Aubyn in the Persia – doing a good turn to Johnny Ward whose place it was to go. There seems to be little hope of his having been saved, though the man standing next to him at the time of the explosion was picked up. So the whole round world is full of tragedy – but the assurance is that the Germans cannot hold out much longer. Lettice has heard that there is most certain information as to the economic conditions being desperate & quotes Bishop Bury of N Europe….

Poor Mackenzie, stationmaster – has his son home desperately ill – consumption of the throat. He has not been to the front but serving with Kitchener’s Army & it has been too rough a life….

We began the evening with a Zeppelin excitement, One reported at Bourne – & then at Ryde near Thorney, & Peterborough was warned. Now, 11 pm , I hear the Zeppelin dropped a bomb at Stamford and one other place, & we shall hear more tomorrow, & I only hope it will not come back upon its track to right this way. I am conscious of most inadequate precautions! & worry myself to think how we could protect the children [Meg’s little Anne and Richard, who were visiting]. “The safest place is just where they are”, says T’Arch [possibly the Archbishop] & counsels no move to any quarters other than where they are, as we have no cellars.

An awful, awful tragedy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to Ralph again to let him know how her Red Cross and other war work was going.

Jan 18th [1916]…

We heard of the great doings at the G[reat] E[astern] Rest Room. Over 100 men there last night – 40 sailors, 60 men & then more, and an efficient staff of helpers. All night. Then in afternoon I … called on Recruiting Officer’s wife…

From 6 to 9 (with break for dinner) the Knights Chamber Private Registered Red X Work Party. 32 workers all in caps & white aprons and sleeves, and it is really a joy to see that Room full – all happy, and the long tables covered with clean oil baize, and your old nursery cupboard moved there to hold the material. I hear there is a tremendous “muddle” at Northampton, & as these inanities here appealed to Lord Spencer they have dragged him into their mesh of muddle, and I have written no word & keep silence, but events move, and things must take their course. Sir George Pragnell looks like a bulldog that will not easily let go, and the evidence he took from me was quite sufficient to show misapplication of money, and a vast trickery of the public they feared my action would bring to light. They would have done better to leave me alone!…

I read the papers and wish I knew what to think! Montenegro and its heights to add to the pecuniary burdens of ruined nations, but in the meantime how far adding to their resources?…

My whole love always
Own Mur

Ralph’s sister Meg also wrote to him, with thoughts on politics, and more on the Campbell family’s loss with the death of their cousin Ivar. (more…)

A Red Cross nurse from Reading is taken prisoner

The latest list of those serving from Reading St Giles included a woman, Hilda Willes, who was a Red Cross nurse in embattled Serbia and was believed to have been taken prisoner.

Notes from the Vicar

To be added to the intercession list:-

Edward Monk, A.S.C.; James Thomas Rhodes; Lewis Andrew Tudor, Berks Yeomanry; Hilda Willes, Red Cross Nurse, thought to be a prisoner in Serbia; Percy Emery, Berks Yeomanry, died in Egypt, October 26th, R.I.P.; Cyril Scrivener, Berks Yeomanry, who is ill in one of the hospitals in Malta; Victor Edward Burgess, R.A.M.C.; William E. Haynes, R.E.; Captain Ernest Dudley Mathews, H.K.S.B., R.G.A., Egypt; Samuel Frances O’Grady Haslem; Norman J. Darby, R.F.; Leslie Darby, Canadian Contingent.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

“It is fatal to rely upon Greece doing anything but letting us down with a bump”

Ralph Glyn reported to his boss and mentor General Callwell on plans to use aeroplanes to defend against submarines, both representing new forms of warfare.

Union Club

November 10th

My dear general

I have been spending the last few days in a destroyer looking out places from which the Air Service can patrol the entrance to the Aegean. This new influx of submarines – some mounting a 4” gun – will prove very serious. It is fatal to rely upon Greece doing anything but letting us down with a bump. Any scheme of protection that counts upon Greek help is worse than useless since it means that precautions that might otherwise be taken are not put in force, & evil results. The worst of it all is that Medforce & the NAS are so dreadfully short of aeroplanes that I fear in the future – unless the Admiralty get more & better machines we may lose command of the air which will have most dire results on the Peninsula as our gun fire can only be effective as long as our machines can keep the air and ‘spot’….

I learn that K is now coming out here. I wonder so much if you are with him. What he can do I cannot think – facts are facts & the sooner they are reorganised the better.

I’m sorry to be away from GHQ but with K there I might have been finally executed! I am to see the Admiral now & go on to France I hope tomorrow or the day after. I miss my work with you more & more but only hope I may make a success of this job.

Unsigned letter from Ralph Glyn to General Callwell (D/EGL/C24)

A subject for quips and gibes

John Maxwell Image, at the age of 70, had suddenly got engaged to Miss Florence Spencer of Cookham, the 30 year old sister of Will, Percy, Stanley and Sydney. The age gap may have been significant – but this was a devoted relationship. The Master of Image’s college, Trinity, at this time was Montagu Butler (1833-1918), whose three sons were all in the army.

TCC [Trinity College, Cambridge]
Friday 24 Sept. ‘15
VDB and DOM [nicknames for Mr and Mrs Smith]

Wedlock at my age is such a subject for quips and gibes that I naturally felt shy and reticent. Needlessly; for the Fellows, many of them, have whispered (I like them for that) really affectionate good wishes – true spirit of camaraderie. I wrote news to the Master [of the College] in Scotland: and two hours after my letter was posted came the most warmhearted letter in his own name and Agnata’s …

[Butler’s son] Gordon’s wound is healing fast. He is nearly convalescent in Malta. Nevile [another son] stands once more on his native heath, after 14 months captivity. Agnata came down to receive him at the Camb. Station, and has whisked him off to Caledonia…

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday Oct. 12 (probably) – Tuesday is full of grace – at St George’s, Bloomsbury – chosen by us all as having been the scene of my brother’s wedding 14 years ago. The bride is to be given away by her father: my brother and sister will sustain my tottering steps. No other guests, I trust: unless one or two of her ecstatic girl friends thrust themselves in….

Yours ever

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

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)

Let us, who remain in the safety of our homes, remember the many who need our prayers

The war was hitting home in Newbury, where a number of parishioners had been killed on active service.

The War Intercession List at the Parish Church now contains more than 170 names. Of these we much regret to record the loss of Henry Percy Ford, John Seymour, Eric Barnes, Alfred Henry Ellaway, Henry Samuel Slade, David Tumblety, William George Freemantle, Francis Leslie Allen, and Alexander Herbert Davis. Among the missing are Sidney Isaac Hughes and Arthur Neal junr., while John Hilliard, one of our servers, is wounded and a prisoner of war. Let us, who remain in the safety of our homes, remember the many who need our prayers, and be constant and instant in the duty and privilege of Intercession.

The number of men at the A.S.C. Church Parade has grown, and there are now 250 or more present. They have now made a long stay in Newbury, but it is probably that when they do go, it will be at very short notice. On Sunday, June 20th, they were addressed by the Rev. A.H. Haigh, and a collection was made for S. Andrew’s Waterside Church Mission.

An appeal was made in Church on Sunday, June 14th for the work of the Red Cross at Malta, where the wounded from the Dardanelles are sent. It is here that Dr. Heywood is stationed at present, and he has very hard and responsible work to do.

Church Lads’ Brigade
It is with the deepest regret that we record the death of Pte. Henry Samuel Slade and Pte. Francis Leslie Allen – the first of our members who have fallen fighting for their King and Country.

The following lads have joined H.M. Forces. No doubt there are others with whom the O.C. is not acquainted, and he would be pleased to hear of any additional names or corrections to the sub-joined list:-

H.S. Slade, F.L. Allen, Ptes. Atkins, W.C. Allen, A.G. Annettes, W.R. Bronsdon, Cleaves, W. Cooke, R. Haywood, E.E. Hill, T. Holley, S.W. Meagrow, W.J. Malder, F.J. Poffley, W.G. Pye, S. Rice, H.V. Tucker, W. Wiggins, W.G. Willis.

Next month we will try to give a more detailed list.

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