He had gone “over the top” more than 17 times

There was news of men from Maidenhead Congregationalists.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Alfred Isaac is at the Crystal Palace, in training for the Navy. George Ayres is at Anglesey, in daily expectation of orders for overseas. Wallace Mattingley is in Ireland. A. J. Lane is having his first experience of life in the front lines. Alfred Vardy is map-making a few miles from the coast in France. Reginald Hill is still in hospital at Cliveden. Ernest Bristow is daily looking for his discharge. Mr. and Mrs. Sale recently spent a day in Maidenhead, visiting their old friends. Mr. Sale is passed in the highest class for general service, and was “joining up” immediately.”

DEATH OF BENJAMIN GIBBONS.

The distressing news has just come to hand that Benjamin Gibbons was killed in action on June 24th. It is scarcely more than three weeks since he went back to France, after some time in Ireland. When he was last home on furlough he was far from well, but he was quite ready to return. In answer to a question he said that he had gone “over the top” more than 17 times. May God’s tenderest consolation be with the bereaved parents.

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

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“News came that we were to train in billets as the French were very windy about air raids”

Sydney Spencer, who oped to train for the Anglican priesthood, disapproved of vulgar songs.

Thursday 18 July 1918

Got up fairly early. News came that we were to train in billets as the French were very windy about air raids. This we did & gave my platoon a talk about maps & did musketry & gas drill in the billet. The men were very pleased with the talk about maps.

After lunch little or nothing doing. I helped Plant with his Battalion dinner for tonight. It was not very successful, I thought. I hate big messes. There were 33 of us there. I rather deplored the songs which were sung after dinner.

I walked home with Kemp & Sergeant told us great news of a big French victory. Some 20,000 prisoners & 300 guns in all, south of us.

Diary of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15)

Advance section “got lost through not obeying my orders”

Sydney Spencer was on the move.

Sunday 5 May 1918

7.15 pm. Now what do you suppose, my dear diary, has happened? Why, we are being relieved at some time tonight. I am now in my dugout, a new one today, and it is most comfortable, plenty of room.

I came on duty this morning after stand to, but was unable to do a lot owing to the fact that I am helping Bradley of C Company find ‘bivys’ for his men. Managed to get them settled in by about 7 am.

At 5 I went down Beaumont Road to look at our wiring which we did last night. It was better than I expected. The 150 lbs guncotton used to blow up road behind us failed to wake me at about 2.15 am. At 9 this morning I did a tour of D Company’s front line returning via CT to south of Capt. McCullam’s Company HQ.

At 10.15 am we were relieved & we marched off by platoons to our new position. I sent one section in advance. It got lost through not obeying my orders! The wrong map reference was given as so [sic] that we had a difficulty in finding these bivys.

Diary of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15)