Our hopes of having a peaceful Christmas this year have been dashed to the ground

Reading people were encouraged to place their savings in the hands of the war effort as another Christmas approached.

The Vicar’s Notes

We are still at War, and our hopes of having a peaceful Christmas this year have been dashed to the ground; but this great Festival always brings a message of comfort and hope, never more so than at such a time as this: so I still venture to wish all the people of S. Mary’s Parish a happy Christmas.

The War Savings’ Campaign has begun again. I hope we will all back it up to the utmost of our power. Information can be obtained at the bureau, 6 Broad Street. A big meeting for stirring up interest will also be held at an early date. Meanwhile let those of us who have received the special letter from the Mayor and other leading townsmen, do what we can to follow out its suggestions.

Nothing can ever really repay the incalculable debt we owe to our Seamen especially at this time: so let us do our best to support the Flag Day of the Missions to Seamen, which is to be held on Dec 1st.


For the newly confirmed, who are making their first communion at Christmas.

For all our allies, especially the Italians and Russians.

For all our fighting men and more particularly for the sick, wounded and prisoners.

For the fallen, especially George and Hanbury Kekewich; also for Sir Stanley Maude, the victor of Bagdad [sic].


For success granted to our arms in France and in the Holy Land.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)


Escape in a barrel

Florence Vansittart Neale’s nephew Lieutenant Paul Eddis was a submarine officer who had been interned in neutral Denmark for some time. He made a daring escape hidden in a barrel.

Florence Vansittart Neale
30 September 1917

Exciting letter of Paul’s escape. He home Friday. Got in barrel….

Too full moon! Fear raids. General Maude’s victory in Mesopotamia very good.

30th week of air raids. Met by barrage of fire. 3 balloons brought down.

Heard of Paul’s arrival & escape in barrel to waiting yacht 15 hours! Evading destroyers [illegible] to Helsingborn.

William Hallam
30th September 1917

Up at 10 past 5 and working from 6 till 1. Beautiful weather still and the nights as light as can be with a full harvest moon – just right for those air raiders. After dinner – roast lamb fowl too dear; 1/9 a lb, I went to bed … A gloriously bright moonlight night.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

‘It is this terrible “drift, drift, drift” which is so depressing’

Another fellow officer writes to Ralph Glyn to express his frustration. It may be General Frederick Stanley Maude.

My dear Glyn

Many thanks for your letter. I wrote to thank you for the vegetables, the which arrived all right, but possibly the letter like many of them has got lost.

You will have heard by now that the Division to go to Salonica was altered here & that, instead of our going, the 10th have gone. H[ildyard?] told me the change had been made but not the reason…
Still these little things will happen & I should be quite happy if I felt that we were going to do something here. It is this terrible “drift, drift, drift” which is so depressing, & one feels so un-English to be hung up for months here by a handful of Turks less numerous than we are. I wonder what the Peninsula warriors would think of us if they knew the situation!

A good deal of sickness which does not seem to improve morale. Personally was never fitter in my life, but Cooke & 2 ADMS have gone sick, & several others are dicky.

Gillman has become Bg RA 9th Corps & Hildyard moves up.

Weather seems to be breaking & we are getting some rain & wind, but the flies are still with us, though not so numerous….

Yrs sincerely
[F S] Maude

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/30)

The position today is internationally fluid

Lt Alexander Muir McGrigor may not have got the job for which he was recommended here (to relieve Ralph Glyn for other work), but he later served as ADC to Sir Ian Hamilton and then General Birdwood.


26/8 [1915]

Dear Glyn

I am sorry it could not be arranged for you to get away tonight.
Gen Maude is of course entitled to 2 ADCs and in these strenuous days I think he will not find 2 too many – as one may easily be out of action any time from indisposition or other causes. He has one coming out from England. To make suggestions to anyone about their personal staff is an act so tactless that I hold it in horror – but I may mention to you in case Gen Maude were looking for a temp or perm. ADC – the name of 2/Lt A M McGRIGOR – Glos Yeo. He is about 24 or 25 – not sure – but has been in India, knows camp life & tropics, also business training & would do well for mess, camp & other arrangements.

Whether Gen Peyton can spare him I do not know, but you could easily ascertain. He is out with 2/Mountdiv. If you were by chance to find a relief & Gen Maude could free you, let me know.

The position is today – internationally – fluid. Into what mould it will be cast, & crystallise, will greatly depend on the next few days. They are momentous. I know you think with me.

Yours ever
G H Pollen

Letter from G H Pollen to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/16)

Good men are wanted at the Dardanelles

Ralph Glyn was now needed in the Dardanelles. His mentor General Charles Callwell wrote to wish him luck:

War Office
21st August 1915

My dear Ralph,

You will have had the note I sent you by Maude. Since sending it I have had a wire from GHQ asking for your services on the staff out there and I have wired back saying you are at their disposal. I know you were anxious for active employment in the field, good men are wanted at the Dardanelles more than in Flanders and France, and although very sorry to lose your services I felt bound to fall in with Braithwaite’s suggestion. As a matter of fact Mackenzie has been quite ready to employ you for along time past whenever I released you; but, for one thing, I was anxious to try and get you back definitely into your regiment as a preliminary. I spoke to K about this some little time ago and he said he would think over it; but since then came the incident about the ammunition which you got out of him and it would not be politic to revive the topic with him just at present.

I hope that you will be able to write to me from time to time, as we understand each other amd you need not be afraid of saying what you think, and letters to the DMO can always go by the KM. Altham mentions your just having reached Mudros with the howitzers &c in a letter received this morning.

Wishing you the best of luck and with many thanks for the invaluable work you have done while under me here.

Chas E Callwell.

Letter from General Charles Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

“This Suvla Bay affair has been very disappointing”

General Callwell had an idea for a new job for his protege Ralph Glyn. Major General Frederick Stanley Maude (1854-1917) had been fighting in France during the first year of the war, before being sent to take charge of a Division in the Dardanelles in August 1915, where an intended push at Suvla Bay had failed to pan out.

War Office
16th August 1915

My dear Ralph

Maude who is rushing through on his way to the Dardanelles has no ADC and I suggested to him that he should avail himself of your services as a temporary measure until he was fitted out. He jumped at the idea and I am sure that you will be ready to lend him a hand for a bit as you are on the spot. I am going to wire to GHQ about it so that if anything is available you will be able to meet the Cruiser which is carrying him and the other two generals to the front. This Suvla Bay affair has been very disappointing – to date of writing.

Yours ever

Chas E Callwell

Letter from General Charles E Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)