Beautiful glass representing St George

The Earley war memorial porch plans were altered to save money.

Memorial Porch Committee Meeting

There was a good attendance on October 16. Present: The Chairman, Mr Churchwarden Brown and Mr FB East (hon. Treasurers), Messrs. W B Waters, H B Mole, W Lawrence, A H Salman, H Masters, H Knapman, J A Murray, G C T Carter, F C Edwards, E Clayton Jones, E Long; Ladies – Mrs Newbery, Miss Goose, Miss Lawrence, Miss Driscoll, Miss G Fanstone.

The meeting was occupied with many matters of importance for an hour and a half. It was decided by a majority of votes that a resolution to line the porch with stone to be rescinded on the grounds of expense, and that the walls be plastered. It was agreed that the question of slate or stone material for the slab upon which the names be inscribed be left to the judgement of the architect; and the committee confirm their previous resolution that all parishioners should have the right to place names of their sons who died on this tablet; they felt, however, that it was not desirable that this should be done in cases where the names were associated with a memorial in another church, without special reason. The chairman produced some figures supplied by the builder which are of general interest:-

Estimated cost of Porch £559 13s 0d
Less nett cost of stone lining £20 18s 0d
£538 15s 0d

Add cost of figure in niche, also slate or stone tablet with names cut, amount uncertain, Architect’s commission of 10% on above amount

£53 17s 6d
£592 12s 6d

At the close of the meeting the treasurers made the following statement

Subscriptions paid or promised, as already announced in October Magazine

£482 0s 2d
Less unredeemed promises £2 1s 6d
£479 18s 8d

Collection at dedication festival £39 11s 0d
New subscriptions Oct 16 £11 5s 5d
£530 15s 1d

The next meeting of the committee was fixed for Nov 20 at 7.30pm

The work is now growing rapidly, and it is interesting to watch the plan of dovetailing the new work into the old wall of the present building. To do this the old north doorway had to be lowered to meet the timbered ceiling of the porch, a new arch has also been turned on the inside and the door cut down correspondingly. Thus the new doors and doorway will be considerably lower. Adjoining this doorway, about three feet eastward, will be a small door leading to the stairs to the chamber over the porch. The stairway is cut partly in the thickness of the wall and abuts in part on the floor of the porch, being concealed by brick walls. For this purpose one of two lights has been removed and there remains one single window just east of the stairs doorway. This light will be filled with beautiful glass painted by Mr Bewsey, representing S George. It is a gift from Mr B H Butler in memory of his son Benjamin James Butler whose ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. The glass is finished and ready for fixing. The ceiling of the porch will be built of rebated oak joists with oak panels to ceiling covered with deal floor (above) and a layer of felt between. The chamber above will thus be impervious to sound and draught. It has been decided to plaster the walls of the interior; and not as stated last month to line the porch with stone; the expense, £20 18s, seemed not justified by the advantage.


Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

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In open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea

Three Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist had a terrifying experience as they travelled home from India.

20 April 1918

Sister Alexandrina, Sister Marion Edith and Sister Edith Helen, who had left Calcutta March 9th, arrived safely after an adventurous voyage. They had only been allowed to travel with special permission from the Government of India on account of Sister Alexandrina’s state of health, which made it necessary for her to leave India.

Their ship was torpedoed by an enemy sub-marine in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Africa. Then passengers were transferred to the ship’s boats and all were saved. They were in open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea. The Sisters & their companions were picked up by a British sloop-of-war and landed at Bizerta, where they remained for 4 days. Then they were taken on board a French mail boat carrying troops and were safely landed at Marseilles after a very uncomfortable voyage owing to the crowded condition of the steamer.

From Marseilles they travelled by train to Paris & Havre, & from thence crossed to Southampton.

Owing to rationing orders limiting the quantity to each House of certain articles of food, & the scarcity of others, the Sisters from the other Houses cannot for the present come to the House of Mercy for tea on Sundays, as has been the custom, nor have their meals there when having day’s retreats.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

“He was looking worn and depressed at his last leave”

There was news of a number of Maidenhead men, many wounded or ill. One had suffered a nervous breakdown.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Reginald Hill was able to pay a surprise visit of four days to his home, in the midst of his long and weary hospital experiences. He was looking well, considering all that he has borne, but he has one or two more operations yet to undergo. He spoke of a hope that he might be home shortly after Easter.

Ernest Bristow is progressing favourably, but the latest report that reached us spoke of another operation. He seems to be in excellent spirits.

Ben Gibbons is in hospital at Southall, suffering from debility. He was looking worn and depressed at his last leave, from which he had only got back to duty about a fortnight when he broke down and was sent to England, or rather (as we ought to say) Blighty.

Sydney Eastman is in hospital at Chatham, sent home for bronchitis. We may hope to see him shortly. The Medical Board decided that he could not stand the climate at the place where he was stationed.

W. Cleal is in hospital. No particulars known.

David Dalgliesh has received an appointment as Instructor at the Flying School at Winchester.

Hugh Lewis has been at home for a fortnight’s leave in excellent health.

Charles Catliff, too, has been home for his first leave; most of his time he spent at Bucklebury with his mother, who has been seriously ill.

Cyril Laker has had the thrilling experience of being torpedoed in the Mediterranean.

Herbert Brand has received a Commission, and when we last saw him was hoping to be attached to the 4th Berks.

Since the above was in type, a letter has been received from P.A. Eastman. He says:

“The mails where I came from have been very erratic, and some have been lost, including unfortunately the Christmas parcels. Davy Jones is now richer than all the other members of the great family of that name put together, to their and some other people’s impoverishment! ……

The medical authorities have thought it best to send me back after the first year out in the East; doubtless they have a reason. But I am glad to say I am now fairly fit, and hope to improve rapidly under the less trying conditions of English life. Very kind greetings to all West Street friends.”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, March 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

A hospital ship is sunk

Another hospital ship was sunk by the German Navy.

30 May 1917
Another hospital ship, Dover Castle, sunk in Mediterranean – all saved but 5 of crew.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Torpedoed in night attire mid the cold wind and pouring rain

A Winkfield man returning to his job in the colonies was in a ship sunk by enemy action.

A member of our choir, Mr. J. Moir, has lately experienced an unpleasant and thrilling adventure. He left England early in October to return to duty at Nairdi, but in the Mediterranean his ship was torpedoed and sank in seven minutes.

Fortunately all were able to get into the boats safely, and after an hour or so were rescued by a British destroyer, but only just in time, for a great storm arose, and their plight on the deck of the little vessel in night attire mid the cold wind and pouring rain was far from enviable; however after a few hours they were safely landed, and Mr. Moir eventually reached England none the worse except for the loss of all his belongings.

He left England again on November 17th and we sincerely trust that this time he will arrive safely to again take up his Government work at Nairdi.

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

“Our Heavenly Father is enriching this parish with heroes of self-sacrifice”

There was news of several Ascot men, including a report by one man of life as a prisoner of war in Germany.

THE WAR

We have to announce that Charles Edwards has laid down his life in the service of his country. Ascot has real reason to be proud of him. Upright, courageous, a communicant of the Church, a member of a family universally respected, he leaves behind him not alone our heartfelt sense of sorrow for the withdrawal of a true and noble young life, but an ideal to be reverently set before us of what a GOD fearing young Englishman can attain to. Our Heavenly Father is enriching this parish with heroes of self-sacrifice, even unto death. May we humbly value to the utmost so priceless a dowry. The whole district should be raised to a higher level of life by the example and the prayers of young men of the type of Arthur Jones and Charles Edwards. R.I.P.

OUR WOUNDED.

Victor Edwards (brother of the above), Reginald Smith and Arthur Taylor are reported wounded. All three are doing well.

THE ASCOT SAILORS’ AND SOLDIERS’ COMMITTEE state that since the commencement of the war 136 in all appear to have gone abroad from Ascot in the service of their country, and of that 110 are now serving abroad. 15 are in the Navy, 72 reported in France, 16 on the Mediterranean, 1 in Mesopotamia, 4 in India and 2 prisoners. Parcels were sent in June to those who appeared to require them: and similar parcels are now being sent, and in addition special parcels are now being sent to those in the Navy. The thoughts of all of us will go out to those in France at this strenuous time.

AT MOST of our Garrisons in England there are no Army Churches, and efforts are now being made, with the approval of the Deputy Chaplain-General, to raise a Fund for building a Church at Bordon Camp, near Aldershot, in memory of the Great War, and as a memorial to those who have fallen. Donations to this Fund will be gratefully received and acknowledged by W. H. Tottie, Esq., Sherlocks, Ascot.

ASCOT PRISONERS OF WAR.

We have good news from our Prisoners, who write to say they receive their parcels regularly and in good order. The following quotation from Private Richard Taylor (imprisoned at Friedrichsfeld-bei-Wesel) may interest our readers. (The letter was accompanied by the photograph of a beautifully kept burial ground and its large stone central cross. Each carefully tended grave was thickly planted with flowers and had its headstone with an inlet cross and inscription.)-

“I am sending you a photo of the monument which lies in the graveyard of our dead comrades, English, French, Russian and Belgian, who have died since they have been made prisoners. The money was raised by having concerts and charging from ten to forty pfennigs (otherwise from a penny to four-pence.)”

The letter continues: “One night we were playing a nice game at whist, and a parson came in and had a chat with us, and asked us if we should like to go to Church. Of course we all agreed, and on the same night we marched down to the village to Church and spent a very nice hour. And the parson is an Englishman, but he is allowed a passport to travel about Germany. He had some books with the short service, and some well-known hymns in them.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/8)

Dublin fighting still going on

The Easter Rising was still shocking England as much as the ongoing war with Germany.

28 April 1916

Dublin still going on. PO got out of rebels’ hands (good).

Battleship sunk in Med: mine. Sydney Fremantle’s flagship. 156 drowned!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A single cabbage helps the war

Sulhamstead people were supporting the war effort in their vegetable gardens, while rejoicing in good news of local soldiers.

THE WAR
Lieutenant H. A. Grimshaw has been mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. This makes the second time that he has been so honoured. He has also been awarded the additional honour of the Military Cross.

It is with great thankfulness that the news has been received that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, of the “Tera”, sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, is safe, although held a prisoner.

ROLL OF HONOUR
George Derring, second footman at Folley [sic] Farm when the war broke out, was killed by the bursting of a shell at the Front in France.

VEGETABLES FOR THE SOLDIERS’ HOSPITALS
It is a bad time of the year for vegetables, but the Boy Scouts are trying to send a hamper to Reading every week. If any have got vegetables they would like to give to the hospitals, and would send them to the School on Mondays, or leave word at the School in the previous week, a Scout would fetch them. The hamper goes on Tuesdays. A single cabbage, half a dozen potatoes, etc, soon swell the contents.

THE LIGHTING ORDER
This order will not affect our Lower End Service as the room is furnished with dark green curtains, but it will prevent services being held on week days in Lent in the Church or School, and accordingly special meetings will be held in the large room at the Rectory on Thursdays at 7 pm.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1916 (D/EX725/3)

“Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend”

The parish of Earley was saddened by the death of two of its men, both heroes in different ways: one a regular soldier, the other a teenage recruit who died trying to save a friend’s life.

In memoriam

We record with very great sorrow the death of two of our old Guild boys. The first, Leonard Love, son of Mr Love, 49 St Bartholomew’s Road, was a soldier of many years standing. He served in the Royal Field Artillery and so distinguished himself at Gallipoli that he was offered a commission and had accepted it. He died within two days (apparently) of the evacuation of the peninsula. He had been in close contact with his brother William Love who was among those who fought the rearguard action of the time. His brother Frederick Love is serving in France. From such particulars as have come to hand Leonard Love was in excellent health. On the day of his death he returned to his dug-out after breakfast, and shortly after a shell struck the roof of the dug-out, and his death was instantaneous. He had borne the many hardships of the Gallipoli campaign with never a word of complaint in his letters home. Always cheerful he is reported to have been the life and soul of those about him, and his comradeship will be greatly missed by his many friends. He has left behind him a fine example of Christian courage and manliness.

The other is of a wholly different type. James Benjamin Butler, son of Mr B H Butler, former churchwarden here, was little more than a boy in years when, with his younger brother Charles, he offered himself for service 8 months ago and joined the 605th Co. of Motor Transport. The two brothers had been members of our Scouts Patrol whose rules oblige the members of it to look for opportunities of doing kindnesses, and to embrace them when they occur. His training ended, he left England at the beginning of the year, having made his last communion in this church on Christmas Day. He sailed in the “Palermo City” and in the Mediterranean the transport appears to have struck a mine and floundered. James Butler was a powerful swimmer, but his friend Harold Newbold, who had been a long time billeted with him at his home in Reading, could swim but little. Butler was last seen side by side with his friend in the sinking vessel inflating an air pillow in the hope that it might be of service in the water. He himself could (without unforeseen mishap) have remained in the water a long time and been picked up, but there is little doubt that he determined to remain by his friend, and sacrificed his life in attempting to save him. “Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend” and better to die young and to offer one’s life for king, country and friend, than to live at ease for many years and accomplish little. Two more honoured names are added to our roll: the mature soldier and the brave lad of nineteen summers. May they rest in peace.

Earley parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P192/28A/14)

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…)

The religious work of the war

The people of Sulhamstead heard a lecture about evangelistic work in the trenches.

THE WAR
LANTERN LECTURE
A lecture accompanied with the exhibition of Lantern Slides will be given on Friday, January 7th, at the School, at 7 p.m., by the Rev. J. Hobson, MA, London District Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, on Religious Work at the Front and in the Trenches.
Admission 2d and 1d. There will be a collection to support the work.

SOLDIERS’ AND SAILORS’ COFFEE STALL
A box into which anyone may place small contributions to help support this stall at the S. Eastern Railway Station, Reading, is on the counter as the Post Office. These stalls are doing a great work throughout the country, and the Post Office Mistress will be grateful for any donations.

We regret to state that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, has been missing since the “Tera” was sunk in the Mediterranean. A body of some 300 men was seen on the shores of Africa, about 300 miles west of Alexandria, and it is hoped they are safe, and that he is among them.

The lecture went ahead, as the February issue of the parish magazine reported:

The Lantern Lecture on the Religious Work of the War, by the Rev. J Hobson of the Religious Tract Society, with Sir George Watson, bart, as Chairman, was given to a crowded audience. The views of the trenches and camps were very fine, and we wished we could have had more of them. The entrance money and collection amounted to £2. 11s. 10d., which was handed over to Mr Hobson for the work amongst the soldiers.

Sulhamstead parish magazines, January and February 1916 (D/EX725/3)

The calamity of war teaches us a lesson

Maidenhead Congregational Church was girding itself for another year of war.

SOLDIER GUESTS.

There seems every probability that Maidenhead will be again called upon to receive a number of soldiers in training, and that in consequence our Schoolroom may be again required for their entertainment in the evenings. If it be so, we will cheerfully face the disturbance to our own arrangements, and no doubt the willing workers of last winter will feel it a privilege to serve again.

A Word for the New Year

With what spirits are we going forward into this strange New Year? …

We move into the New Year with the calamity of war upon us, and we may calmly wait the issue, if we believe in God, and if we are sure that for us, yea and for all the nations too, even our enemies, the end of it will bring us nearer to the goal of all true civilization. God has always brought blessings out of calamities. He who knows nothing of surgery might denounce the cruelty of the surgeon’s knife, but wisdom is sure that the hand that holds it is mercy. National putrefaction is a worse thing than national sorrow, and when God’s judgments are written in flaming letters across the lands, many who could not have heard the lesson in any other way, begin to understand that there is a God in the earth.

The virtues of courage and endurance are everyone’s admiration just now, so magnificently are they exemplified by our khaki-clad heroes. Is there not room and occasion for them in the lives of us all?…
T F Lewis.

SOLDIER GUESTS.
There seems every probability that Maidenhead will be again called upon to receive a number of soldiers in training, and that in consequence our Schoolroom may be again required for their entertainment in the evenings. If it be so, we will cheerfully face the disturbance to our own arrangements, and no doubt the willing workers of last winter will feel it a privilege to serve again.”

OUR ROLL OF HEROES.
There are a few changes to make since our last record. Charles Hurrell has been discharged from the Navy, in consequence of a breakdown in health. Cyril Hews has left Newhaven, where he has been since August of last year, and expects to proceed to the front immediately. Thomas Mulford has left for Egypt. Horace Gibbons is still in hospital, but is going on well. Percy Lewis has been gazetted Captain, Hugh Lewis has received a Second Lieutenancy in the Royal Engineers, and is stationed at Northampton. No news has been received of Harold Fisher, reported missing on September 28th, but it has been ascertained that some of his Company were taken prisoners on that day, and we may hope that he is among them. Benjamin Gibbons and David Dalgliesh have gone with their regiments to the scene of action in France. John Bolton has been promoted Company Quarter-Master Sergeant. Robert Harris is on the point of crossing to France, perhaps has already crossed. Bert Plum has gone down the Mediterranean, destination unknown. May our Heavenly Father, to whose gracious care we lovingly commend all our lads, preserve and bless them, and enable them to be faithful to their duty and their God.

OUR SOLDIERS’ LETTERS

Many acknowledgements have been received of the Church’s letter: we quote extracts from two.

“I write to thank the Church for the very kind and thoughtful letter which I received last week. It brings to my mind the happy days I spent in the Sunday School, which I look back upon as days of sunshine. It gives me great satisfaction to know that yourself and the Church have not forgotten one who has been away from your midst for a few years.”

“Let me thank you, as our Church’s representative, for the very nice letter of greeting and good will which I received on the 18th November. It has been a great comfort to me on several occasions to remember that I am a member of the Church, and I was very much gratified to receive the kind message, and the assurance that God is on our side, and is always with us.”

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, December 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5)

A tremendous boon for the nurses

The Surgical Dressing Emergency Society in Wargrave, a group of women who spent their spare time making dressings for wounds and also clothes and general comforts for the wounded found their efforts were gratefully received by the matrons of the hospitals.

Surgical Dressing Emergency Society: Wargrave

Dressings have been sent to France, Belgium, Servia [sic], all along the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force Area, and especially to outlying Casualty Clearing Hospitals and Stations.

Old linen and comforts are coming in very well, and parcels of lovely shirts, pyjamas, socks etc, have been sent out this month with the “Kits”.

Letters Received
To the S.D.E.S., Wargrave
Somewhere in the Mediterranean. No. 1
Dear Madam,

A most splendid Bale arrived here today from you. I cannot tell you how very grateful I am to receive it, and all the things, (shirts, socks, pyjamas, etc.) we are always so glad to use – Many, many thanks.

It is such a tremendous boon for the Nurses to find these dressings so ready for them to use, it is the utmost help, for we are all as busy as we can be.
Yours very gratefully
——————-,
Matron

This is a large tent Hospital, in a well-known Island. The Matron and Nurses are under-staffed and need everything. There are 4000 cases.

(more…)

German villagers detest the war

Meg Meade, whose husband had just returned to his ship, wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn with an example of War Office inefficiency, but was optimistic that the war must be halfway through by now. She had also had a chance to talk to Lord de Ramsey, the blind elderly peer who had been trapped in Germany at the start of the war, and had finally been repatriated. He revealed that the ordinary Germans were not the evil creatures of patriotic propaganda.

Dec 3rd [1915]
23 Wilton Place

My darling Ralph

I was so glad to get your letter as I was wondering where you were. It’s most unfortunate Fritz is so active just where you want to go, but these little things will happen in war time, I suppose. I saw Captain Taylor at Addie’s today. D’you remember he was Cecil’s flag captain in Collingwood, & he has been very ill, & had bad operations. He’s Flag Captain at Chatham now, but hopes to get a ship in February. I asked him why the Frogs couldn’t deal better with Fritz in the Mediterranean, & he only shook his head. Apparently we agreed long ago that they should take that job on, but I suppose it will end in our having to take that on as well as everything else.

I met Lord Camden lunching with the de Ramseys today. You know his wife was very ill, & he was to be sent for by the War Office from the Dardanelles where he was with his regiment. Well, the bright War Office succeeded in recalling Lord Hampden who was also in the Dardanelles, telling him his wife was very ill, so the poor man came tearing home in a great state to find his wife quite well & very surprised to see him. Then Lord Camden was eventually got hold of, & as you can imagine he had an anxious time coming home as he only knew that his wife had been ill enough for him to be sent for 3 weeks before! But when he got home he mercifully found she had recovered. Lord de Ramsey’s accounts of his 18 months in Germany are most amusing. He declares that the peasants & villagers of the part he was in were always nice & civil, & there was no hatred, & he says that they all unanimously detest the war. Jim went back to Royalist yesterday afternoon & I am consequently feeling very low & depressed, but the war must be halfway over surely. I heard today that Kitchener’s secretary FitzGerald who has returned to London with K. says “The end is not even in sight yet”. The Huns certainly get what they want whichever side of Europe they attack. Oh if only we had a great man to deal with the swine.
I went to a Gymnasium again yesterday & beat my section at jumping which was satisfactory. I find it a splendid way of getting exercise in London, & the only way…

Maysie writes that John’s back isn’t healed yet. They return to London on 21st for 2 Boards, but personally I don’t see how John will be passed till Jan or Feb for – as Maysie neatly puts it, “John must have teeth pulled out & put in!”…

Your own loving
Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)