We have been glad to welcome them home

The men and women who had served the country began to return home.

A large number of our Service men have now been demobilised and we have been glad to welcome home recently, Sergeant Major Edwin Gray, Corporals A. Brown and W. Reed, and Privates A. Beal. Ed. Brant. F. Brant. H. Brant, H. Hoptroff, G. Higgs, A. Clayton, E. Culley, D. Knight, Smith, C. Streamer, S. Thurmer, R. Thurmer, C. Taylor, C. Reed. T. Wetherhall.

Ptes. Streamer and Hoptrodd we understand have elected to join the new army.

We beg to congratulate Quarter Master Sargeant H. R. Oatway on gaining the M.S.M., and Sister Constance Druce on the honour of being mentioned in despatches.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/3)

Advertisements

“It is not often that all the anxieties connected with one parish have been so happily relieved”

Having a loved one reported missing was a cause for great anxiety.

THE WAR

Gunner W C Giles, RFA, and Private Rowland Pitheral, 2nd Royal Berks, who were both reported missing since May 27th, are now reported as prisoners of war. Private Ernest Adams, also missing for some time, is now reported prisoner of war. We are thankful that the fears of their relations have been removed in this way. It is not often that all the anxieties connected with one parish have been so happily relieved.

Captain Gerald Merton, RAF, was gazetted Major on July 30th. He has also been mentioned in despatches for work in Mesopotamia. This is the second time he has been so named.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, October 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Veritable hell: “We knew that some one had blundered, but obedience is the first rule of the army”

Here is a dramatic account of life in the Army Service Corps taking water to the thirsty troops one terrible day in Mesopotamia.

(We publish the following account of an exciting adventure in Mesopotamia in justice to the gallant men of the A.S.C., in case there should still be any who are liable to despise the man not in the front line. ED)

“A Stunt.”
(By a FORD Driver in Mesopotamia)

We had just completed an eleven days’ continuous run, and were expecting a day or two’s well earned rest, but such was not to be.

We reached —— at midnight and “parked up” our cars outside the old Turkish Cavalry Barracks. I “clicked” for guard, and at 3.30 a.m. took a telegram from a despatch rider, containing instructions to move off and load up immediately, So at the first streak of dawn, amid much “wailing and gnashing of teeth”, we “wound up,” and after picking up supplies we started off on a joy ride across the desert to an unknown destination, for a journey of indefinite duration.

We arrived at ——, and to our great joy were informed that we were to rest for the remainder of the day. What hopes!

For the next two days we had barely time to eat the necessary “bully,” so busy were we rushing supplies of all descriptions to an advanced position.

At the end of the second day, thinking we had earned a little sleep, we had just got into our blankets when the whistle announced “fall in.”

This time (about 8.30 p.m.) it was to pick up troops, under sealed orders. For the first fifteen minutes all was well, then we pulled up, and the fun commenced. All lamps out, no smoking, talking or blowing of hooters, the greatest precautions to be taken.

Of course, you should know that we were on the desert, following a track which we had never travelled before, everything pitch black, laden with troops, with the knowledge that with us rested the success of the action planned for the following day break.

When returning the following morning, we could hardly believe our eyes, when we saw the route we had taken in the dark, deep, yawning precipices and huge boulders of rock, and the places of danger which we passed but “where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise.” Anyhow, after about an hour’s ride or so, during which time we had relieved the tension on our nerves by smashing a few radiators, losing the column and sundry other mere “inconveniences,” it was decided to pull up for one-and-a-half hours till the moon should show just a glimmer, for progress under the circumstances was absolutely impossible.

This hour-and-a-half was even more nerve racking than driving, as we hardly dared to whisper, for here we were, stranded in “No Man’s Land,” where, apart from the actual enemy, viz.:- Johnny Turk, the great nuisances were the hostile and cunning Arabs, who do not at all object to using us as targets for practical jokes of a serious nature.

At last we started off again, and after many and indescribable difficulties, we parked up under the shelter of a big hill to drop our men and to wait for dawn and further instructions.

The day broke and with the dawn our brave men went over the top of the hill, but Johnny was not asleep this time, for he soon started throwing a few shells over, and we, being somewhat interested, stood on top of our cars to watch the proceedings, until one of the enemy’s aeroplanes “spotted” our “place of rest” and gave information to his artillery, who got our range to a nicety, and we (reckless, daring spectators) began to discover, a few at a time, that the underneath parts of our cars needed attention, but I freely admit, that to stand and allow someone to throw 6in. shells into our midst, while powerless to reply or defend ourselves, did not greatly appeal to me at least.

However, our time of idleness was brief, for word came through, even in the early dewy hours of the morning, that the only water available for our advancing troops was from the salt lakes.

Then we got busy, packets, tanks, buckets, petrol tins, canvas water carriers, everything capable of holding water is flung aboard and we dash off by two’s and three’s from our “park” to gain a river some few miles across the desert.

But Johnny had anticipated our movement and had the river banks nicely covered with snipers and machine guns, so instead of running “en bloc” and filling up altogether, we had to dash up one or two at a time and fill up our receptacles.

When all the difficulties were overcome, and we were ready to commence our return journey, it was approximately 10 a.m., with a temperature of 110° in the shade, when we regained sight of our troops it was practically midday, with a temperature of 128° in the shade.

Then came a veritable hell, the water had to be got to the troops and orders came through that the M.T.’s were to “carry on.”

We knew that some one had blundered, but obedience is the first rule of the army.

The M.T.’s had never been under fire in Mesopotamia before and never since, except in cases of single cars on special detail, but here we were, about eighty cars in column, ordered to practically reach the front line trenches, shells bursting right and left. Did someone mention “Brooklands?”

Never before had Ford cars travelled at such a speed, sixty pounders make excellent accelerators. There were many miraculous escapes, cars riddled with machine gun bullets and shrapnel, some cars put out of action, here and there was a man putting on a spare wheel under fire, but marvellous to relate, not one of our men was touched. I shall not forget a shell dropping and rolling under a car about two yards away.

Thank God, ‘twas a “dud.”

Eventually the trenches were reached, the sight was almost beyond description, dead and dying, troops mad with thirst, they had been drinking salt water, and more men had been “laid low” by sun and thirst than anything else.

Disregarding discipline, our cars were raided, the water speedily drunk, and all craving for more. Then we drove, hither and thither, picking up wounded and dying, and made our way to the field hospital. By this time it was “every man for himself,” and we practically worked individually, using our own discretion. During this time, two of our men gained Military Medals, and one of our officers was “mentioned” and has since received promotion.

Night was now drawing near, but it made no difference to us. Half was ordered to move the Casualty Clearing Station and then drive thirty miles (this time in safety) across the desert for more ammunition.

On the return journey, I, personally, and several of my “pals,” I know, fell asleep over the wheel, to be suddenly and rudely awoke by a “gentle” drop into a hole or a bump against a sand bank.
When we got back we found that our troops had retired about seven or eight miles, and while we were fetching the stores and wounded back, the Arabs had great sport “sniping” at us, and some of us nearly got into trouble for stopping to reply to their “overtures of good will.”

But we successfully completed the retirement, and Johnny did not follow up, so the “stunt” s finished, and we returned to —- for a rest, — what hopes, we were dead beat, no sleep for over fifty-six hours, but within twenty-four hours we were again on our ordinary work of carrying supplies from one dump to another, to be forgotten until the next stunt, but don’t forget, — when the M.T.’s are wanted again, they will be there.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)

On a football field in France

Old Boys from St Bartholomew’s Grammar School in Newbury shared their news.

Several letters have come our way from O.N.’s, among them being one J. Allee, who wants to know if there are any other O.N.’s in Palestine, where he is serving as a Captain in the A.S.C., as he has seen no one but Brooks since he has been there, for nearly three years. He seems rather disappointed with Jerusalem, but says that the country around the Dead Sea and the Jordan was well worth seeing, the hills being ablaze with flowers.

H. Pappin, in another letter, tells how he met Newman on the football field in France, where they both had been picked for the same team, the latter recognising Pappin’s name in the list. There seems a favourite place of recognition, for it was in Egypt that Pappin met Hobbs and Beard under similar circumstances. He has been running his battery team, “The Lily Whites,” all the winter, a combination in which what is lacking in science is made up with enthusiasm.

Two most interesting letters have come to us from F. W. Taylor and W. H. Bradfield. The former, who is serving with the Nigeria Regiment at Zungeru, has met our plea for an article by saying that he is writing a Grammar of the Fulani Language, but promises to do his best; while Bradfield, who is with the R.F.A. in France, is in the thick of the present heavy fighting.

J. J. Hurrell, who left the N.G.S. for Bradfield College, in 1913, has just passed through Sandhurst and goes into the Indian Army in September.

A double good fortune is the lot of D. W. Rosling, who is serving at Salonica; for simultaneously with his majority comes the following announcement: May 28th, at Cambray House, Carmarthen, to Florence, wife of Major D. W. Rosling, The King’s Liverpool Regiment, the gift of a son. – Congratulations.

We also have to congratulate two O.N.’s on their marriages; Lieut. E. J. Widle, T.M.B., to Miss Daphne Collette, at St John’s Church, Oxford; and Henry Hoskings, 1st Life Guards, to Miss Phyllis Richens, at St Anne’s, Westminster.

Our casualties are again heavy, though the proportion of wounded is, as last term, small. A. B. V. Brown and I. C. Davidson are both in hospital in England, after having been gassed, while A.L. Sandbach has been discharged through his wounds, after an exciting career. Volunteering for service on the outbreak of hostilities in Africa, he served against German West Africa, under Botha, in Greyling’s Commando, where he was one of the sole two white men serving. German West having been quelled, he returned to his civil duties, but soon after answered the call for men for German East. This time he joined the 2nd South African Horse, with whom he saw some hard fighting, on one occasion having his horse shot from under him. He was promoted to Sergeant and served for about three months longer, after which time he was hit in the thigh by shrapnel at Germinston, with the result as stated that he has been invalided out, returning to his work at Johannesburg. By a curious coincidence, each of these in this branch of the list is an old Victor Ludorum, Sachbach having also tied with Evers for a second year, while the dates of Brown and Davidson respectively, are those immediately preceding the War.

I. K. Fraser, whom we reported as having been wounded, in our last number, has so far recovered as to be able to pay us a visit towards half term. He is looking remarkably fit in spite of all.
Congratulations to G. W. Hall on his Mention in Sir Douglas Haig’s last despatch, and also to J. Allee on his mention in General Allenby’s.

John Cannon has been transferred from the A.S.C. to the 1st Somerset Light Infantry, and is now in the trenches.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)

News of Newbury men

More Newbury men joined the forces.

O.N’s in His Majesty’s Forces.
List No. 12.
Additional Names.

ALDERSON, Cadet C. B., R.A.F.
CHURCH, Pte. A. E., Artists’ Rifles.
GAUNTLETT, H., R.N.
GIBSON, Gunner J. M., R.G.A.
HURRELL, Cadet J.J. O.C.B
KENDRICK, 2nd A. M., P.A., R.N.A.S.
MICHELL, Lance-Corpl. C., Royal Warwick Regiment.
NEW, Cadet G. H., R.A.F.
NEWMAN, Gunner, 1/1st Wessex Heavy Battery.
PLUMB, T.
STRADLING, Cadet A. W. G., R.A.F.
SUMMERS, Cadet S., R.A.F.
WALTER, J.

Promotions.

BLAND, Cadet, W. H., to be 2nd Lieut., R.A.F.
CHURCH, 2nd Lieut. E. H., R.A.F., to be Lieutenant.
DAVIDSON, Corpl. I. C., Worcester Regiment, to be Sergeant.
HUDSON, 2nd Lieut. N. A., Leicester Regiment, to Lt. Adjt.
PARKER, Cadet G. L., to be Probationary 2nd Lieut., R.A.F.
PLENTY, Capt. E. P., R.A.F., to be Major.
ROBERTS, Pte. E. E., Civil Service Rifles, to be Lce.-Corpl.
ROSLING, Capt. D. W., The King’s Liverpool Regiment, to be Major.
TANNER, Cadet, W. J. V., to be 2nd Lieut., Royal Berkshire Regiment, attached Royal Warwick Regiment.
WEBB, Lieut. O. S., M.C., R.E., to be Captain.
YALDEN, Sergt. E. C., 7th Middlesex Regiment, to be 2nd Lieut., 7th Middlesex Regiment.

Honours.- Croix de Guerre.

BURGESS, Lieut. N .G., R.N.R.

Mentioned in Despatches.

ALLEE, Capt. J., A.S.C.
HALL, Lieut. G. W., R.G.A.

Reported Killed, Now Wounded and Prisoner of War.

MICHELL, Lnce.-Corpl. C., Royal Warwick Regiment

Wounded.

BROWN, Lieut. A. B. V., 3/17th London Regiment.
DAVIDSON, Sergt. I. C., Worcester Regiment.
FUNNELL, Pte. F., 10th Royal Fusiliers.
SANDBACH, Sergt. A. L., 2nd South African Horse.

Lost at Sea.

BURGESS, Lieut. N. G., Croix de Guerre, R.N.R.

Accidentally Killed.

COWELL-TOWNSHEND, Lieut. R., R.A.F.

Killed in Action.

HALLEN, Corpl. J V. 1st Surrey Rifles.
MORTIMER, Pte F. C., 4th North Staffordshire Regiment.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)

Conspicuous bravery during the retreat

Various Old Redingensians (OLd Boys of Reading School) had been serving their country.

O.R. NEWS.

Deaths

Captain Lionel Tudor Wild, Somerset L.I., was the second son of Mr. and Mrs Aubrey S. Wild. Of 21, canning-road, Addiscombe, Croydon, and was born in 1888.Educated at St. Winifred’s, Kenley, and Reading School, he was for a short time in the service of the London and Westminster Bank, but afterwards turning his attention to motor engineering, he took up an appointment with Messrs Argylls (Limited) in Dundee, and was subsequently manager of the company’s branch in Aberdeen. For several years before the war he was a member of the Surrey Yeomanry, and attained the rank of sergeant, being one of the best rifle-shots in his squadron. On the outbreak of war he was mobilized with his regiment, and after some months’ training obtained a commission in the Somerset Light infantry, proceeding to France with his battalion in July, 1915. In 1916 he was appointed brigade staff captain, but eventually returned to his regiment, and was given the command of the company. He was reported “wounded and missing” on November 30th, 1917, and it has now been established that he was killed on that date, in an attempt to save the remnant of his company during the German counter attack near Cambrai, and was buried by the enemy at Masnieres.

On Saturday the death occurred at “Westdene,” Earley, the home of his parents, of Sec. Lieut. F.I. (Frank) Cunningham after illness contracted on active service. Deceased was educated at Reading School, from which he entered the City and Guilds Engineering College, London, and after going through the three year’s course he obtained a diploma in civil and mechanical engineering. In 1910 he went to Canada, and was assistant engineer on the Grand Trunk Railway. When war broke out he enlisted on August 14th, as a private in the Royal Highlanders of Canada. He was at Valcartier and Salisbury Plain, and in 1915 went to the front. At Ypres he was wounded in the foot, and after recovery was attached to the C.A.M.C., until 1916. He then obtained a commission in the R.F.C., which he held up till February the 3rd of this year, when he was invalided out of the service and granted the honorary rank of Sec. Lieut.

The funeral took place at St Peter’s Earley, on Thursday, April 11th. The officiating clergy were the Rev. W. S. Mahony, Vicar of Linslade, the Rev. Capt. A. Gillies Wilken (O.R.) Chaplain to the Canadian Forces ( lately prisoner of war in Germany), and the Vicar (Canon Fowler). The coffin was draped in the Union Jack.

Military Cross

Capt. (A/Major) D.F. Grant, R.F.A., the son of Mr W.J. Grant, of 12, Glebe Road, Reading. Major Grant was educated at Reading School, and quite recently lost his eyesight in France but has since regained it.

Captain Arnold J. Wells, A.S.C., T.F. (Territorial Force), has been awarded the M.C. for meritorious service in Egypt. He has served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine.

Bar To Military Cross

Sec. Lieut. (A/Capt.) J.L. Loveridge, M.C., Royal Berks.

Mentioned In Despatches

Fullbrook-Leggatet, Capt. C.St. Q.O., D.S.O., M.C., Royal Berks Regt.

Military Medal

Corpl. H.C. Love, Despatch Rider, R.E., of Reading, has won the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery during the retreat March 23rd-30th.

The following is the official statement of service for which Lieut. O.S. Frances, M.C. Royal Berks Regt. Received his bar: –

“He marked out the assembly positions for the whole brigade before an attack and guided forward companies of two battalions over very difficult ground and under heavy shell fire.”

Corporal W.L. Pauer, a sniper in the Munster Fusiliers, has been awarded the Military Medal and also the Medaille Militaire. He has been twice wounded. During the retreat in March he was made a King’s Sergeant on the field and he has since been awarded a bar to his Military Medal.

Wounded.

Rees, Major R.A.T., L.N. Lan. Regt., attached South Staff. Regt. He was formerly classical master at Reading School, where he held the commission in the O.T.C.

Reading School Magazine, July 1918 (SCH3/14/34)

Some comfort in memories so full of sadness

A Sulhamstead family who had lost their son were invited to take pride in his heroism.

THE WAR

Mr and Mrs Leake have received the following letter from the War Office. It is indeed to be hoped that the gratifying appreciation of the services of Captain G E A Leake, DSO, may be of some comfort in memories so full of sadness:

“I have it in command from His Majesty the King to inform you, as next of kin of the late Second Lieutenant (Acting Captain) George Ernest Arthur Leake, DSO, of the London Regiment, that this Officer was mentioned in a Despatch from Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, dated 7th November, 1917, and published in the third supplement to the ‘London Gazette’ of the 21st, dated 24th December, 1917, for gallant and distinguished service in the Field.

I am to express to you the King’s high appreciation of these services, and to add that His Majesty trusts that their public acknowledgement may be of some consolation in your bereavement.

[To]
G Leake, Esq.,
Sulhamstead

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Greater love hath no man than this

Caversham men’s service was honoured.

ANOTHER DISTINCTION FOR CAVERSHAM.

Hearty congratulations to 2nd Lieut. A.F.C. Hill, upon receiving the Military Cross for gallant conduct with the Salonika Expeditions. This is the fourth Military Cross awarded to Caversham men, the other recipients being the Rev. C.W.O. Jenkyn, Army Chaplain; 2nd Lieut. D.T. Cowan, A. and S. Highlanders; and Sergt.-Major Wilfred Lee, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

Lieut. E.J. Churchill, R.E., has been “mentioned in dispatches.”

Sergt. E. Canning, of 1/4TH Royal Berks, is one of the two non-commissioned officers selected out of his battalion for the honour of a Commission.

Caversham roll of honour.

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

Name, Ship or Regiment and address, Date of death
(more…)

Dangerously ill

Some Winkfield soldiers were ill, while other men from the parish had distinguished themselves.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING.

We regret to hear that Pte. William Burt is ill in hospital in France, and wish him a speedy recovery.

Pte. Bernard Grantham has been very dangerously ill with pneumonia; we rejoice to hear that he is now much better, and we hope out of danger.

We heartily congratulate Lieut. Cecil Ferard on the honour of being mentioned in despatches, and Flight-Lieut. F.H.M. Maynard on his promotion to Flight Commander, R.N.

Winkfield section of Winkfield district magazine, January 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/1)

Rightly proud of medals

Two Sulhamstead men had been awarded medals. Friends and family were proud of them.

THE WAR

The parish is rightly proud of the honour gained by Mr. Steele’s son at the Front, and we heartily congratulated both Mr Steele and his son George, on the D.C.M recently conferred upon him. We believe also that he has been more than once mentioned in despatches. He is also a Sergeant.

Mr A Ford, now Farrier-Staff Sergeant A Ford, who formerly lived and worked at the Lower End, has very many friends in Sulhamstead. They will be glad to read the following reprinted from the Mercury in connection with the Meritorious Service Medal awarded to him. It begins with the official telegram:

“The GOC congratulates you on your being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.”

He has also received letters of congratulations – one from his commander’s wife:

“Dear Sergeant Ford, –

I was very glad indeed to hear that you had been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, and send you my best congratulations. Am sure you deserve it. I always hear how well the Divisional Train is doing, and my husband is very proud of his command. He has a very fine lot of men, and I know that you are one of the originals when they were forming at Pangbourne.”

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

Conspicuous bravery in the field

A Hare Hatch man was commended for his courage in battle.

Hare Hatch Notes

We hear with pride, the good news that Cpl. O. Hussey, the son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Hussey, Tag Lane, has distinguished himself on the field of battle. Below is a copy of the Official report from the Major General of the 7th Division.

“ 30/7/16. Cpl. O. Hussey, 95th Field Co., R.E.
“Your Commanding Officer has informed me that you
“have distinguished yourself by conspicuous bravery
“in the field on 1st July, 1916. I have read this report
“and although promotion and decoration cannot be
“given in every case, I should like you to know that
“your gallant action is recognised and greatly appre-
“ciated.”

We heartily congratulate Orlando and trust that he may be spared to return home with greater honours.

A.E.C

Crazies Hill Notes:
Bravery in the Field:

Our heartiest congratulations to Lance-Corporal Herbert Richard Plested of the 1st Royal Berks Regiment who was mentioned in Despatches September, 1915, and who has now received the following letter:-

Your Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander has informed me that you have distinguished yourself by conspicuous bravery in the field on the 2nd and 28th July, 1916. I have read their reports, and, although promotion and decorations cannot be given in every case, I should like you to know that your gallant action is recognised and how greatly it is appreciated.
W.G. Walker, Major General,
August 3rd, 1916 Commanding 2nd Division.

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

“I am doing my bit for them, as I know there is a lot that can’t”

Soldiers from Ascot appreciated gifts from the schoolchildren, while one man with a local connection had been awarded a French medal.

ASCOT SAILORS’ AND SOLDIERS’ COMMITTEE.

The Boys’ Entertainment was highly successful and produced £12 9s. 0d., after deducting all expenses, and enabled the Committee to send a parcel “With best wishes from the Boys of Ascot Heath School,” to every Ascot man serving at sea or abroad. To every man a pip, a khaki handkerchief, and some cigarettes were sent, and to those in France in addition a couple of candles, and to others either another handkerchief or a packet of sweets. A good many letters have been received saying that the parcels had arrives safely and were much appreciated, and the following from one man is a sample of others:

“I thank all the boys of Ascot Heath Schools for their kindness in sending me a parcel which I received safe and sound. It was what I wanted as I am an old smoker of a pipe, and please tell them that I am doing my bit for them, as I know there is a lot that can’t.”

The number of Ascot men now on our list is 97, and we are glad to say that we continue to receive good reports of all of them. The two prisoners seem to be fairly well treated; and the four men still suffering from wounds are still going on well.

It is a satisfaction to be able to report that Grenade-Sergeant Robinson of the 2nd Wilts, whose father was formerly in the Rifle Brigade and has lately come to live in Ascot, has been mentioned in despatches and been awarded the D.C.M. and the “Medaille Militaire.”

ANOTHER ACCOUNT of the Boy’s Entertainment.

The Boys of the Ascot Heath Schools gave a concert on Wednesday, 23rd February, in All Saints parish Room at 2.45 p.m. in the afternoon and repeated the entertainment in the evening at 7.30 p.m. The object of the concert was one well calculated to appeal to the hearts and so the pockets of Ascot people: it was to raise enough money to enable a parcel to be sent to every man on active service in the Navy or the Army with the best wishes of the boys as a token of their affectionate remembrance. The attendance at the afternoon performance was most gratifying, and at once ensured the success of the scheme from a financial point of view; while in the evening the room was packed to the doors.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, April 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/4)

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)

“I suppose we must win, eventually” – but we need a dictator

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image was unimpressed by the country’s leadership, and thought Sir George Richardson, founder of the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force should take over the air forces. His wife Florence, nee Spencer, of Cookham, was the sister of Percy and Stanley Spencer, mentioned here.

29 Barton Road
20 Feb. ‘16

Here is a story I heard from our Cook [aged 21] yesterday of her brother. Poor fellow, he has been killed since – but he was in the retreat from Mons, and he wrote home that for 5 days they had no food if any kind. The letter contained a snowdrop which the writer had picked from the top of his trench and sent to his mother, writing “I hope the base censor will not take it”. Letter and snowdrop arrived safe: and underneath this passage was written “The Censor has resisted the temptation”.

I suppose we must win, eventually. We want the elder Pitt. If such a man exists among us now, he is not allowed a chance. The Air Service! And my pupil unshamed preaching that we must take the butcheries lying down, for babes and women are of no importance. In no branch was the personal superiority of the British men more marked than in this of the air. But it needs a dictator. We have such a man – not Curzon – or Winston – but him who made the Ulster army. He mayn’t know much of Aeronautics, but he “can make a small State great”. I don’t suppose the “terrible Cornet of Horse” knew much of the Art Military, but see what he did in 1759, by Land and Sea – with a fleet and army emasculated by 40 years of peace.

My wife (she has a brother in Salonica, and another in Flanders, “mentioned in despatches”) begs me to send her kindest wishes along with mine to both.

Ever your loving
Bild

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

Time I offered the country my estimable services

Percy Spencer had enjoyed a short leave in England and was now in France, and was now keen to get a commission. He wrote to his sister Florence:

Jan 16 1916
Dear W. F.

Anyway you know by the field postcards that “I’m ‘ere”.

Very busy too as usual.

Of course I’m glad I was “mentioned” (though there are thousands who ought to have been before me) as it’s a kind of certificate that I’m doing my share of the work; and at home they’ll place quite a false value upon it and rejoice, which will do them good and won’t harm anyone.

Yes, by a stroke of luck I got my mackintosh again. Mr Curtis retrieved it for me at the last moment.

It was a wretched journey back. They seem to make us as uncomfortable as possible these trips.

About my application for a commission. I’ve written to my CO asking him for a nomination in the 2nd or 3rd or the Queen’s, but have not yet heard from him.

Sydney, alas, hasn’t written to me yet, so I don’t suppose he has been able to do anything towards getting me a commission in his regiment.

So I’m sending an ordinary application form along which I hope you’ll kindly get signed for me by Lord Boston & JMI [John Maxwell Image]. (The original form is rather out of date, and I don’t think it advisable to send it in.)

Of course if I get a commission I may only to hack work in a Battalion, and have to take my chance in a scrimmage, but really, however the matter goes, I think it’s time I offered the country my estimable services in the commissioned ranks – if it’ll have them – judging by the quality of some of our latest “finds”….

The supplies were ample – amazingly ample at first sight, but nevertheless only sufficient for the journey, as it turned out, for they kept us a day at Boulogne in one of the Godforsaken “rest” camps.

Just before leaving old England I had the bloater paste sandwiches. They were excellent, and it was a great sorrow to me I had them such a little while. However “fish to fish” – ‘twas a fitting funeral.

Can you send me a diary tablet please? Also some more ink!

If Gil is not able to get things, let me know, and send him a parcel occasionally at my expense.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/5/1-3)