White flags

The war definitely seemed to be approaching the end.

Will Spencer
28 October 1918

Seeing Herr Dr Mai in the Rondel, I asked him whether he had already been for his morning walk, & he replied that he had not, & would be glad to come with me. He told me that he had just fetched his paper, & seen that Ludendorff had resigned. I told him that I had just read in yesterday’s paper the report of a speech of Lloyd Geroge’s, in which he spoke of what England had still to learn from Germany – that the German people was a better educated people than the English, etc.

Florence Vansittart Neale
28 October 1918

Allenby in Aleppo! We still going on.

Balfour & Lloyd George went to Paris. Seems like preliminaries.

Submarines going back to base with white flags & saluting our merchant men!…

Made a helmet. Talk of Kaiser abdicating. Ludendorf resigned.

Diaries of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/28); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

“Such was his enthusiasm that he was led to write war verses with a view to stimulating the slacker”

Here we learn of the war experiences of some of the Old Boys of St Bartholomew’s Grammar School, Newbury, who had lost their lives.

In Memoriam.

In reporting the deaths of the following Old Newburians, we take this opportunity of expressing our most sincere sympathy with the bereaved friends and relations.

N. G. Burgess.

Croix De Guerre

Lieutenant Nathaniel Gordon Burgess, Croix De Guerre, R.N.R., entered the N.G.S. in April, 1901, and left at Christmas, 1906, from the South House. He obtained his place in both the second Cricket and Football elevens in 1903 and got into both firsts in his last year. On leaving school he entered the Civil Service, but subsequently turned to the Mercantile Marine. His connection with the Senior Service dates from April, 1915, when his offer of service was accepted and he was granted the commission of Sub.-Lieutenant. The following September he was promoted to Acting Lieutenant and posted to H.M.S Conquest. While serving under the then Commodore Tyrrwhit he had the good fortune to capture two German trawlers laden with munitions; and the telegrams of congratulations, both from his Commanding Officer and the Admiralty, together with the battered flag of one of the trawlers, were among his most cherished possessions. The posthumous award of the Croix de Guerre was conferred on him by the French Government for his gallantry in the naval action off Lowestoft, in July 1916, when a German shell entered one of the magazines of his ship. Fortunately the shell did not immediately explode, and, by flooding the magazine compartment, the gallant officer prevented what might have been serious damage, his action being regarded very highly by the authorities.. thus it was a very promising life which was cut short when at the age of twenty-six, Burgess was lost at sea in March of this year.

J. V. Hallen.

Corporal John Vernie Hallen, School House 1905-1908, was born in 1894 and received his preliminary education at College House, Hungerford, thence going to The Ferns, Thatcham, from which school he finally came to the N.G.S., getting into both the Cricket and Football Seconds in 1907. After leaving here he became an expert motor engineer, from which occupation he joined up early in the war, determined at all costs to uphold the honour of his country. Such was his enthusiasm that he was led to write war verses with a view to stimulating the slacker, which we understand to have been always well received, and in the meanwhile he found time to use his great physical strength in winning the heavy weight boxing championship of his regiment, the 1st Surrey Rifles. Such was the man who was killed in action in France some three months ago.

F. C. Mortimer.

Private Frederick C. Mortimer, South House 1910-1915, who was reportedly killed in action “in the Field,” on Friday the 26th of April, was exactly nineteen years and four months old on the day of his death. He took a keen enjoyment in outdoor sport and got into the Second Cricket Eleven in 1914, while his dash was quite a feature of the First Fifteen in his last year here. Always cheerful and amusing, he was generally liked in his form and took his school life with a lightheartedness that made it well worth living. His last letter to his parents was dated on the day of his death, from France, whither he was drafted on the first of last February, after a year’s training at Dovercourt and Colchester. We cannot but feel that he died as he had lived, quickly and cheerfully.

R. Cowell-Townshend.

Second Lieutenant Roy Cowell-Townshend, R.A.F., Country House 1913-1916, was a promising Cricketer, having played for the first eleven both in 1915 and in his last term. On leaving school he wished to become an electrical engineer and entere4d into apprenticeship with Messrs. Thornycroft, on June 1st, 1916. Having reached the age of eighteen, he was called to the colours on February 17th, 1917, and went into training on Salisbury Plain, quickly gaining a stripe and the Cross Guns of the marksman. Soon afterwards he was drafted to the R.F.C. as a Cadet and went to Hursley Park for his course. From here he went first to Hastings and then to Oxford when, having passed all his exams, he was granted his commission on December 7th, 1917. He then went to Scampton, Lincoln, where he qualified as a Pilot, and afterwards to Shrewsbury, where he was practicing with a Bombing Machine he was to take on to France. Every report speaks of him as having been a most reliable pilot, and he had never had an accident while in this position, nor even a bad landing, and at the time of his death he was acting as passenger. The fatal accident occurred on May 29th, 1918, the machine, which the instructor was piloting, having a rough landing, and Townshend being pitched forward and killed instantaneously. His body was brought to his home at Hungerford, where he was buried with military honours on June 3rd.

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

The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before

The vicar of Maidenhead All Saints reminded his flock about the work of merchant seamen bringing food to the country, and of church workers comforting the troops close behind the lines.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-…

St Peter’s Harvest Festival is to be held at the end of this month (September 30th)… And this Harvest we have, indeed, much for which to be thankful. The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before. We have to thank God for the labours of our farm workers and allotment holders, who, in the face of an inclement Spring, have greatly increased our food supply; for the valour of our Navy, that has convoyed our store ships past many perils; for the steadfastness and courage of our Merchant Sailors, who, risking often sudden death or lingering suffering, have yet dared to go on faithfully bringing grain and meat and other things for the maintenance of our people.

Lastly; sometimes people ask me for the name of some Charity to which they may give a donation, outside the Parish. Just now few deserve more support than the Church Army Recreation Hut Fund. There are over 800 in full work. All are under the auspices of the Church, and special provision is made for those who wish for a quiet place for prayer or study. They are, also, available and used for Church Services. I feel thy deserve great support, for, excellent as the work of the Y.M.C.A. usually is, these Church Army Huts make a still greater claim on our generosity as Church people; that our men should not feel that the Church has in any way neglected them. Any donations should be sent to the Secretary, Church Army Headquarters, 55, Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, London, W.1.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

A national duty, to avoid a national calamity

A Berkshire nurseryman saw potential profit in the war, as people were encouraged to grow vegetables at home.

THE SUBMARINE WAR

Merchant Ships are being Sunk in all directions,

Imports of Grain, &c., are all seriously hindered,

And we are still in the Midst of the War!

Do you realise that this means

A TERRIBLE SHORTAGE OF FOOD IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

In order to avoid this there must be in 1917

A LARGE INCREASE IN GARDEN CROPS!

Show real Patriotism by Cropping your Garden to its utmost capacity; and if possible by taking more Ground.

It is no longer a personal Matter. It has become

A NATIONAL DUTY

In order to avoid

A NATIONAL CALAMITY.

WEBSTER’S 1917 SEEDS ARE EQUAL TO THE BEST OBTAINABLE

SOW WEBSTER’S SEEDS IN 1917 for your own Profit and the Nation’s Welfare. Catalogues Now Ready, FREE to all.

124, High Street, and Station Front, Maidenhead.

And at the COOKHAM and BOURNE END BRANCHES

DO YOUR BIT, AND HELP TO WIN THE WAR

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“Our fear of the Censor forbids us saying what he has done”

There was good news about some of the Newbury men in the armed forces.

A new departure has been made at the close of the Sunday evening service, in reading out the names of those who are entered on the Intercession List in the Church. Owing to the number of names, the list is being divided into about four parts, and thus should be completed during the month. May we once more remind the parishioners that we have prayers for the war twice daily, and sometimes more, and also that the Great Service where they can specially find Help for themselves in trouble or anxiety, and where they can best pray for their absent friends, is the Service of the Holy Communion.

Another room is being opened, this time in St John’s Parish, as a recreation room for wounded soldiers at the Hospital, an institution which was much needed. The old Boys’ British School has been lent by the Local Education Authority, and the Hon. Secretary, Mr Harrison, writes to appeal for donations, writing materials, books, magazines, papers, tables, sofas, easy chairs, screens, cards and games.

Major B J Majendie, KRRC, has been promoted to the rank of temporary Lieut-Colonel, and given command of the 12th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.

Lance-Corporal Charles Crossman is a prisoner of war in the hands of the Germans. We are sorry for him in his incarceration, but we should have been still more sorry if he had been killed, as there was some fear of for some days. Mr Crossman has been a steadfast member of the CEMS and a most useful Sunday School teacher, and we should have missed him very much in either capacity.

One of our old choir boys, Gordon Burgess, formerly in the Merchant Service, and now in the Royal Navy, has been distinguishing himself. Our fear of the Censor forbids us saying what he has done, but a large German Flag and a message of congratulation from the Admiral, which Mrs Burgess now possesses, go to prove that he has been making himself very useful to his country on the sea.

The Rev. F Streatfeild has been home on leave from the Front, and, we are glad to know, is in good health.

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

“They did not try to save them”: Germans delighted with submarine warfare

Florence Vansittart Neale, whose husband was in the Admiralty, reports on the Germans’ targetting of civilian vessels.

4 British merchant ships blown up by submarines. Some crew saved, but two they did not try to save them. Germans delighted with this warfare.

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