“I shall always recollect his energy, his enthusiasm, his fresh, clean cheerfulness and his personal example of bravery”

A Mortimer West End NCO was awarded a medal.

West End

We are very glad to hear that Corporal Francis Penny is recovering from his wounds and offer him out hearty congratulations on winning the Military Medal. His commanding officer writes as follows:-

“I am pleased to be able to intimate that he has been awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry in action during the recent withdrawal and seldom has this medal been more finely won. He has earned it, I know, many times before, and I shall always recollect his energy, his enthusiasm, his fresh, clean cheerfulness and his personal example of bravery, with pleasure and with admiration. The Brigadier-General congratulates him on the honour he has won, and on behalf of the Battery I thank him for the distinction he has brought it.”

This is a letter that the parents may well be proud of and we shall share their pride.

Our fund for the Prisoners of War of the Hants Regt. which was open for a month amounted to £10 3s. 6d.

We deeply regret that Percy Merrick has been officially reported missing since March 21st and at the moment of writing there is no further news of him.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P120/28A/14)

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A cheery letter from hospital

The vicar of Reading St Giles reported on parishioners serving in the armed forces – plus the death of his predecessor’s son.

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions list:

E.W. Wheeler, R.F.C.; G.J. Coggs, 3/7, Worcester Regt.; A.Coggs, 14th Batt. Worcester Pioneers; William E. Haynes, R.E.; Harold Merrick, 1st Garrison Batt. Worcester Regt.; William George Rowe, R.E. Eldridge, R. Berkshire Regt.(attached D.C.L.I.); Frederick Harry Goddard, Queens Own Dorset Yeomanry; Norman A. Norris, London Rifle Brigade.

To the list of the departed: Steward B. Nelson Bolton (H.M.S. Indefatigable); Capt. Aubrey N. Carew Hunt (Oxford and Bucks Lt. Infantry) Lieut. Henry Laing (R.N.); J.W. Beechey (H.M.S. Hampshire); A. North (London Rifle Brigade).

To the list of the wounded: Leonard Smith (Canadian Contingent).

As a parish and a congregation we offer our sincere sympathy to our late Vicar and his family in the death of his son killed at the front. I know how very much we have remembered them all in our prayers. We also extend our sympathy to the Rev. H.E. and Mrs Lury on the death of their daughter.

I have also had a cheery letter from Sergt.-Major A.F. Manning who is in Hospital in Leicester and is progressing favourably.


Reading St Giles parish magazine, July 1916 (D/P191/28A/24)

Almost every available man has gone to this cruel war

Almost every man from Stratfield Mortimer and Mortimer West End who could realistically serve had answered the country’s call by June 1915, the parish magazine attested. Some had paid the ultimate price.

Men with the Colours

To the lists already published there should now be added: James Flitter and Harry White, K.R.R., Ernest Merrick, M.T., A.S.C., and Herbert West, Gunner R.F.A. The last named should have been on the original list; he is now, we regret to say, in hospital at Warrington, having been seriously wounded at Hill 60 in arms and legs during the first fierce fight for that position.

We cannot refrain from reprinting the following words of Mr. Raymond Asquith, the Prime Minister’s eldest son, on the subject of his training with the 16th City of London Regiment:

“We are trying very hard to fit ourselves in the shortest possible time to kill the largest number of Germans. After recent demonstrations of their ferocious and bestial cruelty, it must be most difficult for any man of suitable age and health to apply himself to any other purpose.”

West End

This cruel war is bringing home to us day by day the awful miseries and troubles which overtake the innocent as a result of the sins of men and nations. One of the very saddest ways in which our parish has come to learn it is in the death of Captain Field, and all our hearts go out in sympathy to his family, and especially to the mother, who through long months of wearing anxiety has given us an example of the pluck and courage which the mothers of England are showing everywhere to-day. It is a bitter end after being taken prisoner while tending the wounded. May his soul rest in peace and may we be given grace to follow his example in doing our duty to our neighbour and our country.

There are several names to be added to our Roll of Honour of those serving their King and Country and our parish may now be considered to have given up almost every available man.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P120/28A/14)