An act of gallantry and devotion to duty

A teacher who had served with distinction in the Royal Engineers was rewarded by a promotion when he got home.

Higher Education Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

MAIDENHEAD COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL

With regard to the Manual Room, a sectional part of one of the Hospital Wards at the Canadian Hospital at Cliveden was purchased for £100, and an estimate of Messrs Partlo of £108 for taking down, carting and re-erecting has been accepted….

WINDSOR COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL

There were 136 applicants for the post of Headmaster… The Governors selected Mr F Morrow, BA (NUI), the Second Master at the School. Mr Morrow was educated at Pocock College, Kilkenny, and has had 16 years’ experience as an Assistant Master, 10 years of which have been at the Windsor County Boys’ School. He has published a text book of practical geography. His war service was with the RE, in which corps he attained the rank of captain, and was awarded the MC for an act of gallantry and devotion to duty.

School Management Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

TEMPORARY WAR BUILDINGS FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES

The Board of Education have notified that HM Government have decided that huts required by Local Education Authorities for Educational purposes shall be sold to them at a discount of 33 % on the valuation.

The Secretary has been asked to make enquiries and report cases where these huts might be useful.

By-laws and Attendance Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

MEDICAL INSPECTION

Dr Napier, Assistant School Medical Officer, has returned from Military Service and resumed work on 29 September. Dr G R Lake, who has helped the Committee part time during the last four years, will cease work at the end of the present month. The Sub-committee have placed on record their appreciation of Dr Lake’s work which enabled them to carry on a curtailed scheme of Medical Inspection during the War.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

The response to the appeal for subscriptions has been, on the whole, deplorably bad

Would St Bartholomew’s School memorial be able to go ahead?

THE WAR MEMORIAL.

Committee.
E.W. Mansfield, Chairman of the Govenors.
C.A. Hawker, Mayor.
F.W. Thoyts, Chairman of the School Committee.
H.F.E. Peake, Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Governors of the School.
A.E. Allnatt, formerly Cricket Captain.
E. Bradfield, formerly Senior Prefect.
I.K. Fraser, formerly Senior Prefect and Editor of “The Newburian”.
A.J. Coles, formerly Senior Prefect, “Editor of The Newburian,” Captain of Football XV.

Old Boys.
B.C.L. James, Senior Prefect.
E. Sharwood-Smith, Head Master.
C. St. A. Lee, Second Master, Hon. Sec. and Treasurer of Committee.

All communications should be addressed to Mr. Lee.

THIRD LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS.

In publishing the third list of subscribers to the War Memorial Fund, we would point out that the response to the appeal for subscriptions has been, on the whole, deplorably bad. It is to be hoped that the many Old Boys and others connected with the school who have not already sent in their donations will make an immediate response to this most important appeal.

£ s d

Pte. A.E.J. Chislett 10 0 0
H. Chislett, Esq. 5 0 0
E.B. Milnes, Esq. 5 0 0
P. Williams, Esq. 5 0 0
J. Rankin, Esq. 3 3 0
Lt. W.B. Collins 2 0 0
Mrs. Shaw 2 0 0
K.P.Leng, Esq. 2 0 0
Corpl.H.S. Hobbs }
Sgt. P.R. Hobbs} 1 0 0
Capt. J. Allee 1 1 0
J.F. Cannan, Esq. 1 0 0
T. Bradfield, Esq. 1 1 0
Lt. W.H. Glover 1 1 0
Miss Brough 1 10 0
Miss Gibson 1 0 0
P. Simmons, Esq. 1 1 0
Miss Farmer 10 6
J. Parr, Esq. 10 0
J.B. Webb, Esq. 10 6
W.C. Franks 10 6
B.C.L. James 10 6
Mrs. Huxham 10 0
Mrs. Staples 10 0
Mrs. Hale 10 0
J.W.Knight, Esq. 5 0

ROLL OF THE FALLEN

ALLEN, Pte. W.H., Grenadier Guards.
BANCE, Lieut., R.A., 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment.
BUCKINGHAM, Lieut., P.E., R.A.F.
BURGESS, Lieut., N.G., Croix de Guerre, R.N.V.
CANNON, H.S., Motor Despatch Rider.
CHISLETT, Trooper, H.J.W., 1/1st Berkshire Yeomanry.
COWELL-TOWNSHEND, Lieut., R., R.A.F.
COX, Pte., C.W., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
CURNOCK, Lieut., C.A., 10th East Surrey Regiment.
DAVIES, Corpl., P.E., 10th East Surrey Regiment.
DAVIS, A.H., London Artists Corps.
EDWARDS, 2nd Lieut., F.A.L., M.C., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
EVERS, Capt., B.S., 9th West Yorkshire Regiment.
GRIFFIN, 2nd Lieut., H.S., 2/24th Royal Berkshire Regiment.
HALLEN, Corpl., J.V., 1st Surrey Rifles.
HARRIS, L.A., Royal Warwick Regiment.
HERBERT, Pte. G.W., Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
JONES, Rfn., S.W., 2nd Rifle Brigade .
MATHEWS, Trooper, S.W., 2nd Rifle Brigade.
MORTIMER, Pte. F.C., 4th North Staffordshire Regiment.
MYDDELTON, 2nd Lieut., E.G., Suffolk Regiment.
NASH, Pte. J.O., Royal Engineers.
PATTERSON, Capt., R.A., 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade.
PAYZE, A.R., 50th Canadian Gordon Highlanders.
PEARSON, Pte. K.H., Artists’ Rifles.
PLENTY, Major, E.M., R.A.F.
QUARTERMAN, 2nd Lieut., P.H., 2/24th East Lancashire Regiment.
RAVENOR, Lieut., G.P., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
RAVENOR, Corpl., H., Australian Contingent.
ROBINSON, 2nd Lieut., A.H., 1st Manchester Regiment.
SOLWAY, Pte. D.G., Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry attached Royal Berkshire Regiment.
SAVAGE, 2nd Air Mechanic, E.G., Royal Flying Corps.
SHARP, Lieut., F.H., Royal Berkshire Regiment.
SHIPLEY, Trooper, A.J., Berkshire Yeomanry.
SHUTLER, Pte. R., Berkshire Yeomanry.
SOMERSET, Lieut., F.H., South African Infantry.
STEVENS, Pte. E.J., M.M., Royal Army Medical Corps.
SWINLEY, Lieut., G.N.B., 3rd Battalion K.O.S.B.
WARREN, Sergt.-Major, C.M.
WILDE, Lieut., E.J., Leicester Regiment.
WYLLIE, Corpl., A., Berkshire Yeomanry, attached Worcester Regiment.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

Military distinctions awarded to Caversham men

Caversham men were honoured for serving.

Military Distinctions Awarded to Caversham Men

Second –lieut. D.T. Cowan, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Military Cross; Capt. C. Gentry-Birch, Royal Berks Regiment, Military Cross; Rev. C.W.O. Jenkyn, Royal Army Chaplains Dept, Military Cross; Capt. A. Hill, Surrey Yeomanry, Military Cross; Capt. (Rev) W.M. Austin, 1st Wiltshire Regiment, Military Cross; Capt. G.O. Taylor, R.E., Military Cross; Capt. E.F. Churchill, R.E. Military Cross; Lieut. Rollo, Scots Greys, Military Cross; Lieut. H.C. Powell, R.G.A., Military Cross; Sergt-Major D.E. Deane, R.A.M.C., Military Cross; Lieut F.C. Ransley, R.A.F. Distinguished Flying Cross and French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star; Lieut. B.J.E. Belcher, R.AF. Distinguished Flying Cross; Sergt. A. Price, R.G.A. Distinguished Conduct Medal; Pte. W. Shackleton, 3rd Royal Berks, Distinguished Conduct Medal; Pte J. Girdler, Distinguished Conduct Medal; *Pte. J. Cox, 1ST Grenadier Guards, Distinguished Conduct Medal; *Pte. H. Godwin, 1ST Berks Yeomanry, Military Medal; * Pte. F. de Grunchy, 4TH Royal Berks, Military Medal; * Pte. H. Simmonds, R.A.M.C., Military Medal; Pte. F. Neale, 1st Royal Berks, Military Medal; Pte W. H. Heath, R.A.M.C. Military Medal; Sig-Cpl. F.J. Pointer, R.G.A., Military Medal and Bar; Pte. H.D. Helmore, 1st Royal Warwicks, Military Medal and Italian Bronze Medal for Valour; Gunner T.W. Shuff, R.H.A., Belgian Croix de Guerre; Mec-Staff-Sergt. J.W. Beasley, Meritorious Medal.
*Formerly members of Caversham C.L.B.

CAVERSHAM ROLL OF HONOUR
Third List
POWELL, Capt. E.I. Royal Sussex Peppard Road March 22, 1918
Bryant, Trumpet. F.N. R.E. 59, Queens’s Road July 16, 1917
Bryant, Cpl. S.C. R.E. 59, Queen’s Road
Bell, Cpl. A.J. R.E. 188, Westfield Road
Blackall, Pte. A.E.J. 2/4 R. Berks 8, Cromwell Road Dec. 7 1917
Briant, Pte. A.E.J. 6TH Royal Berks Emmer Green Aug. 15 1917
Bue, Pte. W. 27th Enniskillens Emmer Green Oct. 20 1917
Bennett, Pte. T.A. Gloucester Regt 92 Queens Road Dec. 5 1915
Bristow, Pte. H. R.E. 114, Queens Road Dec 21 1916
Carter, Pte. C. London Regt 69, Briant’s Av Nov 22 1917
Chamberlain, Pte. F. R.H.A., Berks Emmer Green Aug 28 1918
Cox, Seaman D.E. R.N. 18, Coldicutt Street Oct 1918
Doe, Bomb, S.W. R.H.A. 68, Prospect Street Nov 26 1917
Davis, Pte. J. Royal Berks 9, Donkin Hill May 31 1918
Eacott, Pte. H.W. 14TH Royal Warwicks 121, Gosbrook Rd Oct 26 1917
Fuller, Pte. F.G. Rifle Brigade 18, King’s Road May 9 1915
Goodwin, Pte. F.C. 6TH London 168, Hemdean Rd April 14 1917
Gibbins, L-Cpl. A.G. 28TH London 33, South View Av July 16 1918
Hatto, L-Cpl. H.H. 1/4TH R. Berks 111, Kidmore Rd Aug 16 1917
Havell, Pte. H.A. 2ND Ox and Bucks Emmer Green Nov 3 1917
Harrison, Seaman G. H.M.S. Victory 54, Briants Av Sept 4 1918
Higg, Pte. W. Rifle Brigade 105, Queens Road 1916
Jones, Pte, T.J. Northumb. Fus 100, Kings Road Dec 17 1916
Knight, Pte. R.R. Royal Berks 145, Queens Road Aug 26 1918
Morgan, Pte. S. Liverpool Regt 57, westfield Road June 20 1917
Martin, L-Cpl. B.E. R.M.L.I. 163, Gosbrook Road Aug 25 1918
Mott, Pte. S. R.G.A. 79, kidmore Road Sept 21 1918
Miles, Pte. G. R.F.A. 96, Kings Road July 31 1918
Nicholls, Lieut. H.G. 2nd Royal Berks 5, Queens Road May 28 1918
Nicholls, Pte. J. M.T. 3, River View Cots 1918
Povey, Cpl. J. R.H.A. 4, Queens Street April 16 1915
Palmer, Pte. H.T. 1ST Warwicks 34, George Street April 18 1918
Purvey, Pte. W. Oxon & Bucks 16, King’s Road Feb 25 1918
Purvey, Pte. E. R.A.S.C. 16, King’s Road April 12 1918
Rampton, Pte W. Labour Corps 35, Gosbrook St April 9 1918
Robinson, Pte. H. 7TH Queens 34, Priory Avenue Sept 22 1918
Swift, Pte. H.G. 3RD Rifle Brigade 31, Oxford Street May 19 1918
Semple, Pte. H. 2/4TH Royal Berks Emmer Green July 16 1916
Semple, Cadet. F.J.M. R.A.F. 23, Priest Hill Oct 30 1918

Caversham parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P162/28A/7)

A cordial “welcome home”

Reading soldiers were coming home.

We have been glad to see Lieutenant W. D. Hart, MC, once more in his old place in the choir, and we give him a cordial “welcome home”.

We also give cordial welcome to the other brethren restored to us during the past month by the demobilization. We have been glad to see once more in our midst:

Lieut. Wilfred Beer, Private G. S. Hampton, Sergeant E. C. Dracup, Lance-Corporal A. E. Hawkins, Corporal R. S. Woolley, Corporal A. Butt, Private F. W. Snell, Private E. R. Robertson, Gunner A. G. Walker, Private V. Mace, and Private A. W. Panting.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“The news of his death was only received after the signing of the Armistice”

There was a particular poignancy when news of a death came after the war had ended.

Roll of Honour.

Frederick Pither.

The news of his death was only received after the signing of the Armistice and the blow, therefore, come with added force to his wife and children.

We would desire to convey to her the very real and special sympathy of all.

Military Cross.

Lieut. R. Palmer – to whom heartiest congratuilations.

Blinded Soldiers’ Fund.

The total sum received is £32; made up as follows:-

Carol Singing £22 10s., Christmas Dinner Table envelopes £9 10s. This latter sum is for the children of Blinded Soldiers.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Reading School’s contribution to the war

A complete listing of Reading School’s alumni who had served in the war.

OLD BOYS SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES.

This list has been compiled from information received up to December 14th, 1918; corrections and additions will be welcomed and should be addressed to: – R. Newport, Esq., Reading School, Reading.

Allnatt, Rifleman N.R. — London Rifle Brigade.
(killed in Action).
Ambrose, 2nd Lieut. L.C. — S.L.I.
Anderson, Pte. L.G. — Can. Exp. Force
Appelbee, 2nd Lieut. T. — 13TH West Yorks.
(Killed in Action).
Atkinson, Lieut. E.G. — Indian Army
Atkinson, Capt. G.P. — 6TH Royal North Lancs.
Atkinson, 2nd Lieut. J.C. — R.A.F.
Aust, 2nd Lieut. H.E. — Yorkshire Regt.
(Twice Wounded).
(Killed in Action).
Aveline, Lieut. A.P. — Royal Berks Regt,
(Wounded).
(Military Cross).
Baker, 2nd Lieut. A.C.S. — R.G.A.
Baker, Rifleman A.E. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Rifleman R.S. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Lieut. T.H. — 8TH Royal Berks Regt.
(Wounded)
Balding, Capt. C.D. — Indian Army.
Banks, Pte. W.R. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Bardsley, Capt. R.C — Manchester Regt.
(Wounded).
Barnard, F.P. —
Barroby, Trooper. F. — Strathcona Horse.
Barry, Capt. L.E. — R.A.F.
Baseden, Lieut. E. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Baseden, 2nd Lieut. M.W. — R.A.F.
Batchelor, Lieut. A.S. — Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.
Bateman, Capt. W.V. — Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Bayley, 2nd Lieut. F. — Chinese Labour Battalion.
Beckingsale, Pte. R.S. — Canadian Contingent.
Beckingsale, Capt. R.T. — Tank Corps (Military Cross).
(Wounded).

Belsten, E.K. — R.A.F.
Biddulph, 2nd Lieut. R.H.H. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Died of Wounds).
Bidmead, Pte. — Wilts regt.
Black, Pte. F. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Blazey, A.E.H. — R.A.F.
Blazey, 2nd Lieut. J.W. — Royal Berks Regt
(killed in Action).
Bleck, Lieut. W.E. — R.F.A.
Bliss, 2nd Lieut. A.J. — Leinster Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Bliss, Pte. W. — 2ND Batt.Hon.Art.Coy. (more…)

“This officer at once organized an emergency company of personnel, stragglers and all the available officers and men on the spot, and formed a line of resistance about 100 strong”

Many Old Boys of Reading School covered themselves with glory in the last months of the war. E C Holtom’s book is still in print.

O.R. NEWS.

Mr. W.L. Pauer, son of Mr. W. Pauer, who had previously won the Military Medal and Bar and a French Medaille Militaire, and who had also been made a “King’s Sergeant” for bravery on the field, has now been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Croix de Guerre.

2nd-Lieut. Churchill, M.C., R.F.A., Son of Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Churchill, of Eldon Square, Reading, has been awarded by the President of the French Republic the Croix de Guerre.

Naval Promotion.

Surgeon E.C. Holtom, stationed at Chatham, has been promoted to the position of Staff Surgeon (Lieut. Commander) in the Navy. He has written a book which is being published by Hutchinson & Co., of London, under the title of “Two Years Captivity in German East Africa.” Mrs. Holtom, of 23, Junction Road Reading, the mother of Surgeon Holtom, has received a letter from Queen Alexandra, in which she says she has ordered a copy of the book. Surgeon Holtom was educated at Reading School and is very well known in this district.

Military Cross.

2nd- Lieut. Adrian Lillingworth Butler, Royal Field Artillery, as previously reported, gained the Military Cross. The following is the official account of his gallant conduct: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer fought his section in the open, engaging enemy infantry and tanks until they got within 50 yards, scoring a direct hit on a tank at this distance. He rallied the infantry and only withdrew at the last moment, having himself to drive in a gun team when the driver was killed.

T/2ND-Lieut. E.C.P. Williams, Middlesex Regiment. When the enemy attacked in great force, driving in the line and endeavouring to cut off the retirement of the battalion, this officer remained as a rear-guard with a small party of men and a Lewis gun, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy, and gaining time for the battalion to withdraw in good order. On previous days he had been out with patrols securing prisoners and bringing back valuable information.

Lieut. (Acting Major) Owen Wakeford, R.G.A. For consistent good work, especially as Officer Commanding Battery, during the operations in the Ypres Sector, from July to December, 1917; where he maintained the efficiency of his unit, under heavy fire.

Bar To Military Cross.

The bar to the Military Cross has been awarded Lieutenant (Acting Captain) L.E.W.O. Fullbrook Leggatt, M.C., Oxon and Bucks L.I. Special Reserve for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while attached to brigade headquarters. Headquarters suddenly came under heavy rifle fire, and this officer at once organized an emergency company of personnel, stragglers and all the available officers and men on the spot, and formed a line of resistance about 100 strong. He sent out patrols to locate the enemy and our own troops, and himself collected much valuable information. His promptitude did much to clear an obscure situation and strengthen the line. (M.C. Gazette February 18th)

Lieut (Acting Captain) J.L. Loveridge, Royal Berks Regiment. He made a reconnaissance under heavy enemy barrage, and next day led his section to the starting point, in spite of the fact that his Tank had been observed by the enemy and were submitted to heavy fire. Throughout he showed great coolness and initiative.

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

A very narrow escape

There was news of the fate of several men from Burghfield.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Temporary Captain G H B Chance, MGC, to be Assistant Instructor, graded for pay at Hythe rate.

Casualties

Captain R P Bullivant, MC (1st County of London Yeomanry), killed in action, in Palestine; 2nd Lt A Searies (Suffolk Regiment), severely wounded; Albert Bond (13th Royal Fusiliers), wounded last April; L Clarke (2/4th Royal Berks), wounded; Eric G Lamperd (London Regiment), prisoner; F J Maunder (Devon Regiment), wounded; Lance Corporal Percy Watts (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded; Lance Corporal Alfred West (Inniskilling Fusiliers), prisoner.

No details have yet been received about the lamented death of Captain Ritchie Bullivant, of which the whole parish will have heard with regret. It is hoped to give some fuller notice in a future magazine. Meanwhile his brother may be assured of general sympathy.

It is to be deplored that gallant Alfred Searies should have been seriously wounded, gunshot wounds in face and hand. He has, however, been able to be removed to hospital at Wimereux, so his mother may hope for the best. He had been doing duty for some time as acting captain; and we hear that he had also been recommended for the Military Cross, so he had been distinguishing himself before receiving his third wound.

2nd Lt G D Lake, ASC, MT, has lately had a very narrow escape from a shell bursting close to him and killing and injuring several men. We hope to see him safe and sound home for his approaching marriage, which is to take place (if he gets his expected “leave”) about mid-November.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“The war is ending, it seems, but the misery of it cannot end with it”

More details of Sydney Spencer’s shell shock not long before his final days.

Oldbury House
Tewkesbury
9 Nov 1918

Dear Mrs Image

I was dreadfully sorry to hear of Sydney’s death, & it must have been a bitter shock to you, especially when you knew that there had been no real necessity for him to go back to duty when he did. You will be impatient to hear what Capt Dillon told me – though I fear it is as unsatisfactory as all such information must be.

The MC was given, not for any single piece of bravery, but for continued good work during the battallion’s [sic] attack at Morlanecourt (near Albert) on Aug 8-10 & during the previous period when the company had a difficult time owing to the German attack on the division immediately on its right. Sydney put in a tremendous amount of work – too much, Capt. Dillon says: he was too careless about himself, got quite insufficient sleep & really prepared the way for his break-down & shell-shock. While in this over-taxed state the company got shelled rather badly, & a shell fell pretty close with the result that Sydney succumbed to the trembling kind of shock & had to go to hospital on Aug 10th. He was not actually wounded, except for a tiny scratch on the upper arm, which they put some iodine & a dressing on. When he got to hospital he pretended, for fun, that he had a very bad wound & the nurse took extra care in unbinding it, but enjoyed the joke when the wound was revealed. He told Capt. Dillon on his return that he was only really ill for three days, but Capt. Dillon thought that he had come back too soon & in any case sooner than he need have done.

He was first of all in hospital at Rouen & then spent time at Trouville. On his return he seemed very well & cheerful: Dillon saw him again on Sept 10th. The battalion was then very busy preparing for the attack which was to be made on Sept 18th. On the 17th he & Dillon had a cheerful chat about prospects: & Sydney said they both would get nice Blighty wounds & go back together & be out of it comfortably; he seemed quite confident that he was coming out of the affair with his life. On the 18th Dillon was wounded, & Sydney took his place automatically. The company had a very bad time & almost everybody was knocked out. This accounts for the fact that there is so great difficulty in getting any particulars. The attack took place east of Epehy, & Dillon thinks that in all probability it was there that Sydney was killed. The line was being advanced at the time, & in those circumstances, it is some slight consolation to know, his body would probably be buried decently & the exact spot recorded. If you wished to make any enquiries on that point the Graves Registration people would be the ones to apply to. I am afraid I don’t know their address. Capt. Dillon suggests as possible sources of information Sydney’s batman, the chaplain or the company sergeant-major; but I think you have already tried those people. The other lieutenant who was with Sydney was also killed at the same time.

Capt. Dillon can’t say much about the time Sydney was in hospital, & he does not understand how it is that you have heard nothing about it: for he knew that Sydney was in the habit of writing very full letters about everything. The lack of news from the 5th to 10th was probably due to the amount of fighting that was taking place. Capt. Dillon suggests that you might get some particulars of what was happening from the “Times” of 8th-10th – which however he says is full of mistakes (it was their battalion who took Morlanecourt, & the Americans had no share in it). But I feel that what you want is more personal details, & though I managed to extract some from Capt. Dillon (which I have told you) there are doubtless others which might be pumped out by yourself but hardly could be by anyone else. Capt. Dillon is apparently a very good sort, but rather lacks the faculty of unbosoming himself to strangers. If you do ever meet him you may be able to do better than I have; as to actual historical details I think he gave me all he could. One point he mentioned which may interest you was that Sydney won his MC within a mile or so of the sport where Percy [his brother] was wounded; Percy’s division being the next but one in the line. You may already know this.

I do hope that Percy’s wrist is making good progress: I had no idea that it was so bad as you say, or that his nerves were so badly upset. The war is ending, it seems, but the misery of it cannot end with it.


Yours sincerely
R. Harold Compton

Letter from R Harold Compton to Mrs Florence Image regarding the death in action of her brother Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EZ177/8/24)

Exceptional and conspicuous bravery on the field

A Reading man was honoured.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Brother Lieutenant A. G. Adlam of the RGA has been awarded the Military Cross for exceptional and conspicuous bravery on the field. His action was one of deliberate coolness, and our heartiest good wishes go out to him and his family.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Very hard lines that he should not have lived to hear about his medal

One of Sydney Spencer’s fellow officers was able to give his sister a ittle more information about his death in action.

7th Bn Norfolk Regiment
BEF

Nov. 3rd

Dear Mrs Image

I am very sorry I have been so long in writing to you again, but it has been hard to find time to write letters.

Possibly you have heard by now; some days after your brother was killed, it was published in orders that he has been awarded the Military Cross for Gallantry.

It seems very hard lines that he should not have lived to hear about it.

I assure you, it was very well earned.

What I am so sorry about is that you have not had any other letters beyond mine. (Possibly you have, by now.)

The reason is that at the time your brother was killed, all the officers were in the line – fighting, and when the Battalion came out, there were so many changes amongst officers.

No, your brother did not get his Captaincy, as he was only commanding a Company for a few days.

He was killed near EPEHY.

Captain Dillon was wounded when the battalion was in the line.

He is at present in England.

Yrs sincerely

R Gilham

Letter to Floence Image (D/EX801/78)

“Nothing that the war has brought me is anything to compare with your suffering, and no courage I have shewn, can compare with your superhuman endurance”

Florence Image reveals the strain it took to stay strong for her family in the face of Sydney’s death.

29, Boston Road
Cambridge

Oct. 29 1918

My own dear Stan

John says, “Are you writing to dear old Stanley? Then tell him his letters give me the greatest pleasure to read.” Well my darling, I do pray you will get some of our letters soon. I am getting yours so quickly – less than 3 weeks! I was dreadfully bothered about you. Do ask for leave. The infantry won’t know you have been 2 ¼ years without any. When you get back to your unit, beg the Colonel to grant you either (a) your overdue leave – or (b) sick leave with a view to discharge. Tell him how many times you have had malaria. Lloyd George promised you all leave in the spring. Last week the WO said they were granting leave as fast as possible – and again they assured the House of Commons that something like 1500 had had leave recently from Salonika – I enclose a cutting. But I hope the Min. of Inform. Affair will come off soon, if the war isn’t over first. I do long to hear the story of what you did for your Captain darling.

I feel your letters acutely darling. If my letters seem prosaic and material it’s because I have had a tremendous strain on my emotions, and I hardly dare take out my thoughts and look at them at all – because I’ve got to keep well, & be strong for all your sakes. I’ve written reams on your account – and it’s for you & Gil, and to keep Mother & Father going, for your sake, and for Perce [sic] – as well as my beloved John – I’ve got to keep going – or rather keep the ship going – See? But of course nothing that the war has brought me is anything to compare with your suffering, and no courage I have shewn, can compare with your superhuman endurance. My only struggle is not just to keep myself going – but to keep the ship going – do you understand? And so I am the most extraordinary creature apparently. I haven’t cried about Syd – and every time dear John attempts to be even sad about it – I am quite firm & cross. In fact it’s carry on – carry on – carry on – all the while – and snub every gust of longing or regret, love & hatred (like you I get awful fits of hatred as well as love) and save up all your energy for the end of the war and the radiant return to the old order – for you the front bedroom of a sunny warm day – with [Tobit?] – when the war is over. I’ll burst – and then you’ll be astonished at all I say. I get madder & amdder & madder with those who have not been wrenched up by the roots in this war. “Why cumbereth it the ground?”

Well, this is an ugly letter. It’s all imported rage with those who don’t dream what you in Salonika endure – and if they did wouldn’t dream what you in particular endure. But I do – and meanwhile I am trying to get you some light books to carry. I have ordered Andrew Marvell, and hope to get it in a week. His poems. Do you want his Satires too? And have you got a Bible? And do express any other longing you have. What you tell me of Heine & Goethe is so interesting. I’d no idea they had the taint. Tell me one or two nice things you would like to beautify your dust-bins out there. I do hope you will get the parcel with biscuits I sent you.

I heard yesterday that Syd has been awarded the Military Cross for what he did on Aug. 8th, and am vain-glorious enough to be glad, because he told me before he was killed, he was recommended for it, and was very pleased, because of the pleasure he knew it would confer on us…

Your own loving
Flongy

Have you plenty of shirts etc?

Letter from Florence Image to her brother Stanley Spencer (D/EX801/110)

“What keen, sensible, often attractive faces the Huns had: nothing vicious or brutal; even kind-looking, sometimes!”

Florence Image and her frail elderly parents were dealing bravely with the loss of Sydney.

29 Barton Road
28 Oct ‘18

My very dear old man

On Thursday [Florence] goes up to London (and to Cookham), to settle poor Syd’s affairs. She has been in correspondence with the WO (how feelingly and touchingly some of them can write) – the disposal of his kit would be an overstrain for the broken old father. The mother appears so abnormal in the unnatural cheerfulness and insouciance she shews that Florrie dreads the crash which must come, when at last she begins to realise her loss. Both parents inundate poor Florrie with constant reams of letters, of portentous length: and besides, there are numberless letters eternally reaching her from officers, and Oxford people, who loved Sydney. I think these keep her life up – for she is full of energy and even bright…

I saw a posse of Hun prisoners march by, this afternoon, escorted by a soldier with fixed bayonet, and another whose rifle looked innocuous, behind. What keen, sensible, often attractive faces the Huns had: nothing vicious or brutal; even kind-looking, sometimes! And how coarse and vulgar and unheroic look our Tommies – I have often wondered why Punch, for instance, always gives our men animal countenances – and so do the photographs in the D. Mail, whereas the photographs there of Germans are often clean cut and amiable.

Florrie received today from the Front a letter saying that news had just reached the Regiment that the Military Cross had been awarded to Sydney Spencer! Poor Syd, it was promised to him as far back as August. I recall the joy with which he told us as a secret not to be spoken of. It will be a pride to us, in token that, in his 6 months’ active service, he bore himself manfully.

Florrie isn’t the least scared about Influenza. Our streets reek of eucalyptus and all the ladies are sucking Formamint.

With our dear good wishes to you both

Your loving friend
J M Bild

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

Magnificently maintaining the British tradition through dangers and hardships

News of Reading men:

PERSONAL

We desire to offer our hearty congratulations to Lieut. W. D. Hart of the Royal Marine Artillery, who has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. Lieutenant Hart, MC, joined the RMA in August 1915, and obtained his commission in October 1916. Before the war he attended the Young men’s Bible Class, and was a valued member of our Church Choir.

Our friend Private F. Snell is once more in the No. 1 War Hospital, Reading, for treatment. We trust the operation which he must undergo may be successful, and that we may ere long have the pleasure of welcoming him back into our midst.

Private Hedley Wyles has been in hospital in Dublin. We are glad to know that he is now better, and able to resume his duties with the Royal Wiltshire Regiment.

Private Duncan Frame has gone to France with the Hants Regiment. Our thoughts and prayers go with him and the many other Broad Street “boys”, who are so magnificently maintaining the British tradition.

We were glad to have Lieutenant Oswald Francis, MC, worshipping with us once more when he was recently home on furlough, and to know that he has come safely through his many dangers and hardships.

Private E. G. Emmett is at the RAF Armament School at Uxbridge, hoping to qualify as an Instructor in Machine Gunnery. It was a pleasure to see him looking so well when he was on furlough a few days ago.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Not a single letter or parcel

News of Sulhamstead men.

THE WAR

We regret to report several casualties to soldiers connected with our parish:

Gunner W C Giles, RFA, has been reported missing since May 27th.

Private Rowland Pitheral, 2nd Royal Berks, has been reported missing since May 27th.

Captain Stanley Strange, 14th Welsh, DSO, MC, reported missing on May 10th, has since been reported as a prisoner. At the time when this went to the press, he had not received a single letter or parcel.

Captain Strange’s two brothers are now each of them Majors, viz Major Percy Strange and Major Gerald Strange.

Captain Jock Norton, MC (and bar), Royal Air Force, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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