Missing since March 1918

Hope was lost at last for two Ascot men.

Mr and Mrs J. Smith received news on 8th April from the War Office, that their son, Sidney Alfred Smith, 2/4 Oxford and Bucks L.I., who has been missing since 21st March, 1918, was now reported as killed, and on the 1st May, Mr. and Mrs. Bowyer received the same news as regards to their son Harry Bowyer, 5th Berks (transferred to Oxford and Bucks L.I.) He, too had been missing since 21st March, 1918. A Memorial Service for those soldiers was held on Sunday afternoon, May 4th, which was largely attended by relatives and friends of the respective families.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/6)

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Death has now been officially presumed

We regret to learn that the parents of Arthur Longhurst, reported missing many months ago, have been informed that his death has now been officially presumed.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/4)

War service of children who had been emigrated by the Guardians

Some men who served in the war had roots in Berkshire despite having joined up in the colonies. They included boys who had been assisted to emigrate by charities.

4th March 1919

Emigration

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Local Government Board transmitting the following reports made by Canadian Immigration Officers upon children who had been emigrated by the Guardians.

From Reading parish by Dr Barnardo.
Walter —- age 25. This young man who came to Canada in 1906 at the age of 13 years has enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and is now at the Front.
24th September 1918.

From Reading Parish by Dr Barnardo.
Ernest —- age 26. With the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Reported missing, and discovered to be a prisoner of war.
27th August, 1918.

Mr Fenner, Relieving Officer

Reporting the receipt of a letter from Dr Hartnett to the effect that Mr Fenner, Relieving Officer No 1 District, was suffering from influenza and was unable to carry out his work. The clerk stated that Mr Kenner had now resumed his duties.

Report of Infant Poor Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

The standard of bell ringing had been on the whole well maintained, due in no small measure to the ladies

11 January 1919

The annual general meeting of the branch was held at Wokingham on Sat January 11th, 1919..

At St Paul’s Church [Wokingham] … the secretary reported … that despite the call of more of their members to the Colours, the standard of Ringing had been on the whole well maintained, due in no small measure to the Ladies….

Two Ringing Members, A Hawkes & S Stacey of Arborfield, had laid down their lives, while G Collins & F Emblem were missing… 67 members were on active service.

Minutes of Sonning Deanery Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (for bellringers of the parish churches of Arborfield, Easthampstead, Finchampstead, Hurst, Sandhurst, Sonning, Wargrave, Wokingham All Saints and Wokingham St Paul) (D/EX2436/2)

“Right in front of the battalion, leading his men in true British style”

This supplement to the roll of honour’s bald list of names gives us more detail about the parish’s fallen heroes.

Supplement to the Wargrave Parish Magazine

ROLL OF HONOUR.
R.I.P.

Almighty and everlasting God, unto whom no prayer is ever made without hope of thy compassion: We remember before thee our brethren who have laid down their lives in the cause wherein their King and country sent them. Grant that they, who have readily obeyed the call of those to whom thou hast given authority on earth, may be accounted worthy among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness of all our sins, and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself to us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Baker, Edward
Private, 7th Wiltshire Regiment, killed in action on the Salonica Front, April 24th, 1917, aged 21. He was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Baker. He was born at Wargrave and educated at the Piggott School. When the war commenced he was working as a grocer’s assistant in Wargrave. He volunteered in 1915 and was sent out in 1916. He was killed by a shell in a night charge.

Barker, Percy William

Private, 7th Batt. Royal Berkshire Regiment/ Killed at Salonica, July 4th 1917, aged 19. He was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. William Barker at Yeldall Lodge. His father was for twenty years a gardener at Yeldall. He was born at Crazies Hill and educated at the village school. On leaving school he began work as a gardener. He was one of the most helpful lads on the Boys’ Committee of the Boys’ Club. He volunteered May 11th, 1916. On July 4th, 1917, he was hit by a piece of shell from enemy aircraft while bathing and died within an hour. The Chaplain wrote to his parents “Your loss is shared by the whole battalion”.

Bennett, William
Sergeant, 8th Royal Berkshire Regiment, killed in France, Dec 3rd, 1916 aged 25. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bennett, of Wargrave, and when the war broke out he was working on a farm. He volunteered at once. He was killed instantly by a shell. One of his officers wrote: “Sergt. Bennett was the best N.C.O. we had in the company. Fearless, hardworking, willing, he was a constant inspiration to his platoon. His splendid record must inevitably have led to his decoration. We have lost an invaluable N.C.O. and a fine man. He was buried with all possible reverence about half a mile from Eaucourt L’Abbaye”.

Boyton, Bertram
Lieut., 6th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds in Palestine, Nov. 9th, 1917, aged 36. He was educated at King’s College, London, and was a Surveyor and Architect by profession. He was a Fellow of the Surveyors Institute and had won Gold and Silver Medals of the Society of Auctioneers by examination. He was married to Elsie, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Morris, at the Parish Church, Wargrave, Sept. 7th 1905, He was a member of the London Rowing Club and the Henley Sailing Club, and keenly interested in all athletics. He enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company in April 1915. He was given a commission in the 6th London R.F.A., in July 1915 and was promoted Lieutenant soon after. He went to France with his battery in June 1916, and to Salonica in the following November. He was sent to Egypt and Palestine in June 1917, and was wounded while taking his battery into action in an advance on November 6th. He died at El Arish on November 9th, 1917.

Buckett, Ernest Frederick

Private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, killed in action Sept. 20th, 1917, in France, aged 23. The dearly loved husband of Dorothy May Buckett, married May 31st, 1917. He was educated at the Henley National School, and before the War was a slaughterman with Messrs. O’Hara & Lee, butchers, Henley and Wargrave. In 1910 he joined the Berkshire Yeomanry (Territorial Force), and was called up on August 4th, 1914, at the commencement of the war. He immediately volunteered for foreign service. He went to France in the spring of 1915. When he had completed his five years service, since the date of his enlistment, he volunteered for another year, but received his discharge as a time-expired man in January 1916. In July, 1916, he was called up under the new regulations and sent immediately to France where he remained, except for leave on the occasion of his marriage, until he fell in action, September 20th, 1917. (more…)

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…)

Shot through the head

News of the last days of Berkshire soliders continued to trickle in.

Casualties

Sergeant A E Bolton (2nd DG, Queen’s Bays), died in France; Private W H Brown (8th Royal Berks), twice wounded, and prisoner since last April (omitted before); Frank Hicks (2nd Royal Berks), at last officially presumed killed on 9th May, 1915; W Painter (RE), wounded and gassed; J W G Phillips (RAF Labour Company), killed; H J Pembroke (1st Royal Irish Fusiliers), killed in action, 1st October, 1918; G H Poulton-Smith (RGA), wounded; died (of pneumonia) in Italy.

Captain Bullivant’s Death

One day last September, his unit, the 1st Middlesex Yeomanry, was holdig a line of out-posts in Palestine, when a Turkish column was reported to be moving across the front. He rode forward with an orderly to reconnoitre, sending his trumpeter back with orders for the squadron to follow. When they did, however, they at once came under fire, and had to go into action (no doubt dismounted), without having see him or being able to gather which way he had gone in the tangle of ridges and valleys; and the engagement continued for some hours, finishing up in the dark, miles from where it began. Search was made for him early next morning, and a patrol brought in his body. He had been shot through the head, and “must have come right on to them when he galloped over the ridge”, writes his subaltern. His orderly had had his horse shot, and could not himself be traced at the time of writing. A gallant death: but a sad loss to his family and to this parish, in which he took great intrest, and in whose affairs we hoped he was destined to play an active part. He was a Rugby and Cambridge man.

Lieut. Alfred Searies has made a wonderful recovery, and been home on leave. He was buried and damaged while occupying a “pill-box”, and only recovered consciousness five days later in hospital. His MC has been duly awarded him.

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

A very brave young soldier

Three young Wargrave men, all of whom had joined up as teeneagers, were reported killed.

Roll of Honour
R.I.P.

Almighty and everlasting God, unto whom no prayer is ever made without hope of they compassion: We remember before thee our brethen who have laid down their lives in the cause wherein their King and country sent them. Grant that they, who have readily obeyed the call of those to whom thou hast given authority on earth, may be accounted worthy of a place among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness for all our sins and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself for us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The following names must be added to the Roll of those who have laid down their lives for their Country in the great war:-

Haycock, Burton. Private 1st Somerset Light Infantry, killed in action at Broadrunde Ridge, October 4th, 1917, aged 19. The eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Haycock of Cockpole Green, Crazies Hill. Reported missing November,1917. In August, 1918, a report was received that he was killed on October 4th, 1917. He joined up in February, 1917 and after 7 months training was sent to France, shortly after his 19th birthday. He had been in France only five weeks when he was killed. His Captain wrote “Your son was a very brave young soldier.”

Herbert, Charles. Rifleman 2/9 County of London Queen Victoria Rifles, killed in action September 26th, 1917, aged 21. He was reported missing until September 29th, 1918, when the news of his death was officially confirmed. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. John Herbert of Wargrave. He was educated at the Piggott School. At the outbreak of war he was a footman in service in London, where he found a very kind home and was much appreciated. He volunteered on May 28th, 1915, and was sent to France in February, 1917.

Williams, Jack. Private 14th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, killed in action September 27th, 1918 aged 18. He was educated at the Piggott School and was called up in November, 1917. He was sent to France in June, 1918. He was killed instantly. His Captain wrote:- “His death was a great loss as he was a fine soldier”.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

“What would have happened to us if things had gone the other way we shudder to contemplate”

Feelings in Earley were still hostile to Germany.

The Vicar’s Letter

My Dear friends,

We have again very much to be thankful for with regard to the War. We have been passing through a critical stage, much more critical than most people have thought. The attempts of our enemies to bring about an armistice, and to gain time to recover and bring about a peace favourable to themselves, have been attended by very real danger for the future of all free nations, and we may be thankful that they have not succeeded. We all desire peace from the bottom of our hearts, but it must be a just and righteous peace, which will once and for all safeguard the world in the future against the horrors and misery of the past four years. A vindictive spirit is not a characteristic of our nation, but none of us can have read during the past month of the “agony of Lille,” the cold blooded cruelty of the sinking of the “Leinster,” and the outrageous treatment of our prisoners, without feeling that there must be a sharp punishment as well as reparation. Moreover, we cannot, as President Wilson says, make any terms with the present rulers of Germany, and therefore we must still fight on for the present; and surely we ought to thank God that we are more than likely, within a reasonable time, to be in a position to impose our own terms. What would have happened to us if things had gone the other way we shudder to contemplate.

It is possible that the Magazine may have to be suspended for a time owing to the scarcity of paper and the great increase of cost. We shall be in a position to make a further announcement next month.
Your friend and Vicar,
W.W. FOWLER.

THE WAR

Events are moving so rapidly in the War that it is possible for us seriously to indulge in hopes of peace, even though we find ourselves quite unable to put the slightest trust in German professions. It is difficult to understand the state of mind of those who, while asking for peace, continue those very practices which have above everything produced the strong determination in the allies to render them impossible in the future. It does appear certain that the best hope for the World does not lie in a peace by negotiation, but in a peace dictated by strong conquerors who are in a position to ensure justice. The ideal of human justice is to secure society from the depredations of the criminal, and if possible restore the criminal so that he may become a worthy member of society; for this purpose punishment may be necessary and salutary but among civilized people the just judge is not expected to vindicate. It is to be regretted that in some of our leading papers letters are allowed to appear which are more characteristic of the Hun attitude in the days of their ascendancy than of the strong calm nation which is pledged to a righteous and lasting peace. The Germans have shown themselves to be brutal; we are happy to think that our own men could not bring themselves even in retaliation to be brutal, and that we shall to the end retain a clean record.

The following have been added tom the list of those serving in His Majesty’s Forces – Frank White, George Jerram, Albert Harry Burgess.

Our prayers are also asked for the following: –

Richard Goodall, Harry Russell, Killed.

Frank Lloyd, Neil Henderson, missing.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

A reputation for utter disregard of personal safety, but with it an equal regard for the safety of his men

Two young men from Ascot were confirmed killed.

Many of our readers will have felt the most profound sympathy for his parents in their loss of their only son Harold Keating. He fell in action on June 28th whilst carrying out a duty full of danger. After a school career of extraordinary brilliancy, in which he had gained the gold Asiatic Medal, open to all the youth of England, he had begun his Oxford life when the war broke out.

In September, 1914, he received a commission in the Royal Engineers, and was in France soon after. There he gained a reputation for utter disregard of personal safety, but with it an equal regard for the safety of his men. He would expose himself to risks from which he carefully kept those under him. In 1916 he was wounded and sent home, but in the following year was back again in France. In March, 1918, he was in the Amiens salient, and shared to the full the dangers and hardships of the great retreat. His letters showed how galling that failure to hold the line was to his sensitive mind, but he was spared to see the tide turn, and his own sacrifice not in vain.

Apparently, like many others, he had a premonition that his life here was to end; and before the engagement in which he met his death, he left behind for his parents a letter of the deepest affection and unusual perception.

“I am enough”, he wrote, “of a philosopher not to fear the thought of death, and enough of an adventurer to feel excitement and thrilling sensations of adventure at entering continents unknown. That is how I would have you think of me. The captain of my ship setting sail for some most glorious Eldorado, while the rising sun blazes into my face”.

That is something of the martyr spirit, and the adventure he speaks of is the spirit of faith which God asks from all who step out into the unknown. That a career which might well have left its mark in history has been cut short is obvious, but God has greater rewards to grant than the rewards which men can give. It will be when we can read life in its unabridged edition that we shall know that God does not so lose the gifts he gives to me.

After a long delay of mingled anxiety and hope, the authorities have reluctantly resigned all hope of further news of Robert Brown. Many will recollect the boy solo in All Souls’ choir, with his remarkable pure boy’s voice. He was badly wounded on October 9th, 1917, but from that day onwards not the slightest trace has been heard of him. It is thought that on his way to the clearing station he must have come under shell fire, and been blown to pieces. It is God’s mercy that his only brother has been spared to his parents after a desperate and usually fatal illness.

To the parents of both these young boys of our parish we offer our deepest sympathy. For their souls we shall continue at each requiem to pray, “Grant unto them, O Lord, eternal rest, and let Thy light perpetual shine on them”.

South Ascot Parochial Magazine, October 1918 (D/P186/28A/18)

“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)

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)

Splendid courage and untiring energy throughout the heavy fighting

Two brothers were reported killed.

Roll of Honour.
R.I.P.

Almighty and everlasting God, unto whom no prayer is ever made without hope of thy compassion: we remember before thee our brethren who have laid down their lives in the cause wherein their King and country sent them. Grant that they, who have readily obeyed the call of those to whom thou hast given authority on earth, may be accounted worthy of a place among thy faithful servants in the kingdom of heaven; and give both to them and to us forgiveness for all our sins and an ever increasing understanding of thy will; for his sake who loved us and gave himself for us, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The following names must be added to the Roll of Honour:-

Loughton, Frederick George.
Private, Grenadier Guards, aged 33. He was the second son of Mr. William Loughton of Wargrave. He was a Piggott Scholar and educated at Wargrave. Before the war he was a gardener at Ouseleys, where he had been five years. He volunteered but was not accepted as fit for service. In September 1917, he was called up and sent to France after four weeks training. He was reported Missing in November 1917, and in June 1918, his name was recorded among the killed. He married in August 1917, and his wife survives him.

Loughton, Joseph Burton. Private, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, killed in action March 29th, 1918, aged 27. He was the third son of Mr. William Loughton. He was educated at Piggott School, Wargrave. Before the war he was a gardener and had been in the same situation for six years. He volunteered in February, 1915. He was sent to France in November, 1915, and with the exception of three short periods of leave he remained there until his death. He was killed instantly by a shell. His Captain wrote: –

“he did his duty as a soldier and a man and behaved with splendid courage and untiring energy throughout the heavy fighting. His death is a great loss to us all”.


Wargrave parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

At home awaiting discharge after severe wounds

There was news of Ascot men.

Since our last issue news has been received that both Victor Ednie and Arthur Francis are prisoners and unwounded, while Percy Mortimer has been reported missing, and Ernest Collet severely wounded. Fred Talbot is at home awaiting discharge after his severe wounds.

Congratulations to J. Ferns on his promotion to a Commission in the Royal Navy.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, September 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/8)

Intercessions for Reading men

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions List
: Private A.H. Gray, R.A.F.

Departed: Gunner Ernest H. Relf, Lieut, Howard M. Cook, Private Heard, Lce-Corpl. Cornelius Smith, R.E.

Missing: Private A. Bartlett.

Prisoner: Lieut. S. Jardine.

Wounded
: Lieut. Taylor.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P96/28A/35)