Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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Roll of Honour names to be verified

The final design of the war memorials at London Street Primitive Methodist Church were decided.

12 May 1919
Resolved

1. That the Wesleyan Book Room design for Roll of Honour be accepted.

2. That the work of entering the names on the scroll be given to Mr Morley.

3. That the design of text be left in Mr Morley’s hands entirely.

4. That Mr Pierce & Mr Smith take the lists & verify all the names before particulars are given to Mr Morley.

5. That the names on the roll be alphabetically arranged.

6. That the design and revised estimate of £12.12.0 for Brass memorial Tablet be accepted.

7. That failing completion of the Rolls of Honour before Mr Alderson leaves the Circuit, it be understood that he be invited to attend the Ceremony.

London Street Primitive Methodist Church trustees’ minutes (D/MS59/1A/2)

“We shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace”

St John’s was just one of the Reading churches united in prayer for the war to end.

Letter from the vicar

I write this on the eve of starting for a short holiday in Devonshire. I am to return in time for Sunday, August 4th, when we shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the entry of this country into the world war which is still raging. Following the lead given by our King and the civic authorities in the chief city of our Empire and in many others, we shall observe the day as a solemn day of prayer. In the churches of our own parish the services throughout the day will be of a specially devotional character. We shall remember before God the heroic dead, with gratitude for the inspiration of their lives and with prayer that we may not falter in devotion to the ideal for which their lives were laid down. We shall pray for the heroic living, still battling on land and sea, in the air, and under the sea, for the cause which we believe God has summoned us to uphold. We shall pray for ourselves that we may be saved from selfishness and sin, uplifted to self-sacrifice and steeled to endurance; and we shall pray most earnestly that the wisdom of God may show the nations what is still hidden from their eyes, the ways that may lead them into peace, and may incline all men’s hearts everywhere to do his will.

It is estimated that on the battlefields of Europe ten millions of men have already laid down their lives. Under the shadow of this great tragedy let us draw near to our God, who alone can bring us out of the darkness, and whose law of righteousness provides the only basis upon which any permanent peace can be established.

In the afternoon all the religious bodies at our end of town are uniting in a solemn service of intercession, to be held at 3.30 pm on St John’s Lawn. I hope that the afternoon will be fine and that the greatest crowd ever seen there will assemble on the Lawn….

Your sincere friend and vicar
W Britton

UNITED SERVICE OF INETRCESSION

It is hoped that all Christian people in the east end of the town will uinite in a service of intercession on St John’s Lawn at 3.30 o’clock on Sunday, August 4th. The following congregations have been invited to take part, and up to the time of writing this, most of them, through their ministers,have accepted:

Earley, St Bartholomew’s, St Luke’s, St John’s, St Stephen’s, Wycliffe, Trinity, Wesleyan, St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Anderson Memorial, Cumberland Road, Park, King’s Road. His Worship the Mayor has kindly signified his intention to be present.

Should the weather be wet, the service will be held in St John’s Hall.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

The following gifts have been received during the month:

Miss Rebbeck 5/- and material for 64 face cloths, Miss Hewett 3/6, Mrs Bowyer 5/-, Mrs Dauncey 1/-, Mrs May 2/6, Miss Bradley 2/6, Mrs Morley 10/-. In addition the members of the working party subscribe one penny per week each.

The following things have been made, 3 white shirts, 5 pairs pants, 3 cushion covers, 20 sterilizing bags, 7 treasure bags. Total 3259.

The balance sheet shows an expenditure on materials for over 3000 pieces of work, of £37 11s 4d, and subscriptions amounting to £38 4s 2d, so that the funds in hand are in a very low state just now, and the treasurer appeals for donations, however small, so that a stock of woollen stuffs for the autumn work may be obtained as soon as possible. The workers meet in the Princes Street Mission Room on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30 pm, and anyone who would like to visit them at that time will be welcome.

Donations should be sent to Miss Rundell, 7 Alexandra Road.

September 1918

Letter from vicar

We must all, I think, feel stronger for the solemn and helpful services of August 4th, as we are cheered by the good news which came to us from the Western Front the same week. There is, may we not believe, more than a coincidence in this sequence of events. God does answer prayer. If our people would but turn to Him and wait upon Him in the spirit of our Day of Remembrance continually, He will hear and answer the pleadings of a penitent people who call on Him day and night. Not the least impressive of our services was the great gathering for united intercession on St John’s Lawn, when we had the satisfaction of uniting with so many of our brother Christians of all denominations in earnest prayer to God for His blessing and help….

Reading St. John parish magazines, August and September 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

Lessons of the Great War

The vicar of Reading St John suggested parishioners might like to help provide a new communion set for an army chaplain:

Letter from the vicar

My dear friends,

My own letter to you this month will be a brief one, as I want to give pride of place to Mr Morley’s very interesting letter from the front. Perhaps some of his friends in the parish would like to supply his obvious need of a set of Communion vessels of convenient size. I shall be very glad to receive subscriptions for this purpose….

The addresses on Wednesday evenings [during Lent] are to be given by the Rev. E J Norris… These services will consist of war intercessions and the address, and will last about 40 minutes…

At St Stephen’s Church on Thursday evenings there will be a series of lantern services, if gas is obtainable for the lantern, under the general heading, “Lessons of the Great War”. The pictures illustrating the addresses are really beautiful, and I think the services will be found both helpful and comforting….

Also let us not cease day and night to make supplication to God for the restoration of Peace.

Your sincere friend and vicar

W. Britton

Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

“Life keeps brightening all the way” with jokes and accordions

An army chaplain wrote to his friends in Reading with a description of his experiences. Ecumenicism took a step forward in the extreme situation of the war.

Letter from the Rev. R W Morley
YMCA
c/o The Town Major [sic]
1st Army Corps Railhead
1st January 1918
My dear Vicar,

I expect most of my friends know by now of the two huts that I have charge of out here, and the delightful Quiet Room with all its devotional helpfulness. Apropos of the last it might be of interest if I transcribed a phrase from my predecessor’s letter to me (he is a prominent Congregational Minister), “Nothing gave me pleasure than the introduction of the altar, reminding me as it did of Our Great High Priest and the priesthood of all believers”. There I have the joy of celebrating most Sundays at 8 am at the request of the Church of England Chaplains, and in their robes as I have none out here, nor have I vessels as mine were a little too small for the purpose. On Christmas Day I celebrated with a wine glass for chalice and glass cake dish for the bread, a saucer and another wine glass on a chair for the consecrated bread and wine, and with no robes. Once in every month I have an open Communion for “all who love the Lord in sincerity and truth”, to whatever church they belong. This follows our evening service instead of the usual prayer meeting, and I take it of course on very free lines, though including two or three lines out of our incomparable liturgy…

I take all the religious work here, i.e. two weekly services, one on Sunday evenings and one on Wednesday, and the nightly prayers in the hut. Also we have a Fellowship Meeting in the little room every evening, and I am taking the Saturday night every week myself with a discussion attached. I asked them what subject they would like, as I thought a course would be best. Imagine my delight and surprise when they all agreed on “The Fundamentals of the Christian Faith”. We had 35 last week, and they almost all stayed for discussion.

At the present time, should you come in and catch me unawares with a spare moment, you would probably find me endeavouring to pick out a hymn on an Italian accordion which I have just purchased, thinking it might help the singing at the meetings, as we have only one piano and that is in the service and concert hut. If I show signs of excelling (!) on the instrument I may startle your open-air service some Sunday evening with it should I be lucky enough to get a Sunday’s leave and bring it home in safety. However, I do not think there is much cause for alarm at my present rate of progression…

I only wish I could introduce you to some of the men I have met out here. And not least those I have had the joy of working with in this hut. Mr Hichens, a Church of England priest, who was and is unselfishness and charm itself, now, alas, transferred; Mr Cooper, full of cheerfulness, absolutely typical of that which he was when war broke out – a Cambridge undergraduate; and the orderlies too; the Sergeant, with his “Good mornin’” and his devotion to a certain gramophone record; Parry from Lancashire, where they know everything, with his talk about Fritz’s indiarubber gun and his many tales oft told; and Harman who revels in a practical joke especially if played on Mr Cooper. The French boys I hardly dare attempt. “Nosegay” (his name is really Julien; smokers will appreciate) and Georges and Marcel, with their smiling faces and their quaint patois, half English and half French. There they are, a real merry party. So life keeps brightening all the way..

Your sincere friend
R W Morley

Reading St. John parish magazine, Feburary 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

“Off to the realm of star-shells and whizz-bangs”

A former curate at St John’s Church left the parish to help with the YMCA’s support work behind the lines in France.

LETTER FROM MR MORLEY

My dear friends

The vicar has given me this further opportunity of attempting to thank you all for the almost overwhelming generosity, in kind and in affection, which I have experienced while in St John’s parish and especially for the kind words and most liberal gifts of November 5th…

And now we are off to the realm of star-shells and whizz-bangs, where we shall revel in a pair of most formidable rubber boots and where one’s gaze will rest on little but the inevitable khaki; and one’s heart leaps at the thought. It is simply great to be going amongst it.

I have today obtained my new address which as far as I know for some time now will be, Rev. R W Morley, YMCA, APOS 51, BEF, France. I sincerely hope I may get an occasional letter at least, and also it would, I am sure, even before I see my new sphere of work, be a real help and delight if any friends having illustrated papers or magazines which lie idle after they have seen them would post them on to me for use in cheering and diverting the Tommies who use the hut…

Ever your sincere friend

R W Morley

Reading St. John parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

“Nowadays there is not much time for letter writing”

Reading women made clothes and bandages for wounded soldiers, while both ladies and gentlemen contributed to the cost of materials.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

We acknowledge with many thanks the following donations: Miss Hewitt, 2s 6d; Mrs Morley, 5s; Mr Howard Allsop, 10s; Mr W R Cook, 10s; Mr H Pretty, £4 6s 3d (being one penny for each day of the war). The garments sent during the month are: 9 white shirts, 4 helpless shirts, 21 bags, 4 pairs slippers, 4 longtailed bandages, 28 face cloths. Total with those already acknowledged, 2.364.

Funds were getting very low, so a few letters were written to some of the gentlemen of our congregation who cannot be expected to sew themselves, inviting them to help us, but nowadays there is not much time for letter writing, so will some more of our men folk be so kind as to send us contributions. They may rest assured that the work is well done and much appreciated.

Reading St. John parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

“Help the country and benefit yourself”

St John’s Church in Reading was a latecomer to promoting war savings, but explained its scheme very clearly.

S. JOHN’S WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION

Though somewhat late in the field, an Association for War Savings has now been started. Early in the month of March a meeting of the parishioners was held with the object of forming the Association for the parish and congregations of the two churches. A committee was formed as follows: the Rev. W Britton, chairman; Mr Haslam, vice-chairman; Miss Winter, treasurer; Mr Penson, secretary, with Miss Ridley and Miss Rundell as assistant secretaries; the other members of the committee being Mr F Winter, rev. R W Morley, Mr Badcock, Mr Hopcraft, Mrs Harrison Jones, Miss Wilkinson, Mrs Herbert Kingham, and Miss Ayres.

Subscriptions will be received at the Princes Street Mission Room, on Monday in each week from 12 noon to 12.45 pm; and also once a month after the District Vistors’ Meeting at 3.15 pm. Subscriptions will also be received at the Albert Road Mission Room, on Tuesday in each week, from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm. The first day of attendance to receive subscriptions will be Monday April 2nd…

By this scheme, subscribers purchase from the collector a 6d coupon, which is stuck onto a card with 31 spaces for 31 coupons. When all the spaces are filled with coupons value … in total 15s 6d, a certificate for £1 will then be given in exchange for the card. This certificate can be cashed for 15s 6d at any time within twelve months from the date of issue, and for 15ts 9d at the end of one year, at the end of 2 years for 16 s 9d, at the end of 3 years for 17s 9d, at the end of 4 years for 18s 9d, and 5 years for £1.

The advantage of joining this Association is that, if there are say 31 members and they each purchase a 6d coupon, a certificate for 15s 6d is immediately purchased by the secretary. The first member to complete his or her card by having purchased 31 coupons, will receive this certificate, which will be dated some weeks back, viz at the time of purchase by the secretary. By the time it comes into the hands of the member a small sum by way of interest will have accrued…

Note the following points: Saving helps the Country which needs labour and materials for winning the War, and money with which to pay for them.

By saving, later on you will have £1 to spend instead of 15s. 6d. In this way you help the country and benefit yourself. Begin at once and get all the benefit you can.

Reading St. John parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

Reported wounded and missing long ago in Gallipoli

Children and adults in Bracknell contributed what they could to the war.

EGGS FOR THE WOUNDED.

During the last seven months from January, 1916, 1,106 eggs have been sent to Reading for the National Egg collection.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank on behalf of the Soldiers all those who have sent eggs, and also Mr. Barnard, who has most kindly conveyed them to Reading free of charge. I hope that everyone will continue to send as many eggs as possible each week either direct to the Vicarage or to Mr. May, High Street.

A.M. BARNETT.

WAR WORK.

Names of some of the Bracknell Children who have lately sent knitting to the War Work Depot:- Ethel Brant, Alice Cheney, Phoebe White, Amelia Quick, Phyllis Gough, Dorothy Gale, Mary Wera, May Rance, Grace Fowler, Evelyn Townshend, Margery Metson, Ethel Morley, D. Townshend.

We regret the news has now come through that Jack Franks, who was reported wounded and missing long ago in Gallipoli, is dead. He was one of our choir boys, and though it is now some years since the family left Bracknell, many of us remember him very well, and much sympathy is felt for his mother.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/8)

Throwing darts at the Kaiser

A number of entertaining evenings were held for wounded soldiers in Earley. One suspects that throwing darts at the Kaiser’s anatomy was a particular favourite.

EARLEY WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINMENT FUND

I regret the delay in publishing this report, which has been unavoidable. Since my last, and up to the time of writing, five more Entertainments have been given: on each occasion about 50 guests have been invited, including 25 on one occasion from the Canadian Contingent at Bearwood. With the exception of the special event on the 29th December, the proceedings have been similar to those already described.

Contributors to the funds have given further help and attended willingly to assist, and there has been no lack of musical and other talent in providing amusement for our guests, amongst them being several members of the ASC stationed at Earley, Miss Marjorie Francis, Miss Elsie Francis, Mrs Dracup, Mrs Hart and Mrs Dowsett, Miss Elsie Smith (who has been of great help at the piano), Mr Tunbridge, Mr H Walker, Mr Tom Morley, Mr Edwin Love with his party, the Misses Francis and Hayward, and Mr Maurice Love, in “Mixed Pickles” and “Bridget’s Blunders”, have greatly assisted in completing the success of each event.

The introduction of a further original game by Mr Love in substitution for pinning the tail on the donkey has been a nearly lifesize picture on a board of the Kaiser, numbered in the vital parts for darts to be thrown at, and which has excited keen competition.

The loan of motor cars by Mrs Joel, Mr Barnard, Mr Ricard Lea, Mr Helps, Mr Heelas, Mr A C Jordan, Mr Bonnett, Mrs Dunlop, Mrs Evans and Lieut. Usmar (who with his wife we are sorry to lose from the district as they took such a great interest in our work) has been a real boon, as without this help our expenses in hire of conveyances would have been very considerable.

A further list of donors and of gifts in kind will appear in due course. The present position of the fund is

Cash received to date £41.9.5

And paid out (exclusive of the last Entertainment and Account for Hire of Cars) £27.6.10.

The committee will gladly welcome any further help in cash, loan of motors or gifts in kind so as to continue these Entertainments.

Chas J. Howlett
Hon. Treasurer
28/2/16

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

The men of Earley serving their country

An extremely long list of men with connections with Earley St Peter were receiving the support of parishioners’ prayers.

List of Names on the Roll of Honour and Prayer List
Duncan Adams, John Adams, Henry Adams, Frederick Allen, John Allen, Frank Allum, George Allum, George Ansell, Robert Ascroft, Frank Aust, William Ayres, Henry Ayres, Cyril Ayres, Reggie Ayres, John Ayres, James Auger, Samuel Auld, Charles Barton, William Barton, Clarence Burnett, Harry Bosley, Benjamin Bosley, Robert Beeson, Walter Bluring, Gordon Brown, Leonard Brown, Walter Brooker, Charles Baker, Ernest Balding, Albert Ballard, George Breach, Phillip Breach, Ernest Breach, Alfred Breach, Percy Bunday, George Bungay, William Bungay, Charles Bolton, Herbert Blyde, Lewis Blyde, Wilfrid Blyde, Arthur Buskin, Herbert Broadbear, Louis Bunce, Frank Berry, James Bowden, Henry Blathwayt, Harold Bennett, Harry Borroughs, Henry Barney, William Brett, Alfred Broad, Harry Ching, Charles Chesterman, George Chesterman, Ernest Chapman, Edwin Coldman, Edward Cottrell, Percy Cotterell, Hubert Collier, Alfred Cooper, George Comport, Guy Comport, Frank Cook, Ernest Cook, Eric Cook, Fernand Camus, John Cane, Charles Carpenter, Charles Clarke, William Clements, Charles Carpenter, Charles Clarke, William Clements, Charles Capel, Leonard Dann, Frederick Douglas, Reuben Dowsett, Renton Dunlop, Tom Durman, Jack Durman, Hugh Deeds, Ralph Deeds, Sidney Davis, Ralph Durand, Albert Denham, Frederick Dawson, Alfred Dee, Hugh Denton, Sidney Dormer, William Elliott, Charles Elliott, Reginald Elliott, Eric Evans, Alec Evans, Ernest Embery, Cyril Eaton, Eustace Finnes, George Forge, John Forge, Henry Fisher, George Fisher, William Fisher, John Fisher, George Fulford, Bernard Fixsen, Theodore Fixsen, William Farmer, Bert Farmer, Arthur Fulker, Cecil Fowler, William Fowles, Charles Goddard, Guy Goodliffe, Ernest Gowers, George Grey, Cecil Grey, Victor Gaines, Reginald Gatehouse, Herbert Garlick, Charles Phillips Groome, Samual Gould, Wilfrid George, Frank George, Gilbert Green, Frederick Goodger, Richard Goodall, Leslie Grinstead, Albert Howlett, Frederick Hearn, Arthur Hearn, Bert Hearn, Harry Harding, George Harding, Albert Harwood, William Harwood, George Harwood, Charles Haines, George Hitchcock, Albert Hitchcock, Henry Hayward, Percy Hamilton, Frank Hawkins, Albert Hosler, William Hall, Albert Hall, Henry Hall, George Hall, William Hall, Francis Harris, Arthur Harris, Richard Hayden, Fred Hull, Charles Hague, James Hague, Stanley Higgs, Leslie Heelas, Leonard Hedges, Harry Hambleton, Reginald Hawes, William Hope, Jack Howlett, Percy Howlett, Bertie Iles, Edward Iles, Percy Ilott, Thomas Ilott, Albert Ilott, Melville Innes, Walter Jeskins, Albert Jerome, Alfred Jerome, Walter Jerome, Frederick Jerome, George Jerome, Charles Jefferies, Henry Jones, Leopold Jenner, William Jeram, George Jeram, Henry Jeram, Woolf Joel, Alfred Jacobs, (more…)

Happy in spite of all the anxieties of the moment

In the Newtown area of Reading, the Revd T. Guy Rogers was pleased with his parish’s support for the war hospitals.

My dear friends,

We had a very happy Easter in spite of all the anxieties of the moment. Our congregations were inspiring, and the presence of the Signalling Corps at the 11 a.m. service at St John’s was much appreciated. The number of Communicants in the parish (830) was, though, smaller than in recent years, rather larger than we expected on account of the number of young men now in training or at the front.

I am glad to say that as a parish, we have been able to take up an important piece of work for the Care and Comforts Committee in connection with the Reading Military Hospitals. A large parochial working party, under the charge of Miss Homan and Mrs Morley, has commenced work in the Big Hall of the Institute on Wednesday afternoons. The work will be carried out in close touch with the Care and Comforts Committee, so that such garments as are really needed and only such, will be made. I trust that the General Fund of the Committee may be so adequately supported that it may be enabled to give us a considerable grant in aid towards purchase of materials. At the same time, we shall require a good deal of money for local expenses and for the equipment of the working party, and I shall be most grateful if subscriptions may be sent to me for this purpose….

Your sincere Friend and Vicar
T Guy Rogers

Reading St John parish magazine, May 1915 (D/P172/28A/)

Going to the Front

Almost everyone in the country had the experience of having to see a friend or family member heading off to the front, to face danger, deprivation and possibly death. On 14 May 1915 it was the turn of a Maidenhead teacher, whose head teacher considerately gave her the day off.

May 14th 1915
Miss Morley absent today to take leave of a friend, who is going to the Front.

Maidenhead Gordon Road Boys School log book (C/EL/107/1, p. 85)