“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…)

Pray for Reading men

News of Reading men.

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions list

Private George Palmer, Warwickshire Regiment; The Rev. Carey Cooper, C.F.; The Rev. Richard Alban Norris, C.F.

Prisoner
: Private A Bartlett.

Sick and Wounded: Private T. Tomkinson; A.M. Robert Bunting, R.A.F.

Departed: Privates Waters; William Neate; Mark Ewens; Pooley; George H. Hunt; Leslie H. Packer; Gunner G.W. Wall, R.F.A.; Harold Little.

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

“Rather boring but a necessary part of a course I suppose”

Sydney Spencer continued his gas course.

Sunday 9 June 1918

Got up at 7.15. After breakfast wrote up some of my notes. On parade. A long lecture on yellow cross shelling. A very good lecture. After a break, we each had to give details for different drills. Rather boring but a necessary part of a course I suppose. Then a talk by SSOI training Lt Col Porrit Morris. A lecture on cause of casualties in yellow cross. Then we dismissed.

After lunch, during which we had a few contretemps owing to bad mess waiting, a lecture on gas poisoning. After tea lolled about a bit. Wrote notes until 7 pm & then down to Hesdin to dinner with Barker. Noticed a French Major at dinner. He was a curious old man & had curious manners.

After dinner walked back to mess & wrote up my notes until 12.30. Then to bed and read more of Tartarin de Tarascon. A highly entertaining book. A lot of ‘sweet’ rain today to cool the atmosphere. A fine night.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EZ177/8/15)

“Much abuse of the manpower of the nation”

The Dodeka Club discussed government inefficiency in putting people’s skills to the best use.

The 283rd meeting of the Dodeka was held at Baynes’ on April 13th 1917.

Much interest was shown in the early part of the evening in Morris’s recent experiences with burglars, the full account of which was heard by many for the first time.

After refreshments the host called on Morris for the paper.

Morris, after explaining that he had been unable to prepare a paper suggested as material for discussion, the two topics had been prominently before the public during recent weeks, namely “Man Power” and “National Service”. The secretary, after some thought, concluded that the best title for Morris’s remarks would be (with apologies to Dickens), “The Art of Circumlocution, or How not to do it”.

Many instances were given of Navy business methods. Orders being sent for confirmation from Reading to Winchester, Winchester to Salisbury, Salisbury to the War Office, and being received back via the same route, thus wasting much valuable time. Instances were given of skilled mechanics being put to road making and men off the land being put to the work of mechanics, such as painting, etc. it was concluded that there was much abuse of the manpower of the nation, and that the War Office had no direct methods of dealing with any business.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

“I am quite happy and enjoy life immensely, wouldn’t have missed it for anything”

Several men from Reading St Giles had fallen in the war. The vicar pays a personal tribute to their heroism:

NOTE FROM THE VICAR

Hearty congratulations to Sergt. S.W. White, 1/4th R. Berks, on winning the D.M.C. I believe he is the first of the old C.L.B. boys to obtain honours in the war.

To the list of the fallen in the war is a long one this month, and it contains some names closely connected with the work of the church (Reginald Golder, Herbert Day, Harry Walker, Leonard Smith), they all played their part bravely and have died gloriously, and I am sure we shall not forget them nor their good work here. All four were splendid types of the real patriot who thought no sacrifice too great for England: all four loved the church they worshipped in and, as I know well, did not forget the lessons they were taught in it.

Reginald Golder was a very special friend of mine, he rarely missed coming to see me each ‘leave’ and his devotion to his Grandfather in the days gone by was something to admire. His final words in his last letter to me, written a few days before the final action in which he was taken prisoner:

“I am quite happy and enjoy life immensely, wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

It was a letter showing his deep interest in the things and persons connected with S. Giles’. To the parents and relatives of all these brave men we give our heartfelt sympathy. For them we give our prayers and our affection: they have won a great reward.

To be added to the intercessions list: Private E.F. Mundy, 11th Labour Batt, Royal Berks Regt,; Lieut Frank Moore, 22nd Batt King’s Royal Rifles; Cpl. C.V. Pyke, R.F.C. ; George Biles, 3rd Batt,. Royal Berks Regt.; Geoffrey Church ; Lieut. Boston; Private A.T. Henton, 9th Royal Berks Regt,; Private W. Clare, A.S.C. ; Private S. Watson, Grenadier Guards; Private J. Gibbons, 6th Batt. R.I.F.; Private T.B. Mills, London Scottish.

Sick and Wounded: Private S.J. Tugwell, D.C.L.I.; L, Cpl. Mark Seymour, R.E.; Private W Hart; Private G.F. Stroud, A.S.C.; C.S.M.L. Goodenough 1/4 Royal Berks Regt.; Private E. Wilson, 24th London R.; Gunner H.G. West,R.F.A; L. Cpl. A Harris, Royal Berks Regiment.; Private Redstone, Private G.W. Holloway, 3rd Gloucester Regt.

Prisoners: Private H. Guttridge, Private James Smith. ¼ Royal Berks Regt.

Missing: Private Albert Langford, ¼ Royal Berks Regt.; L.Cpl. Jack Foulger, West Kents; Private Frederick Long, 6th Batt. Royal Berks Regt.; L. Cpl. H. Goldstone, R.W. Surry Regt.

Departed: Private Davey, L. Cpl Herbert Dray, Sergt. Reginald Golder, 2/4 Royal Berks Regt.; Private R. Morris, Private S. Land, Private H.V. Walker, ¼ Royal Berks Regiment,; Private A. Josey. 2nd Hants; Private J. Miles, Oxford and Bucks Lt. Infantry; Private Arthur T. Knott, Private T. Seymour, Royal Berks Regt.; Private Edward Rogers, 8th Batt. Royal Berks Regt.; Private John Simmonds, 6thBatt. Royal Berks Regt.; Private H. Leonard West, Canadian Cont.; Driver Rodney Lock, A.S.C.; Sergt Clement Perrin, 1/4 Royal Berks Regt.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P96/28A/34)

Helping to look after our splendid troops

The Boys of St Peter’s, Earley, normally borrowed camping equipment from the army. It was of course all in use during the war.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE AND SCOUTS

We are hoping to have a three days’ camp at Newbury from August 5th to 8th. We shall be obliged to sleep in schoolrooms, &c, as tents are not allowed, and we shall have to take our own blankets, &c, as it is quite impossible to get any from the military stores.

ST PETER’S HALL

The Hon, Treasurer appeals for help as the funds are now practically exhausted, and opportunities for assisting these are, in the difficult times we are passing through, few and far between. In normal times various entertainments and other schemes were carried through successfully by the Committee to augment the receipts, but other interests have crowded these out, and yet the Hall must be kept going.

We most earnestly appeal to our readers to help the funds of the above Hall. The Hall has been invaluable during the war, for, in addition to all the ordinary work carried on in it, we have used it constantly for entertainments for the M.T.A.S.C. and the wounded soldiers, so that those who subscribe to the Hall will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are also helping to look after our splendid troops.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
William Ellis, Thomas Neilan, George Barnes, Frank Williams, Richard Smith, Archie Morris, Alfred Levens, Henry King, William Cook, Reginald Wyer, Leonard Rixon.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Sick: Jack Parker.
Wounded and Missing: Bernard Tait.
Wounded: John Rosser, Joseph Powell, Charles Barton, Charles Bolton.
Killed in Action: Allan Brown, Dick May, Hereward Sadler.

Earley parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/8)

Wounded warriors

Soldiers recuperating in the Katesgrove area of Reading had a pleasant summer afternoon courtesy of worshippers at Christ Church.

Entertainment of wounded soldiers

On July 15th our branch of the CEMS had the great pleasure of entertaining some of the wounded soldiers from our Reading hospitals. Thanks to the kindness of the Vicar the event took place in the Vicarage garden, now looking at its best, and St Swithun proving kind, a most enjoyable time was spent by all concerned.

Thirty wounded warriors, convoyed by Messrs Bell & Eldridge from No 5 (Katesgrove) War Hospital, arrived with military punctuality at 2.30 and were soon enjoying themselves in various ways on the larger lawn. Some played bowls with the ladies and members, others competed in clock golf and lawn quoits, whilst those who did not feel equal to much exertion reclined in deck chairs and listened to the pleasant strains of a gramophone. Meanwhile the ladies’ committee prepared tea on the smaller lawn to which the men were summoned at 3.45. After tea a short whist drive, arranged by Mr J Risdale, was carried through and prizes given to the winning soldiers. Cigars, the gift of Mr W R Howell, were then handed round and we said good-bye to our guests.

Our thanks are due to Mrs Morris, Miss Breedon and Mr Pole Routh for the loan of games; to Mr Cripps for the loan of crockery; to the many ladies who so kindly gave cakes and lastly to Mrs W J Brown who so kindly and efficiently managed the tea.

Christ Church parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P170/28A/24)

A very merry tea for the soldier-lads

Those wounded soldiers well enough to move were invited for a day out from temporary war hospitals in east Reading.

On January 22nd another invitation was given to the inmates of Redlands Hospital, and extended to those of St. Luke’s Hospital. Unfortunately, many of the men were confined to bed, so our numbers were rather smaller than we had anticipated.

Games again proved a source of much pleasure, during which Mr. Mobbs, a true friend of “the soldier-lads,” gave much pleasure with his gramophone.

After a very merry tea of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, etc., an entertainment was provided by the “Birds of the Air” Concert party. This clever and novel performance, consisting of songs, dances, etc., was greatly appreciated by the men, and called forth tremendous applause. The performers were the Misses Morris, Mr. Streeter, and Mr. Walford Knowles. Mr. J.A. Brain, home on leave, also delighted the audience with his comic songs, as did Private Scott with his witty stories.

Cigars and cigarettes were generously provided, and before our guests left, one of their number thanked us for the very enjoyable afternoon and started his comrades’ volley of ringing cheers.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, February 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

Fleeing Belgium with a handbag

A Belgian refugee gave the members of the Dodeka Club an eyewitness account, delivered in halting English, of the German invasion, which he escaped with only hand baggage.

December 4th 1914

After refreshments, the host [Morris], who had not prepared a paper, introduced a friend, M Rifon, a Belgian refugee who would, he said, give us an account of some of the fighting in Belgium from an eye-witness point of view. M. Rifon stated he had been in England now about 6 weeks and all he knew of our language had been picked up during that time but would do his best to make himself understood.

Quite 4 years ago there was a strong feeling in Belgium that Germany had eyes upon the Belgian Congo and if trouble ever arose with Germany it would be through this cause. We now know the reasons for the declaration of war by Germany on Belgium was for the latter’s pluckiness in standing up against the Prussian bully and refusing to permit the German army access to France through their territory. Belgium has paid and is paying still a big price, to their never ending glory, for this refusal.

The suddenness of the declaration of war by Germany on the Allied Countries found France and Britain unprepared. Invasion and attacks on Belgium by the Germans followed quickly. At Liege they were held up for days and it was not until the 23rd day from the outbreak of hostilities that these forts were silenced by the superior artillery of the Germans. The unpreparedness of England and France gave Germany time to press forward her programme to overrun Belgium.

M. Rifon gave several instances of the Germans violating all the accepted rules of warfare, by outrage, pillage and the general wrecking of unfortified towns. He mentioned Malines in particular where he said the shooting of the Germans was excellent: the centre of the town was destroyed at the first bombardment and the might of the town at the 2nd bombardment, as many as 30 shells falling a minute. M. Rifon did not brave Malines until the shells began to fall and had only time to pack a handbag and taking his little daughter and mother-in-law made his way to Rheims, thence to Ghent, on to Ostend and to England.

Dodeka Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

A concert for refugees from heroic little Belgium

Yesterday we reported the upcoming concert at Reading Town Hall, now discover how it went:

CHOIR CONCERT FOR BELGIAN REFUGEES
As briefly reported in our December issue, the concert given under the auspices of our Church Choir and Brotherhood Choir on November 25th last proved a most gratifying success, all concerned, performers and audience alike doing their part in a manner worthy of the occasion, – the occasion being the raising of money towards a special Christmas Fund in aid of the Belgian refugees in the town. The Mayor (Mr Leonard Sutton, JP) graced the proceedings and at an interval in the programme delivered a short speech. His Worship said he would like to express the gratification all felt at the effort being made that evening on behalf of the unfortunate refugees from heroic little Belgium, and he assured the Belgians who had come to Reading, and of whom there were a good number in the hall that night, that no effort would be spared to make their stay in the town as happy as possible.
With characteristic generosity the conductor of the choirs (Mr F. W. Harvey) had arranged a programme of almost too ample proportions, but the audience evidently were out to enjoy themselves and few left before the close.
Dealing with the work of the choirs it may be said that the Church Choir well maintained its reputation, singing a number of part-songs in excellent style. “The Viking Song” (Coleridge-Taylor), “Hymn To Music” (Dudley Buck), and “The Vagabonds” and “Our Island Home” (Eaton Faning), all of the vigorous order, were rendered with expressive enthusiasm, and a tuneful part-song by Parry, “Sweet day, so cool”, a competition test piece for which the choir gained first prize at the Crystal Palace last year, was given in a very finished manner.
(more…)

A pretty pass

The Dodeka Book Club in Reading was a small group of 12 men who all belonged to Trinity Congregational Church. They met regularly to share books and discuss topics of interest. At their first meeting after the outbreak of the war, they talked about the war and chose a number of war-related books to buy and circulate.

October 2nd 1914

The following new books were voted in:
“Memoirs of the Kaiser’s Court” proposed by Morris 10/6
“Germany and the next War” proposed by Penfold 2/-

“Men around the Kaiser” proposed by Ridley 2/-
“Germany’s swelled head” by Johnson 1/-
[Two other books unrelated to the war.]

The host [Mr Gibbons] then delivered his paper on the “European Situations”. Drawing attention to the fact that his last subject was the “Progress of Nations”, he stated we had arrived at a pretty pass now. This big industrious nation of ours had been brought face to face with a sudden crisis and that she had met it with confidence and spirit spoke volumes from the strong course steered by the statesmen who form our Cabinet. “A serious war tomorrow would prove to our cost that the Army is not of the Old Stamp” said a British General a few years back. General French knew different to this and events have already shown our modern army in all its branches is probably superior to any army of the old stamp and no army in the world possesses a finer record than ours. The military preparations of our country had proved to be of a thorough character. British interventions in the European Situation has had the primary effect of stiffening the military power of France and Russia and has contributed largely to the great check given to Germany’s invincible army. In Russia it has been the means of uniting her disaffected provinces.

The host then went on to show that Germany’s great task, to which she subordinated everything else was to dispute the British claim to supremacy at sea. Germany boasts an invincible Army and England an invincible Navy. Events may prove there is no such word as “invincible” as applied to warfare. There was a great responsibility resting upon the shoulders of Sir John Jellicoe and he hoped the nation would never forget it. In conclusion, Gibbons said the war was more serious for Germany and the Western Powers than for Russia and the Balkan States whatever its termination as the latter being backward in civilization stood to gain by the war in a general awakening and throwing off of despotic powers.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)