The pleasant mudscape

Perhaps a brother’s experiences informed this schoolgirl’s creative writing.

Dialogue Between Two German Owls, or An Elegy written in Flanders

The shrapnel shrieks the knell of parting day;
In Flanders, mud above his gouty knee,
A sapper backwards ploughs his watery way,
To mend the telephone, and have some tea.

Now sinks the pleasant mudscape from the sight,
For, from the air, a sleety drizzle drenches,
Save where a lorrie [sic], with its floundering might,
Takes touzzly [sic] Tommies back towards the trenches.

Save that, on yonder splintered stump,
A German owl doth of her lord enquire,
“What bird is that, who buzzing round our dump,
Usurps our birth-right in this black quagmire?”

“Oft did our faint hearts to those bomb-shells yield,
In burrows hiding, while the crockery broke,
For England drives her aeroplanes afield,
Often to perish, ‘neath our strafing stroke.

Let them not mock what German soil,
And lager beer, and morning hates upbore,
Soon we shall hear, with a disdainful smile
Some long and glorious lies about that corps.

The boast of daring and the pomp of power
All that the British War Office e’er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour,
A reckless start-off to a German grave.”

Thus spake the German, heedless of the waste
For female ears this eloquence to raise,
And, as with long-drawn screams the shrapnel raced
Around her, she could see no cause for praise.

“Can leaking urn, or animated bust
Back to its mansion drive that floating flock?
Make those propellers churn the silent dust,
Or flatten out upon a cold dull rock?”

The applause of listening generals to command,
And angry threats of martial courts to raise,
To scatter pamphlets o’er a smiling land,
Or works like these their hapless nation pays.”

Haply some hairy headed swine may say,
“Oft have we heard him at the peep of dawn
Blowing with hasty bombs our food away
To beat the Hun upon the upland lawn.”

Then sank her head upon the lap of earth,
An owl, to fortune and to fame unknown;
A sniper frowned not on her humble birth,
And, very hungry, marked her for his own.

H. MOSS, Va.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1919 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

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…)

Quite an effective war shrine

All Saints’ Church in Reading was the latest to have a special shrine in the church for war related prayer.

Church Army Hut Fund

Lenten savings for the Church Army Hut Fund should be sent in at once.

War Shrine

The list and Roll of Honour have been fixed between the Chapel and the south door, and form quite an effective shrine, surmounted by The Union Jack, the kind gift of Miss Ward.

An oak bracket for flowers, etc., has also been fixed, kindly given by Mrs. Ward. We are grateful to Mr. Moss for kindly fixing up the lists of honour. We hope that the shrine will be dedicated at our Dedication Festival.

All Saints section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

“The villages have been ruthlessly pillaged, burnt, and razed to the ground”

A Reading man writes of his latest experiences at the front – and the death of a friend.

Our “Boys”

This terrible war has taken from us yet another of our brave soldier lads. Horace Pinker, who quite recently lost his brother and mother, was killed in France on the 5th of April. May the God of all comfort be very near to his father, sisters and brother – to console them in their keen sorrow!

The following extract from a letter sent by Eric Chapman to his mother is especially interesting, as it refers to the circumstances and death of his friend:-

“To return to my personal doings, it is unnecessary of course for me to allude to the German retirement on the western front, seeing that the papers are full of it. As you must have guessed, this has made a great difference to our lives, as we have had to be constantly hot on their heels. At times we come to close quarters with them, but on the whole they do not show much fight, and easily surrender or retire. The country over which we are advancing has been most thoroughly and diabolically destroyed. The villages have been ruthlessly pillaged, burnt, and razed to the ground. Not a thing of any value has been left behind by these barbarians. Even the young fruit trees have been deliberately maimed and rendered incapable of bearing fruit. Naturally this has made it most hard for us following in their tracks, as they intended it should, but we are able to overcome all difficulties and continue our victorious advance. There is not the slightest doubt we are winning by force of arms and smashing the Huns back to their own country. May the end come suddenly and speedily!

“Our battalion has just returned from a special attack, in which it distinguished itself, and about which the Colonel has given permission to write, so I am quite in order in relating a few facts without giving valuable information away. Our objective was a large village, fortified and held by the Huns. We commenced the attack in the early hours of the morning, and had to advance a distance of over 2,000 yards, before we came to grips with the enemy. It was snowing slightly at the time and a thin layer covered the ground as the men moved forward in waves to the attack. After we got fairly going I felt strangely exhilarated, and, much to my surprize quite unconcerned by the possibility of danger. The Huns yelled when they saw us coming, but our fellows yelled still louder, and never wavered a moment under the enemy’s fire. Barbed wire impeded our movements to a small extent, but in short time we had reached the village and were careering like mad through the streets. The Huns did not stand a ghost of a chance then, as our men paid back old scores, and in a few seconds they were doing their best to retreat. Many got back to tell the tale to Hindenburg, but I am thankful to say many not. It was not long before the whole village was in our hands, and after we had consolidated our gain we had some sport looking for souvenirs. The most interesting thing to us was the Germans’ rations which they left behind. Some of the men ate them, but although I am not dainty on this job, I did not have! The meat looked tempting enough, but had the undoubted characteristics of worn-out cab horse!

“I am glad to say our casualties on this occasion were comparatively few, although I regret to have to relate the death in action of Horace Pinker. He was killed by a bullet, and died before the stretcher–bearers could get him to the dressing station. It is very sad for his people, but they can have the satisfaction of knowing that he died bravely and nobly, and was accorded a decent burial.”

It has long been felt that we have not done all that we might for those of our numbers who are taking part in this bitter struggle. At Christmas our young people collected enough to send parcels to all on the Institute Roll of Honour. Now it is wished to do the same for the others, and the kind help and generous support of all our friends if asked. We feel confident that this appeal will not be made in vain! Contributions may be sent to Miss Gough, Mrs. Hamilton Moss, Mrs. Streeter, or Miss Austin.

Trinity Congregational magazine, May 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

Conscientious objectors honoured

It is unusual to see a conscientious objector listed on a church’s roll of honour.

Spencer’s Wood Roll of Honour.

Tom Allen, Canadian.
Cpl. W. Appleby, R.B.
*Edward Beales, R.B.
Alfred Beken, R.F.A.
*Arthur Bradfield,R.B.
*Archie Butler, Territorials.
Fred Card, R.E.
Charlie Clacey, R.N.
Tom Clements, R.F.C.
Will Clements, A.S.C.
Ted Clements, R.F.A.
Frank Cocks, R.B.
Charlie Cocks, R.B.
Harry Coffill, R.N.
Charlie Day, R.B.
Dick Day, Devon Regt.
Jacob Didcock, R.N.
Cpl. Fred Didcock.
Sgt. W.Doherty, Man. Regt.
*Jim Double, R.E.
Percy Double, R.B.
Chappie Double, R.B.
Sgt. Kenneth Eggleton, A.M.C.
E. Eggleton.
E. Foster, R.E.
Sgt. Hawkins, R.B.
Reginald Jewell. R.B. (wounded).
Reginald Lee, R.A.M.C.
Edgar Lee, R.E.
Wilfred Lowe, R.F.C.
Leonard Luckwell, Coldstream Guards.
Walter Luckwell, R.F.A.
A. Marcham, R.B.
A.H. Marcham, R.B.
Jolly Middleton.
Arthur Middleton.
Sydney Middleton, R.F.C.
Harry Moss, A.S.C.
Arthur Moss, A.S.C.
Albert Povey, R.B.
William Povey, R.B. (prisoner of war).
– Sloper (C. objector).
Fred Swain, A.S.C.
Bert Swain, A.S.C.
Leonard Swain, Coldstream Guards.
S. Tiller.
*Alfred Watkins, Canadian.
George Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Edwin Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Charles Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Sgt. Wallace Webb, C.C.
Stanley Webb, R.F.A.
Lieut. William Wheeler, C.Dr.
Owen Wheeler, R.E.
Lce-Cpl. H. Wheeler, R.B.
*Laurie White, R.N.
Frank Wilson, R.F.A.
William Wilson, R.B.
Fred Wiseman, East Kent.

*Has made the supreme sacrifice for King and Country.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons

The vicar of Reading St Giles was worried about the fate of British missionaries, and local converts, in German-controlled parts of Africa.

NOTES FROM THE VICAR

Zanzibar Diocese

When war broke out in 1914, 42 missionaries of the Zanzibar Diocese were at work in German East Africa, and hardly any direct news of them has since been received. Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons. It adds to our anxieties to know that a great number of our African Christians are unshepherded and deprived of the sacraments. Now that a determined attempt is being made to take this, the last remaining colony of the Germans, the dangers and difficulties of our 19 Englishmen and 22 Ladies may be greater than ever.

Nyasaland Diocese

The war has debarred our missionaries from continuing their work on the north-east shores of Lake Nyasa, and the Diocese also is inconvenienced through the commandeering by the British Government of the Mission steamers “Chauncy Maples” and “Charles Jansen.”

To be added to our Intercessions List:

Private Albert Henry Oliver, R.M.A., Lieut. Commander C.J. Benton, R.N.R., Driver J. Cutter, R.E., Sergt. J. Burridge, A.O.C. Bombadier H. Burridge, R.G.A. Gunner G. Moss, R.G.A. Private W. Burridge, Scots. Fusiliers. H. Case, R.G.A.

Missing: Private A. Smith. Wounded: Private S.H.Truss. Private J. Wiltshire. Lieut. G.R. Goodship.

To the list of the departed: Private Sadler, T.J. Seymour, Hyde (R.Berks), E.J.Andrews, Criddle (A.S.C.), Capt. R. Attride (R.Berks).

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

Wounded policemen

Three Berkshire policemen who had joined the army were reported to have been wounded.

8 July 1916
Constables Wounded on Army Service

I understand that the following Police Constables who joined the Army under the provisions of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, have been wounded when fighting in France:

PC 113, Harry Robey
PC 11, Thomas James Moss
PC 219, Alfred F. W. Davis

PC 113, Robey, was wounded in the legs and knee, but as regards the other two Constables, I am glad to report that their injuries are not of a serious nature.

BCC Standing Joint Committee report (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Cigarettes and whist

Recuperating wounded soldiers attended a card party in Wargrave.

Social Evening

The Committee of the Wargrave Tennis Club arranged another successful Social Evening in the Woodclyffe Hall last Wednesday, at which 110 were present including the wounded soldiers from the two Hospitals in the parish. The prize winners in the Whist Drive were:-

Ladies 1, Mrs Southgate; 2. Mrs F. Bennett; 3. Miss Franklin; Mystery, Mrs Moss; Consolation, Mrs Fidler.
Gentlemen 1, Mr A. E. Ladd; 2, Mr King; 3. Private Wakeling; Mystery, Driver Foster; Consolation, Corpl. Lock.

Mr W. E. Cain, of Wargrave Manor, kindly provided the prizes and to hi the Committee’s thanks are due. Miss E. Reed kindly gave a basket as one of the Mystery prizes. The flowers used as decorations were lent by Mr. Cain and added much to the brightness of the room. Mrs. Ward (Osterly Park) kindly provided cigarettes. Mrs. Hanson superintended the arrangements for refreshments most satisfactorily.

The Committee are pleased to hand over the sum of £2 15s. 0d. as a contribution to the V.A.D. Hospital Fund.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1916

“I am increasingly glad to be out here”

The minister of Trinity Congregational Church was volunteering with the YMCA in France, helping provide home comforts for thr troops, and reported to his flock at home. The Taube to which he refers was a kind of aeroplane.

News from France

Through the kindness of Mrs Harrison, we are able to print some extracts from letters telling of our Pastor’s doings. We shall all rejoice to know he is well and enjoying his novel experiences.

YMCA Hut
Near Calais
Jan. 1st-18th, 1916

Here we are, safe and sound, and already hard at work.
There are five of us helpers in this hut, – all good, good sorts!
We spend hours and hours each day serving out tea, coffee, cocoa, cigarettes, matches, chocolate, Nugget polish, boot laces, etc., to the soldiers.

By great fortune I have come across Hamilton Moss, who seems in excellent health and spirits. We were just going to have a smoke together, when I was called away to my duties, – we hope for better luck next time.

For the last two days I have been in charge of a motor transport tent, but am back again now.

This morning I have scrubbed our three cubicles, – a thing never done before at one co,- and gained great glory thereby.

It is now my afternoon out.

There are two great boilers in this hut, from which tea, coffee and cocoa are made, and all water for household purposes drawn. It is my present duty to light the kitchen fires, and keep these pots full and boiling. Scrubbing out cubicles is by no means the heaviest job nowadays. Cleaning up the back yard and the stables, and unloading big cases of provisions from the vans, is a usual morning’s work, while washing up stacks of dirty mugs is becoming second nature.

We have just had our first sight of a Taube. It came almost over our heads, and we watched the shrapnel bursting round it. It got away without doing any damage, but I am told that they brought it down further on.

It is pitch dark here at night, and getting about is a weird business. Flash-lights are indispensable. The weather is not as bad as it might be, and we have some jolly walks along the sands.
Now I am off to get hold of a stove for the rest room. I am able to get some good talks with the men in there, but the room is too bleak for words, so I must make things more comfortable if possible.

This morning, along with other sundry duties already mentioned, I had to peel the potatoes for dinner, and boil them! They were quite well done.

Our chief told us yesterday that we should most likely be sent to the Front this week. We don’t know where, as there are some thirty places under this Calais centre alone. We shall be right in things then, and have less freedom and more work. Some huts are just dug-outs within three quarters of a mile of the trenches.

I am thoroughly enjoying the work, and keeping in the best of health. I am increasingly glad to be out here.

Trinity Congregational church magazine, January 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

Morris dancing children entertain wounded soldiers on a rainy day

The Earley branch of the Church of England Men’s Society invited recuperating wounded soldiers for an afternoon out. Unfortunately traditional British summer weather disrupted plans.

Entertainment of wounded soldiers

The entertainment committee of the C.E.M.S. deserves every congratulation on the perseverance with which on the wettest of wet July days they carried out a scheme which they had elaborated with much care and pains for the entertainment of wounded soldiers of the War hospital. The plan was to have tea in the Vicarage garden; this, unfortunately was wholly out of the question and at the last minute it was doubtful whether the authorities would allow the soldiers to come out of the hospital in the pouring rain. Fortunately no difficulty was placed in the way.

Private motor cars had been lent by Mr Christie Millar, Mr L Sutton, and others for their conveyance, and at about 3pm some forty soldiers turned up in the Parish Hall where our men and their lady helpers were making arrangements for tea. Mr Cyphus had arranged the musical part of the programme and the Morris dances performed by the very small children from one of the schools gave perhaps more genuine pleasure to the soldiers than any other form of entertainment that could have been thought of.
Mr E H Moss

Earley parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P192/28A/13)

Policemen joining up

The Chief Constable of Berkshire was anxious to restrict the flow of his men flocking to the Armed Forces, to the younger unmarried men. He wanted to keep the police service going.

5 July 1915
Police (Emergency Provisions) Act of 1915
The following Constables left to join the Army or Navy under the provisions of this Act on the dates mentioned:-

Dependants
PC 143 C. Lindsay 31st Jan Single Nil
PC 200 T. Spratt 22nd Feb Single Nil
PC 24 G. P. Gould 30th April Single Nil
PC 27 J. Bedingfield 31st May Single Father and mother
PC 144 F. B. Hewett 31st May Single Nil
PC 188 Fredk Batten 18th June Single Nil
PC 153 F. Pill 18th June Single Nil
PC 80 E. Pill 19th June Single Nil
PC 219 A. F. W. Davis 19th June Single Nil
PC 11 T. J. Moss 19th June Single Nil
PC 199 J. Green 19th June Single Nil
PC 47 T. J. Dean 30th June Single Nil
PC 40 V. Burt 30th June Single Nil
PC 176 H. Higgs 30th June Single Nil
PC 126 A. P. Durmon 30th June Single Nil
PC 113 H. Robey 30th June Single Mother

In addition to the above, PC 186 Jordan joined the Army (and Life Guards) for a period of 12 years, but is applying to purchase his discharge from the Army at the end of the war when he would be allowed to rejoin the Force and his case taken into consideration; and PC 66 Legg who joined the Berkshire Yeomanry does not wish to rejoin the Force at the termination of the war.

I would ask that the authority granted by you … last year for the grants to the wives and children of married Constables, and to the dependants of single Constables, be extended to PC 27, J. Bedingfield, and to PC 113, H. Robey…

I have had very carefully to consider the Act together with the need for retaining the Police Force in an efficient condition, especially at a time when so many extra duties Police Forces are called upon to perform [sic].

I have, therefore, considered that it is necessary to limit applications to join the Navy or Army at present to those Constables who are single, under 30 years of age, and have less than 10 years service, until I see how many wish to enlist in the Navy or Army. It may be possible to spare other Constables, but I must see that the Force is kept up to an efficient working state.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

A privilege to do one’s duty

The parishioners of Warfield felt the church was in danger, presumably from foreign invasion, and rallied round to help, as the church magazine bears witness:

NIGHT WATCH AT THE CHURCH.
“England expects that every man will do his duty” has been exemplified by the noble way in which the men of Warfield have come forth to guard their old Parish Church during this period of anxiety. One feels sure that they need no thanks, being always a privilege to do one’s duty. It is also right that the Parish Magazine should chronicle their names which are taken as they stand on the list before the Editor.

Messrs. J. Street, R. Searle, Fairminer, Goddard, Haines, E.Street, Pearce, Chaney, Peat, Higgs, Lovejoy, B. Bowyer, Brockbank, Johnson, G. Woodwards, C. Dyer, Bowyer, S. Moss, W. Dyer, E. Gale, H. Crocker, W. Bowyer, Crewe, Rickson, Parks, Dixon, R.Crow, J.Crow, G.Lewis, Joe Lewis, Dyer, Vicar, E.Gregory, B. Gregory, Inglefield, Lovejoy, S. White, Gill, Lewis, S. Bowyer, T. Bowyer and Son, Staniford, S. Stacey, Gale, Inskeep, A. Bowyer, Clee, Banham, Jakeman, Thatcher, Campbell, W. Excel, L. Bowyer, Carding, E. Bowyer, Ward and Woodwards.

Ascot, Bracknell, Cranbourne and Winkfield District church magazine, August 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/8)