Now that the war is over a burden has been lifted from many hearts

Another opportunity to celebrate the peace.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

It is proposed to hold the usual Harvest Festival Thanksgiving Services on Sunday, September 28th, when special music, appropriate to the occasion, will be rendered by the Church Choir.

The Harvest Festival is always a glad day… Now that the war is over a burden has been lifted from many hearts, and this should give us all increased cause for gratitude and praise….

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

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all

Peace celebrations at Remenham were a glorified sports day.

REMENHAM PEACE CELEBRATIONS

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all, was the keynote of the Remenham Peace Celebration which took place, by the kind permission of Captain Eric Noble, at Park Place on Saturday afternoon, August 2. The funds had been provided by subscriptions given by a few ladies and gentlemen and the arrangements were carried out by Captain and Mrs Eric Noble, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, and Mr Ansell, with Mr W Baker as hon. sec. The Band of the Henley Branch of the Comrades of the Great War was engaged for the occasion and discoursed a pleasing programme of music during the afternoon under the conductorship of Mr S Sheppard. A capital programme of sports had been arranged with Captain Eveleigh as handicapper and starter and Captain Eric Noble, Mr Ansell and Mr Baker as judges. Some valuable prizes were offered and the results were as follows:

50 yards handicap, boys 10 years old and under – 1st, G Gibbons; 2nd W Dixon; 3rd, A Moring.
50 yards handicap, girls 10 years old and under – 1st, Iris Humphrey; 2nd, Irene Ward; 3rd, Madge Langford.
100 yards handicap, boys over 10 years old – 1st, George Andrews; 2nd, Ronald Eustace; 3rd, Tony Christopher.
100 yards handicap, girls over 10 years old – 1st, Edith Rowe; 2nd, Phyllis Bonner; 3rd, Stella Dixon.
100 yards needle and thread race, boys and girls over 10 years – 1st, Elsie Fasenidge and George Smith; 2nd, Stella Dixon and Richard Gibbons; 3rd, Kathleen Ward and Ronald Eustace.
50 yards boot and shoe race, boys over 10 years – 1st, Ronald Eustace; 2nd, Richard Gibbons; 3rd, fred Smith.
Potato race, girls over 10 years – 1st, Olive Green; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Ethel Stevens.
Sack race, boys – 1st, Albert Moring; 2nd, George Smith; 3rd, Richard Gibbons.
Egg and spoon race, girls – 1st, Annie Butler; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Marjory King.
100 yards handicap, bandsmen’s race – 1st, A Why; 2nd, H Why; 3rd, R Cook.
120 yards handicap, men of the parish – 1st, Mr P Simmons, who gave up his prize to the second man W Eustace; Colonel Burnell took second honours and P Clarke, third.
50 yards egg and spoon race, women of the parish – 1st, Miss Froud; 2nd, Miss Marcham; 3rd, Miss King.

The prizes were kindly distributed by Mrs Eric Noble, who, on the proposition of Colonel Burnell, was accorded hearty cheers.

Tea was provided for the children and adults in the coach house, who greatly enjoyed the appetising meal. Amongst those present, in addition to Captain and Mrs Noble, were Mrs Heatley Noble, Mrs Goodrich, the Rector, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, Colonel and Mrs Burnell, Captain A R Brakspear, Mr and Mrs Philip Simmons, Mr Stanton and many others. After tea, the school children who had been excellently trained by their head mistress (Miss Gale) rendered a special patriotic song, which gave much pleasure. Each child also received a Peace mug. Mr Baker proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the donors of the tea, and the subscribers, and to Captain and Mrs Noble and Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, for the trouble they had taken in making the arrangements. The proposition met with a most cordial response. Games of various descriptions and dancing were afterwards indulged in, and the happy occasion was brought to a conclusion by the singing of the National Anthem led by the band, cheers for Captain and Mr Noble, Mr and Mrs Heatley Noble, the Band, and all who had helped to promote the success of the occasion.

The Henley Standard.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“Come to the cookhouse door, boys”: the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle

Burghfield celebrated the end of the war.

Peace Celebrations

These took place on Saturday, July 26th, in fine weather and were a great success. The church bells were rung early in the morning, and at intervals afterwards. At 2.15 there was a short service, with a sermon by the Rector, in the church, attended by practically all the children from our four schools, over 260 of them, with the teachers, as well as many mothers and a number of ex-service men. The church inside was like a flower garden with the happy throng of young folk and their bright flags and banners and pretty dresses; but it was an earnest service too! The Burghfield Brass Band, under ex-bandsman W J Hathaway, late of the Royal Berks, met the long procession on the way from church, and played them into Hillfields lower park [the home of Mr Willink], where tents and a marquee (in preparation for the approaching Flower Show) had already been pitched, and were available in case of rain – which never came.

Sports for the children began at once, and at 4 o’clock they sat down on the grass to a good tea, after which the men’s sports were carried on till 5 o’clock, when 106 ex-service men, residents in Burghfield, were summoned by the now familiar “Come to the cookhouse door, boys” call, to an excellent meat tea in the marquee (provided by Mrs Sherval). Mr Willink said a few words of welcome at the end of the meal; but the fullest speech was well made by Mr Lousley, Chairman of the memorial and Celebrations Committee, later in the evening at the distribution of the sports prizes by Mrs Geoffrey Chance, when he gave a clear explanation of the aims and methods of the Committee, and thanked all those who had done so much for the Festival (except himself, who had as usual done his share and more), especially Mr H D Higgs (the Hon. Sec.), Mr Hannington, for conveying the Pinge Wood children; and Major Chance, Lieut. Searies, and Messrs E Lousley, Page, G Pembroke and Sheppard, with other teachers, as active members of the Sports Sub-Committee.

The day ended with dancing on rather rough sun-baked ground – but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Indeed there were no complaints all day, and it was a real pleasure to see so many friends and neighbours celebrating in such good fashion the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle – yet those were not forgotten over whose lives the war has cast an abiding shadow. The Hillfields grounds were open during the day.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1919 (D/EX725/4)

“It was a moving thing to see so many of our brave men gathered together at the end of the war”

Ex-servicemen gathered in Burghfield to celebrate the peace.

On Sunday, July 6th, an ex tempore muster of Burghfield ex-service men took place at the Hatch, where about 28 men fell in and marched to the church under Lieut. Searies, for the 11 o’clock service.

A fortnight later [20 July], after better notice, there was a fuller parade in which about 80 took part, including the Chapel band from the Common. Major Chance, Lieut. Searies, Staff Sergeant Major Jordan, Sergeant Wigmore, and other NCOs were present. The band played the party to and from church, and also well accompanied the three hymns (Nos. 166. 540 and 165), which were sung with great heartiness. The Service of Thanksgiving for Victory, and in memory of those who have given their lives, was conducted, in the absence of Mr Coates [the curate, who was on holiday], entirely by the Rector, who preached an eloquent and most inspiring sermon on the text – “To what purpose is this waste?” (Matthew XXVI.8). The lessons (Isaiah XXV.1-9 and John XII.23-33) were read by Mr Willink. The bells rung muffled peals before and after service.

On leaving church the little column proceeded to the Hatch recreation ground, at the entrance marching past Mr Willink and Mr Lousley, the former (by request) taking the salute. Before dismissal some photographs were taken by him, but the light was very bad and no great results can be expected.

It was a moving thing to see so many of our brave men gathered together at the end of the war in that church in which prayers have so often been offered for their safe return, and for that of others who will come back no more. May the great spirit of unity, which, with God’s help, has brought us through to peace, keep us still united in Burghfield during the years before us.

It was disappointing that the invitation to all soldiers and sailors in the Bradfield district, to the Military Festivities in Reading on July 19th had, late in the time, to be withdrawn. This cast unexpected burdens on our Committee. They hope, however, that the steps taken at the last moment will have given satisfaction all round.

Burghfield parish magazine, August 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Fireworks and flares

On 19 July 1919 peace celebrations were held across the county following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

St John’s School. Caversham
July 19th 1919

Saturday- to celebrate the conclusion of peace all the children of the town [Reading] were entertained to tea, games etc in either Palmer or Prospect Parks.

King Street School, Maidenhead
19th July 1919

“‘Peace Day’ was kept by a sumptuous tea for the children in school this afternoon. Several people came to help entertain them. An old pupil gave musical selections while children had their tea & the popular airs they were familiar with were much enjoyed.

After tea, cheers were given for the soldiers & the king & concluded with the National Anthem. Children were then taken to Kidwell’s Park to enjoy sports, roundabouts & other amusements.

Aldworth School
July 14th-18th 1919

This week we made 100% attendance!

The Peace celebration was held on Saturday July 19th – Dinner, tea and sports in the old playground, for all parishioners, followed by fireworks and flares in “Battle Field” at Westbridges.

Lower Sandhurst School
July 19th 1919

To day Saturday in common with all parts of the country this Parish held its Peace Festival.

The school children assembled at school and marched to the Wellington Arms where they met the other two schools and headed by a band a procession was formed and a move was made to the Broadway. Here the ceremony of hoisting the flag was performed, prayers and thanksgivings were offered for victory and peace speeches were delivered, Mr. W. J. Joye, Chairman of the Managers, being one of the speakers.

Tea and sports were provided for the children and although the weather was unpropitious the children spent a happy time.

Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School
19th July 1919

‘Peace Celebrations’. During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
19th July 1919

Today was observed as “Peace Celebration Day” for the parish of Earley, & the children of the school, whether living in Earley or in Reading, were included in the invitations. By kind invitation of J Rushbrooke esq, the celebration took place in Bulmershe Park, where, despite showery weather, a most enjoyable afternoon & evening were spent.

Cookham Alwyn Road School log book
July 19th

Saturday: Peace Celebrations. Tea to scholars in School Buildings. March to Kidwells Park at 4.15.

Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn
19th July 1919

Peace celebrations at Eastbury. The school children took part in the procession, sang patriotic songs, and afterwards partook in tea in a lane kindly lent for the occasion. Giving in to the rain, the sports were held on the following Monday.

Charney Bassett
19.7.19

Peace-day was kept up in the village. The children had a tea in a barn kindly lent for the occasion, and the adults a meat tea; owing to the bad weather the sports were postponed until Sat the 26th.

Speenhamland
July 19th

We have been making preparations for the Peace Celebrations tomorrow, and work has to some extent been interrupted.

Bracknell
19th July 1919

Peace Celebrations.

During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

Log books of St John’s School. Caversham (89/SCH/14/1); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Aldworth School (C/EL54/3); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Cookham Alwyn Road School (88/SCH/18/1); Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn (D/P79B/28/2); Bouverie Pusey School, Charney Bassett (C/EL41/2); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3)

What the Treaty of Versailles meant to the world & what children could do to help in the world’s peace

Some schools incorporated the Treaty of Versailles immediately into lessons.

King Street School, Maidenhead
30th June 1919

The signing of the Peace Treaty was made the subject of the day’s lessons. Mistress explained to the school what it meant to the world & what the children could do to help in the world’s peace. Patriotic marches & national anthems of other countries were used throughout the day & children correlated lessons wherever possible.

Peasemore
June 30th

The Time Table was not kept today. Extra games were played, a Gramaphone [sic] “played” patriotic marches and pieces, and “Peace” was heartily celebrated. Mrs Blea, Miss Weil and Miss Podbury helped to entertain.

Sonning Boys’ School
30th June 1919
Closed this afternoon by order of the Managers. Procession and tea in connection with Peace Rejoicings.

Sonning CE Girls and Infants’ School
30th June 1919

School closed in the afternoon by order of the Managers. The children had a treat to celebrate the signing of the Peace.

East Ilsley
30th June 1919
School closed in afternoon as a recognition of the signing of the peace Saturday.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Peasemore School (C/EL49/2); Sonning Boys School (89/SCH/1/2); Sonning CE Girls and Infants (89/SCH/1/4); East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1)

“Various brothers gave some of their experiences during the time they were on active service”

More men were welcomed home.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

On Saturday, June 21st, we held the “Welcome Home Tea” to our Brothers who have been on active service, and are now demobilised. They numbered about 30, and a most pleasant evening was spent.

A meat tea was generously given by our President (C Steward Smith, Esq., JP) and afterwards various brothers gave some of their experiences during the time they were on active service. Musical items were rendered, and during the latter part of the evening coffee and sandwiches were served. It was really one of the best and most enjoyable evenings held in connection with the Brotherhood for many a day.

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

Welcome Home to Returned Heroes

The men of Maidenhead were welcomed back home.

June
Welcome to Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen by CEMS

On Saturday, June 14th, 5.30 to 9.30 pm, at St Luke’s, Vicarage Lawn. The Band of the Comrades of the Great War will play. if any returned Parishioner does not get an invitation, will he please communicate with Mr E Hazeldine, Hon. Sec., 5, College Rise.

July
CEMS Welcome Home to Returned Heroes

It was a happy inspiration of the St Luke’s Branch of the CEMS – which, of course, includes St Peter’s – to give a Welcome Home to the men of St Luke’s Parish, who as Sailors, Soldiers or Airmen have fought for their country in the Great War, together with their wives and sweethearts.

By the kindness of the Vicar, whose absence from home on such a memorable occasion was much regretted – not the least by the Vicar himself – the gathering took place on the Vicarage Lawn on Saturday, June 14th, and, favoured with brilliant weather, proved a great success.

When we say that 800 men and wives accepted the Society’s invitation to tea, it will be realised what a vast amount of work was entailed. But with the organisation in the capable hands of Mr Hazeldine (Hon. Sec.), and Mr Habbin (Chairman of the CEMS), and the willing help of many ladies of St Luke’s and St Peter’s congregations as waitresses, the large party was admirably served.
After tea, there were Concerts, a good programme of music by the Band of the Comrades of the Great War, and performances on the piano and violin by two wounded artistes, all of which was much appreciated. Between the various items were opportunities for conversation with, and congratulations to, the returned warriors – by no means the least enjoyable part of the proceedings – together with a further supply of refreshments. The heartiest thanks of the CEMS are offered to all the kind friends who gave them such valuable assistance in carrying through the “Welcome”, as also to those who generously contributed towards the cost.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, June-July 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Reorganising the Band after the Crisis of the War

Newbury United Temperance Band was one of many organisations to close down during the war. The meeting on the 29th was inconclusiv, and the band was never re-formed.

1919

A Trustee meeting of the Band was held in the Lwecture Hall on Thursday evening the 15th May at 8 pm….

The meeting was called with a view of reorganising the Band after the Crisis of the War, which had necessitated the breaking up of it for that period. After a good deal of consultation it was … carried that the Band be reformed & that all previous members & musicians who are Total Abstainers be invited to meet the trustees on Thursday evening, May 29th, at 7 pm on the Lecture Hall. This to be done by letter to all previous members & by advertisement in the Newbury Weekly News.

The secretary was instructed to write to Mrs E L Michell a letter of sympathy for her bereavement.

Newbury United Temperance Band Committee minutes (N/D58/1/2)

There are no greater tragedies in connection with the war than those of the brave fellows who have come back blinded from the Front

Broad Street Church put on a concert in aid of men blinded at the front.

December

CHOIR CONCERT

On Wednesday evening, December 18th, our choir will hold its twenty-second annual concert. We have been fortunate, by the kind permission of Lieut-Col P. de Dombasle, in securing the Large Town Hall. This year we propose to repeat the concert version of “Tom Jones” (by permission of Messrs Chappell & Co), which was rendered two years ago. This is the sixth concert we have given for war charities, and this year the call for the co-operation of all our friends is more urgent than ever. We propose to devote the proceeds of the concert to St Dunstan’s Hostel, London, where there are many hundreds of our soldiers who have been blinded during the war. Surely this cause is one which will appeal to the heart of everybody. This will be the happiest Christmas that many of us have known for four years; can we not try to make it brighter for those brave fellows, who, away from their own homes, will miss the usual good cheer of Christmastide?


Advertisement

On behalf of our Blinded Heroes

There are no greater tragedies in connection with the war than those of the brave fellows who have come back blinded from the Front, all of them young men who have been deprived of their sight at the very outset of life. We have at St Dunstan’s Hostel, London, many hundreds of thses Blinded Soldiers.

Christmastide will soon be with us. We want to make this Xmas as bright and happy as possible for these brave men. Away from home and relatives, they will sadly miss the usual cheer and comforts. Will you please help to give them something of Xmas gladness in return for what they have so nobly done for us all?

BLINDED FOR YOU, WILL YOU NOT CARE FOR THEM?

Broad Street Congregational Church Choir
22nd Annual Concert, 6th Concert for War Charities

On Wednesday evening, December 18th, 1918, in the Large Town Hall (by kind permission of Lieut-Col P. de Dombasle)

The concert version of German’s Opera “Tom Jones” (by permission of Messrs Chappell & Co) will be rendered by the Choir

Artistes

Mrs E. C. Dracup
Miss M. Phillips
Miss M. Tyrrell
Mr Muir Millar
Mr H. J. Collier
Full Band & Chorus
Leader: Miss Lily Davis, ATCL
Conductor: Mr F. W. Harvey

Tickets: West balcony, three front rows, 3/-; three back rows, 2/4; front area, 2/4. All numbered and reserved.
Unreserved: side balconies and area. 1/3; admission 8d.
May be obtained of Messrs Barnes & Avis, members of the Choir, at at the doors.
Doors open at 7 o’clock. Commence 7.30.

January

CHOIR CONCERT

The concert given by our Church Choir in the Town Hall on Wednesday, December 18th, in aid of our blinded soldiers and sailors at St Dunstan’s, was an unqualified success in every way. As the Berkshire Chronicle said:

“It was gratifying to see such a large audience, not emrely on account of the excellence of the object, but as a recognition of the persevering efforts of the choir, which has done so much to brighten us all up during the depressing period of the war. The performance was also in every way worthy of the large gathering.”

Edward German’s “Tom Jones” was the work presented, and the various solos were most capably rendered by Mrs E. C. Dracup, Miss M. Phillips, Miss Muriel Tyrrell, Mr Muir Millar, and Mr Harry Collier. Valuable assistance was also given by Mr and Mrs G. F. Attwood, Mrs Newbery, Mr waite, and the very efficient orchestra led by Miss Lily Davies, ATCL.

“The choir work maintained a high standard, the chorus singing with fine intelligence and unfailing vivacity; the tone was good and nicely contrasted and the balance well preserved. The work of the orchestra did justice to the inherent beauties of the score.”

We all felt tremendously proud of our choir, and we offer our heartiest congratulations to the conductor (Mr F. W. Harvey) on the accomplishment of another triumph. When the accounts are made up there ought to be a considerable sum for the very worthy object for which the concert was promoted to help.

February

By their concert given in the Town Hall on December 18th, the Church Choir raised the sum of £52 for the blinded soldiers and sailors at St Dunstan’s. This is a highly satisfactory result. Altogether, during the period of the war, the choir has raised in this way over £240 for War Charities. This is a record of which any choir might justly feel proud, and we offer our heartiest congratulations to the conductor, Mr F. W. Harvey, and all who were associated with it.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918 -February 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The flag of St George is hoisted

Cranbourne greeted the end of the war with joy.

The news of the signing of the Armistice on Nov 11th reached Cranbourne about noon. The ringing of the Church bells announced the fact to the village, the flag of St. George was hoisted, very quickly flags appeared on most of the houses, and everywhere one heard expressions of deep thankfulness. An impromptu service of Thanksgiving, which was very well attended was held at 12 o’clock on Nov. 13th.

On the following Sunday the form of service drawn up by the Archbishops was used, and the names of all our men serving in H.M. forces was read, also the manes of those who have made the great sacrifice. The large congregation joined most heartily (we might say fervently) in the Hymns, and the singing was much helped by a cornet played by Bandmaster J. Dennison of the R.A.F., at Ascot and by a violin played by Miss E. Hern. Before the singing of the hymn, “For all the saints,” special reference was made to our men who have been killed, or died of wounds.

“Our dead lie scattered far and wide, On Mount, and Plain and Sea, But since for Thee they fought and died, They surely rest with Thee. O Love Divine, O Living Lord, Heal every broken heart; Who gives to God hath great reward, And they — the better part.”

And we remembered too those who have fought for us and worked for us, and whom we hope soon to welcome home, for them also we thanked God with thankful hearts.

“From that Brute force its saddle hurled, And that the sword no more can rule the world, For that Thy Justice is again restored, And War as arbiter abhorred, For high heroic bearing under stress, For hearts that no ill-fortune could depress, For noble deeds as simple duty done, In their Christlikeness known to God alone. We thank Thee Lord, We Thank Thee Lord.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)

An overpowering Germany is shewn by this war to be a Curse to the world

Unlike many, John Maxwell Image did not believe the Armistice meant peace.

29 Barton Road
17 Nov. ‘18

My very dear old man

The town – even in London – is full of riot and devilry. I send you the Cambridge Daily News of the first day – and nightly bonfires have succeeded – with the Kaiser for Guy Faux [sic]. The u.g.s that evening, and on Tuesday, are said to have gone to Girton with music, and serenaded the fair captives “in dismal dance about the furnace blue” – dismal, for on Monday evening no dove would listen – on Tuesday a few weakened, and the whirl became epicene. Then the Mistress phoned to Cambridge for Proctors – who hurried up with bulldogs in motor cars: and at their mere aspect – pulveris exigui jacta quiescent – the u.g.s scattered and fled.

Each day that passes heightens my conviction that the Hun has done us – as it was prophesied by his own people he would. Who can believe that Foch was left free handed in the matter of this armistice? Foch, who had everything matured for the final battle that would have left the Hun army a run away rabble, howling for mercy on any terms – and the Armistice simply gives them a fortnight (or is it a month?) of Rest Cure, to rehabilitate discipline and morale unhindered, and at the end confront us with a restored army well-equipped – Foch knows his Hun. Unhampered by the politician allies, he surely, if grant an armistice he must, would have demanded as sine qua non the bridge heads over the Rhine – over which he would have guaranteed a peaceful passage to the German forces after surrender of their arms.

He would never have allowed this debating about Terms. The man who has his boot heel on the adder’s head, and suffers the reptile to wriggle free, deserves his fate.

Directly debates begin, US (the only safe terms) is lost. The Hun will promise anything; and stick to no promise he can find means to evade. He has himself carefully taught the world that.

I should like to see Germany broken up into free republics. If German Austria unites with the Hohenzollern empire, the agglomeration will be numerically the ‘Predominant Power’ of Europe. An overpowering Germany is shewn by this war to be a Curse to the world.

Ever your affec.
Bild

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

God’s wonderful deliverance of our own nation and the world from the tyranny of lawless force

The first Sunday after the Armistice was the occasion for services of thanksgiving across Berkshire.

Newbury

Monday, November 11th, St Martin’s Day, will for ever be remembered in the history of our country as the day on which the greatest of all wars came to an end, and the strongest and most ferocious of military nations confessed itself beaten. It has been a tremendous triumph for right and justice, and we have endeavoured to express our thankfulness to Almighty God, who has so signally vindicated His mighty power and has so wonderfully blessed our arms and those of our Allies. May we now as a nation and Empire prove ourselves more worthy of His goodness to us, and endeavour to work together to make the world a better, and therefore happier, world.

Thanksgiving Services were held at the Parish Church: on Tuesday morning [12 November], a celebration of the Holy Communion, when there were 88 communicants; on Wednesday afternoon [13 November], when the church was full; and the following Sunday [17 November]. There was also a United Thanksgiving Service in the Corn Exchange, under the presidency of the Mayor, on Sunday afternoon, when there must have been 2,000 people present, and when several hundred failed to gain admittance. Mr Liddle had got together a splendid orchestra for the occasion. May this spirit of thanksgiving remain with us, and may we not forget the spiritual lessons of the war.

The streets presented a very gay appearance, and there were processions (authorised and unauthorised) much to the delight of the young. All the fireworks possible to be obtained were let off in the streets, and one unexploded bomb was found inside the Churchyard gates, and handed over to the police. It appeared afterwards that another member of the Police Force had put it there for safety. We were very glad to see the excellent and sober spirit of the merry-makers. It was indeed an occasion for rejoicing with great joy.


Speenhamland

It was with feelings of profound thankfulness that we heard the Armistice had been signed. Our feelings were deeply stirred at the thought that at last this terrible War, which has oppressed us for over four years, was over, and that there were good prospects of a peace being signed, which we trust will be a righteous and lasting one. Our rejoicings took various shapes during the week, and culminated in our services in Church. We were glad to see many at the Celebrations and at other services; and it was a happy thought to hold a joint service in the Corn Exchange, which was crowded with a devout and reverent congregation. We shall long remember the sight of that vast audience.

Earley

Sunday, November 17, being the first Sunday after the declaration of peace, naturally was observed as a day of thanksgiving. The families of those on our roll of honour responded quickly to the invitation to send flowers, which were massed on the window shelf and corner where the roll hangs. The black oak was relieved by a magnificent display of colour, by flags hanging from the rood loft on the west side.

Reading

Such tremendous things have happened since the last issue of the Magazine that it is almost impossible adequately to express all we should like to say. On S. Martin’s Day, November 11th, about 11.15, came the great news of the signing of the Armistice, and the cessation of hostilities. At 12 o’clock at S. Marys a short impromptu Service of Thanksgiving was held which was attended by quite a number of the faithful. None of us will ever forget the crowded Civic Service held at S. Mary’s, on Wednesday November 13th, when the Mayor and corporation came in state to render solemn thanks to Almighty God for His wonderful deliverance of our own nation and the world from the tyranny of lawless force. Sunday, November 17th was observed as the special Day of Thanksgiving. At the Eucharist at 11 and at evensong at 6.30 the Church was fuller than it has ever been of late years. This is an encouraging sign that our people in in times of joy, as well as in times of trouble and distress, turn instinctively to God.

At 3.30 on the same Sunday the Church Lads’ Brigade came in full strength to S. Mary’s for their parade service; several Officers and Lads were admitted, and the address was given by the Rev. Edgar Rogers, Chaplain at C.L.B. Headquarters in London, who also preached at Evensong. It should be mentioned among the special features of the service of this great Sunday that a large and handsome silk Union Jack was carried in the Procession and also two laurel wreaths to which were tied bows of patriotic colours.

“Deo gratias.”


Broad Street Brotherhood

The Brotherhood held a great mass meeting on Sunday, November 17th, to celebrate, and give thanks for, the Armistice recently concluded with Germany.

Principal Childs of the Reading College [later Reading University] delivered a most impressive address on “The Responsibilities of Victory”, which gave us much food for thought, and left with the members present a clear conception of the trying and serious times with which our country is faced. It was truly a great meeting, and our best thanks are due to the President for arranging it.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P89/28A/13); Speenhamland parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2); Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P192/28A/15); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P98/28A/13); Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“We must seek comfort in remembering what Sydney was, & in remembering him as he was”

The news of Sydney Spencer’s death in action reached his eldest brother Will in Switzerland.

Will Spencer
23 October 1918

After breakfast I played [the piano] a little. I had just gone to my room to finish my note to Director Eppler [a potential employer], when Johanna came in & sat down on the sofa opposite me with a troubled face. I was afraid that she had had bad news from [her sister] Agnes, but the news which she had to tell me was that dear Sydney had fallen. She shed a few tears in telling me, & handed to me the letters which she had received from Mother & Father last night, but had not told me about it until this morning, to avoid the danger of the news affecting my night’s rest. But she would probably have had a better night than she did if she had not still had the breaking of the news to me to look forward to.

My feeling, in thinking of Sydney, is one of thankfulness for what his life was.

Mother’s & Father’s letters were both dated Oct. 3rd. Sydney had suffered no pain, having been killed instantly by a shell on Septe 24th (?) (the date had been almost obliterated, but it looked like the 24th. His Major had written that he was one of the keenest officers he had known. Father wrote that he had never known Sydney to speak an unkind word to or of anyone. Mother quoted a loving message which he had written to her from the front on Sept. 15th.

As it was a beautiful morning, Johanna & I afterwards went for a stroll through the wood together. After dinner, Johanna produced a bundle of photographs, & found the photo of Sydney which she had thought of this morning – the one which he sent us from Epsom [where he had been studying before going to Oxford in 1914]. On the back of it Sydney had written “An amateur photo taken by my friend Willie Birch last Sunday week, Nov. 5th, 1911.” During the latter part of the day, Johanna & I both wrote to Mother & Father. I wrote that we must seek comfort in remembering what Sydney was, & in remembering him as he was.

Florence Vansittart Neale
23 October 1918

Heard cases of flu & some deaths in Marlow. Mabel wired for for Jack, but rather better.

Diaries of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/28); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

“Thy warfare is accomplished”

The devasated father of Sydney Spencer wrote a poem in tribute to his son.

To Sydney

O well-beloved! How shall we pay
The debt to thee we owe?
How find the words half adequate
Thy priceless worth to show?

Fair as the Evening Star wert thou
Pure as the morning dew
As gentle as a little child
Brave as the dauntless few

Who once at Crecy did withstand
Their proud insisting foes
And scattered them in hideous rout
With their good English bows

So with thy peers didst thou withstand
Th’exciting German host
With them didst share the glorious day
That shamed the foe’s proud boast

Thou took’st thy Father’s gifts with joy
The beauty of the flowers
The glory of the starry sky
And of the cloud-built towers

The thoughts of great men fitly clothed
In words that flame like fire
And Music’s deep, mysterious voice
For thou could’st touch the lyre

Thine was a perfect sacrifice
In thought, in will, in deed;
Thou couldst have been in England still
But thou wert of the breed

Who hear the clarion call but once
To where red Danger’s tide
Most fiercely sets, and thither haste
As bridegroom to his bride

Could’st thou have known, thou had’st forgiven
The foe who aimed the shell
For in thy brave and gentle heart
Nought but pure love did dwell

Would we have shaped it otherwise?
‘Twas not within our choice;
Or, still to feel thy loving touch,
To hear thy gentle voice

To Duty we had recreant proved
Perchance, and tried to sway
Thy steps from that appointed path
Which thou didst know thy Way

“Thy warfare is accomplished”
Life’s battle nobly won
And thou beyond the stars hast heard
Thy Father’s great “Well Done”

FATHER
Fernley, Cookham, Oct. 22nd, 1918

Poem by William Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/78)