“We soldiers do need the prayers of those left behind”

The vicar of Reading St Mary had some Christmas thoughts for his flock, despite the ongoing war, and the large numbers leaving home to join the armed forces.

The Vicar’s Notes

How much we hoped that this Christmas would be a Christmas of peace! But as the King said in his noble appeal to his people, “The end is not in sight.” So we must be patient, and even in the midst of the terrific struggles of this great war, must try and enter into the spirit of the Christmas festival with its strong message of hope and encouragement, and the certainty that it assures us of, that God will bring good out of evil.

Roll of Honour
Additional names, S, Mary’s District

Harry Day, Norman Day, William Day, William Kemp, Frank Goddard, George Hunt, Jesse Gore, Albert Gore, John Gore, Sidney Gore, William Peirce, William Eaton, Robert Hinder, William Noakes, Frederick Wild, George Swain, Herbert Allen, Charles Smith, Clement Green, Albert Gibson, Alec Barker, John Noakes.

All Saint’s District
Roll Of Honour

George Baker, Frederick Montague Brown, Arthur Budd, Alfred Bernard Carter, Harry Clay, Arthur William Crook, Charles Frederick Fox, Fred Fuller, Bert Fuller, William Hanson, Albert Charles Lambden, Walter Howard Lee, Walter John Malham, John Henry Malham, Herbert William Macdonald, Frank James Noble, F. William Pomeroy, Fred Povey, Ernest Frank Sopp, Harold Stagg, Charlie Turner, John Turner, Ernest Wicks, Albert Wiggins.

S. Saviours District
War Intercessions

The service at 3 p.m. on Wednesday will be continued during Advent. Several more men from this district have joined the Army and Navy during the past month, among them being Reginald James Barnes and Albert Edward Griffin, two of our servers, whom we may hope to see at Christmas.

In letters, which have been received, occur such words as “We soldiers do need the prayers of those left behind”; “indeed I miss S. Saviour’s very much”; “I did not get the chance of going to Church either last Sunday or this … I was very disappointed.”

Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P98/28A/13)

The complications of this Great War grow more and more serious

28 November 1915 was the first Sunday in Advent. The vicar of St Mary’s in Reading used the solemn occasion to encourage parishioners, and worshippers at the daughter churches of St Saviour and All Saints, to pray for the war.

The Vicars Notes

The season of advent, which begins at the end of this month, comes to us at a solemn time. As the complications of this Great War grow more and more serious, the more urgent is the need for deeper and more earnest prayer. Let us see to it that we rise to a higher and truer spiritual level all through the new Christian year.

We should all desire to wish “God’s-Speed” to the Rev. T. Guy Rogers, late Vicar of S. John’s, in his new work as chaplain to the forces at the front. We shall miss him very much in Reading, where he has always taken a strong and vigorous hand on behalf of the things that really matter. May his work among the troops be blessed in every way, and may he be brought back to the homeland once more safe and sound.

Roll Of Honour

Maurice Cooper, Arthur Goodall, Frank Shervall, George Hunt, George Absolom, Francis Russell, George Denton, Alfred Thorp, George Kemp, James Noakes, William Trussell, Frank Lunnon, Edward J. Humphreys, Frances Miles, Thomas Brooker, William Sawyer, Herbert Sawyer, Frederick Deadman.

R.I.P.
Edward Gregory.

S. Mary’s
Soldiers Christmas parcel Fund

Miss Wickham Legg hopes that it will again be possible to send Christmas Parcels to our brave men in the field or at sea. All contributions either in money or kind, should be sent to S. Mary’s Vicarage sometime this month.

All Saints’ District
Roll of Honour

The following additional names have been sent in for remembrance at the Altar.

William Jesse Baverstock, Aylmer Louis Elliot Fleet, Harry Gerald fox, Ronald Charles Jordan, Richard John Martin, Ernest William Martin, Reginald Francis West, Robert Douglas West, William Charles Wicks.

R.I.P.
Edward Worrell Carrington.

S. Saviours District
List of Honour

A kind friend has given a framed “List of Honour” to contain the names of all those who go out from S. Saviour’s to serve their King and Country. The list is in two parts, nicely written, and is placed in the Porch of the Church. Further names will be added from time to time as they are received.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P98/28A/13)

It cannot be as other Christmases have been

It was clear that Christmas 1914 was not going to be the usual happy season.  Here are the thoughts of the vicar of Cookham Dean:

In thinking over what I am to say in my letter to you this month, it is very forcibly brought home to me how vastly different our circumstances are this December from any we have known. One has generally arranged one’s plans, in outline at least, for the Children’s Christmas Treat, and for the collection of the Choir Bonus, &c., &c., but I know I must not confidently rely, as in former years, on the help that has always so generously been given for these and other objects…

I shall quite understand if people feel that this year they cannot, or do not feel inclined to, contribute, but I do ask for a fairly prompt reply, so as to be saved the worry of uncertainty… I believe that the Choir intend to set apart a fair sum out of the amount given to them at the Carol Singing to send to one or other of the Christmas Funds that are being raised for the Royal Berkshire Regiment – our Regiment which, according to The Times of Nov. 27th, has so distinguished itself…

May our Christmas Festival in the village, if it cannot be as other Christmases have been, be holy, so that you may, in spite of sorrow and anxiety, be really happy. It may be that several of our brave lads will be allowed home on short leave; may I most earnestly beg of you not to tempt them – out of a false sense of good fellowship and wishing them luck – to drink? It is one of the cruellest things to do in such cases. They are enrolled in the Army or Navy to uphold their country’s honour, may I in all seriousness say for God’s sake never tempt them to dishonour themselves. Remember the words of Sir Owen Seamon that each of these men and lads, in their soldierly character and bearing, has ‘something dear to lose’- don’t let anyone of them have to feel ‘that they have lost it – thanks to you.’

The Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund met at Shire Hall on 1 December 1914, and also had thoughts about Christmas for soldiers’ families.

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