“A renewal of the war when the Teuton wolf has once licked his sores dry”

John Maxwell Image foresaw something like the third Reich.

29 Barton Road
4 March ‘18

Most VDOM

When I study the words and actions of England’s public men, “Can I discern between good and evil?” I begin to truly doubt: Will these suffer the Allies to defeat and CONQUER Germany? We boast of keeping them off Paris. But Germany today is a Continent within the Continent. She and her vassal states stretch in unbroken line from the North Sea to Mesopotamia and over a third of Russia.

If America “stick it”, this “Continent” may be broken up. Yet even America professes unwillingness to interfere with a nation’s right to choose its government – which means a renewal of the war when the Teuton wolf has once licked his sores dry.

Our love to you both
Bild

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

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He “saved an officer’s life by carrying him on his back out of danger, under fire”

There was news of many Burghfield men, some of whom had performed acts of heroism at the front.

Honours and Promotions

We congratulate 2nd Lt Wheeler and his parents Mr and Mrs E C Wheeler on his promotion, he having been given a commission in the King’s Liverpool Regiment. His brother, T Wheeler, is now training as a Pilot in No 5 Cadet Wing, RFC. Cadet (ex Corporal) Alfred Searies is training in Scotland, having been recommended for a commission. He has been twice wounded, and has saved an officer’s life by carrying him on his back out of danger, under fire. The following are now Sergeants: E Cooke (5th R W Surrey), R J Turfrey (ASC< MT), E Wise (2/4th Royal Berks).

Casualties

E N Pike (killed in action), P C Layley (scalded), J Cummings, A Newman, and A Ware (wounded). W Butler, whose parents long lived in the parish, but have lately gone to Sulhamstead, is also wounded.

Discharges

Jos. West, ex 2nd Rifle Brigade (wounds); Herbert C Layley, ex 5th Royal Berks (wounds); Fred W Johnson, ex 2nd Royal Berks (heart); Isaac Slade, ex 4th Royal Berks and RE (heart); J D Whitburn, ex Royal Berks (rheumatism), just moved to Five Oaken. Arthur L Collins, in last magazine, should have been described as ex 5th Royal Berks.

Other War Items

Lieutenant Francis E Foster, RNVR, of Highwoods, who since the outbreak of war has been looking for trouble in the North Sea, has been rewarded by transfer to a quieter job further south, for the present. Lieutenant Geoffrey H B Chance, MG Corps (of the Shrubberies) is in hospital in Egypt, suffering from malaria.

Roll of Honour
Mr Willink thanks all who have given him information. He is always glad to receive more. It is difficult if not impossible, especially since the Military Service Act, to keep the Roll up to date.

Obituary Notices

The following death is recorded with regret.

Mr E N Pike, of Burghfield Hatch, son of Mrs Pike of Brook House, lost his life as above stated, for his country on 11th November, less than a week after returning to the front from a month’s leave which had been granted him to enable him to get in his fruit crop. An officer in his Battery writes: “In the short time that Gunner Pike has been in the Battery we have learned to appreciate him not only for his work but for the man he was”. He leaves a young widow and a little boy. He had good hopes of obtaining a commission in time.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1917 (D/EX725/4)

A day of wild rumours

The area was swept with particularly wild rumours about a possible invasion.

27 March 1917

Day of wild rumours. Our navy defeated! Big battle North Sea for 3 days! Germans landed Scotland. All troops mobilized. Nothing in papers.

Went on all today. That there was a great N. Sea battle – 11 ships lost! Then 9!! The Germans had landed in Scotland – then on east coast. All troops from neighbourhood sent away. The Engineers at Maidenhead left Sunday, Marlow this morning. (This latter is true). Also Sydney Elliott at Bramshott, then suddenly mobilized to go somewhere. Heatley said it was a rising in Ireland. Nothing in the papers – morning or night, except Londoner’s Diary laughing at the reports. Last version Germans had taken Scotland!!!

No petrol substitutes to be given out. No more petrol allowance after end April!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

We shall never regret complying with the new restrictions

The new food restrictions were a worry in Cookham Dean, especially for the poorer who were already struggling.

The Vicar’s Letter

I expect we are all, more or less, feeling worried about the Food Regulations, not that we do not wish to do all we can do to support the Government’s arrangements at such a crisis, but the difficulty is, how to do it. In households where, as is the case with so many of you, there is never too great a supply of food, it must be most anxious work to know how best to carry out the regulations.

Let us try loyally and conscientiously to do our best: after all what is the inconvenience that we have to put up with compared with what our Allies in Belgium, France, Serbia and Roumania [sic] have had to suffer. If, as we are assured over and over again by those in authority, it is one of the ways that we can each one do our best to assure ourselves and our Allies of Victory, for which we long and pray, let us do our part as cheerfully and uncomplainingly as our brave men in their trenches and in the North Sea are doing theirs. We shall never, never regret it.

Notices

The week-day collections during Lent (apart from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) will be given to the National Institute for the Blind, which is doing so much at the present time for those of our wounded soldiers who have alas lost their sight.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Fight in North Sea

Florence Vansittart Neale heard of a naval battle – the Battle of Dogger Bank.

24 January 1917

Fight in North Sea by Dutch coast. German ships injured & fled – we lost 1 destroyer, sunk it ourselves. 40 men lost.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“To the last he was doing his duty, and he practically lost his life by his last unselfish and heroic act”

Two Mortimer West End families faced the loss of bereavement. One man died heroically saving a comrade in arms:

West End

It is with a keen feeling of sympathy for the parents that we record two more deaths in the war this month. On May 25th there died in France Corporal John Collis, 1st Batt. Royal Berks Regt. One of the officers of his battalion sends the following account:-

“Being in the Company to which I am attached, I knew Corporal Collis well, and I can assure you he will be greatly missed. He was a first-rate soldier and died bravely. He was wounded and had started to go back to be dressed when one of his comrades was shot, and Corporal Collis immediately went back and bound the other man up. It was while doing this that he was again hit, and this time seriously. We were able to get him away at once and he got back to the hospital, but died shortly afterwards…

He was a fine soldier, and he was beloved and respected here… To the last he was doing his duty, and he practically lost his life by his last unselfish and heroic act when, although badly wounded himself, he went back to bind up a fellow comrade.”

In the Naval Battle in the North Sea on May 31st, Frederick Penny, R.M.L.I. [Royal Marines Light Infantry], went down on the Black Prince.

We are expressing the feelings of everyone in the parish when we say we are proud of these two men and proud to think that their parents have so worthily upheld the example of the country’s other bereaved parents in counting it an honour to have been called upon to give their best for their Country. At the same time we give them our deep sympathy, and pray that John Collis and Frederick Penny may be granted “a place of refreshment, light, and peace” and receive a merciful judgment at the Last Day.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, July 1916 (D/P120/28A/14)

A wish fulfilled

One of the men who had left Earley to join the Navy had been killed – the second in his family to be lost.

Our best wishes accompany Mr Sidesman W B Waters who, being called up, joined the 3/4 Royal Berkshires last month. His home activities in the CEMS and his church work as sidesman and principal cross bearer, will be missed. Our hope is the outdoor life may have a beneficial effect on his health which has not been robust these last few years.

In memoriam

The great battle in the North Sea took from this neighbourhood its toll of brave sailors. Among them Francis Harry Stevens, eldest son of Mr & Mrs F Stevens, whose second boy William David, gave his life in the attack at Loos on Sep. 25th last year. His brother Francis Harry who entered the Royal Navy as stoker was making rapid progress and shewing great proficiency in the engine room. Had he lived his promotion was secured. When he heard of his brother’s death he expressed the wish that he might too die for his country, and that wish has been fulfilled for him. His younger brother Arthur is with the Army in Egypt. We desire to express our respectful sorrow with his grief stricken parents and assure them that this parish will honour the memory of their sons.

Earley parish magazine, July 1916 (D/P192/28A/14)

“What scenes our Ascot fellows are witnessing! And what adventures they will have to tell us of when they happily return!”

There was exciting news from some of the Ascot men serving at sea and in Egypt.

THE WAR.

The Ascot Sailors and Soldiers Committee report that they sent Easter cards to all the men abroad, and presents to all those who appeared likely to require them, the number sent being 27. They regret to say that no news has been received of the three Ascot men who have been reported missing for some time, though every effort has been made to trace them. They also report with much regret that three wounded men have been discharged from the Army. Four more men have gone out abroad this month, making the total on the list 101.

Signalman Tindal of H.M.S. “Undaunted” has been home on short leave and has given a graphic account of the action in the North Sea off the Danish Coast, in which his ship took a prominent part. For fear of the Censor we must not print all of what he told us, but we may say that the action took place in a high gale and that the rescue of all the “Medusa’s” crew was an exciting episode and carried out with great skill. The German destroyer rammed by the “Cleopatra” went down with all hands, and she sank so quickly that nothing could possibly be done to save them.

A very interesting letter from Trooper Skelton of the Berkshire Yeomanry has been received from Egypt by his parents. He took part in the recent round up of the “Senussi” tribe on the frontiers of Tripoli and also witnessed the release of the British prisoners in the hands of the Arabs. What scenes our Ascot fellows are witnessing! And what adventures they will have to tell us of when they happily return!

The Committee hope that they may be able to hold a Concert in May for the benefit of the Fund, as it requires some replenishing.

Ascot section of Winkfield District magazine, May 1916 (D/P151/28A/5)

The air is full of rumours

Lady Mary Glyn informed her son Ralph of the latest news at home.

March 8th [1916]

I did calls yesterday. Volck is the name of the new manager at Sage’s. Wife very Brightonian. Decollee at 5 pm and they have taken the Canes’ house in Precincts. They tell me of an RNS Lieutenant called Meynell with his wife at the Peterborough Hotel and a flying man called Gordon England has taken the Archdeacon’s house where the Cooks were. I winder if you know him. I understand there is a great concentration of flying men and inventors & machines to tempt the Zepps here now, and a wireless station at Dogsthorpe & guard of 40 men. Peterborough is becoming quite as central as it can ever hope to be….

The air is full of rumours of sea action, of liveliness in the North Sea. And Churchill has just made one more limelight dramatic speech demanding Fisher’s recall. Hedworth has made his debut as a speaker and hopes Churchill will go back to duty in the trenches.

Lady Exeter says Lord Exeter has been in hospital nearly all his time at Alexandria – influenza, and very seedy in hospital there….

Own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

Brown paper shades

Florence Vansittart of Bisham Abbey reports on her parish church’s valiant efforts to keep evening services going despite the blackout.

9 January 1916

Settled to continue evening church & try to shade lights – brown paper shades put on them & big curtain over 2 windows.

Battleship Edward VII sunk by mine – all crew saved. Too stormy to save ship. North Sea.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A veil for the flagship

One of the minor works of the Community of St John Baptist was the Church Needlework Room in London, which mainly made surplices and embroidered altar frontals. They had an unusual commission from a Navy chaplain for a burse and veil, a bag and cloth to be used for Holy Communion on board ship.

31 December 1915

A little while before this we had been asked to provide a white Burse & Veil for the flag ship – Iron Duke – now somewhere in the North Sea.

Sister Mary Elizabeth was able to send them off in time for Christmas, & a most grateful & appreciative letter of thanks was written by the chaplain.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Effects of a husband drowned

Two female teachers in east Berkshire who had loved ones in the armed forces had very different days. A Cookham teacher gets time off to see her brothers, home on leave, but a married woman at Sandhurst Methodist School collapsed after hearing her husband’s ship had gone down.

Sandhurst Methodist School, September 1st 1915
Mrs Pengelly, who was appointed to succeed Miss Morgan and commence duties today, is unable to do so, owing to illness, the result of hearing from the admiral, that her husband was drowned when the HMS India was torpedoed in the North Sea, he being on the ship at the time.

Alwyn Road School, September 1st 1915
Miss K Eustace, Infant Teacher, absent two days to see brothers home on short leave from war duty. Headmaster’s permission.

Sandhurst Methodist School log book (C/EL42/2, p. 142); Alwyn Road School, Cookham: log book (88/SCH/18/1, p. 256)

Helping at the YMCA

Florence Vansittart Neale and her friends helped out again at the YMCA canteen.

11 June 1915

Up to Canteen – took Edie & Mary. Not much doing till 4, then plenty of men. Home 6.30…

German defeat in Galicia. Two of our destroyers sunk in North Sea.
Heard Sep. wounded slightly in head. In Alexandria Hospital. Had hard fighting in Gallipoli.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Crushed in the trenches

Sulhamstead was one of the parishes which were seeing increasing numbers of their young men killed or wounded. The parish magazine tells us about two individuals associated with the parish:

We regret to hear that Henry Tuttle has been brought to England wounded. He was seriously crushed by the falling in of the trenches as the result of gunshot. He is being tended at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital London.


Deaths
We regret to record … [the death] of Lieut. Commander Robert E Thoyts, R. N, son of the Rev. and Mrs Frank Thoyts.
He had been put in command of a ship at the beginning of the war, but owing probably to the severe weather in the North Sea returned home seriously ill. No hope was given of his recovery, but he lingered until March 7th…
On the 7th inst at Woodspeen Grange, Newbury, from heart failure after pneumonia, Lieutenant-Commander Robert Elmhirst Thoyts, RN, son of Frank and Rosa Thoyts, and dearly-loved husband of Kathleen Thoyts, aged thirty-four.

BURIALS
Mar. 11th at St Mary’s Church. Robert Elmhurst Thoyts, Lieutenant Commander, RN.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, April 1914 (D/EX725/3)

A prisoner of war escapes by bicycle after a visit to the dentist

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey, wife of an Admiralty official, had plenty of war news for her diary today: a neighbour’s son taken prisoner, the brief but thrilling story of an escape, and news of the men in the hospital at Bisham Abbey.

North Sea battle. Enemy scuttled off. We presumed sank “Blucher” & injured 2 others. Sir David Beatty admiral, Com. Tyrwitt, “The Lion”, etc.

Rejoiced at Naval news…

Henry & I up to tea with Wethereds. Colonel Menzies there. Ronald prisoner. Vandeleur escaped from there – went to dentist, got change [of] suit & bike, frontier 15 miles off. Etienne Boileau managed four frost-bitten toes.

William Hallam, meanwhile, observed neighbours’ delight in the British victory at the Battle of Dogger Bank

25th January 1915
Great rejoicings at the Naval Victory in this morning’s papers. I went along to the Reading Room last thing to-night to see if any fresh news, but there wasn’t.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale, 25 January 1915 (D/EX73/3/17/8); Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/23)