“Our brave soldiers are fighting with a magnificent spirit and courage that is the wonder and admiration of us all”

Reading churchgoers were urged to pray.

We are now in the thick of the most terrific struggle in the history of the world. We can trust our brave soldiers absolutely and entirely; they are fighting with a magnificent spirit and courage that is the wonder and admiration of us all. The point is that they should be able to trust us, the civilian population; a great deal of the issue of this battle depends on the moral and spiritual backbone of those who are here at home. We ought at this critical time to make our prayers a deeper and greater reality and so I am putting in front of our magazine this month some simple heads of intercession.

Let us pray for:-

Our King, and all our leaders at home and at the front.

Our fighting men and those of our allies.

The wounded and the prisoners.

The fallen.

The doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers, the chaplains, on or near the field of battle.

The people at home that they may be steadfast and true.

For final victory and after victory, lasting peace.

S. Mary’s Church is open each day till 9 o’ clock in the evening so as to give opportunities of quiet prayer and intercession in this time of need.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

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All day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation

St. Peter’s Day of Intercession

St. Peter’s kept Wednesday, April 17th, as a Day of Intercession for the War. There were 47 Communicants at the 7 a.m. celebration, and a great gathering of residents and workers of Furze Platt for the Intercessions at 1.45, and again at 7 p.m., and all day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation and our men, and grant us a righteous and lasting peace.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

“A Pacifist peace means Armageddon for our children”

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image struggled with the newly implemented food rationing. John Rawlinson, an Old Etoniam and alumnus of Image’s college, Trinity, was MP for Cambridge University (a constituency specifically to represent graduates across the country). A former international footballer, he was patriotically dieting.

29 Barton Road
25 March ‘18

This morning have arrived our Food Tickets. Oh, I gape! Florence professes to understand them. All I can utter is ‘Pests’. Cnspuez Rhondda!

Yesterday, in the Bowling Green, we met Rawlinson, MP, who vowed that he had for weeks been existing on a hebdomadal 1/3 of meat (so at least, he seems to say), and that he found the Fellows far too fat and well liking to have been loyal.

A Pacifist peace means Armageddon for our children. Who in honesty denies that?

Veni sancta Columbia.

And you prefer Margarine to Butter? I haven’t yet, to my knowledge, tried it. Devonshire Butter I count the noblest relish on earth. We can’t get Cheese, off which I regularly used to lunch.


Ever yours
Bild

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

He went up the trenches and 48 hours later had died of wounds

Reading churchgoers were encouraged to pray for our oppressed allies.

S. Mary’s (Lent 1918)
SUGGESTED INTERCESSIONS

In connection with the war

Sundays The gaining of a permanent peace.
Mondays Our own sailors, soldiers and Airmen.
Tuesdays All war workers, men and women at home and abroad.
Wednesdays The sick, wounded and prisoners, and anxious and bereaved on both sides.
Thursdays Our allies, and more particularly the oppressed nationalities of Belgium, Serbia, Roumania, Montenegro, Poland, Armenia and the populations of occupied territories of France and Italy.
Fridays Our enemies.
Saturdays The fallen.

Congratulations
Our heartiest congratulations to Lady Carrington, whose second son Lieut. C. W. Carrington of the Grenadier Guards has recently been awarded the Distinguished Service Order. It will be remembered that her eldest son also gained the D.S.O. and the youngest son the Military Cross.

R.I.P.
Our deepest sympathy has been given to Mrs Montague Brown, on the death of her husband. He went up the trenches on a certain date, and news came forty eight hours later that he had died of wounds. May the God of all comfort console those who are mourning his loss!

S. Saviours District
Our hearty congratulations to Lieut. Fred White on gaining the Military Cross and to Corporal Will Taylor on gaining the D.C.M., and being now out of Hospital.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

Lessons of the Great War

The vicar of Reading St John suggested parishioners might like to help provide a new communion set for an army chaplain:

Letter from the vicar

My dear friends,

My own letter to you this month will be a brief one, as I want to give pride of place to Mr Morley’s very interesting letter from the front. Perhaps some of his friends in the parish would like to supply his obvious need of a set of Communion vessels of convenient size. I shall be very glad to receive subscriptions for this purpose….

The addresses on Wednesday evenings [during Lent] are to be given by the Rev. E J Norris… These services will consist of war intercessions and the address, and will last about 40 minutes…

At St Stephen’s Church on Thursday evenings there will be a series of lantern services, if gas is obtainable for the lantern, under the general heading, “Lessons of the Great War”. The pictures illustrating the addresses are really beautiful, and I think the services will be found both helpful and comforting….

Also let us not cease day and night to make supplication to God for the restoration of Peace.

Your sincere friend and vicar

W. Britton

Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

“We had just got back from a very rough time up the line, and a cake comes in very nice after one has been on biscuit and bully beef for some time.”

Christmas cake was much appreciated behind the front line.

The Vicar has received many letters from our men who are fighting for us or are in training. They all ask for their thanks to be conveyed to all their Cranbourne friends who joined in sending them the cake and Christmas card.

The following extracts from some of the letters may be of interest.

“Please convey my best thanks to my Cranbourne friends for their kindness in sending me the cake and Christmas card. I am sure the gift will be fully appreciated by all to whom it was sent.”

I appreciated the cake very much for it brought with it memories of the dear old village, where we all hope, if it is God’s will, to meet again and enjoy the benefits of an honourable and lasting peace. I offer to Cranbourne friends many thanks.”

“It is quite a treat to get something to remind one of Blighty.”

“It is nice to feel that one is not forgotten”

“The cake arrived in good condition and was quite a treat, for we don’t get many of those nowadays. It makes it seem like home to have one.”

“The cake was all the more welcome as it was so unexpected and came at a time when we had just got back from a very rough time up the line, and a cake comes in very nice after one has been on biscuit and bully beef for some time.”

We are sorry to hear that Rifleman Ernest Jones is ill in Hospital in Egypt and that Private Alfred Jones is a prisoner in Germany.

News has come that Private W.W. Goodchild previously reported missing is now “assumed killed in action” on the 28th of April, 1917. Our deep sympathy is with Mr. and Mrs. Goodchild in their sorrow.


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

Every man, woman, and child should subscribe 1d. a day to help the King and the Country to beat the enemy and gain victory and a lasting, good peace

Cranbourne people were urged to contribute financially.

On the 1st of February the Munition Works, Spital, Windsor, War Savings Association completed the first year. As so many residents of Cranbourne and Winkfield are subscribers, it may interest them to hear that 14,353 sixpenny coupons have been collected during the year, representing a sum of £358 16s. 6d. paid into the Treasury, London, for war services. Members are urged to press and invite others to subscribe and support the good cause. Every man, woman, and child should subscribe 1d. a day or 6d. per week to help the King and the Country to beat the enemy and gain victory and a lasting, good peace. No one should hesitate, but join at once; and remember, every penny lent to the Government helps in the long run to win the war.

Mr. Lenoard Creasy, of Hurstleigh, Windosr Forest, will be glad to furnish all particulars to any one who wishes to subscribe to the National War Savings Fund.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, March 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/3)

Time is on our side for a chance of lasting peace and assured freedom

Bad news for Caversham people was countered by hopes that the end was in sight.

“THE END IS NOT YET”

The Archbishop of York, in his new year’s letter to his Diocese after reviewing the military and economic situation to-day, says that all shows as clearly as ever that time is on our side. Therefore it is a question of steadfast endurance. Accordingly, the enemy is busy everywhere encouraging the belief that the time has come to negotiate for peace. For he knows that an inconclusive peace would leave his military system and prestige able to hold up its head and prepare for another day. Let us not fall into his trap. We want a peace that will endure.

But, continues the archbishop, I still believe what I said last year that “to negotiate about peace when the ‘will to war’ (the Prussian Spirit) is still able to vaunt its strength, would only be to give it time to renew its power and prolong its menace”….

If we are hereafter to say of war “never again” I cannot tell how I would shrink from this conclusion when I think of the sorrows and sacrifices, many of which I cannot share, which it involves. But we seem to be drawn to it by all that we owe to the memories of the past and the hopes of the future. These, then, seem to be the alternatives between which 1918 must decide – either faltering of spirit with its attendant divisions and recriminations, and as a result some kind of inconclusive peace, or firmness of spirit with its attendant unity and trust. And as its ultimate result, a decision which will give the world a chance of lasting peace and assured freedom.

REV.T. BRANCKER

It is with very much regret that we announce that Mr. Brancker has been invalided home, and will probably have to resign his Chaplaincy. On leaving here he was at first appointed a chaplain to a Military Hospital at Sheffield. After some months there he was sent to France, but he had not been abroad more than a few weeks when an attack of his old enemy gastritis caused him to be sent back home to a hospital in England, but this time as a patient. He is now undergoing treatment at his home, but it will be some months at least before he is able once more to undertake ordinary Parish work. We all extend to him our sincerest sympathy and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

Parish Church (St. Peter’s)
Notes

The war continues to take its dreadful toll of human lives, and among them is that of L./Cpl. A.G.W. Gibbons (Artists’ Rifles), of 33, South View Avenue, on July 16th. The only son of one of our most devoted Church Families, a server and Sunday School Teacher; he gave high promise of future usefulness. And therefore, there is more than ordinary sorrow at his death, and more than ordinary sympathy with his bereaved parents. – R.I.P.

Caversham parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P162/28A/7)

Why not adopt a prisoner?

The Russian Revolution had led to that country ceasing to take part in the war, which naturally disheartened the Allies. Meanwhile a Reading shop encouraged locals to buy comforts for British PoWs, even taking out advertisements in rural parish magazines.

My Friends

The year 1918 finds us still in the midst of war. Our troops have had the joy of spending Christmas in Jerusalem, but the hopes that peace might at that time be reigning through the world were shattered by the defection of Russia. We have again and again to remind ourselves that
“THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH.”

The knowledge is a strong buttress to our confidence and a sure hope. Many have found this thought “as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land”.

Let us begin the year with the prayer that “we may consecrate ourselves afresh to the cause of righteousness, freedom and peace”.
Yours faithfully,

Alfred J. P. Shepherd,
Rector.

The War Savings Association has been a great success. Over 90 certificates have already been bought.

Advertisement:
Alleviate the torture to British prisoners of war by sending parcels regularly.

BAYLIS’ new shop, 7, The Arcade, Reading, is now open exclusively for the sale and despatching of these eagerly welcomed goods.

Why not adopt a prisoner?

Send us the order, we do the rest.


Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“Oceans of blood and billions of money squandered – and for nothing”

John Maxwell Image was outraged by the latest American peace proposals, as well as strikers in vital munitions factories. He would of course be proved right that a second war would follow 20 years later, though not about the cause.

29 Barton Road
15 January ‘18
My very dear old man

Do you see soldiers and men-of-war’s men in any numbers? I frequently wonder how appalling the dullness here will seem when the longed-for Peace removes our military element…

And about those gunshies [sic] in munition-works who have the daring rascality to threaten “down tools” and hang the war, should an attempt be made to comb them out. Surely the Defence of the Realm Act empowers the placing them under military law? Or will this, like evry other step of government, be taken just too late?

I was shocked by Wilson’s language. It used to be “no terms with the Hohenzollerns”. That we all understood and felt it to brace us up. But today an absolute disclaimer of any wish to interfere with the internal arrangements of Germany and its vassals. The military autocracy to be left in full possession (for how can it be deposed while it has the Army?) – and 20 years hence a fresh war upon a purblind and probably divided Europe. Oceans of blood and billions of money squandered – and for nothing…

Ever yours
Bild

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

The great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations

Churches in the Bracknell area joined in the National Day of Intercession.

Ascot

Sunday, January 6th (The Epiphany) has been appointed as a day of Special Prayer for the War and the alms at all services will be for the Red Cross Fund.


Bracknell

‘THE WAR.—In accordance with the King’s Proclamation the first Sunday in the New Year, January 6th,the Feast of the Epiphany, will be observed as a special day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Bracknell. The services in the Church will be held at the usual hours, but special forms of prayer will be used, and every one who desires to seek the help of God in these anxious times should make a point of being present. The collections will be given to the Red Cross Society.

Cranbourne

THE DAY OF NATIONAL PRAYER.
As we all know, the 1st Sunday in the New Year has been appointed as a “Day for Intercession on behalf of the Nation and Empire in this Time of War.” There will be celebrations of the Holy Communion as 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Special forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving have been issued under the authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and will be used at our services. January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany. The idea of the Epiphany is the manifestation of God among all nations nations, and our Bishop has pointed out “how deeply we stand in need of such a manifestation to day, and how “the great cause for which we are fighting – the cause of liberty, justice, peace and the fellowship of nations – would truly, if it were realised, be a manifestation of God, and a preperation for the Kingdom of Christ, for which our most earnest and constant prayers are needed.

It is to be hoped that, whatever the weather is, none of us will be absent from the services on January 6th, but that we shall, as a Parish kneel before the Throne of Grace and offer up our petitions to Him who judges the peoples of the world, and is our only refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.

Winkfield

VICAR’s LETTER.

My Dear Friends,

Once again the New Year will find us in the midst of the horrors of war, and in our King’s words, “this world wide struggle for the triumph of right and liberty is entering on its last and most difficult phase when we shall need our courage fortified to face the sacrifices we may yet hace to make before our work is done.”

Very justly does the King call upon all his people to make the first Sunday of the New Year a Day of special Prayer and Thanksgiving, a day of National Intercession to Gon on Behalf of our Country, for the great casuse of rightousness entrusted to us, and for the men (so many of them near and dear to us in Winkfield) who are fighting for it on sea and land.

We all long for a victorious Peace, but can we expect that almighty God will, as a matter of course, give it us, if we do not think it worth while to ask Him for it by humble and united Public Prayer; for until we, as a whole Nation, realise our need od something more that material force, we do not deserve to win.

It is then a real patriotic duty for every man and woman to attend their Parish Church on January 6th and take their part in this National wave of Intercession. Our Sailors and Soldiers have a right to expect our prayers; and the help and co-operation of those who seldom or never go to Church or Chapel is specially asked on this great and solemn occasion.

I can only solemnly repeat what I wrote last year that I should not like to have on my own conscience the responsibility which that man or woman takes who could help their Country by joining in this movement, and yet is too careless and indifferent to do so.

If you belevie in God, and have any love for your Country, come and help.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,

H.M. Maynard

The Services on January 6th will be:

8 a.m., Holy Communion.
11 a.m. Service and Holy Communion.
6.30 p.m. Special Intercession Service (copies of which will be provided.)

Bracknell, February

The Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in connection with the War on January 6th was fairly well kept in Bracknell. The congregations were larger than usual in the morning and evening, and in the afternoon a considerably number of people attended the special service. The weather was bad and hindered some who would have wished to be present, but it was a little disappointing not to have had quite crowded congregations on such a day.

Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

“1917 has been the greatest history making year of this old world’s existence”

Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading joined the National Day of Intercession with hopes that the war would end this year.

The first Sunday in the New Year, January 6th (by command of HM George V), we, in common with other churches, chapels and brotherhoods throughout the United Kingdom, are holding a special intercessory service with special prayers, etc. On that Sunday our Annual Roll Call will be held… We are expecting greetings from most of our members on active service.

Brother Harvey, our organist, has been called up for military service, and our best wishes go with him. Our sincere thanks are due to Miss E E Green, who has most kindly stepped into the breach and preside at the organ on Sunday afternoons….

1917 has been the greatest history making year of this old world’s existence. It is the prayerful hope of us all that 1918 may prove an even greater year, because in it the long prayed for, the long wished for peace has been established.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, January 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

May God in His great mercy bring this terrible war to an end before another year is through

There was a Christmas message for men from Reading St John.

TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Brothers,

Let me once again, in a few brief words, express to you all the cordial good wishes of your friends back here in the home parish. out of hearts full of affection and gratitude we send you our very warmest Christmas greetings. You may be sure that we shall be thinking of you on Christmas Day, and praying for you too. May God in His great mercy bring this terrible war to an end before another year is through, so that all the families now separated may be reunited, and the men now on the sea or in the trenches may spend next Christmas in peace under their own roof-tree.

Believe me,

Your very sincere friend and vicar

W. Britton

Reading St. John parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

“The only jarring feature was the never-ending noise of the guns”

Reading men at the front report on their Christmas experiences. Harrison’s Pomade was a treatment for lice, an unpleasant reality for men in the trenches. It was produced by a Reading chemist.

LETTERS FROM THE FRONT

The following extracts from letters from our men on service have been “in type” for several months, but they have had to be “held over” for lack of space. We now have pleasure in publishing them:

The fact there are friends at home who have not forgotten us out here is a very great consolation, and one’s odd moments are often filled with thoughts of those at home. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the time seems to go so quickly. We had a very good time on Xmas day considering the wildness and loneliness (except for troops) of the spot we are in…

The only jarring feature was the never-ending noise of the guns, but somehow even among that there seemed to be a feeling of peace. Certainly there was, and is, a great desire for it. Please convey to all friends my heartiest thanks, not only for the very useful gifts but for the spirit which prompted them.

L. H. N. (OS)

Thank you so very much for the parcel and message. I was so glad to be remembered by Broad St. The church and friends it embraces will always be one of my happiest memories; and memories mean so much when we are far away. It will be my first duty – and a very pleasant one – to look you all up when I come back. Until then letters will have to suffice, I’m afraid, for all we think and feel.
L. J. P. (OS)

I wish to thank you and Broad St Chapel for the parcel which only reached me yesterday. Fortunately the things were all securely packed and none the worse for the trying journey they must have had. Thank you very much…

Although one is of necessity away from home, one’s thoughts naturally are at home, especially at this time of year, and a parcel from the church where one really learnt the elementary lessons of life is always a pleasure to receive.

L. H. F. (OS)

It gave me very great pleasure when I received the parcel yesterday from my friends at Broad St Church, also your welcome letter and circular enclosed, so full of encouraging and cheering wishes. I assure you the contents of the parcel were very welcome both for physical and spiritual needs, and I hardly know how or what to say in thanks…

Often I sit and think of the times I have spent with the choir at Broad St and long to be back again. I shall be with them in spirit when “Merrie England” is being performed and they won’t miss me half as much as I shall miss the pleasure of being there.

W. H. D. (OS)

It was a big pleasant surprise to receive yesterday the splendid parcel from dear old Broad St. Please accept my sincerest thanks. Candles especially are very welcome, and Harrison’s Pomade is a gift which only those actually here can appreciate fully. I believe this is the third Xmas on which I have received this concrete evidence of your continued interest. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say I sincerely trust that there won’t be a fourth – under such circumstances as these at all events….

My thoughts are often in Reading, and Broad St always fills a warm corner of my heart.

W. F. H. (OS)

I am writing to thank you for your kind Xmas wishes, and most useful parcel…

I spent a happy Xmas, and even enjoyed the luxury of turkey and pudding – quite a contrast to the previous year, when I spent the festive season between the trenches and sundry “Bairnsfather” barns with “bully” stew as a constant dinner companion. I received your parcel that year during a period in which we were occupying an old brewery cellar. Te building on top had long been demolished by shell fire, but the tall chimney persisted in standing, in spite of decapitation. Naturally with Herr Bosche busily amusing himself with his battered target we were glad to get downstairs. Nor do I remember that any teetotaller had any complaint to make on that occasion upon breweries in general, or brewery cellars in particular.

N. H. (OS)

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, September 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“We have all been made happy by the news of the entry of the British troops and their Allies into the holy city of Jerusalem”

Berkshire clergymen were delighted by the capture of Jerusalem from the Ottomans.


Reading St Mary
The Vicar’s Notes

The best wish that I can send to the people of St Mary’s Parish for 1918 is that it may be a year of Peace. God grant that it may be so.

We have all been made happy by the news of the entry of the British troops and their Allies into the holy city of Jerusalem. This great event was commemorated by a “Te Deum” at St Mary’s at both services on Sunday, December 16th.

An interesting letter appeared in the Times of December 12th from the Archdeacon of Northampton, in which he pointed out that it was at Reading on March 17th, 1185, that Heraclius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, gave to Henry II the keys of Jerusalem and of the Holy Sepulchre with the words: “In thee alone after God do the people of the land put their trust.” And the King’s answer was: “May our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Power, be the defender of His people, and we will be His fellow-workers to the utmost of our power.” Could we have a happier inspiration that these words, or a happier time for the possession of Jerusalem than just before the Festival of our Lord’s Nativity?

Cranbourne

The taking of Jerusalem was celebrated on Sunday, December 16th by a Te Deum sung in procession, and by special psalms, lessons and hymns.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2); Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)