How the Declaration of Peace (when it comes) may fittingly be celebrated

Burghfield got cracking with memorialising the war.

May

A framed list of Burghfield men who have given their lives in the War has been drawn up by the Rector, and hung in the Church near the Lectern.

War… and Peace

A General Meeting, open to all parishioners, will be held in the New Schools, Burghfield Village, on Monday, 26th May, at 7 o’clock.

Objects:

1. To discuss the question of a Memorial of the part played by Burghfield in the War.
2. To consider how the Declaration of Peace (when it comes) may fittingly be celebrated in the parish.
3. And, if thought right, to appoint a Committee (a) to prepare recommendations for submission to a second General Meeting; and (b) to raise funds.


June

The War… and Peace General Meeting

This was held according to notice, on Monday, May 26th, in the C of E School, and was well attended. On the proposition of Mr Willink, Mr Job Lousley, as Chairman of the Parish Council and Parish Meeting, was voted into the chair. In a few well-chosen words, he explained the objects of the meeting, as stated in last month’s magazine, and asked for remarks. After several suggestions had been made, and noted for consideration, it was agreed to appoint a Committee of 20, with power to add three or four to their number, to report to a further general meeting for approval, and the following were elected accordingly, viz: Messrs F Aldridge, C Chamberlain, E Chance, Major G Chance, R Davidson, Lieut. F E Foster, F C Higgs, Col. R Kirkwood, H C Layley, J Lousley, M H Parfitt, A J Pearse, G Pembroke, Lieut. A Searies, F T Wenman, E Wigmore, H G Willink, and E Wise; also Mrs Butler and Miss Goodall. Mr H D Higgs kindly undertook to act as Hon. Secretary. The Committee will hold their first meeting in June, and it is hoped that any persons having suggestions to make will communicate at once with them.

Burghfield parish magazine, May-June 1919 (D/EX725/4)

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Shot through the head

News of the last days of Berkshire soliders continued to trickle in.

Casualties

Sergeant A E Bolton (2nd DG, Queen’s Bays), died in France; Private W H Brown (8th Royal Berks), twice wounded, and prisoner since last April (omitted before); Frank Hicks (2nd Royal Berks), at last officially presumed killed on 9th May, 1915; W Painter (RE), wounded and gassed; J W G Phillips (RAF Labour Company), killed; H J Pembroke (1st Royal Irish Fusiliers), killed in action, 1st October, 1918; G H Poulton-Smith (RGA), wounded; died (of pneumonia) in Italy.

Captain Bullivant’s Death

One day last September, his unit, the 1st Middlesex Yeomanry, was holdig a line of out-posts in Palestine, when a Turkish column was reported to be moving across the front. He rode forward with an orderly to reconnoitre, sending his trumpeter back with orders for the squadron to follow. When they did, however, they at once came under fire, and had to go into action (no doubt dismounted), without having see him or being able to gather which way he had gone in the tangle of ridges and valleys; and the engagement continued for some hours, finishing up in the dark, miles from where it began. Search was made for him early next morning, and a patrol brought in his body. He had been shot through the head, and “must have come right on to them when he galloped over the ridge”, writes his subaltern. His orderly had had his horse shot, and could not himself be traced at the time of writing. A gallant death: but a sad loss to his family and to this parish, in which he took great intrest, and in whose affairs we hoped he was destined to play an active part. He was a Rugby and Cambridge man.

Lieut. Alfred Searies has made a wonderful recovery, and been home on leave. He was buried and damaged while occupying a “pill-box”, and only recovered consciousness five days later in hospital. His MC has been duly awarded him.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“The real thing: he was a rock, strong, capable, self-reliant, and possessed the complete confidence of every man and officer in the battalion”

A tribute was paid to a Burghfield hero.

THE WAR

IN MEMORIAM

George Ouvry William Willink, MC
2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

George was only 2 ½ years old when the family came here, in July 1890, so his life’s home has been in the parish, and he loved it. And that he has not been spared to live out his days at Hillfields is a sore loss to all classes.

Perhaps no record can be more suitable for printing in the Magazine than the following notice by his Eton Tutor, Mr Vaughan, his parents’ old friend, which appeared in the Eton College Chronicle:

“George Willink came from Mr Locke’s school, St Neot’s, Eversley, in 1901 to Mr Vaughan’s House. Diffident at first, and somewhat slow in thought, he yet showed already those qualities of steadfastness, unselfishness and good temper, which in time won for him the respect and affection of all. He made himself, by pluck and concentration, one of the best in the House at football and fives. In the Lent Half of 1907 he played for Eton v. Harrow in the first “Rugger” match between the two schools, when Eton won by 12 points to 0, and in the summer of that year rowed 2 in the Eight at Henley, and thus at the end of his blameless career came into his own.

“He was always so self-effacing”, writes the boy who was his most intimate friend in the House, “that it was only those who knew him really well, as I did, that realised what a splendid fellow he was”.

It might truly have been said of him at Eton, as it was at Oxford, that “Things, whatever they were, would go all right, if he was mixed up with them.” Throughout his life he thus exercised far more influence than he himself realised. “If my own sons”, his Oxford tutor wrote, “should grow up with that sort of character, I should feel more thankful for this than for anything else in the world.”

In 1907 he went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he not only rowed in the Varsity Trial Eights, and managed his College Boat Club, of which he was captain, but worked hard at History, and reaped his reward by obtaining a Second Class in the History School in 1911. In 1913 he was called to the Bar. A keen member of the Eton, and of the Oxford, OTC, in both of which he was a sergeant, he had, on coming to London, joined the Inns of Court OTC (in which his father had once been a captain), and was a lieutenant when the war broke out.

He commanded for some time as captain, No. 1 Company of the Battalion at Berkhamsted, and the universal testimony of officers and men to his good work is remarkable. The words of one of the former (Sir F G Kenyon) may be quoted: “There never was an officer more hard-working, more conscientious, more self-sacrificing, and without claiming any credit for himself”.

In 1916, as soon as he could obtain permission to leave Berkhamsted, he joined the Berks Territorials, in his his brother Captain F A Willink had already seen foreign service, and in July proceeded to France.

In 1917 he was mentioned in dispatches, and later gained the MC for a daring rescue by digging out with a few men, under heavy fire, some buried gunners. Rejoining his regiment, after a “course” behind the lines, on March 23rd, he took over command of his Battalion, the CO having been killed a few days before.

On the 28th he fell while he was gallantly leading, in advance of his men, a counter-attack. “On the first day that I took over the brigade, in September 1916,” writes his Brigadier, “I put him down in my mind at once as the real thing. He was a rock, strong, capable, self-reliant, and possessed the complete confidence of every man and officer in the battalion.”

In the words of a barrister, twenty years his senior in age, who served as his CSM at Berkhamsted: “He was one of the ‘gentlemen unafraid’ and as such has found his welcome in Valhalla’”.

More might be said, especially as to the affection which he inspired, as well as confidence. But this is not the place for it, and after all, his Burghfield neighbours know.

Honours and Promotions

Temp. Lt Geoffrey H B Chance to be Temp. Captain from 27th April 1917.

Casualties

Private E J V Cox (Worcester Regiment), missing; Private F G Cummins (Royal Berks Regiment), severely wounded; Private D Hutchins (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded.

Lance Corporal Howard Pembroke (see Magazine for April) has been definitely offered the choice of a commission in either the Infantry or the Royal Air Service. But he prefers to remain in the ASC, where however he will have to wait for a similar chance until he is older.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Recommended for a commission

One Burghfield man was promoted, while another was reported killed.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Lance Corporal H Pembroke (ASC, MT) has been recommended for a commission.

Casualties

On 11th November 1917, in Palestine, Wilfred Tegg (Berks Yeomanry) died of wounds.

Burghfield parish magazine, April 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Tragedy too deep for words

Burghfield schoolchildren celebrated Empire Day on 13 March 1916 with a set of patriotic tableaux.

MRS BLAND’S SCHOOL

The children of Burghfield Common have beaten all records in the matter of attracting an audience at the Technical Schools. Not a seat was empty when they gave their bright little performance on Empire Day, and whether or not the whole programme was evolved from Miss Jackson’s own brain, it was cleverly conceived and admirably carried out.

Gordon Prior, aged only 13, ably undertook the accompaniments, the chief item being a representation of the Allied countries now at war with the Central European Powers. Florence Pembroke, in gorgeous silver armour as Britannia, Elsie Love as France, Kathleen Bunce as Belgium, Raymond Batts as Japan, Italy by Ernest Brant, Russia and Servia [sic] by Frank Lalouette and William Emms, made a tableau which reminded us, alas! of a tragedy too deep for words, and only a strong personal interest in the performers themselves and their capable achievement enabled us for a moment to forget the anguish of the reality.

A collection made at the doors raised £4 12s 6d, which has been devoted to the aid of soldiers blinded during the war, whose case perhaps makes a greater appeal to our sympathies than any other, and we sent all our love and pity with the pennies so freely and cheerfully contributed by all the company.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1916 (D/EX725/3)