A day of grief and glory: another of our boys has heard the call of God and joined the throngs invading heaven “with gay and careless faces”

Memories are shared of a Reading-born man whose death had been reported.

Harry Ireland Long

It was with deep regret that we heard of the death of Lance-Corpl. Harry Long, who was killed in action in Flanders on August 15th. To most of us his name is familiar, as being the son of our old and esteemed friends, Mr. and Mrs. William Long, and to them, as to his sister and brothers, we offer our deep sympathy. Some, however, had a more intimate knowledge, and one of those, the Rev. Herbert Snell, of Caterham, a former minister of Trinity, has kindly written the following:-

“Lest Heaven be thronged with greybeards hoary,
God, who made boys for his delight,
Stoops, in a day of grief and glory,
And calls them in, in from the night.
When they come trooping from the War,
Our skies have many a new gold star.”

Another of our boys has heard the call of God and joined the throngs invading heaven “with gay and careless faces.” Another has cheerfully and bravely given his life to make earth clean again, and keep it safe for those who regard honour among the highest and love peace.

It is easy enough to write these words, but behind them are living hearts that ache with grief and yet rejoice with noble pride.

Harry Ireland Long was the eldest son of William and Anna Long. He was born February 25th 1886, at Reading, and was killed in Flanders on August 15th, 1917.

“Trinity” will remember him, first of all, as a youngster, attending school at Miss Lacy’s and at Miss Burgisi’s, and on Sundays as a member of Mr. H.A. Baynes’ Bible-class. When I knew him he was at Reading School, which he left in 1901 in order to work for a while in his father’s business. Everyone liked his handsome face, with bold dark eyes and pleasant smile; though there was plenty of the boy about him there was a serious vein in Harry’s thinking which soon brought him to face the great deep questions of life. A year had scarcely elapsed from the time of leaving school before he joined the membership of Trinity Church.

In 1904, Harry went to Kingston in Jamaica where he worked for eight years. During that time he went through the terrible experiences of the great earthquake of January, 1907. Although he escaped the physical perils of that time, I have some kind of an idea that it was then he met his “fate,” and that there was some connection between the incidents of January, 1907, and a marriage which took place in Kingston, 1910, between Harry on the one side, and Miss Isabel Frances, of Crouch end, London on the other. But I do not give this as authoritative, lest, perchance, a very treacherous memory should have betrayed me.

Only this I know, and can speak thereon with utter confidence, having been privileged to visit on several occasions their delightful little home in Montreal, that it was a marriage full of happiness and promise.

It was in 1912 that they migrated to Montreal and in 1914 that I found them there, with Maurice who had joined them about a year before. I was at that time taking charge of Emmanuel Church during Dr. Hugh Pedley’s vacation, and being altogether a stranded and solitary stranger in the huge city, it was an indescribable pleasure to receive an English welcome in a Canadian home. None of us thought, in those early uninstructed days of the war, that it would ever be necessary for one of us to join up, and it was utterly beyond the limits of considered possibilities that one of our laughing circle should, in three years from then, have given his life for freedom.

Harry enlisted in the 244th Canadian Battalion Kitchener’s Own on September 1st, 1916. Owing to his previous training in the Victoria Rifles (Montreal’s volunteer contingent), he was almost at once given Sergeant’s rank, and when he came to England in April, 1917, it was a company Quarter-master Sergeant. Six weeks later he went to the Front with a draft to reinforce a Canadian battalion already there, and so lost his stripes, but he was speedily promoted again to Lance-Corporal, and it was while “gallantly leading his section in an attack against a strong German position,” that he met his death. The Chaplain of his Battalion, Capt. C. Stuart, speaks of him as having speedily won a place for himself in affection and esteem of all the boys. “He was so keen and willing in his work, so cheerful always in the face of all discomforts and difficulties that he became one of the most popular men in his platoon.”

And so another of our boys is gone. And the world is becoming more cheerless as we think we shall have to go on to the end without them.

But this also we know, and it far outweighs the gloom, they have brightened the earth by their example, they have for ever enriched life by their self-sacrifice.

Harry Ireland Long will not be forgotten at Trinity, and his name will go down with honour among those who have helped to save the world for Christ.

“Oh, if the sonless mothers weeping
And the widowed girls could see inside,
The glory that hath them in keeping
Who went to the Great War and died,
They would rise and put their mourning off,
And say ‘Thank God, he has enough.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, October 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

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We try to keep the home fires burning

The vicar of Reading St John had a New Year’s message for men from his parish who were serving their country.

TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Dear Brothers,

I have been given the privilege of writing the few lines that shall be our message from the parish in the homeland to you as the old year passes and the new year comes. If there ever were a time when the biggest words of goodwill and greeting could be given in absolute sincerity, then it is now from us at home to you whom we would hope to see here also during the coming year. But as this is to be our New Year’s card to you I suppose it should have a motto. Let it be this, which I think expresses the best desires of most Englishmen today:

“Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my Arrows of desire!
Bring me my Spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

So are we trying to do what you used in a different way to ask us to do in the song you used to sing: “Keep the home fires burning”.

With every good wish throughout 1917.

Your sincere friend

R W Morley

THE INSTITUTE.

Just as we go to press news comes that the Military are assuming entire control of the Institute. It may still be possible for us to hold one more important meeting in the Large Hall, but a large amount of re-arrangement in our Parochial Programme will be necessary. As early notice as possible will be given to all concerned.

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

A week is a long, long time in war

Where do you sleep to-night, my lad? is a poem written by William Arthur Dunkerley, aka John Oxenham. It spoke profoundly to those bereaved at home, and was published (without credit) in the Winkfield District Magazine, omitting the folliwng verse: (originally lines 11-15):

“Oh, a week is long when so little’s enough
To send a man below.
It may be that while we named your name
The bullet sped and the quick end came,–
And the rest we shall never know.”

THE WAR.-

We mourn for several more of our Ascot lads, who have given their lives for their country.

Kenneth Grant, one of our Altar Servers, a former member of the Parish Catechism, and the best boy of his year in the Ascot Boys’ School, was shot dead in his first engagement with the enemy. R.I.P.

Alfred Thompson, whose influence for good in the Parish was great, has followed his brother, at no long interval, into the Eternal Home. He died of his wounds. R.I.P.

William Bissley, a devout Churchman of the best type, and a former Assistant Master of the Ascot Boys’ School, has also laid down his life. R.I.P.

George Morton, brother of Arthur Morton, our Choirman, has been killed. R.I.P.

To all who are sorrowing for the temporary loss of their dear ones, we offer our heartfelt sympathy. We shall all be together again when the Day breaks and the shadows flee away.

“Where are you sleeping to-night My Lad?
Above ground or below?
The last we heard you were up at the Front,
Holding a trench, and bearing the brunt;
But that was a week ago.

Ay! That was a week ago, Dear Lad,
And a week is a long, long time,
When a second’s enough in the thick of strife
To sever the threads of the bravest life
And end it in its prime.

But this we know Dear Lad, all’s well
With the man who has done his best,
And whether he live or whether he die,
He is sacred high in our memory:
And to God we can leave the rest.

So – wherever you’re sleeping to-night, dear lad,
This one thing, we do know-
When ‘Last Post’ sounds, and He makes His rounds,
Not one of you all will be out of bounds,
Above ground or below.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

The horror of Kitchener’s end

A friend of Ralph’s found Lord Kitchener’s death by drowning too horrible to think about, and took refuge in poetry.

Brocket Hall
Hatfield

June 18th, 1916

Dearest Ralph

Any day that you can dine & sleep, just wire me in the morning that you are coming. We shall be delighted to see you.

How you must hate this cold.

Have you read Browning’s “Prospice” – it is just Kitchener’s death. I daresay I am foolish – but I cut the horror of Kitchener’s end out of my mind – I feel sure he freed it to be the brave man he was, but it must have been terrible, for there was time to realise it.

Much love, & do come.

Yours ever
Evan

Leter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/39)

Now they know what war means

Meg Meade wrote to her brother Ralph in Egypt. She was staying with their parents in Peterborough, and had heard from her naval husband.

Peterborough
Jan 26th [1916]
My darling Ralph

I hear that the beautiful Lady Loughborough was an Australian called Miss Chisholm & she married out in Egypt the other day.

I sent the Gallipoli bomb to Miss Jackson at that Irish address. I have not yet heard if it’s arrived alright.

I sent £1 to the Home Office for permission for you to wear those foreign orders, & they have acknowledged the money without saying where the warrants have been sent to…

How I envy you in beloved Egypt, & near the Nile!

Jim writes very well, but they have no news. His destroyers are joining up every day, & the gales never stop blowing for an hour…. Jim sent me really a heavenly rhyme about Royalist & her officers which I am copying out for you. Isn’t it priceless.
Maysie will tell you all her news. Poor John has got to have his jaw cut again before it can heal.

The parents seem very well, & Mamma has a thousand irons in the fire as usual, & sometimes get her fingers burnt, but she always retaliates! She’s started a first class Red X workroom in the Knights Chamber which of course infuriates the other Cross Red women who aren’t Red X here!

There is no chauffeur & no gardeners. We live in the hall & dining room & Dad’s study. Mr Green & the housemaids are supposed to run the garden!! So Dad & I had a morning’s weeding today, one had almost to push one’s way along the Monastery Garden through the weeds. But the War has reduced all gardens to that. Dad busy with the hoe, poking, pushing & destroying, muttered pathetically, “Poor dears” & I found he was addressing the weeds!

PS I went to see Aunt Syb who is wonderful, & Joanie, who is the same, but she seemed to me so altered in the face. Something has happened to her eyes, & they seem shattered by the sorrow and shock, & who can wonder. It is so awful.

[On a separate sheet is the poem:]

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“Some corner of a foreign field”

Some of our parish magazines have published verse of limited literary value, although it clearly appealed to contemporary sentiments. Christ Church in Reading picked a new poem which is now regarded as a classic war poem, albeit an early one epitomising patriotism rather than the disillusionment of later poems by men like Wilfred Owen (who had been an undergraduate in Reading).

Some of our readers may be glad to read this sonnet written by Rupert Brooke who died of illness in the Dardanelles where he had gone with the Expeditionary Force. The sonnet is one of six bearing the title “1914” and is published in a small volume “1914 and other Poems”.

The Soldier
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Reading Christ Church parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P170/28A/24)

Eager to go into the trenches

A couple of Reading soldiers write from the Front:

NEWS FROM THE FRONT.
Service in a Cornfield.
‘We had a Church Service in a cornfield this morning and a Communion Service afterwards. It was quite a novelty; the grain was standing in the sheaves and the surrounding scenery was lovely. We are in a valley with clumps of trees and cornfields all around us, and in the distance one can see the spires and chimneys of a town, and on the other hand a little way behind can be seen the ruins of a smaller town where an occasional shell can be heard to burst. We had a good bath yesterday, the first we have had for about six weeks or a little more. Since I last wrote to you I have joined the Signalling Section, and I was about to you a few days ago on my station in the trenches, but just as I was about to start ‘Fritz’ got ahead of me with a few souvenirs in the shape of shells, trench-mortar bombs, rifle grenades, and such-like niceties, so I had to clear for action, as a demonstration by ‘Fritz’ is likely to make our wires pretty busy with messages. ‘Fritz’ got a direct hit on our trench in one place and we were lucky not to have our wire broken, which would have meant going out to mend it, shells or no shells. I saw Lieutenant Poulton Palmer’s grave the other day.
A. Goodson.

Ronald Palmer Club
“Just a line to let you know that another old club boy has managed to get to France. We left Southampton at 7 p.m. on Saturday, august 7th, and arrived in France at 1 o’clock in the morning, but we did not disembark until 8 oc’clock. We went to a rest camp about two or three miles away for the next night. Next day we started to move nearer the firing line. we started at 6 p.m. in cattle trucks and travelled all night until midday the next day, and we were cramped, tired and dirty. We then had a march over rough cobbles to a town, where we are now billeted in barns waiting to be moved into the line, but I am afraid it will be some time before we get there, though our fellows are all eager to go into the trenches. We see a number of aeroplanes hovering round here all day long. I saw one of the old club boys the other day, J. Sawyer of the RHA; he went to our first camp with Mr Heaton, and enlisted just after. I hope the Club and all concerned are getting on well.
Lance-Corporal Bushell.

August 4th
From the four corners of the earth,
Where’er the British flag shall float,
Our vow of victory we take,
Resolved to drown the craven note.

For there are those within our midst
To whom NO peace is premature;
But our’s to war to end such war!
And ne’er again this curse endure.

Not for our gain – a year ago –
‘Twas not for greed we drew the sword,
But to defend our plighted word
Our blood and wealth have been outpoured.

The Empire’s vow’s the Empire’s bond,
All round the world today she’s bound –
This pledge to keep her sword unsheath’d
Until her cause with victory’s crowned.
A.W.E.

Reading St John parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P172/28A/24)

The essential parts of a soldier

The Burghfield parish magazine for June was supporting a Belgian refugee’s attempts to earn a living. Meanwhile, political opponents were working together to raise money to help the wounded.

FRENCH LESSONS
The daughters of Monsieur Laurent – our Belgian guests, who are still living at the Old school, Burghfield, are very anxious to give some lessons in French, chiefly conversational. They would be very glad to hear of any pupils: the terms would be very moderate. Applications to be made to Mademoiselle Laurent, at “The Old School”.

PENNY FUND FOR THE SICK AND WOUNDED
Arranged by the St John’s Ambulance and British Red Cross.

The collection amounted to &8. 15s.0d in Burghfield, and a letter was received from Mr Forster, expressing gratitude from the Central Committee to all who helped in so successful a result, adding that:

“While he was responsible for the organisation of the South Berks district, Mr Wright, the Liberal Agent, dealt with the Borough of Newbury, which fact ought to be mentioned to prevent any misapprehension, as there was no idea of making it a party matter in any sense.”

Mrs Willink takes this opportunity of thanking most heartily all those who helped so kindly and willingly in making the collection.

THE TRUE SOLDIER

The following lines are by Philip Massinger, a dramatist of the 17th century. We shall agree that the qualities which merit “the noble name of Soldier” are the same in the 20th century as they were in the days of our forefathers – qualities which are conspicuous today in the conduct of thousands of our heroic officers and men at the Front.

If e’er my son
Follow the war, tell him it is a school,
Where all the principles tending to honour
Are taught, if truly follow’d: but for such
As repair thither, as a place in which
They do presume they may with licence practise
Their lusts and riots, they shall never merit
The noble name of soldiers. To dare boldly
In a fair cause, and, for their country’s safety,
To run upon the cannon’s mouth undaunted;
To obey their leaders, and shun mutinies;
To bear with patience the winter’s cold,
And summer’s scorching heat, and not to faint,
When plenty of provision fails, with hunger;
Are the essential parts make up a soldier,
Not swearing, dice, or drinking.

Philip Massinger

Burghfield parish magazine, June 1915 (D/EX725/3)

Making up for other men’s lack of duty

Sydney Spencer wrote to his brother Percy to tackle Percy’s doubts about Sydney’s joining up. Sydney was still at Oxford at this point, and this letter explains exactly why he chose to join the army.

12 Southmoor Road
Oxford
Monday June 7th [1915]

My dear Percy

So I hear from Flo [their sister Florence] that you don’t approve. And why. Because you want to shield me from horrors which other people have to endure. Well that doesn’t wash. As things stand now, if the horrors were 50 times greater it would make little difference. If you were over here in England just now to hear the way some men talk you would be glad enough that anyone should be willing. I played tennis last week. A lolling lazy looking Welshman enters into conversation with me.

“Why don’t you think you will pass Mods?”
“Because the OTC work has swallowed up an enormous amount of time.” “Well I suppose you must have liked military life to make you join the OTC”.
“Yes indeed,” I said, “a man who has spent most of his life reading poetry & playing the piano would naturally be deeply absorbed in such work!”
“Well I can’t understand what made you join the OTC if you didn’t like the work.”

I just looked at him, & then he said in a confused tone “Oh I suppose you felt it a duty.”

I don’t say that there are numbers of such people about but I feel that it is well to make up in any small way possible for what is lacking in other men’s sense of duty by offering myself unconditionally.

If the thing turns out to be too much, well I should knuckle under, I suppose, & what’s left of me would get a discharge, & would settle down to civilian life again with this much added to it however, that I had done my share even if it was ever so small a share. As to my being saved from these horrors, I don’t see a single argument in favour of such an attitude. Put me in Madame Tussaud’s & preserve me in spirits right out, one might as well suggest, and I prefer neither of those alternatives. I feel that if God Almighty has other work for me to do, He will play the Germans all sorts of tricks, so that I may pull through. And if I don’t, well I shall fall in good company.

Letter from Sydney Spencer (D/EZ177/8/4)

Sorry to hear about Rupert Brooke’s death

Rupert Brooke was one of the most famous of the early war poets. He died on 23 April 1915 while on active service in Greece as a naval lieutenant. Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence on hearing of Brooke’s death, revealing that his own brother the artist Stanley Spencer was a Brooke fan.

May 17, 1915
Dear Florrie

Thank you for all your parcels and faithful correspondence. You must think me awfully slack, but I’m not. “My King and country” is needing an alarming number of the days & hours just at present, and I have no time to write even a field postcard sometimes.

I stand the racket of the long hours very well, I think, and beyond that I am not hard worked – in fact I sometimes wonder whether I shall ever get my old speed back again.

I was sorry to hear about Rupert Brooke’s death – Stan will be sorry too, I expect, as I believe he and you both admired his poetry, and Stan liked the man. Personally I don’t think his work will be more than that of the [illegible] of the best man’s in a bad time.

We had a rare old dust-up last Sunday week – and next spring in our room at Lyme you and I will listen to the history of it all. Meanwhile if you haven’t already heard all details, read the description of our two attacks on May 9th in The Daily Mail May 15th. Its accuracy as an outline of the day’s events is remarkably accurate.

I wasn’t at the place of the postcard [Rouen Cathedral] when I sent it to you – as a matter of fact we were in action and I was off to our palatial dug-out a good deal further forward, but I have since had a night’s “rest” in the town, broken by shells which the houses opposite stopped fortunately, though one of them immediately opposite and dead in a line with our billet wiped out a poor family.

About 2 p.m. I was ordered to the cellar where all of us remained until morning.

Now we are in the line again about 6 miles due east of that town and at the present moment the din of gunfire is too awful – it fairly rattles your frame at every report.

How are you all this long time? I hope well and jolly. I hope too the people of our nation will not lose its head but deal with all [restrictions?] sanely and moderately. I don’t like the papers at all. The state of domestic affairs is not necessary.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/4/27)

“Salutes make me feel silly”

Modest Sydney Spencer still felt out of place as a young officer in training, and awkward when soldiers saluted him. He was to be embarrassed by an encounter with an army band while out on a walk:

1 April 1915
Today has been another lovely day although it has promised rain most of the day. I hoped that this morning’s walk through Weston Woods was to be as magnificent as Tuesday’s walk was. A lamentable tale I have to tell however. Just when I got to the nice woody part near my bay, after having left parades & ugly rock gardens behind, gardens plentifully bespattered with tommies who of course must needs get up & salute & make me feel silly, just when I had got through all this & I was turning my thoughts to a little book of poetry in my pocket, the air was split by the sound of drum & fife. I fled down a side path to escape the ordeal of passing a whole company of men looking curiously at me wondering whether I was tommy or officer. I waited – they didn’t come so I dared the matter out & marched on my way. To my horror I found it was a half company of men seated on either side of the road, practising bugle calls & drumming. I prayed the fates that the sergeant shouldn’t do anything silly but he did. As I approached he brought the lot to their feet & to attention and I had of course to make graceful acknowledgement! Of course the walk after that was a fiasco.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/14)

This was Sydney’s last diary entry for some time, as army life began to occupy almost all his waking hours. Luckily, we’ll still hear from Sydney via his letters.

The price of England’s peace

Broad Street Congregational Church’s concern for Belgian refugees was not restricted to those in Reading. One church member (from a prominent family of lawyers) contributed an emotive poem to an Oxford fundraising occasion:

OXFORD BELGIAN DAY
A very successful Belgian Day was recently held in Oxford when the magnificent sum of £1,900 was raised for the Oxford Belgian Relief Fund. A prominent part in the proceedings was taken by Mr W. Russell Brain (Joint Hon. Secretary) and many tributes were paid to the splendid service which he had rendered.

We give below some verses which Mr Brain wrote specially for the occasion as we think many of our friends will like to possess a copy.

England’s Debt

What is the price of England’s peace
Her uninvaded shore
While, close, beyond the narrow seas
The smoke that rises from the trees
Tells of the hand of War?

Why play the children in our streets
While, where with Death men strive,
They count them happy whom Death greets
And pray, the foe within their gates
Take not their babes alive?

The price of our security
Is paid in ruined farms
In women tortured terribly
In tears of strong men’s agony:
We dare not ask for alms

Belgium, that spurned the offered gain –
Held the foe, sword in hand –
Has paid the price in tears and pain
Has given for us her children slain
Has given for us her land

So we, that sit at home, in ease
May we remember now
What is the price of England’s peace
What is the debt we owe

Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, January 1915 (D/N11/12/1/15)

The lessons of this devastating war

The vicar of Winkfield had some thoughts for parishioners.

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS.

I have already sent you a long letter about the great Day of National Intercession on January 3rd, which letter you will have received before you get this number of the Magazine; and so it only remains for me to wish you now a truly Happy New Year, and to express the hope which is close in all our hearts that before 1915 closes, we shall be enjoying once more the blessings of Peace.

Meantime let us try to learn the lessons that God would teach us by the trial of this devastating war. May it not be that this terrible scourge has been allowed by God, not only as a trial of our faith but also to wake us up to realities, to a recognition of out shortcomings, of the immorality, the irreligion, the forgetfulness of God, and the want of love and gratitude to Him for His continued daily mercies which we have been to apt to take as a matter of course.

But out of evil he can and does bring good; already there are signs of a reawakening of true religion in the Nation, the old surface of life has passed away, she has been stirred to the depths, and the lines by Mr. Alfred Noyes aptly sum up the position.

“Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known;
To-day a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting- at Thy Throne.”

Yes, we may well hope and pray that our people will emerge from this war disciplined and purified, a strong sober nation with the fear of God before her eyes.

And now let me sum up my good wishes to you all for the New Year in the words of “St. Patricks” Prayer.

The strength of God pilot you
The power of God preserve you
The wisdom of God instruct you
The hand of God defend you
The way of God guide you.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H. M. MAYNARD.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/1)

Defenders of the “inner line” at home

The ladies of St Agnes’ Church, Clewer, were among those hard at work using their sewing skills to support the troops and help out the Belgian refugees in Berkshire. The parish magazine reported in November:

Twenty-four shirts for our soldiers have been made by members of the congregation, and the “Mothers” have also made several garments for the Belgian Refugees. There is still some material which could be used for the Belgian Refugees; and, although at the time of writing I am told that no more shirts can be had for the present, we hope that by the time this magazine is out there will be plenty for those who are willing to make them.

The following extract from “The Watchword” is much to the point:-

The Inner Fighting Line

Behind the roaring cannon, behind the flashing steel,
The defenders of the Inner Line, steady and constant kneel:
Some young, some grey or crippled, some three-score years and ten,
Just praying, always praying, for the Front Line fighting men.

These cannot lead a sortie, nor breast the ocean’s foam,
But their fervent prayers, as incense, rise from church and cottage home:
The poor man and the wealthy, all make the Inner Line,
Wherein a common sorrow forms a brotherhood divine.

You can hear their voices quiver, you can see the slow tears fall,
Yet the Inner Line keeps steady, England and honour call:
They pray, and who can measure such prayers’ resistless might?
They trust the Lord of Battles Who will defend the right.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, November 1914 (D/P39/28A/9)

Scouts and rotters

The vicar of Cranbourne asked why the country was at war, while saluting the young men who had volunteered to serve.

THE WAR
Why are we at war? The answer may be given in the words of Scripture “for righteousness sake.” The Empire is at war
(1) For the sanctity of treaties.
(2) For the support of friends wrongfully assailed.
(3) For the defence of the weak.
(4) For the cause of peace.

Our task is to break the curse which for more than a generation has been blighting civilisation, – the curse of military oppression which has arrested progress, poisoned morality, sucked the life out of religion, and made a mock of every human ideal. This is well put in a short poem by Mr. James Rhoades.

Not for passion or for power,
Clean of hands, and calm of soul,
England at this awful hour
Bids her battle-thunders roll.
That crown’d arrogance may quail
And brute-force be backward hurled –
Lest the hypocrite prevail,
Lest a lie should win the world;
Lest she see the trustful weak
Trampled on by perjured strong –
That her arm may help to wreak
Justice on red-handed wrong,
Till the hierophants of fear
Cease, beneath the darkened sun,
To boom out in Europe’s ear
To grim gospel of the gun.
So, to meet you myriad host
As we muster land by land,
Witness Heaven- no braggart boast-
That for righteousness we stand!
In the dread impending hour
Heedful of that warning word,
“‘Not by my might, and not by power- By My Spirit’ saith the Lord.”

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