“A cheap and illogical effusion” and “cheeky suggestion” from the American President

Captain Austin Longland was on his way home to Radley for a spell on leave. The SS Kashmir was a P&O cargo ship which had been requisitioned to carry troops.

Jan 25th ’17

P&OSNCo
SS Kashmir

Another note to show you that I am comfortably settled, with far better accommodation than the Atlantic Transport Line gave me on my outward journey – but a fat old doctor in my cabin who looks as if he would snore. The 6 are all together on the boat, so I shall have their company for meals, tho’ their higher rank prevents me from sharing a cabin with any of them.

So, given a calm journey, we ought to have quite a nice trip, especially as I have still escaped any duties, and should now I think get right back without having to shepherd any men.

Each day this week I have taken a walk in the afternoon, and am getting to know the place a little. Should be able to how you round if ever we spend a winter in the South of France! Had hoped to get ashore for one or two small things, but once on board they won’t let us off again. If ever I come on leave again, by the way, I shall be wiser in many ways!

Marseilles is a very large place, without much character, lying at the head of the bay, its harbour guarded partly by a chain of islands where are German prisoners. ..

They would never give us any idea when we were likely to go, or I could at least have wired my address and got a letter from you. As it is there is probably one on the ship, and I shall have to travel in its company for a week or more before I see it. There may even be one or two fresh ones awaiting my return among all the relics of last year.

What a cheap and illogical effusion Wilson has put forward as his answer to our and the German terms, – with a cheeky suggestion that only such arrangements between the European powers can obtain as commend themselves to the USA.

ACL

Letter from Austin Longland of Radley (D/EX2564/1/8)

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The difference between fair terms & absolute surrender

The son of the vicar of Radley, Captain Austin Longland was serving in Salonika with the Wiltshire Regiment, where he struggled with the heat, but hoped the Germans were about to give in.

Thursday July 6th [1916]

Temperature in here continues at 95-105 degrees I’m told by the doctor. Also I’ve just had my 2nd dose of typhoid & perityphoid inoculations & have a day off duty in consequence. Twice clouds have gathered, & once we had a violent storm of thunder & lightning but never a drop of rain. Needless to say all beauty’s gone. The sun glares down, trying the eyes, and our view of the town is blurred by a continuous cloud of fine grey dust. I have told you that from the sea up to the hills the ground rises steadily till the last steep ascent, & we’re therefore, tho’ considerably below the level of the actual hills, some height above the town which is about 5 miles away. We are to the left of the road this time, but we can see the sites of our 2 early camps and get a rather different view of the town & the citadel. You remember the shock I had on returning our bivouacs last Sunday fortnight & finding them gone and all my kit packed. My first idea then was that we were going forward – first stop Nish or Sofia, but when it was known that we were to march back over the hills no one knew what to expect.

The men were more cheerful than I’ve seen them in this country – all firmly persuaded that they were going back to France – an opinion which I hadn’t the heart to discourage, but did not hold myself.
Since then nothing has happened. From about 6 to 6.45 each day in the morning the battalion does its old physical drill, & parade which the officers, except Waylen who takes it, do not attend, going out instead to study tactics with the NCOs, each company by itself. This lasts 6 till 9. Three days a week we go a route march from 5-8 a.m. In the evening we parade from 5.45 till 6.15. doing physical exercises gain, officers & all – & that is the day. The NCOs class was ordered by the Brigade & is most useful – tho’ of course it’s what we ought to have done at Marlboro’. So from 9 till 5.45 every day & from 6.30 onwards we have nothing to do except sit in our hut.

Wood as usual is scarce, so there’s not chance to make a chair. At present I am seated on 2 sand-bags, which raises one off the ground a bit. We have a hut for a common room, but tho’ it has forms and a table, it’s very hot & full of flies. Here the flies grew so unbearable that I ordered yards of muslin from the town & with its aid we ae at last at peace. We feed in a hut off a sand bag table & seated on sand bag seats. I’ve just been busy trying to make that fly-proof – harder but even more necessary. If you sit still for a moment you can always count over 50 on the plate in front of you.
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“I cannot but dread the wave of war-memorials in churches which we must expect after the war”

The Bishop of Oxford was concerned that the rush to commemorate the fallen should result in artistically undesirable monuments in churches.

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s Message in the April Diocesan Magazine:

You are asked specially to pray…

For all the troops in our towns and villages and camps, and those ministering to them.

THE MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

THE RETREATS
With regard to the Retreats, I am very thankful that we shall have 600 of the parochial clergy in a full-time retreat. To accommodate them I have secured the use of Radley, Bradfield and (I hope) Wellington Colleges and Wycombe Abbey School for the first week in August (Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Saturday) and Queen’s College, Oxford, for the second week. I do not propose to issue any further instructions with regard to these retreats, nor finally arrange which of the places each of the clergy is to be directed, until the beginning of June.

THE BISHOP OF LONDON
I am relying entirely on the clergy to let it be known to all laymen and women, especially the most genuine churchpeople, that the Bishop of London, the Chairman of the Central Council of the Mission, will speak to us in Oxford, in the Sheldonian Theatre, at 3 pm on Wednesday, April 19th, and at Reading, in the Town Hall, on the same day at 8 pm.

SAINTS’ DAYS TRANSFERRED
I propose that St George’s Day, which falls on Easter Day, should this year be transferred to May 2nd… In any case I hope the clergy will not let the observance of St George’s Day intrude itself upon the observance of Easter Day…
But there is a local movement, I understand, to promote the observance of St George’s Day on Saturday, April 29th.

WAR MEMORIALS
I cannot but dread the wave of war-memorials in churches which we must expect after the war. The notion of such memorials will be excellent: but will our venerable old churches be really the better in result or the worse? The age we live in is not one when taste in decoration is common. Of course we cannot expect the Chancellor, in granting faculties, to go into questions of art. But I hope to get some diocesan committee to work, with some men on it who will command respect, to advise all who will seek their advice about war memorials. Meanwhile I would earnestly ask the clergy in doubt about the suitableness of any proposed memorial to consult me. I may even now be able to help them to competent advice.

C. OXON

Earley St Peter parish magazine, April 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/4)

“We shall need some adventurous courage”

The Bishop of Oxford was at best a grudging supporter of the proposals for a National Mission in response to the war.

LENT

We would call especial attention to the Bishop’s Message regarding the National Mission to be held in all parishes in October or November next; and also to our list of Lenten services which will be found inserted in this number of the magazine. Never has there been a time in the history of our nation when more prayer and self-denial were needed, and it is to be feared that this is by no means realized by a large majority of our countrymen; it behoves all Church people, therefore, to make an especial effort to keep the Lenten season.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the March Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked,
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the spiritual enterprise of the National Mission,
That the clergy may prepare themselves,
That the faithful may be filled with zeal,
That expectation may be aroused,
That those who guide may be filled with wisdom and courage.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It has been decided by the Archbishops, after much consultation, and with the general consent of the Bishops, that there shall be held in October or November of this year “A National Mission of Repentance and Hope”, which will doubtless be commonly called “The National Mission”. Some of us have been somewhat critical of the proposal. But now that it has been decided to hold it, and a letter from the Archbishops has been issued, it behoves us all to arrest our critical faculties and to turn the opportunity to the best spiritual purpose.

What concerns the method of the mission and its details will in the main be left to each diocese and parish to determine. We shall all need to be adaptable, and we shall need some adventurous courage. But it is desired that the plan of each diocese and parish shall conform to this outline: that the earlier part of this year should be given to preparing spiritually the clergy and the faithful church people, men and women; and that the great effort of the prepared Church should be in October or November next, and should be devoted to the awakening to the call of God of all that great body of people who, with more or less reality of allegiance, belong to the Church. The Mission will be purely a Church Mission to those who belong to us. But it is anticipated that a similar effort will be made at the same time by other bodies of Christians.

Of the motives of the mission I said enough, perhaps, last month. By way of preparation for it, I am taking the following steps:

1. I am summoning the parochial clergy into Retreat in the first week of August, July 31st-August 4th, at Bradfield and Radley Colleges. In answer to many questions I would say that I hope to arrange that the assistant clergy (or those whom it is necessary to leave behind in the parishes) should come into Retreat in the following week.

2. I hereby ask each Rural Dean to form a Mission Committee of clergy, laymen, and laywomen in his Rural Deanery, and when they come to the Rural Deans’ meeting on May 8th to come ready with suggestions and to bring the names of one priest, one layman and one laywoman whom I can summon to whatever general meeting may prove to be necessary.

3. I am hoping that shortly before Easter the Bishop of London, the Chairman of the Central Council of the Mission, will come to address all those who can gather to listen to him in Oxford or Reading.

4. I am summoning the Society of Mission Clergy to take counsel on March 2nd.

5. I hope to get the main lines of our arrangements fixed at the Rural Dean’s meeting on May 8th.

6. I want all who will do so to say daily the Collect for the 4th Sunday in Advent or the 1st Sunday after Epiphany.

FASTING AND THRIFT

The nation is being called to thrift on grounds of public economy under the burden of war. This year, as every year, the church is calling us to fast in Lent. The two calls reinforce one another. Let us be serious this year in keeping Lent. I note in The Times of February 23, “Two more meatless days have been added to the Berlin regime, making four in all” (in the week). We could most of us, I think, observe three meatless days in Lent.

SUNDAY EVENING SERVICES

Whatever expedient we adopt to meet the requirements which the dangers of air raids at night have rendered necessary, I hope that we shall see to it that the spiritual profit of the people is provided for. An earlier Evensong in church and a later Mission service in the school might be profitable for the parish until the days gain their full length.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

The nation must return to God, to support soldiers coming home

Across the country, the Church of England was planning a National Mission to rally the nation in this difficult time. The Bishop of Oxford wrote to his clergy, in a letter published in the Wargrave parish magazine.

The Bishop in a letter to his Clergy, dated February 12th, 1916, writes:

It has been decided by the Archbishops, with the general consent of the Bishops, that there shall be held in October or November this year ‘A National Mission of Repentance and Hope’, which will doubtless be commonly called the ‘National Mission’.

What concerns the method of the mission and its details will in the main be left to each diocese and parish to determine. We shall all need to be adaptable, and we shall need some adventurous courage. But it is desired that the plan of each diocese and parish should conform to this outline:- that the earlier part of this year should be given to preparing spiritually the Clergy and the faithful Church people, men and women; and that the final effort of the prepared Church should be in October or November next, and should be devoted to the awakening to the call of God of all that great body of people who, with more or less reality of allegiance, belong to the Church. The Mission will be purely a Church Mission to those who belong to us. But it is anticipated that a similar effort will be made at the same time by other bodies of Christians.

We all feel deeply the need of a return to God on the part of the Nation, the need of a deep national repentance if the prayers of the Nation are to be heard. We feel that there must be a new spirit of reverence and sympathy in our towns and villages if the returning soldiers are to be welcomed home with the sort of welcome which is likely to keep alive in them whatever good resolutions they have formed in their hours of peril. And, as concerns our Church-goers, we recognise to the full the need of conversion of for the mass of our Church people, and of a quite new desire to understand the faith and to seek the Sacraments.

In special preparation for this Mission the Bishop has summoned all his Clergy to a solemn time of spiritual retirement from July 31st to August 4th, to be spent at Radley or Bradfield, and he begs them to exhort their people in Lent and to guide them in prayer and penitence, that the coming season may be a great time of spiritual recovery in every parish.

Wargrave parish church magazine, March 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)