The whole gamut of human emotion

The emotional toll of supporting loved ones at the front was beginning to tell in Maidenhead. One imagines the tears in church – but every now and then there was joy amidst the sorrow.

OUR ROLL OF HONOUR

The Minister has not for some time past read from the pulpit the list of our soldiers, because the strain upon the feelings of the more closely related friends was too great. This month there is space to spare in our columns, and we therefore print the list.

Five of our lads have fallen:

Harold Fisher …Royal Berks.
Duncan Wilson …A.S.C.
Robert Harris …8th Royal Berks.
Stephen Harris …3rd Royal Berks.
John Boyd …2nd Royal Berks.

Two have been discharged:

James Partlo …4th Royal Berks.
E.S. Mynett …Recruiting Sergeant

Forty-nine are still in the Army:

Cyril Hews …Royal Engineers
F.W. Harmer …Royal Berks.
W. Percy Pigg …A.S.C.
Cyril Laker …K.O. Scottish Borderers.
Reginald Hill …2nd Royal Berks.
Robert Anderson …4th Royal Berks.
John Bolton …23rd London.
Thomas Mulford …Royal Engineers.
J.O. Wright …8th Royal Berks.
George E. Dovey …9th Royal Berks.
Percy Lewis …R.A.M.C.
Arthur Rolfe …R.F.A.
Ernest Bristow …R.A.M.C.
Harold Islip …R.E.
Edward Howard …A.S.C.
George Belcher …R.E.
Horace Gibbons …11th Aus. Light Horse.
J. Quincey …A.S.C.
Donovan Wilson …A.S.C.
Aubrey Cole …A.S.C.
W.H. Clark …A.S.C.
Cecil Meade …A.S.C.
Benjamin Gibbons …6th Royal Berks.
David Dalgliesh …R.F.C.
Hugh Lewis …R.E.
H. Partlo …A.S.C.
Herbert Brand …8th Royal Berks.
George Phillips …A.S.C.
J Herbert Plum …R.E.
Wilfred Collins …Canadian Dragoons.
Alex. Edwards …R.F.A.
William Norcutt …A.S.C.
George Norcutt …R.E.
Victor Anderson …R.A.M.C.
Herbert G. Wood …R.E.
C.A.S. Vardy …R.E.
A. Lane …R.E.
Frank Pigg …R.F.C.
Leonard Beel …R.E.
P.S. Eastman …R.N.A.S.
A. John Fraser …A.S.C.
Charles Catliff …R.E.
Ernest A. Mead …7th Devonshires.
Robert Bolton …R.M.L.I
Frank Tomlinson …R.E.
George Ayres …L.E.E.
Thomas Russell …A.S.C.
G.C. Frampton …A.S.C.
W.J. Baldwin …Royal Navy.

In addition there are many who have passed through our Sunday School and Institute, but have not recently been in close connection with us. These also we bear upon our hearts, and bring in prayer before the Throne of Grace.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to say that Reginald Hill is still going forward, and that he is able to walk a little with the aid of sticks. He has now been at the Sheffield Hospital between five and six months. His parents are spending their holiday at Sheffield.

Robert Bolton has gone over with his Company to France.

Wilfred Collins is in Hospital at Sulhamstead, still suffering from heart trouble.

Sidney Eastman is at Mudros, doing clerical work.

David Dalgliesh has been home on leave, in the best of health and spirits.

GOOD NEWS!

In our last number we spoke of the fact that the son of Mr. Jones, of Marlow, was “missing,” and that all hope that he was still living had been relinquished. But the unexpected has happened, and news has been received that Second-Lieutenant Edgar Jones is an unwounded prisoner in the hands of the Germans. His parents have surely run through the whole gamut of human emotion during these weeks.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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Paupers of military age

Able bodied men seeking overnight accommodation in the workhouses were to have their military eligibility checked.

5th February 1917

The following letters are read and ordered to be filed viz:-

1. From the Local Government Board with regard to the notification of the Casual Paupers of Military Age received in the Casual Wards being given to the nearest Recruiting Officer unless such pauper holds a statement signed by a Recruiting officer shewing that his position had already been investigated and that he was not liable for Military Service and that such notification should now be sent in the case of married as well as single men. The something having reported that something had notified such cases with Recruiting Officer at the Recruiting Office Abingdon.

2. From the same body with reference to the New War Loan.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

Unskilled single men are permitted to escape service

The Board of Guardians of Abingdon Poor Law Union, who would have to pick up the pieces when families fell on hard times, wanted to see married men with families left at home to support their children.

27th December 1916

A circular letter is read from the clerk to the Hammersmith Union enclosing the following resolution recently passed by that Board with reference to the action of the Recruiting Authorities in calling to the Army married men with families, and it is resolved that the Board do approve of the resolution and that a copy thereof be forwarded to the Secretary of State for War, the Chairman of the Man Power Board and the local Members for Parliament.

That this Board views with concern the action of the Recruiting Authorities in calling to the Army married men with families who invariably have heavy business and domestic responsibilities, whilst unskilled single men are permitted to escape service, and respectfully begs to call the attention of the War Office and the Man Power Board to the urgent necessity of calling to the colours all single men of military age classified fit for general service or garrison duty abroad, as it is believed that by doing so a very important economy in the National Finance, both now and after the war, will be effected.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians G/A1/32

The Germans’ well laid plans

Ralph Glyn’s parents both wrote to him in Egypt after a visit to the Wake family at Courteenhall, whose father had just died. Joan (1884-1974), one of the sisters of Sir Hereward (1876-1963) mentioned here, was to become a pioneering archivist. One of the Wakes claimed to have evidence that the German invasion of Belgium had been long planned in advance. The Enver referred to is Ismail Enver Pasha (1881-1922), the Turkish Minister of War who had led that country into alliance with Germany and was responsible for the Armenian Holocaust of 1915.

March 21st 1916

Yesterday we went to Courteenhall and had a cosy hour & more with the dear people. It is good to know that Hereward wishes his mother & sisters to remain on. He has bought a house in London, & is now going back to the front as Lt Colonel, on OGS 1st Grade & will be with General Mackenzie’s Division. He goes about end of April, & he is now at Aldershot taking up his new work. Ida is to be his agent for Northants property, assisted by a good bailiff, & he has secured a good man for the Essex property who can always advise Ida when necessary. Phyllis is back at work nursing at Abbeville. Joan is at home helping all round. Lady Wake pays rent, & keeps up the house…

There is a most interesting & amusing nephew of Lady Wake’s in this Hotel, a Major Wake who has seen all sorts of service in E Africa, Egypt and Ulster!! And in between a recruiting job at home & Ulster he fought [for?] Turk against Italy! While so employed he shared a tent with 3 German officers who told him their well laid plans exactly! Even to the breaking through Belgium to destroy France, knowing her Vosges defences were too strong for other swift accomplishment of victory – but France destroyed, they would take us and Holland on – no wish to destroy either as all Teutonic peoples should come into the Zollverein which would then rule the world. Our practicality was required to wed with their “idealism”, & when this union was complete “we” would together be invincible. They said they liked us, but as long as we were separate they could not do anything, & must always come up against us. They expected all their colonies to be taken, but then at the crisis our Fleet was to be destroyed, & then they would regain their colonies & seize all ours. All this was described with perfect freedom to the English soldiers, and the answer to his enquiry “What do you wish to do with us”. They said this was all open unconcealed knowledge, and that we had such a wretched Government we would never fight, & though our Govt knew they would not prepare, so the thing was “fait accompli”. (more…)

All the single men have volunteered

Recruiting was going well in one Berkshire parish.

THE WAR
The recruiting in Sulhamstead has proceeded well. It is believed that all the single men of right age have offered themselves for His Majesty’s forces.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, February 1916 (D/EX725/3)

There are now very few indeed of military age who have not offered their services

Many men in Winkfield had responded to the renewed call for volunteers. Sir Thomas Berney (1893-1975), who actually lived in Norfolk, had been educated in Berkshire, at Wellington College.

PARISH NOTES

Lieut. Sir Thomas Berney has left England for the East. We trust that he, together with the now large number of our men at the front, will be remembered in our daily prayers.

Cecil Hayes-Sadler has received a well earned commission after 15 months good service as a despatch rider at the front. He obtained a few days leave home, but has now returned again to duty.

Lord Derby’s campaign for fresh recruits has met with a good response in our parish, and we believe there are now very few indeed of military age who have not offered their services. Some have been refused on medical grounds and some are waiting to be called up when their turn comes, but the following have been accepted for immediate service and have joined their regiments:-

Joseph Church, Royal Field Artillery
Daniel Taylor, Royal Garrison Artillery
Sydney Thurmer, Royal Garrison Artillery
Fred Thurmer, Royal Berks Regiment
Henry Oatway, Royal Engineers
Earnest Woodage, King’s Royal Rifles.

Privates Walter Woodage, Henry Rixon and Wallace Nickless have been wounded, but we are glad to be able to report that they are all doing well, and making a good recovery.

Lance-Corporal Charles Reed has been slightly wounded and is now home for a short rest and change.

We congratulate Lance-Corporal R. Nickless on attaining the rank of full Corporal, and Private Wallace Nickless on his promotion to Lance-Corporal.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/12)

Pray for a deepened sense of national unity

The Mayor of Newbury (Frank Bazett, a local solicitor) led the way in volunteering for the armed forces as the war’s second Christmas approached.

It is rather difficult this year to look forward as we ought to do to Christmas: there is so much to sadden the gladness of the festival…

The following subjects for Intercession are taken from the Bishop’s Message in the November number of the Diocesan Magazine.

Your prayers are specially asked:

For our country and our government in the present crisis.
For the maintenance of our courage and faith.
For a deepened sense of national unity and mutual understanding between capital and labour.
For those from the Diocese who are serving as chaplains in the Fleet and the Army.
For the remnant of the Armenian nation….

May we be permitted to congratulate the Mayor of Newbury for his patriotic action in joining His Majesty’s Forces, and that at considerable sacrifice, thus setting a good example for other men to follow.

Lord Derby’s recruiting scheme has resulted in a number of young men enlisting from Newbury, and doubtless there are others who will go. Among those who have been accepted are Mr G P Hopson, Mr A Hill, Mr L Cramp, and Mr R J Drewell, four of our servers, and Mr Winkworth, a member of the Men’s Bible Class. Mr G L Pyke has been rejected on account of his eyes, his brother, Mr Cecil Pyke, one of our Sunday School teachers, has been accepted for service at home, and Mr R Bell has been rejected. All honour to those who have tried as well as to those who have been accepted, for they have shown their willingness to serve their country in her need.

May we ask relatives for any interesting news about men at the Front, for insertion in the Parish Magazine.

Newbury parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

“The Government are now told the truth and they quite like it”

General Callwell reported on the latest changes at the top, with a new sense of realism facing the Government – and absolutely everyone hoping to get rid of Lord Kitchener despite his popularity with the general public.

26 Campden House Chambers
Campden Hill, W

12th November 1915

My dear Ralph,

You are in the thick of things at Mudros. We cannot yet quite make out whether old man K proposes to evacuate Gallipoli or not altogether, but the PM is a fairly downy cove too and I think that we shall get the great man’s intentions out of him. Unless the decision is evacuation there will be a turn-up in the Government as a good many of them were very angry at Monro’s recommendation to clear out not being accepted after he had been sent out with a free hand. By latest news we have frightened the French as to their position up the Vardar valley with the possibility of the Greeks turning nasty and they are inclined to come back out of that, which will be a good thing.

The new plan of a War Council of reasonable dimensions with the sailor-0mean and us properly represented is a great step in advance and the General Staff gets quite a good look in and is listened to. The Government are now told the truth and they quite like it. Archie Murray deserves great credit for pulling things together. I have now got in Bird as Sub-Director in charge of MOI, which takes a lot of work off my hands. Buckley going off with K has been a great nuisance to me as he was my right hand man in many things, but one rubs along somehow and I suppose he will turn up again some time.

We have no idea whether K will return to the War Office. Nobody in it wishes to see him back and I do not think that anybody in the Government does either – even such mighty opposites as “Lulu” and Lloyd George are agreed upon that point. But the Public have implicit belief in him and he may prove a little difficult to definitely shelve.

I hope that you are keeping very fit and are finding adequate outlet for your inexhaustible energy.

Yours ever
Chas E Callwell

Meanwhile Ralph’s proposals for books to be sent from Scotland to the Dardanelles was bearing enthusiastic fruit. (more…)

Comforts and Christmas cheer for those brave men nobly fighting for King and Country

People in Winkfield energetically raised funds for Christmas presents to send to serving soldiers from the area.

THE RUMMAGE SALE in the Parish Room on November 9th was a great success. Although the weather was abominable it did not seem to deter people from coming, for immediately on opening the room was crowded with buyers.

Lord George Pratt who had most kindly conveyed the goods from the Vicarage to the Parish Room, was also good enough to open the sale. In a few well chosen words he explained how anxious we were that the effort so successfully made last Christmas by Miss Montgomerie to raise funds for providing Christmas presents to our own men absent on Service should be repeated this year. Unfortunately we were losing the Miss Montgomeries from the parish, but Mrs. Maynard had undertaken to do her best to procure the necessary funds and see to the sending off of the presents. As however this year the number of men serving was greater and a larger sum must be provided, Mrs. Maynard had got up to this rummage sale in the hope that the proceeds would go a long way towards meeting the necessary expense.

He therefore urged those present to remember that by becoming purchasers they would be helping to provide comforts and Christmas cheer for those brave men from our parish who were nobly fighting for King and Country. We had contributed a fair share of men to this great cause, and, as one of the Recruiting Committee for East Berkshire, he hope that more still would follow their example.

His Lordship then declared the sale open and business commenced at once. All present availed themselves eagerly of the bargain prices, and sales were so brisk that in about an hour there was very little left, and the few articles that hung fire were for the most part quickly disposed of by Lord George, who made an excellent amateur auctioneer.

The receipts amounted to £12 13s. 8d. and inclusive of £4 10s. 0d., donations from some kind friends who could not send goods, a total of £17 3s. 8d. was raised and Mrs. Maynard is much to be congratulated on the result of her efforts. She begs to cordially thank all those who so kindly sent donations and articles for sale and also those ladies and gentlemen who helped her to classify and price the things, or assisted at various stalls.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/12)

Awful casualties feared

Malcolm Blane (1892-1915) was the younger son of the family which owned Foliejon Park. He was a lieutenant with the Cameron Highlanders, his family coming originally from Scotland. The Vansittart Neales would have socialised with the Blanes, and his death at Loos struck home.

2 October 1915
2nd trenches reached. Holding them. Fear awful casualties. Malcolm Blane killed….

We all packed in motor [and] took Phyllis & Magdalen to Reading – they to Southampton. We to try & find Bubs. She on duty. Great procession (recruiting going on)

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