A mysterious peace fell like the dew from heaven upon the hearts of a waiting people

Rector’s Letter

My dear friends

I am sure that you felt, as I did, that when the King called the nation to remembrance of the Glorious Dead on November 11th, the first anniversary of Armistice Day, His Majesty once again, with the sympathy and insight he has so often shown, struck a chord that vibrated in the hearts of his people. It was a beautiful thing thus to bid us pause and think and remember. For the space of two minutes at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month all work ceased on land and sea, and men were solemnized into a great silence, and a mysterious peace fell like the dew from heaven upon the hearts of a waiting people. And countless men and women faced life more bravely for the help vouchsafed in those moments of communion with the Unseen…

George H Williams

Remenham parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“Many a railway man in his heart loathed the unsportsmanlike order to stop work”

The country was hit by industrial unrest.

Rector’s Letter

My dear people –

As we assembled for our Evening Service on October 5 the glad news came that the Railway strike was over, and that the men would return to work as suddenly as they had left it. During the week of the strike prayer was offered by many that God’s Holy Spirit would grant “a right judgment in all things” to those concerned in the dispute, and the prayer was answered. We recognise the rights of Labour, and we recognise that Trades Unions have a legitimate place in the economic framework, but we do earnestly deprecate the short-sighted policy of “ca’canny”, which damages a man’s self-respect and destroys his honourable pride in his work, and we believe that many and many a railway man in his heart loathed the unsportsmanlike order to stop work suddenly, without even a few days’ notice, in an attempt to hold the whole community to ransom: by the splendid effort of all good citizens, high and low, rich and poor, the attempt did not succeed. Let us hope that wise counsels may now guide our industrial unrest towards and honourable and lasting peace, that will adjust the interests of individual classes and safeguard the welfare of the country as a whole.

Yours very faithfully,

George H Williams

Remenham parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

The first treat since War broke out

The Choir trip took place on September 24, and a right merry party journeyed to Southsea by the Venture. It was the first treat since War broke out. In addition to the Choir offertory on Whitsunday a few friends gave generous help and bade us have a good time, and we did!

Remenham parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

A nasty accident

A soldier on leave caused a nasty accident for a Remenham woman.

It was with regret we heard that Miss Ames, our indefatigable helper in the Parish, met last month with a nasty accident at Weymouth, where she was staying for a holiday. A Colonial soldier ran into her with his bicycle, and she was thrown violently to the ground and much bruised, and mercifully escaped the loss of sight in one eye. We learn with relief and joy that Miss Ames is now progressing quite favourably towards recovery.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

Persons who fail to apply for a ration card when required to do so, will find themselves unable to obtain regular supplies of food

Food was still in short supply, and there was a stern warning to anyone who mislaid their ration books.

We are warned by the Ministry of Food that we must carefully preserve the grey reference leaf (leaf 8A) of the present ration book. We shall be required to return the grey reference book to our Food Office when called upon to do so. The Food Office in each district will announce when the reference leaf should be sent in. then ration cards will be issued to us through the local Food Office to replace the present ration book. The card will contain spaces for the name and address of the holder, and the names and addresses of his retailers, and will have three detachable counterfoils for meat, butter and sugar which the older will be required to give to the retailers with whom he wishes to deal during the autumn and winter.

Any person who has lost his ration book should immediately inform his local Food Office. He must not wait until the Food Office ask him to produce his reference leaf; but he must inform them at once that he has lost the book, otherwise he will be unable to apply for one of the ration cards when required to do so. Re-registration will take place at the date in September to be announced later. Persons who fail to apply for a ration card when required to do so, and who are therefore unable to register at the required time, will find themselves unable to obtain regular supplies when distribution of rationed food on the new basis begins.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“The agony of the War is over, but on all sides there is unrest and discontent, and a weakening of the moral fibre”

Was peacetime all it was hoped to be?

Rector’s Letter

My dear people,

During recent Sundays I have more than once from the pulpit drawn your thoughts to the special difficulties of the days through which we are now passing. The agony of the War is over, but on all sides there is unrest and discontent, and a weakening, it seems to me, of the moral fibre, which is very disturbing. What ought we to do? In the first place let us strive each one of us by the help of God’s Holy Spirit to put one strong, earnest, upright life – a life with a sense of duty, and honest work – into the body corporate, and then pray that, as God was with Israel of old, when He said, “Fear not thou: for I am with thee”, so may He be with England to-day, and crush the disintegrating forces of Bolshevism and slackness and extravagance, and teach our nation the dignity of the self-respecting manhood which is given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yours faithfully,

George H Williams

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

A Peace oak in Remenham

The happy suggestion has been made that we should plant a “Peace Oak” in the field adjoining the School as a memorial of the close of the War. The suggestion has been warmly received, and the tree will be planted as soon as the suitable time comes.

Remenham parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all

Peace celebrations at Remenham were a glorified sports day.

REMENHAM PEACE CELEBRATIONS

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all, was the keynote of the Remenham Peace Celebration which took place, by the kind permission of Captain Eric Noble, at Park Place on Saturday afternoon, August 2. The funds had been provided by subscriptions given by a few ladies and gentlemen and the arrangements were carried out by Captain and Mrs Eric Noble, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, and Mr Ansell, with Mr W Baker as hon. sec. The Band of the Henley Branch of the Comrades of the Great War was engaged for the occasion and discoursed a pleasing programme of music during the afternoon under the conductorship of Mr S Sheppard. A capital programme of sports had been arranged with Captain Eveleigh as handicapper and starter and Captain Eric Noble, Mr Ansell and Mr Baker as judges. Some valuable prizes were offered and the results were as follows:

50 yards handicap, boys 10 years old and under – 1st, G Gibbons; 2nd W Dixon; 3rd, A Moring.
50 yards handicap, girls 10 years old and under – 1st, Iris Humphrey; 2nd, Irene Ward; 3rd, Madge Langford.
100 yards handicap, boys over 10 years old – 1st, George Andrews; 2nd, Ronald Eustace; 3rd, Tony Christopher.
100 yards handicap, girls over 10 years old – 1st, Edith Rowe; 2nd, Phyllis Bonner; 3rd, Stella Dixon.
100 yards needle and thread race, boys and girls over 10 years – 1st, Elsie Fasenidge and George Smith; 2nd, Stella Dixon and Richard Gibbons; 3rd, Kathleen Ward and Ronald Eustace.
50 yards boot and shoe race, boys over 10 years – 1st, Ronald Eustace; 2nd, Richard Gibbons; 3rd, fred Smith.
Potato race, girls over 10 years – 1st, Olive Green; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Ethel Stevens.
Sack race, boys – 1st, Albert Moring; 2nd, George Smith; 3rd, Richard Gibbons.
Egg and spoon race, girls – 1st, Annie Butler; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Marjory King.
100 yards handicap, bandsmen’s race – 1st, A Why; 2nd, H Why; 3rd, R Cook.
120 yards handicap, men of the parish – 1st, Mr P Simmons, who gave up his prize to the second man W Eustace; Colonel Burnell took second honours and P Clarke, third.
50 yards egg and spoon race, women of the parish – 1st, Miss Froud; 2nd, Miss Marcham; 3rd, Miss King.

The prizes were kindly distributed by Mrs Eric Noble, who, on the proposition of Colonel Burnell, was accorded hearty cheers.

Tea was provided for the children and adults in the coach house, who greatly enjoyed the appetising meal. Amongst those present, in addition to Captain and Mrs Noble, were Mrs Heatley Noble, Mrs Goodrich, the Rector, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, Colonel and Mrs Burnell, Captain A R Brakspear, Mr and Mrs Philip Simmons, Mr Stanton and many others. After tea, the school children who had been excellently trained by their head mistress (Miss Gale) rendered a special patriotic song, which gave much pleasure. Each child also received a Peace mug. Mr Baker proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the donors of the tea, and the subscribers, and to Captain and Mrs Noble and Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, for the trouble they had taken in making the arrangements. The proposition met with a most cordial response. Games of various descriptions and dancing were afterwards indulged in, and the happy occasion was brought to a conclusion by the singing of the National Anthem led by the band, cheers for Captain and Mr Noble, Mr and Mrs Heatley Noble, the Band, and all who had helped to promote the success of the occasion.

The Henley Standard.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“Now that we are once again at peace we are glad to see this custom revived”

Park Place was actually in the Berkshire parish of Remenham.

CHOIR OUTING

Without any complaints, the members of our Choir have foregone their annual excursion during the years of war, and now that we are once again at peace we are glad to see this custom revived. On July 9th, at 9.30 am, a party, numbering 37, left the Tilehurst landing stage on board the steam-launch “Mystery”, bound for Park Place, Henley [sic].

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Hearts uplifted in gratitude to God for His great mercy in bringing us through all the perils of the War

Rector’s Letter

My dear people,

In accordance with official command we held our Thanksgiving Services for the Signing of Peace on Sunday, July 6; our hearts were indeed uplifted in gratitude to God for His great mercy in bringing us through all the perils of the War, and we supplicated Him to give us the grace of humility that so we might be enabled to face the difficulties of the years that lie immediately ahead with the hope that depends upon Him and the courage that faithfully expects the guidance of the Holy Spirit…

George H Williams

Remenham parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

The boys have had no Summer treat during the War

After years of privation, life was getting back to normal.

On Whit-Sunday [8 June] our offertory will be for the Choir Fund: the boys have had no Summer treat during the War, but this year we hope to arrange an outing for them. Will the congregation kindly keep the object in mind?

Remenham parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

An opportunity for all whose hearts are stricken to have their part in honouring those whom they love

The Remenham war memorial was fully funded by a generous bequest, but it was felt that others would appreciate being able to contribute.

The Executors of the late Mr Wilson Noble have kindly agreed that all who desire to do so shall have the opportunity pf contributing to the cost of the Tablet to be placed in the Church to the memory of the officers and men who have fallen in the War. No formal appeal for contributions towards this object will be issued beyond what is here stated, but any sum, large or small, can be sent to the Rector, and he will hand over the amount collected to the Executors; he desires it to be very clearly known that no one should be deterred from co-operation because of the smallness of the sum he or she is able to send. It is not a case of any need of money, but is an opportunity for all whose hearts are stricken to have their part in honouring those whom they love.

Remenham parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

A brave soldier, with pluck and grit

The war might be over, but fighting continued in Russia, riven by civil war.

Sergeant Cecil Bailey, 1/1 Oxford and Bucks L.I., sailed May 12 for Russia to join the North Russian Relief Force, and our good wishes go with him; he is a brave soldier, with pluck and grit, and, above all things, a clean-living, good fellow.

Remenham parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“In honoured memory of the officers and men who laid down their lives in the Great War”

Remenham approved a small memorial.

The Easter Vestry meeting was held in the Parish Hall on Thursday, April 24, at 7 pm….

A resolution was passed approving of the erection of a Brass Tablet to be placed in the Church “in honoured memory of the officers and men of this Parish and those connected with it who laid down their lives in the Great War”.

Remenham parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“These men had fought for truth and justice, they had fought that England might live”

The little parish of Remenham wanted to provide medical care as the best form of war memorial.

April 1919

The new Parish Council will come into office on Tuesday, April 15, and they intend to hold a public meeting that evening in the Parish hall at 6.30 pm, when all householders are asked to attend, so that we may decide on the best War memorial for the Parish. So will every-one, please, make a note of Tuesday, April 15, at the Hall at 6.30 pm?

May 1919

We have had our public meeting about the Parish war memorial, and you will see by the report that feeling was practically unanimous that it will take the form of a “Remenham Bed” in the proposed Memorial Cottage Hospital in Henley. When information has been obtained as to te sum required by the Henley Committee to guarantee that a bed shall always be available, when required, for a patient from Remenham, an appeal will be issued for subscriptions.

REMENHAM WAR MEMORIAL

There was quite a large gathering of parishioners in the Parish hall on Tuesday evening, April 15, for the purpose of considering the question of a war memorial. Amongst those present were Viscount Hambleden, Mr Heatley Noble, Captain E H Noble, Rev. G H Williams, Mrs Ames, Miss Ames, Mrs Burnell, Mr E C Eveleigh, Mr C T Holloway, Mr H V Caldicott, Mrs Lovegrove, Mr R Ansell, Mr Frank Butler, Mr Tunbridge, Mr Drummond, Mr W Baker, Messrs F Fassnidge, W Ebsworth, J Dixon, W Sears, B Moring, C Langford, G Challis, J Challis, D Marcham, and many others.

At the commencement of the meeting Mr Holloway occupied the chair, and in the course of a few remarks expressed his pleasure at seeing such a large number present to consider the question of a war memorial to those brave fellows who fought, suffered, and laid down their lives for them and their country. He would like to propose that Mr Heatley Noble be the Chairman of the War Memorial, for they who had been associated with him well knew his business qualities – (applause).

Mr Tunbridge seconded and the proposition was agreed to with acclamation.

Mr Heatley Noble on taking the chair said he would rather that Viscount Hambleden accepted the position of chairman, but his lordship said he would prefer not to. Continuing, Mr Noble said whatever they did he trusted it would be unanimous. He was aware that there were differences of opinion, but he hoped the minority would give way to the majority – (applause).

The Rev, G H Williams, at the request of the Chairman, forst addressed the meeting. He said he would like those present to feel that what he was going to say was as an individual parishioner, and whatever the meeting decided on he should loyally fall in with. They were there to do their best in a moment of sacred and solemn responsibility. He had kept an open mind on the subject from start to finish, but after considering all the schemes he had heard propounded, he certainly leaned towards a bed to be called “The Remenham Bed” in the proposed Henley Memorial Cottage Hospital. A meeting was recently held in Henley at which he was present. It was a very representative gathering, the room being practically full, and the meeting unanimously decided upon a hospital as a suitable memorial. In fact, the proposal swept the board, no other proposition being made. He asked, if Remenham joined in the Henley Scheme, could a bed be provided to be named the “Remenham Bed”, and he received an unequivocal “Yes” from both the Mayor (who presided) and the Town Clerk. Therefore if they co-operated with Henley they would do so with a direct Remenham touch. That cleared the ground to some extent. The first question they had to consider was as to the need. So far as Henley was concerned it did not touch them. was there a need in Remenham? (Mrs Ames: Most strongly.) He agreed with Mrs Ames. Reading was most awkward to get to and it would be a great boon to have a hospital close at hand. There had been cases in the parish which had had to wait weeks before getting a bed in the Royal Berks Hospital, and if they had their own bed in Henley the difficulty would be overcome. He would like to say that the proposed hospital in Henley was to be an entirely new one, built on the most modern lines, and to contain as a start eight beds. Round the institution it was suggested should centre all the activities of the new health ministry. As regards the cost, it was intimated that from fifteen to twenty thousand pounds would be required. If he looked into the hearts of some of those present, he knew they would be saying that such a large sum could never be raised. He thought otherwise. There were many substantial people amongst the audience at the meeting he attended, and letters were read from others promising their support. They would find that the rich people would do their duty, and if the rich people in Henley did theirs, he was sure the parishes which were invited to co-operate would not be lacking in their financial assistance. What would be required from them he did not know. It might be £500 or £800, but it would be nice if they could reach £1,000. Some of them might ask why they should do Henley’s work for Henley, but there was another side, and that was, did they want Henley to do for Remenham what they should do for themselves. How did they meet these two questions. Would the idea of a “Remenham Bed” be a sufficiently personal memorial. He thought it would. They would have their inscription over the bed, and could they not add to it a small scroll containing the names of their fallen? That would supply the personal touch. As to the men who had died, they had the personal touch in the parish through the kind provision of the late Mr Wilson Noble, by whose will his executors were enjoined to expend a sum of money for a memorial to be placed in the Church, containing the names of their fallen heroes. In order that all might have an opportunity of participating in the cost of that tablet, it had been agreed that any subscription the relatives and friends liked to give would be handed to the executors. That further secured the personal touch. Then, wpuld the form of memorial he had suggested be worthy of the men whom they wanted to honour. As he had said at the outset, they were at a moment of solemn responsibility and wanted to do their best, and he thought such a memorial would be a worthy one. These men had fought for truth and justice, they had fought that England might live. What about the proposed “Remenham Bed”? Patients would receive attention at the hands of skilful doctors, have careful nursing, the latest appliances would be used, and they would receive good food at a critical time. It might be a child, or a mother, or probably one who had been a soldier or a sailor who was stricken down. No matter who it was, they would be well cared for. So he thought in caring for the sick and suffering, they would be carrying out the spirit of the men who fought for them; it might mean a life saved for England.

The Chairman said that personally he was in favour of what Mr Williams had said, but he would like to hear opinions expressed by others in the room.

Mr Ansell said he had not a scheme of his own as he favoured the hospital idea himself, but one or two who were unable to be present had expressed themselves to him. One favoured the placing of what was contributed to the parish towards putting discharged soldiers on the land. Another suggestion was that they should provide a cottage for a blinded soldier. He would like to ask whether if they endowed a bed they could have the immediate call of it in case of necessity. To name a bed did not necessarily mean that they could always have the call of it.

The Rector said that was a detail which would have to be considered later. The impression he gained at the meeting at Henley was that they would have first claim on the bed, and if there was room they could send more than one patient to the hospital.

Mr Ansell thought if there was going to be only eight beds, Henley could do with that number itself.

The Rector said the doctors at the meeting thought eight beds would suffice, but of course there might be occasions when there was a pressure, which would be provided for. If they went into double figures by way of beds the expense would be greatly increased.

The Chairman thought if they had a “Remenham Bed” it should be reserved for Remenham when required. He would like to say that the comrades of one man who died subscribed together and sent home about £18 to be used in memory of him, and hid friends favoured giving it to the Henley Hospital scheme if Remenham joined it. He had spoken to many of the labouring men and others and they all favoured the hospital scheme.

Mr Caldicott thought if they had a “Remenham Bed” in the Henley Hospital it would be lost sight of after a time. He favoured a memorial in their own parish, and begged to propose that a permanent memorial be erected in the churchyard containing the names of the fallen, and that if the subscriptions more than sufficed the balance be given to the Cottage Hospital at Henley.

This found no seconder, and it fell to the ground.

The Rector submitted the following resolution: “That a War memorial for Remenham should be the endowment of a bed, to be named the ‘Remenham Bed’, in the proposed Cottage Hospital in Henley-on-Thames.”

Viscount Hambleden said if that resolution was passed they ought to give the Committee instructions, before agreeing to join in the scheme, to ascertain if the bed would always be available for Remenham patients. He was afraid from his knowledge of things, there would be a little difficulty over the matter. It would prove unpopular to keep a bed vacant for one particular parish, and he was afraid the Henley people would say they could not give a guarantee. He would also like to know what sum was required for the endowment, and further it should be made clear whether any annual payment was expected from them for its upkeep.

The Rector said he would be happy to embody what his lordship had said in the resolution he had drafted.

Viscount Hambleden thought they might pass the resolution as it stood and pass on to the committee instructions to deal with what he had suggested, and if they failed to come to an agreement to call another general meeting. He would move the resolution.

The Rector seconded and it was carried almost unanimously.

The Committee was then elected and constituted as follows: Mr Heatley Noble (chairman), Mr Ansell (hon. sec.), Viscount Hambleden, Miss Ames, the Rev. G H Williams, Mr Eveleigh, Mr Holloway, Mr Tugwood, Mr Caldicott and Mr Stephens. The Chairman and the Rector were appointed to represent the parish on the Henley Committee.

On the initiative of Viscount Hambleden the Chairman was heartily thanked for presiding.

Remenham parish magazine, April-May 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)