“What we have sunk to makes me sad”

John Maxwell Image had some interesting view on the effects of the war (some unfortunately anti-semitic).

29 Barton Road
7 April ‘19

My very dear old man

We have the American influx on us in full swing – u.g.s as plentiful as before the War: Navy blue and gold by the hundred: and now suddenly the Yanks. Where can all be accommodated?…

Ye take too much upon ye, ye sons of Zeruiah – that is the natural feeling as to the American air. They came in at the last hour – to receive every man a penny, and claim to boss the show.
Britain, bled to the white in men and money, cannot stand up against them. Grousing is no good. Our fighting class are killed off. Those now alive, want only panem et circences [bread and circuses]. They can‘t look beyond the day. Those who can make money, squander it: the unhappy ones with fixed incomes, and with a little saving, to tax for the proletariat’s advantage, won’t find England a fair country to live in, except for the Bolshevik. What claim to his own property will be regarded by Parliament.

Half an hour ago I was shewn Punches Almanack for 1915 – i.e. in the first 6 months of the War. It made me sad! What we expected then; and what we have sunk to. The retreat from Mons had but convinced us that we should thrash von Klack, and certainly – ; that, driven back to Germany, the Kaiser’s Army will be met by Cossacks in occupation of Berlin. No mention could I see of submarines! None of air-raids of any kind! What is more striking still, there was no hint of brutality by German soldiers, anywhere. There seemed in the country a contemptuous disdain for our German opponents. We should stamp them down, as did our fathers, and then Russia would mop them up. Poor Russia! And her German Tsaritsa – the cause of it all!

There was a curdling leader in the paper a few days ago on the Bolshevist Chiefs. Lenin, the writer who knows him [says], has brains and energy: and he is of noble birth. But Trotsky and the others – their names were all given – are one and all of them JEWS – and with the Jew characteristic of making a good thing for themselves, while others do the fighting.

It was a leader in the Times on April 1st (Tuesday). Read it. Trotsky, Zinovieff, Svendloff, Kameneff, Uritsky, Yoffe, Rodek, Litvinoff, many others – Jews one and all.

The Hon. Russell’s new book was reviewed in the Observer, did you see it? The Russell has the impertinence to pretend that Bolshevik ruthlessness is the offspring of Love! Is the man sane? or merely dishonest?

Your dear friend
JMI

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

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“We can ill afford to lose men of this sort”

Winkfield families heard news of loved ones.

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING

With deep sympathy for his bereaved relatives, we have to record this month the death in action of Lieut. George Ferard, who was killed instantaneously on February 21st whilst giving first aid to one of his wounded men in the front line when under machine gun fire. Lieut. Ferard had been twice invalided home severely wounded and had only just returned to France from leave.

One of the Officers of the Devon Regiment writes “He was a very great loss to the battalion in many ways, we can ill afford to lose men of this sort.”

We have also to mourn the loss of 2nd Lieut. Arthur Cartland who was killed last month in a flying accident near Newcastle. Educated at our schools he joined the Flying Corps in 1913 and acting as “Observer” saw a great deal of active service in France. He did so well that he rapidly rose to the rank of Sergeant, and then gained his Commission and qualified as a pilot last year. Only three days before his death he was home on leave under orders to proceed to the front. He was buried at Worthing with military honours on March 2nd. This is the second son Mrs. Cartland has lost in the war, and our deep sympathy goes out to her and her family.

We congratulate most heartily Captain Sir Thomas Berney – now home on leave from Palestine – on winning the Military Cross awarded after the battle of Gaza.

We were glad to welcome home on leave this month Private R. Mitchell, who has now quite recovered from his wound; and Privates A. Carter and A. Holmes, both of whom were at the battle of Mons and now hold the 1914 medal.

We are glad to learn that Lance-Corporal James Knight, who has been ill in hospital, is progressing favourably.

Winkfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, April 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/4)

No half time: kill or be killed

Sydney Spencer summarised the lessons he had gained from his army training. This was the last entry in Sydney’s diary, although we will still be hearing from him in his letters after he went overseas.

28 February 1916
Captain Shaft

Physical Training

Fitness by training. Bayonet not obsolete as many people think.

Physical training has been worked out for 100 years.

During retreat from Mons, new recruits going by in a train saw an old wounded soldier, & called out “Are we down hearted” & they answered “No”, but he called out “Then you will – well soon be”.

Physical Training massages the inside orders.

Physical Training trains the brains.

Men whose insides are all twisted up get straightened out. Such exercise requires mental as well as physical force.

Bayonet

We have a great advantage over the Germans. We fight more extended than any other nation. In other words he is so to speak alone & must “carry on”. Not so with Germans. The German lacks the resource & initiative. The German is gone when it comes to close quarters.

Our fighting spirit must be controlled & skilled.

Direction of Bayonet.

In bayonet fighting “No half time”. One goes out to kill or be killed.

No “orders” should be given in bayonet fighting practice after actions are once learned. All to be done by signs & prodding at your man.

Company Training

All men, if possible, should be put on in company training & men should be trained in his own company.

Keep a Company Diary, & a Record of each day’s work, & sketches, plans, messages & remarks of his own or visiting officers’ work.

Keep a note of capabilities of your men, NCOs & officers.

Diary kept as a confidential document or as a company book. These diaries should be kept till the next “Company Training”.

Training of NCOs.

6 days to NCO & chosen Privates.

1. Map Reading.
2. Outposts, Flank, Advanced, Rear Gun.
3. Duties of Patrols.
4. Writing reports.

Fire direction.
Indication of targets.
Instruction by lectures & practical work. Frequent questionings.
Reforming after an assault. A lot of practice & arrangement required.

Lectures should be given every day if possible on the next day’s work.

Lectures include Regimental Records, Cleanliness & Morality. 1st Aid, Observers.

Every company commander, & every platoon commander, should have an observer.

How to load pack animals.
How to make knots.
Cooking.

Men should be reminded of faults such as slowness. Taking cover clumsily.

The new importance of night marching. Aircraft. “Disappearing Drill”. Company commander makes programme. Hang it in Orderly Room.
Tactical scheme to be carried out. CC should go out beforehand & see ground over which work is to be done.

He should be commander & umpire always, not umpire sometimes and commander at another time. After each operation hold a pow-wow.

Platoon & section commanders should see that men do work in right way or they won’t do it in actual warfare.

“Habit” to be aimed at in loading etc.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/14)

“I suppose we must win, eventually” – but we need a dictator

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image was unimpressed by the country’s leadership, and thought Sir George Richardson, founder of the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force should take over the air forces. His wife Florence, nee Spencer, of Cookham, was the sister of Percy and Stanley Spencer, mentioned here.

29 Barton Road
20 Feb. ‘16

Here is a story I heard from our Cook [aged 21] yesterday of her brother. Poor fellow, he has been killed since – but he was in the retreat from Mons, and he wrote home that for 5 days they had no food if any kind. The letter contained a snowdrop which the writer had picked from the top of his trench and sent to his mother, writing “I hope the base censor will not take it”. Letter and snowdrop arrived safe: and underneath this passage was written “The Censor has resisted the temptation”.

I suppose we must win, eventually. We want the elder Pitt. If such a man exists among us now, he is not allowed a chance. The Air Service! And my pupil unshamed preaching that we must take the butcheries lying down, for babes and women are of no importance. In no branch was the personal superiority of the British men more marked than in this of the air. But it needs a dictator. We have such a man – not Curzon – or Winston – but him who made the Ulster army. He mayn’t know much of Aeronautics, but he “can make a small State great”. I don’t suppose the “terrible Cornet of Horse” knew much of the Art Military, but see what he did in 1759, by Land and Sea – with a fleet and army emasculated by 40 years of peace.

My wife (she has a brother in Salonica, and another in Flanders, “mentioned in despatches”) begs me to send her kindest wishes along with mine to both.

Ever your loving
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Wounded in the retreat from Mons

There was bad news of several men associated with Bracknell.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.

It is feared that the name of Henry Hollingsworth, of the Royal Berks, must be added to the list of those who have fallen in the war. He was reported as missing as long ago as September last, and since then diligent enquiry has been made concerning him. Some time ago some of his comrades reported that he had been wounded in the retreat from Mons, and now definite information from one who saw him after he was wounded has come in with the further information that he has died of his wounds. Hollingsworth was formerly one of our Choir boys, but his family removed to Newbury, and it was only about a year ago that his mother returned to Bracknell. He was a widower and has left some little children in his mother’s care.

SIDNEY HARVEY, one of our postmen, Corporal in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded in the head. He has been moved to England and is in a hospital in Rochester. We are thankful to think that he is going on well.

ALBERT REEVE, another Corporal in the same Regiment, has also been wounded in the arm, which is broken. He is at Woolwich, but we shall hope soon to see him in Bracknell.

JOHN SCOTT, who has many friends in Bracknell, has also been wounded, but is reported to be doing well.

LEONARD TAYLOR, of the Canadian Contingent, was engaged in the battle in which these troops so greatly distinguished themselves, after the enemy had driven back the French soldiers on their right by the use of poisonous gas. Thank God he was unhurt.

We continue to offer daily Intercessions in the Church for the War at 12 noon when the bell rings. On Monday, May 10th, one of the Rogation days, a Special Intercession Service was held at *p.m. This was well attended.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1915 (D/P151/28A/17/6)

Steadiness, pluck and endurance

A Bracknell officer writes of the impressive fighting by the Royal Berkshire Regiment in the early months of the war.

From “The Times” of November 27th.
RECORD OF THE BERKSHIRES

An officer just returned form the front writes:-

Every one who belongs to Berkshire will be intensely proud of their regiment when the history of the doings of the 1st Battalion during the past three moths comes to be written. They fought at Mons and during the subsequent retirement at Moroilles, and then they were in the advance and fought in the battles of the Marne and Aisne. For 32 days they were on the Aisne, and all but five days were spent in the trenches. They are making a great name for themselves, a name for steadiness under fire, pluck, and endurance. They have been out there from the beginning, have been in every battle, and always in the front line. Their example should be an inducement to all able-bodied men in Berkshire to enlist immediately.

The following copy of orders by Lieutenant-Colonel M. D. Graham, commanding 1st Batt. Royal Berkshire Regt., is exhibited at Reading Barracks: –

October 29th. – The commanding officer has been directed by the Major-General Commanding 2nd Division to convey to the battalion the very high appreciation of their attack on October 24, and of the determined manner in which they subsequently held their ground.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12)