Intercessions list: Reading St Giles

Reading churchgoers were asked to pray for their men.

Intercessions List

Sick and wounded: Kenneth Baines, Private Edwin Ritchie.

Missing: Alfred Henry Douglas. Harold Willoughby, Privates George May, Harry Kirkby, and Pavey.

Prisoners: The Rev. H.A. Smith-Masters, C.F. Lieut Cuthbert J.W. Trendall, Private Ernest Rogers.

R.I.P.: Driver Walter Browning, Corporal Frederick Browning, Captain Noel Thornton, Privates Ware, Connell and Dowler, Lieut. Mervyn Trendell.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P96/28A/35)

Mourning the death of a footballer

A keen amateur footballer was among the Reading men recently reported killed.

Notes from the Vicar
Intercessions list

Albert Henry Eaton, R.G.A. Malta; Private C.A. Pritchard, 2/4 Royal Berks; Private Edwin Gerald Ritchie, 2/21 1st London Regiment.

Sick and Wounded: Private James A. Dutton, Royal Scots. Privates Harry, George, and Walter Barnes, (on active service). Stoker Albert Edward Ayres, R.N.; Gunner Harold Whitebread, R.G.A. Lieut. Robert Carew Hunt; George G. Lanitz.

Departed: Martin Sinclair David; Lieut. Cedric C. Okey Taylor; Lieut. W.F.F. Venner; Robert D. Bruce; Private G Cooper; Capt. W.F. Johnson, R.N.; Private Walter Michael Carew Hunt (Canadian Infantry). Henry Bilson Blandy R.I.P.

Prisoner: William Henry Cook.

Our sympathy and prayers go out to those who are mourning the death of these loved ones. Lieut. Venner was the 1st Captain of our S. Giles’ football club and took an active part in its formation.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P96/28A/34)

When the boys come home…

The Congregational Church was already, perhaps optimistically, looking forward to the end of the war. An army chaplain explained that the war was changing the soldiers’ outlooks on life.


Among the interesting topics considered at the recent Assembly of the Congregational Union of England and Wales was that of “What returning soldiers will expect, and how the Churches can best meet this expectancy.”

The Rev. J. A. Patten, Chaplain to the Forces, in dealing with the first part of the subject, paid a great tribute to the moral standard of the Army in France. His experiences led him to think that the average soldier was decidedly inclined to give Christianity a fair hearing, and that on his return home he would respond to the message that was strong enough, he would welcome and even expect greater simplicity and directness. The deep things of God would have to be presented in language plain and direct, with the utmost frankness and with sympathy. In the events of the time, men are discovering themselves, and they will come back critical. Their immediate and greatest need will be rest; later on will come a remembrance of their past experiences, and then they will realize the change which has passed over them. With this will come an appreciation of all that is real and true, and then, only something which comes from the centre will grip them. Men are recognizing that it is only quality of life that counts. There will never be so great or so magnificent an opportunity for evangelical work on the part of the Churches.

The speaker dealing with the second part of the problem emphasized the fact that the Churches must lead. Men are not craving for a new religion, but discovering the value of the old, and they will want the real thing, a direct, forceful, and human appeal. To meet the need, some real sacrifice in Church organizations will be required; a spirit of comradeship in our Churches will be wanted. It will mean the searching of our own souls and of the riches of Christ, so that we may be able to give out to others.

Principal D. L. Ritchie spoke in his usual forceful style. “War” he said “is mud and blood and scientific devilry”. Returning soldiers will expect, instead of the pieties and conventionalities, a great warm Church. They will want ministers to be God’s men, frank, brave and loyal, not “parsons”. There will be need for the presentation of a God that is to be obeyed, such as prevailed in the days of the Puritans. The difficulty with many who are outside is that the Churches do not apply their Christianity. The challenge of Christianity must be heroic; there is room and need for heroes in God’s Service.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, June 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“Endless young men of foreign extraction”

Weapons manufacturer C W Laird wrote to Ralph Glyn with some impressions of life on the home front.

58, Pall Mall
London, SW

My dear Glyn

One of the things the War has certainly scotched is the polite sort of letter writing. Have intended to write you a dozen times since my last letter and then have not done so, not having a notion where you are or when you are likely to get a letter. I repeat what has been the burden of previous letters that I hope when you get back to town you will look me up.

We have had a bad spring for the farmers until quite recently. The constant wet made ground unworkable until very late and short handed as farmers have been in many districts even the splendid spots of quiet drying warm weather we have had recently haven’t enabled them to make up for lost time.

In London one is struck not so much by the numbers of military age unattested or not in khaki, as by the endless young men of foreign extraction, French, Belgian, Italians, etc, in the streets. Another salient feature is that the average female doesn’t look her best driving a delivery van or working a cycle under present dress conditions.

Have just been watching an airship carrying out elaborate training moevements in range of my windows.

Poor Ritchie has lost two of his sons. Archie is at the front having done fine work.

I am still shoving along at my Guns more than ever. [Command?] is what is wanted, but failing to arouse any enthusiasm in our enthusiastic circles.

Rumours of bombardments and fleet engagements more [frequent?] than ever. Told today that it was now certain there had been a big fleet engagement with serious losses on both sides because it had some things on the Tape at a Club, but then been suppressed. I asked what Club and was told the Conservative. As I dined and slept there without seeing any such thing in the tape this shows the circumstantial terminological inexactitudes that find currency.

C W Laird

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/23)