“Our soldiers, sailors and flying men need our prayers

New Year’s Eve was set to be the first of three special days of national prayer for the war. Several Berkshire parishes give us their slant on it. The vicar of All Saints, Dedworth also had a story from the Front about attitudes to the enemy.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The year 1916 still sees us engaged in a war even more terrible than the beginning of 1915. The Nation is bidden by its spiritual leaders, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church to keep Friday, December 31st, as a day of special prayer and intercession. Saturday, January 1st, is to be a day of preparation for Communion, which all are asked to make on Sunday, January 2nd. The duty of the Church is to carry on the fight against the World, Flesh and Devil, and it is the duty of the Church’s officers to lead in that fight. The response at times to that call seems small, it may be larger than it looks, but at any rate it makes the work as hard, if not harder, to carry on than other warfare. How grand has been the response to carry arms for King and Country, but the real victory for which we are fighting will not be won unless at the end we are a Nation nearer to God; having shown to the world that Christianity is the greatest power in war and peace.

Mr. Begbie narrates the following from behind the English lines in France:-

“The other day a doctor fell in with a British soldier whose blood was maddened by what he had seen of the German treatment of our wounded men. ‘Do you know what I mean to do,’ he demanded, ‘when I come across one of their wounded? I mean to put my boot in his ugly face.’ The doctor replied, ‘No you won’t; it’s not your nature. I’ll tell you what you will do – you’ll give him a drink out of your water-bottle.’ To which the soldier after a pause, in which he searched the doctor’s face, made grumbling and regretful answer, ‘Well, may be I shall.’”

Reading St John

Mr Rogers has now been moved up to the Front. He is where he wished to be when he offered for service as a Chaplain, and where he will have the opportunity of speaking to men at the most solemn moment of their lives of the things that matter eternally. We shall continue to be much in prayer for him, that he may be kept from all harm, and that his messages may be with great power.

Now may I commend to your very careful notice the arrangements which have been made to enable you to observe the last day of December and the first two days of January as our King and our Archbishops and Bishops desire that they should be observed. We stand on the threshold of a year that promises to be fateful beyond any in our previous history, a year that will probably test severely our fortitude, our courage and our faith.

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It may almost be called a World War

The Theale parish magazine may be one of the first places to use the phrase “World War”.

THE WAR.
During the last four weeks out thoughts have been full of what may almost be called the ‘World War’ in which Great Britain and the Empire have been forced to intervene to make good her solemn and repeated pledge to support the neutrality of Belgium, ruthlessly attacked by Germany, which had signed the same pledge, to fulfil our obligations to our allies, the French, suffering from wanton military despotism, and for our own preservation. In this righteous cause tha nation is prepared to make every sacrifice, and its justified in appealing to God to bless her efforts and to give us victory. Prayers have been offered in our Church since the opening of the War. But alas! it is likely to be a long struggle, and we must go on praying. ‘Prayer must be made without ceasing of the Church,’ so we invited out people to attend a short ‘Service of Intercession’ every Friday evening at 7 o’clock, and to attend the Sunday Services in far larger numbers for the same purpose.

The collections made in our Church on Sunday, August 16th , amounted to £12 14s. 6½d., to which were added subsequent contributions, bringing the total sum sent to the ‘Prince of Wales’s National Defence Fund’ up to £16 9s. 0d., a most generous gift from our parish. A receipt for this amount has been received from Buckingham Palace by Mr. D. M. Davies, Churchwarden, and have been placed in the Church Porch.

‘God Save the King’ will be sung in our Church at the close of each Sunday Evening Service. The rector is making a list of all who are gone forth as sailors or soldiers from our parish to serve their Country, which he read out in Church last Sunday evening. He will be glad to receive the names of any that have been omitted, or who may join in future. Let us remember them by name in our prayers.

The following have already gone from their homes in Theale to serve their Country:-

Thomas Beasley, Kitchener’s Army.
George Bedford, Royal Berks Regiment, Bellringer.
Percy Bowley, Territorials.
George William Burgess, R.A.M.C.
Walter Butler, R.A.M.C.
Albert Chapman, Territorials.
Sergeant-Major Davies, R.A.M.C.
Alfred Day, Territorials.
George William Duckett, Kitchener’s.
Frank Eatwell, Royal Marines.
Albert George Fisher, Kitchener’s.
William Fisher, Royal Horse Artillery.
Lance-Sergeant Frank Hill, Royal Berks Regiment.
Lieutenant Clarence Krabbè, Royal Berks Yeomanry.
Reginald William Leavy, Territorials.
Sidney Parsons, Royal Navy.
Herbert Parsons, Royal Navy.
Richard Parsons, Territorials.
John Parsons, Territorials.
George Henry Pusey, Territorials, formerly 5th Lancers.
Edwin William Rouse, Kitchener’s, Bellringer.
Edward Theodore Van Veen, Yeomanry Territorials.
James Wright, Kitchener’s.
Oscar Wyatt, Artillery Territorials, Bellringer.

Theale parish magazine, September 1914 (D/P132B/28A/4)