A fine young fellow

A young Reading man was killed while training.

CONDOLENCES

Just as we are going to press we hear of the tragic death of Cadet Douglas Baker, son of our friends Mr and Mrs Henry Baker. Our young friend was just finishing his training as a pilot in the RAF at Beaulieu in Hampshire, when on October 26th he met with an accident whilst flying and was killed instantly. Douglas was a fine young fellow, and a promising career was opening out before him. We deeply deplore the loss of such a valuable young life, and we offer our heartfelt sympathy to Mr and Mrs Baker and the members of their family, in their hour of sore trouble.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Advertisements

“Our day”

Sandhurst children were raising money for the wounded, while those in Reading needed nursing themselves. “Our day” was a branded campaign used across the country to help raise money for the war.

Lower Sandhurst
October 24th 1918

“Our Day.”

Eight monitors in suitable dress visited the Class Rooms to sell flags of their own making. The amount thus realised was £2. 12. 4.

In the afternoon the “Red Cross Box” was opened in the presence of the Collectors and found to contain £2. 8. 0.

A total amount of £5. 0. 4 was forwarded to the local Hon. Secretary for “Our Day.”

Windsor
October 24th 1918

Mr. J. W. Beaumont has been given a Commission in the Royal Air Service and relinquished his duties.

East Ilsley
24th October 1918

Children willing to go blackberrying for M.O.F allowed to go – others remain at work.

Reading
24th October 1918

School closed for Influenza until Nov 5th.

Log books of Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1, p. 451);St Stephen’s Boys’ School, Windsor (88/SCH/23/7, p. 166); East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1, p. 488); Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading (89/SCH/37/1, p. 249)

Details of the last moments of a friend are wonderfully precious

Sydney Spencer’s good friend and army comrade Henry Loughton shared in the general grief at his death.

2/5th Norfolk Regiment
49TDS
Royal Air Force
Catterick
Yorks

23 Oct. 18

Dear Mrs Image

I convey to you my heartfelt sympathy at this time as you mourn the loss of your brother Sydney.

I am very grateful for the kindliness which prompted your letter. Details of the last moments of a friend are wonderfully precious and especially so when the noble courage they define is so truly typical, and of the essence of the life into which I am proud to have memory for me.

I am immeasurably thankful that he desired me to possess a memento.

I am at present attached for training to a long distance bombing and reconnaissance squadron and hope to be in France in a month or so.

Believe me,
Yours very sincerely

Henry E Loughton

2/5th Norfolk Regiment
49TDS
Riyal Air Force
Catterick
Yorks
23 Oct. 18

Letter of sympathy to Florence Image on the death of her brother Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/81)

Magnificently maintaining the British tradition through dangers and hardships

News of Reading men:

PERSONAL

We desire to offer our hearty congratulations to Lieut. W. D. Hart of the Royal Marine Artillery, who has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. Lieutenant Hart, MC, joined the RMA in August 1915, and obtained his commission in October 1916. Before the war he attended the Young men’s Bible Class, and was a valued member of our Church Choir.

Our friend Private F. Snell is once more in the No. 1 War Hospital, Reading, for treatment. We trust the operation which he must undergo may be successful, and that we may ere long have the pleasure of welcoming him back into our midst.

Private Hedley Wyles has been in hospital in Dublin. We are glad to know that he is now better, and able to resume his duties with the Royal Wiltshire Regiment.

Private Duncan Frame has gone to France with the Hants Regiment. Our thoughts and prayers go with him and the many other Broad Street “boys”, who are so magnificently maintaining the British tradition.

We were glad to have Lieutenant Oswald Francis, MC, worshipping with us once more when he was recently home on furlough, and to know that he has come safely through his many dangers and hardships.

Private E. G. Emmett is at the RAF Armament School at Uxbridge, hoping to qualify as an Instructor in Machine Gunnery. It was a pleasure to see him looking so well when he was on furlough a few days ago.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“It is not often that all the anxieties connected with one parish have been so happily relieved”

Having a loved one reported missing was a cause for great anxiety.

THE WAR

Gunner W C Giles, RFA, and Private Rowland Pitheral, 2nd Royal Berks, who were both reported missing since May 27th, are now reported as prisoners of war. Private Ernest Adams, also missing for some time, is now reported prisoner of war. We are thankful that the fears of their relations have been removed in this way. It is not often that all the anxieties connected with one parish have been so happily relieved.

Captain Gerald Merton, RAF, was gazetted Major on July 30th. He has also been mentioned in despatches for work in Mesopotamia. This is the second time he has been so named.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, October 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Pray for Reading men

News of Reading men.

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions list

Private George Palmer, Warwickshire Regiment; The Rev. Carey Cooper, C.F.; The Rev. Richard Alban Norris, C.F.

Prisoner
: Private A Bartlett.

Sick and Wounded: Private T. Tomkinson; A.M. Robert Bunting, R.A.F.

Departed: Privates Waters; William Neate; Mark Ewens; Pooley; George H. Hunt; Leslie H. Packer; Gunner G.W. Wall, R.F.A.; Harold Little.

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

Trench fever and training

Mixed news for Winkfield families.

We are very glad to be able to report that the parents of Pte. Cecil Brant have had their anxiety lessened by the news that he is a prisoner of war in Germany; they have also now had a card from him saying that he is well, and unwounded.

We congratulate Captain Forster Maynard on his promotion to Major R.A.F.

Sergeant Leonard Tipper has been ill with trench fever but is now convalescent, and about to begin his training in England for commission.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/8)

Not a single letter or parcel

News of Sulhamstead men.

THE WAR

We regret to report several casualties to soldiers connected with our parish:

Gunner W C Giles, RFA, has been reported missing since May 27th.

Private Rowland Pitheral, 2nd Royal Berks, has been reported missing since May 27th.

Captain Stanley Strange, 14th Welsh, DSO, MC, reported missing on May 10th, has since been reported as a prisoner. At the time when this went to the press, he had not received a single letter or parcel.

Captain Strange’s two brothers are now each of them Majors, viz Major Percy Strange and Major Gerald Strange.

Captain Jock Norton, MC (and bar), Royal Air Force, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, September 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“In spite of dark hours of disappointment, all those on active service at home and abroad are looking for the dawn”

More and more men were being called up.

PERSONAL

The many friends of Cadet Douglas Baker, son of our esteemed Deacon, Mr Henry Baker, will be glad to hear that he has successfully passed all his examinations, and is now awaiting his commission as an officer in the RAF. We tender him our heartiest congratulations and good wishes. Our young friend has already several years of service to his credit, and a record of which he may justly feel proud.

We also desire to congratulate Sergeant C. S. Stebbings on his recent promotion. Sergeant Stebbings has served for more than 2 ½ years with the Royal Engineers in France, and he has just returned “on leave” with his three stripes. So far he has come through “safe and sound”. We earnestly hope that the like good fortune may be his in coming days.

Fred Warman writes very cheerily from his internment camp at Groningen, Holland. The supply of food, he tells us, is insufficient, but “by buying biscuits and chocolates, which are very dear, I manage to live fairly well and endeavour to keep up my health and strength.” He is learning to speak Dutch, and has made some good friends.

Private Gerald S. Hampton has been wounded in the right hand, and is now in a hospital at Warwick. We are not informed of the extent of his injury, but we hope it is not serious, and that he may have a speedy recovery.

SUNDAY SCHOOL NOTES

Our young friend, Mr Hedley Wyles, who for some time past has helped us as pianist in our morning school, has recently been called to the colours. We greatly regret this has become necessary, but our bets wishes go with him and we trust ‘ere long to have the pleasure of welcoming him back again safe and sound. Miss W. Quelch has very kindly undertaken to fill the post vacated by Mr Wyles.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

“O.A.S” [on active service]

It is a joy to receive letters from our Brothers abroad bearing this inscription, for right well we know they are on active service away on the battle fronts!

Whilst congratulating them on their sacrificial work out yonder, we at home are striving to deserve a similar title…

In spite of dark hours of disappointment, all those on active service at home and abroad are looking for the dawn, and with outstretched hand say to each other with faith and confidence:
“Hope on, the sun is rising, prepare for the coming day. God be with you till we meet again.”…

We are not forgetting our Brother on service. The number increases week by week, so that it has become almost impossible for Brother Woolley to write a personal letter to each member individually, so it is hoped that a special monthly message from the President with a reprint of these notes will be sent each month to brothers on service.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, September 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Intercessions for Reading men

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions List
: Private A.H. Gray, R.A.F.

Departed: Gunner Ernest H. Relf, Lieut, Howard M. Cook, Private Heard, Lce-Corpl. Cornelius Smith, R.E.

Missing: Private A. Bartlett.

Prisoner: Lieut. S. Jardine.

Wounded
: Lieut. Taylor.

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

Efficiency and gallantry

A Burghfield doctor was commended for his contributions.

Honours and promotions

2nd Lieut. F Wheeler (King’s Liverpool Regiment), before being taken prisoner (see last month’s magazine) won 1st Prize Bayonet Fighting (Officers) in the First Army Corps; Sergeant E Cooke (Royal West Surrey Regiment) to be Sergeant Instructor, April 1918.

Casualties

2nd Lieut. T Warner (RAF), flying accident, Salisbury Plain; Private Stretcher-bearer Albert Painter (Royal Berks Regiment), missing since 21st March, now reported died. Company Sergeant Major Albert Manners (17th Lancers) died 10th July in hospital (gastric complaint). Sergeant Manners served through the South African War, and through the present war. Private T Searies (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded (doing well).

Discharge

Private Frank J Cooke (Worcester Regiment), 24th July (heart).

Lt-Col. Anderson

Lt-Col. H S Anderson, RAMC, who is the brother of Mr W C F Anderson of Hermit’s Hill, and who is himself on the Burghfield Electoral Register, was in the New Year’s list of honours, and received the CMG. His name also appeared in the Gazette of February 8th among those who had been “brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War by the Army Council, for very valuable services rendered in connection with the war, up to 31st December 1917”.

HRH the Duke of Connaught, on his visit to the Citadel, Cairo, invested him with the Order at the Hospital which is under his charge. Among such services may particularly be mentioned those in connection with the “Britannic”. Col. Anderson was in command of all the medical staff and hospital arrangement of the huge vessel during several voyages out and home, with marked efficiency, and was on board when she was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Greece. For his gallantry and conduct on this occasion he received especial thanks and mention.

Burghfield parish magazine, August 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“We hope he will be spared to return home”

More news of Reading men.

S. Marks District

We are thankful to say we have good news of S. Mark’s lads from France and elsewhere.

We were very pleased to see both Pte. W. Denton and Pte. Fred Taylor home on leave and to know that they are recovering from their wounds.

Another of our servers, D. Pocock, has had to join up, and is now in training with the R.A.F. at Bath. We shall miss him much, and hope he will get on well and be spared to return home.

Reading St Mark section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

News of Newbury men

More Newbury men joined the forces.

O.N’s in His Majesty’s Forces.
List No. 12.
Additional Names.

ALDERSON, Cadet C. B., R.A.F.
CHURCH, Pte. A. E., Artists’ Rifles.
GAUNTLETT, H., R.N.
GIBSON, Gunner J. M., R.G.A.
HURRELL, Cadet J.J. O.C.B
KENDRICK, 2nd A. M., P.A., R.N.A.S.
MICHELL, Lance-Corpl. C., Royal Warwick Regiment.
NEW, Cadet G. H., R.A.F.
NEWMAN, Gunner, 1/1st Wessex Heavy Battery.
PLUMB, T.
STRADLING, Cadet A. W. G., R.A.F.
SUMMERS, Cadet S., R.A.F.
WALTER, J.

Promotions.

BLAND, Cadet, W. H., to be 2nd Lieut., R.A.F.
CHURCH, 2nd Lieut. E. H., R.A.F., to be Lieutenant.
DAVIDSON, Corpl. I. C., Worcester Regiment, to be Sergeant.
HUDSON, 2nd Lieut. N. A., Leicester Regiment, to Lt. Adjt.
PARKER, Cadet G. L., to be Probationary 2nd Lieut., R.A.F.
PLENTY, Capt. E. P., R.A.F., to be Major.
ROBERTS, Pte. E. E., Civil Service Rifles, to be Lce.-Corpl.
ROSLING, Capt. D. W., The King’s Liverpool Regiment, to be Major.
TANNER, Cadet, W. J. V., to be 2nd Lieut., Royal Berkshire Regiment, attached Royal Warwick Regiment.
WEBB, Lieut. O. S., M.C., R.E., to be Captain.
YALDEN, Sergt. E. C., 7th Middlesex Regiment, to be 2nd Lieut., 7th Middlesex Regiment.

Honours.- Croix de Guerre.

BURGESS, Lieut. N .G., R.N.R.

Mentioned in Despatches.

ALLEE, Capt. J., A.S.C.
HALL, Lieut. G. W., R.G.A.

Reported Killed, Now Wounded and Prisoner of War.

MICHELL, Lnce.-Corpl. C., Royal Warwick Regiment

Wounded.

BROWN, Lieut. A. B. V., 3/17th London Regiment.
DAVIDSON, Sergt. I. C., Worcester Regiment.
FUNNELL, Pte. F., 10th Royal Fusiliers.
SANDBACH, Sergt. A. L., 2nd South African Horse.

Lost at Sea.

BURGESS, Lieut. N. G., Croix de Guerre, R.N.R.

Accidentally Killed.

COWELL-TOWNSHEND, Lieut. R., R.A.F.

Killed in Action.

HALLEN, Corpl. J V. 1st Surrey Rifles.
MORTIMER, Pte F. C., 4th North Staffordshire Regiment.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)

“The real thing: he was a rock, strong, capable, self-reliant, and possessed the complete confidence of every man and officer in the battalion”

A tribute was paid to a Burghfield hero.

THE WAR

IN MEMORIAM

George Ouvry William Willink, MC
2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

George was only 2 ½ years old when the family came here, in July 1890, so his life’s home has been in the parish, and he loved it. And that he has not been spared to live out his days at Hillfields is a sore loss to all classes.

Perhaps no record can be more suitable for printing in the Magazine than the following notice by his Eton Tutor, Mr Vaughan, his parents’ old friend, which appeared in the Eton College Chronicle:

“George Willink came from Mr Locke’s school, St Neot’s, Eversley, in 1901 to Mr Vaughan’s House. Diffident at first, and somewhat slow in thought, he yet showed already those qualities of steadfastness, unselfishness and good temper, which in time won for him the respect and affection of all. He made himself, by pluck and concentration, one of the best in the House at football and fives. In the Lent Half of 1907 he played for Eton v. Harrow in the first “Rugger” match between the two schools, when Eton won by 12 points to 0, and in the summer of that year rowed 2 in the Eight at Henley, and thus at the end of his blameless career came into his own.

“He was always so self-effacing”, writes the boy who was his most intimate friend in the House, “that it was only those who knew him really well, as I did, that realised what a splendid fellow he was”.

It might truly have been said of him at Eton, as it was at Oxford, that “Things, whatever they were, would go all right, if he was mixed up with them.” Throughout his life he thus exercised far more influence than he himself realised. “If my own sons”, his Oxford tutor wrote, “should grow up with that sort of character, I should feel more thankful for this than for anything else in the world.”

In 1907 he went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he not only rowed in the Varsity Trial Eights, and managed his College Boat Club, of which he was captain, but worked hard at History, and reaped his reward by obtaining a Second Class in the History School in 1911. In 1913 he was called to the Bar. A keen member of the Eton, and of the Oxford, OTC, in both of which he was a sergeant, he had, on coming to London, joined the Inns of Court OTC (in which his father had once been a captain), and was a lieutenant when the war broke out.

He commanded for some time as captain, No. 1 Company of the Battalion at Berkhamsted, and the universal testimony of officers and men to his good work is remarkable. The words of one of the former (Sir F G Kenyon) may be quoted: “There never was an officer more hard-working, more conscientious, more self-sacrificing, and without claiming any credit for himself”.

In 1916, as soon as he could obtain permission to leave Berkhamsted, he joined the Berks Territorials, in his his brother Captain F A Willink had already seen foreign service, and in July proceeded to France.

In 1917 he was mentioned in dispatches, and later gained the MC for a daring rescue by digging out with a few men, under heavy fire, some buried gunners. Rejoining his regiment, after a “course” behind the lines, on March 23rd, he took over command of his Battalion, the CO having been killed a few days before.

On the 28th he fell while he was gallantly leading, in advance of his men, a counter-attack. “On the first day that I took over the brigade, in September 1916,” writes his Brigadier, “I put him down in my mind at once as the real thing. He was a rock, strong, capable, self-reliant, and possessed the complete confidence of every man and officer in the battalion.”

In the words of a barrister, twenty years his senior in age, who served as his CSM at Berkhamsted: “He was one of the ‘gentlemen unafraid’ and as such has found his welcome in Valhalla’”.

More might be said, especially as to the affection which he inspired, as well as confidence. But this is not the place for it, and after all, his Burghfield neighbours know.

Honours and Promotions

Temp. Lt Geoffrey H B Chance to be Temp. Captain from 27th April 1917.

Casualties

Private E J V Cox (Worcester Regiment), missing; Private F G Cummins (Royal Berks Regiment), severely wounded; Private D Hutchins (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded.

Lance Corporal Howard Pembroke (see Magazine for April) has been definitely offered the choice of a commission in either the Infantry or the Royal Air Service. But he prefers to remain in the ASC, where however he will have to wait for a similar chance until he is older.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“What glorious War news! It fills me with chastened joy”

The Spencers’ patriotism was moderated by their affection for Will’s German wife.

Fernley
Cookham

July 21, 1918

My Dear Sydney, …

Your birthday letter to Nan [Sydney’s elder sister Annie] was accompanied by one from Gil [brother Gilbert, later a well known artist]. He is training for the Infantry, not as I feared for the Air Corps. Letter was dated June 9. He does not think much of Cairo. Is about to visit the Pyramids.

Flo’s ‘On Both’ has not yet appeared in ‘Punch’.

We are all well at Fernley. Horace [another brother] is in a base hospital with malaria.

Harold [yet another brother] expects to be transferred to a military band which will I hope put an end to his grousing.

Write soon.

With our united love, Father.

P.S. What glorious War news! It fills me with chastened joy. Chastened for we are not yet out of the wood. Besides Johanna [his German daughter-in-law] whom I dearly love! I can’t help thinking grievingly of her. F.

Letter from William Spencer of Cookham to his son Sydney at the front (D/EZ177/1/6/2-3)