Released after over four years’ service in the Army

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners

As regards coming events, … above all the Welcome to Returned Sailors and Soldiers, and their wives (both in the same place), organised by the CEMS, will, I hope, be favoured by good weather and large musters…

Lastly, I hope to be away for two or three weeks in June. I should have gone later, but my brother, who is released after over four years’ service in the Army, specially wants me to go with him to Scotland. This makes, I feel, a special occasion where family claims must be considered.

If I have to miss important meetings, this is my excuse.

In any case, with Mr King Gill and Mr Thurland in charge, I know that everything will go on splendidly…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar,

C E M Fry

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

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The War Savings Organisation throughout the country should be continued as a permanent part of our national machinery

It was hoped that savers would continue in the habit adopted to help the war effort.

War Savings Certificates

It is the earnest desire of the Government that the War Savings Organisation throughout the country should be continued as a permanent part of our national machinery.

The War Savings’ Organisation now comprises 1,830 Local War Savings’ Committees, which, for propaganda and organizing purposes, cover practically the whole country; 41,500 War Savings Associations for the co-operative purchase of War Savings’ Certificates; and 14,000 Official agencies for the sale of Certificates and War Savings’ Stamps. Altogether there are to-day nearly 200,000 voluntary workers engaged in administrative work connected with the movement. The figures do not include units working under the Scottish Committees.

The development of the habit of saving has been one of the most marked features of War Conditions in this country, as is evidenced by the fact that the number of holdings of Government Securities has increased from 345,100 on the opening of hostilities to over 17,000,000 to-day. In order still further to encourage this habit, it has been decided that, subject to the necessary legislation being obtained, holders of War Savings’ Certificates shall, on the maturity of those Certificates, have the right to extend their term for a further period of five years, in which case they will increase in value at the rate of 1d. per month until the end of this second period of five years, when a bonus of 1/- will be added. The value of the Certificate purchased for 15/6 becomes £1 at the end of five years and 26/- at the end of ten years, and during the whole period of ten years the Certificates can at any time be cashed. This right of extension attaches to all Certificates already issued and, until notice of its withdrawal is given, to those issued in the future.

Wargrave parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

“Germans let prisoners loose, gave no food”

The British took charge of the entire German Navy. Every single ship was taken to Scotland, while the submarines were handed over at Harwich.

21 November 1918

German fleet in Scotland. 150 submarines to be given up. Sir R. Tyrwhitt receives them at Harwich. King up to Scotland to see Fleet.

Hear awful account of prisoners. Germans let them loose, gave no food. Many died on the road.

Canadians to play golf. Shaw caddied.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

More names for Newbury Roll of Honour

Four more Newbury men were reported to have been killed.

ROLL OF HONOUR

87 Gunner R P Styles, RFA, killed in action in France, August 22nd, 1918. RIP.
88 Ernest Henry Deacon, Gunner, RFA, died of injuries in Scotland, December 2nd, 1917. RIP.
89 Pioneer Henry Winter, killed in France, 7th August, 1918.
90 Signaller Frederick Beckley, 29th Battery RFA, killed in action Sept. 12th, 1918, aged 20.

Newbury parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“I feel that I have lost a friend in addition to a very gallant officer”

There was sad news for a number of Wargrave families.

The following names must be added to the Roll of Honour:-

Ogbourne, Harry.
Trooper 1st Life Guards, died of wounds due to enemy air raid, May 20th, 1818, aged 24. He was the youngest son of Mrs. Ogbourne, widow of John Ogbourne of Wargrave. He was educated at the Piggott School, Wargrave and the Knowl Hill School. Before the war, he was engaged as Assistant to the Lock-keeper at Shiplake Lock. He volunteered in October, 1914. He was sent to France in May 1915, and with two short periods of leave, he remained there until his death. His Squadron Leader gave him a most excellent report.

Sinclair, Gerald John.
Captain, 1st Battalion The Black Watch, only son of John Sinclair, was educated at Rugby, and joined the Inns of Court O.T.C.in September, 1914, from there going to Sandhurst in January, 1915. He joined the reserve Battalion in Scotland, in July, 1915, and went out to France in April, 1916, where he was wounded in Peronne, in July. He returned to France the following January. He was 21 on March 21st, 1918, was killed in action on April 18th, and was buried in the Military Cemetery at Givenchy. His Colonel wrote “I feel that I have lost a friend in addition to a very gallant officer.”

Woodruff, Charles Herbert.

Lance-Corporal 2nd Royal Berks, killed in action between April 22nd and 27th, 1918, aged 24. He was the youngest son of Mrs. Woodruff, widow of George Woodruff, who was cowman at Scarlets for twenty-two years. He was a Piggott Scholar and on leaving school he went to work under a gardener. Before the War he was an under-gardener at the Lodge, Hare Hatch. He volunteered on August 30th, 1914. He was stationed in Ireland for three years with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, but in 1917 he was transferred by his own desire to the Royal Berks in order that he might share in the fighting. He was sent to France, June 1st, 1917.

Missing.

The following are the names of those who are now missing:-

Burton Haycock, John Frame, Frank Heakes, James Hes, Arthur Haycock.

Prisoners.

The following are prisoners:-

Robert Burrough, Fred Hall, Albert Hodge, Henry Wise, Charles Crampton, Jack Gieves, James Pithers, George Woodruff.

O Lord, look down from heaven, behold, visit, and with the eyes of thy mercy, give them comfort and sure confidence in Thee, defend them from the danger of the enemy, and keep them in perpetual peace and safety; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

He “saved an officer’s life by carrying him on his back out of danger, under fire”

There was news of many Burghfield men, some of whom had performed acts of heroism at the front.

Honours and Promotions

We congratulate 2nd Lt Wheeler and his parents Mr and Mrs E C Wheeler on his promotion, he having been given a commission in the King’s Liverpool Regiment. His brother, T Wheeler, is now training as a Pilot in No 5 Cadet Wing, RFC. Cadet (ex Corporal) Alfred Searies is training in Scotland, having been recommended for a commission. He has been twice wounded, and has saved an officer’s life by carrying him on his back out of danger, under fire. The following are now Sergeants: E Cooke (5th R W Surrey), R J Turfrey (ASC< MT), E Wise (2/4th Royal Berks).

Casualties

E N Pike (killed in action), P C Layley (scalded), J Cummings, A Newman, and A Ware (wounded). W Butler, whose parents long lived in the parish, but have lately gone to Sulhamstead, is also wounded.

Discharges

Jos. West, ex 2nd Rifle Brigade (wounds); Herbert C Layley, ex 5th Royal Berks (wounds); Fred W Johnson, ex 2nd Royal Berks (heart); Isaac Slade, ex 4th Royal Berks and RE (heart); J D Whitburn, ex Royal Berks (rheumatism), just moved to Five Oaken. Arthur L Collins, in last magazine, should have been described as ex 5th Royal Berks.

Other War Items

Lieutenant Francis E Foster, RNVR, of Highwoods, who since the outbreak of war has been looking for trouble in the North Sea, has been rewarded by transfer to a quieter job further south, for the present. Lieutenant Geoffrey H B Chance, MG Corps (of the Shrubberies) is in hospital in Egypt, suffering from malaria.

Roll of Honour
Mr Willink thanks all who have given him information. He is always glad to receive more. It is difficult if not impossible, especially since the Military Service Act, to keep the Roll up to date.

Obituary Notices

The following death is recorded with regret.

Mr E N Pike, of Burghfield Hatch, son of Mrs Pike of Brook House, lost his life as above stated, for his country on 11th November, less than a week after returning to the front from a month’s leave which had been granted him to enable him to get in his fruit crop. An officer in his Battery writes: “In the short time that Gunner Pike has been in the Battery we have learned to appreciate him not only for his work but for the man he was”. He leaves a young widow and a little boy. He had good hopes of obtaining a commission in time.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1917 (D/EX725/4)

“How splendidly he is fulfilling his mission”

Eric Brereton (1889-1962) moved to Scotland after the war, and eventually became Dean of Glasgow.

The Rev. Eric Brereton, Military Chaplain to Salonica, arrived home unexpectedly, on a fortnight’s leave, on May 14th, to the great delights of his parents at Ascot, and of many friends in the Parish. It has done us good to see how well he looks, and to know how splendidly he is fulfilling his mission.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

A day of wild rumours

The area was swept with particularly wild rumours about a possible invasion.

27 March 1917

Day of wild rumours. Our navy defeated! Big battle North Sea for 3 days! Germans landed Scotland. All troops mobilized. Nothing in papers.

Went on all today. That there was a great N. Sea battle – 11 ships lost! Then 9!! The Germans had landed in Scotland – then on east coast. All troops from neighbourhood sent away. The Engineers at Maidenhead left Sunday, Marlow this morning. (This latter is true). Also Sydney Elliott at Bramshott, then suddenly mobilized to go somewhere. Heatley said it was a rising in Ireland. Nothing in the papers – morning or night, except Londoner’s Diary laughing at the reports. Last version Germans had taken Scotland!!!

No petrol substitutes to be given out. No more petrol allowance after end April!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Khaki chit-chat

There was plenty of news of men belonging to a Congregational church in east Reading.

Khaki Chit-Chat.

Friends will be pleased to hear that Segt. Leslie Smith, who lies in hospital at Stourbridge, is now making very good progress. I believe I am right when I say that he received his wounds as far back as three months ago. The injury to his ankle has been proving rather seriously troublesome, and that, combined with the low state to which his general health sank, gave grave cause for anxiety about a month ago. Since then, however, bad news has turned to good, and good, which we hope will yet grow better.

Sergt. Gilbert Smith, his brother, arrived home last month on leave, to the joy of his family circle and his friends. We congratulate him upon looking so well, and trust that good fortune will continue with him.

We are sorry to hear through Mrs. Jordan that our caretaker has been in hospital recently with frost-bite. This is not altogether surprizing when one remembers that the weather in France where our men are is not one whit less severe than it is at home here. We are glad he is out of hospital again, and hope he will get the boots he needs. If he doesn’t, then we hope that next time he will be invalided home for a spell.

Sergt. Taylor, son of Mr. A Taylor, of Bishops Road, is at present in a hospital in Scotland, going through the slow process of recovering from shrapnel wounds. We sympathize with his home people and especially his wife, in their feeling that to be so far north means that he is just as much out of reach as he would have been had he been kept in France.

Mr. Taylor, of Talfourd Avenue, has been home on leave recently from Salonika. It was extremely unfortunate that he happened to be so unwell for a great part of his visit here. Better luck next time, or rather let us hope that when next he returns it will be for good.

Leslie Newey is “joining up” the 1st of March. We admire his eagerness to follow his brother’s steps, but hope for several reasons that he will be disappointed in his desire to get to France.

Mr. Goddard wrote from Bedford the other day a cheering and encouraging letter to the Sunday School, in he stated that he is taking a class in the Sunday School there. A man who can do that when he joins the army and leaves home is “keeping fit” in more senses than one.

Sergt. Jones, son-in-law of Mr. Lindsey, is in one of our local hospitals undergoing treatment for his right arm, we regret to say that the degree of future usefulness of this unfortunate limb is a matter of uncertainty. There is ground for hope, however, and we trust that the best possible will be eventually be realized.

We were glad to see Mr Planner and Mr. Clement Tregay looking so well during their recent visits home. Mr. Watkins has also been home recently on leave. The first and last of these are now “somewhere in France,” as is also Mr Thomas who, we hoped, was destined to stay in the old country.

Mr. T. Brown is at present enjoying the gentler climate of Lower Egypt.

Jess Prouten is still in Mesopotamia, and I believe would be glad to hear oftener from old Reading friends.

Old friends of Park will be pleased to hear of the visit of a certain man in khaki to the Institute the other day. He was an Australian on leave (Tom Vinicombe, an old scholar of the Sunday School), and he explained his appearance by saying that he thought he would like to have a look at the place where he had spent such happy times as a boy.

Recently our Week-night Services have been rather changing in their character. The subjects taken are matters of general interest and they are treated from the strictly Christian and spiritual point of view. Among those dealt with hitherto have been “The Local Controversy on Spiritualism,” “President Wilson’s Attitude and Ideals,” “The Work of British Women in France,” and “The Housing Problem in the Light of the War.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

“Her brother sets out today for France”

Three Berkshire schools saw the war affect them on 20 October 1916.

October 20th 1916

Cookham Alwyn Road School
Miss Eustace asked leave of absence today. Her brother from Australia is home, and sets out today for France.

Ashbury National School
David Low, a boy of Knighton, is leaving as his father is entering the army and the family are returning to Scotland.

Coleshill CE School
Mrs Scofield visited the school on Monday and Thursday; on the latter day to collect the children’s pennies for ‘Red Cross Fund’.

Cookham Alwyn Road School log book (88/SCH/18/1, p. 283); Ashbury National School log book (C/EL5, p. 179); Coleshill CE School log book (D/P40/28/4, p. 6)

“The French and Italians seem imbecile”

Meg Meade, visiting her sister and brother-in-law in Wales, wrote to brother Ralph Glyn with her frank views on our allies. Her friend the boil-afflicted Hopie was Victor Hope, Marquess of Linlithgow (1887-1952).

Jan 4th [1916]
Voelas
Bettws-y-Coed
N Wales

My darling Ralph

I came here last Sat. to give the glad eye to Maysie & John for a few days…

John looks very well, but when I was honoured by being allowed a glimpse of his shrapnel hole in his back yesterday, I regretted to see that it was really beginning to heal up, so I must look round for a rusty nail! But when he saw the Med. Board on Dec 23rd in London his back was no more healed than when he left hospital at the end of October, so they gave him another month’s sick leave, & he enjoys life, & he’s always been able to shoot every day since he came here. I expect at the end of his month they will give him light duty at Windsor while he has his teeth & mouth seen to: they need a bit of repairing…

The Bosch seem to be having it too much their own way in the Mediterranean. I wonder when we shall send a few Destroyers out there to teach them a lesson. The French & Italians seem imbecile. Captain Wigram rang me up one day from the WO & told me that he was going out to Russia, so in future I am to address my letters to you c/o Captain Kellett. I hear that Robertson has been making things hum a bit in the WO since he took over.

Thursday evening when I got back to London from my day’s outing [to Sussex] I found a note from Hopie waiting for me, & that night I dined with him at the Carlton & went on to the Gaiety. He had had Xmas leave which he’d spent at Hopetoun, & was on his way back to the Front when he went to see a doctor about a boil he had on the knee. He’s given to having them, & generally goes in for a crop at a time, so he’s been given a month’s leave, & he calls the disease Strombolis, & when I left the doctors were taking his blood twice a day….

I do hope you will get the socks from Mother alright. I addressed them to you to GHQ BMEF (in full of course). Jim writes very well, but they seem to have had an uneventful Xmas, & he never even got the turkey I sent him which is too sad. I hate to think it was eaten by an unknown Scotch thief! Apparently the midshipmen of one of the ships got up a very good entertainment for the benefit of the Destroyer sailors, which was thoroughly appreciated…

Best love darling & bless you so OO very always loving
Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

“The Government are now told the truth and they quite like it”

General Callwell reported on the latest changes at the top, with a new sense of realism facing the Government – and absolutely everyone hoping to get rid of Lord Kitchener despite his popularity with the general public.

26 Campden House Chambers
Campden Hill, W

12th November 1915

My dear Ralph,

You are in the thick of things at Mudros. We cannot yet quite make out whether old man K proposes to evacuate Gallipoli or not altogether, but the PM is a fairly downy cove too and I think that we shall get the great man’s intentions out of him. Unless the decision is evacuation there will be a turn-up in the Government as a good many of them were very angry at Monro’s recommendation to clear out not being accepted after he had been sent out with a free hand. By latest news we have frightened the French as to their position up the Vardar valley with the possibility of the Greeks turning nasty and they are inclined to come back out of that, which will be a good thing.

The new plan of a War Council of reasonable dimensions with the sailor-0mean and us properly represented is a great step in advance and the General Staff gets quite a good look in and is listened to. The Government are now told the truth and they quite like it. Archie Murray deserves great credit for pulling things together. I have now got in Bird as Sub-Director in charge of MOI, which takes a lot of work off my hands. Buckley going off with K has been a great nuisance to me as he was my right hand man in many things, but one rubs along somehow and I suppose he will turn up again some time.

We have no idea whether K will return to the War Office. Nobody in it wishes to see him back and I do not think that anybody in the Government does either – even such mighty opposites as “Lulu” and Lloyd George are agreed upon that point. But the Public have implicit belief in him and he may prove a little difficult to definitely shelve.

I hope that you are keeping very fit and are finding adequate outlet for your inexhaustible energy.

Yours ever
Chas E Callwell

Meanwhile Ralph’s proposals for books to be sent from Scotland to the Dardanelles was bearing enthusiastic fruit. (more…)

Awful casualties feared

Malcolm Blane (1892-1915) was the younger son of the family which owned Foliejon Park. He was a lieutenant with the Cameron Highlanders, his family coming originally from Scotland. The Vansittart Neales would have socialised with the Blanes, and his death at Loos struck home.

2 October 1915
2nd trenches reached. Holding them. Fear awful casualties. Malcolm Blane killed….

We all packed in motor [and] took Phyllis & Magdalen to Reading – they to Southampton. We to try & find Bubs. She on duty. Great procession (recruiting going on)

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A subject for quips and gibes

John Maxwell Image, at the age of 70, had suddenly got engaged to Miss Florence Spencer of Cookham, the 30 year old sister of Will, Percy, Stanley and Sydney. The age gap may have been significant – but this was a devoted relationship. The Master of Image’s college, Trinity, at this time was Montagu Butler (1833-1918), whose three sons were all in the army.

TCC [Trinity College, Cambridge]
Friday 24 Sept. ‘15
VDB and DOM [nicknames for Mr and Mrs Smith]

Wedlock at my age is such a subject for quips and gibes that I naturally felt shy and reticent. Needlessly; for the Fellows, many of them, have whispered (I like them for that) really affectionate good wishes – true spirit of camaraderie. I wrote news to the Master [of the College] in Scotland: and two hours after my letter was posted came the most warmhearted letter in his own name and Agnata’s …

[Butler’s son] Gordon’s wound is healing fast. He is nearly convalescent in Malta. Nevile [another son] stands once more on his native heath, after 14 months captivity. Agnata came down to receive him at the Camb. Station, and has whisked him off to Caledonia…

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday Oct. 12 (probably) – Tuesday is full of grace – at St George’s, Bloomsbury – chosen by us all as having been the scene of my brother’s wedding 14 years ago. The bride is to be given away by her father: my brother and sister will sustain my tottering steps. No other guests, I trust: unless one or two of her ecstatic girl friends thrust themselves in….

Yours ever
Bild

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

Many brave deeds

An officer with Bracknell connections had been praised in the national press for his role in fierce fighting in the Dardanelles before succumbing to his wounds, while ordinary soldiers from the town were wounded in the same battle.

THE WAR

All our readers will have read of the extremely gallant charge of the Berkshire Yeomanry in the recent fighting in the Dardanelles. The following account is from The Times.-

“When the order to charge was given, the Berkshire Yeomanry, although they had suffered many casualties, dashed into the enemy’s trenches, the first to reach them being Major E. S. Gooch, who was wounded in the head, and was defended with great gallantry by Second Lieutenant H. C. Blyde of Reading, who had followed close after him. After Major Gooch was wounded the Adjutant, Captain F. B. Hurndall, 20th Hussars, took over the command and showed excellent leadership. There were many brave deeds done by the rank and file…

The General commanding expressed to all ranks his intense appreciation of their conduct in this their first engagement and also commended the Brigade for reaching Hill 70 in spite of heavy casualties.”

Major Gooch, whose gallant conduct is thus mentioned, reached home, and was taken to Lady Riley’s Hospital in Carlton House Terrace. He was reported to be doing well, but to the intense sorrow of all in Bracknell he succumbed to his wound on September 21st. Though his home had been in Scotland since his marriage in 1902, he was often in Bracknell at his mother’s house, and we can well believe what we are told of the devotion that all in his regiment felt for him, and those who, like the writer of these lines, have had the privilege of knowing him in his Scotch home can testify that this devotion and affection was fully shared by his friends and neighbours there.

The casualties in the ranks of our Berkshire Yeomanry are also very heavy, and though no Bracknell man was killed, some of our neighbours in the villages round have fallen. Amongst those who were wounded, who have been admitted to hospitals at home or abroad, are Harry Adler, who has been severely bruised and shaken; W. B. Skelton, one of our postmen, who was wounded; as were also Lance-Corporal Howell and Sergeant Claude Spencer, both of whom were well known in Bracknell.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/10)