“He died gloriously doing glorious deeds during the course of our brilliant advance “

Tribute was paid to former students at Reading School who had fallen in recent months.

Killed in Action.

Central Ontario Regt. Pte. F.C.(Eric) Lawes, eldest son of Mr. F.J. laws., of 116, Hamilton Road, Reading, aged 22 years. On August 8th.

Captain Brain, Killed In Action.

The sympathy of the whole town will go out to Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Brain in the loss of their second son, Captain Frances Sydney Brain, Royal Berks Regiment, who was killed in action on the 3rd October. Born IN 1893, he was educated at Reading School and Leighton Park School, and in 1912 he obtained a scholarship at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. At the outbreak of the war he joined the Cambridge University O.T.C., and on February 26th, 1915, was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant, being promoted Lieutenant on July 29th, 1918. He proceeded to France in June, 1916, and was recently promoted Captain. The news of his death was received by his parents on Wednesday, and was contained in a letter from the chaplain of his regiment, who wrote as follows to Mr. and Mrs. Brain:-

“I am so grieved to have to tell you of the loss of your gallant son in action on the 3rd inst. He was hit on the head by a shell during the course of our brilliant advance and died instantly. I hope it will be of some little consolation to know that he died gloriously doing glorious deeds. He is a great loss to the regiment, as he was one of our most promising officers. In him I, too, had a friend, and more than a friend, for we were both of the same Varsity, and had mutual friends. I was able to get his body and bring it back to a little cemetery which we started here, where he lies with others of his regiment. We had the service of the Church of England, the last post and a funeral party. My prayers go up that the Almighty will give you strength to bear your sorrow.”

Lieut. H.M. Cook Killed.

Lieut. Howard Mortimer Cook, who was killed on August 8-9, would have been 29 September 1st had he lived. He was the elder son of Mr. John R. Cook, late of Lloyds Bank, Reading, and Mrs. Cook, and grandson of the late Town Clerk of Reading (Mr. Henry Day). He was educated at Reading School and St Edmunds Hall, Oxford, where he rowed in the eight. Although his original intention was to take Orders, at the outbreak of war he was on the point of leaving for Holland to take up teaching in schools, and his passport bore the date of August 4, 1914. He applied for a commission at once, having in the meantime joined a Public Schools Battalion as a private, and in November, 1914, he was gazetted to the 6th Royal Berkshire Regiment. He went to the front in February 1916, being attached to the 5th Battalion, and shortly afterwards was wounded in the head by shrapnel but after a few months at home he returned to the front. He and two other officers were especially mentioned in certain orders of the day as having accomplished some very good work at Cambrai, in which the 5th Berks played so prominent a part. In May last he was transferred to the machine-gun corps. He was killed by the explosion of a mine when taking his section into action during the night. His commanding officer wrote that although he had only been in his battalion a short time he was very popular and his death meant a sad loss to the regiment.


Previously reported missing, now known to have been killed in action on the 31st July, Captain John Waldron Mathews, F.A.F., of San Julian, Patagonia, elder son of E.J. Mathews and Mrs. Mathews, Brockley Combe, Weybridge, aged 28.

Death of Lieut. F.L. Hedgcock.

We greatly regret to record the death of Second Lieut. Frederick Leslie Hedgcock, M.G.C., who was killed in action on Sunday Sept, 29th, at the age of 20, after having served with his Regiment in France over seven months. He was educated at Reading School and Brighton College, and was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Hedgcock, of St. Margaret’s, Shinfield Road, Reading. Mr Hedgcock has two other sons serving in the Army, the eldest, Captain S.E. Hedgcock, now on the staff in Mesopotamia, and Lieut. S.D. Hedgcock, recently gazetted to the R.E. Both have been on active service, the eldest at Suvla Bay and the second son twice in France.

A brother officer writes: –

“we were fighting in a very important sector, and had done very well. Your son was shot through the heart, and was therefore instantly killed.”

His Major writes that he was killed while leading his men into action.

“On behalf of the officers and man of the company, I would tender you our heartfelt sympathy in your sad bereavement. We have lost an excellent officer and you have lost an excellent son.”

Pte. L.C. Shore

Pte. Leonard C. Shore, Lincolns, who died on August 19th of wounds received in action in France, was the son of Lance-Corpl. Shore and Mrs Shore, of 51, Francis Street, Reading, and was 19 years of age. He was educated at the Central School, and at Reading School, having won an entrance scholarship to the latter. Prior to joining up in April, 1917, he was in the office of the surveyor of taxes at Richmond (Surrey). His father, an old soldier, is serving with the Rifle Brigade in Egypt, where he has been for the past three years.

Funeral of Capt. S.J. Hawkes.

At St Bartholomew’s church, Reading, on Monday afternoon, a very large congregation assembled to pay their last tributes to Capt. Septimus J. Hawkes, Royal Berks Regt.

At St. Bartholomew’s Church, Reading, on Monday afternoon, a very large congregation assembled to pay their last tributes to Captain. Septimus J. Hawkes, Royal Berks Regt, who died suddenly in his barrack quarters at Dublin on the previous Wednesday. The Rev. T.J. Norris was the efficient clergyman, being assisted by the Revs. A.T. Gray, B. Mead and H. Elton Lury, C.F., the latter reading the lesson. The deceased officer was before the war, greatly in the boys of St. Bartholomew’s Church, and held this position of Scoutmaster of the St. Bartholomew’s Troup. Educated at Reading School, where he was a member of the Officers Training Corps and of the Rugby xv. He joined the University and Public Schools Brigade. Soon after the commencement of hostilities, and subsequently transferred to the Military College, Sandhurst, where he obtained his commission in the Royal Berks Regt. He soon went to France, and after serving there for some time was wounded and returned to England, and later, with the rank of Captain, went to Ireland. As recently as last month Capt. Hawkes was on leave in Reading on the occasion of the wedding of one of his brothers, at which ceremony he performed the duties of best man. A short time ago Capt. Hawkes successfully passed the difficult examination for the Royal Air Force to which he had transferred just prior to his death.

Reading School Magazine, December 1918 (SCH3/14/34)


“The collapse of our Boy Scout Department caused by the Leaders having been called up for service in HM’s Forces”

Youth work at a Reading church was suffering with so many of the young men serving abroad.


Report for 1917

We have much pleasure in printing below the report of work done in the Sunday School, which was read at the Annual Meeting of Church and Congregation on Thursday February 8th by the Hon. Sec., Mr D. A. Wilson.

The Senior Departments also have been carried on successfully – the YWBC under the leadership of Mrs Hendey and the YM’s Institute still under the leadership of our veteran friend Mr W. A. Swain, in spite of reduced numbers due to the war. This lack of numbers we have in a measure been able to remedy by drafting a dozen of our older scholars from the Intermediate Department to the Institute about a year earlier than we should have done in normal times.

This fact, together with what I may almost call the collapse of our Boy Scout Department caused by the Leaders having been called up for service in HM’s Forces, and through which I regret to say a number of boys have drifted away from the school, has caused our numbers in the General School to be fewer than usual.

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

Excellent work in Serbia

A Mortimer woman turned from nursing soldiers in the Balkans to caring for war orphans.

A Distinction for a Nurse

Miss Joyce Fremlin has been awarded the Red Cross Samaritan (Serbian) Order for her excellent work: first at Monastir for the Serbian army and afterwards at Salonika, where she was in charge of a Serbian Babies’ Orphanage. Her friends, and especially the Scouts who were under her command, will congratulate her heartily.

Miss Fremlin has now been transferred to Cyprus, and is nursing in a hospital at Famagusta.

She wishes to express her thanks to those Mortimer folk who kindly sent out toys for her Orphanage. These toys arrived safely and were gratefully appreciated.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Sleeping accommodation for the soldiers in the winter months

Groups associated with an Earley church were homeless after their premises were taken over for soldiers to sleep at.

The Military Authorities have taken over the use of the Mission Room, Cumberland Road. This means that the Sunday School, Mothers’ Meeting, Clothing Club and Scouts have to find a home elsewhere. Their purpose is to provide sleeping accommodation for the soldiers in the winter months who have been bivouacking in the College grounds on Whitley Hill, and so far we are glad that they should be undercover. But for ourselves it is not very convenient. Application has been made to the Education Authority for the loan of a hall or classroom in the New Town school and if this is granted our trouble will be ended.

Earley St Nicolas parish magazine December 1917 (D/P192/28A/14)

The war has brought in its train many economies over which we need waste no lamentations

The women and children of Burghfield were continuing to contribute to the war effort. The children’s collection of horse chestnuts was ready to send to be made into munitions, while the women sewed. But they were saddened that a local convalescent home had been forced to close due to the economic conditions.

The centres for collection are the New Schools (Burghfield C of E) and Mrs Bland’s School. The whole will eventually be stored at the former School until sent for by the Director of Propellant Supplies, 32 Old Queen Street, London, SW1.

Holiday House
Not every village is fortunate enough to possess such an institute as Holiday House, though it is coming to be felt more and more that some such centre is needed in villages, where people may meet each other and relieve the monotony of the long dark winter evenings…

That Burghfield Common has such a place is entirely due to the generosity and public spirit of a lady who has the welfare of the Common very much at heart, Mrs Kirkwood. Founded in 1914, it has been the home and centre of varied activities: a band, Boy Scouts, dances, socials, entertainments, lectures, debates, are some of the chief, besides its nightly bill of fare of billiards, draughts, cards, etc. Not by any means the least of its activities have been the War-work Party started early in the war to make shirts and other necessary garments for the wounded, and also splints, bed trays and various other appliances. There is also a canteen, under the care of Mrs Bailey, who supplies refreshments and tobacco to all comers; but no alcoholic drinks are allowed on the premises.

St Catherine’s, Burghfield Common

The war has brought in its train many economies over which we need waste no lamentations. Other economies, however, cannot be passed over without a sigh. We allude, more particularly, to those which have lessened the power of people of moderate means to continue their contributions to charitable institutions…

It is therefore with peculiar regret that we have to record the closing of St Catherine’s. This Home was founded in 1913 by Miss Morison, and was offered by her to the Margaret Street Hospital for Consumption (Cavendish Square, W) for the benefit of girls and women in the early stages of tuberculosis….

From first to last no less than 130 patients have passed through the Home, and in the large majority of cases they have been discharged completely cured, or with the progress of the disease arrested. When we think of the wonderful air which those of the uplands of Burghfield are privileged to enjoy, it is not so very surprising to learn that the number of patients who got worse instead of better may be told on the fingers of one hand. It is a matter of grief to us all that Miss Morison has found it necessary to limit her beneficent work in the great crusade against what is so graphically called the “White Scourge” of these islands.

War Hospital Supplies
The Red Cross Working Party has re-commenced its meetings at the Rectory on Wednesday afternoons at 2.30. Mrs George will be glad to have some new members as the War Hospitals Supply Depot in Reading is urgently appealing for more comforts for our soldiers and sailors, ad we are anxious to send as much work as possible from Burghfield.

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

The prospect of a long term of service

An Earley Boy Scout joined the Navy as a writer, a sailor who dealt with administration and finances on board ship. He would have been classed as a non-commissioned officer.

W G Dobson, patrol leader of the scouts’ troop, has been called up, and has successfully qualified as writer in His Majesty’s Navy. This means the prospect of a long term of service, and not for the war only.

Earley St Nicolas parish magazine (D/P192/28A/14)

“We could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again”

Teenage boys from Earley had the fun of a camp dispelled by sad news of old friends who had gone to the Front.


We had a most enjoyable time on the School journey in spite of the weather. A very full account is being published in the “Reading Observer”, and we are hoping that Mr Albert Smith will be able to spare the time to come and give us a Lantern Lecture describing our travels, so we shall not enter into details now. Several of the Cadets and two more Scouts joined us at Hungerford when we spent a most delightful four days, everyone showing us the greatest kindness.

The news of the death of our late Staff-Sergeant George Maskell came as a great shock to us on our return, and we could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again. We had a Memorial Service after Matins on Sunday, August 12th, some of our friends from St Giles’ and St John’s Companies joining us for the Parade Service and staying to the Memorial Service. We offer our deep sympathy to the relations and friends of one whom we all loved – RIP.

On going to press we have just heard of the death of another of our CLB Staff Sergeants, John Parker. Jack was one of our very keenest and best CLB workers and we shall miss him terribly. We offer our deepest sympathy to his mother and other relations and friends. RIP.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

The exigencies of war are taking constant toll on the Scouts

Three leaders of a Scout troop in Reading were called up.

The exigencies of war are taking constant toll of our workers. During recent days the Scouts have been most seriously affected. First came the news that the two assistant Scoutmasters (Messrs Leslie Pocock and Brian Moore) would have to go; and now we hear that the Scoutmaster (Mr Arthur Pocock) must go too.

Mr Pocock has been admitted to the Inns of Court OTC; Mr Brian Moore has become a Motor Driver in the RFC; Mr Francis is likely to obtain an appointment in connection with the RNAS. Whist we are terribly sorry to lose these friends, we feel deeply grateful to them for their splendid service in connection with the Scouts, and our best wishes go with them as they respond to the call of King and Country. We shall hope to have them back at the end of the war.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Hearty good wishes from the Scouts

Two Earley Scout leaders joined up.

The Scouts Patrol have begun their year with the loss of their excellent patrol leader, Mr Bruce Wing, who is now called up to serve his country and carries with him our hearty good wishes. Mr Fry, who wished to help us in this work, follows his example and must leave us. His personality and knowledge of scout work will be missed. Mr Crapp has come to our assistance and has most kindly made the interests of the patrol his own.

Earley parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P192/28A/14)

Praying it may please God soon to grant us a just and lasting peace

The young men of Earley who had graduated from the Scouts and Church Lads’ Brigade in the decade before the war to serving their country overseas were not forgotten at home.


January 29th was the ninth anniversary of the enrolment of St Peter’s Earley Company of the CLB, and December 17th the seventh of our Patrol of Scouts. At the Corporate Communion on Sunday, January 21st, the long list of names of past and present members who are serving in His Majesty’s Forces was read out and special prayers offered on their behalf.

Since our last anniversary two more of our first members have been killed in action, Percy Howlett and Alfred Bolton, and another, Frank Snellgrove, reported wounded and missing. We offer our deepest sympathy to their relatives and friends…

We know many of our comrades past and present are regular readers of this magazine, so we take this opportunity of sending them our very best wishes and earnest prayers that it may please God soon to grant us a just and lasting peace and that they, our members who are serving, may be safely restored to us.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

“A fine example of courage and coolness”

The vicar of Wargrave was optimistic that the war would end soon, as the parish celebrated the heroism of some of its men, and mourned the loss of others.


Another year opens under the cloud of War, but the very length of the shadows behind us should give new vigour to our hopes for the future. The War cannot last forever. The original plan of the enemy has certainly failed. The strength of the Allies grows greater. There is every promise that the Government will express the mind of the nation and that the people will gladly respond to the demands which may be made upon them. The conviction that our cause is righteous has possessed the soul of the nation and given character to our manner of fighting. The appeal to God for Victory is based upon submission to His Will; sobered by the realization that Victory must be used to the praise of His Holy Name; and inspired by the certainty that He, who ordereth all things in heaven and earth, is working His purpose out, and will over-rule the conflict of the nations to the advancement of His Kingdom and the greater happiness of mankind.

So with renewed hope let us take heart to utter the familiar words, and wish one and all a Happy New Year.

The Military Cross

Lieut. F. Kenneth Headington, 1st London Brigade, R.F.A. has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. We offer him out heartiest congratulations. It is indeed a happy thing when from the midst of the sorrows of war there comes occasion for the sympathy of joy. Their many friends will rejoice with Mr. and Mrs. Headington, and with all the family, in this good news of well deserved recognition.

We would like to mention the following commendation which Sergt. James Iles has received:-

“This N.C.O. has shown a high standard of efficiency throughout the campaign. He has been under direct observation of his squadron leader during two engagements. At Nevy, on September 1st, 1914, where he was wounded in the wrist, he continued to endeavour to use his rifle after being wounded, and when compelled to desist owing to hand becoming numb, he helped to bandage several more severely wounded men. At Potize, near Ypres, May 12th, 1915, he had all the men of his troop except himself and one other become casualties owing to shell fire. He still remained in his portion of the trench and showed a fine example of courage and coolness to the remainder of the squadron.”

We would like to mention that the Military Medal has been granted to the Sergeant.

Hare Hatch Notes

We deeply sympathise with Mrs. Pugh in her second sad bereavement. Her son Charles has given his life for his country, he was seriously wounded whilst mine sweeping and had a relapse after being admitted into the hospital at Shotley, near Harwich, which proved fatal. His body was brought home and laid to rest in our Churchyard. The service which commenced with the hymn “Eternal Father strong to save” was most impressive. As the Naval Authorities were unable to send representatives, the soldiers at the Wargrave V.A.D. Hospital attended and some acted as bearers; “Honour to whom honour is due.” This loss coming so soon upon the death of Mrs. Pugh’s beloved husband, who was greatly respected and highly esteemed, must be hard to bear. We trust that our expressions of sympathy and our prayers may afford the family great comfort.

The deepest sympathy is also felt for Mr and Mrs Hunt, Tag Lane, whose son Arthur was killed in France on November 19th. As a member of the Sunday School and the Mission Choir he was most regular and attentive, he attained very high honours when a member of the Wargrave Scouts. He worked for several years with his father at The Lodge. We greatly regret his loss, the remembrance of him will not quickly pass away. He gave his life for a noble cause.

Wargrave parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

We must cheerfully submit to any inconvenience and privation that comes to us through war

The organist at Holy Trinity, Bracknell, joined up, while other Bracknell men ould not be coming home.

Mr F. C. Faulkener, our Organist, has been called up to join H.M. Forces. This will be a great loss to us in the Church, and we shall greatly miss Mr. Faulkener’s beautiful playing and the efficient training that he has given to the choir. However the country has the first call on his services, and we have in this, as in many other ways, to cheerfully submit to any inconvenience and privation that comes to us through war.

Mr. F.W. Hunton, who was organist for many years, has most kindly given us his help, and Miss Emery, a lady on the Heathfield staff has also signified her readiness (with Miss Wyatt’s concurrence) to do what is possible to supply Mr. Faulkener’s place during his absence. If the result is that the congregation join in more heartily with the singing, perhaps we shall get some useful results even from our difficulties, and we must all do the best we can to make our services worthy of Him to whom they are offered.


Amongst those who have fallen we deeply regret to have to number Albert Searle, aged 22, Corporal in the Royal Berks. He was wounded when going into action at the head of his section, but kept up with wounderful courage and cheeriness. He died at the hospital at Rouen. Few young men could have won more affection and esteem than he. His work as Scoutmaster was typically thorough, energetic and unselfish.

Kenneth Grant, 2nd. Lieut. Seaforth Highlanders, was for some time a member of the Chavey Down Choir.

In our last number we mentioned that Sergt. G.W. Morton, of the Black Watch, had been killed in action. He fell on August 18th, and the following is an extract from a letter written by one of his officers.

“I personally led the attack and especially noted the late Sergt. Morton, for his bravery and the gallant way in which he handled his men both in and out of action; he was an excellent soldier and was very much liked by officers, N.C.O.’s and men of his battalion.”

Sergt. Morton was only 22 years of age, and had been on active service for 2 years.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

Sad news of a teenage Scout

A Sulhamstead teenager fell in action.

We all remember Percy Kimbrey – our school boy – and our scout. Amongst the sad news that the papers bring us daily, is the statement that he was killed in action. No particulars are given. He was only 18 years of age.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, October 1916 (D/EX725/3)

The men at the Front will bless Earley Scouts

Boys in Earley donated some of their money for the benefit of PoWs.


The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the September Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the preparation for the National Mission…


The short camp at Newbury from August 5th to 8th passed off very successfully. Twenty of us from Earley were able to go and I think we all enjoyed ourselves very much…

We have just sent up some more money to the Million Shilling Fund and the C.L.B. Prisoners’ Fund, and print the letter received in reply:

“Dear Mr Wardley King,

Thank you very much for your cheque of £5, 1 of which I have put to the Prisoners of War and the other 4 to our Million Shilling Fund. I am very grateful also for the socks. St Peter’s Earley has done magnificently. I enclose your receipt.

It is very good hearing that your Scouts have done so well with their magazines. I am sure the men at the Front will bless them.

Yours sincerely

Edgar Rogers
Headquarters Chaplain.”


The following additional name has been added to our prayer list:
David Evans.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Sick: Edward Marshall.
Wounded: John Smit, Charles Seely, Enoch Webb.
Killed: George Winsor, Ernest Cook, William Hooper, Thomas Bricknell, Alfred Jerome, George Forge.

Earley parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/9)

“It is unpatriotic and wicked to waste money”

Burghfield parishioners were encouraged to support the war with their savings.


His Majesty’s Government have just appealed to all classes to make a new and special effort to save every sixpence they possibly can and to lend it to the Nation to help to bring about what we all desire – a speedy and victorious termination of the war. We can all surely do a little in this way to help send out the munitions to our brave sailors and soldiers. It should be distinctly understood that it is unpatriotic and wicked to waste money or to spend it carelessly just now.

We can all do our bit to help to bring about a speedy victory by lending our money, and the best way for most of us to do this is to purchase at any Post Office a War Savings Certificate. It costs 15/6 and the Government will pay a high rate of interest for the loan, for they guarantee to return £1 at the end of five years for each 15/6 thus lent. Meanwhile the money is quite safe, and can be drawn at any time if necessity arises, with interest.

During the last winter the Scouts used part of their time in preparing splints for the wounded soldiers, and were able to send 12 hand splints, 8 leg splints, and 16 arm splints.

Burghfield parish magazine, August 1916 (D/EX725/3)