10 miles behind the German lines, with no hope of rescue

A small Sulhamstead church would have an organ as a war memorial.

We are very thankful to hear that our two prisoners of war have returned safe. Sergeant George Steel, MM, has been a prisoner of war since May 1918. It will be remembered that it was at first reported that he had been killed. Private Ernest Adams was made prisoner in March 1918. His company was left 10 miles, or so, behind the German front line after their sudden sweeping advance in that month, and defended themselves there for many hours without any hope of rescue.

Lieutenant Colonel Greenley, DSO, Royal Army Service Corps, whose marriage is reported in this number, has been further distinguished by the conferment by His Majesty of the Companionship of St Michael and St George.

Major Gilbert Shepherd, RE, DSO, Chevalier Croix de Guerre, has been promoted to Brevet-Major.

AN ORGAN FOR ST MICHAEL’S CHURCH

Mrs Tyser has most generously promised to give an organ for St Michael’s Church in memory of Major George B Tyser, East Lancashire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Tyser of Oakfield, who was killed almost instantaneously on July 6th, 1916. He was last seen in the act of encouraging his men across to the enemy trenches in one of the brilliant assaults that we were then making.

Mr J Price, Wilts Regiment, has received his commission as Second Lieutenant, on discharge from the Army. We congratulate him and his family on the well-merited promotion. His brother, Mr Stanley Price, has received a similar promotion. He has been gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, and is now engaged in instruction work. He, too, receives our best congratulations.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, February 1919 (D/EX725/4)

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The great gift of Peace

How would the country change now that it was at peace again?

January 1st, 1919.

My Parishioners and Friends,

Four successive years have found us in the midst of the heavy stress of war with its grievous anxieties and sorrows. A New Year opens with this war closed and our hearts full of thankfulness to the God Who has righted wrong and saved the world from its deadly peril.

November 17th found our churches filled with devout worshippers, and our Thanksgiving Service with its glorious “Te Deum” moved us, perhaps, as we have never been moved before. Even our great days of Intercession during the war scarcely seemed to bring the power and providence of God so near.

Shall not the close of the war make a fresh beginning in our relations with God. The beautiful “General Thanksgiving” in our Prayer Book teaches us to say:

“We beseech Thee, give us that due sense of all Thy mercies… that we shew forth Thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives.”

We often try to adjust our lives towards one another. The whole of England is trying to do it now in what we call “Social Reconstruction”. This great gift of Peace calls us to adjust our lives towards God….

May God make the year one of peace and happiness to us all, our Nation and Empire.

Your affectionate Rector,
Alfred J P Shepherd.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War

A final list of the Wargrave men who served in the war. NB: where this symbol † appears in the list, an entry for this soldier exists in the corresponding supplement to follow.

ROLL OF HONOUR.

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War.

Additions and Corrections for this Roll should be sent to the Vicar as soon as possible.

Adby, L.
Adby, C.
Adby, W.
Adby, O.
Alderton, F. J.
Allen, C. W.
Allum, H.
Amos, G.
Andrew, H.
Arnold, A. E.
Arnold, W.
Attlesey, H. F.
(more…)

“Even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles”

On an antiquarian trip to his home region in the Vale of White Horse, William Hallam took the time to pay his respects at a war shrine.

18th May 1918

Got up at 7. Went to Challow sta. at 20 past 9. Walked thro’ Goosey across the fields – then onto Charney. Here I looked in the church as a young woman was cleaning it and getting ready for a wedding she told me. Notice that queer carving in chapel. Then I copied down all the Inscriptions I could decipher. The I went to a cottage and enquired the way to Cherbury Camp but the old man said I meant Chawberry. He told me the nearest way but I mistook it and went a devil of a way round. However I enquired again and got there alright about 1 o’clock. I was surprised to find such a perfect camp still existing in the midst of agricultural land. I sat on the bank and ate my lunch of bread and butter and a hard boiled egg and revelled in the sun. The cuckoo had been on all day long. The first day I’ve heard him this spring. There was not a cloud in the sky and even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles. I sat here and thought for an hour. I looked over the ploughed field in the encampment and found one flint chip.

I came back into Charney the way I should have come – much nearer- and went into the Pub and had a pint and a ½ of ale. This landlady Shepherd knew me by seeing me regularly at St. Paul’s as they lived at Swindon until 3 years ago when they took this Pub. Her husband a smith now working she told me at Cheltenham in aeroplane works and rides on a bike to & from every week end- 45 miles. I asked about this old house near the Church. She told me a lady had bought it 2 or 3 years ago and spent a lot of money on it – then before she had finished it got tired of it and sold it to a Col. Colmes for 1800£ and now he is spending as much as he gave for it in restoring it. Fortunately in antiquarian lines the chapel & all being put back as it should be. When I started back I sat on the Oak bridge and saw the wedding – not a khaki one – party came out – quite a village wedding – all walking.

It was a scalding hot day and as I sat on a heap of stones resting and having a smoke 2 Swindon men passed by and had a chat on their way to Longworth. Further along the road I turned off and went to Denchworth & looked over the Church & churchyard and here I saw the first war shrine. A frame with a crucifix and list of the names of all the young men gone from the village with a prayer for the passer by to offer up for them so took off my hat and said it. Before it on a ledge were 2 brass vases of fresh flowers. I got back to Challow St. at 6 o’clock and got up home here at ½ past 7. The Country is at its best now especially the Vale.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

A Flag Day for PoWs

Sulhamstead collected funds to help Berkshire PoWs.

THE WAR

BERKSHIRE PRISONERS OF WAR

The Sulhamstead Flag Day was held on Thursday, April 25th. The collectors were:
£ s d
Mrs Brown 1 0 11
The Misses Shepherd 4 6 5
Mrs Winchcombe 0 3 1
The Schools 0 2 2
Mrs Stokes 0 14 0
£6 6 7

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

Why not adopt a prisoner?

The Russian Revolution had led to that country ceasing to take part in the war, which naturally disheartened the Allies. Meanwhile a Reading shop encouraged locals to buy comforts for British PoWs, even taking out advertisements in rural parish magazines.

My Friends

The year 1918 finds us still in the midst of war. Our troops have had the joy of spending Christmas in Jerusalem, but the hopes that peace might at that time be reigning through the world were shattered by the defection of Russia. We have again and again to remind ourselves that
“THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH.”

The knowledge is a strong buttress to our confidence and a sure hope. Many have found this thought “as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land”.

Let us begin the year with the prayer that “we may consecrate ourselves afresh to the cause of righteousness, freedom and peace”.
Yours faithfully,

Alfred J. P. Shepherd,
Rector.

The War Savings Association has been a great success. Over 90 certificates have already been bought.

Advertisement:
Alleviate the torture to British prisoners of war by sending parcels regularly.

BAYLIS’ new shop, 7, The Arcade, Reading, is now open exclusively for the sale and despatching of these eagerly welcomed goods.

Why not adopt a prisoner?

Send us the order, we do the rest.


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

Pray for the good hand of God upon us in the war

More Earley men had joined up, while churchgoers across the county were urged to pray for army chaplains.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE
The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the October Diocesan magazine:
Your prayers are specially asked

For the National Mission….
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For the chaplains to the forces, especially those from this diocese.
For the wounded in hospital, especially those in this diocese, and those who minister to them…
For the supply of candidates for Holy orders, especially from among those now serving as soldiers.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

William Waite, William Wright, Harry Cartwright, James Maxwell, Edwin Jerome, Harold White, Lionel Dunlop, Brian Dunlop, William Illsley, Albert Flower, Tom Brooks, Harry Shepherd, Albert Andrews, Robert Lewis, Harry Longshaw, Horace Gilbert, George Stacey, Maurice Love.

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

Killed: Alfred Bolton, Percy Howlett, Ralph Hayes Sadler.
Died: Harry Stevens.
Wounded: Jack Howlett, Percy Hamilton, George Bungay, Sidney Saunders, Leonard Rixon, Frank Jones.
Sick: William Fisher, Sidney Farmer.

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)

The work that prayer has to do in winning this terrible and horrible War

The rector of Sulhamstead encouraged parishioners to pray for the armed forces. The Revd F M Green was to take services in the village while he was on holiday in part of August and September.

THE WAR

Our two churches are open daily, all day long, for persons to drop in and humbly put up a prayer to God for victory, peace and the preservation of those who are fighting for us. Some in the parish have promised to go there, if possible, once a week. Will you, who pass the daily stop for a few minutes and quietly ask God help? You would probably never enter a town church in France, and only a few remote village churches, without finding one person at least kneeling in prayer.

Remember 11 o’clock noon [sic], each day, wherever you are, for silent prayer.

It is with the deepest regret that we heard of the death of Major George Tyser, youngest son of Mr and Mrs W S Tyser of Oakfield. He was seen in the act of encouraging his men across to the enemy trenches in one of the brilliant assaults that the British and French have been making. Then he fell and his death was instantaneous. Our full and deepest sympathy goes out to Mr and Mrs Tyser and to his widow.

My Friends

There is an awakening amongst us to the work that prayer has to do in winning this terrible and horrible War. It took many months before we found out the part than munitions, and more munitions, and always more munitions, had to do in winning the war. It took us until well into this year to find out that we shall want the last man before we win the war.

Now we are finding out that it will want prayer and daily prayer and incessant prayer to win the war.

There are three methods of prayer:

1. The quiet kneeling alone in the morning and evening when we can name our dear ones singly before God and our own great cause.

2. The prayer of the household. Family prayer. If there are only two – then those two together. If there are more, then father and mother and children. If it has begun to drop as a custom among us, then now is the time to begin. The father perhaps has “gone to the War”. Then the mother and children can kneel together, morning and evening, praying together for father. Perhaps the son, or all the sons, have gone. Them father, mother, girls, children, can meet and pray for the sons and brothers.

If there are any who would like little forms of private or family prayer, the Rector or in his absence the Rev. F Green, can supply them.

3. United national worship. It means by petitions, such as those monster petitions we have signed in past years, all put up together – every one in his Church or Chapel, filling them to overflowing. God tells us He is “waiting to be gracious”. Could we have swept the German Fleet off the sea in the great battle of Jutland, if the light had held in our favour? Have we, as a nation, asked God’s help? Why are we waiting?

Let us begin our preparation for the National Mission of Repentance and Hope with fervent prayer.

Your friend
Alfred J P Shepherd

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

Reading boys killed in action

Former members of two boys’ clubs in east Reading had been reported killed in action.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE

It was with the greatest sorrow that we heard that Horace Gibbard had been killed in action. Horace was one of the first members enrolled when our Company was formed, and to the last one of its keenest members. After he enlisted in the Army, he was stationed in Reading until shortly before he went to the Front, and during that time he gave us most valuable assistance by drilling the Company and conducting the band practice. We had hoped to have him with us again after the war, but now we can only thank God for his short but manly life, and his splendid example to his fellow NCOs and lads in the Company. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his parents and brothers, one of whom is engaged in dangerous work in the Navy.

RONALD PALMER LADS’ CLUB

Once more we have to chronicle the death of one of our members: Ralph Shepherd was killed in action. The tragedy of his mother’s death following on the receipt of the news made it even sadder. Ralph was once our champion against the CLB representative in a boxing contest – a successful champion too. He had been wounded earlier on.
W. Wheatley we hear has been wounded; while Lieutenant Eric Sutton had been down a good many times helping in the work and officering of the Club.

The Club is closed for the moment, but hopes to re-open very shortly.

Reading St. John parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Converting charity funds into war loans

A Wargrave charity decided to invest its trust fund in war bonds, this supporting the war effort by effectively lending money to the government.

The Pigott Trust

The Capital held by the Charity Commissioners for the Trust consisted of £6700 £2 ½ per cent. consolidated stock, under the Will of Robert Pigott, and £1666 13s. 4d consols, under the Will of Mrs Ann. Pigott.

Upon the issue of the £4. 10 per cent. War Loan 1925-1945, The Trustees applied, July 16th, 1915, to the Charity Commissioners suggesting that, although there was no sale for Consuls at the then fixed price, the Consolidated Stock might be converted into War Loan to the advantage of the Charity, if private purchasers of War Loan would be so good as to donate to the Charity the conversion rights attaching to their private purchases. It was suggested that the Official Trustees could then, as temporary owners, exercise the conversion rights by presenting the fully paid Script Certificate, with the Talon attached, to the Governors of the Bank of England, who would retain the Talon and return the Certificate.

The Charity Commisioners replied that the proposal would be possible and the Official Trustees of the Charitable Funds would be prepared to carry it out.

The Pigott Trustees at Wargrave therefore invited Parishioners who had purchased War Loan to help the Charity by donating their conversion rights in this way.

Fully paid Scripts were promptly received from the following people:-
Messrs. W. E. Cain, H. F. Nicholl and J. Shepherd, Capt. H. Shepherd, Col. A. S. and Mrs. Wedderburn, Mrs. Grovers, Mrs. and Miss Winter, Mrs. Young, Mrs. Oliver Young, and the Rev. S. M. Winter – amounting altogether to £9000.

As a result of the whole of the Robert Pigott Return, £6700 £2 ½ per cent. Consols, has been converted into £4466. 13. 4. £4 ½ per cent War Loan, 1925-1945. And of the Ann Pigott Trust £50 Consols, part of £1666 13. 4 like Stock, has been converted inrto £33. 6. 8. £4 ½ per cent War Loan, 1925-1945. The Charity receives both the Consols Dividend in October for the last time, and the half-year’s Dividend on the War Stock due December 1st, 1915. This has been effected without any cost to the Charity. The Charity Commissioners estimate that the cheapest method of conversion through the market would have cost the Charity about £67 10s.

Our grateful thanks are therefore due to those who have so kindly given their help.

Wargrave parish magazine, January 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

A special pattern: sewing in Sulhamstead

Women in Sulhamstead were keen to help out by knitting and sewing clothing for the troops at the chilly Front.

THE WAR

Communications have been issued by the Lord Lieutenant and Mrs Benyon relative to the new scheme outlined by the War Office, for the supply of comforts for our soldiers and sailors during the forthcoming winter. One of these has been addressed to the Rectory, to Mrs Shepherd. There are many persons in the Parish anxious and eager to work, if materials can be supplied to them. If any such materials or gifts, with which to purchase them, are given to Mrs Shepherd, she will arrange for the workers to receive them.

The requirements are scheduled under six different headings:
British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John – Garments to be made to special pattern
War Office: Knitted scarves etc, of approved colours
Ladies’ Emergency Committee of the Navy League: Underclothing etc
Mine Sweepers: Warm underclothing, gloves and woollen garments
Lady Smith-Dorrien’s Depot for Bags for Soldiers: Bags of an approved pattern and materials

It is pleasing to the Parish to know that Sulhamstead House has again been opened by the kindness and generosity of Sir George and Lady Watson, for the reception of the wounded.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, November 1915 (D/EX725/3)

“To waste food is as bad as to waste munitions”

The War savings movement was not expected to attract much interest in a poor rural village like Sulhamstead, where labourers were constantly on the verge of destitution, and had no savings to invest. But the Rector encouraged them to support the war effort by thrift. Their children, meanwhile, volunteered to weed the churchyard since there was a labour shortage with so many men in the forces.

The Rector [the Rev AJP Shepherd] has received the following official letter:

“PARLIAMENTARY WAR SAVINGS COMMITTEE
COMMITTEE FOR THE DIVISION OF SOUTH BERKS

Sir,

We are instructed by our Committee to invite your kind co-operation … in encouraging thrift and economy at this time, and the investment of savings in the new War Loan….

We shall be much obliged if … you think it would be desirable to hold a Public Meeting in your parish….”

In many homes the increased cost of living is proving a great strain upon the amount earned in weekly wages in our agriculture districts. It is thought, therefore, that a public meeting be of little use in Sulhamstead. But the paper circulated in this Magazine may help the cause of some, and these three maxims from the paper “Silver Bullets” issued by the Parliamentary War Savings Committee may be useful to all:

1) Waste nothing; to waste food is as bad as to waste munitions
2) Save, especially in all things which have to be got abroad; that is to say, food and drink of all kinds, tobacco etc
3) Use home products, and use them sparingly

We are sending abroad £1,000,000 per day for the purchase of goods consumed by the country, and it is of the utmost importance that this should be reduced, if possible.

Lieut. Herbert Merton has been gazetted from the 6th Bedfords as Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers.

As a side-issue of the war, the delightful action of the school children, helped and guided by Mr and Mrs Leake, must be distinctly recorded. St Michael’s new Churchyard was sowing a rich crop of weeds owing to the difficulty of obtaining labour to seal with them. The School came to the rescue, and in their play-time, entirely removed all the weeds. The pile of weeds beneath the tree shows the large amount of work done. The children did it as an offering to their church in the present serious issue of their country. The thanks of the whole parish are none the less due to them for saving the situation.

ROLL OF HONOUR
We have just heard, on going to press, with deep regret, that Sergeant James Price, 5th Wilts, has been wounded. No details have as yet been received.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, September 1915 (D/EX725/3)

Make the Wargrave Roll of Honour perfect

Many parishes regularly published a Roll of Honour of those serving. One of these was Wargrave, and July saw the publication of Part 2 of their list:

The Roll of Honour for The Parish of Wargrave

Luker, Ernest, VIII Hussars
F Mance, Robert. Army Services Corps.
F Milford, John. R.F.A.
F Morse, George. Royal Berks Regt.
F Nicholl, Charles. Major. Oxfordshire Hussars.
Nicholl, Kenneth. Capt. Welsh Fusiliers
F Nicholls, Albert. Royal Berks Regt
Noble, Eric Heatley. 2nd Lieut. Grenadier Guards
Noble, Norris Heatley. 2nd Lieut. Kings Royal Rifles
F Ogbourne, Harry. 1st Life Guards.
F Over, Reginald. Lce-Corp. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Parritt, William John. Lce-Corp R.E.
Paget, Colin. Wiltshire Territorials
F Perry, George Edwin. Scotch Greys
Piggott, George. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Pithers, James. VIII Royal Berks Regt
Plested, Herbert. Royal Berks Regt
Plested, Albert. Royal Berks Regt
Plowman, Thomas Austen. Berks Yeomanry
Porter, Albert E. Army Service Corps
F Pugh, Ernest. Royal Berks Regt
Rhodes, John Edward. Lt-Col. Princess Beatrice’s Isle of Wight Rifles
Rhodes, Wilfred. Major. Provost Marshal on Staff
F Rhodes, Victor. Capt. Late Sherwood Foresters
Remnant, John. Lieut. Royal Berks Regt
Rayner, John. 2nd Lieut. Royal Berks Regt
Reid, George William. Royal Berks Regt
Richardson, Fred. Berks Yeomanry
Rideout, Henry Randall. Expeditionary Force’s Canteen
Rixon, Charles. Royal Berks Regt
F Rixon, Walter. Royal Berks Regt
Rufey, William. Royal Berks Regt
F Shepherd, Henry. Capt. IX C of London Regt
F Schuster, Leonard Francis. Lieut. 3rd County of London Yeomanry
Sinclair, Gerald John. 2nd Lieut. Black Watch
Sanson, Gordon Ralph. Hon. Artillery Co.
F Sharp, Ernest Gladstine. VIII Dragoon Guards
Sharp, Samuel. Lee-Corp. Welsh Fusiliers
F Sharp, William. Army Service Corps
Shaw, George. Royal Berks Regt
F Shersby, Edward. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Sherwood, Fred. Royal Berks Regt
Silver, Frank. Army Services Corps
Silver, Harry. R.F.A.
F Silvey, Stephen. R.A.M.C.
Slatter, T. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Slattery, Udolph Wolfe. 2nd Lieut. IX West Kent Regt
Smith, George Frederick. Veterinary Corps
Stanbridge, Albert. Irish Fusiliers
F Stone, Samuel Philip. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
F Swanborough, Alfred. Army Services Corps
F Symons-Jeune, Bertram. Lieut. Army Service Corps
Talbot, Arthur. Corpl. IInd Royal Berks Regt
F Talbot, Anthony George. XCIIth Lancers
F Talbot, Albert. Army Services Corps
Tigwell, Monty. Royal Berks Regt
F Watson, Burton. Major. 107th Pioneers, Indian Army
F Watson, Cyril. Captain. Middlesex Husaars
Walsh, Gordon Herbert. Lieut. Royal Sussex Regt
Wakefield, Caleb. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Wakefield, Cecil. Royal Berks Regt
F Warby, Albert H. XIIth Lancers
F Webb, George. Rifle Brigade
Weller, David. R.F.A.
Woodruff, Charles Herbert. Xth Regt Cavelry

Warren Row In the Parish of Knowl Hill

(more…)

A most welcome gift of vegetables aboard ship

Our friend Florence Vansittart Neale was heavily involved in getting hold of fresh vegetables for the Royal Navy. Here we see one parish’s response, when they abandoned their usual horticultural show in favour of donating their best crops to hungry sailors.

At the meeting of the Wargrave and Knowl Hill Horticultural Society held in January, it was decided that owing to the War the Annual Show would not be held. A letter was read from the Vegetable Products Committee asking for vegetables for the Fleet. The Hon. Secretary was asked to organise the sending of some hampers. In answer to her appeal hampers have been forwarded to the naval base from Miss. Choatem, Mrs. Young, Rev. H. Wells, Mrs. Groves, Mrs. Rhodes, Major Bulkley D.S.O., A. E. Huggins, Esq., J. Shepherd, Esq., W. E. Cain, Esq., Sir Charles Henry, Bart., Mrs. Nicholl and Mrs. O. Young.

That the vegetables have been greatly appreciated is evidenced by the following letter received by Mrs. Oliver Young.

14, Mess, H.M.S. Hecla,
c/o G.P.O.
27/1/14
Madam,

I am writing to thank you for your most welcome present of vegetables. It has never been an easy matter, even in peace time, to get a sufficiency of such things and so I leave to guess how much we appreciate your thoughtfulness.

My mess-mates join their thanks with mine and wish you all the good things imaginable in return for your kindness.

Yours sincerely,
R. Larcombe

Mrs Oliver Young will be very glad if those who are not able to send a complete hamper will send her contributions of vegetables on Tuesdays in March as she can make them up and dispatch consignments.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

Uniforms allocated according to height

Sydney Spencer was beginning to get accustomed to military drill, when he met an old acquaintance from his YMCA work at the start of the war:

27 January 1915
This morning’s drilling was much more satisfactory. The Sergeant made us so several new motions which go under several terms which I recognise when I hear them but which I cannot yet remember apart. At 10 o’clock we went to the OTC headquarters and there we were measured for our overcoats. Not a careful examination, but according to height. I am 5’5”. After Latin Prose I went to Shepherds with Loughton & we were both measured for our OTC uniforms. We are to be fitted on Saturday. I met two people whom I knew. One was, of all people on earth, Hayes of Merton, with whom I worked at Harwich (YMCA work). He is staying at No. 41, only just a few yards down. He has been doing YMCA work at Havre for some time & has left his studies at Edinburgh for a time. The other person I met was the Rev. Demans of Hedsor.

We won’t be hearing from Sydney for a couple of months, as he was too busy with his new activities to write in his diary.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/14)