More difficult work

Burghfield would commemorate the war dead by offering opportunities to the living.

The War Memorial Committee

On October 17th they adopted a report by the “Sports” Sub-committee, recommending that £10 be spent on levelling and improving a pitch in the old triangular recreation ground at the Hatch; and an estimated sum of £68 upon similar but much more difficult work on the new Recreation Ground by Holiday House…. The £10 voted for the school children’s games (see Oct. Magazine) has been paid over to Mr Sheppard, to be expended as may be agreed by the Head Teachers of the several Schools.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all

Peace celebrations at Remenham were a glorified sports day.

REMENHAM PEACE CELEBRATIONS

Simplicity, with enjoyment for all, was the keynote of the Remenham Peace Celebration which took place, by the kind permission of Captain Eric Noble, at Park Place on Saturday afternoon, August 2. The funds had been provided by subscriptions given by a few ladies and gentlemen and the arrangements were carried out by Captain and Mrs Eric Noble, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, and Mr Ansell, with Mr W Baker as hon. sec. The Band of the Henley Branch of the Comrades of the Great War was engaged for the occasion and discoursed a pleasing programme of music during the afternoon under the conductorship of Mr S Sheppard. A capital programme of sports had been arranged with Captain Eveleigh as handicapper and starter and Captain Eric Noble, Mr Ansell and Mr Baker as judges. Some valuable prizes were offered and the results were as follows:

50 yards handicap, boys 10 years old and under – 1st, G Gibbons; 2nd W Dixon; 3rd, A Moring.
50 yards handicap, girls 10 years old and under – 1st, Iris Humphrey; 2nd, Irene Ward; 3rd, Madge Langford.
100 yards handicap, boys over 10 years old – 1st, George Andrews; 2nd, Ronald Eustace; 3rd, Tony Christopher.
100 yards handicap, girls over 10 years old – 1st, Edith Rowe; 2nd, Phyllis Bonner; 3rd, Stella Dixon.
100 yards needle and thread race, boys and girls over 10 years – 1st, Elsie Fasenidge and George Smith; 2nd, Stella Dixon and Richard Gibbons; 3rd, Kathleen Ward and Ronald Eustace.
50 yards boot and shoe race, boys over 10 years – 1st, Ronald Eustace; 2nd, Richard Gibbons; 3rd, fred Smith.
Potato race, girls over 10 years – 1st, Olive Green; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Ethel Stevens.
Sack race, boys – 1st, Albert Moring; 2nd, George Smith; 3rd, Richard Gibbons.
Egg and spoon race, girls – 1st, Annie Butler; 2nd, Stella Dixon; 3rd, Marjory King.
100 yards handicap, bandsmen’s race – 1st, A Why; 2nd, H Why; 3rd, R Cook.
120 yards handicap, men of the parish – 1st, Mr P Simmons, who gave up his prize to the second man W Eustace; Colonel Burnell took second honours and P Clarke, third.
50 yards egg and spoon race, women of the parish – 1st, Miss Froud; 2nd, Miss Marcham; 3rd, Miss King.

The prizes were kindly distributed by Mrs Eric Noble, who, on the proposition of Colonel Burnell, was accorded hearty cheers.

Tea was provided for the children and adults in the coach house, who greatly enjoyed the appetising meal. Amongst those present, in addition to Captain and Mrs Noble, were Mrs Heatley Noble, Mrs Goodrich, the Rector, Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, Colonel and Mrs Burnell, Captain A R Brakspear, Mr and Mrs Philip Simmons, Mr Stanton and many others. After tea, the school children who had been excellently trained by their head mistress (Miss Gale) rendered a special patriotic song, which gave much pleasure. Each child also received a Peace mug. Mr Baker proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the donors of the tea, and the subscribers, and to Captain and Mrs Noble and Captain and Mrs Eveleigh, for the trouble they had taken in making the arrangements. The proposition met with a most cordial response. Games of various descriptions and dancing were afterwards indulged in, and the happy occasion was brought to a conclusion by the singing of the National Anthem led by the band, cheers for Captain and Mr Noble, Mr and Mrs Heatley Noble, the Band, and all who had helped to promote the success of the occasion.

The Henley Standard.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

“Come to the cookhouse door, boys”: the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle

Burghfield celebrated the end of the war.

Peace Celebrations

These took place on Saturday, July 26th, in fine weather and were a great success. The church bells were rung early in the morning, and at intervals afterwards. At 2.15 there was a short service, with a sermon by the Rector, in the church, attended by practically all the children from our four schools, over 260 of them, with the teachers, as well as many mothers and a number of ex-service men. The church inside was like a flower garden with the happy throng of young folk and their bright flags and banners and pretty dresses; but it was an earnest service too! The Burghfield Brass Band, under ex-bandsman W J Hathaway, late of the Royal Berks, met the long procession on the way from church, and played them into Hillfields lower park [the home of Mr Willink], where tents and a marquee (in preparation for the approaching Flower Show) had already been pitched, and were available in case of rain – which never came.

Sports for the children began at once, and at 4 o’clock they sat down on the grass to a good tea, after which the men’s sports were carried on till 5 o’clock, when 106 ex-service men, residents in Burghfield, were summoned by the now familiar “Come to the cookhouse door, boys” call, to an excellent meat tea in the marquee (provided by Mrs Sherval). Mr Willink said a few words of welcome at the end of the meal; but the fullest speech was well made by Mr Lousley, Chairman of the memorial and Celebrations Committee, later in the evening at the distribution of the sports prizes by Mrs Geoffrey Chance, when he gave a clear explanation of the aims and methods of the Committee, and thanked all those who had done so much for the Festival (except himself, who had as usual done his share and more), especially Mr H D Higgs (the Hon. Sec.), Mr Hannington, for conveying the Pinge Wood children; and Major Chance, Lieut. Searies, and Messrs E Lousley, Page, G Pembroke and Sheppard, with other teachers, as active members of the Sports Sub-Committee.

The day ended with dancing on rather rough sun-baked ground – but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Indeed there were no complaints all day, and it was a real pleasure to see so many friends and neighbours celebrating in such good fashion the long-hoped-for end of this weary and cruel struggle – yet those were not forgotten over whose lives the war has cast an abiding shadow. The Hillfields grounds were open during the day.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1919 (D/EX725/4)

The week which includes the Public Celebration of Peace

9th July 1919

An Order of the Local Government Board allowing the Guardians to make additions to the relief to outdoor poor in the week which includes the Public Celebration of Peace was submitted, when it was proposed by Mr Sheppard, seconded by Miss Willes, and resolved, that the sum of 2/- extra relief be given to each adult and child in receipt of relief from this Union, to be paid during the week ending 19th July.

Hungerford and Ramsbury Board of Guardians minutes (G/H1/40)

He has given his health, as his brother has given his life

Burghfield men continued to pay a high price.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Cadet Alfred Searies has been posted as 2nd Lieutenant to the Suffolk Regiment. Lance Corporal Percy Sheppard (Army Ordnance Corps) and Rifleman E Wigmore (Rifle Brigade) have been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Casualties

Ernest Eaton (Royal Berks Regiment) wounded; 2md Lieut. F Wheeler (King’s Liverpool Regiment), Sergeant Wigmore (see above) and Private W H Brown (Royal Berks Regiment), Prisoners of War.

Discharges

Captain Francis A Willink (4th Royal Berks Regiment), Dysentery and Colitis; Isaac Osman (Labour Corps, ex Rifle Brigade), Rheumatism.

The promised statement about the late Captain George Willink is held over.

Congratulations to 2nd Lieut. Alfred Searies. He is the first of Mr Sheppard’s “old boys” of the Burghfield C of E School to obtain a commission. Let us hope he will not be the last, as he certainly will not be the least, either in stature or merit.

Condolences with Captain Francis Willink, who sorely against his will is, after fifteen Medical Boards, gazetted out of the Army “on account of ill-health contracted on active service”. He worked up from Private to a Commission in the Eton College OTC. On going to Oxford in 1910, he joined the 4th Royal Berks, and was a Lieutenant when war broke out, soon afterwards being made Captain and given command of “E” (the Newbury) Company. In March 1915 he went to France with the Battalion, which had then become the 1/4th, upon the formation of the 2nd unit. They went immediately into trenches at “Lug Street”, afterwards holding sections of the line by Bethune, and later at Hebuterne. The trying conditions of active service however told upon him and brought on dysentery and colitis, and after holding out as long as he possibly could, perhaps too long, he was invalided home in September 1915. Since then he has done a lot of useful work with the 3rd Line at Weston-Super-Mare, and Windmill Hill on Salisbury Plain, and for some time was Draft Officer. But his health did not really improve, and about a year ago he was transferred to Reserve, since which time he has been further twice medically examined and is now declared to be permanently unfit for medical service. He has given his health, as his brother has given his life. Fortunately there is still useful work open to him to do of national importance.

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

A pleasant evening

The people of Burghfield continued to support the war effort at home.

January 1918
War Savings

Miss Ada Gripper sends us notice that she has sold 57 War Savings Certificates to members of the Girls’ Friendly Society.

The Rector [Mr George] and Mrs George and Mr and Mrs Sheppard are organising a “Whist Drive” to take place in the Jubilee Room on Thursday, Jan. 10th, at 7 o’clock, the proceeds to be given to the Rectory Red X Working Party, for which Mrs Butler, of Amner’s Farm, Burghfield, kindly acts as secretary. She also “cuts out” and “presses” all the work, and is responsible for taking it to the Depot in Reading. The number of articles sent in during the past year is 125 treasure bags, 47 pairs of socks, 13 pyjamas, 13 pairs of mittens, 182 pillow cases, 15 helpless case shirts, 52 slings, 8 bandages, 2 mufflers, 5 helmets. It is interesting to know that 20 of the Working Party have been awarded the “W.W.” badge.

Subscriptions to the Fund have already been received from Mrs Willink, £1; Mrs George, 5/-; Mrs Butler, 2/6; Miss Goodall, 2/6; Mrs Davidson, 2/6; and Miss Hannam, 2/6.

February 1918
Rectory Red Cross Working Party

A Whist Drive held at the Jubilee Room on January 10th, in aid of this Working Party, was a great success, the sum of £5 15s 0d being obtained. The prizes were given by the Rector and Mrs George…
A pleasant evening ended by a vote of thanks to the Rector and Mrs George, and the National Anthem.

Burghfield parish magazine, January and February 1918 (D/EX725/4)

We are nothing better than worms – but mustn’t grumble!

Sunday 4 April 1915 was Easter Day. The parishioners of Reading St John (now the Polish Catholic Church) had sent Easter greetings to their young men at the Front. It resulted in a number of letters from the recipients describing their experiences.

Letters from the Front: replies to our Easter letters and cards.

Cards similar to those recently seen on the Church notice boards were sent with covering letters for Easter to some fifty men at the front at the request of their relatives. The following are extracts from some of the replies received by the Vicar:-

A Terrible War.
Here is a much-needed reminder of the seriousness of our task:
‘Two of my men I laid to rest yesterday, just put their heads too far over the parapet; of course killed instantly. It is a terrible business and we are nothing better than worms, dug in and stop there, but hope that happier times are in store and very soon. We all hope and pray for it every day. I don’t think the people at home quite realise what a gigantic task we have; but we mustn’t grumble, but do it.’- GILES AYRES.

Valued Cards.
‘I wish to thank you very much for the good thoughts and wishes of yourself and everyone who remembered us on Easter Day. Thank you very much for the card. I am sending it home to-day so that I shall not lose it.’- A. L. BLAKE.

‘The card you sent me I have hung on to the wall and it shall go where I go. I shall always remember Good Friday, the day I received it.’- D. CAMPBELL.

Neuve Chapelle.
Speaking of the welcome letter just received, the writer adds: ‘Just lately we have been engaged in a big battle at Neuve Chapelle, and it was something awful and also a terrible loss on the German side.’- L.H. CROOK. (more…)