“The Germans are murderers, not clean soldiers”

A selection of letters from Reading soldiers at the Front, in England, and in Egypt, which were printed in their home church’s magazine.

Letter From the Front. Come out and help.
When we are out of the trenches on a Sunday (like to-day) we have a short service which come as a luxury and which reminds me of old times when singing in the choir at S. Stephen’s. I had a scarf sent out to me by my sister which was made at the Girls’ Club, I understand, but it is very handy when we have nights out, which we often do, for it is very cold at nights. We have been out here practically eight weeks, and I suppose have seen as much of the trenches as any battalion out here during that short time. I never thought that when I went to see you when home on leave from Chelmsford that we should have been up in the firing line so quick as we were….

We are always thinking of all the friends and people we have left behind, and I know that you are thinking of us while we are away from everybody doing our bit. I hear that you call the names out on a Sunday and I know that there are quite a number, but I hope that before long that list will be twice as long, for the more men and young chaps we get out here the sooner it will end, and I am sure that we all want to see that as soon as possible.

Poisonous Gases.
Just at present we are having a very troublesome time with the Germans. They are trying their very hardest to break through and we have very hard work to keep them back because they are using those poisonous gases which is something terrible for our poor men, and you can’t do anything at all with them. I think myself that the Germans are murderers, not clean soldiers.
L.H. CROOK. (more…)

Happy in spite of all the anxieties of the moment

In the Newtown area of Reading, the Revd T. Guy Rogers was pleased with his parish’s support for the war hospitals.

My dear friends,

We had a very happy Easter in spite of all the anxieties of the moment. Our congregations were inspiring, and the presence of the Signalling Corps at the 11 a.m. service at St John’s was much appreciated. The number of Communicants in the parish (830) was, though, smaller than in recent years, rather larger than we expected on account of the number of young men now in training or at the front.

I am glad to say that as a parish, we have been able to take up an important piece of work for the Care and Comforts Committee in connection with the Reading Military Hospitals. A large parochial working party, under the charge of Miss Homan and Mrs Morley, has commenced work in the Big Hall of the Institute on Wednesday afternoons. The work will be carried out in close touch with the Care and Comforts Committee, so that such garments as are really needed and only such, will be made. I trust that the General Fund of the Committee may be so adequately supported that it may be enabled to give us a considerable grant in aid towards purchase of materials. At the same time, we shall require a good deal of money for local expenses and for the equipment of the working party, and I shall be most grateful if subscriptions may be sent to me for this purpose….

Your sincere Friend and Vicar
T Guy Rogers

Reading St John parish magazine, May 1915 (D/P172/28A/)