Eager to go into the trenches

A couple of Reading soldiers write from the Front:

NEWS FROM THE FRONT.
Service in a Cornfield.
‘We had a Church Service in a cornfield this morning and a Communion Service afterwards. It was quite a novelty; the grain was standing in the sheaves and the surrounding scenery was lovely. We are in a valley with clumps of trees and cornfields all around us, and in the distance one can see the spires and chimneys of a town, and on the other hand a little way behind can be seen the ruins of a smaller town where an occasional shell can be heard to burst. We had a good bath yesterday, the first we have had for about six weeks or a little more. Since I last wrote to you I have joined the Signalling Section, and I was about to you a few days ago on my station in the trenches, but just as I was about to start ‘Fritz’ got ahead of me with a few souvenirs in the shape of shells, trench-mortar bombs, rifle grenades, and such-like niceties, so I had to clear for action, as a demonstration by ‘Fritz’ is likely to make our wires pretty busy with messages. ‘Fritz’ got a direct hit on our trench in one place and we were lucky not to have our wire broken, which would have meant going out to mend it, shells or no shells. I saw Lieutenant Poulton Palmer’s grave the other day.
A. Goodson.

Ronald Palmer Club
“Just a line to let you know that another old club boy has managed to get to France. We left Southampton at 7 p.m. on Saturday, august 7th, and arrived in France at 1 o’clock in the morning, but we did not disembark until 8 oc’clock. We went to a rest camp about two or three miles away for the next night. Next day we started to move nearer the firing line. we started at 6 p.m. in cattle trucks and travelled all night until midday the next day, and we were cramped, tired and dirty. We then had a march over rough cobbles to a town, where we are now billeted in barns waiting to be moved into the line, but I am afraid it will be some time before we get there, though our fellows are all eager to go into the trenches. We see a number of aeroplanes hovering round here all day long. I saw one of the old club boys the other day, J. Sawyer of the RHA; he went to our first camp with Mr Heaton, and enlisted just after. I hope the Club and all concerned are getting on well.
Lance-Corporal Bushell.

August 4th
From the four corners of the earth,
Where’er the British flag shall float,
Our vow of victory we take,
Resolved to drown the craven note.

For there are those within our midst
To whom NO peace is premature;
But our’s to war to end such war!
And ne’er again this curse endure.

Not for our gain – a year ago –
‘Twas not for greed we drew the sword,
But to defend our plighted word
Our blood and wealth have been outpoured.

The Empire’s vow’s the Empire’s bond,
All round the world today she’s bound –
This pledge to keep her sword unsheath’d
Until her cause with victory’s crowned.
A.W.E.

Reading St John parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P172/28A/24)

Cookham Dean’s roll of honour

As the year drew to a close, Cookham Dean announced the latest roll of honour of parishioners serving their country (carefully listed by rank).  Two (tragically, members of the same family) had already paid the ultimate price:

Roll of Honour
The Roll of Honour has been carefully revised, corrected and added to and it contains, it is believed, a complete list of those who have offered themselves from Cookham Dean and Pinkneys Green for the service of their country.
Major Herbert Clark – London Royal Field Artillery
Major C Crookshank – Royal Engineers
Major J Henderson – Army Ordnance Dept
Capt. Tomlinson – Cavalry Reserve of Officers
Lieut. Reginald Geard – XVth Lancers (Indian Army)
Lieut. Cecil Saunders – Royal Flying Corps
Sec. Lieut. Lawrence – North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales’) Regiment
Sec. Lieut. Hewitt Pitt – Royal Field Artillery
Sec. Lieut. Russell Simmons – 3rd Royal Berks Regiment
Sec. Lieut. John A del Riego – 24th County of London (Queen’s) Regiment
Sec. Lieut. Randall E Hunt – Army Service Corps
Sec. Lieut. Douglas A A Geard – 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars
Sec. Lieut. Frank Snell – 6th Royal Berks Regiment
Sec. Lieut. Robert Kersey – Army Service Corps
Arthur Bampton –5th Gloucester, ASC
Henry Bishop – Royal Engineers
Ernest Blinko – 9th County of London (Queen Victoria’s) Rifles
Arthur Carter – Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry
William Carter – 2nd Royal Berks Regiment
Gerald Clark – Royal Engineers (Signalling Squadron)
Donovan Deadman – County of London Sharpshooters
Arthur Dore – Lance Corporal – 4th Royal Berks Regiment
Charles Druce – 2nd Royal Berks Regiment
Cecil B Edwards – 13th County of London (Kensington) Regiment
Bertram Ellis – 28th County of London (Artists’) Regiment
Albert Franklin – Army Service Corps (Mechanical Trans.)
George Franklin – Royal Flying Corps
Jesse Garrett – Royal Berks Regiment
Alfred Grove, RN – HMS Attentive
Thomas Grove, RN – HMS Hampshire
Harry Groves – Royal Berks Regiment
Percy Harris – Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Thomas Hatch – Army Service Corps
Albert Higgs – Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Arthur Horne – Royal Engineers
Harry Hunt – Rifle Brigade (Reported missing since Aug. 26th)
William King – Royal Field Artillery
Alan Lidderdale – Public Schools OTC
Harry Long – Royal Engineers
Archibald Luker, Sergeant, 7th West Surrey (Queen’s) Regiment
William Markham, Sergeant – 1st Royal West Kent (Queen’s Own) Regiment
William North – 3rd Royal Berks Regiment
Albert Owen – Royal Field Artillery
Charles Piercey – 4th Royal Berks Regiment
Gilbert Piercey – Army Service Corps (Mechanical Trans.)
Herbert Prince, Corporal – 3rd Royal Berks Regiment
Frank Sandalls – Royal Army Medical Corps
William Sandalls – 2nd Royal Berks Regiment (Wounded at Mons, but has since rejoined his regiment)
George Skinner – Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry
Albert Stubbles – Royal Engineers
Frederick Tuck – Royal Engineers
George Tuck – Army Service Corps
Harley Vaughan-Morgan – Inns of Court OTC (Invalided)
Scott Ware, Corporal – Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
Harold White – 4th Royal Berks Regiment
Harry White – Army Service Corps (South Midland Brigade)
Herbert Winkworth – 6th Royal Berks Regiment
James Winkworth – 1st Royal Berks Regiment
William Winkworth – Royal Field Artillery
Frederick Woodbridge – 5th Royal Berks Regiment
Harry Woodbridge – 5th Royal Berks Regiment

RIP
George Carter, killed in action September 14th
Robert Carter, killed in action November 13th

Cookham Dean parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Becoming a motorcycle dispatch rider

Apsley Cherry-Garrard considered the prospect of becoming a motorcycle dispatch rider, if his poor eyesight proved adequate.

Sept 18th 1914

Dear Farrer

I have just received a letter from OC Signalling (R. Engineers) Aldershot to join a Signalling Company there as Dispatch Rider which goes to France “fairly shortly”. My eyes have still to be considered, but he says “if your eyes fail you we will find you another job”. So perhaps it will be best to postpone the insurance [refund] – but that I will leave to you. This looks a very good opening & I hope they will take me, being attached to the Regulars.

Yours very sincerely

Apsley Cherry-Garrard

[The Guardian Insurance Co agreed to defer the payment of the premium until he went out again]

Letter from Apsley Cherry-Garrard to Arthur Farrer (D/EHR/Z8/133)