Do the German hear our starlight singing in their distant trenches?

There was much news of soldiers from Maidenhead Congregational Church.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to report that Reginald Hill is so far improving, that he has been able to sit up a little each day. Thomas S. Russell has been called up, and is in training with the Motor Transport Section of the A.S.C. G.C. Frampton after about two hours drill was considered advanced enough for foreign service, and left England for France on May 18th. He is gone into Military Canteen work.

An interesting letter has come to hand from Sidney Eastman, which may justly be described as lengthy, for it is written upon a piece of paper some seven or eight feet long, and covers both sides. It is mostly occupied with a description of his travels and of the sights he has seen, and we are glad to gather that he is in good health and spirits.

G.C. Frampton has been unpatriotic enough to take German measles, and is in Hospital at Etaples. We hope to learn very shortly that he is quite well again.

Alfred Vardy, after a severe bout of pneumonia, caught on his way to the Front in France, is now at a Convalescent Camp in Thetford, gaining strength before returning to duty.

Wilfrid Collins is in hospital at Reading, suffering from heart weakness following upon a severe attack of “Trench fever.”

Reginald Hill has been out of bed for an hour, and is going on satisfactorily, though slowly.

Cyril Hews had a somewhat narrow escape recently. He was out with his motor-bicycle upon a French road during a thunderstorm, when the lightning struck a tree by the road-side, and a large branch fell upon the handlebars of the machine, providentially leaving the rider untouched.

Alfred Lane, after more than a year’s training in the Home Counties’ Engineers at Maidenhead, has been sent over with a draft to France.

Harry Baldwin, having attained the age of 18, and being called up, has elected to enter the Navy, and will probably enter a Training School.

One of our young men, who took an active part in the Messines victory, writes:

“Rather a good sight yesterday. I attended with my men a very large open-air drum-head Church Parade Service, as a sort of Thanksgiving Service for our recent great victory. A large number of Welshmen were present, and it really was great to hear these fellows sing “Aberystwith” and “St. Mary,” accompanied by a band.”

The papers, by the way, have been recently telling us that in all the Welsh regiments there are “glee parties,” who sing under the stars, until the Germans must hear and perhaps wonder, in their more or less distant trenches.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, June 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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Bread and butter, yes! real butter at khaki socials

Reading Congregational Church reports on another winter’s worth of entertaining soldiers.

KHAKI SOCIALS

Now that the Khaki Socials have ended for the season, a short report may be of interest to those who read the magazine.

The winter season started on Sunday October 8th 1916, and continued every Sunday until May 6th 1917, a total (including Good Friday) of 32 Socials. At first they were not attended as well as could be expected, but after a while they became more widely known, and many nights the room has been quite crowded. The average attendance for the season was about sixty soldiers, besides others who came in as “friends”.

One of the chief features of the socials has been the refreshments, which were always appreciated by the Khaki boys, especially the thin pieces of bread and butter, yes! real butter.

The singing of the Fellowship Hymns was much enjoyed, special favourites being “All Hail the Power”, “Fight the Good Fight” and “Lead, kindly Light”, which were often selected by the men themselves, and couldn’t they sing, too!

The “tone” of the concerts was well maintained throughout the season, thanks to the various kind friends who have rendered help in this way.

The financial side of the Socials has been rather heavy, on account of the extra cost of foodstuffs. Consequently there is a deficit of several pounds.

The average cost per social was about 12/-, and it is estimated that nearly 2.000 Tommies attended and received refreshments during the season, so the committee cannot be accused of “over-feeding” at any rate.

There is now a splendid opportunity for two or three generous friends to send along their donations to wipe off the deficiency.

It would take too much space to say what I should like to say about all the friends who have helped so splendidly; but there are two or three who certainly should be mentioned. First is our Minister, Mr Rawlinson, who has presided on most nights, and has done more than anyone to cheer and brighten the meetings. It is not everyone who, after a strenuous day’s work, would undertake this extra work, but Mr Rawlinson has done it and done it cheerfully. Then Mr and Mrs J Ford and Mrs Witcombe, the “Food Controllers”, must be mentioned for their splendid services. Always behind the scenes, yet always on the spot and ready. They never once failed to supply even the “sugar”. Then our best thanks are due to one who, although not on the committee, has done good work as welcomer and door keeper. I refer to Mr J Owen. Some of the men got quite used to his welcome “how a-r-r-e you?”, especially the “Welsh Boys”.

What we should have done without Mrs Dracup and Miss Green in the musical department of the work, it is difficult to think. They have been a real help, and each deserves the silver medal for “services rendered”.

Besides those mentioned, the Khaki Socials Committee consisted of the following, all of whom have done their share of the work:
Mr Nott, Mrs Hendey, Mrs Woolley, Mr and Mrs Tibble, Mr A S Hampton and Mr Swallow, Mr Hendey as treasurer, and Mr W A Woolley as secretary.

The same committee has been re-elected to arrange Garden Parties, River Trips, etc, for the wounded soldiers during the summer months. Friends wishing to help in this good work should communicate with the secretary, who will be pleased to book up dates and make arrangements.

W A Woolley

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

“No better discipline or anything of that sort, I hope”

Percy Spencer wrote to Florence asking for some
Lysol petroleum jelly, an antiseptic. He had recently attended a dinner with old comrades, which had both tragic and comic elements.

May 3, 1917
My dear WF

This is just a few scrambled lines, mostly to ask for things.

I should very much like a tube of Lysall [Lysol] petroleum jelly, or a small bottle of Lysall and some phospherine tablets.

Also some ink to fit my box.

If I have any merino underwear or any shirts, I should like them please!

I’m sorry I can’t think of anything more to ask just now!

Well, I saw the Big Brass Hat yesterday and he said “H’m yes” 3 times, so I expect I’m in for something pretty bad – probably a month’s training in the trenches – or “something worth boiling out in it”.

We had a first rate dinner the night before last – the surviving officers & sergeants of my old Battalion, numbered just 18, 15 of whom were present. It was a right good evening, tho’ it had its tragic side.

By the way I am the only original member of the staff left: also I am the only remaining Staff Clerk in the Division who came out with us. The only original Quartermaster in the Division (of my old Battalion) was at the dinner. In fact so many of us were the only remaining something or other, we felt quite lonely.

Well, dear girl, I’m sending you the souvenir of that event. “Pat” enlisted as a private tho’ in private life he is Paterson of the Home Office – head of the Prisons of England – a fine man with a grand head. Dear old RSM Fisler’s speech was too funny. Private Pat, Corporal Pat, Sergeant Pat & 2nd Lt Pat of No. 4 Platoon was the well beloved of this Battalion of rough lads, and the fine old RSM ran himself high & dry on the rock of affection for the battalion idol: “that’s about all I’ve got to say, I think, sir”, he concluded lamely after a long pause.

The Sergeant Cook was pressed to sing – everyone knew he wanted to sing, and what he wanted to sing, and what he would sing – still he announced as he reluctantly rose to his feet, it would be a sad song. Nobody said, “We know; it’s going to be “Speak not ‘er nime”, tho’ everyone knew that “Speak not ‘er nime” it would be notwithstanding the cheering effect of a [bumper?] of port & Kummel shandy the worthy fellow had mixed for himself under the impression the harmless looking liquor was a sort of Perrier.

And so the evening passed. We talked of the St Albans days & the early days out here, of this good fellow and that, of a stout hearted Sergeant who wouldn’t be put off his game by enemy shelling before the battle of Loos – “What’s that?” exclaimed a jumpy platoon sergeant as a crump landed near. “Spades trumps” replied the other, and as the next one landed even nearer, “Clubs laid, your turn to play.”

But always we got back to Pat – to the early days out here, when as a Lance Corporal he “borrowed” the transport officer’s mount and a local landau & drove his “boys” out, only to run into the Divisional General. Of the Divisional General’s wrath & enquiry as to disciplinary action taken, & the CO’s reply – “This NCO has been promoted to Corporal”.

And I reminded him of the day when talking to the RSM he passed by en route for the guard room, there to comfort one of his platoon with all the food & illegal things he could buy.

Oh, the discipline of No 4 was awful, but they’d follow Pat anywhere.
Pat had to go away for a long time – upon returning he asked how things were with No. 4. “Oh, they’ve gone downhill fast, sir, since you left”. “No better discipline or anything of that sort, I hope”, Pat enquired anxiously. “Oh no” replied his informant in a horrified tone.

And now this same Pat is our Divisional Lecturer on “Discipline”.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/33-35)

Shells laming horses

Wounded soldiers visiting Bisham Abbey gave Florence Vansittart Neale information about the war.

16 April 1917

Went to Engineers’ camp to see dug outs & trenches…

Wounded came for afternoon. Nice set – usual games & singing. All enjoyed themselves. Edie & Mary came.

One of the wounded from church told me we could have taken Bapaume before Xmas but the French Government stopped us to save the town – now the Germans have destroyed it.

Hear [illegible] casualty to horses 10,000 in 3 days! Germans leave shells with sharp points that get into the hoofs & lame them.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

We try to keep the home fires burning

The vicar of Reading St John had a New Year’s message for men from his parish who were serving their country.

TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Dear Brothers,

I have been given the privilege of writing the few lines that shall be our message from the parish in the homeland to you as the old year passes and the new year comes. If there ever were a time when the biggest words of goodwill and greeting could be given in absolute sincerity, then it is now from us at home to you whom we would hope to see here also during the coming year. But as this is to be our New Year’s card to you I suppose it should have a motto. Let it be this, which I think expresses the best desires of most Englishmen today:

“Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my Arrows of desire!
Bring me my Spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

So are we trying to do what you used in a different way to ask us to do in the song you used to sing: “Keep the home fires burning”.

With every good wish throughout 1917.

Your sincere friend

R W Morley

THE INSTITUTE.

Just as we go to press news comes that the Military are assuming entire control of the Institute. It may still be possible for us to hold one more important meeting in the Large Hall, but a large amount of re-arrangement in our Parochial Programme will be necessary. As early notice as possible will be given to all concerned.

Reading St. John parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

Wounded Australians visit Bisham Abbey

A group of wounded Australians came for an afternoon at Bisham Abbey.

29 September 1916
Dull day, some rain. Party of 17 Australian wounded came in afternoon about 3. Saw over house – had large tea in drawing room with maids. Miss Billyard Leake brought them! Maisie came & sang. Sapper Jones! Also. Left about 6.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“He loved life with all his heart”

A Windsor hero made the ultimate sacrifice, and the church magazine responded with a heartfelt portrait of the young man behind the record.

Charles James Henry Goodford.

Only a few weeks ago he was here in Windsor. He had come to receive the Military Cross which he had won by an act of splendid heroism. And many of us saw him and rejoiced with him at the honour which had come to himself and to those who loved him. Only a few weeks ago he was kneeling at the altar of All Saints Church on the very morning of his return to France.

And now with a shock we realise that we shall never see him on earth again. He has made the supreme sacrifice; he has heard the call and has responded to it even unto death.

Those who have always known him are not surprised. And all of us who knew him at all remember how at the outbreak of the war he was eager, and anxious, to share in the mighty struggle that lay before this land and empire. Then followed the brief course at Sandhurst, and before we realised that such a thing was possible we heard that he had gone to the Front.

That was eighteen months back- a brief space indeed, but marked with high distinction.

The Military Cross was the symbol of something more than one heroic act. From the first he showed, and he always showed, the ability and the temper of a true soldier. The letters which have come from those who were with him in France are a striking testimony to this. These are the words of a brother officer:

“No one in the regiment is mourned more than he by both officers and men. It is not an empty saying, everybody loved him.”

If this were all it would be more than worth saying. But it is not the whole of the story. Something must be said – and how much might be said – from the point of view of that which matters most of all- character.

He was so thoroughly human. This was seen in his love of his home, his garden, his pursuits and his school. And some of us will never forget the attractive boyishness of the pride with which he opened the case in which it lay and showed us the Military Cross. He loved life with all his heart and longed that, if it were God’s will, he might be spared to come through.

But behind all this was his strong and simple trust in God which bore the fruit of singleness of heart, loyalty of honour and truth, and purity of soul. He had realised the power of prayer in his spiritual life, and the knowledge that we were praying for him, and for others, at home was the joy and inspiration of days of danger and difficulty. He loved to think of us in Church on Sundays and to repeat the hymns which he thought that we perhaps were singing. He was specially helped just before he went into action for the last time by the closing verse of “Christ in Flanders.”-

“Though we forget You, You will not forget us,
But stay with us until this dream is past;
And so we ask for courage, strength and pardon,
Especially, I think, we ask for pardon,
And that You’ll stand beside us at the last.”

And when the strange experience came to him, as it must to us all, it was put to pass into the nearer presence of One Whom he had long since tried to serve and learned to love.

We cannot think of him as dead. We know that he lives and we doubt not that in the great unseen there will be grander, nobler work for him to do.

Our hearts go out to those who loved him most.

We cannot ever tell them how we care, how we sympathise. But we shall never cease to pray that the passing years may bring to them, more and more, the certainty of the abiding presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, a growing realisation of the communion of saints, and the vision of the many mansions wherein, in God’s time, His people shall know that they have not waited nor longed in vain.

Grant unto him, O Lord, eternal rest
And let eternal light shine upon him.

E.M.B.

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/5)

The only thing the soldier never seems to do is to ‘rest’

Army chaplain T Guy Rogers describes how he encouraged the soldiers to attend his services in their spare time.

My Dear Friends,
June 15th 1916.

Would it surprise you to hear that your Chaplain has become a Hun! Only temporarily and to oblige, morally or immutably. Do not be shocked nor repudiate him as your representative! It was only at manoeuvres to swell the skeleton army opposed to the British. A well delivered smoke bomb soon put him out of action. He has since returned to his allegiance with a profound respect for the élan of the British Infantry.

This is a glimpse of how we spend our time when we are ‘at rest’- a phrase which makes the soldier smile. Marches, attacks, drill, occupy our attention. Bath parade and ‘foot parade’ and kit parade and gas helmet parade are arranged as pleasant little interludes. The only thing the soldier never seems to do is to ‘rest’ in the loose sense in which it is so often employed of slacking or doing nothing. When the Commanding Officer is done with him, and the Medical Officers’ fever for inoculation is spent, and the Sergeant-Major has ceased from troubling, he organizes himself for cricket and football and rounders.

Finally, he has the Chaplain to reckon with! It is he who comes along smiling and debonair with a haversack slung across his shoulders (concealing beneath his gay exterior a nervousness which is often acute); ‘What about a service, men,’ he says, ‘on the grass under the trees before the cricket and football begin – just twenty minutes. I’ve got hymn sheets with our favourite hymns – what do you say?’ And they come of their own free will – at first slowly, gradually overcoming their inertia, but gathering force and numbers as they get under way and at last singing with heartiness and animation which shows the interruption is not resented.

In the midst of all this happy open air life there suddenly comes an order that we are wanted somewhere. We are all whirled away in motor buses a distance of twenty miles and we are in the midst of stern realities again.

Remember all our brave men recalled thus suddenly to the line.

Your sincere friend,
T. GUY ROGERS.

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

Empire Day celebrated with earnestness

On 24 May 1916 Berkshire schools celebrated Empire Day and used it to encourage pupils’ patriotism – except in Bracknell, where they were stymied by a storm.

Bracknell

We were unable to keep any public celebration of Empire Day at the School. This was partly because in the recent gales our flag staff was blown down and broken. Is there any patriotic person who would come forward and present us with a new one? The flag is an important feature in the celebration of Empire Day, and we really need to be able to fly our flag on suitable occasions. What shall we do on the happy day when Peace is declared if we have no flag staff?

Winkfield

EMPIRE DAY was observed as usual at our Schools. In the presence of the Managers and a few friends the children sang very sweetly a song saluting the flag and the infants gave a very credible patriotic recitation.

The Vicar spoke on briefly on the importance of all – children as well as grown up people – “doing their bit” in the way of sacrifice, if we are to win this war and help write a great and glorious chapter in our History, and he gave each child a leaflet entitled “What you can do for your Country” in which children are reminded that if our Empire is to continue great, it will be through the character and sense of duty of those still at school.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1916
Empire Day.

The School was opened this morning with prayer as usual, but instead of Hymn, the National Anthem was sung.

The Headmaster then gave an address to the children on “Empire Day” and this was amplified later in the Classrooms by the Class Teachers, who gave addresses on Empire, Our Colonies, The Union Jack, The Army and Navy.

Composition and Transcription Exercises were given bearing on the subjects taught in the lesson.

At 11.20 the children assembled again in the Hall, the National Flag was saluted and Patriotic songs were sung.

At 12 o’clock the school closed for the day.

Warfield CE School
24th May 1916

Empire Day was celebrated today with earnestness after an address on the unity of the allies. Special war prayers form a part of the proceedings the national anthem was sung, the scholars marched and saluted the flag and seemed to realise the act of patriotism and the need of gratitude to god for the unity of the nations, the combined efforts of both soldiers, sailors and workers, and the need for their weekly act of self sacrifice by which we are able to send our boys in the war. A small token on festivals we sent 15/6 to the overseas club for food for our prisoners in Germany.

All Saint’s Infant School, Reading
24th May 1916

The Time Table was not adhered to this morning. The children assembled in the playground, saluted the flag and sang patriotic songs. Many parents came to see them. A half holiday was given in the afternoon.

Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School
24th May 1916

Being Empire Day, the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted, by all the children, many of whom wore the colours. The lessons during the morning were on Empire Day.

St Michael’s CE Mixed School, Sunninghill
24th May 1916

Empire Day. Empire Lessons given & flags saluted. No holiday, on account of the War.

Crazies Hill CE School, Wargrave

Empire Day was observed as usual by the Day School. The children assembled in Church, at 9.30, and after the service gave a performance of drill in the Recreation ground. They then returned to the School House where patriotic songs were sung and a short address was delivered. The saluting of the Union Jack and distribution of buns concluded the proceedings.

Basildon CE School
24th May 1916

The children bought their pennies for the Over Seas Club which provided tobacco and cigarettes for the troops.

Bracknell and Winkfield sections of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6); Cookham Alwyn Road School log book (88/SCH/18/1, p. 273); Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 343); Reading: All Saints Infant School log book (89/SCH/19/2, p. 208); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6, p. 178); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School log book (88/SCH/32/3); Wargrave parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P145/28A/31); Basildon CE School log book (90/SCH/16/1, p. 414)

Songs of a patriotic and martial character

Wargrave children both entertained wounded soldiers and raised money for them.

The Children’s Concerts

The Concerts annually given by the Scholars of the Piggott Schools, took place on Friday, May 5th. There were large audiences, both in the afternoon and evening. At the afternoon performance, the Soldiers from the Hospital who were well enough to attend, were present. The spectacle of the united choruses, numbering about 75 children, who were massed on the platform when the curtain was raised, was a very pleasing one. The opening chorus “Welcome good people” was well received, and for two hours the young performers ably sustained their various parts: One item following another in quick succession. The recitations were very amusing and given with clear enunciation, the songs were lively and of a patriotic and martial character, while the dances were cleverly done by nine couples of the smaller children and sixteen of the elder girls, Mr. Healey very kindly officiated as accompanist.

After defraying expenses, the sum of seven guineas was sent to the Hospital for Wounded Soldiers, and a letter of thanks to the children was received from Mrs. Victor Rhodes, the Commandant.

Votes of thanks were proposed in the afternoon by the Vicar and in the evening by Mr. H. F. Nicholl, to Mr. Coleby and the Staff for the admirable work done in coaching the children. It was a delightful entertainment and must have entailed much devoted work from all concerned.

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

“There is no glory in this war except the glory of sacrifice and friendship”

An anonymous army chaplain shared his experiences seeing off troops headed for the front line with the parishioners of Windsor.

A Draft: A Sketch. By a Chaplain to the Forces at the Front.

Mud and rain and darkness! I looked out of my hut. The station was four miles off. My bicycle was heavy. I was not sure that my lamp was in order. I had already got thoroughly wet. Should I give the train a “miss”?

There were five or six hundred men going from “my” camps. Part of my task is to see men off to the Front. Some chaplains do it, and some do not. One gives out Woodbines and Prayer-card from England, one says something. I am usually reduced to saying “Good luck,” even though I do not believe in luck. (more…)

A room full of weary, war-stained men, straight from the trenches

The minister at Trinity Congregational Church reports on his work at a YMCA hut at the Front, serving men getting a temporary respite from trench warfare.

Again we are indebted to Mrs Harrison, who has very kindly furnished us with further details concerning the work of our beloved pastor.

YMCA Hut
Jan. 24th-Feb 16th

We are now really at the Front, and have to be more careful to say nothing except generalities, and those very brief. We are perfectly well and happy, and like the new lot of helpers very much indeed. This hut is always open, so we take it in turns to do night duty. Things are rougher here in many ways than at the base, but the food is excellent, and the work is exactly what we came out to do. I wish it were permitted to tell you more details, but I don’t suppose it will matter your knowing that we are about six miles from the first line of trenches. Yesterday we went for a most interesting walk to within three miles of a famous town, the name of which begins with Y. We stopped by a fine old church whichn was completely wrecked some six weeks ago. Last night I trudged through heavy rain and pitch-dark cobbled streets to address a crowded meeting of men in a Y.M. hut about a mile from here.

They gave me a most attentive and quiet hearing, – it was a great opportunity, I could not have wished for a better. To-night I am going there again to help at a sort of “sing-song” they are having, – as a waiter, not a performer!

We get many chances of talks with the men in the rest-room, and also over the counter while serving them with coffee, etc. It is pathetic to see the big room full of weary, war-stained men, half of them asleep, and the rest half asleep. They come straight in to us from the front trenches, having had nothing to eat all day, but their good temper and quiet kindness to each other and to us, and their evident appreciation of what is done for them, are things to see and remember. We need all the health and strength, and all the other help we can get, for things are decidedly grim just now. We are sleeping in the cellar, and at the first warning of the danger we make tracks for our refuge like rabbits. There is a lot of amusement to be got out of it, and no one could call life out here dull, but what is far more important, is that officers and men speak in a way that would do you good to hear. There is not the slightest doubt about the need for what we are able to do, and of the way in which it is appreciated.

There is no denying that we are in the midst of danger, but it is right that we should face it, and we shall be kept safe. Think of us as utterly content with life, and do not have any thoughts of worry or anxiety on our behalf.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, March 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

We almost forget what the sun looks like

The people of Earley heard from one of its soldiers now serving in France:

Mr Septimus Hawkes writes from France –

We are still in billets, waiting for orders to march to the firing line. We have to be ready to move at two hours notice. We spent a very quiet Christmas, but thought of you all when at Holy Communion, which was held in a small schoolroom in a village nearby. It was so cheering to sing a few of the beautiful old hymns, as it is hard to realise the times out here. We spend most of our time manoeuvring across country, and so get plenty of exercise. We had some sports for the Battalion a few days ago, and they were quite a success in spite of the field in which they were held being under water. We still get plenty of rain and almost forget what the sun looks like.

Earley parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P192/28A/14)

Cheery soldiers and Serbian relief

Residents of Crazies Hill in the parish of Wargrave supported fundraising for our allies in Serbia.

Crazies Hill Notes: Servian Relief Fund

On Wednesday, February 2, a concert was given in the Village Hall on behalf of the above Fund. The performers came from Henley and the programme was arranged by Mr. Chillman of 10, Market Place, Henley. It is interesting to note that Mr. Chillman is a native of Crazies Hill, having been born in our village where he spent the early years of his life.

The concert was a success from every point of view. There must have been close upon two hundred people present, and all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the different items as they were proceeded with. The front rows of seats were reserved for the patients of Parkwood Hospital, and the cheery presence of the soldiers added to the evening’s enjoyment. Although all the performers were amateurs the talent exhibited was above the average. The Pianoforte Solos were listened to with attention. The Recitations of a lady were greatly appreciated; and a Baritone Singer with an exceptionally good voice was deservedly encored. Also a great favourite with the audience was a Soprano Soloist, who was vigorously applauded and repeatedly encored. Of course the comic element was very welcome and met with the reception it undoubtedly deserved. ‘The Funny Man’ produced much laughter. We are very grateful to all the performers. The result of the concert, £3 16s. 11d. has been forwarded to the Treasurer of the Fund.

Concert at Crazies Hill Village Hall,
On February 2nd, 1916

£ s. d.
Sale of Tickets 2 14 11
Taken at door 1 6 6
Sale of Programmes 0 8 0

Total 4 9 5

Hire of Hall 0 5 0
Refreshments for Performers 0 5 0
Cleaner 0 2 6
Handed over to Serbians’ Fund 3 16 11

Total 4 9 5.

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

A sumptuous tea

Wounded soldiers invited to tea at Trinity Church in Queen’s Road contributed to their own entertainment.

Wounded Soldiers Tea

On December 15th we had the pleasure of entertaining about 45 patients from Redlands War Hospital. By the kindness of the Tramways Manager, a special car was provided, which brought our guests to Trinity soon after two o’clock.

Various games – cards, bagatelle, dominoes, draughts, were indulged in with evident enjoyment until 4.15, when we all sat down to a sumptuous tea. Soon, a very festive appearance was presented, as crackers were pulled, and soldiers and lady-helpers alike donned the fanciful headgear.

After tea, songs were contributed by various friends, and two most interesting turns were provided by Private Fielding, A.S.C, who, accompanied on the piano by Private Barraclough, A.S.C., played first with bones, and then upon the rather unusual instruments – four wine glasses.

Flowers, magazines, and fruit were given to the men as they left, to give to those in hospital who were unable to be present.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, February 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)