Conspicuous bravery

A member of Reading’s Broad Street Church was awarded a medal.

The news that our friend, 2nd Lieut. Victor Smith, had won the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery at the Battle of Arras, has caused considerable pleasure throughout our whole community. Lieut. Smith has a host of friends and well-wishers at Broad Street, who hold him in the highest regard for his own sake, as well as for his work’s sake. They rejoice in his new honour. I wish to offer heartiest possible congratulations to Lieut. Smith and our earnest hope and prayer that he may be spared for many years to enjoy his new distinction….

Sunday June 17th is the day fixed for the Annual Choir Festival this year, when special music will be rendered by the choir at both morning and evening worship…

For many years now the members of the choir have been entertained to a River Trip, the expenses incurred being met, in large part, by the collections taken at the Festival. This year, owing to the conditions brought about by the war, they have decided to forego this outing. Instead they propose to invite a number of wounded soldiers to a Garden Party at which tea will be served and a concert provided. The cost of this entertainment will be more than usual, as it will be impossible to invite friends to buy tickets and thus share the expense.

We feel sure that the congregation will appreciate this patriotic desire of the choir members, and encourage them in their good work by giving generously to the collections.

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

“Doing our best to be worthy of being the cadets of one of the most famous regiments in His Majesty’s Army”

The Church Lads’ Brigade offered training for teenage boys which in many cases led to heroic actions as adults at the Front.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE CADETS

We had a very good Field Day at Streatley on Whit-Monday. The Battalion turned up in good strength, and some useful skirmishing practice was got through on the Downs, an ideal spot for such work.
On Saturday, June 9th, the Annual Battalion Marching Competition was held. By kind permission of the Headmaster of Reading School, the various Companies assembled in the School Quad, and under the management of Sergeant-Major Green, were quickly got into due order for inspection. Colonel Melville, RAMC, very kindly came over from Aldershot to judge the competition, and expressed himself as quite astonished at the efficiency of the lads and highly delighted with the whole arrangements and the esprit de corps displayed by the teams. We congratulate our friends the Caversham Company on winning the Shield, our Earley lads were a very close third.

The arrangements for Whit-Monday and the Marching Competition were very ably carried out by the Acting Adjutant, Capt. H A Smith-Masters, who has just received his commission as a Chaplain in the Army. We congratulate him, and shall miss his help very much. He is the fourth Adjutant we have had since the war began, and all four are now serving in the Forces.

Our Captain, Corporal C J O’Leary, MTASC, received some rather severe scalds while rescuing a comrade from a motor which went wrong, and has been in hospital in France, but we are glad to say he is now much better again.

The following Army Order has filled us with pleasure and determination to try and do our best to be worthy of being the cadets of one of the most famous regiments in His Majesty’s Army:

“ARMY ORDER 128, 1917.

The Army Orders for April contain one of the most epoch-making which has ever been issued in respect of the CLB. It runs thus:

‘The recognised Cadet Battalions of the Church Lads’ Brigade are affiliated to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.’

We hope that every member of the CLB will appreciate the honour of belonging to the famous 60th, and that this will be one more incentive to obtain even a higher standard than the CLB has ever attained before.

The great fact is accomplished, and we hope by it the future of the CLB is assured, and that an adequate safeguard of all its religious training and ideal is achieved.”

Having passed the required examinations, the following lads have been promoted as stated: Corporals F Ansell and C Downham to be Sergeants; Private M Smith to be Lance-Corporal.

The body of one of our old members, Frank Snellgrove, who has been missing for months, has been discovered by a Chaplain in France, and reverently buried with full Christian rites. We offer our deepest sympathy to his people, who have thus lost their only son.

H. Wardley King [the curate]

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Food ships from America

John Maxwell Image was hopeful that food restrictions might soon be a thing of the past now that the USA was a fully fledged ally.

29 Barton Road
3 June ‘17

Mon frere

Here’s a good news [sic] though (so it be true) which I heard yesterday from young Mike Foster’s American wife – the town holds no other such causeuse – she is a good deal too in the know, and she is quite recently back from the States – well, she told me that things are moving so briskly that by July 1st the American foodships will be coming over to Europe two or three every day…

With all love
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

A successful cookery lesson

Women in Bisham took cookery lessons to help with the new food restrictions.

22 May 1917

Mrs Smith gave first demonstration cooking lesson to 8. Very successful.

We getting on successfully along Western Front.

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

Cambridge is crammed with cadets

The Image cats’ joy at the effect of food restrictions on their own diet, mentioned by John Maxwell Image on 13 February, inspired his wife Florence to write a comic article. It became her first publication when it appeared in Punch. Dr Image also noted sadly that all the new undergraduates were international students, all the British school leavers having joined up.

6 May 1917
My dearest old man

Cambridge is crammed with cadets. There are also youths in caps and gowns. I saw some in the Great Court when I dined last in Hall – alas not one English face above the white collars.

Your kind congratters on “Rations” pleased the Signora greatly. This morning she had a letter from her brother at the Front containing the compliments of the Mess to whom he had, dutifully, read it – and about three day ago another brother, in another part of France, vowed that the Punch so stuck out his pocket that he went about gingerly, fearing a reprimand for the misfit of his tunic. How fond the brothers are of her!

Tuissimus
JMI

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

“Confident that he would return safely, but God saw otherwise”

Two Newbury clergymen volunteered to serve as army chaplains, while soldiers from the town were reported killed. Another man returned disabled.

The Director General of National Service has entrusted the Archbishops and Bishops with the task of finding out what the clergy can undertake in this direction, and the Rural Dean of Newbury a short time ago held a meeting of clergy to discuss it.

The Rev. H C Roberts has felt it to be his duty to volunteer for a Military Chaplaincy, and his name has been sent up to the Chaplain General of the forces. We congratulate Mr Roberts upon his patriotic action, though we shall very much miss him in the parish if he is accepted; and we hope it may be possible for him to return to Newbury when the war is over. It will interest the parishioners to hear that the name of the Rev. A H D Newbold has also been sent up by his Rural Dean for a Military Chaplaincy. When Mr Roberts leaves us, there may have to be some alteration in the services of the church.

We offer our sincere sympathy to Mrs Albert Nailor on the death of her husband in action, and to the wife and father and mother of Richard Smith, also killed in action. He is another of our old choir boys who has laid down his life for his country. He had been home on leave, and had returned to the front full of his usual good spirits, quite confident that he would return safely, but God saw otherwise. We are glad to have Albert Hill back in Newbury with his honourable loss, and we hope that, when he is fitted out, he will be able to return to his former occupation.

Let us redouble our prayers on behalf of our nation’s cause, and for all those who are fighting for her by sea or land or air. This is our best war service.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

Easter cards to our men

Cranbourne parish made sure its soldiers were not forgotten at Easter.

More than 60 Easter Cards were sent to our men serving in His Majesty’s Forces. Mr James Smith very kindly obtained many addresses.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

We are not fighting the German nation

John Maxwell Image reminds us all that the war was not really against the German people, but against their leaders, the militarised Prussian aristocracy (the ‘Junkers’) and royal family.

29 Barton Road
3 April ‘17

I should like to announce that we are fighting Hohenzollerns and the Junker Oligarchy – not the German nation.

Your affect.
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Conscientious objectors honoured

It is unusual to see a conscientious objector listed on a church’s roll of honour.

Spencer’s Wood Roll of Honour.

Tom Allen, Canadian.
Cpl. W. Appleby, R.B.
*Edward Beales, R.B.
Alfred Beken, R.F.A.
*Arthur Bradfield,R.B.
*Archie Butler, Territorials.
Fred Card, R.E.
Charlie Clacey, R.N.
Tom Clements, R.F.C.
Will Clements, A.S.C.
Ted Clements, R.F.A.
Frank Cocks, R.B.
Charlie Cocks, R.B.
Harry Coffill, R.N.
Charlie Day, R.B.
Dick Day, Devon Regt.
Jacob Didcock, R.N.
Cpl. Fred Didcock.
Sgt. W.Doherty, Man. Regt.
*Jim Double, R.E.
Percy Double, R.B.
Chappie Double, R.B.
Sgt. Kenneth Eggleton, A.M.C.
E. Eggleton.
E. Foster, R.E.
Sgt. Hawkins, R.B.
Reginald Jewell. R.B. (wounded).
Reginald Lee, R.A.M.C.
Edgar Lee, R.E.
Wilfred Lowe, R.F.C.
Leonard Luckwell, Coldstream Guards.
Walter Luckwell, R.F.A.
A. Marcham, R.B.
A.H. Marcham, R.B.
Jolly Middleton.
Arthur Middleton.
Sydney Middleton, R.F.C.
Harry Moss, A.S.C.
Arthur Moss, A.S.C.
Albert Povey, R.B.
William Povey, R.B. (prisoner of war).
– Sloper (C. objector).
Fred Swain, A.S.C.
Bert Swain, A.S.C.
Leonard Swain, Coldstream Guards.
S. Tiller.
*Alfred Watkins, Canadian.
George Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Edwin Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Charles Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Sgt. Wallace Webb, C.C.
Stanley Webb, R.F.A.
Lieut. William Wheeler, C.Dr.
Owen Wheeler, R.E.
Lce-Cpl. H. Wheeler, R.B.
*Laurie White, R.N.
Frank Wilson, R.F.A.
William Wilson, R.B.
Fred Wiseman, East Kent.

*Has made the supreme sacrifice for King and Country.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

“Wounded no less than three times”

Men connected with All Saints’ Church and its choir were serving their country.

All Saints’ District
Choir

We feel sure that members of the congregation will like to see the following list of members of the Choir who are serving with His Majesty’s forces.

Lieut. C. Atkinson – R.N.A.S.
Sergt. J. C. Hinton – Royal BERKS
Sergt. W. H. Clemetson
Sergt. H.E. Hopcraft – A.S.C.
Sergt. W.Smith – Devons.
Pte. F.R. Johnson – Royal Berks.
Pte. H.N. Gaze – R.F.C.

We are glad to welcome to the Choir Lance-Corporal A. Beedson, of the Royal Warwicks, and Pte. S. Baron, of the Devon Regiment, who have kindly volunteered to give us their help during their stay in Reading.

In addition to the above it will be remembered that our Verger, Pte. J. Mundy, is serving with the Royal Veterinary Corps in France, and that our Organ-blower, Pte. A .H. Maskell, who served in the Royal Berks Regiment and has now been transferred to the Essex Regiment, has been wounded no less than three times. We congratulate him and Sergeants Hinton and Clemetson on their recovery from wounds.

Our Congratulations to Company Sergt-Major S. C. Nowlan, Yorks and Lancs Regiment, of 46 Somerstown, who has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

The horrors of winter war are over now

Spring was welcomed by John Maxwell Image, who sympathised with his brother in law Percy Spencer at the front, and was amused by wife Florence’s enthusiastic adoption of a potato allotment.

29 Barton Road
18 March ‘17

[Talking about his house]
Just at the garden’s paling lay an expanse of grassy fen, belonging to King’s College. It was indeed a godsend to this house as extending our outlook, our privacy and air freshness. Well – this glorious mead has been cut up into potato allotments! Crediti posteri. Florence (as full of energy as yourself) applied for one; as did most of the Varsity people around us: and has got 10 poles, which come close up to our palings. I declined anything to do with it…. It will give her plenty of fun, anyhow – though tillage by our old gardener at 4/6 per diem won’t speak for economy, I fear. Our two tall athletic Abigails are to take in turn the spade-culture. Indeed the whole scene is a lovely one, as beheld from our upper windows, male and female, old and young, rich and poor and each busy and toiling.

The winter happily is over. It will be spring campaigning. Iam ver appetebat cum Hannibal… The horrors of winter war. I remember a bit in one of Florrie’s brother’s letters, where he spoke of “the terrific bounds of red hot lumps of metal off the frozen surface of the road a few yards away from me”!!

Our best wishes and love to you both
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Khaki chit-chat

There was plenty of news of men belonging to a Congregational church in east Reading.

Khaki Chit-Chat.

Friends will be pleased to hear that Segt. Leslie Smith, who lies in hospital at Stourbridge, is now making very good progress. I believe I am right when I say that he received his wounds as far back as three months ago. The injury to his ankle has been proving rather seriously troublesome, and that, combined with the low state to which his general health sank, gave grave cause for anxiety about a month ago. Since then, however, bad news has turned to good, and good, which we hope will yet grow better.

Sergt. Gilbert Smith, his brother, arrived home last month on leave, to the joy of his family circle and his friends. We congratulate him upon looking so well, and trust that good fortune will continue with him.

We are sorry to hear through Mrs. Jordan that our caretaker has been in hospital recently with frost-bite. This is not altogether surprizing when one remembers that the weather in France where our men are is not one whit less severe than it is at home here. We are glad he is out of hospital again, and hope he will get the boots he needs. If he doesn’t, then we hope that next time he will be invalided home for a spell.

Sergt. Taylor, son of Mr. A Taylor, of Bishops Road, is at present in a hospital in Scotland, going through the slow process of recovering from shrapnel wounds. We sympathize with his home people and especially his wife, in their feeling that to be so far north means that he is just as much out of reach as he would have been had he been kept in France.

Mr. Taylor, of Talfourd Avenue, has been home on leave recently from Salonika. It was extremely unfortunate that he happened to be so unwell for a great part of his visit here. Better luck next time, or rather let us hope that when next he returns it will be for good.

Leslie Newey is “joining up” the 1st of March. We admire his eagerness to follow his brother’s steps, but hope for several reasons that he will be disappointed in his desire to get to France.

Mr. Goddard wrote from Bedford the other day a cheering and encouraging letter to the Sunday School, in he stated that he is taking a class in the Sunday School there. A man who can do that when he joins the army and leaves home is “keeping fit” in more senses than one.

Sergt. Jones, son-in-law of Mr. Lindsey, is in one of our local hospitals undergoing treatment for his right arm, we regret to say that the degree of future usefulness of this unfortunate limb is a matter of uncertainty. There is ground for hope, however, and we trust that the best possible will be eventually be realized.

We were glad to see Mr Planner and Mr. Clement Tregay looking so well during their recent visits home. Mr. Watkins has also been home recently on leave. The first and last of these are now “somewhere in France,” as is also Mr Thomas who, we hoped, was destined to stay in the old country.

Mr. T. Brown is at present enjoying the gentler climate of Lower Egypt.

Jess Prouten is still in Mesopotamia, and I believe would be glad to hear oftener from old Reading friends.

Old friends of Park will be pleased to hear of the visit of a certain man in khaki to the Institute the other day. He was an Australian on leave (Tom Vinicombe, an old scholar of the Sunday School), and he explained his appearance by saying that he thought he would like to have a look at the place where he had spent such happy times as a boy.

Recently our Week-night Services have been rather changing in their character. The subjects taken are matters of general interest and they are treated from the strictly Christian and spiritual point of view. Among those dealt with hitherto have been “The Local Controversy on Spiritualism,” “President Wilson’s Attitude and Ideals,” “The Work of British Women in France,” and “The Housing Problem in the Light of the War.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Cats bless food restrictions

John Maxwell Image wrote to his old friend W F Smith with news of how food rationing was affecting his household, including the pets cats, formerly fed on scraps and leftovers, but now treated to tasty offal not fit for human consumption. Lord Devonport was the Government Food Controller. More sadly, Rudolph Cecil Hutchinson, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, had been exceptionally severely wounded at the Battle of Loos back in 1915. After over a year’s suffering, he finally died in Cambridge in February 1917. He seems to have been generally known as Cecil. A memoir of him was published privately in 1918 and can be downloaded free.

29 Barton Road
13 Feb. ‘17

Praeclarissime EMY


The Signora … is away at a Newnham College concert, with a fair Marylander, youthful spouse of a Trinity MA, who on his part has been spirited off to scientific War Work at L’pool…

Well, as for Devonport, she accepted him enthusiastically. The hosue is put on rations of bread, meat and sugar – and so cannily that I can’t discover any difference. Helen and Ann, two excellent sisters, are devoted to their mistress’s will. Joe and Binnie bless Devonport all day, for, obviously, the house-meat cannot any longer be cast to the cats: so special supplied – I trust not 5 lb weekly – of lights and such like dainties come in for their use and behoof. Their little barrels bulge – and the 2 tails are rolling pins for size.

We have for many months baked our own bread – the best standard bread I ever ate! 12 lbs of flour produces a long loaf each day, which is bisected each morning, one half for the parlour and one for the kitchen. Helen, who is the surgeon, rigorously adheres to the Devonport law, and always I see some over on our table at night. The only difficulty is there being so very, very little flour for puddings. I don’t mind, and the petticoats don’t grouse….

We had a military funeral in Trinity this morning. A BA Lieut. There must have been over 100 troops – the coffin on a gun carriage, draped with the Union Jack. The first part of the service in Chapel at 11.45. And then the procession – band playing (very poorly) the Dead March went down Trin. St and Trin. Lane, through the Paddocks. Rudolph Cecil Hopkinson, Lieut. RE – died of wounds on Feb. 9th.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

A board of enquiry looks at boots

Some army suppliers provided substandard equipment.

1917
January 12th

Battalion order 64. Major Smith, myself & Stimpson on a board of enquiry re condition of 14 pairs boots received from Norwich Depot!

Diary of Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/12)

Thankful recognition of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country

The Bishop of Oxford urged Berkshire people to take part in the Day of National Prayer on 31 December.

Wokingham

Day of National Prayer.

The following announcement is made by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York:-

In accordance with what was done throughout England on the first Sunday of the years 1915 and 1916, it is proposed that in the Cathedrals and parish churches of England on Sunday, December 31st next, special prayer should be offered in connection with the war, and thankful recognition made of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country.

Reading

December 31st

The last day in the year will be observed as a day of special prayer and thanksgiving in connection with the War. The collections at all the services will be given to the Red Cross Society and the Order of the Society of S. John of Jerusalem, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Archbishop.

Earley

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the December Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies, and especially for the Roumanians [sic] and the Belgians…
For the day of prayer concerning the war (December 31st).

THE DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE NATION AT WAR

December 31st has been fixed as a day of prayer. You will not need material to help your devotion, as, I think, we have sufficient. But, as the strain of the war increases and there are no signs of the end, we need to be more than ever faithful and importunate in common prayer.

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Victor Jennings, Charles Bowden, Walter Ravening, Cecil Ravening, William Parsons, Joseph Cane, Frederick Brooker, Percy Brooker, Henry Furnell, Charles Smith, Frederick Smithers.

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

Sick: Frederick Allen, William Worsfold.
Killed: Stephen Ravening, Arthur Furnell, Frank Furnell, Thomas Brooker, Albert Hall.
Missing: Allan Smit.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P98/28A/14); Earley parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/12)