“We are truly sorry to lose from our midst one from whom we expected much in coming days”

After all the dangers of war it was illness which felled one returning soldier.

CONDOLENCE

We much regret to have to record the death of Mr Frank W. Snell of 22 Eldon Road. Our friend had not long been demobilised. He was on active service for a considerable time in France, and was seriously wounded in the head and face. There can be no doubt whatever that the brief illness to which he succumbed was due to this cause. We are truly sorry to lose from our midst one from whom we expected much in coming days, and we tender our sincerest sympathy to his parents, and the other members of his family, in their sore bereavement.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A cordial “welcome home”

Reading soldiers were coming home.

We have been glad to see Lieutenant W. D. Hart, MC, once more in his old place in the choir, and we give him a cordial “welcome home”.

We also give cordial welcome to the other brethren restored to us during the past month by the demobilization. We have been glad to see once more in our midst:

Lieut. Wilfred Beer, Private G. S. Hampton, Sergeant E. C. Dracup, Lance-Corporal A. E. Hawkins, Corporal R. S. Woolley, Corporal A. Butt, Private F. W. Snell, Private E. R. Robertson, Gunner A. G. Walker, Private V. Mace, and Private A. W. Panting.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Magnificently maintaining the British tradition through dangers and hardships

News of Reading men:

PERSONAL

We desire to offer our hearty congratulations to Lieut. W. D. Hart of the Royal Marine Artillery, who has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. Lieutenant Hart, MC, joined the RMA in August 1915, and obtained his commission in October 1916. Before the war he attended the Young men’s Bible Class, and was a valued member of our Church Choir.

Our friend Private F. Snell is once more in the No. 1 War Hospital, Reading, for treatment. We trust the operation which he must undergo may be successful, and that we may ere long have the pleasure of welcoming him back into our midst.

Private Hedley Wyles has been in hospital in Dublin. We are glad to know that he is now better, and able to resume his duties with the Royal Wiltshire Regiment.

Private Duncan Frame has gone to France with the Hants Regiment. Our thoughts and prayers go with him and the many other Broad Street “boys”, who are so magnificently maintaining the British tradition.

We were glad to have Lieutenant Oswald Francis, MC, worshipping with us once more when he was recently home on furlough, and to know that he has come safely through his many dangers and hardships.

Private E. G. Emmett is at the RAF Armament School at Uxbridge, hoping to qualify as an Instructor in Machine Gunnery. It was a pleasure to see him looking so well when he was on furlough a few days ago.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“He has had the good fortune to be drafted to Reading for treatment”

There was news of several of the soldiers from Reading’s Broad Street Congregational Church.

PERSONAL

We should like to offer our somewhat belated, but very sincere, congratulations to Captain Horace Beer of the RAF on his promotion. Captain Beer obtained his captaincy, it appears, several months ago; but it was only recently that the news reached us. He is now serving at the headquarters of the RAF and he has our best wishes for the future.

News has been received that Private E. Layton Francis has been wounded. He was serving with the London Scottish in Palestine, and many of our readers have enjoyed his vivid descriptions of places and people, which have appeared from time to time in these pages. Private Francis is now in one of the Stationary Hospitals in Gaza, suffering from a gunshot wound in his right arm. Beyond this there is no further information at the moment. We hope, however, that the wound is not serious, and that our friend may have a speedy recovery. Meanwhile we express our sympathy with Mr and Mrs Ernest Francis and their family in their anxiety.

Private F. W. Snell has been seriously wounded in the head and face while fighting in France. He has had the good fortune to be drafted to Reading for treatment and is now lying in No. 1 War Hospital. He is making good progress. We earnestly hope it may continue, and that before long we may see him back in our midst.

We are glad to see our young friend, Private George Hathaway, back at Broad Street. Private Hathaway was training with the Royal Warwicks, but he has been on the sick list for some time, and has now obtained his discharge. We trust that before long he may be restored to health.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

We deeply regret to have to report the death of Brother Ernest Ward of Westfield Road, Caversham, who recently died of wounds….

Our musical director and choirmaster, Brother Wynton-Turner, will have commenced his military duties by the time these notes are in the hands of our readers. We wish him every success.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The greatest battle in this stupendous war is raging on the Western Front

The big April push was causing anxiety at home.

MINISTER’S JOTTINGS

At the time of writing the greatest battle in this stupendous war is raging on the Western Front. Many of our Broad Street friends are anxious on account of loved ones in the thick of the struggle. We would assure them of our heartfelt sympathy, and our earnest prayers, both for them and the loved ones for whom they are so deeply concerned. May they all alike – whether fighting, or waiting at home for news of the battle – be divinely sustained in their hour of need.

PERSONAL

We desire to offer our heartiest congratulations to 2nd Lieut. Eric Stuart Smith who, after successfully passing the necessary examination has recently been granted his commission. On leaving Leighton Park School, Lieut. Eric Smith proceeded to Cambridge, where he ultimately joined a Cadet Corps for special training. We wish him success in the career which is now opening out before him, and we can confidently assure him of the sympathetic interest of many at Broad St.

Duncan Frame, the second son of our friends Mr and Mrs W Frame, has recently “joined up” on attaining the statutory ages, and is now in training on Salisbury Plain. Our thoughts and prayers go with him, and we wish him well.

News has been received that Private Frank Snell is in hospital somewhere in France. As there is no further information to hand at present, we can only hope the trouble is not serious, and that he may soon be restored to his wonted health and strength.

We were all glad to see Lieut. Oswald Francis MC looking so fit and well when home recently on furlough. He has now returned to France, and will most likely soon be “in the thick of it” again. May he, and all the other brave fellows of whom we are so constantly thinking, be divinely guarded and protected in the hour of danger.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A marvellous escape from an airship crash

Broad Street Church kept in contact with all its men who had joined up.

News has now been received from Air-Mechanic Fred W. Warman to the effect that he is interned at Croningen in Holland. He was acting as wireless-operator in the air-ship which came down there, and had a marvellous escape. We are glad to know that he writes in a bright and cheerful strain, and that he is trying to make the best of things.

Flight Sub-Lieut W. R. Taper of the RNAS has been appointed for duty in Malta. It has been a pleasure to see him frequently in our midst in recent weeks. The good wishes of many friends at Broad Street will go with him as he takes up his new duties.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Brother Woolley has consented to continue his good services by acting as correspondent with our members on service. This [is] a quiet piece of work which is bound to have its good results when things are normal again.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR

The list of our men who have responded to the call of God and King and Country. (more…)

“We none of us feel like Christmas festivities in these troubled days”

Soldiers stationed in Reading genuinely appreciated the socialising they were able to do at Broad Street Church – even more so once they had moved on to less congenial surroundings.

The opening of our rooms for the soldiers has necessitated the temporary suspension of the Ladies’ Sewing Meeting and the Women’s Social Hour. Before the arrangements were made the members of both these organisations were consulted, and they at once expressed their willingness to sacrifice their own interests in order that everything possible might be done for the men who have laid us under such a deep debt of obligation. Not only so, but most of the ladies who had been actively engaged in the work of thse organisations consented to transfer their services for the time being to our new undertaking. In this way it was possible to secure from the outset a band of willing and enthusiastic workers. I feel deeply grateful to the ladies who are giving such devoted service.

That the soldiers appreciate what is being done for them is constantly being proved to us. In another column will be found a letter from one of them. But letters of a similar kind have been received. In one of these letters the writer says: “I am getting on alright here, but we don’t ‘alf miss the Broad Street rooms. With all the YMCAs and others here there is none so comfortable as Broad Street.” Another of our former friends writes: “What a difference I find here. It seems terribly slow compared with Reading, and what makes it worse we are under canvas again. We are having wretched weather. Just imagine what it is like in tents. It would feel nice to drop into Broad Street again, I can assure you. Thanking you once again for your kindness to me.” And so the story continues.

We were all glad to see Lieut. Oswald Francis in our midst again looking so fit and well. During his time of leave Lieut. Francis was summoned to Buckingham Palace to receive his Military Cross at the hands of the King.

We were also glad to see 2nd AM FW Snell again on a recent Sunday, after a long absence with the RFC in France. We hope he may enjoy good health, and that he may be preserved from danger as he continues his arduous duties.

Private HS Hilliard, of the RMLI, son of our friends Mr and Mrs Hilliard of Watlington Street, has been severely wounded, and is now in hospital at Bury St Edmunds. We are glad to hear good reports of Private Hilliard, and we trust he may soon be restored to health and strength.

On Christmas Day we hope to have a service in the church as usual at 11 am. The service will last for about one hour, and we shall hope to have a good attendance. We none of us feel like Christmas festivities in these troubled days; but there is urgent need that we keep before our hearts and minds the things for which Christmas really stands.

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

A day of grief and glory: another of our boys has heard the call of God and joined the throngs invading heaven “with gay and careless faces”

Memories are shared of a Reading-born man whose death had been reported.

Harry Ireland Long

It was with deep regret that we heard of the death of Lance-Corpl. Harry Long, who was killed in action in Flanders on August 15th. To most of us his name is familiar, as being the son of our old and esteemed friends, Mr. and Mrs. William Long, and to them, as to his sister and brothers, we offer our deep sympathy. Some, however, had a more intimate knowledge, and one of those, the Rev. Herbert Snell, of Caterham, a former minister of Trinity, has kindly written the following:-

“Lest Heaven be thronged with greybeards hoary,
God, who made boys for his delight,
Stoops, in a day of grief and glory,
And calls them in, in from the night.
When they come trooping from the War,
Our skies have many a new gold star.”

Another of our boys has heard the call of God and joined the throngs invading heaven “with gay and careless faces.” Another has cheerfully and bravely given his life to make earth clean again, and keep it safe for those who regard honour among the highest and love peace.

It is easy enough to write these words, but behind them are living hearts that ache with grief and yet rejoice with noble pride.

Harry Ireland Long was the eldest son of William and Anna Long. He was born February 25th 1886, at Reading, and was killed in Flanders on August 15th, 1917.

“Trinity” will remember him, first of all, as a youngster, attending school at Miss Lacy’s and at Miss Burgisi’s, and on Sundays as a member of Mr. H.A. Baynes’ Bible-class. When I knew him he was at Reading School, which he left in 1901 in order to work for a while in his father’s business. Everyone liked his handsome face, with bold dark eyes and pleasant smile; though there was plenty of the boy about him there was a serious vein in Harry’s thinking which soon brought him to face the great deep questions of life. A year had scarcely elapsed from the time of leaving school before he joined the membership of Trinity Church.

In 1904, Harry went to Kingston in Jamaica where he worked for eight years. During that time he went through the terrible experiences of the great earthquake of January, 1907. Although he escaped the physical perils of that time, I have some kind of an idea that it was then he met his “fate,” and that there was some connection between the incidents of January, 1907, and a marriage which took place in Kingston, 1910, between Harry on the one side, and Miss Isabel Frances, of Crouch end, London on the other. But I do not give this as authoritative, lest, perchance, a very treacherous memory should have betrayed me.

Only this I know, and can speak thereon with utter confidence, having been privileged to visit on several occasions their delightful little home in Montreal, that it was a marriage full of happiness and promise.

It was in 1912 that they migrated to Montreal and in 1914 that I found them there, with Maurice who had joined them about a year before. I was at that time taking charge of Emmanuel Church during Dr. Hugh Pedley’s vacation, and being altogether a stranded and solitary stranger in the huge city, it was an indescribable pleasure to receive an English welcome in a Canadian home. None of us thought, in those early uninstructed days of the war, that it would ever be necessary for one of us to join up, and it was utterly beyond the limits of considered possibilities that one of our laughing circle should, in three years from then, have given his life for freedom.

Harry enlisted in the 244th Canadian Battalion Kitchener’s Own on September 1st, 1916. Owing to his previous training in the Victoria Rifles (Montreal’s volunteer contingent), he was almost at once given Sergeant’s rank, and when he came to England in April, 1917, it was a company Quarter-master Sergeant. Six weeks later he went to the Front with a draft to reinforce a Canadian battalion already there, and so lost his stripes, but he was speedily promoted again to Lance-Corporal, and it was while “gallantly leading his section in an attack against a strong German position,” that he met his death. The Chaplain of his Battalion, Capt. C. Stuart, speaks of him as having speedily won a place for himself in affection and esteem of all the boys. “He was so keen and willing in his work, so cheerful always in the face of all discomforts and difficulties that he became one of the most popular men in his platoon.”

And so another of our boys is gone. And the world is becoming more cheerless as we think we shall have to go on to the end without them.

But this also we know, and it far outweighs the gloom, they have brightened the earth by their example, they have for ever enriched life by their self-sacrifice.

Harry Ireland Long will not be forgotten at Trinity, and his name will go down with honour among those who have helped to save the world for Christ.

“Oh, if the sonless mothers weeping
And the widowed girls could see inside,
The glory that hath them in keeping
Who went to the Great War and died,
They would rise and put their mourning off,
And say ‘Thank God, he has enough.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, October 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

A prominent wayside cross

Cookham Dean had already started to think about an appropriate memorial for those villagers who had lost their lives in the war.

War Memorial

A meeting was held at the Vicarage on Saturday, Oct.21st, to consider the advisability of making some preparation for a War Memorial in some prominent place in the Village. There were present: The Vicar (in the chair), Messrs. Saxon Snell and W. Baldwin (Churchwardens), Sir Melvill Beachcroft, Messrs. R.T. Jackson, T. Stretch, Gordon Hills and J.W. Stone. The subject was introduced by Sir Melvill Beachcroft, who eventually proposed that a Wayside Cross be the form of Memorial chosen, to be erected on some prominent site to be selected later. The proposal met with the unanimous approval of all present, and Messrs. Snell and Gordon Hills were asked to prepare designs to be submitted later to all whom it may concern. The proposal seems likely to meet with good support. Mr J. W. Stone, on behalf of Mrs. Stone and himself, promised a subscription of £100.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Comfort, hope and peace for the living and the departed

A Cookham Dean man fell in action. The church comforted his grieving family.

We grieve to record the death of 2nd. Lieut Frank Saxon Snell, killed in action on July 11th:- the only son of Churchwarden and Mrs. Snell aged 29. Words cannot express what so many of us have felt for those near and dear to him in their hour of sorrow. A Requiem Celebration of Holy Communion was held in Church on Saturday, July, 22nd, at 10.45 a.m.: a Service we believe, of comfort and hope and peace, both for the living and the departed.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Additional men join up from Earley

Yet more Earley men had joined up.

List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s Forces.
The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:- Albert Snell, William Benham, Albert Benham, Ernest Benham, Arthur Jerred, Sidney Marshall, Albert Eeles.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:- Archie Gilkerson (lost at sea), William Gilkerson (died of wounds).

Correction.
The following were omitted by mistake from our full list last months:- Stanley Platt and Hilton Parker; and the following mistake has been corrected:- Hubert Blyde instead of Herbert Blynde.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P191/28A/22)

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)

A hero’s death: who will follow his example?

One of the first Berkshire men to fall in the war was a regular soldier from Cookham Dean. He was killed at the First Battle of the Aisne which ended with stalemate. He was a private in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. The parish magazine gave the following tribute to him:

In Memoriam
On Sept. 14th, in the Battle of the Aisne, George Carter, of Hoveden Cottages, was killed in action. George Carter was a born soldier, he was only 23 years of age, and had served nine years in the army and had joined the Militia six months previously to entering the Regulars. He came home in February last from eight years’ service in India, the same bright cheery face greeting us as it used to do in old days when he was a boy in school. He was one of the first to be called up and went off waving his goodbyes to his many friends in the village early one morning at the beginning of August. He lies in a soldier’s grave in France, having died at the post of duty a hero’s death. His name will not be forgotten in Cookham Dean.

The list of all those who are on Active Service at the Front or who are on Home Defence or who have recently joined the Army as Recruits or who are otherwise in training will be found below. I hope it is accurate and complete; I have done my best to make it so; but it is only too possible that a mistake may have occurred here or there, if so, I hope my attention will be called to it, and that anyone concerned will kindly accept my apologies for it. It has been my earnest endeavour to avoid mistakes, and I have repeatedly asked for information, but scarcely anyone has responded to my request. Our daily prayers in Church are offered for these dear men and lads who have so nobly come forward at the call of duty. It is not too late for others to place their names on this roll of honour and there are some few whom I should be proud and pleased to see doing so. Is there no one who feels an ambition to take George Carter’s place?

Roll of Honour
The first list contains the names of those whose homes are in Cookham Dean, and who, it is believed, are actually serving at the Front or who are on Home Defence. The second list contains the names of those who have, since war was declared, joined either the Officers’ Training Corps or who are in training as recruits. On the third list are the names of some closely connected with Cookham Dean but not actually resident here.
(more…)