A splendid and lasting tribute of our gratitude to God for the valour of our men

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke, holidaying with a brother home from the front, liked the parish’s war memorial plans.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

I write this letter far away in the stormy Hebrides; where lochs abound, great winds blow, and sea birds and seals are as common as rabbits ought to be on Maidenhead Thicket.

I feel that the few days I have been away – much of it spent in travelling – must have thrown a great strain on my colleagues at a very busy time. I suppose I must plead that the Armistice, the hope of an early Peace, and my brother’s return, must be my excuse…

As regards the future, I am hoping that on June 30th, the Parochial Church Council and the War Memorial Committee may approve of the beautiful plans Mr Cheadle has drawn out for us. I believe the Borough memorial Committee close their appeal on June 30th. We shall then have a clear field, and shall not in any way spoil anyone else’s scheme. The Memorial Chapel will be (if adopted) a splendid and lasting tribute of our gratitude to God for the valour of our men. In it we can pray for all we love here or in the next world. We can draw near to the Fallen in our thoughts. We can meditate on the One Great Sacrifice and think of our own kith and kin who followed that example in no unworthy way. But if we do undertake this work we ought to carry it out as nobly as lies in our power.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

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Released after over four years’ service in the Army

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners

As regards coming events, … above all the Welcome to Returned Sailors and Soldiers, and their wives (both in the same place), organised by the CEMS, will, I hope, be favoured by good weather and large musters…

Lastly, I hope to be away for two or three weeks in June. I should have gone later, but my brother, who is released after over four years’ service in the Army, specially wants me to go with him to Scotland. This makes, I feel, a special occasion where family claims must be considered.

If I have to miss important meetings, this is my excuse.

In any case, with Mr King Gill and Mr Thurland in charge, I know that everything will go on splendidly…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar,

C E M Fry

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

About to return

A schoolboy got an early finish to see his soldier dad.

May 26th 1919

William Newell was allowed to leave school before the close of the afternoon session by request of his father, a soldier from France, about to return.

Bradfield CE School log book (D/P22/28/2, p. 222)

A cross on the highest point

Suggestions were made for an Ascot war memorial.

WAR MEMORIAL

My dear rector, various suggestions have been made with regard to a War Memorial for Ascot, and it appears desirable that a Public Meering should be arranged for some evening in May when the whole question could be discussed, and a Committee formed.

I know you have been waiting for older residents to take the lead, feeling that it is a local, and not an Ecclesiastical matter; and I now write not as Churchwarden, but as the originator of the Ascot Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Committee.

Amongst the suggestions are:-

1. A Village Cross, with the names of those who have fallen inscribed on the base, to be erected on some suitable site such as (a) the triangular piece of waste at the four cross roads opposite the Royal Hotel; (b) on the highest point of the heath.

2. A Mortuary Chapel in the Ascot Burial Ground in the Priory Road, such a Chapel being urgently required.

3. A tablet in the Church bearing the names of all who have fallen in the war. This might be put up, either by itself, or in connection with the Mortuary Chapel, or as may be desired.

It is hoped that there may be a large gathering at the Meeting, and that especially those who have lost relations in the war, and Sailors and Soldiers who have served will attend, as the question should be widely discussed, so that all may take a share in the project as finally arranged.

Yours Sincerely

W. H. Tottie.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/5)

Sick at the thought of how we are being let down at Versailles today!

John Maxwell Image was not optimistic about the future. His wounded brother in law was our friend Percy Spencer.

29 Barton Road
7 May ‘19

My dearest old man

Florence … wants to see her wounded brother who is still at St Thomas’s Hospital, poor fellow.

I feel sick at the thought of how we are being let down at Versailles today! Especially at the ingratitude of Belgium, and of Italy – the latter I have heard vigorously defended here. But Belgium!

And the Agitators in Britain!

And Shinn [sic] Fein impudence!

What a future lies before every one in England except the moneygrubber and the Profiteer and their lickspittles.


Tuissimus
Bild

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

Missing since March 1918

Hope was lost at last for two Ascot men.

Mr and Mrs J. Smith received news on 8th April from the War Office, that their son, Sidney Alfred Smith, 2/4 Oxford and Bucks L.I., who has been missing since 21st March, 1918, was now reported as killed, and on the 1st May, Mr. and Mrs. Bowyer received the same news as regards to their son Harry Bowyer, 5th Berks (transferred to Oxford and Bucks L.I.) He, too had been missing since 21st March, 1918. A Memorial Service for those soldiers was held on Sunday afternoon, May 4th, which was largely attended by relatives and friends of the respective families.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/6)

In memory of two sons

The two Sulhamstead parish churches each received a gift in memeory of a fallen soldier.

The Vestry Meetings were held at the Schools on Tuesday, April 22nd. The Rector presided.

Sulhamstead Abbots:

… The Rector stated that Mr G Leake desired to insert a window in the chancel of St Mary’s Church in memory of his son, Lieutenant George Leake (acting captain), DSO, from the design originally made with the corresponding three. The Vestry gave authority for this being erected …

Sulhamstead Bannister:

… The Rector reported that Mrs Tyser was presenting the church with an organ in memory of her son, Major George Beaumont Tyser, East Lancashire Regiment, who was killed in France on July 6th, 1916. He was authorized to obtain a faculty if such were required, and was directed to convey to Mrs Tyser the thanks of the Vestry for her munificent gift.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, July 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Terribly sad

One Tilehurst man survived the war only to fall victim to the terrible influenza epidemic.

CONDOLENCE

We also deeply deplore the loss of Private Norman Cane, son of our friends Mrs and Mrs Cane of 27 Brisbane Road. Norman Cane was a member of the Tilehurst Section of our church before the separation, and continued his Broad Street connection afterwards. Early in the war he volunteered for active service, and went out with the Royal Berks Regiment. He came safely through many dangers and finally reached home in February. Unfortunately he was almost immediately seized with influenza, and pneumonia supervening, he passed away. It is terribly sad, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his parents and the members of his family in their very sore bereavement.

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

Poignant news

The tragic news had not yet stopped.

TILEHURST

Mr and Mrs Cane have lost their boy Norman, who after only 2 days at home following on his discharge entered on his last illness. Mrs Warner has received the news of her husband’s passing away at one of the hospitals in Cologne, news which has much poignancy in view of the expectancy of early release.

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

“The news of his death was only received after the signing of the Armistice”

There was a particular poignancy when news of a death came after the war had ended.

Roll of Honour.

Frederick Pither.

The news of his death was only received after the signing of the Armistice and the blow, therefore, come with added force to his wife and children.

We would desire to convey to her the very real and special sympathy of all.

Military Cross.

Lieut. R. Palmer – to whom heartiest congratuilations.

Blinded Soldiers’ Fund.

The total sum received is £32; made up as follows:-

Carol Singing £22 10s., Christmas Dinner Table envelopes £9 10s. This latter sum is for the children of Blinded Soldiers.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P154C/28A/1)

A war memorial scheme that will command the sympathy and approval of us all

The RAF had used a church hall in east Reading.

My dear friends…

I am glad to say that S. John’s Institute is being restored to the Parish. The R.A.F. are vacating the premises on January 31st. It will be good to have the building under our control once more. The R.A.F. have been most considerate in allowing us the use of the Large Hall almost whenever we applied for it, but we have missed the smaller rooms very much… We must not be disappointed, however, if we cannot get back to the Institute just at once; there will be a good deal of cleaning up to be done before the building will be quite ready for full parochial occupation. Also, we must remember that the small rent paid by the military authorities has just sufficed to pay the expenses of running the building during the time of their occupation. This rent will now cease, and the Institute will become again one of the chief charges upon the parish; perhaps you will remember this when sending in your subscriptions for 1919…

I hope that the War Memorial Committee will be able soon to lay before me a scheme that will command the sympathy and approval of us all, and especially of those most concerned – members of our congregation who have themselves suffered bereavement in the war…

Your sincere friend and vicar,
W. Britton

Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

In a prisoners’ hospital in Germany

Some PoWs were in a bad state.

We are glad to welcome home John Tidy, Richard Taylor and Percy Huxford, who have been prisoners of war, and to hear that Arthur Francis and Ben Ferns have arrived in England, though they are at present in hospital. Mrs. Ednie has heard that her son Victor is in a prisoners’ hospital in Germany, but he is expected to be moved home soon.

Winkfield District Magazine, January 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11)

Carols for blinded soldiers

Wokingham carol singers collected money for soliders blinded in the war, and their children.

Blinded Soldiers.

The outcome of the Carol Singing has been very satisfactory, and the Choir hope to hand over £20 or so as the fruit of their efforts. Such a result has of course entailed the expenditure of considerable time and trouble, which however has been given most ungrudgingly by all the members. We congratulate them on their success. Needless to say, the generous contributions and kindly welcome everywhere received have greatly added to the pleasure of their good work.

For the children of Blinded Soldiers, nearly £10 has been contributed by means of Xmas Dinner Table envelopes.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“A rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial”

How best to recognise the service of the country’s fallen, and those returning alive?

St John’s Parochial Church Council

The fourth meeting of the Parochial Church Council was held at the Princes Street Room on Monday, January 20th, 1919, at 8.15 p.m….

Mr W. H. Pountney moved the following resolution: That the question of providing a new organ for St John’s Church be re-opened by this Council; and a scheme devised forthwith to secure the end in view in memory of those who have fallen in the great war, as a thanksgiving for the blessing of peace, and as a matter of expediency.

This was seconded pro forma by Mr Aldridge.

… This was seconded by Mr Sutton, supported by Miss Sutton, Mr Fanstone, Mr Churchill and Dr Murrell, and Mr F. Winter, several of the speakers saying that whatever was done as a War memorial should be something in connection with both churches, and not for St John’s only. The vicar said he thought the form of memorial should be in accordance with the views of the relations of those who had given their lives, and that a rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial…

Mr Haslam then moved the following resolution: That a committee be formed to consider the best form for a Memorial to those parishioners or members of the congregations who have given their lives for their God, King and Country in the great war, and to report to this Council.

Mr L. G. Sutton seconded this resolution and it was carried unanimously.

The following committee was elected to carry it into effect: the vicar, the churchwardens, Mr L G Sutton, Mr H A Kingham, Mr F H Wright, Mr Fanstone, Mr Murrell, Miss Britton and Miss Winter.

Mr E C Pearce moved the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr H R Sutton, and carried unanimously:

That a committee be formed to consider and report to the vicar how best to welcome the men and women returning from War Service to the parish, and to take steps to attach them if possible to the parish life.

The following committee was elected to carry this into effect: the vicar, Mr E C Pearce, Mr H R Sutton, Mr W Wing, Mr Fanstone, Miss Simmonds, Miss Rundell, and Cap. Blandy, with power to confer with others.


Reading St. John parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

Good news

Happy news for Christmas.

It is good news to know that Mrs. Baigent has heard from her son, who was a prisoner of war in Germany.

Warfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)