“There is much anxiety felt in several homes where the sons have not been heard of for some time”

More Bracknell men had fallen.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR

We have had to add four names to the list of those who have given their lives in the war.

George Matthews of the Royal Marines, Arthur Wilson, who was formerly one of our choir boys, Corporal S. Bowyer of the Royal West Surrey Regiment, and Charles Olyott, who was a choir man; his loss is deeply deplored, and he has left a wife and three little children. We greatly sympathise with those who have been bereaved. Mrs. Olyott has now lost two sons, and her third son is in Mesopotamia.

Others have been wounded, amongst them Private W.T. Atkins, who only recently went out to France, but we are glad to think his wound is not serious. There is also much anxiety felt in several homes where the sons have not been heard of for some time.

Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, May 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/5)

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A willing sacrifice in this terrible war

A newlywed soldier from Reading was killed.

CONDOLENCES

We deeply regret to have to record the death of Private Ernest F. Nott, son of our esteemed friends Mr and Mrs Nott of Southampton Street. Private Nott of the 11th Border Regiment was attached to the 32nd Battalion MGC. On Easter Monday, a hostile shell penetrated his gun position and killed him instantly, somewhere near Bellacourt.

Like many more in this terrible war, Private Nott has laid down his life a willing sacrifice for his country and his loved ones. His death is all the more sad in view of the fact that no later than January 10th of this year he was married at Broad St to Miss Bertha Rixon. We deeply deplore his loss, and we tender our deepest sympathy to his young widow and his parents in their sore bereavement.

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

“He died as he lived, trying to do his duty”

There was sad news for two Speenhamland families.

It is with great sorrow that we heard of the death of George Courtnell, our late esteemed verger, and our hearty sympathy is with Mrs. Courtnell in her sad bereavement. He died in the Canadian hospital at Doullens, having been brought there with many other wounded at the beginning of the recent big battle in France, and was buried with military honours near there. He died as he lived, trying to do his duty. He was a faithful servant of Christ, and a loyal worker and helper at S. Saviour’s.

Our deep sympathy is also with Mrs. Lane, who has for the second time been called to make the sacrifice of a son, Henry Paice having been recently killed in France. He leaves a widow and children, to whom also, as to his mother, we offer our sincere condolence.

Speenhamland parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

The question of the employment of women as Clerks and Chauffeuses is under consideration by the Berkshire Constabulary

More Berkshire policemen were called on to join the army, leading to the county considering the drastic step of recruiting females for support roles.

20 April 1918
Identity books issued to Aliens

In March 1916 Identity Books were sent to the Acting Chief Constable from the Home Office with instructions for same to be issued to Aliens, for which a fee of 1/- each was to be paid, the same to be retained by the Police.

The Acting Chief Constable has recently written to the Under-Secretary of State for directions as to the disposal of the sums so received, and has been informed that it is left to the discretion of the Police Authority, the general practice being to credit such sums to the Police Fund or the Police Pension Fund.
… The sum of £38.16s.0d has been paid to the Pension Fund.

Application for Allowances to Wives

Application has been made by four Constables now serving in the Army for allowances to be made to their wives under the Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Acts, 1914 to 1917.

These and 13 other Constables have (after first obtaining the permission of the Acting Chief Constable in accordance with the Regulations of the Force) married since joining the Army, and as in all (or nearly all) these cases applications to get married was only made after the Constables were selected to join the Military Forces, and no homes have been provided by the Constables for their wives, who are in receipt of the Army separation allowance, the Sub-committee recommend that the application be not acceded to.

Police for Military Service

The Acting Chief Constable has received a letter from the Home Office to the effect that, in view of the new emergency which has arisen, it has become necessary to make a further call on the Police to release at an early date a further contingent to join the Army. The quota … for Berkshire is 13….

As regards filling the vacancies caused by the Constables joining the Army, the question of the employment of women as Clerks and Chauffeuses is under consideration.

Recommended: That the Acting Chief Constable be authorised to make arrangements for such employment at 35s pay per week, and also for the calling up of further Police Reservists for regular police duty if necessary.
Adopted.

Col. Poulton has offered to release PC Wheeler (whose services as a Chauffeur the Committee allowed him to retain) for police duties.
Recommended: That his offer be accepted and that the 1/- per day hitherto paid to the County by Col. Poulton for PC Wheeler’s services be discontinued after 1 May.

I regret to report that PC 219, Alfred F. W. Davis, was killed in action on 20 January last. He joined the Force on 1 November 1913, and the Army on 19 June, 1915. He was 22 years of age at the time of his death…

PC 192, H. Boshier, rejoined the Force on 11 February, 1918, having been discharged from the Army as medically unfit. He has been examined by the Police Surgeon, who has provisionally passed him as ft for Police duty.

PCs 158, Sidney H. Giles, 55, Percy Sellwood, and 71, George H. Wheatcroft, have I understand been wounded, but at present I have no information as to the extent of their injuries – except in the case of PC Giles, who is now convalescent.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Ordered to France at once

A young Maidenhead soldier would have his leave extended as he managed to catch an infectious disease while home on leave.

King Street School, Maidenhead
16th April 1918

Mrs Trace had leave of absence for the afternoon as her husband is ordered to France at once.

Mrs Bland’s Infant School, Burghfield
April 16th 1918.

Bertie West absent owing to the fact that his brother who is a soldier is home on leave and has contracted German measles.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 418); and Mrs Bland’s Infant School, Burghfield (86/SCH/1/1, p. 235)

Lonely homes and aching hearts

This poem was published in Newbury parish magazine.

“GIVE PEACE IN OUR TIME, O LORD”

O God of Mercy, God of Love,
“Our Father which art in Heaven above,
Give us this day our daily bread”;
These were the words the Saviour said,
And taught us prayer.

A sparrow’s stricken fluttering fall
Is known to Thee, Thou lovest all;
Great God in mercy let Thy hands
Fall lightly on these sorrowing lands,
And shew Thy care.

To mothers, wives and children dear,
To whom life’s future’s lone and drear,
Who long for touch of vanished hands
Of loved ones, laid in foreign lands;
Give them Thy peace.

O God of battles, shew Thy will
Unto the nations struggling still;
Support the right, Thy glory show
Unto the people who here below
Shall honour Thee.

Restore the faith, give clearer sight
Of awe, and majesty, and might;
Ambition, lust of power, displace,
Let love for others take their place,
And wars shall cease.

O God of Justice, through Thy Son,
Who taught us that “Thy will be done
On earth as Heaven”, give us the power
To say in this our darkest hour
“That we forgive”.

The broken tie Thy mercy heal,
Let lonely homes Thy Presence feel,
Fill aching hearts with Love Divine,
“The Power and Glory’s ever thine”.
Lord give us Peace.

HB, Newbury.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Providing a man is practical & unselfish, the life is not bad”

Will Spencer heard from soldier brother Horace, who offered a pleasant view of army life, and from the wife of another soldier brother, Natalie.

19 March 1918

When I got back, Johanna asked me if it was my birthday. Letters from Natalie & from Horace, & a parcel [and letter from a Swiss friend]…

Reading the [three] letters to Johanna, with running comments, after dinner, was quite a long proceeding, as Natalie’s letter was one of 8 large pages!.

Horace writes to me,

“Perhaps you are sometimes pained at the conjectured hardships that we have to undergo, so I will try to relieve your mind on that point. Providing a man is practical & unselfish, the life is not bad, there are kind words and deeds exchanged at all times, & so the atmosphere is pleasant. He has heard concerts & lectures, visited 6 cathedral towns in France, has learned to play chess, & read – amongst other books – Holmes’ Life of Mozart….

Natalie writes that Harold “had a rotten [underlined] time one way & another, tho’ now his lines seem to have fallen into pleasanter places”.


Diary of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/28)

Help our brave sons and brothers who stand between us and our unscrupulous enemy

Mortimer people were chastised for not contributing enough cash to the war effort.

War Savings Association

I am sorry to say that this deserving work of National importance is not receiving from the parishioners the support which it ought to receive.

Although started nearly eight months ago, the number of members is only about 110 – principally school children – and the total subscriptions are less than £100.

In comparison with other villages with similar populations and occupations these figures are lamentably below the average, and it is to be hoped that Mortimer will yet rise to a sense of its responsibilities, and do all in its power to help, by financial assistance, our brave sons and brothers who stand between us and our unscrupulous enemy.

Deposits however small, will be gladly received by the Treasurer, at Springfield, on any Friday evening between 5.30 and 6.30, or at S. Mary’s and S. John’s National Schools at any time during school hours.

War Distinctions

Mrs. Gould was at Oxford presented, by the Major-General in Command, with the Military Medal won by her husband Samuel Gould at the Battle of the Somme.

We also congratulate most heartily Driver William Milne on having received the Military Cross.


Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P120/28A/14)

Till we meet again

OUR MEN WHO ARE SERVING

Private Charles Holloway has long been reported missing, and the War Office has now sent an intimation that he must be “assumed killed in action.” Our deep sympathy is with his widow, and his parents, who have now lost three sons in this war.

Lance-Corporal Leonard Cox has been wounded and is now in hospital in England and is progressing favourably.

We were glad to welcome home on leave this month Privates Broadbent, F. Johnson, and J. Sumner.

The Vicar has received the sum of £1 from sale of waste paper collected in the parish, and this money has been devoted to providing comforts for our two prisoners of war in Germany, Privates W. Harwood and F. Onion.

We hope to send to all our men who are serving an Easter card of greeting with the message “May the Risen Christ, who left His home for us, have you in His keeping till we meet again”; and the assurance that we shall be remembering them at our Easter Communion.

Winkfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, March 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/3)

The duties of children during these strenuous times

Bradfield children were subjected to a lecture on the war.

Bradfield CE School
March 8th 1918

Mr E Forster of Newbury addressed the children on the War, its causes, progress etc. and the duties of children during these strenuous times. He also spoke upon the subject of War Savings Certificates.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
8th March 1918

School closed for teachers to assist with Food forms.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
8th March 1918

Owing to her husband being home on leave from the Front, Mrs Webb, Assistant in the Infants’ Room, has been absent since Tuesday – Miss Hatch has been in entire charge of the Infants.

Log books of Bradfield CE School (D/P22/28/2, p. 196); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3, p. 41); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3)

“Camp life makes them familiar”

Thousands of civilians from interned countries were housed at a camp at Holzminden in Germany throughout the war. Ernest Delfosse, a 32 year old motor mechanic from Belgium, 5 foot 6 ½ inches, with brown hair, was among the inmates there, until he escaped to England with the help of his sweetheart. Sadly, this did not mean freedom, as he was arrested on arrival as a suspected spy. He was transferred to Reading from Brixton Prison on 5 February 1917. He was classified as a Friendly Alien but stayed at Reading and was eventually deported in 1919.

HM Place of Internment
Reading

6th March 1918

Sir

With reference to your letter … dated 5th March 18 on the subject of correspondence between the interned alien E. Delfosse and Mrs E Owen, 54 New Compton St, London EC.

The first letter received from Mrs Owen by Delfosse was dated 22.12.17. This was sent to the Commissioners and I drew special attention to it, giving such information as I was able. It was passed.

Prisoner replied on Jany 5th 1918 – submitted & passed. A second letter was received on 12th January 1918 – submitted and passed. Both these letters are attached to this [though not to the letter book copy]. Please send them back as prisoner does not know they have been forwarded to the Home Office.

Prisoner’s reply to the last letter is the subject of the Home Office letter.

The history of the prisoner’s acquaintance with this woman appears to be:

He was interned at Holzminden, a camp of about 24,000. Men and women were allowed to mix for the purpose of visiting restaurants and cinemas in the grounds. He struck up friendship with this woman – also interned – [he] believes for trafficking in letters – but not sure. The majority of the women were interned for that reason. She stated she was a Russian. (I cross-examined Delfosse, who admitted that she might be a German Pole). He cannot (or will not) remember her name – always called her by her Christian name of Emmy. Camp life makes them familiar. She could speak no English and but little French – he could not speak Russian. Conversation carried on in German, in which both were fluent. Does not know if she was then married – thinks not – her maiden name could be obtained from his note book, black, 9” x 4” (about), taken from him by police at Gravesend 20th Oct 1916 (plain clothes man).

On 7th Oct: 1916 Delfosse escaped from Holzminden, “Emmy” keeping the sentry in conversation while Delfosse got away.

Heard nothing more of her until the letter dated 22.12.17. Does not know how she escaped.

Learns she is married to a Canadian officer. Does not know him. She wants to come & see him. Would like to see her.

I think that is all the information I have obtained.

I am Sir
Your obedient servant

C M Morgan
Governor

[To]
The Under Secretary of State
Home Office
Whitehall


Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Now reported killed

A Bracknell family was left fatherless.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR

Trooper R.J. Legg of the Berks Yeomanry who was reported missing on November 27th, is now reported to have been killed on that date. He was well known and much respected in Bracknell and great sympathy is felt for his widow who is left with five little children.


Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, March 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/3)

Willing to pay a substitute

A Maidenhead teacher was so desperate to spend her husband’s short leave with him, she paid the salary of her substitute.

Maidenhead
25th February 1918

Mrs Wells wanted leave of absence for three days owing to her husband’s leave before returning to France. She was willing to pay a substitute & Mistress obtained services of Mrs Eustace of St Luke’s Rd. Notice of this leave was sent to the office.

Lower Sandhurst
February 25th 1918

Admitted 3 children from London.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 413); and Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 424)

“He displayed the greatest bravery and utmost coolness”

There was bad news for several Newbury families.

THE WAR

The deepest sympathy has been felt with Mr and Mrs Liddle in the death of their son, Lieut. Morton Robert Bridges Liddle, RN, at sea. Formerly a boy in the Choir, we had seen him grow up and develop into a smart young Naval Officer, respected and liked by all. Engaged in most dangerous work on a British Destroyer, he has now given his life for his country in the performance of his duty and has left an honourable name behind him. We trust that there may be given to his parents all the Divine help which they need in this time of grievous sorrow. We should like also to express our deep sympathy with Mrs Thomas on the death of her son, and with Mrs Perring on the death of her husband.

2nd Lieut. Ernest Henry Church has had to have his right foot amputated, after being severely wounded while flying in France in an unequal fight against enemy aeroplanes, in which he displayed the greatest bravery and utmost coolness. We are glad to know that he is progressing favourably.

We have been pleased to see Lieut. Richard Wickens at home on leave, though we were sorry for the occasion of it, namely the death of his mother, Eliza Wickens… He was not in time to see her alive, but got back in time for the funeral.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine (D/P89/28A/13)

Wounded soldiers in a farce

Struan House in Maitland Road, Reading, was one of the big houses used as hospitals for soldiers. Some of the walking wounded were improving well enough to take part in local life.

Short notes

We welcome Nurse Sturges back from France for a while.

We also regret to learn that Pte. W Waters has been wounded and has been sent to Base hospital. We sincerely hope the wound is a slight one. Up to the time of printing, Mrs Waters had only received a field card dictated by her husband, and characteristicly (sic) making the best of it.

Entertainments

The last month saw a good many of these. First in order came the annual gathering of the Mothers’ Meeting in the Parish Hall, a packed room of over 200 persons with a most excellent programme. The tea of course was dispensed with. The chief feature of the evening’s amusement was a farce entitled “Mary’s sister John” performed by wounded soldiers from Struan House Auxiliary Hospital, Lce.Corp A Snow, Pte. Kirkham, Pte. J Whyte, Pte. E P Proctor and Pte. Newman. The part of the widow was played by Pte Whyte, Lucy by Pte Proctor, Mary by Pte Newman, Septimus Liverpad by Pte. Kirkham, Jack by LceCorp Snow. The farce was extraordinarily amusing from start to finish.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P192/28A/15)