On a football field in France

Old Boys from St Bartholomew’s Grammar School in Newbury shared their news.

Several letters have come our way from O.N.’s, among them being one J. Allee, who wants to know if there are any other O.N.’s in Palestine, where he is serving as a Captain in the A.S.C., as he has seen no one but Brooks since he has been there, for nearly three years. He seems rather disappointed with Jerusalem, but says that the country around the Dead Sea and the Jordan was well worth seeing, the hills being ablaze with flowers.

H. Pappin, in another letter, tells how he met Newman on the football field in France, where they both had been picked for the same team, the latter recognising Pappin’s name in the list. There seems a favourite place of recognition, for it was in Egypt that Pappin met Hobbs and Beard under similar circumstances. He has been running his battery team, “The Lily Whites,” all the winter, a combination in which what is lacking in science is made up with enthusiasm.

Two most interesting letters have come to us from F. W. Taylor and W. H. Bradfield. The former, who is serving with the Nigeria Regiment at Zungeru, has met our plea for an article by saying that he is writing a Grammar of the Fulani Language, but promises to do his best; while Bradfield, who is with the R.F.A. in France, is in the thick of the present heavy fighting.

J. J. Hurrell, who left the N.G.S. for Bradfield College, in 1913, has just passed through Sandhurst and goes into the Indian Army in September.

A double good fortune is the lot of D. W. Rosling, who is serving at Salonica; for simultaneously with his majority comes the following announcement: May 28th, at Cambray House, Carmarthen, to Florence, wife of Major D. W. Rosling, The King’s Liverpool Regiment, the gift of a son. – Congratulations.

We also have to congratulate two O.N.’s on their marriages; Lieut. E. J. Widle, T.M.B., to Miss Daphne Collette, at St John’s Church, Oxford; and Henry Hoskings, 1st Life Guards, to Miss Phyllis Richens, at St Anne’s, Westminster.

Our casualties are again heavy, though the proportion of wounded is, as last term, small. A. B. V. Brown and I. C. Davidson are both in hospital in England, after having been gassed, while A.L. Sandbach has been discharged through his wounds, after an exciting career. Volunteering for service on the outbreak of hostilities in Africa, he served against German West Africa, under Botha, in Greyling’s Commando, where he was one of the sole two white men serving. German West having been quelled, he returned to his civil duties, but soon after answered the call for men for German East. This time he joined the 2nd South African Horse, with whom he saw some hard fighting, on one occasion having his horse shot from under him. He was promoted to Sergeant and served for about three months longer, after which time he was hit in the thigh by shrapnel at Germinston, with the result as stated that he has been invalided out, returning to his work at Johannesburg. By a curious coincidence, each of these in this branch of the list is an old Victor Ludorum, Sachbach having also tied with Evers for a second year, while the dates of Brown and Davidson respectively, are those immediately preceding the War.

I. K. Fraser, whom we reported as having been wounded, in our last number, has so far recovered as to be able to pay us a visit towards half term. He is looking remarkably fit in spite of all.
Congratulations to G. W. Hall on his Mention in Sir Douglas Haig’s last despatch, and also to J. Allee on his mention in General Allenby’s.

John Cannon has been transferred from the A.S.C. to the 1st Somerset Light Infantry, and is now in the trenches.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)

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Conspicuous bravery during the retreat

Various Old Redingensians (OLd Boys of Reading School) had been serving their country.

O.R. NEWS.

Deaths

Captain Lionel Tudor Wild, Somerset L.I., was the second son of Mr. and Mrs Aubrey S. Wild. Of 21, canning-road, Addiscombe, Croydon, and was born in 1888.Educated at St. Winifred’s, Kenley, and Reading School, he was for a short time in the service of the London and Westminster Bank, but afterwards turning his attention to motor engineering, he took up an appointment with Messrs Argylls (Limited) in Dundee, and was subsequently manager of the company’s branch in Aberdeen. For several years before the war he was a member of the Surrey Yeomanry, and attained the rank of sergeant, being one of the best rifle-shots in his squadron. On the outbreak of war he was mobilized with his regiment, and after some months’ training obtained a commission in the Somerset Light infantry, proceeding to France with his battalion in July, 1915. In 1916 he was appointed brigade staff captain, but eventually returned to his regiment, and was given the command of the company. He was reported “wounded and missing” on November 30th, 1917, and it has now been established that he was killed on that date, in an attempt to save the remnant of his company during the German counter attack near Cambrai, and was buried by the enemy at Masnieres.

On Saturday the death occurred at “Westdene,” Earley, the home of his parents, of Sec. Lieut. F.I. (Frank) Cunningham after illness contracted on active service. Deceased was educated at Reading School, from which he entered the City and Guilds Engineering College, London, and after going through the three year’s course he obtained a diploma in civil and mechanical engineering. In 1910 he went to Canada, and was assistant engineer on the Grand Trunk Railway. When war broke out he enlisted on August 14th, as a private in the Royal Highlanders of Canada. He was at Valcartier and Salisbury Plain, and in 1915 went to the front. At Ypres he was wounded in the foot, and after recovery was attached to the C.A.M.C., until 1916. He then obtained a commission in the R.F.C., which he held up till February the 3rd of this year, when he was invalided out of the service and granted the honorary rank of Sec. Lieut.

The funeral took place at St Peter’s Earley, on Thursday, April 11th. The officiating clergy were the Rev. W. S. Mahony, Vicar of Linslade, the Rev. Capt. A. Gillies Wilken (O.R.) Chaplain to the Canadian Forces ( lately prisoner of war in Germany), and the Vicar (Canon Fowler). The coffin was draped in the Union Jack.

Military Cross

Capt. (A/Major) D.F. Grant, R.F.A., the son of Mr W.J. Grant, of 12, Glebe Road, Reading. Major Grant was educated at Reading School, and quite recently lost his eyesight in France but has since regained it.

Captain Arnold J. Wells, A.S.C., T.F. (Territorial Force), has been awarded the M.C. for meritorious service in Egypt. He has served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine.

Bar To Military Cross

Sec. Lieut. (A/Capt.) J.L. Loveridge, M.C., Royal Berks.

Mentioned In Despatches

Fullbrook-Leggatet, Capt. C.St. Q.O., D.S.O., M.C., Royal Berks Regt.

Military Medal

Corpl. H.C. Love, Despatch Rider, R.E., of Reading, has won the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery during the retreat March 23rd-30th.

The following is the official statement of service for which Lieut. O.S. Frances, M.C. Royal Berks Regt. Received his bar: –

“He marked out the assembly positions for the whole brigade before an attack and guided forward companies of two battalions over very difficult ground and under heavy shell fire.”

Corporal W.L. Pauer, a sniper in the Munster Fusiliers, has been awarded the Military Medal and also the Medaille Militaire. He has been twice wounded. During the retreat in March he was made a King’s Sergeant on the field and he has since been awarded a bar to his Military Medal.

Wounded.

Rees, Major R.A.T., L.N. Lan. Regt., attached South Staff. Regt. He was formerly classical master at Reading School, where he held the commission in the O.T.C.

Reading School Magazine, July 1918 (SCH3/14/34)

“His life was too soon done”

A Cranbourne schoolmaster who had taken an active role in the life of the local church before joining the army was killed.

It is with the deepest regret we have to record the death of our friend, Private William Dowell.

He came to us in February, 1913, with a record of many examinations passed with honours and much more good work in former schools. He at once began to take an active part in our parochial life, proving himself a most loyal friend and helper to the Vicar. He was a regular communicant and taught in the Sunday School, and gained the sincere regard of the children. As leader of our “Study Circle” he distinctly made his mark, with great knowledge of the Bible, he spared no pains in preparing the subjects for discussion at the meetings of the circle; with great ability he started the discussions, and his summary of them in the minute book was a model of what such a record should be.

He joined under the Derby scheme on February 29th, 1916, and trained in the Wiltshires and was transported to the Somerset Light Infantry. We had hoped to see him back among us after the war, and it was a great shock to all of us to hear that he had been killed at the front on September 16th. We all, Teachers, Managers, Members of the C.E.M.S., Children and Vicar deeply mourn his loss. We will remember him always in our prayers.

R.I.P.

“To us it seemed his life was too soon done,
Ended, indeed, while scarcely yet begun;
God, with His clearer vision saw that he
Was ready for a larger ministry.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

Churches crowded

The Sulhamstead parish magazine had some thoughts on the religious response to the war, at home and abroad, as well as reporting news of local soldiers who have been honoured or have fallen:

THE WAR

It is publicly announced that the churches in France are crowded with praying worshippers.

It is with much pleasure and congratulations that are read in the list of men mentioned in dispatches, the name of Lieut. H A Grimshaw, of “The Abbotts”…. Lieut. H A Grimshaw has received his 1st Lieutenancy since his arrival at the Front. The engagement from which this honour has arisen, was the famous attack of the Prussian Guards in November last, when the finest regiment in Germany was hurled against the British Forces.

A handsome Brass has been placed in the chancel of St Michael’s Church by Colonel Thoyts in memory of his son, bearing the following inscription: –

“In loving tribute to the memory of Francis Gordon Thoyts, Major, Somerset Light Infantry (second son of Colonel N B Thoyts, sometime lord of the manor of Sulhamstead), who gave his life for his King and Country at Beauvois in the great war, on August 26th, 1914.”

The Brass was sanctioned by the Archdeacon, instead of incurring the expenses of a faculty.

LENT SPECIAL SERVICES
Lower End Tuesdays at 7 pm
St Michael’s Church Thursdays at 7 pm.

At these services the special form of Litany of Intercession for our cause and our sailors and soldiers will be used. All who have any relations engaged in His Majesty King George’s Service are earnestly invited to attend and join in constant Intercession for them.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1915 (D/EX725/3)

In spite of his wounds: George Faulkner of Sulhamstead saves lives at sea

Sulhamstead men at the Front faced death and injury. The parish magazine tells us about the heroic endeavours of a young naval officer George Faulkner, who saved the lives of others while himself wounded:

MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES
This special distinction has been conferred upon Sub-Lieutenant George H Faulkner, son of the Rev. T G Faulkner. He was serving in HMS Laertes in the famous Heligoland engagement. Early in the battle he was wounded and his gun was burst at the same time. In spite of his own wounds, he busied himself in binding up the wounds of some of the seamen who were seriously wounded. There was no surgeon and it is said he undoubtedly saved some of their lives. He continued this until he fainted from exhaustion. He was not only mentioned in despatches, but was promoted to be lieutenant for his conduct under fire.

It is with great regret that we have had the news of the death at the Front of two members of our “Roll of Honour.” On Nov 10th, Mr and Mrs Tuttle heard of the death of their son Alfred of the Grenadier Guards, and on Nov 26th, Mrs Walter Ryder had the news of her husband’s death. He was in the Hants A.C. Both of these have truly died for their country and in the gallant effort to prevent the invasion of England.

We also note with much sorrow the announcement of the death of Major Francis G G Thoyts, Somerset Light Infantry, second son of Colonel M B Thoyts on August 26th. The family have been in great anxiety for nearly three months as they had news that he was wounded, but could get no further information.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1915 (D/EX723/3)

Miserable digs – but song and dance by the keenest soldier enlivens life

Percy tells his sister some of the lighter side of army life.

St Albans
Oct. 22.14

My dear Florrie

… Last night I learned that Dean Bleaken does not arrive until the 28th. By then I should have commenced my training, and have more regular hours than at present, which will enable me I hope to use Mr Image’s introduction. It will be rather funny if I meet our Brigade Major there. His name is Capt. Shenton of the Somerset Light Infantry. A fine fellow with a most musical voice. He is apparently a great friend of Canon Glossop here, so it is quite possible that I may therefore meet my Brigade Major outside the office later on.

I expect to change my billet on Saturday (of this I will give you prompt notice) as the condition of affairs where I am is too miserable and hopeless for words, so do not write to me at the above address after you receive this until I write again.

Every other night I am sleeping at the Brigade office, so that, in the event of a night alarm there will be an intelligent fellow here to get the Brigade together!!

There are all sorts of rumours as to our next move, but I really don’t think anyone knows what is going to happen to us. Probably it will depend upon how the war goes, and if it goes favourably, I don’t suppose we shall see foreign soil this side of Christmas.

I dare say you know, the men of this Brigade belong to the lower classes of South London. There is a sprinkling of swells and decent fellows, but mainly they are rough – very rough.

One fellow, “Dave” is a hefty baker’s lad for whom I already have a great fondness. As Capt. Holliday says, no matter what you ask him to do, he’ll have a dart for it – he’s a kind of Horace, only much more boyish. If he hasn’t anything to do, he’ll find a job. Today I found him voluntarily scrubbing the doors and paint generally, just to pass the time away, pausing now and then to execute a vigorous sand dance to the music hall ditty he was singing in the real Bermondsey style.

Now I am just off to try and fix up my new diggings, so I’ll say good night.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his siter Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/13-14)