A serious and urgent matter

The rush to join up had left many voluntary organisations short of staff, and churches were no exception, as Newbury discovered. Even women were in shorter supply than usual. But that did not stop the rector from encouraging still more to join up.

We need several more Sunday School Teachers for the Boys’ School and for the Infants School, and the Rector will be glad to receive the names of volunteers. We also need some more men in the Choir. Of course we know that a number of men have left to join the forces, and that a number of women are busily engaged during the week in work for their country and the soldiers: yet this is not the time to let things get slack at the Church and it ought to be a point of honour with the parishioners to keep everything connected with their Parish Church at a high pitch of excellence.

May we once more remind our readers and the parishioners generally of the duty of regularly attending the Parish Church during the War, and of taking part in the frequent intercessions which are used there. The special prayers at Evensong on Sunday are now said at the Altar after the Sermon – they are also used at all the daily services – and are there not a number of those who have relatives at the Front, and who therefore need much encouragement in their anxiety, who might try to come to either the Wednesday or Friday night choral evensong at 7.30pm, when they would be cheered by the bright service?

The Editor will be glad to receive any news from the Front, which relations of men may care to send to him for insertion in the Parish Magazine. There are now a large number of our young men in the forces, and we have a long list of names on the Intercession Board at the Church. It is a great pleasure to see our old boys at home on leave looking so fit and well, and it is clear that the training and discipline which they receive is a splendid thing for them. All honour be to them for their courage and self-sacrifice. We should like to congratulate Lieut. Mayers on his promotion to be Captain, and the two Messrs. Belcher, Mr. Masters and Mr. Swinley, on obtaining their commission.

We had a large invasion of soldiers one week in May, and the resources of Newbury in the matter of billeting was severely taxed. There were over 20 men in S. Hilda’s mission room, and 95 in the Parish Room, and we all, who were privileged to entertain them in our houses, found them most quiet and well-behaved guests. The men in the Parish Room were well cared for by Mr. & Mrs. Stillman, and were very grateful for the attention which they received; they were all given, while there, an extra pair of socks, and thanks are due to all those who kindly provided powder for the men’s feet. They badly needed these things after their long marches in the wet. Before leaving the men contributed, as a thank-offering, to the Parish Nursing Work Box. May God watch over them all and bless them.

The Inns Of Court Officers Training Corps
The Rector has been appointed as one of the local representatives of the above, and is prepared to give forms containing the necessary information to suitable applicants. This Form states that “It is to be understood that all men joining this Corps are willing to take Commissions in the Special Reserve, the New Army, or the Territorial Force, as soon as they are sufficiently trained. No one is accepted without a personal interview with the Commanding Officer, and every candidate must be passed by the Medical Officer of the Corps.” The great and lamentable loss in officers that has taken place must make it clear that the provision of officers is a very serious and urgent matter for the prosecution of the war.

Newbury parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

Recruits wanted in Burghfield

The village of Burghfield was one where there was much enthusiasm encouraging the young men to answer Lord Kitchener’s call to arms. The parish magazine combines reportage with propaganda:

Burghfield Recruits wanted
Lord Kitchener wants 100, 000 men for his new Regular Army. Every able bodied young man who has not very strong reasons for standing out ought to offer himself.

Those who cannot possibly do this will find information below how to be of service to their King and Country in this time of need. But Kitchener’s appeal must come first.

Two enthusiastic meetings were held on August 18th (at the Technical School) and August 19th (at the Jubilee Room) to promote recruiting: and a strong committee is being formed for the purpose.

A stirring sermon was preached on Sunday morning in the Parish Church by the Rev. Holland Stubbs on the text from Numbers xxxii.6, “Shall your brethren go to war and shall ye sit here?

Age for enlistment.
Ex-soldiers – up to 42.
(Ex-Non-Commissioned Officers particularly needed.)
All others – 19 to 35.

Physical Standards.
Height – 5 ft 3 in or upwards.
Chest – 34 inches or over.

Period of Service – the duration of the war. Men will be discharged as soon as possible at its close.

Recruiting Centre (Sergeant Cole, Recruiting Sergeant) – The Depot (Barracks) Royal Berks Regiment, Oxford Road, Reading; also at the 4th Royal Berks Headquarters, St Mary’s Butts.

Special Reserve.

Age for Enlistment.
Ex-Reservists – Up to 35.
Recruits for Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Garrison Artillery, and good tradesmen for Royal Engineers – Up to 35.
Ex-Regulars (if satisfying certain conditions) – Up to 38.
All others – 17 to 30.

Physical Standards.
Height – From 5 ft 2 in (Infantry).
Chest – Measurement according to height.
All recruits must be able to read and write.

Period of Service – On original enlistment, 6 years; on re-enlistment, 4 years.
Recruiting Officer – Apply to the Barracks, Reading.

NB – Special Reservists who joined before 11th August can claim a bounty on enlisting in Kitchener’s Army.

Age for enlistment: up to 35.
Period of Service – 4 years (may be extended in case of war).
Recruiting Centres.
Infantry – Headquarters 4th Royal Berks Regt, St Mary’s Butts, Reading.
Yeomanry [the cavalry] – Yeomanry House, Castle Hill, Reading.

NATIONAL RESERVE (open only to men who have served in some branch of His Majesty’s Regular or Auxiliary Forces).
Ages for joining, and classification.
Class I: General Service – up to 42.
Class II: Home Service – Officers & Sergeants, up to 55; others, up to 50.
Class III: No obligations. All over age for Class II, and those who are eligible for Class I and II but do not wish to join either.

Recruiting Centre – 13 Castle Street, Reading (near St Mary’s Butts)

NB – A Company of the National Reserve is being formed in Theale and district. All ex-servicemen wishing to join are asked to communicate with Mr W T Norton, The Oaks, Sulhamstead.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1914 (D/EX725/3)