Energetic and continuous work for the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance during the war

One Sulhamstead woman was central to the parish’s efforts to assist the wounded.

RED CROSS SOCIETY

Mrs Grimshaw has relinquished the tenancy of the Abbots House, to the great regret of all in the parish who knew her and Mrs Greenley. We hope that her five years’ tenancy has sufficiently endeared her to the neighbourhood to bring her repeatedly back on visits.

Mrs Grimshaw’s work for the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance during the war has been energetic and continuous. Since she was first appointed as Village Representative, her small group of workers were kept steadily employed, and produced a good number of garments. During the last year upwards of 120 garments were dispatched to the Depot. Mrs Sheringham, Mile House, has undertaken the work as the Village Representative.

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

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Admirable work for our wounded soldiers

Broad Street Church supported work with the wounded.

At each of the services on Sunday, January 20th, a retiring collection is to be taken on behalf of the British Red Cross Society and St John’s Ambulance Association. These Societies are doing admirable work for our wounded soldiers, and we feel sure that many of our friends will be glad to have an opportunity of sharing in it.

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

Offerings for the suffering Belgian children

Cranbourne churchgoers and Sunday School children were moved by the sufferings of children in wartorn Belgium.

The collections for the Red Cross and Order of St. John in Jerusalem at the Intercession Services on December 31st amounted to £8 13s. 4d. The purses for offerings for the suffering Belgian children were also received the same day. The children of the Sunday School and some members of the congregation had passed these round the dinner table on Christmas Day. The children’s contribution amounted to £1 0s. 9d. and that of the congregation to £4 10s. 9d., making a total of £5 11s. 6d. We received a most grateful letter of thanks from the London Committee.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

Thankful recognition of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country

The Bishop of Oxford urged Berkshire people to take part in the Day of National Prayer on 31 December.

Wokingham

Day of National Prayer.

The following announcement is made by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York:-

In accordance with what was done throughout England on the first Sunday of the years 1915 and 1916, it is proposed that in the Cathedrals and parish churches of England on Sunday, December 31st next, special prayer should be offered in connection with the war, and thankful recognition made of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country.

Reading

December 31st

The last day in the year will be observed as a day of special prayer and thanksgiving in connection with the War. The collections at all the services will be given to the Red Cross Society and the Order of the Society of S. John of Jerusalem, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Archbishop.

Earley

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the December Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies, and especially for the Roumanians [sic] and the Belgians…
For the day of prayer concerning the war (December 31st).

THE DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE NATION AT WAR

December 31st has been fixed as a day of prayer. You will not need material to help your devotion, as, I think, we have sufficient. But, as the strain of the war increases and there are no signs of the end, we need to be more than ever faithful and importunate in common prayer.

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Victor Jennings, Charles Bowden, Walter Ravening, Cecil Ravening, William Parsons, Joseph Cane, Frederick Brooker, Percy Brooker, Henry Furnell, Charles Smith, Frederick Smithers.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

Sick: Frederick Allen, William Worsfold.
Killed: Stephen Ravening, Arthur Furnell, Frank Furnell, Thomas Brooker, Albert Hall.
Missing: Allan Smit.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P98/28A/14); Earley parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/12)

A fine body of young women

The Revd E C Glyn, Bishop and Peterborough, and his wife Lady Mary both wrote to their soldier son Ralph. The Bishop was anxious that his letters were not reaching Ralph:

The Palace
Peterborough
15 March [1916]

My darling Ralph

Thanks for your letters – & your news – but we long to hear what & where your next move will be.

I have written by each “bag” every week, & I can’t understand if & why you have not had a letter from me each time! Unless it is that Captain Kellet does send every letter as well as General Callwell used to do! I wonder what is to be done with General Callwell & if he will want to get you for his work somewhere?…

Lady Mary was busy with her own war work, not to mention a feud with a rival Red Cross branch.

March 15, 1916
The Palace
Peterborough

My own darling and blessing

This has been a bad week for me and there has been nothing but futile fuss, perhaps – but fuss! And I have had no leisure. Meg went to London on Thursday, and was away one night in London, and all Friday I was at the Rest Room seeing to Canteen worries…

I went to see Colonel Collingwood who has seen your reappointment as GSO General Staff vice [under] Captain Loyd, & he was much excited and wanted to know what it meant. I could only say I supposed some redistribution of work at the end of your previous work of all this winter. But it set me thinking and this week with the news of Verdun always in one’s head, with the rumours always in every paper of German naval activity, and of the mines everywhere, one knows that one needs to have a stout heart for a stae brae….
The Rest Room is crowded out some days with the troops moving about, and we had over 1100 last month. We have a splendid hand of workers night and day.

Any my Red Cross Room is such a joy – it was quite full last night and I have enough money to go on, but must soon get more; the material is very expensive, & the County Association (now definitely under Sir Edward Ward) gives no grants to these private Rooms. The Town depot now “under the War Office” and having a pompous Board announcing its connection with the British Red Cross & the “Northampton Red Cross (??)” has collected 680 pounds, and intends to get 1000£ in order to sit upon all BRC work. Not sent to the War Office – to be distributed by them, & not by our Headquarters, 83 Pall Mall. It is from here quite incomprehensible when one knows how these people have behaved, & the lies they have told to cover up the defects of their organization, but I suppose Sir Edward had to level up all sorts of abuses & get the whole into his hand before any order could be restored. And the BRC did not organize its work in time. Now the Central Work Rooms have had to move from Burlington House to 48 Gros: Square & they have taken that big corner house for six months.

Sir George Pragnell’s death has been a blow, as I felt safe behind him from further attack – but the Stores Manager at 83 is so delighted with the work we have now sent up that our position will be assured. Another enemy – not me – quashed!

It is a complication that the Lady Doctor who is our splendid and most efficient Superintendent is expecting to add to the population! (more…)

A special pattern: sewing in Sulhamstead

Women in Sulhamstead were keen to help out by knitting and sewing clothing for the troops at the chilly Front.

THE WAR

Communications have been issued by the Lord Lieutenant and Mrs Benyon relative to the new scheme outlined by the War Office, for the supply of comforts for our soldiers and sailors during the forthcoming winter. One of these has been addressed to the Rectory, to Mrs Shepherd. There are many persons in the Parish anxious and eager to work, if materials can be supplied to them. If any such materials or gifts, with which to purchase them, are given to Mrs Shepherd, she will arrange for the workers to receive them.

The requirements are scheduled under six different headings:
British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John – Garments to be made to special pattern
War Office: Knitted scarves etc, of approved colours
Ladies’ Emergency Committee of the Navy League: Underclothing etc
Mine Sweepers: Warm underclothing, gloves and woollen garments
Lady Smith-Dorrien’s Depot for Bags for Soldiers: Bags of an approved pattern and materials

It is pleasing to the Parish to know that Sulhamstead House has again been opened by the kindness and generosity of Sir George and Lady Watson, for the reception of the wounded.

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

Our Russian Allies have been nobly bearing the chief brunt of the enemy’s attack

Women and children were at the forefront in Burghfield, Sulhamstead and Theale fundraising efforts on behalf of wounded Russians, while efforts were also made in Reading.

Sulhamstead

RUSSIAN FLAG DAY

An energetic canvass of the parish on behalf of the Russian Red Cross Society was mad eon Saturday, September 18th, by an enthusiastic band of workers, organised by Miss B Leake. It is said they met with a bright welcome at almost every house at which they called, or every person whom they asked. All the flags had been sold by 2 o’clock, and givers after that time were content to have no recognition. The collecting boxes were taken unopened to Canon Trotter on Saturday night by Miss Leake, but the counting was deferred, and was not known at the time of going to press.

The St Michael’s Scouts gathered blackberries, which they sold for the Russian Red Cross, and added £1 to the fund from their sale.

Theale

RUSSIAN FLAG DAY

It is interesting to record the efforts made, and the sums contributed, in our parish towards meeting the manifold needs of our Allies and ourselves in this time of War. During the last two months appeals have been made to the Country to assist the Russian wounded and sick, and our own Red Cross and St. John Ambulance Association. On both occasions Mr. D. M. Davies took up the work with zeal, invited the collectors and assigned them their districts.

“Russian Flag Day” was September 18th, and £8 18s. 9d. was contributed. The following collected: Mrs Charles Blatch, Miss Bunce, Miss Cowing, Miss Dance, Miss Ivy Forrester, Miss Pickford, Miss Elsie Janes, Mrs Sly and the Misses Windle.

Burghfield
RUSSIAN FLAG DAY
Our parishioners gladly and willingly responded to the appeal made by the Mayor of Reading to help the Russian Red Cross by buying flags on Saturday, September 18th, and the very satisfactory sum of £11. 13s 7d was realized as our contribution to the good cause. The Rector and Mrs George are most grateful to all the collectors who responded to their appeal, and who spared no effort to make the day a success.

Reading

A Reading church had a special fundraising day in aid of wounded Russian soldiers.

The Vicar’s notes

Our Russian Allies have been bearing so nobly the chief brunt of the enemy’s attack during the last few months that it was only fitting that we should do our best to help their wounded, who I fear, must be numbered by hundreds of thousands. So Saturday, Sept 18th was kept as Russian Flag Day, and the results were splendid; the total amount reaching, I believe, some £2,000.

Sulhamstead and Burghfield parish magazines, October 1915 (D/EX725/3); Theale parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P132B/28A/4); Reading St Mary parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P98/28A/13)

Eggs are a real help to wounded soldiers

Two men with Ascot connections had been reported killed, while other parishioners supported the war effort.

The War.

CAPTAIN SIDNEY CLEMENT, we deeply regret to state, is reported as having been killed in action at the Dardanelles on April 26th last. He was serving with the 5th Battalion of the Australian Infantry. The son of the late Major R. Clement, he is well known at Ascot. He leaves a widow and two young children. We feel deeply for his family, and for his mother who is resident in this Parish.

THE REV. ERIC W. BRERETON, son of our Parishioner, Mr. Brereton of the Huntman’s Lodge, has been chosen to be one of the Chaplains at the Front. We ask GOD’S special Blessing on his most responsible work.

TROOPER JAMES JOHNSTON, 1st Lifeguards, is reported killed near Ypres. We sorrow for his wife and children.

THE SICK AND WOUNDED.
It may interest some people who have kindly subscribed to the Penny Fund for the Sick and Wounded St John’s Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross Society, to know that a sum of £27 14s. 11d. has been collected at Ascot, Bracknell and Cranbourne Wards of the Winkfield Polling Districts.

EGG LEAGUE for the Ascot Military Hospital:-
Will any parishioner who is willing to give an egg or eggs, either regularly each week or from time to time, communicate with Miss La Trobe-Bateman, who will explain the means of conveyance to the Hospital itself. Such gifts are a very real help to our wounded soldiers.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8)

Skimmed milk and margarine are excellent

Cranbourne churchgoers were treated to some cookery advice in straitened times, in the guise of a fictional letter writer, who recommended the novelties of skimmed milk and margarine.

BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY.
It may interest some people who have kindly subscribed to the Penny Fund for the Sick and Wounded St John’s Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross Society, to know that a sum of £27 14s. 11d. has been collected at Ascot, Bracknell and Cranbourne Wards of the Winkfield Polling Districts.

We print below another instalment of Mrs Smith’s letter. –

As to soup, there are many people who run it down; but it has good value as food. I learned that from my Scotch grandmother, for the poorest Scotch people won’t do without their broth. They take it quite thick. I agree with you that thin soups are not filling at the price. But if you can get vegetables you do not need meat for soups. Take fresh vegetables of any sort, cut them up; onions must be used in plenty. Put them in a pan, and warm them up in a little dripping or margarine. In a few minutes they will take up the dripping. As the dripping disappears cover them with water and boil till the hardest of the vegetables is soft. There should be potato, which helps to thicken it. At the end stir in what milk you can spare, and serve it, thick as porridge.

I sometimes make a pea soup which is fit for a Prince. Soak the dried peas well over night. Put them in a pan with a bit of dripping, and cover with the water they were soaked in. Start them boiling, for they take a long time. Later on put in lumps of potato, carrots, turnips, onions, etc. Boil till tender, but don’t let the peas get mashed up. You should be able to see their shapes. I never put in salt and pepper till ready to serve, for then you know where you are. You can cook lentils this way. Those dried peas and beans and lentils all have something in them which makes children grow, and gives people strength to work. So they are cheap at the money, and the doctors say that they can take the place of meat. The dried beans, called haricot beans, ought to be much better known. The hunters in the Rocky Mountains, where there are no shops, carry these beans with them in sacks, and live on them for weeks, with perhaps some bacon. Now they need soaking over night. The longer the better. You would not believe the water they take up in soak. Then they are slowly boiled, with water only just covering them, letting them drink up all the water. The stewed beans may be served in many ways, with pepper, salt and butter, or with grated cheese stirred in; or made into a hash with gravy; or made into a pie with bits of boiled bacon and onion in, and pastry or potato as a lid; or eaten as a vegetable with any meat you happen to have.

As regards bread, never throw away a crumb. Teach the children to save the crusts. Little bits too small for puddings should be dried in the sun, or by the fire. Then make the children crush them with a rolling pin. Save these crumbs in a tin. They serve many purposes. You can thicken soup or stew with them, or put them in a pan with fried sausages.

Another warning is given us by some of the people who understand great questions. They say do not at the present time buy food which is prepared in other countries, not if you can possibly help it. This is to keep the money in our unfortunate England. This stops the sardines and tinned fruits. I shall miss them sadly, but we all want to help. So give the fish money to our splendid fisherman at home, such of them as the Germans have not blown up. And give the money to our poor English fruit growers and hawkers, and shops, or buy from our neighbours if we can.

Now we come to beer, a very delicate point, for if you name beer you are told you want to “rob” people of it. No one says the word “rob” when you advise them against foods, only against beer. Well, we can’t be robbed of what we give up willingly, and when the money is short I think most mothers want to buy what the children can share with them. So the beer money, or part of it, can go for little extras for us and them, for we can’t give them a taste of the beer; no really good mother wants them to begin while young.

As for milk I have asked the Doctors and they say skim milk is a very valuable food, so don’t look down on it. Unless children are very young and very thin they don’t much miss the cream which has been skimmed. Better to give them plenty of skim milk than only a taste of new milk. It makes them grow and makes their bones strong.

Margarine has got a bad name with some. This is a mistake, good margarine is excellent. I made a pie when my soldier brother was expected; only margarine in it, and all remarked on the goodness of the crust. Dripping in tins is worth buying, and keeps well. Dripping toast need not be despised.

Now we come to coals for cooking. Not much of those now-a-days. All the better for the cooking. A man cook taught me why the foreign cooking is so splendid. It is because foreigners can’t get much coal, and use wood or charcoal. This makes the cooking very slow and gives it a rich taste. Put in your pudding and put on your pot at breakfast time or as ever you like and let it do slowly. It will only want a glance now and then while you are working round.

(To be concluded in September Magazine.)

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8)

Married just before her husband sailed for the Dardanelles

The people of Bracknell were supporting the war in various ways, but special sympathy must be reserved for a recent bride now, tragically, a widow. The unfortunate May Harley did at least find love again, as she remarried after the war.

THE WAR

Very much sympathy is felt for Mrs. Harley, and her mother, Mrs Sheppee, at the death of Lieut. J. Harley, who has been killed at the Dardanelles. It will be remembered that it was only a few weeks ago that Mrs. Harley was married, just before her husband sailed, and now he has fallen in the service of his country.

Leonard Taylor is reported to have been wounded in the hand. He is serving in the Canadian contingent, and was in the terrible fighting that followed the first use by the enemy of deadly gas. In that fight he came off unscathed.

Lady Berkeley has written to say that her husband, Colonel Foley, who is in command of one of our Berkshire Battalions, writes of the need for sand bags. Mrs. Mackenzie is sending 100 from her working party, and we hope that more will soon be ready from the War supply depôt which is being formed in Bracknell. From many sources we hear that the demand for sand bags is practically unlimited.

Since the end of April a weekly despatch of eggs has been sent from Bracknell for the use of the wounded in the Reading Hospitals.

Dozen Dozen
April 29 8 6 June 18 4 4
May 7 16 2 ” 25 6 6
” 14 10 0 July 2 9 6
” 21 8 0 ” 9 8 0
” 28 4 1 ” 16 5 4
June 4 10 9 ” 23 3 8
” 11 6 5

Anyone able and willing to add to this collection should send eggs to the Vicarage. They are sent off on Fridays.

ST. JOHN AMBULANCE ASSOCIATION AND BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY.

The Penny Collection in the Easthampstead and Warfield Parishes realized £25 14s. 3d. Mr. F.W. Hunton organised the collection and a number of ladies and gentlemen assisted him in the work. The money has been sent to Mrs. Gardner, who is collecting from the various parishes in Berks. In a letter of thanks she says: “I am sure you will be glad to hear that East Berks. has done well in the collection. I have – with your kind cheque – £323 15s. 0d. and I have yet five or six centres to hear from.”

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8)

The essential parts of a soldier

The Burghfield parish magazine for June was supporting a Belgian refugee’s attempts to earn a living. Meanwhile, political opponents were working together to raise money to help the wounded.

FRENCH LESSONS
The daughters of Monsieur Laurent – our Belgian guests, who are still living at the Old school, Burghfield, are very anxious to give some lessons in French, chiefly conversational. They would be very glad to hear of any pupils: the terms would be very moderate. Applications to be made to Mademoiselle Laurent, at “The Old School”.

PENNY FUND FOR THE SICK AND WOUNDED
Arranged by the St John’s Ambulance and British Red Cross.

The collection amounted to &8. 15s.0d in Burghfield, and a letter was received from Mr Forster, expressing gratitude from the Central Committee to all who helped in so successful a result, adding that:

“While he was responsible for the organisation of the South Berks district, Mr Wright, the Liberal Agent, dealt with the Borough of Newbury, which fact ought to be mentioned to prevent any misapprehension, as there was no idea of making it a party matter in any sense.”

Mrs Willink takes this opportunity of thanking most heartily all those who helped so kindly and willingly in making the collection.

THE TRUE SOLDIER

The following lines are by Philip Massinger, a dramatist of the 17th century. We shall agree that the qualities which merit “the noble name of Soldier” are the same in the 20th century as they were in the days of our forefathers – qualities which are conspicuous today in the conduct of thousands of our heroic officers and men at the Front.

If e’er my son
Follow the war, tell him it is a school,
Where all the principles tending to honour
Are taught, if truly follow’d: but for such
As repair thither, as a place in which
They do presume they may with licence practise
Their lusts and riots, they shall never merit
The noble name of soldiers. To dare boldly
In a fair cause, and, for their country’s safety,
To run upon the cannon’s mouth undaunted;
To obey their leaders, and shun mutinies;
To bear with patience the winter’s cold,
And summer’s scorching heat, and not to faint,
When plenty of provision fails, with hunger;
Are the essential parts make up a soldier,
Not swearing, dice, or drinking.

Philip Massinger

Burghfield parish magazine, June 1915 (D/EX725/3)

The National Day of Intercession

The first Sunday of the new year was declared as a National Day of Intercession for solemn collective prayer for the country at this trying tie of war. The vicar of Sulhamstead was among the many clergy of Berkshire who commended the Day of Intercession to parishioners. He wrote in the December 1914 issue of the parish magazine:

My Parishioners and Friends

May I commend to you in this time of terrible stress when the war in the Western area hangs on without any decisive result and the fight to reach Calais has lasted for over a month with the respective positions of the two armies almost unchanged for very many weeks, the following lines from a letter in “The Guardian” of November 5th summoning a meeting for Confession, Intercession and Conference. The Bishop of London, Bishop Taylor Smith and many others had promised to take part.

“The continuance of this awful war, with its appalling loss of life, and without any decisive victory, suggest that something is hindering that manifest intervention of God on our behalf for which we long. There is indeed already much to be thankful for, but our side, which is the side of truth and right, has not yet prevailed. The hindrance may be in the Church, or in the nation, or in both. It may be that God still sees stiffneckedness in us, and His very delay in answering our prayers is a call to a more thorough repentance of our reliance upon Him”.

Since these words were written in “The Guardian”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have summoned the Church to observe the first Sunday in the new year, January 3rd, as a day of Humble Prayer and Intercession to Almighty God on behalf of the cause entrusted to our King, our Empire, and our Allies, and on behalf of our men who are fighting for it on sea or land…
May I ask you to keep this day free for this solemn observance.

Yours sincerely
Alfred J P Shepherd

Ascot parishioners got a similar request:

DAY OF PRAYER AND INTERCESSION.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York desire to make public the following notice: The first Sunday in the New Year (January 3rd, 1915) will be observed as a Day of Humble Prayer and Intercession to Almighty God on behalf of the cause entrusted to our King, our Empire, and our Allies, and on behalf of the men who are fighting for it on sea or land. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been in communication with his majesty the King as to the observation of this day throughout the nation, and he has received the following letter:-

Buckingham Place, October 26th 1914.

My dear Archbishop –

The King has lately received numerous communications from different quarters urging upon his Majesty the necessity for a Day of National Humiliation and Prayer.

Personally the King is disinclined to advocate the use of any term which might plausibly be misinterpreted either at home or abroad.

At the same time his Majesty recognises the National Call for United Prayer, Intercession, Thanksgiving, and for remembrance of those who have fallen in their country’s cause.

It seems to the King that the beginning of the year would be a fitting season to be thus solemnised; and his Majesty thinks that Sunday, January 3rd, might well be the chosen day.- Yours very truly,

STAMFORDHAM.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York will when the time draws near address the members of the Church of England as to the manner of the observing of this call to prayer.
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