Restore oppressed nations to their rightful heritage

A new sympathy and interest were felt in our more obscure allies. It seemed appropriate at the time to look back at our Serbian allies’ historic fight for freedom from Turkey, now our mutual enemy.

The Vicar’s Notes

What is “KOSSOVO” day? It is the day on which, after fierce fighting, the Serbians came under the domination of the Turk (June 28th, 1389), and it is observed solemnly each year by the Serbian people. I hope to have a special memorial service at S. Mary’s on June 28th, at 12.15, very much on the lines of the service held at S. Pauls Cathedral last year. We ought to do all we can to shew our interest in those oppressed nations (at present under the heel of the German) which we are pledged to restore to their rightful heritage.

Intercessions
For the wounded, especially Fred Nunn.
For the missing, especially Charles Mercott, one of our servers.
For the fallen, especially William Stevens (killed in action in France on April 22nd); Tom Gray (died at the front from spotted fever); Edgar Bland and Ernest Lawrence (killed in action); Frederick Welford (Drowned in action)
R.I.P.

For God’s blessing on the efforts being made to save our country’s food.

Thanksgivings
For the progress of the Allied Arms.
For the gift of reasonable weather to help the Crops.

All Saints District
The War

We again have to mourn losses owing to the war and our sympathies will go out in abundant measure to those who are sorrowing. In Frederick Sales we have lost a former choir boy and we shall feel with his father who still has four sons in the Army, three of whom are in the fighting line.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

A follow up appeared in a later issue:

“Kossovo” Day, June 28th, was largely spoilt by the bad weather, But we were glad to see the Serbian lads once more at S.Mary’s, and we had the support of our Mayor, and of the Principal and Registrar of the University College. The Russian “Kontakion” for the departed was well sung by the Choir; and the service ended with the Serbian Royal Anthem and our own National Anthem. Our earnest prayer is that by next “Kossovo” Day our Serbian friends may be restored to their rightful heritage once more.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

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Dismay as buildings are requisitioned

Not every organisation was patriotically delighted to give up their premises to war purposes.

The Waifs and Strays Society received with dismay, as no doubt did many other Church Organisations, the news that the Great Hall of the Church House had been requisitioned for Government purposes, and that its doors were therefore shut against all ‘May Meetings.’ It seemed to the ‘Waifs and Strays’ that a good – perhaps, a better – substitute for their great Annual Meeting would be (in addition to the early Celebration in St. Paul’s Cathedral) an afternoon Service of Thanksgiving and Supplication in a central London church which stood in no danger of being ‘commandeered.’

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

A tribute of respect to Kitchener

Bracknell people shared in the national mourning for Lord Kitchener, and in an age before televised services, did their best to replicate his official memorial service. Meanwhile patriotic efforts had replaced charity for the East End.

A Memorial Service for Lord Kitchener was held at noon on June 13th in Bracknell Church. The service was, as far as possible, the same as that held at the same hour in S. Paul’s Cathedral, the same hymns and psalms, and the Dead March played solemnly in the middle of the service. There was quite a large congregation, and all felt glad to be able to join together in paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the great man who had done such good service so devotedly to his country.

Owing to people being so busy over war work, it was felt that it was almost impossible to arrange a Lent Working party for the Isle of Dogs this year; but Mrs. Sheppee most kindly collected 43 garments and sent them to Mr. Mirrilees last month. We have received a very grateful letter of thanks from him.

Bracknell section of Warfield District Magazine, July 2016 (D/P151/28A/8/7)

Lord Kitchener’s memorial service

Florence Vansittart Neale and her husband may have attended the national memorial service for Lord Kitchener.

13 June 1916
Memorial service in St Paul’s for Lord Kitchener.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

We cannot let soldiers’ children suffer

Wokingham churchgoers were reminded that the needs of homeless children were even worse than in peacetime.

Church of England Waifs and Strays Society.

The proceedings in connection with the 35th Anniversary of the Society will commence on the 30th May with a Celebration of Holy Communion in the Crypt Chapel in St. Paul’s Cathedral at 8.45 a.m. in the afternoon an Annual Public Meeting will be held in the Horticultural Hall, Vincent Square, Westminster, at 3 p.m…
It is especially interesting to note the important ‘War Work’ which this Society is doing by taking into its Homes little children, dependents of our Soldiers and Sailors, who have been left homeless or unprotected by reason of the War. We cannot let these children suffer.

A pleasing feature of the Public Meeting at the Horticultural Hall will be the presentation of purses by children to HRH Princess Alexander of Teck. These purses should contain not less than 10/-, and the proceeds will be devoted to the special “War Work” referred to above. There are possibly some parishioners or members of the congregation who might like their children to help the Society in this way. If so, will they kindly write for a purse, which will gladly be supplied on application to the Rev. Prebendary Rudolf, Old Town Hall, Kennington Road, London, SE.

On Service
Edgar Sandford

Wounded
Alfred Charles Parker

Invalided
Harry Fisher

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“The bomb went into a water tank”

Florence Vansittart Neale was excited by the news of a near miss for St Paul’s Cathedral – and a related spy scare.

3 September 1915

Heard Liverpool St Station a ruin by Zep. raid Sep. 3rd but instead now hear the bomb went into water tank & did no harm. Just escaped St Paul’s.

Hear signalling seen close [to] Woolwich Arsenal during raid. House located & people all caught.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Why should the young do all the fighting and the dying and offer the great sacrifice by themselves?

The people of Winkfield were urged to support the young men who were heading to the Front.

VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

When you receive this Magazine we shall be nearing the completion of a year of War, and this fact cannot fail to solemnize in our minds and make us seriously consider whether we are one and all doing our duty in this supreme crisis of our Nation’s history.

The call to service and sacrifice has been answered by numbers of our young men – a list of whom is printed in this month’s Magazine – but have we who are unable to offer ourselves for active service contributed all we can and ought to the common cause? As the Bishop of London says, why should the young do all the fighting and the dying and offer the great sacrifice by themselves? The sacrifice that is for all should be offered by all, and all are bound to make the resolution “I will pray, I will repent, I will serve, I will save.”

And yet we must sorrowfully confess that the army of intercessors to offer prayer as sacrificial as the self-oblation of the millions of men who have offered themselves for war, has not been forthcoming; unlike France or Russia, out Churches have not been filled with men and women to pray for the men whose peril and blood is their shield, and I must confess to much heart sickness and disappointment that even our intercessory services in the second Sunday evenings and the last Sunday mornings in the month have not been better attended.

What is the explanation? It cannot be that we are indifferent to our country’s need or without love to our brothers at the Front; nor is it that England does not believe in God; there is enough love of our country and enough belief in God to crowd our Churches with earnest suppliants. What then is lacking? Is it not the belief in prayer and especially the belief in united supplication in God’s house? Is not the lack of this the reason why the men and women who ought to be in the praying line have not proved so steadfast as the men in the fighting line, who so greatly need our prayers, and surely have a right to expect them.

I sincerely hope therefore that large numbers will make a real and special effort to attend the special Intercession Services on Wednesday, August 4th and on Sunday, August 8th, of which notice is given in another column. The result of this war will depend very largely on the atmosphere of prayer which has been created, for prayer is the strongest force in the world, and as has been truly said, through prayer we bring our nation and our Allies into contact with Christ, and set the life of the whole Society as well as individuals in the stream of that purpose of redemptive love which can overrule even war for God.

Your sincere Friend and Vicar,
H. M. MAYNARD.

PARISH NOTES

Lieut. Godfrey Loyd and Private Henry Hoptroff have just gone to the Front, and Privates Edwin Gray, Ernest Gray, Edward Holloway and Lance-Corporal Reginald Nickless are under orders to be in readiness to go immediately. We trust that they and their naturally anxious relatives will have a place in our prayers.

Much sympathy is felt for the family of Private John Williams (Royal Field Artillery) who died in hospital after a very long and distressing illness. He was buried with full military honours at Cosham Cemetery on July 1st, and special memorial prayers were said for him on Sunday, July 4th.

NOTICE

On Wednesday, 4th August, the anniversary of the declaration of war, a great service in St. Paul’s Cathedral has been arranged, when the King and all the leaders of the nation will attend to inaugurate the second year of the war be asking God’s help. In Winkfield Church, there will be Celebration of the Holy Communion at 8 a.m., and Litany and Intercession at 11 a.m. Also Evensong and Intercession at S. Mary the Less at 7.30 p.m.

On Sunday, August 8th, both morning and evening, there will be special services with Intercessions and Thanksgivings for the way in which the country has been preserved from many dangers.

The following is list of Winkfield men serving in His Majesty’s Forces at Home and Abroad.
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A year of horrors unimaginable, and the end not in sight

Across the county, the first anniversary of the declaration of war was solemnly commemorated with religious services.

At Mortimer West End, the services were dominated by the loss of two of its men who had given their lives.

Wednesday, August 4th, was the anniversary of the declaration of war by England, and we held a well-attended service in the evening of that day to pray about the past and the future. The service began with a Memorial for those who had fallen, remembering especially Captain Stephen Field, R.A.M.C., and Frank Goodchild, who went down on the “Good Hope.” Then we joined in intercession for our Rulers, our Army and Navy, and our Allies, the wounded and those tending them, and made an act of penitence for our national sins and shortcomings. The family of the late Captain Field has put up a memorial brass in the church bearing the following inscription:

“In loving memory of Captain Stephen Field, R.A.M.C., who died a prisoner in Germany, April 10th, 1915, aged 34. He was taken prisoner in the retreat from Mons while tending the wounded in a church. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The later news which has come shows that the text was true of Captain Field up to the very last, as he laid down his life attending to typhus patients in camp in the midst of appalling conditions.

If any parents should be summoned to France to see a son dangerously wounded (which God grant may not occur) will they communicate at once with the Vicar, who will put them in touch with an organization which will make things easier for them?

At Stratfield Mortimer:
August 4th
The anniversary of the outbreak of war was observed by large congregations at all the services, 7.45 a.m., 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. There was no preaching, only hymns and prayers, but there was impressive evidence of a deep reality and earnestness. And this we hope to see maintained at the two week-day war services throughout the autumn. We should like to see at these weekly services more of parents and friends of Mortimer men who are now at the Front.

All Saints’, Dedworth, reported:

August 4th, the anniversary of the Declaration of War, was kept as a day of solemn Intercession. There was, as far as possible, continual Intercession throughout the day, and Services at different hours. We were glad to see so many were able to take their part at sometime of the day. We hope these days help to make us realize the tremendous need there is for all to intercede humbly every day to God for our nation, our friends, and our foes.

Nonconformists took part as well as Anglicans. Maidenhead Congregational Church announced the town’s nonconformists’ contributions to the day:

A YEAR OF WAR!
It is a whole year since the world’s peace was broken up, and horrors unimaginable before have become our daily meat. And the end is not yet in sight. There are those who prophesy that the end will be as sudden and unexpected as the beginning, and that Christmas will see us settled down once more in ways of peace. Whatever happens, we are convinced that the Allies will not lay down their arms until their warfare is accomplished, and they have lost no jot of their conviction that their chivalrous and Christian struggle on behalf of a great cause will be crowned with a complete and satisfying victory. But it may be that vast sacrifices lie before us, and for those we shall need more and more the continual succours of grace of God. Fortitude must be fed and supported by faith.

We urge upon all our friends the duty of earnest and constant prayer. We ought to pray in private as well as in public services, that our soldiers and generals may be strong, and our rulers wise. We ought to pray for the Church, that it may be rich in counsel, and that it may guide the people to a more solemn faith in God. And we shall need to pray for ourselves, that our faith may not fail, however great the burdens may be that it may be called upon to carry.

A united meeting of the Free Churches of the town for Thanksgiving and Intercession has been arranged to be held in the Congregational Church on Wednesday, August 4th, the Anniversary of the outbreak of war, at 7.30 p.m. Rev. G. Ellis (the new Primitive Methodist Minister) will preside, and a brief address will be given by the Rev. G. D. Mason. We hope the faith and gratitude of Maidenhead Nonconformists will suffice to bring them together in large numbers, and that we shall renew and enlarge our trust in a ruling and guiding Will. Let us not dwell too much on the past, but let us think of our duty now, and let us set our hearts right before Him. When the nation is on its knees, the victory will arrive.

The minister of Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading, whose instincts were opposed to war in general, was less thrilled by the commemorations, although he allowed his congregation to take part in the town’s services.

Wednesday August 4th will see the first anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. War is not a thing that we rejoice in. Rather do we deplore the necessity for such a dire calamity. But we are in it – righteously, as we believe – and, God helping us, we are determined to see it through to a victorious conclusion. That is the thought that is animating the vast majority of our countrymen at this time, and a demonstration to give it expression on August 4th is now being organised by the Mayor…

Personally I cannot say that I am enamoured of processions and demonstrations at such a time as this; but that is neither here nor there. The thing I do rejoice in is that the religious element is to be prominent in the proceedings, and I hope my friends will help to make it and keep it so. In this connection I desire to draw attention to the United Service (arranged by the Executive Committee of the Free Church Council) which is to be held in our church that day at 5 p.m. Several of the Free Church ministers of the town will take part, and our organist and choir have promised their help. I trust we may see the church crowded for that service.

St John’s Church in Reading reported its own services and the interdenominational town ones:

Wednesday, August 4th, the anniversary of the Declaration of War, was observed among us principally as an occasion for earnest intercession. We began the day with a Celebration of Holy Communion at 5.30 a.m., at which there were 31 communicants, most of whom were on their way to work. At 10.30 a.m. we had a second Celebration, with an address by the Vicar. The hour of this service was fixed with a view to giving mothers an opportunity to come and pray for their sons at the Lord’s own service, and the number that came shewed how greatly they valued the opportunity. It was indeed a wonderful service, and will live long in the memories of those privileged to take part in it.

Later in the day, after Evensong in St Laurence’s Church, attended by the Mayor and Corporation, there was a great procession, in which all the public bodies in the town were represented, ending up with a demonstration in the Market Place, at which, after a short religious service, stirring addresses were delivered by Bishop Boyd-Carpenter and the Lord Chief Justice. St John’s Church was open from 8.30 onwards, and we ended the day with Family Prayers in Church, at which a large number of worshippers were present, thus ending the day as we had begun it – in prayer.

Churches in the Winkfield area also commemorated the anniversary of the war’s start.

ASCOT

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4th, the Anniversary of the Declaration of War, was observed in our Church, as in almost every Church throughout the land, as a day of Intercession before Almighty God in the spirit of deep penitence and true humility. We are thankful to be able to say that the chain of intercession was never allowed to be broken throughout the whole day. The great service of intercession, the Holy Eucharist, was offered at 8 a.m. and at 10.30 a.m.; and some of the grand old Offices of the Church were said: Sext, None, and Compline. The large attendance at all the services was something to be thankful for. It proved that our people have a sincere belief in the power of intercessory prayer and are willing to make an effort to do at least this much for our soldiers and sailors. But it also proved that mane more might, by a little sacrifice in the re-arrangement of their time, attend the Intercession Service which is held every Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. “Orare est laborare” – “to pray is to work,” and intercession for our men is a very important work in which we can all do our share, if we will.

CRANBOURNE

We were very unfortunate as regards the weather in our open air services of Intercession, four of them had to be abandoned owing to the rain. The Intercessions Services on the Anniversary of the Declaration of War were very well attended.

WINKFIELD

The special Services on August 4th were well attended, especially in the evening when we had a full Church; and the congregations were also large on the Sunday following. The anthem, “Lord for thy tender mercies sake,” being well rendered on both morning and evening.

Our thanks are due to the members of the C.E.M.S., who distributed notices of these services, which work was especially valuable in view of the notices in the Magazine being somewhat belated owing to its late issue this month.

Second Lieutenant Wilfred Loyd has just gone to the Front and will we trust be remembered in our prayers.

We are glad to be able to add two more names, Jack Dear and James Winnen to the list of Winkfield men serving, which was printed last month.

We regret to learn that Private R. Nickless has been wounded after having been at the Front only a few days. He has undergone an operation as is now progressing favourably.

The Vicar has sent a copy of the August Magazine to every man whose name is on the list published in that number.

WARFIELD

WAR ANNIVERSARY.- On August 4th there were two early celebrations of Holy Communion at 6.30 and 8, and though a week-day there were thirty communicants. The best attended service however was the open-air service held at Newell Green at 7 p.m. The Choir vested at the Brownlow Hall and preceded by the Processional Cross and followed by the Warfield Scouts made their way to the Cross Roads, where the service was begun by the singing of the National Anthem, followed by a short address by the Vicar on penitence and prayer, after which the hymn “Lord teach us how to pray aright,” was sung; prayers were offered for every Warfield belligerent by name.

The Vicar then asked all present to come up to the Church and to walk in couples and maintain strict silence while Church Litany was recited in procession. Just before reaching the Church the old Hundredth was sung; the service in Church was that sanctioned for use on the first Sunday in the year. The congregation which came in the procession numbered about three hundred. We thank God for His good hand upon us and for the great number whose hearts were touched and whose lips were opened on this solemn day.

The vicar of Warfield planned an open air service to commemorate the first anniversary of the war’s start.

THE VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

Wednesday, August 4th, ought to be a very solemn day for all of us this year, being as you know the Anniversary of the Declaration of War. A great example is being set to us all on that day by our King and Queen Mary by their intention to be present at a solemn Service of Intercession in St. Paul’s Cathedral at noon. What are we going to do? Let the King be represented by all his subjects in Warfield, and St. Paul’s represented by our own Parish Church. The hour of noon be substituted by 7 p.m. Let us have a united open-air service at the Crossways at Newell Green. The National Anthem will be sung, a short address will be given. All our village soldiers will be prayed for by name. The Litany will be recited on our way to Church, where the service will conclude with the special service used on the first Sunday of this year. The Holy Communion will be celebrated that morning at 6.30 and 8.

Anyone who is absent on such an evening I should feel was ashamed of his country, and deserved no blessing from God. Let us all be united about it, and come not in tens but in hundreds and not be afraid to confess the mighty working of God in our midst. This can be done and I want you all to say that it must be done. Let us confess our God and cry mightily to Him. I ask every parishioner to do his or her utmost to bring their neighbours. London has set us all an example, let the country do her part, and may God lift up your hearts to seek His great and abundant blessings in the coming year.

Yours affectionately in Christ,
WALTER THACKERAY.

More privately, the Community of St John Baptist held its own services at the House of Mercy, Clewer.

4 August 1915
Anniversary of our declaration of war with Germany. The Penitents were present at the 7 a.m. Eucharist. War Litany was said by one of the priests at 12; & at Evensong there were special prayers, hymns, & the National Anthem.

Florence Vansittart Neale went with a friend to attend the big national service at St Paul’s.

4 August 1915
Up by early train with Mary Hine to London for the service at St Paul’s! 1st year of war over! Long wait. Nice service. Artillery band. Royalties there. Over by 1. We missed 2 o’clock train so had lunch, came down 3.45. Church after.

Bubs’ men had motor drive & tea at Henley.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P120/28A/14); Clewer parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P39/28A/9); Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, August 1915 (D/N33/12/1/5); Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, August 1915 (D/N11/12/1/14); Reading St John parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P172/28A/24); Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8); CSJB Annals (D/EX1675/1/14/5); Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Florence Vansittart Neale attended an open-air service in London in support of the war. The Bishop of London preached an inspiring sermon on the soul of the nation. But there was worrying news about a nephew of Florence’s husband Henry.

25 July 1915

Service outside St Paul’s. Bishop. Troops – [illegible] bands.

Heard Lionel Dickinson wounded in Dardanelles.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A nation’s homage

Ascot celebrated it own national hero, Lord Roberts, whose funeral we noted on 19 November. The parish also had less well known heroes in this war.

F. M. EARL ROBERTS.
The whole Empire mourns his loss. There have been famous sailors and soldiers besides Lord Roberts. A Nelson and a Wellington rest by his side in S. Paul’s Cathedral. We admire them, we pay them a nation’s homage. Their greatness and his are alike in this. But for him there is something more – universal love. His character rested upon JESUS Christ. When he knelt in deep reverence at our Parish Altar to receive the Bread of Life – when he sent forth our soldiers into the great battle of right against might with the little Testaments in their pockets, each volume with its touching message inscribed on the first page:

“I ask you to put your trust in GOD, He will watch over you and strengthen you. You will find this little Book guidance when you are in health, comfort when you are in sickness, and strength when you are in adversity.”

When such was the character of the man, do we wonder that this pathetic and usually careless world, was at his feet, that attraction of the Christ in him became irrisistable. Rather, would it not be passing strange had it been otherwise? Our brother, being dead, yet speaketh. He bids us make much of our Christianity. For on the very first step across the threshold lies a whole world of inequity, into which he who lets go his Christianity plunges at once.

He would have been laid to rest near to his own home, near to this Church that he loved. But this was not to be: and it is better as it is. His family generously gave him up in death to the Empire that he served with his life. “Let me die the death of the righteous: let my last end be like His.” The Funeral Service was sung in All Saints Church at the same hour that the ceremony took place in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Our deepest sympathy is offered to his family. R. I. P.

For fuller details of the funeral we refer our readers to the newspapers.

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Berkshire children and Field Marshal Roberts’ funeral

Ascot said goodbye to one of its most famous residents, Field Marshal Lord Roberts. Frederick Roberts (1832-1914) was a veteran of earlier wars, in Afghanistan and the Boer War in South Africa, and even the Indian Mutiny of 1857, when an act of gallantry won him the Victoria Cross. His title, awarded in 1901, is one of the very few British Earldoms to be heritable in the female line (another being that of Mountbatten), a special gift to Roberts, who had only daughters living. His only son had been killed in the Boer War, in which he won the Victoria Cross. As he approached retirement in 1903, he moved to Englemere House in Ascot. Over 80 when the First World War broke out, he had anticipated that a great European war would result from German aggression, and had urged conscription for years. Much of his military career had been in the Empire, and he died of pneumonia while inspecting Indian contingents in France. He got the rare honour of a state funeral, and is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The bellringers on All Souls Day rang a muffled peal in commemoration of those who have fallen in the War. It was a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles, 1260 changes, rung by F. Blunden, Treble; E. Simmonds (2); J. Simmonds (3); W. Eatwell (4); J. Brant (Conductor); S. W. Hughes (Tenor); and on Thursday evening, Nov 19th, the day of Lord Roberts’ funeral, another quarter peal in the same method with F. Blay ringing the treble and A. Head, tenor.

The funeral of Lord Roberts also affected the children from two south-east Berkshire schools.  At Ascot Heath Girls’ School, it was reported on 19 November 1914 that:

A holiday was given on Thursday morning on account of the funeral of Field Marshal Lord Roberts.

The following day, St Michael’s CE School noted the involvement of some of their pupils:

Several boys – Scouts – formed the Guard of Honour at Englemere on the occasion of the funeral of the Field Marshal.

Florence Vansittart Neale also mentioned the funeral, along with her concern for young friends in the armed forces.

19 November 1914
I to call on Maud Mackenzie. She in bed. Long talk. Kenneth may go in 3 weeks. Alick better but boot still in his wound….

Had nice letter from Charlie. Going into trenches.

Lord Roberts military funeral at St Paul’s.

Ascot portion of Winkfield District magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12); Ascot Heath Girls School Log Book (C/EL109/2, p. 230); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed (88/SCH/32/3, p. 173); diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)