Although their clothes may have been wet, the spirits of both adults and children were apparently in no way dampened

A good time was had by all at the Sulhamstead peace celebrations.

SULHAMSTEAD PEACE CELEBRATIONS

The following full and graphic account of the meetings and celebrations has been received for publication. The whole of it is worth reading and preserving. As it cannot all be printed in this copy, no attempt is made to curtail it, and the remainder will be published later. In addition to the debt which it states the parish owes to certain of its members, there must not be forgotten the admirable executive work conducted by Mr Clay, which enabled the whole to proceed without a single hitch.

A public meeting was held in Sulhamstead Schools on July 8th, when it was decided to hold our Peace Celebrations on the official day, July 19th, and to put a cross on the site of the old Church as a War Memorial. It was very well attended, and we understand it was one of the largest meetings ever held in Sulhamstead.

The following committees were appointed in connection with the Peace Celebrations, with Mr H Clay as Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.

A Catering Committee, under the guidance of Lady Watson, as follows: Mrs Cooper, Nurse Harvie, Miss Hughes, Mrs Price, Mrs Shepherd, Mrs Sheringham, Mrs Steele, Mrs Suhr, Mrs Tyser, Mrs Taylor, Mrs Jos. Wise.

A Sports Committee, under the Chairmanship of Sr W G Watson, bart, as follows: Mr Arlott, Mr A Clarke, Mr Clay, Mr Theo Jones, Mr Leake, Mr Metcalfe, Mr Ralph, Rev. A J P Shepherd, Mr Sheringham, Mr Stokes, Mr Suhr, Mr Norman Watson, Mr Winchcombe.

A Finance Committee, with Sir W G Watson, bart, as Chairman, as follows: Lady Watson, Mrs Sheringham, Miss Hughes, Mr Arlott, Mr Clay, Mr Leake, Rev, A J P Shepherd, Mr Sheringham, Mr Winchcombe.

The various committees appointed carried out their work admirably and amicably, and made the Celebrations on July 19th a great success.

Sir George Watson very kindly threw open his grounds for the occasion.

All the residents of Sulhamstead and Sulhamstead Lower End were invited to the Sports and Tea, and invitation cards were delivered by mebers of the committees to each house. These were collected, and tickets of admittance given out.

Unfortunately the weather was showery, but this did not prevent people being there, and although their clothes may have been wet, the spirits of both adults and children were apparently in no way dampened.

The children’s sports commenced at 2.30 in Sulhamstead Park by a variety of races for those under 14. There were plenty of competitors and the prizes consisted of money given by the committee and special (including two fishing rods, reels, knives, handbag and handkerchiefs) kindly given by Mr and Mrs Sheringham.

[Continued in October issue]

CONTINUATION OF REPORT ON PEACE CELEBRATION

At 4 o’clock tea was provided on the verandah at Sulhamstead House. The Adults’ Tea was served at 5 o’clock, at which meat was provided. The Rev. A J P Shepherd at this stage reminded us of those who had fallen in the war, who had gone from Sulhamstead, and read out the names. During the reading everyone stood in an impressive, solemn silence.

The Sports re-commenced at 6.30 for Adults, in which Pillow-Fighting and Blindfold Boxing caused great amusement. Mr Hayes kindly gave two 10-lb cheeses as special prizes, and money prizes were given by the committee…

The Sports concluded with Tugs of War for Men and Women, which were energetically contested. Each team was cheered by its own supporters. Mr Suhr’s team won the Men’s Tug of War, and Mrs Butler’s tem the Women’s. Mr Leake took charge of the Sports, Mr Norman Watson acting as Starter and Mr Sheringham and Mr Hayward as Judges.

During the afternoon, Bowling for a live pig, which Mr Stokes kindly gave, proved a great attraction. This was won by Mr H G Batts, who succeeded in putting down six skittles with three balls.
We are pleased to say £3.2s.11d. was received from this source as Entrance Fees.

Beer and mineral waters were provided free after 6.30.

Lady Watson presented the prizes to the winners, and vote of thanks was then given to the Catering Committee for their work in providing the tea.

Hearty cheers were given to Sir George and Lady Watson, Mr Norman Watson, and to those who gave the special prizes.

The Celebrations terminated with the National Anthem.

The gathering was a splendid success, and the thanks of everyone are due to the various committees for so ably providing pleasure for all.

Sulhamstead parish magazines, September and October 1919 (D/EX725/4)

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Rightly proud of medals

Two Sulhamstead men had been awarded medals. Friends and family were proud of them.

THE WAR

The parish is rightly proud of the honour gained by Mr. Steele’s son at the Front, and we heartily congratulated both Mr Steele and his son George, on the D.C.M recently conferred upon him. We believe also that he has been more than once mentioned in despatches. He is also a Sergeant.

Mr A Ford, now Farrier-Staff Sergeant A Ford, who formerly lived and worked at the Lower End, has very many friends in Sulhamstead. They will be glad to read the following reprinted from the Mercury in connection with the Meritorious Service Medal awarded to him. It begins with the official telegram:

“The GOC congratulates you on your being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.”

He has also received letters of congratulations – one from his commander’s wife:

“Dear Sergeant Ford, –

I was very glad indeed to hear that you had been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, and send you my best congratulations. Am sure you deserve it. I always hear how well the Divisional Train is doing, and my husband is very proud of his command. He has a very fine lot of men, and I know that you are one of the originals when they were forming at Pangbourne.”

Sulhamstead parish magazine, December 1916 (D/EX725/3)

“There is a consolation in knowing that he did his duty fearlessly”

One man after another from Stratfield Mortimer was reported dead or missing. The toll was beginning to tell.

Garth Club

We have received with the greatest possible regret the news of the death of yet another member on the Field of Honour. When war broke out many members volunteered, and have been serving in most of the fighting zones, – in the Persian Gulf, in Egypt, at the Dardanelles, and Salonica, whilst a number have been in France in the thick of the fighting.

The first to give his life was Frank Goodchild, Pte., R.M.L.I. (enlisted 1913), who went down in the H.M.S. “Good Hope” when she was sunk in action off the Chilian Coast, November, 1914. He took a prominent part in all Club doings and entertainments, and was a general favourite – “one of the best,” and greatly missed.

Next came the sad news that Lance-Corp. Chas. Wickens, who joined on the 11th August, and was drafted to France in the 1st R. Berks the following November, was reported missing on the 15th-17th May, 1915. And it is since believed that he was amongst those killed at Festubert or Richebourg. In the long period of uncertainty the greatest sympathy has been felt with his family and his many friends. He earned his stripe very early in his training, and was a most promising young soldier.

Swiftly came the news of the death of Sidney Raggett, Pte. In the R. Montreal Regt., who also joined in August, 1914, and after three months in Canada came home to complete his training on Salisbury Plain. He went out in February, 1915, was wounded in April, but returned to his duty in May, and on the 21st was killed by a stray shot at Richebourg. His Sergeant wrote of him, “I was awfully sorry he was hit, as he was one of the best boys I had,” and Major-General Sir Sam Hughes, in a letter of condolence to his mother, says, “…there is a consolation in knowing that he did his duty fearlessly and well, and gave his life for the cause of liberty and the upbuilding of the Empire.”

Another period of anxiety has been the lot of Harry Steele’s family and of his wide circle of friends and chums. He, too, felt directly war broke out that it was his duty to join, and he and a friend enlisted in the 10th Hants, and had a long training in Ireland and England. He went in July to Gallipoli, and was in the great charge on the 20th-21st August. He was reported missing, and after many anxious months there seems a sad probability that he may have fallen in that heroic effort. But no details are as yet known. He was a regular and loyal member of the Choir and of St. Mary’s Bellringers, and will be long remembered in the village for his clever impersonation of Harry Lauder, and for his realistic acting at the Club entertainments.

Associated with him, and one of his close chums, was Pte. W. G. Neville, whose death we now mourn. He enlisted in the Hants Regt., and went out early in this year. After a long period of suspense, the War Office have now announced, with the usual message of condolence, and also one of sympathy from the King and Queen, that it is feared he was killed in the great advance on the 1st July last. He was a regular bellringer at St. Mary’s, and he also took a keen interest and a leading part in all Club affairs, and his topical songs and really clever acting were always enthusiastically received at our concerts. He, too, will be most affectionately remembered and greatly missed by his many friends.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P120/28A/14)

“I wish this — war was over”

Maysie Wynne-Finch was relieved her husband was still not fit enough to return to the trenches. The reference to Drino Battenberg is to Prince Alexander of Battenberg (1886-1960), a grandson of Queen Victoria and a cousin of the Czar. Barry Domvile was a respected naval officer during the First World War. His new wife, Alexandrina, was actually a naturalised British citizen of German ancestry, and Domvile was to become a notorious Nazi sympathiser in the Second World War.

April 16/16

Elgin Lodge
Windsor

My darling R.

Yours of 6th came today. Thank you so much. In spite of all your sorrows you must be warm, which is more than we are – it remains bitter & beastly here. You can imagine how thankful I was when the docs refused to pass John for France. They told him not for 3 months, however they’ve made his papers out apparently for two – so perhaps he’ll get out in June. Meantime tho’ we have plunged & taken a house here till July. I think I told you how sick we are at having to turn out of this one next week. You really should have made it your business to keep Pares in Egypt!! The tiresome man now only expects to get a few days leave apparently but insists on turning us out & carting his wife & family back here, she writes as annoyed as we are!

We’ve taken that big house, Essex Lodge, you may remember – the Follettes had last year. It’s ruinous & much too big – but it was that or a 4 roomed cottage, so we fell to it. It’s got a nice garden & tennis court which is nice.

We had M: Bovil here last Sunday, on the Sat we went all over the Royal Farm. It was most interesting, some fine animals. The most solid Scotch of bailiffs took us round, a beautiful person, who I discovered was a Morayshire man, & his accent reminded me of election days! He was with the Duke of R[ichmond] at Goodwood before.

HM comes down here on Thursday, the immediate result has been to fill every open space here with red & perspiring men being initiated into the more particular forms & mysteries of Guard mounting by blasphemous & heated NCOs.

We went up & stayed with Meg the night before John’s Board, as he was up to see Farmer the day before. We had great fun, Wisp & the Barry Domviles there, & we went on to the Empire. Quite agood show. The biograph of the troops in France most interesting. Sloper Mackenzie & his terrible wife sat just in front of us. She looks too evil. Young Drino Battenberg was with them. He is becoming most terribly like the C. Prince of Russia. Mrs Barry seems a very nice little thing, but has an awful voice – doubtless Barry being deaf does not notice this much….

Billy [Wynne-Finch] is ill, but refuses to tell anyone where or how he is. His colonel reported he’d gone sick with bronchitis & both lungs touched, but he continues to write as tho’ nothing’s the matter. He’s at some base hospital. Funny boy. I don’t fancy he can be really bad, I hope not, & just now people are safer anyhow than in the trenches, especially where they are. More wild & persistent rumours last week of a sea fight & as usual the Lion damaged – but I don’t hear any truth to it….

Too odd, we saw Geo. Steele last week, whose Brigade is right down the south of our line, & he said they do everything even to patrolling in punts! Meg showed me the MEF creed – how priceless. Who wrote it? The 1st are due in camp in the Park here next month, also some infantry division, they say…

Love from us both darling, and oh dear it seems a weary long time since Dad & I saw you off Oct 9th. I wish this — war was over.

Your ever loving Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/4)