Double recognition of a soldier’s gallantry

A Mortimer man killed on the Somme was honoured.

The Military Medal has been awarded to Sydney Eatwell, who was killed 1st July, 1916, on the Somme. His friends have also only recently been informed that he had been promoted to be Sergeant. We congratulate his parents heartily on this double recognition of their son’s gallantry.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

May the memorial may be worthy of those commemorated

Future US President Herbert Hoover led efforts to help starving civilians in wartorn Belgium, allowing the people of Mortimer to concentrate on their war memorial.

War Working Party

It is hoped to start work again at S. John’s Hall on Thursday, September 6th. In the meantime all kinds of woollies are wanted to be ready for August delivery. Pyjamas are wanted, also sun shields and mosquito nets. If workers will kindly send a post card to Mrs. Alfred Palmer, to say what they will undertake to do, materials shall be sent to Mrs. Thorp, The Street, where they can be called for.

Belgian Relief Fund

Now that the United States have made themselves responsible for the relief of the people in Belgium our local fund is closed. In the nineteen months that we have been collecting we have raised £90 3s. 3d. It was decided at our last parish meeting that the monthly collection should continue and that the proceeds in future should be devoted to our parish War Memorial. It is hoped that those who have given so liberally in the past will continue their generosity in order that the Memorial may be worthy of those commemorated.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Wholly wonderful results

Stratfield Mortimer was the latest parish to set up a war savings scheme.

War Savings Association

On the following evening [July 12th] a small company met in S. John’s Hall and listened for an hour to Mr. W. F. Anderson’s admirably told tale of the wholly wonderful results achieved by these Associations. It was unanimously resolved to begin at once such an Association for Mortimer. Sir Edmund Mowbray was elected chairman, Mr. Ponting hon. Treasurer, Miss Westall hon. Secretary. The office of the Association will be (pro tem) in S. Mary’s Infants’ School, by the kind consent of the managers of the school, and will be open every Friday from 5-30 to 6-30 p.m. Literature will be circulated in explanation of the scheme, and great results may be looked for.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

An extra good tea

An enjoyable fete in Burghfield in aid of Red Cross funds attracted some of the recuperating soldiers.

Red Cross Fete

On Thursday, July 12th, a Red Cross Fete was held at Home Close. Sixteen wounded soldiers from Mortimer VAD Hospital were driven over, some in a brake and others in the car kindly lent by Mr and Mrs Willink. The proceedings began by a Rummage Sale and the goods were soon cleared off. There were various side shows. One of the most popular was guessing the name of a doll, 3 guesses for 1d. of course the name had frequently to be changed! Aunt Sally was also much appreciated. The soldiers able to walk about enjoyed helping with these and other games. The weather was perfect and we had tea on the lawn. The soldiers had a table to themselves and an extra good tea….The Misses Gripper’s GFS girls and Sunday School children, also many helpers, had free teas.

After tea, Mr Bulford kindly gave a most excellent Conjuring Entertainment, which the soldiers and everybody much enjoyed. The hearty singing of “God Save The King” brought a happy afternoon to a close, and the soldiers drove away amidst much cheering.

Of course the teas did not pay their way – food being so expensive and so many being given free. By the Rummage Sale and Side Shows we raised about £6. Most of this will go to the Red Cross, but a cauldron of coke has been bought for the Mission Church as a reserve, the cold having been so much felt by the congregation last winter.
We think of giving £2 towards the greatly needed dining hut and recreation room to be erected at Mortimer VAD Hospital.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1917 (D/EX725/3)

Everybody already understands the importance of saving and of lending what is saved to our country for national use

Villages competed with one another as to how much they could do for the war effort.

War Savings

We desire to invite all people of good will to come to S. John’s Hall on Wednesday, July 4th, at 8 p.m., to discuss the formation of a Mortimer War Savings Association. Everybody already understands the importance of saving and of lending what is saved to our country for national use. Mortimer has, we know, already done wonders in the matter, for example, of buying War Savings Certificates.

But everybody does not yet understand the advantage of co-operation in this matter. Think of the encouragement that is given to young people and to others who cannot buy a whole certificate right out when they see that their savings can be made fully useful to the nation, with much profit also to themselves, if they will put by only 6d. per week!

Results have been attained in other villages through War Savings Associations which have astonished no one more than the people themselves. And it would never do for Mortimer to be behindhand. We therefore wish to invite everybody to come and hear more of this scheme and its methods and advantages in S. John’s Hall on Wednesday, July 4th, at 8 p.m. We believe that a vigorous Association will be the result and that it will achieve wonders.

A. Baskerville Mynors, Vicar.
E. C. L. Mowbray, Chairman, Parish Council.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Several wounded since the late terrible fighting

There was worrying news for families in Mortimer West End.

West End

News of our Sailors and Soldiers

It was with deep regret that we heard of the death of Thomas Henry Dicker. He had recently been transferred to the Lincolnshire Yeomanry and was on the “Arcadian” when it was torpedoed and, unhappily, was amongst those lost. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. Dicker on the loss of their eldest son.

News has been received of several wounded since the late terrible fighting. James Bailey writes cheerily of his wounds and it is good to hear that Arthur Penny’s are notified as slight while Gilbert Cowdry, at the time of writing, has gone to a convalescent home. Mr. Harry Trelawny, after having slight concussion of the brain, went into the line again but is once more in hospital, suffering from shell-shock.

Charles Murrell, R.N., has been home on leave and Alfred Cowdry has joined the Royal Navy.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Successful war savings in Mortimer West End

Children at Mortimer West End were contributing to the war effort.

West End – War Savings

The school children have started a War Savings Association and we are glad to hear from Miss Phipps, who is doing all the work in connection with it, that it is proving very successful

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, May1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Truly Mortimer has done well, and the workers have earned the handsome official War Worker badge

The Stratfield Mortimer women were particularly industrious, producing almost three times as many bandages and clothing for the troops as every other village in Bradfield Poor Law Union combined!

The War-Working Party

Some account of this important piece of the parish’s activity has been long overdue. Workers have been numerous and diligent, much being done at home in addition to what is accomplished at the meetings. Mrs. Alfred Palmer, as organiser, has been indefatigable; and the tedious work of much cutting out has been in the capable hands of Mrs. Thatcher, Mrs. Charles Thorp, and Miss Illman.

The grand total of articles made from Dec. 1915 to Mar. 1917 is as follows:- Shirts, 109; bed-jackets, 188; mufflers, 117; Helmets, 46; pairs of socks, 146; pairs of bed socks, 42; pairs of mittens, 281; bandages of various sorts, 785; total 1,714.

This noble total gains its real significance when it is added that the number of articles made in all the villages in the Bradfield Union during the first 12 months was only 6,459. Truly Mortimer has done well, and the workers have earned the handsome official W.W. badge which has been granted to many of them.

And now about funds. More than £50 has been received and spent up to last Xmas. Some £30 or £40 more is needed, and quickly too: material, and especially the flannel material, which is a necessity, is now so dear. Are there any who are unable to come and work, who can yet give – to the encouragement of the actual workers? Gifts, large or small, would be welcomed by Mrs. Roalfe Cox who is Hon. Treasurer. The committee is about to discuss methods of getting more money, as unless this can be speedily provided it may be necessary to cease even giving out work after the end of this month.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Worse cases than we have hitherto had will be sent to Mortimer

Some of the costs of the many voluntary hospitals which were treating wounded soldiers had to be met locally.

V.A.D. Hospital

This hospital was opened on October 24th, 1914, and became an Auxiliary Hospital attached to the 3rd Southern General Hospital at Oxford. On April 1st this year it was transferred to the No. 1 War Hospital at Reading. The following letter was received from Colonel Ranking:-

“To the Commandant V.A.D. Hospital, Mortimer, 30/3/17. Dear Miss Wyld. I have the honour to inform you that V.A.D. Hospital, Mortimer, will be transferred from this command to the War Hospital, Reading, on 1st April next. In relinquishing control of the above Hospital I wish to convey to yourself, the Medical Officer and Staff my very sincere thanks for the assistance rendered to me by the able and efficient manner in which the work of the Hospital has been carried out while in this command, and my best wishes for a successful future.
Yours sincerely, George Ranking, Lt.-Col. Administrator 3rd S.G. Hospital.”

At the request of Colonel Maurice, Administrator No. 1 War Hospital, Reading, the number of beds has been increased from 18 to 28, and in all probability worse cases than we have hitherto had will be sent. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking very heartily all the many kind friends who have generously helped in the past, both with money and other gifts. Any further help will be most gratefully accepted, for while the prices of everything are so enormously increased, the Government allowance of 3/- per diem per man remains the same, and it is not intended or expected that this allowance should cover all expenses in such Hospitals. Last year the expenses worked out at 4/7 per head. This was rather high, but for a long time we had very few patients and then the cost comes very heavy. The accounts are made up to December 31st, audited and sent through the Red Cross Committee to the War Office.

F. M. Wyld, Commandant.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Excellent war pictures

People in Mortimer attended an illustrated lecture on various fronts of the war.

War Pictures
On Mar. 12th S. John’s Hall was crammed from end to end with a responsive audience for Colonel Lynden-Bell’s lecture on the Somme, Russian, and Mesopotamia fronts. The pictures were excellent, the lecturer most interesting: the only flaw was the failure of the supply of hydrogen at about half time. But the lecturer has kindly offered to come again and finish his programme. £4 15s. 6d. was given at the door – for the Russian Red Cross. It was a pleasure to have Colonel W. P. Nash in the chair.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

“A splendid witness to the determined spirit and confidence of the country”

Stratfield Mortimer pried itself on generosity investing in War Loans.

War Loan
Owing to the efforts of one or two patriotic capitalists, and the assistance provided by some kind canvassers, it is estimated that our little village contributed, in small sums, well over £300 to the great War Loan, which has been such a splendid witness to the determined spirit and confidence of the country.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

War charities registered

The County Council’s War Charities Sub-committee had been busy registering local war charities, ranging from bandage making to Christmas gifts for the armed forces.

REGISTRATIONS

Since the last report to the Council the following applications for registration under the War Charities Act, 1916, have been approved, and the Clerk has been instructed to issue certificates and to notify the Charity Commissioners:

No of Cert. Name of Charity Applicant

21 Bracknell War Work Depot (Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild) Mrs Littlewood, Hillside, Bracknell

22 Hanney Xmas Tree Fund for men serving HM Forces H. Leslie Edwards, schoolmaster, Hanney

23 Bracknell Xmas Parcels Fund Canon H. Barnett, Bracknell Vicarage

24 Bradfield District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society C J Haviland, Mead House, Bradfield

25 Bracknell Oaklea Auxiliary Hospital Mrs L A Berwick, Sunny Rise, Bracknell

26 Crowthorne Waste Paper Collection of War Charities Miss H M M Moody, Ferndene, Crowthorne

27 Wargrave Woodclyffe Auxiliary Hospital W. Ryder, The Little House, Wargrave

28 Wokingham Work Guild Mrs H M Lomax, Frog Hall, Wokingham

29 South Easthampstead District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Miss E Monck, Aldworth, Crowthorne

30 Heatherside Auxiliary Military Hospital Miss E Monck, Aldworth, Crowthorne

31 Finchampstead Belgian Refugees S F Smithson, The Old Rectory, Finchampstead

32 Maidenhead Rural North Branch of British Red Cross Society Mrs Carpendale, Pinkneys Green

33 Hungerford Sailors and Soldiers Xmas Parcel Fund E C Townshend, Willows Close, Hungerford

34 Finchampstead Hospital Supply Depot Miss L M Hopkinson, Wyse Hill, Finchampstead

35 Bourton War Hospital Supply Depot Mrs W H Ames, Church Farm House, Bourton

36 Hungerford District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

37 The VAD Red Cross Hospital, Hungerford A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

38 The VAD Red Cross Hospital, Barton Court, Kintbury A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

39 Twyford and Ruscombe War Committee Rev. R W H Acworth, Twyford Vicarage

40 Sonning and Woodley Surgical Requisites Association Mrs C Christie Miller, The Deanery, Sonning

41 Mortimer VAD Hospital Miss F M Wyld, Highbury, Mortimer

42 Waltham St Lawrence Prisoners of War Fund Claude M Warren, Old School House, Shurlock Row

43 Wokingham South Rural District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Mrs A M Western, The Coppice, Finchamapstead

44 Registered in error – subsequently cancelled

45 Ascot Military Hospital Miss Nora Collie, Ascot Military Hospital

46 Wantage District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Miss Gertrude Elliott, Ginge Manor, Wantage

47 Binfield Popeswood Auxiliary Hospital Henry E A Wiggett, White Lodge, Binfield

48 Spencers Wood Local Red Cross Fund Rev. F T Lewarne, Spencers Wood, Reading

49 Faringdon District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Henry Procter, Gravel Walk, Faringdon

EXEMPTION CERTIFICATES (to 7 January, 1917, only)

2 Burghfield Sailors and Soldiers Xmas Parcel Fund H G Willink, JP, Hillfields, Burghfield

3 East Challow Xmas Presents Concert Fund Miss E B Vince, Manor Farm, East Challow

4 Kintbury Xmas Presents Fund Mrs Alice G Mahon, Barton Holt, Kintbury

Report of War Charities Sub-committee of BCC, 20 January 1917 C/CL/C1/1/20)

Cheering details from the front

An evening for soldiers’ loved ones in Stratfield Mortimer was a positive occasion.

The War Supper

We call it this for want of a better title. For the third year Mr. and Mrs. Wallis most kindly entertained the fathers and mothers and wives of all the men of the Parish now serving in H.M. Forces. The event took place at the Parish Room, on January 3rd and, happily, there was just room to get everyone in, though the numbers have increased each year.

After a splendid supper the toast of the King was proposed by Mr. Wallis together with that of his Forces, after which the Vicar proposed the toast of our host and hostess and expressed the thanks of the company for the enjoyable evening. For the entertainment that followed, Mr. Wallis’ relations from Basingstoke are responsible, and one can only say that it would be difficult to get together any company which could have given more pleasure. Want of space forbids a description of all the items which formed a programme full of attraction, and it must suffice to say that most of us are seldom privileged to hear such first-class singing as we heard that night.

During a short interval Captain Wallis, who had arrived from France that morning, gave us some cheering details about the state of things at the Front.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

The bravest man in the trenches

Many of the former pupils of Reading School were serving with distinction.

O.R. NEWS.

Military Cross

Temp. 2nd Lieut. F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berks Regiment.- For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy twice attacked under cover of liquid fire, 2nd Lieut. Edwards showed great pluck under most trying circumstances and held off the enemy. He was badly wounded in the head while constructing a barricade within twenty-five yards of the enemy.

2nd Lieut. (Temp. Lieut.) W/C. Costin, Gloucester Regiment. – For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy penetrated our front line he pushed forward to a point where he was much exposed, and directed an accurate fire on the trench with his trench guns. It was largely due to his skill and courage that we recaptured the trench. An Old Boy of Reading School, he won a scholarship at St. John’s College. Oxford.

2nd Lieut. D.F.Cowan.

Killed in Action.

Lieut. Hubert Charles Loder Minchin, Indian Infantry, was the eldest of three sons of the late Lieut-Col. Hugh Minchin, Indian Army, who followed their father into that branch of the service, and of whom the youngest was wounded in France in May, 1915. Lieutenant Minchin, who was 23 years old, was educated at Bath College, Reading School, and Sandhurst. After a probationary year with the Royal Sussex Regiment, he was posted to the 125th (Napier’s) Rifles, then at Mhow, with whom he served in the trenches.

After the engagement at Givenchy on December 20th, 1914, he was reported missing. Sometime later an Indian Officer, on returning to duty from hospital, reported that he had seen Lieut. Minchin struck in the neck, and killed instantly, when in the act of personally discharging a machine-gun against the enemy. The Indian officer has now notified that he must be believed to have fallen on that day.
2nd lieut.

F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berkshire Regiment, awarded the military cross, died of wounds on August 10th. He was 23 years of age, and the youngest son of the late Capt. H.H. Edwards, Royal Navy, and Mrs. Edwards, of Broadlands, Cholsey. He was educated at Reading School and the City and Guilds College, Kensington. He had been on active service 10 months. His Adjutant wrote:

“He was the bravest man in the trenches. All the men say he was simply wonderful on the morning of August 8th. We lost a very gallant soldier and a very lovable man.”

(more…)

The wounded keep pouring down from the front

The latest news from the Revd W S Bowdon, an army chaplain, saw him based at a hospital well back from the front line.

Rev. W. S. Bowdon, C.F. – The most recent news from Mr. Bowdon includes the following:-

No. 1 General Hospital,
Etretat – Havre Base.

I have left the front and come to work at this base where nothing very exciting ever happens. At a base there is regular work every day, and at a time like the present when the wounded keep pouring down from the front the work is endless. Also to my mind the opportunities are greater and results more satisfactory.

Since my arrival here we have had about a trainload of wounded per week, i.e., some 400 men, half of whom are generally stretcher cases. Such a supply keeps everyone as hard at it as it is possible to be. While the ‘great push’ continues so, I suppose, will this state of things, but when winter begins we hope to be rather freer and to get more time to ourselves.

We have some 1000 beds here. Once, I believe, they had over 1200 cases in the hospital, but we have not had more than 600 cases at once since I arrived. There are four building for men and one for officers. We occupy nearly all the hotels and a good many private houses besides; but it is a small place and very compact, so not difficult to work.

Besides the hospital here I also have 600 men working at the docks at Fécamp to look after. So have to run over there periodically for services and Bible classes, and as it is ten miles away it is difficult to fit things in. Havre is 20 miles in the other direction.

With all best wishes to friends at Mortimer.

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