A shock of personal grief

A Sulhamstead man’s death saddened his church as well as his family.

With deep regret we record the death of Henry Cooper, who was killed in action on February 17th. The sad news came to all of us who knew him as a shock of personal grief, and it seems almost impossible to realise that we shall not see him again in our little sanctuary at Sulhampstead, for he was really one of our Sulhampstead men, having grown up with us in our Sunday School, afterwards becoming a member of our choir, and a regular worshipper at our services. We as members cannot but grieve that we have lost him, and our hearts go out in united sympathy to his sorrowing widow and little girl, his mother, brother and sisters in their sad bereavement.

On Sunday evening, March 11th, Mr. Cole conducted the memorial service. Special hymns were sung, and a very helpful and comforting address was given based upon the text: “There shall be no night there” (Rev. xxi, 25). The beautiful thoughts given to us upon these words should prove a strength and consolation to all.

Sulhamstead section of Trinity Congregational Magazine, April 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

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)

A canteen at the station

Every little helped, as the Sulhamstead postmistress collected money for a canteen for troops passing through Reading. The South Eastern Railway Station site is now part of the main Reading station, but was originally completely separate. It was the terminus for the line through Guildford to Redhill (and which now goes on to Gatwick Airport).

THE WAR
SOLDIERS’ AND SAILORS’ FREE CANTEEN
Mrs Fremantle has a box at the Post Office to collect for the canteen at the South Eastern Railway Station, Reading. The box has just been opened and contained 3s. 2d.

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

Sad news of a teenage Scout

A Sulhamstead teenager fell in action.

ROLL OF HONOUR
We all remember Percy Kimbrey – our school boy – and our scout. Amongst the sad news that the papers bring us daily, is the statement that he was killed in action. No particulars are given. He was only 18 years of age.

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

Changed lives

The parish of Sulhamstead prepared for the National Mission.

THE WAR

The solemn self-searching period which has been the call to the nations of the world is approaching its climax in this country in the movement which we call the National Mission.

Our sailors and soldiers have not only shown themselves devoted to their country and to the defence of our shores and ourselves, but are not afraid, we are told, to speak of changed lives and a drawing near to God.

We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

By the time this has reached the majority in this parish, our special services will have begun by a sermon on the morning of October 1st, by the Rev. Canon Hurt, Rector of Bradfield. Full particulars have been printed and circulated.

Our Diocesan Bishop has written a very striking and stirring letter, which has been sent to all incumbents and has been printed in the Diocesan Magazine. The newspaper press has commented upon it, and quoted it. It has now been reprinted for public circulation and it is trusted that all in the parish who have received a copy will thoughtfully, carefully and prayerfully read it.

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

“The horizon of men’s thought has been suddenly and immensely expanded” by the war

The people of Sulhamstead supported the war effort in various ways. Now they were asked if anyone could foster children orphaned by the war.

THE WAR

One of the special features of the Flower Show was the large number of splints and other appliances for the wounded made by the boys attending the Technical School. They attracted a great deal of attention.

THE NATIONAL MISSION

The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thought has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world.

Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving their nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of God.

Cottage Homes for the Children of the Waifs and Strays

The Secretary for the Waifs and Strays Society has asked the clergy in this and other rural deaneries, to find out if the occupiers of any suitable cottages are willing to take a child – mostly of soldiers killed in the War – and to board, lodge, and treat them etc, as their own children. The rector will be able to give particulars, and to name the amount paid weekly by the Society.

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

The work that prayer has to do in winning this terrible and horrible War

The rector of Sulhamstead encouraged parishioners to pray for the armed forces. The Revd F M Green was to take services in the village while he was on holiday in part of August and September.

THE WAR

Our two churches are open daily, all day long, for persons to drop in and humbly put up a prayer to God for victory, peace and the preservation of those who are fighting for us. Some in the parish have promised to go there, if possible, once a week. Will you, who pass the daily stop for a few minutes and quietly ask God help? You would probably never enter a town church in France, and only a few remote village churches, without finding one person at least kneeling in prayer.

Remember 11 o’clock noon [sic], each day, wherever you are, for silent prayer.

It is with the deepest regret that we heard of the death of Major George Tyser, youngest son of Mr and Mrs W S Tyser of Oakfield. He was seen in the act of encouraging his men across to the enemy trenches in one of the brilliant assaults that the British and French have been making. Then he fell and his death was instantaneous. Our full and deepest sympathy goes out to Mr and Mrs Tyser and to his widow.

My Friends

There is an awakening amongst us to the work that prayer has to do in winning this terrible and horrible War. It took many months before we found out the part than munitions, and more munitions, and always more munitions, had to do in winning the war. It took us until well into this year to find out that we shall want the last man before we win the war.

Now we are finding out that it will want prayer and daily prayer and incessant prayer to win the war.

There are three methods of prayer:

1. The quiet kneeling alone in the morning and evening when we can name our dear ones singly before God and our own great cause.

2. The prayer of the household. Family prayer. If there are only two – then those two together. If there are more, then father and mother and children. If it has begun to drop as a custom among us, then now is the time to begin. The father perhaps has “gone to the War”. Then the mother and children can kneel together, morning and evening, praying together for father. Perhaps the son, or all the sons, have gone. Them father, mother, girls, children, can meet and pray for the sons and brothers.

If there are any who would like little forms of private or family prayer, the Rector or in his absence the Rev. F Green, can supply them.

3. United national worship. It means by petitions, such as those monster petitions we have signed in past years, all put up together – every one in his Church or Chapel, filling them to overflowing. God tells us He is “waiting to be gracious”. Could we have swept the German Fleet off the sea in the great battle of Jutland, if the light had held in our favour? Have we, as a nation, asked God’s help? Why are we waiting?

Let us begin our preparation for the National Mission of Repentance and Hope with fervent prayer.

Your friend
Alfred J P Shepherd

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

Vegetables and savings

People in Sulhamstead were urged to support the war by sending home grown produce to feed wounded soldiers, and by transferring investments to special government bonds.

THE WAR

ASSISTANCE TO THE WOUNDED
Now that the period of the year, when the supply of vegetables in our gardens is lowest, has passed, it may be possible that the hamper which was purchased for the purpose of sending vegetables weekly to the Hospital may be again filled. So long as the School is open, the Scouts will take charge of any vegetables and see that they are despatched on Tuesdays to the Care and Comforts Depot in Reading.

WAR SAVINGS
The government is appealing urgently to the people, whether rich or poor, to invest their savings in the War Saving Certificates. In the Post Office Savings Bank the interest is £2 10s per cent each year, or 6d in every £1. In the War Savings Certificate Scheme the interest, if left for five years, is £5 4s 7d, or a little more than 1s a year per £1. The money can be withdrawn at any time. If left for fifteen months the interest is £2 11s 5d per cent, and increases the longer the money is left; 15s 6d is the smallest sum that can be lent to the Government. War Savings Stamp Books can be obtained from the Post Office, in which stamps can be placed until 15s 6d is reached, when it can be exchanged for a certificate.

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

The war may be won or lost by gardening and keeping pigs

The April issue of the Sulhamstead parish magazine had suggestions for parishioenrs to support the war effort at home. The Senussi were a tribe and religious sect based in what is now Libya and Sudan. They fought against Western colonisers, which meant they took the side of Germany and Turkey against Italy, France and Britain during the First World War, although they were to fight for the Allies against Italy in the Second World War.

THE WAR
Information has been published in the press that the shipwrecked men from the “Tera”, captured and held prisoners by the Senussi, have been recaptured in the gallant victory of our troops and are now safe. Amongst the names of those rescued is 2nd Lieut. Albert Marsh, RNR, for whom the Church has been praying.

FOOD SUPPLIES
The Government have sent circulars to all the Rectors and Vicars in the country, asking them to bring before their parishioners the great need of economy in every way, and of equal importance, the pressing necessity of so working their gardens as to produce the largest amount of produce and fruit. They further urge all who can keep a pig or poultry. They go so far as to suggest that the War may be won or lost by the care we exercise in these matters. In connection with gardens, pigs and poultry, special prizes are being offered by the Burghfield and Sulhamstead Horticultural Society, of which brief particulars are given in this magazine.

Books and magazines for the troops
A circular has been received from the Postmaster at Reading, begging that magazines, not more than a year old, and readable books, may be left at the Post Office, Sulhamstead. 50,000 a week are being received at the Post offices, and they want to double that amount. The Postmistress will forward them free of charge for the use of the troops.

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

A single cabbage helps the war

Sulhamstead people were supporting the war effort in their vegetable gardens, while rejoicing in good news of local soldiers.

THE WAR
Lieutenant H. A. Grimshaw has been mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. This makes the second time that he has been so honoured. He has also been awarded the additional honour of the Military Cross.

It is with great thankfulness that the news has been received that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, of the “Tera”, sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, is safe, although held a prisoner.

ROLL OF HONOUR
George Derring, second footman at Folley [sic] Farm when the war broke out, was killed by the bursting of a shell at the Front in France.

VEGETABLES FOR THE SOLDIERS’ HOSPITALS
It is a bad time of the year for vegetables, but the Boy Scouts are trying to send a hamper to Reading every week. If any have got vegetables they would like to give to the hospitals, and would send them to the School on Mondays, or leave word at the School in the previous week, a Scout would fetch them. The hamper goes on Tuesdays. A single cabbage, half a dozen potatoes, etc, soon swell the contents.

THE LIGHTING ORDER
This order will not affect our Lower End Service as the room is furnished with dark green curtains, but it will prevent services being held on week days in Lent in the Church or School, and accordingly special meetings will be held in the large room at the Rectory on Thursdays at 7 pm.

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

All the single men have volunteered

Recruiting was going well in one Berkshire parish.

THE WAR
The recruiting in Sulhamstead has proceeded well. It is believed that all the single men of right age have offered themselves for His Majesty’s forces.

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

The religious work of the war

The people of Sulhamstead heard a lecture about evangelistic work in the trenches.

THE WAR
LANTERN LECTURE
A lecture accompanied with the exhibition of Lantern Slides will be given on Friday, January 7th, at the School, at 7 p.m., by the Rev. J. Hobson, MA, London District Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, on Religious Work at the Front and in the Trenches.
Admission 2d and 1d. There will be a collection to support the work.

SOLDIERS’ AND SAILORS’ COFFEE STALL
A box into which anyone may place small contributions to help support this stall at the S. Eastern Railway Station, Reading, is on the counter as the Post Office. These stalls are doing a great work throughout the country, and the Post Office Mistress will be grateful for any donations.

We regret to state that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, has been missing since the “Tera” was sunk in the Mediterranean. A body of some 300 men was seen on the shores of Africa, about 300 miles west of Alexandria, and it is hoped they are safe, and that he is among them.

The lecture went ahead, as the February issue of the parish magazine reported:

The Lantern Lecture on the Religious Work of the War, by the Rev. J Hobson of the Religious Tract Society, with Sir George Watson, bart, as Chairman, was given to a crowded audience. The views of the trenches and camps were very fine, and we wished we could have had more of them. The entrance money and collection amounted to £2. 11s. 10d., which was handed over to Mr Hobson for the work amongst the soldiers.

Sulhamstead parish magazines, January and February 1916 (D/EX725/3)

“Our soldiers, sailors and flying men need our prayers

New Year’s Eve was set to be the first of three special days of national prayer for the war. Several Berkshire parishes give us their slant on it. The vicar of All Saints, Dedworth also had a story from the Front about attitudes to the enemy.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The year 1916 still sees us engaged in a war even more terrible than the beginning of 1915. The Nation is bidden by its spiritual leaders, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church to keep Friday, December 31st, as a day of special prayer and intercession. Saturday, January 1st, is to be a day of preparation for Communion, which all are asked to make on Sunday, January 2nd. The duty of the Church is to carry on the fight against the World, Flesh and Devil, and it is the duty of the Church’s officers to lead in that fight. The response at times to that call seems small, it may be larger than it looks, but at any rate it makes the work as hard, if not harder, to carry on than other warfare. How grand has been the response to carry arms for King and Country, but the real victory for which we are fighting will not be won unless at the end we are a Nation nearer to God; having shown to the world that Christianity is the greatest power in war and peace.

Mr. Begbie narrates the following from behind the English lines in France:-

“The other day a doctor fell in with a British soldier whose blood was maddened by what he had seen of the German treatment of our wounded men. ‘Do you know what I mean to do,’ he demanded, ‘when I come across one of their wounded? I mean to put my boot in his ugly face.’ The doctor replied, ‘No you won’t; it’s not your nature. I’ll tell you what you will do – you’ll give him a drink out of your water-bottle.’ To which the soldier after a pause, in which he searched the doctor’s face, made grumbling and regretful answer, ‘Well, may be I shall.’”

Reading St John

Mr Rogers has now been moved up to the Front. He is where he wished to be when he offered for service as a Chaplain, and where he will have the opportunity of speaking to men at the most solemn moment of their lives of the things that matter eternally. We shall continue to be much in prayer for him, that he may be kept from all harm, and that his messages may be with great power.

Now may I commend to your very careful notice the arrangements which have been made to enable you to observe the last day of December and the first two days of January as our King and our Archbishops and Bishops desire that they should be observed. We stand on the threshold of a year that promises to be fateful beyond any in our previous history, a year that will probably test severely our fortitude, our courage and our faith.

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Fighting indigestion in the trenches

A woman with Berkshire connections was working with the French Red Cross helping to feed French soldiers.

Mr T. Evelyn Swain has been gazetted as Second Lieutenant in the Royal West Surrey Regiment (The Queen’s).

An interesting revelation of the work that goes on behind the firing line of the French Army is given by a knowledge of the work of Mrs Gardiner (daughter of Mr and Mrs Alfred Palmer). She has joined the Croix Rouge Francais, and is engaged in canteen work. It seems that as soon as the French soldiers leave the trenches they come to a Rest House, where coffee and refreshments are served out to hundreds at a time. Then some require special feeding, as they suffer from bad indigestion, and are given proper nourishing food.

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

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)