A heartfelt “welcome back” to the men who had done and suffered so much for their country and for us

There was a warm welcome home for returning soldiers at Broad Street Chapel.

June

VARIOUS ANNOUNCEMENTS

It is proposed to give a “Welcome Home” to demobilised soldier and sailors connected with the church, in the Schoolroom, on Wednesday June 4th at 7 pm. A limited number of tickets for the tea and subsequent gathering will be sold to other friends at 1/6 each. Application for these tickets should be made to the Chapel-keeper or to any of the deacons.

July

“WELCOME HOME”

On Wednesday June 4th, members of the church and congregation assembled in the Schoolroom to give a cordial “Welcome Home” to men from the church and its various organisations who had been “demobilized”. About forty of these brethren attended, in response to the invitation which had been extended to them, and the whole proceedings were most enjoyable. At 7 o’clock the company sat down to a substantial tea which had been arranged by the wives of the deacons, and when the good things provided had been satisfactorily disposed of, the tables were cleared away for an informal meeting. Miss Vera Smith had very kindly arranged a capital programme of songs, recitations, etc, which were contributed by a number of her friends, and interspersed with the various items short speeches were delivered by several of the deacons.

The Minister was present, but owing to a relaxed throat, he was unable to speak. Mr Chas Steward Smith, JP, presided, and in fitting terms he gave a heartfelt “welcome back to Broad Street” to the men who had done and suffered so much for their country and for us. Other speakers in similar strain were Mr W. J. Brain, Mr Ernest Francis, Mr Swallow, and Mr Tibble. At the close, Mr W. J. Dance and Ex-Sergeant C. S. Stebbings voiced the gratitude of our guests for the welcome accorded them, and for the way in which the church had kept in touch with them by letters and parcels during their absence. The singing of “Auld Lang Syne” fittingly concluded a very happy gathering. Mr J Swallow was secretary, and Mr Tibble treasurer, of the committee which made arrangements for the function.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June and July 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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Bread and butter, yes! real butter at khaki socials

Reading Congregational Church reports on another winter’s worth of entertaining soldiers.

KHAKI SOCIALS

Now that the Khaki Socials have ended for the season, a short report may be of interest to those who read the magazine.

The winter season started on Sunday October 8th 1916, and continued every Sunday until May 6th 1917, a total (including Good Friday) of 32 Socials. At first they were not attended as well as could be expected, but after a while they became more widely known, and many nights the room has been quite crowded. The average attendance for the season was about sixty soldiers, besides others who came in as “friends”.

One of the chief features of the socials has been the refreshments, which were always appreciated by the Khaki boys, especially the thin pieces of bread and butter, yes! real butter.

The singing of the Fellowship Hymns was much enjoyed, special favourites being “All Hail the Power”, “Fight the Good Fight” and “Lead, kindly Light”, which were often selected by the men themselves, and couldn’t they sing, too!

The “tone” of the concerts was well maintained throughout the season, thanks to the various kind friends who have rendered help in this way.

The financial side of the Socials has been rather heavy, on account of the extra cost of foodstuffs. Consequently there is a deficit of several pounds.

The average cost per social was about 12/-, and it is estimated that nearly 2.000 Tommies attended and received refreshments during the season, so the committee cannot be accused of “over-feeding” at any rate.

There is now a splendid opportunity for two or three generous friends to send along their donations to wipe off the deficiency.

It would take too much space to say what I should like to say about all the friends who have helped so splendidly; but there are two or three who certainly should be mentioned. First is our Minister, Mr Rawlinson, who has presided on most nights, and has done more than anyone to cheer and brighten the meetings. It is not everyone who, after a strenuous day’s work, would undertake this extra work, but Mr Rawlinson has done it and done it cheerfully. Then Mr and Mrs J Ford and Mrs Witcombe, the “Food Controllers”, must be mentioned for their splendid services. Always behind the scenes, yet always on the spot and ready. They never once failed to supply even the “sugar”. Then our best thanks are due to one who, although not on the committee, has done good work as welcomer and door keeper. I refer to Mr J Owen. Some of the men got quite used to his welcome “how a-r-r-e you?”, especially the “Welsh Boys”.

What we should have done without Mrs Dracup and Miss Green in the musical department of the work, it is difficult to think. They have been a real help, and each deserves the silver medal for “services rendered”.

Besides those mentioned, the Khaki Socials Committee consisted of the following, all of whom have done their share of the work:
Mr Nott, Mrs Hendey, Mrs Woolley, Mr and Mrs Tibble, Mr A S Hampton and Mr Swallow, Mr Hendey as treasurer, and Mr W A Woolley as secretary.

The same committee has been re-elected to arrange Garden Parties, River Trips, etc, for the wounded soldiers during the summer months. Friends wishing to help in this good work should communicate with the secretary, who will be pleased to book up dates and make arrangements.

W A Woolley

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Legitimately proud of their handsome contribution

The members of Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading continued to support the war effort.

The Khaki Socials are still being held at the close of evening worship each Sunday, in the Schoolroom. They are very greatly appreciated by the RAMC men at work in the various War Hospitals, and other soldiers in the district, as is evidenced by the attendance. An appeal was made a month ago for the help of ladies and gentlemen who might be willing to provide the refreshments for one evening; but the responses has not been so prompt as we had hoped. Mr Tibble has kindly promised to arrange for the necessary provisions, and he will gladly hear from any friends who would be willing to provide for an evening’s hospitality (the expense involved is about 10/-) or to share in the cost. Recent hosts and hostesses have been:

December 26th, Mr and Mrs J Ford
January 2nd, Mr and Mrs Tibble
January 9th, Mr and Mrs W J Brain.

To these friends, we tender our sincere thanks.

NEWS ITEMS

As will be seen from another column, the amount raised for the Reading War Hospitals, by our Church Choir Concert, was the highly creditable sum of £52 16s. by a similar effort, on behalf of the Belgian Refugees’ Relief Fund, the sum of £67 13s was obtained last year. This makes a total of £120 9s for the two concerts. It is a record of which Mr F W Harvey, the Choirmaster, and the members of the choir, may legitimately be proud.

Our thanks are due, and cordially tendered, to Mr W J Rich, who acted as Treasurer, for the success of his efforts on behalf of the National Committee for Relief in Belgium. The retiring collections in November relaised £34 16s 8d for this fund. The Lord Lieutenant of the County has written to Mr Rich, gratefully acknowledging this “handsome contribution”.


The sum collected by Mr D Dalgleish for the Fund to send Christmas parcels to our Broad Street soldiers and sailors was £18 10s 0 ½d.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1916 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A dark year, full of perplexities and sadness

The Congregational Chapel in Broad Street, Reading, was entertaining soldiers and war hospital staff every Sunday evening.

Most of our readers will know that each Sunday, after evening worship, the men of the RAMC, now serving as Orderlies in the various Reading War Hospitals, and other men in khaki, are being entertained at a social gathering in the Schoolroom. Different members of the congregation are acting as host and hostess. And by this we mean that they are paying for the refreshments, which are being supplied each week by Mr Tibble. The ladies and gentlemen who have generously helped in this way, thus far, are:

On Nov. 28th, Mr and Mrs E Taylor Malley
Dec 5th, Mr and Mrs Nott
Dec 12th, Mr and Mrs H J Pocock
Dec 19th, the PSA Brotherhood

BROTHERHOOD NOTES
All our brothers who are on active service have received a splendid Christmas parcel from the church, and a letter from our Presidents, and we are receiving most grateful replies.

1915 has been a very dark year, a year full of perplexities and sadness. We are looking forward to 1916 with every hope that it may be brighter, and that this worldwide turmoil may have come to an end.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, January 1916 (D/N11/12/1/14)