A cross on the highest point

Suggestions were made for an Ascot war memorial.

WAR MEMORIAL

My dear rector, various suggestions have been made with regard to a War Memorial for Ascot, and it appears desirable that a Public Meering should be arranged for some evening in May when the whole question could be discussed, and a Committee formed.

I know you have been waiting for older residents to take the lead, feeling that it is a local, and not an Ecclesiastical matter; and I now write not as Churchwarden, but as the originator of the Ascot Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Committee.

Amongst the suggestions are:-

1. A Village Cross, with the names of those who have fallen inscribed on the base, to be erected on some suitable site such as (a) the triangular piece of waste at the four cross roads opposite the Royal Hotel; (b) on the highest point of the heath.

2. A Mortuary Chapel in the Ascot Burial Ground in the Priory Road, such a Chapel being urgently required.

3. A tablet in the Church bearing the names of all who have fallen in the war. This might be put up, either by itself, or in connection with the Mortuary Chapel, or as may be desired.

It is hoped that there may be a large gathering at the Meeting, and that especially those who have lost relations in the war, and Sailors and Soldiers who have served will attend, as the question should be widely discussed, so that all may take a share in the project as finally arranged.

Yours Sincerely

W. H. Tottie.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/5)

A most excellent entertainment

Ascot people supported Christmas presents for soldiers.

The two concerts given in the Parish Room on November 27th and 28th in aid of the Fund for Christmas Parcels for Ascot Men serving over seas were a great success, the total receipts amounting to about £34. A number of letters have already been received from the recipients expressing their grateful thanks to Mr. Tottie and thhe Men’s Committee who worked so hard in the cause as well as to the Ladies and the R.F.C.M. Ascots who gave a most excellent entertainment.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

Lemonade crystals for the troops

Ascot soldiers and sailors received regular parcels from home. The contents included concentrate to make a fizzy lemon drink.

ASCOT SAILORS’ AND SOLDIERS’ COMMITTEE.

The object of this Committee is to keep in touch with every Ascot man who is serving his Country abroad, and to show appreciation of what he is doing. Correspondence is kept up with the men and parcels are sent out periodically.

Recently, parcels have been sent out to 101 men, namely:

10 in the Navy, consisting of book, pipe and socks. 63 in the B.E.F., consisting of matches, candle, bootlaces, towel, lemonade crystals, soap, pipe, and 1/4lb. of tobacco.

28 in the M.E.F. and India, consisting of lemonade crystals, socks, pipe, 1/4lb. of tobacco and tinder.

In sending these the Committee have found a number of changes of address, and several additions to the number of men serving. In future, in order to avoid disappointment, it is important that any changes should be at once notified to any member of the Committee or to Mr. W.H. Tottie.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, September 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/9)

Most forms of disablement can be usefully dealt with

Provisions for men left disabled as a result of wounds were becoming personal for Ascot people.

The name of William Tidy (son of Mr. Tidy of the Royal Nurseries) has, we regret to say, to be added to our Prisoners of War.

We also feel deep sympathy for the anxiety of the families of William Nobbs and Walter Barton, both of whom are reported missing.

Sergeant Major Arthur Butcher and Corporal William Jones have been called to the Front.

Pte. Thomas Statham is wounded, but we are thankful to say he is progressing favourably.

Pte. Ernest Taylor has been ill in Mesopotamia.

Corporal Claud Parsons (Machine Gun Corps) has received the Military Medal for gallant conduct.

Lieutenant Ernest Monk (R. West Surrey) has been promoted Captain. He gained his commission owing to conspicuous gallantry. He married the daughter of Mr. Jones, London Road. Both he and Corporal Parsons are wounded.

Pte. Walter Talbot is home, and has been discharged “disabled.”

We would like to say that extensive arrangements for the training of disabled men have been set up all over the Country, and most forms of disablement can be usefully dealt with. Any disabled Sailor or Soldier in the Parish requiring training should apply to Mr. Tottie, who will be very glad to give information and assistance.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

Ploughing the land

The local committee of the National Relief Fund, which aimed to help people thrown into poverty as a direct result of the war, decided to help out a mother trying to keep her son’s farm going.

21 April 1917
Application for Loan

The following letter from Mr W H Tottie was read:

Mrs Lake, Yew Tree Farm, Swallowfield
This woman has with her husband been looking after a farm for their son who is in the Berkshire Yeomanry. As her husband died recently and she has since then been quite unable to find or pay for labour she now wants assistance towards ploughing the land. A neighbouring farmer will do this for her and he asks £5, but Lady Constance Pasley thinks it could be done for less – say £3 – the Pensions Committee and the War Agricultural Committee have no powers to grant this and I would suggest that our National Relief Fund should help her. It is obviously desirable that the land be tilled. Mr Norland and the War Agricultural Committee have particulars.

Yours sincerely
(Signed) W H Tottie

The Committee decided that Mrs Lake be granted a loan of not exceeding £5, such loan to be repayable six months after the issue of the cheque and to be secured by a promissory note signed by Mrs Lake.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Mosquito nets and sandbags

Ascot ladies’ sewing now including manufacturing mosquito nets, perhaps for those wounded in fighting in the Middle East.

All Saints Parish Working Party for the War will re-open Thursday, October 5th, at 2 p.m, and will be continued on subsequent Thursdays until further notice. The Working Party has now been formally affiliated with the Ascot War Hospital Supply Depot, and, so far, eight War Office badges have been awarded as follows: Mrs. Bunce, Mrs. Ednie, Mrs. Grimmett, Mrs. Hullcoop, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Morton, Mrs. Sumner, Miss A. Winter.

The number of articles made by the Working Party up to date has been.-

130 Capeline bandages, 5 hip bandages, 75 bed jackets, 35 shirts, 45 pairs socks, 30 pairs operation stockings, 80 cushions, 60 mosquito nets, 40 small beaded mats, 117 sandbags: total 637.

Donations made to the amount of £59 17s. 4d. have been received: expenditure, £44 0s. 11d.: leaving a balance in hand of £15 16s. 5d.

Further contribution will be gratefully received by Mrs. Tottie, Sherlocks, Ascot.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

“Our Heavenly Father is enriching this parish with heroes of self-sacrifice”

There was news of several Ascot men, including a report by one man of life as a prisoner of war in Germany.

THE WAR

We have to announce that Charles Edwards has laid down his life in the service of his country. Ascot has real reason to be proud of him. Upright, courageous, a communicant of the Church, a member of a family universally respected, he leaves behind him not alone our heartfelt sense of sorrow for the withdrawal of a true and noble young life, but an ideal to be reverently set before us of what a GOD fearing young Englishman can attain to. Our Heavenly Father is enriching this parish with heroes of self-sacrifice, even unto death. May we humbly value to the utmost so priceless a dowry. The whole district should be raised to a higher level of life by the example and the prayers of young men of the type of Arthur Jones and Charles Edwards. R.I.P.

OUR WOUNDED.

Victor Edwards (brother of the above), Reginald Smith and Arthur Taylor are reported wounded. All three are doing well.

THE ASCOT SAILORS’ AND SOLDIERS’ COMMITTEE state that since the commencement of the war 136 in all appear to have gone abroad from Ascot in the service of their country, and of that 110 are now serving abroad. 15 are in the Navy, 72 reported in France, 16 on the Mediterranean, 1 in Mesopotamia, 4 in India and 2 prisoners. Parcels were sent in June to those who appeared to require them: and similar parcels are now being sent, and in addition special parcels are now being sent to those in the Navy. The thoughts of all of us will go out to those in France at this strenuous time.

AT MOST of our Garrisons in England there are no Army Churches, and efforts are now being made, with the approval of the Deputy Chaplain-General, to raise a Fund for building a Church at Bordon Camp, near Aldershot, in memory of the Great War, and as a memorial to those who have fallen. Donations to this Fund will be gratefully received and acknowledged by W. H. Tottie, Esq., Sherlocks, Ascot.

ASCOT PRISONERS OF WAR.

We have good news from our Prisoners, who write to say they receive their parcels regularly and in good order. The following quotation from Private Richard Taylor (imprisoned at Friedrichsfeld-bei-Wesel) may interest our readers. (The letter was accompanied by the photograph of a beautifully kept burial ground and its large stone central cross. Each carefully tended grave was thickly planted with flowers and had its headstone with an inlet cross and inscription.)-

“I am sending you a photo of the monument which lies in the graveyard of our dead comrades, English, French, Russian and Belgian, who have died since they have been made prisoners. The money was raised by having concerts and charging from ten to forty pfennigs (otherwise from a penny to four-pence.)”

The letter continues: “One night we were playing a nice game at whist, and a parson came in and had a chat with us, and asked us if we should like to go to Church. Of course we all agreed, and on the same night we marched down to the village to Church and spent a very nice hour. And the parson is an Englishman, but he is allowed a passport to travel about Germany. He had some books with the short service, and some well-known hymns in them.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/8)

Working in connection with the Depot at the racecourse

Nearly 30 Ascot women met weekly to make bandages and clothing for the wounded at the racecourse (which had been turned into a military hospital).

THE PARISH ROOOM Working Party meets each Monday at 2.30, and is working in connection with the Depot at the Grand Stand. At present, Mrs. Tottie has 28 workers on her list and will be glad to welcome any more who care to come.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6)

A pen full of sheep

A non-commissioned officer from Ascot serving in the Royal Berkshire Regiment reported back on his Christmas and New Year at the Front.

AT THE FRONT.

We must apologise for the late date at which the following extracts from Lance-Corporal Arthur Jones (in a letter to the Rector) appear in our Magazine.

“… We had our Christmas Eucharist in a barn, and altogether under rather strange conditions: for in the right hand corner there was a pen full of sheep, and we had to take the wagon out to make room for the altar. The service was mostly sung, the singing being led by one of the Chapel Royal choirmen. I served the chaplain: and he was in a room in the village if any one wished to see him on the previous Thursday. New Year I spent in the trenches, in charge of a Sentry Group. We watched the Old Year out and the New Year in at the same time…

I dare say you have seen by the papers that some of the officers and men of the 1/4th Royal Berks have been mentioned in dispatches, and two of the fellows have had the D.C.M., and one of the officers the Military Cross, which of course we are very proud about…”

A WORKING PARTY in conjunction with the War Hospital Stores Depot at Ascot is held every Monday, commencing at 2.30. It is felt that it will be welcomed by many who are not already engaged in special war work, but who are anxious to do their “bit” towards helping to lessen the sufferings of the war. It is hoped that there will be a large attendance. Donations (however small) towards the expense of materials for the work, will be thankfully received by Mrs. Tottie, Sherlocks.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, April 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/4)

Appeal to the obstinate hens

Ascot people supported their servicemen in various ways, including an appeal to increase giving of eggs for wounded soldiers – even if this meant what looks rather like cruelty to the hens.

ASCOT HOSPITAL EGG LEAGUE.
Eggs are needed, greatly needed for the patients at the Ascot Military Hospital. Former donors are once more asked to remember the wants of our wounded and invalided soldiers, fresh donors are appealed for. Eggs (dated), may be left, as formerly, every week (not later than Thursday evenings) at the depôts:- Mr. Taylor (Grocer), New Road, Mr. Skelton, Fernbank Road, Mr. Charlton (Baker), London Road, Mr. John Abbott, Course Road, and the Rectory. They may also be sent direct any day to the Hospital, where the Gate Orderly will receive them till the Hospital re-opens in March. Do not be put off by the obstinancy [sic] of your hens (as to laying eggs) if they turn a deaf ear to all your appeals, even on patriotic grounds. But keep a cabbage or such like savoury morsel tied up just out of reach. This is an appeal to their senses that seldom fails to make their beaks water, and to engender a constant jumping exercise most efficacious to an abundant production of eggs. It is specially suitable where the runs are small and consequently space is cramped. Names of fresh donors will be thankfully received by Miss La Trobe-Bateman, Ascot Rectory.

The Ascot Sailors and Soldiers Committee report that they have now on their list 92 Ascot men who are serving their Country either in the Navy, or in Regiments at the Front in France, or in the Mediterranean. As there are a good many more who are still on duty at home, this number will be considerably increased from time to time, and the Committee would be greatly obliged if information regarding those transferred to the Front may be given as soon as possible to any member of the Committee, or sent to Mr. Tottie at “Sherlocks.”

It has not so far been found necessary to send parcels to the men in a general way, as so much is being done for them from other sources, and it has been rather the aim of the Committee to ascertain the special needs, and to endeavour to satisfy them. In this way some 20 parcels of different articles were sent out at Christmas, and further parcels will be sent out as they appear to be required, and it is hoped shortly to send a present to each man at the Front from the “Boys of Ascot” as a result of their concert.

Correspondence with all those who wish it is being carried on, and many letters have been received, all showing that the men are in excellent spirits and health, and they are all glad to receive news of Ascot.

The Committee also wish to do anything they can to help the wives and families of men serving in any difficulties they may have arising out of the war, and they hope that they may be informed at once if assistance in any way is required.

A special fund is available for prisoners of war, but fortunately there are only two from Ascot.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, March 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/3)

The Last Post for a manly Ascot lad

An Ascot teenager who had died of pneumonia, no doubt the result of the wet cold conditions in the trenches, was given a full military funeral.

THE WAR.

With real sorrow we have to record the death of Driver Charlie Thompson, aged 18, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, the Lodge, New Road. Educated at our Ascot Schools, a keen and faithful member of our Church Lads’ Brigade, a communicant, and a manly lad through and through, we had a very affectionate regard for him. He passed away in Monkwearmouth Hospital, Sunderland, from an attack of double pneumonia.

An Officer of the Battery in France to which he had been attached writes:-

“It is difficult to say how much we shall miss Driver Thompson. He showed such special adaptability in his work, and was always so willing and cheerful. He was popular especially in his own subsection; but he was known throughout the battery for his good and soldier-like behaviour.”

There was a Military Escort to Sunderland Railway Station. The coffin was drawn by 8 horses of A sub-section 127th (Bristol) H.B.R.G.A. The 3rd Battalion Sherwood Foresters lent their Band. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack; and 3 wreaths were placed on it from Officers and N.C. Officers and Gunners and Drivers of the Battery. As the train started the trumpeter sounded “the Last Post.” The body of our dear Ascot lad was reverently laid to its rest, in the Priory Road Churchyard, on Tuesday afternoon, December 14th. Our deep sympathy goes out to his parents, who have two other sons serving in H.M. Forces. R.I.P.

LANCE-CORPORAL ARTHUR JONES was with us again, hale and hearty, for a week last month. We need not add how warmly everyone welcomed him.

OUR PRISONERS OF WAR are being looked after: and Mr. Tottie and his zealous band of laymen who are working with him, are in touch with most of our Ascot lads who are serving their country, and with the Ascot homes from which they have set forth.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)

The patient suffering and splendid patriotism of the French

An officer from Ascot lauded the example of French civilians.

THE WAR.

We shall have several items of interesting news from some of our brave Ascot “Lads” to insert in the November Magazine. The following extract from a letter of Lieutenant Frank Tottie will interest our readers. As he is on the Headquarters Staff, he sees a good deal of what is going on.-

We really do want every man we can get. People here are beginning to get so very nervous about the delay in granting compulsory service. It seems so unfair to be continually hearing of men with wives and large families out here fighting and risking their lives for those at home who even try to prevent them getting the necessary ammunition to render their jobs a little less dangerous.

I have just had to be up all night in a town and it was most interesting watching the country people coming in at 4.30 a.m. to market… All these people have the look of patient suffering painted on their faces. Every one of them has suffered by the war, either a son killed or they have been driven from their homes and their worldly goods destroyed. If only people in England could come here and see the things I see and realize what war actually means, even to civilians, and take example from the splendid patriotism of the French people and how they suffer for their beloved Patrie, there would be no hesitation as to compulsory service.

September 18th, 1915.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/10)

A parting of ways

The Ascot parish magazine acknowledged the loss felt by those whose loved ones had been killed. Meanwhile, the Church Lads’ Brigade were drilling with real guns.

WE WISH OUR PEOPLE every Blessing from GOD during the year of Grace, 1915. We deeply feel with many of them, who have been called upon to part, who have been called upon to part, so far as this present life is concerned, with those who are precious, very dear indeed, to their hearts. But the parting is for a time only, and we “sorrow not, as those that have no hope.” We have a very glorious Hope indeed: and the “Roll of Honour” is enclosed in the Frame of Immortality. “I believe in the Resurrection of the body, and the Life Everlasting.” We ourselves return this new year to our work for a little longer, until our own turn comes to pass on into the “Beyond”.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.
Our deepest sympathy is tendered to Mrs. Phillips, a former parishioner of All Saints, on the loss of her two sons who have given their lives for the sake of their country. The Eternal Resurrection Morning will reunite many families of this fair English land, over whom for the present there has come a parting of ways.

THE TERRITORIALS.
The Recreation Club at All Saints Parish Room is much appreciated by many of the men. During the past month two musical and variety entertainments have been arranged by Mr. And Mrs. Tottie, and one by Mr. Tidy. An excellent lecture on the War has also been given by Mr. Patton.

The Church Parade Services on Sundays at 9.45 a.m. have been delightfully hearty. We warmly welcome the continued presence among us of the Territorials.

THE CHURCH LADS BRIGADE.
We are under very great obligations to Captain Thomas (who has volunteered for the Army) for his continued interest in our Company. He still comes over form Windsor from time to time on the Tuesday evenings. Subjoined is the Report of the Annual Inspection.

C.L.B. Ascot Company.

The following extract from the official Report to the Governing Body has been received from Captain Everett.

In common no doubt with others, this Company has suffered recently from loss of services of some of its officers and warrant officers, and consequently there has been, I was informed, some lack of regularity in attendance and of keenness among the lads.

This was not apparent however in those who paraded for my inspection: and the performance of the Squad, Physical and Company drilling showed solid work had been done.

In the Company drill greater attention should be given to the use of the commands laid down in the “Guide” for the various formations.

The general turn-out, steadiness, and behaviour on parade was good, with one or two exceptions. The carbines should in some cases be “pulled through” oftener.

With encouragement, the Company should do well, as there is promising material in its ranks.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/1)

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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It cannot be as other Christmases have been

It was clear that Christmas 1914 was not going to be the usual happy season.  Here are the thoughts of the vicar of Cookham Dean:

In thinking over what I am to say in my letter to you this month, it is very forcibly brought home to me how vastly different our circumstances are this December from any we have known. One has generally arranged one’s plans, in outline at least, for the Children’s Christmas Treat, and for the collection of the Choir Bonus, &c., &c., but I know I must not confidently rely, as in former years, on the help that has always so generously been given for these and other objects…

I shall quite understand if people feel that this year they cannot, or do not feel inclined to, contribute, but I do ask for a fairly prompt reply, so as to be saved the worry of uncertainty… I believe that the Choir intend to set apart a fair sum out of the amount given to them at the Carol Singing to send to one or other of the Christmas Funds that are being raised for the Royal Berkshire Regiment – our Regiment which, according to The Times of Nov. 27th, has so distinguished itself…

May our Christmas Festival in the village, if it cannot be as other Christmases have been, be holy, so that you may, in spite of sorrow and anxiety, be really happy. It may be that several of our brave lads will be allowed home on short leave; may I most earnestly beg of you not to tempt them – out of a false sense of good fellowship and wishing them luck – to drink? It is one of the cruellest things to do in such cases. They are enrolled in the Army or Navy to uphold their country’s honour, may I in all seriousness say for God’s sake never tempt them to dishonour themselves. Remember the words of Sir Owen Seamon that each of these men and lads, in their soldierly character and bearing, has ‘something dear to lose’- don’t let anyone of them have to feel ‘that they have lost it – thanks to you.’

The Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund met at Shire Hall on 1 December 1914, and also had thoughts about Christmas for soldiers’ families.

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