“I think we have got the Boche fairly well in hand now “

A Sunningdale soldier wrote an optimistic letter home.

A letter from France to Miss Tritton.

11th July 1918

Dear Madam,

I hope you received the letter I sent you some time ago. I have been wondering if it had gone missing as so many are lost in transit. I trust this note will find you well, and I may state that I am the same, though I have been gassed some time ago, but am fairly recovered from the effects of it.

I hope you are still going strong at the Red Cross work. Needless to say that it is all very much appreciated by the boys out here in France.

I am looking forward with joy to the day when we will be home again, and I think we have got the Boche fairly well in hand now and that he will never do any more than he has already done… I would like it very much if you could send me the Banner (Parish magazine).

I am,

Yours sincerely,

W. K. Turner.

Sunningdale Parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P150B/28A/10)

Advertisements

“We pray that their relatives may before long hear news of them”

Sad news kept coming.

We offer our deep sympathy to the family of Archie Taylor, the news of whose death from wounds received early in the Somme offensive has been notified to his parents.

The following are reported wounded, and we are glad to hear that they are progressing favourably: — R Oldham, T. Barker, H. Henley, E. Law, A. May, J. Williams, W. Ewart.

We very much regret to hear that both Reginald Turner and William Watson are reported missing and we pray that their relatives may before long hear news of them.

Letters of thanks for Christmas parcels are still being received from men in the East: — P. Matthews, S. C. Woods, A. Birch, F.C. Havell.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, May 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/5)

Help the people in the countries on the Continent devastated by the enemy

The plight of civilians in the countries where the fighting was taking place touched the hearts of Reading people.

November 1917
Brotherhood Notes

Sunday, December 9th, is to be a big day with the society. On that day we are to have an open meeting, to be held in the Palace Theatre, at which meeting one of the leaders of the movement will speak – probably the International Secretary, Brother W. Ward. Our Musical Conductor, Brother W. Wynton-Turner, is making the arrangements, and we can look forweard to a great time on that day.

The object of the meeting is to stir up interest in the National Brotherhood Scheme for relief in the countries devastated by the enemy, and a collection for this fund will be taken.

December 1917
BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Sunday, December 9th is to be a great day with our Society. An open meeting for men and women will be held at the Palace Theatre, to be addressed by Brother William Ward, the International Brotherhood Secretary. The meeting will start at three o’clock, and the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Reading, F A Sarjeant, esq., JP, will take the chair. The Reading Temperance Band will play selections, and special hymns will be sung. Brother Wynton Turner is putting in superhuman efforts to make this meeting a great success, and looks for the support of all our brothers.

The object of the meeting is to collect funds for the relief of the destitute peoples in the countries devastated by the enemy – a worthy object and one heartily recommended to our members. Be sure and keep that date free, and talk about it, and come in your hundreds to fill the Palace.

January 1918
BROTHERHOOD NOTES

The outstanding event during the past month was undoubtedly the very successful mass meeting which was held on Sunday December 9th at the Palace Theatre. The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Reading (F A Sarjeant, esq., JP) presided, and Brother William Ward, the International Secretary of the Brotherhood, gave a most vigorous and inspiring address, bringing before our notice the great need of help to the peoples in the countries on the Continent devastated by the enemy. A collection was taken up at this meeting which amounted to nearly £14, and in addition Mr Tyrrell most generously gave £40 for a hut. The meeting was an unqualified success, both as regards attendance and organisation, and for the latter the whole of the praise is due to Brother J. Wynton Turner, who worked most indefatigably.

Brother William Ward gave some valuable suggestions, and one amongst them was that a central depot be opened in the town, and old clothes be collected for the sufferers. This matter will be carefully considered by our committee.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1917-January 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A chaplain among the departed

Prayers were requested for men from Reading serving or fallen.

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions list: 2nd A.M. Clout, R.F.C; 2nd Lieut. A. Herman Turner, R.F.C.; Trooper M.T. Butler, Berks Yeomanry; Private A. Goodger.

Sick and Wounded: Gunner Goulden; Gunner H. Whitbread; Privates G. Wise, H. Standing, C. Beazly.

Departed: Sergt. C. Spencer; Private R. Egginton; Lce-Cpl. J. T. Foulger, R.E.; Privates Hugh Willis, R.A.M.C., E.A. Pearce, T.M.B.; The Rev. E.P. Carter (priest).

Reading St Giles parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P96/28A/32)

So far recovered from the effects of being gassed, a soldier gets married

There was sad news for many Reading families, but one soldier, home after the nasty experience of being gassed, decided to marry his sweetheart.

The Vicar’s Notes
Intercessions

For our Russian allies in their time of need.

For our own fighting men, and especially for our lads who have just joined the army, particularly Charles Upstone.

For the wounded, especially Percy Viner.

For the fallen, especially Thomas Murray, William Eaton, Albert Ford, George Lawrence, Frederick Lewis. R.I.P.

S. Saviour’s District

R.I.P.
The brass tablet placed in the Church by Miss Ward, and the new Epistle and Gospel lights for the sanctuary, presented by Mrs Ward and Miss Ward, are in memory of the late Evelyn Paget Graves, Major R.A. and R.F.C.

Albert Edward Barnet and Albert Edward Turner are reported killed in France. Our sincere sympathy is with the bereaved families.

Marriage
Our best wishes to Alfred James White (Corporal R.G.A.) and Miss Nellie Allwood, who were married at S. Mary’s on September 1st. We are glad that Corporal White has so far recovered from the effects of being gassed in France.

S. Mark’s district
R.I.P.

It was with great sorrow that we heard that one of our servers, Leonard Pusey, had been killed in France on August 22nd. He had been a server at S. Mark’s for about 7 years and he always took a keen interest in all that was done in connection with the Church; he will be much missed – we offer our sincere sympathy to his wife.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

Four Earley men killed in action

More news of Earley men:

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following names have been added to our prayer list:

Frederick Parsons, Victor Phelps, Gordon Turner, Ernest Phillips, Fred Elliott, George Polden, Cecil Ludlow, Oscar Mount.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

KILLED IN ACTION: Leonard Leaver, Walter Reeve, Charles Bolton, William Mears.

SICK: Walter Hayward, William Durman, William Hewett, George Polden.

WOUNDED: Tom Durman, Horace Stamp, William Childs, George Slaughter, Albert Hiscock, Alfred Still, Charles Seely.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Reading men serve their country

More men from Reading were serving their country.

Notes from the Vicar
Intercessions list:

Gunner H. Shelley, R.G.A.; Sapper R.E. Leadley. R.E.; L-Cpl. Mark Seymour, R.E.; Trumpeter Vallis C. Turner.

Missing: Corp. William Genge Heydon.

To The list of the departed: Private Arthur Josey, 2nd Hampshire Regt. Private Thomas Munt; Private Frank Pierce; Gunner H.J. West, R.G.A. Capt. E.A. Shaw; Novice Mary Elsa.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P96/28A/33)

Netley is pressing for the removal of the insane German soldiers

The use of Broadmoor for insane PoWs (currently all at Netley Hospital in Southampton) was inching ever closer. Broadmoor’s Superintendent, Dr James Baker, wrote:

5th November 1916
Dear Simpson

Youn may wish to know that Colonel Aldren Turner called here last week at the instance of the War Office who are apparently waking up. I am under the impression Netley is pressing for the removal of the insane German soldiers. He was very satisfied with the accommodation. I told him it was too good for the purpose. I informed him all I required was a week’s notice to make a new entrance from the main road. I do not care to pull the wall about until things are definitely settled. I received a letter from him yesterday saying he had presented his report, that the question of orderlies was being put in hand, that Foulerton and I would probably get an outfit allowance of £20 (the usual allowance is £30) but as they have apparently conceded the principle, we shall not quarrel about the amount, which should suffice.

He added in his letter that he had meant to discuss the question of the reception of insane German Officers, but he had forgotten to mention it to me. This will be rather a difficult matter as one does not know whether it will entail extra expense and further financial negotiations. However if the matter comes up and you agree, I think I had better see the War Office people about it. Of course I told Colonel Turner we could not move here until Treasury sanction was obtained.

Yours very truly
[signature missing from file copy]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Rejected for active service

A student (probably a pupil teacher) was rejected for the army, enabling him to go on to further education.

19th September 1916.
T.E.Turner was absent today to attend a medical inspection at Reading Barracks by order of the military authorities. He was however rejected for “active service” and will be able to proceed to college in October.

Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3)

“We soldiers do need the prayers of those left behind”

The vicar of Reading St Mary had some Christmas thoughts for his flock, despite the ongoing war, and the large numbers leaving home to join the armed forces.

The Vicar’s Notes

How much we hoped that this Christmas would be a Christmas of peace! But as the King said in his noble appeal to his people, “The end is not in sight.” So we must be patient, and even in the midst of the terrific struggles of this great war, must try and enter into the spirit of the Christmas festival with its strong message of hope and encouragement, and the certainty that it assures us of, that God will bring good out of evil.

Roll of Honour
Additional names, S, Mary’s District

Harry Day, Norman Day, William Day, William Kemp, Frank Goddard, George Hunt, Jesse Gore, Albert Gore, John Gore, Sidney Gore, William Peirce, William Eaton, Robert Hinder, William Noakes, Frederick Wild, George Swain, Herbert Allen, Charles Smith, Clement Green, Albert Gibson, Alec Barker, John Noakes.

All Saint’s District
Roll Of Honour

George Baker, Frederick Montague Brown, Arthur Budd, Alfred Bernard Carter, Harry Clay, Arthur William Crook, Charles Frederick Fox, Fred Fuller, Bert Fuller, William Hanson, Albert Charles Lambden, Walter Howard Lee, Walter John Malham, John Henry Malham, Herbert William Macdonald, Frank James Noble, F. William Pomeroy, Fred Povey, Ernest Frank Sopp, Harold Stagg, Charlie Turner, John Turner, Ernest Wicks, Albert Wiggins.

S. Saviours District
War Intercessions

The service at 3 p.m. on Wednesday will be continued during Advent. Several more men from this district have joined the Army and Navy during the past month, among them being Reginald James Barnes and Albert Edward Griffin, two of our servers, whom we may hope to see at Christmas.

In letters, which have been received, occur such words as “We soldiers do need the prayers of those left behind”; “indeed I miss S. Saviour’s very much”; “I did not get the chance of going to Church either last Sunday or this … I was very disappointed.”

Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P98/28A/13)

Great sorrow in Earley

Earley parishioners enthusiastically helped to entertain wounded soldiers, while there was bad news of several local men.

Earley “Wounded Soldiers” Entertainment Fund.

In the first place, as Hon. Treasurer to this Fund, I desire on behalf of the committee to express their grateful thanks to all who have so generously assisted by gifts in money, provisions, flowers, fruit, vegetables and, last but not least, the loan of motor cars, without which it would not be possible to carry out the arrangements. To this must be added our thanks to those who have given their time and talent in providing music and plays, which our guests have greatly enjoyed.

List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s Forces.

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:-

William Durman, Edward Harris, Walter Bastow, Herbert Lovegrove, William Powell, Arthur Brereton, Harold Cooper, Herbert Carter, William Carter, Reginald Bluring, Henry Horwood, Jack Edwards, Thomas Watts, Frederick Lee, Albert Pocock, Fred Purver, Albert Spratley, William Nash, Albert Evans, Robert Newton, Frederick Wise, John Winchcombe, Edwin Taylor, Henry Stanbridge, Ashley Franklin, George Polden, Douglas Clarje, Walter Samways, Reginald Holtom, Ernest Fowler, Alexander Burden, Frederick Gardener, William Hooper, George Rooke, Benjamin Rickards, Thomas Bricknell, Harry Bricknell, Aubray Turner, Frederick Thompson.

The following we especially commend to your prayers:-

Missing – George Seymour, Percy Wyer, Charles Timbrill.
Wounded – Francis Mayl, Walter King (wounded and gassed).
Sick – Albert Hiscock, Reginald Sloper, Harry Borroughs, Joseph Marshall, William Clements.
Killed – Richard Jordon.
Prisoners – Charles John Fisher, Ernest Holtom.

In Memoriam.

We much regret to have to record the death of George Wright who was killed in action at Loos on the occasion of the great attack in October; he was a member of the Choir and a past member of the Church Lads’ Brigade, and was much liked by all who knew him. We are sure all our readers deeply sympathize with Mr. and Mrs. Wright and family in their great sorrow.
R.I.P.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, December 1915 (D/P191/28A/22)

Should price rises mean OAPs got extra help?

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund met again at Shire Hall, Reading, to discuss applications for financial support due to the circumstances of the war. The committee would go quiet after this with a minor meeting on 3 June 1916 with no substantive matters discussed, and no other meetings until 1917.

4 December 1915

Miss Pott reported that no further application had been received from Mrs Pounds of Peasemore; that Mrs Forrester had found employment in one of Boots’ supply stores in the London district & was also in receipt of an allowance from the Central Bureau for the Employment of Women; & that the grant of £100 asked for had been received from the Government Committee of the NRF.

Applications for relief were reported from
Brandon, Maidenhead. The applicant being resident in Buckinghamshire, his application had been refused.
Chapman, Theale. Reported that the local Committee recommended that no further relief be give,
Patterson, Maidenhead. The Chairman reported that he had authorized a further grant of 10/- per week for 2 weeks so that the allowance would continue until January 2, 1916, after which the applicant would be in receipt of other monies. The Committee confirmed the Chairman’s action.
Turner, Wantage. Resolved that the case be referred back for further information, and be decided by the Chairman upon the facts supplied by the Local Secretary.

Miss Pott reported that the Abingdon Secretary had written to ask whether the Committee would give relief to Old Age Pensioners in consideration of the rise in cost of living. That she had laid the letter before Mr Nisbet, the Local Government Board Inspector, who had replied that the Government Commission of the NRF had decided against relief being given on such grounds; & that a copy of Mr Nisbet’s letter had been sent to Abingdon.

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

Very fortunate to be able to go to the front

The vicar of Reading St Giles said he envied his fellow Reading clergyman T Guy Rogers, who had signed up as an Army chaplain. Incidentally, you may recognise one of the names on the wounded list – the heroic Fred Potts.

Notes from the Vicar

The following names should be added to those on our Intercession list:

Henry Charles Pyke, A.P.C.; F. Mathews, 5th Worcestershire Regt; France Scott Stokes, “H.M.S. Alastia”; Francis Lancelot Temple Friend, Canadian Contingent; Waller William Horlock, “H.M.S. Chatham”; J.C. Englefield, 21st R. Fusiliers; J. Gooding, 14th Glousters; S.J. Curtis, Inns of Court O.T.C.; F. Turner 6th North Staffords; Private Dwyer, 10th Warwicks

Wounded G. Brown, Sherwood Foresters; Trooper F. Potts and Trooper R. West

Missing – R. Ayers, Berks Yeomanry

TO THE LIST OF THE FALLEN
Percy Hamilton, Rifle Brigade; Norman Eady and Charles Butler, Berks Yeomanry ; Alan McKinley, Australian Field Artillery ; Horace Percival Cadman, R.W. Fusiliers. The Yeomanry and our 1/4th Batt. Royal Berkshire Reg. and the 7th and 8th Batt. are very much in are thoughts and prayers.

I am sure we shall not fail to remember in our prayers the Rev.T. Rogers who is resigning the living of S. John’s and going out within the next 2 weeks as Chaplain to the troops in France. He has realized the call and made the sacrifice. S. John’s will greatly miss him and so will the town of Reading where he has done great and useful work. Personally I will miss him, we have worked together in many ways (e.g. the Convention) and although we differed strongly on some point, yet we remained great friends, and I shall not easily forget very and happy (and very solemn) hours spent together.
He is very fortunate to be able to go to the front. God bless him in his work.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P96/28A/32)

“The crack of bombs and the whistle of the bullets”

There was news of a number of wounded men from Ascot. One, Augustus Turner, wrote an illuminating letter about his experiences under heavy fire in the trenches.

We have to record, with regret, the following casualties during the past month.-
Harry Cooper (R. Middlesex Regiment) wounded, now at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.
Corporal of the Horse Harry Bonnard (1st Life Guards) wounded.
Captain Sidney Clement (5th Australian Bush Regiment) missing.
James Johnson (1st Life Guards) missing.
Rifleman Augustus Turner (London Irish Rifles) wounded, now in Woolwich Hospital, progressing favourably.
Ernest Oran (1st Life Guards) sick.
Thomas John Minns (1st Batt. R. Berks) wounded.

We give some further extracts from Rifleman Augustus Turner’s interesting letter from the Front.-

“In the evening, by which time we had got accustomed to the noise of bullets and shells and conditions in general, I was one of a party to go sapping. This experience will ever remain in my mind. A sap or a trench had already been dug a distance of about 50 yards from our first trench towards the Germans, and it was our duty to dig still further. I entered the sap first, and when a short distance along a star shell was sent up by the Germans. I’d been warned to keep low when any star shells were sent up so as not to be seen. I did bend down, but almost immediately after the star went up a bomb followed and exploded in the air above me. I don’t remember whether I laid full length on my own accord or really how I got down, but after the bang I found myself lying on my spade measuring my height and a little more perhaps, at the bottom of the sap. The explosion was terrific, it shook the ground and me too, but apart from that I was uninjured. This is just another form of a greeting of the Germans, but in a very short while the crack of bombs and the whistle of the bullets from our men and the ‘Germs’ which passed just above my head, had not the slightest effect and I worked on merrily, smothering myself with clay and throwing above that which didn’t stop on my clothes. It seems strange, but it is quite true that one gets accustomed to the worst of conditions in a very short while.

The sapping continued all night, reliefs taking place of course, and at 3.30a.m. on 12th March, I finished my duty in the sap, when an order was given ‘Rapid fire.’ It continued for an hour, and such a noise is hard to beat. An attack from the Germans was about to take place, but was repelled by this deadly fire. A fellow who dare risk being out in the open under such fire deserves V.C.’s all over him. Just before this hail of lead, an attempt to blow up the trench next to ours by mines, was made; the earth blew up high in all directions, in front of the trench. This made another tremendous report. Morning began to dawn, and things quietened down a bit, and at 9.a.m., on the 12th March we went from the trenches back to our base, after having an experience, which I think, none of us will ever forget.

Our stay in barracks was not for long, for on 13th March we were ordered back to the trenches again for a stay of 24 hours. It is pitiful to see some of the houses- which used-to-be. In villages near the trenches it is one mass of ruin; churches, too, are included. All that remains of what must have been a fine old church is half of the tower. An extraordinary thing in one of these wrecked villages is a beautifully constructed shrine by the roadside. It is practically untouched excepting for a bullet hole just here and there. Needless to say, it attracts everybody’s attention. Our Sunday service was conducted last Sunday in a modern theatre, built 1912. Holy Communion was celebrated at 8 a.m. on the stage of this theatre, but there not being sufficient room we had to remove the pit. This may strike one as being very curious, but I can say from experience a theatre can be turned into a very fine church. Our chaplain, who is a very pleasant gentleman, officiated.

The soldiers here seem fine fellows. They all look very fit and not a tiny bit perturbed through the war. Fighting has not the tiniest effect upon them apparently. That ‘Use is second nature’ seems perfectly true. This war is a fearful thing, but it is giving us all such an experience and bringing upon most of us such a fine condition of health that if we are spared to see it through we can never forget it. I am indeed sorry to hear of the outbreak of disease at the Ascot Hospital, but am more sorry to know of Miss Blackburn being a victim. I truly hope it will be very soon suppressed. I trust, sir, that my letter will not be boring to you, and in conclusion, I would like to say that I’m longing for the day when I can enter Ascot’s dear old church and thank the Almighty for deliverance and protection from and through this awful and terrible war.

With best wishes for your health and well-being.

I am, sir, yours faithfully,

AUGUSTUS T. TURNER.”

* *

A WORKING PARTY has been held (usually at the Rectory) from August to December, and is now going on. In the first instance the work and a contribution in money was sent to Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild. At the present time we are working for the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (Scottish Women’s Hospitals.) Pyjamas, slippers, and hot water covers are out chief contributions. Units are in France and Serbia. The sun of £41 13s. 3d. has been sent in money: and we have an “Ascot bed” in one of the Hospitals.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine (D/P151/28A/17/6)

The “fun city”

Ascot was affected by the war in various ways: hosting a big hospital, losing teachers to the armed forces, and so on. A couple of the men who had joined up wrote home with their impressions of life at the front:

THE MILITARY HOSPITAL is closed for the present for the purpose of carrying out some necessary alterations. We have sustained a great loss in the death of Miss Blackburn, the Commandant of the Ascot Voluntary Aid Detachment, and of the Hospital. Her absolute unselfishness and devotion to her work endeared her to all who had the privilege of knowing her.

ASCOT SCHOOL.
MR.B.G.GIBBONS, Assistant Manager in the Boys’ School, has volunteered for Military Service. He will be much missed in the Church Choir, as well as at the Schools. His post will be kept open for him: and we shall welcome him back, if all is well, when the war is over.

THE WAR is at its height. It is difficult to turn our thoughts to anything else. Our faith in the justice of our cause, and our humble confidence that GOD will further the efforts of those who are fighting not for personal gain but for the Christian ideal of righteousness and honourable dealing, make us as sanguine as to the ultimate issue. But, in the meanwhile, the strain is terrible. Not only our deep recognition of the magnificent self-sacrifice and courage of our navy and army, but our prayers on their behalf, must increase more and more in their earnestness every day. On Wednesdays at 8 p.m., as well as on Sundays, special intercessions are offered in the All Saints Church.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.- Nearly 180 names are entered upon our All Saints Roll. The following extracts from letters to the Rector will be read with interest.

(i) From Lance-Corp. ARTHUR T. N. JONES.

At present we are billeted at a farm, and sleep in a barn about 60 N.C.O.s and men. Things of course are a little more rough and ready out here… We find the pack rather more trying now that we carry everything, including “Emergency Ration”: but we are very fit on the whole, and one feels far more at home with things after the first few days.

(ii) From Pte. AUGUSTUS T.TURNER.

It was about 6 p.m. on March 9th that the first half of our Battalion said au revoir to England. I shall never forget just those few moments. It was glorious, yet a very sad time. We lined the side of the boat facing the landing stage, and shouted “good bye” to the others on shore. To add to the impressiveness of the departure, our pipers played us away with “Auld Lang Syne” “The wearin’ o’ the green,” and other Irish airs. Those were glorious moments and in fact made one feel throaty…

On April 8th we first marched up to the “fun city.” While on the march and near our destination, shells began to whistle over our heads, just as a greeting I suppose… We seemed to go through miles and miles of trench before arriving in the firing line. The first half day was very quiet, excepting for the continual whiz of shells. You really would be astounded to see what trench life is like. It is almost as safe in a dug-out as you are in England. Of course, one has to chance a shell coming there, but rifle shots have no possibility of hitting you. The place where we were was a very important front, and seemed impregnable. The huge solid parapets of earth sand bags, the dug-outs, and trench itself, are marvellous.

***We have no more space for further extracts in the May Magazine from this most graphic and admirably written letter of our Ascot “lad” Gus Turner (if we may still call him so). But we will quote further from his letter in the Magazine for June. He tells about a German star-shell and its effect upon himself. And he tells of the Holy Communion celebrated early on Sunday mornings on the stage of a modern theatre. But you must wait till the June Magazine.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magzine, May 1916 (D/P151/28A/7/5)