The General Memorial should in every way take precedence of individual memorials

The parish of Wargrave made some decisions about future war memorials.

War Memorials

The Bishop wrote a letter to the Diocese, in October, 1917, in which he said:-

“Experience has already shown that it is most desirable that local effort should be concentrated on one common Memorial. It is also important to consider carefully the nature of any proposal made, and to obtain competent advice, if possible on the spot, so that every memorial should be worthy of the occasion and permanent in character. To obtain satisfactory results, some delay and great care are imperative.”

The Bishop also commended to the Diocese a memorandum drawn up by an Advisory Committee on the subject. The first three points are as follows:-

(1) Advice should be sought when a Memorial is first proposed, and before the question of the form it should take is decided.

(2) The Committee urges the importance of concentrating upon one common design and the avoidance, if possible, of several small Memorials. The best and most permanent Memorial is that which best harmonizes with the building or surroundings in which it is placed. It is not intended to exclude separate Memorials erected under one common scheme, e.g. the fitting up of a chapel.

(3) The creation of a united Memorial should be postponed until the end of the War, though it may be of importance to decide beforehand what form it should take.

The General Memorial

A General Memorial to those, from the Parish of Wargrave, who give their lives for their Country is already secured, in the Parish Church, by the erection of the East Window. But it will not be completed until the end of the War. It is necessarily incomplete until the record of names has been inscribed, and a sum of money has been set apart for that purpose. But the East Window is the gift of one donor and there is no doubt that many others would like to join together in the completion of the Memorial. The form which such Complete Memorial will take is at present undecided, except that a list of the names will be incorporated in it. There are, unfortunately, already as many as thirty-nine names on this Roll of Honour. So long a list necessarily affects the question of design and treatment.

If many people wished to join in erecting such a General Memorial in the Parish Church after the War, they might determine, instead of merely erecting a tablet, to embellish some portion of the Church with carved wood and sculptured stone, so as to establish a Place of Memorial, or even a Memorial Chapel to those who shall have fallen which could express in the most permanent form the affection and gratitude of those for whom they died.

One generous offer has already been made which confirms the probability of such a plan. If anything of the kind is at all likely to become the general wish of the parish, it is very important that the Vicar and Churchwardens should not allow any individual monuments to be now erected which would afterwards impede an artist in planning a general design.

Individual Memorials

Everyone will agree that the General Memorial should have precedence of all individual memorials, it is therefore necessary to decide at once upon the part of the Church where the General Memorial shall be placed.

But it may well happen that some parishioners may wish to erect Individual Memorials in the actual part of the Church which is thus reserved. They may feel that they wish their particular memorials to be incorporated in the general one, while preserving the individual character of their personal tribute. If this be so they must either defer the design and erection of their Memorials until the General Memorial is taken in hand, or we must now form some idea of what the General Memorial is to be and choose our Artist, so that he may take charge at once. He would then only allow such Individual Memorials as would fit into his general design and harmonise with it.

And, apart from this particular matter of War Memorials, there is a real need for the expert advice of an Artist in the case of any application for the erection of a monument. A Parish Church is designed as one whole, to which all features should happily contribute. It would be quite possible to introduce a monument which, though beautiful in itself, would be generally regretted as out of harmony with the view of the building as a whole. And even if a monument were unobjectionable in this respect there are questions of style, material, and treatment which require expert knowledge.

The decision itself rests with the Vicar, but he needs expert advice to enable him to decide in a way which will secure general approval in the years to come. It therefore seems best to choose some one Artist, who will be generally acceptable to the Parish, and to ask him to act as our adviser to whom all designs for proposed memorials may be submitted.

The Meeting of Parishioners

In the face of these difficulties the Vicar and Churchwardens invited the Parishioners to meet them on Friday, July 19th, in the Parish Room. The Vicar explained the situation and asked for some guidance as to their wishes.

There was a unanimous feeling that the General Memorial should in every way take precedence of individual memorials, that the general supervision should be entrusted to one Artist, and that the form of which the General Memorial should take should be deferred until the Artist’s views could be known. But it was unanimously resolved:-

“That the East End of the South Aisle be set apart for Memorials to those who have fallen in the Great War.”

The Vicar then submitted the name of Sir Charles Nicholson to the meeting. He explained that the Churchwardens and he had no special knowledge and no prejudice for or against any particular name, but they had done all they could to find the man best suited for the task. In the course of these enquiries this name gradually took precedence, and when they consulted the Church Crafts League, (as suggested by the Diocesan Advisory Committee), the Secretary wrote as follows:-

“Our correspondence re the proposed decorative work in your Church was considered at our Committee Meeting yesterday and it was the unanimous opinion that you could not do better than consult Sir Charles Nicholson.”

The Meeting, after some discussion, unanimously resolved:-

“That the name of Sir Charles Nicholson, Bart., F.R.I.B.A., submitted to the Parishioners in accordance with the notice convening the meeting, be adopted subject to the support of the Building Committee.’

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

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Easter eggs for wounded soldiers

Hundreds of eggs were donated as a special Easter gift for wounded soldiers. (They were real eggs not chocolate ones!)

Crazies Hill Notes

Mrs. Woodward once again made a collection of Easter eggs for wounded soldiers and is to be congratulated upon the success of her efforts. In money no less than £4 1s. was offered for this worthy object and 109 eggs were given in addition. 331 eggs were purchased with the money so generously given and a total of 440 eggs were distributed as follows: –

Wargrave Hospital 140
No. 1 War Hospital at Reading 100
Henley Hospital 100
3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth 100

It is to the last named Hospital that the work done by the Crazies Hill Working Party is sent.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

“A measure forced upon us by the War”

It was usual for church magazines to contain not only the unique local information and articles which we are drawing on for this blog, but also a nationally published magazine like The Parish Magazine, Home Words, or Dawn Of Day, which was sewn into the local magazine. These included serious articles and short stories, and provided popular reading for the general public at a relatively low price. But war conditions put the practice at risk. It is interesting to note that in Wargrave, church officials hoped to keep the supply of edifying reading going for the poorer parishioners, who could not afford to buy books or belong to a subscription library.

Editorial

The Publishers of the “Dawn of Day” write as follows:

“Since our letter of April 10th was circulated, circumstances have arisen in connection with the supply of paper which render it necessary for us to reduce our printing order, from the July issue onwards, by at least 20 per cent.

It naturally follows that we must cut down customers’ supplies to a like extent, and we beg to ask their forbearance for so doing. We are very sorry, and beg to express our apologies to the clergy who localised the magazine. It is a measure forced upon us by the War, and the uncertainty of obtaining regular supplies of paper owing to prevailing conditions.”

The full number of copies of the Wargrave Magazine will be issued, but 20 per cent will in future contain local matter only. Those distributed to the Cottages will as far as possible contain the “Dawn of Day” as hitherto.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

“Those who had brought many eggs gave to those who had none”

Everyone pitched in to provide eggs for a war hospital in Wargrave.

Egg Service

A very successful Egg Service was held at the Parish Church on Sunday, June 2nd. Those who had brought many eggs gave to those who had none, and each child gave an egg to the Vicar as they passed in procession to the chancel step. The Wargrave V.A.D. Hospital was thus provided with one hundred and eighty eggs.

Wargrave parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Eggs from Newbury, meanwhile, were set to provide nourishment for seriously wounded soldiers in France.

An “Egg Service” was held at 3 pm on Trinity Sunday [2 June]: 140 eggs were presented, and the collection amounted to £1.13s.1d, this being considerably more than last year. A total of 280 eggs, or more, were thus provided for the wounded in France.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, July 1918(D/P89/28A/13)

“The trials and hardships our soldiers have to undergo in the great struggle”

Wargrave children may have celebrated Empire Day a week late, but they got the most graphic description of a world at war from a veteran.

Empire Day

Owing to the Whitsun Holidays the school children were unable to keep the celebration of Empire Day on May 24th, so it was postponed until Friday, the 31st, when they met at the Schools and proceeded to church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an address from the words “Honour all men, fear God, honour the King” inculcating the lessons of patriotism and brotherly kindness from the story of Moses.

Reforming in procession after the service, the children marched back to the School Playground and assembled round the flag. Here a goodly company of parishioners had gathered and after singing the National Anthem and saluting the flag an address was given by Mr. H.P. Adams, a member of the Executive of Comrades of the Great War Society and himself a holder of the Mons Medal. He gave a vivid description of the trials and hardships our soldiers have to undergo in the great struggle and related his experiences in the battle of Mons. He paid a splendid tribute to Lord Roberts, and advised one and all to do all in their power to be thorough patriots and to show a love for the old Flag. The children sang two patriotic songs and at the close of the proceedings gave three cheers for Lady Cain who kindly provided each child with a cake and a new penny.

Wargrave parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

“His splendid bravery inspired all troops in the vicinity to rise for the occasion”

An experienced officer who in peacetime had worked managing a Wargrave estate was one of the few to be honoured with the Victoria Cross for his great courage. Oliver Spencer Watson (1876-1918) is buried in France.

The Late Lieut.-Col. O. C. Spencer Watson, V.C.

A supplement to the “London Gazette” of May 8th gave the following particulars respecting the award of the V.C. to Lieut.-Col. O. C. Spencer Watson, D.S.O. (Reserve of Officers), late King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry:

“For most conspicuous bravery, self-sacrificing devotion to duty during a critical period of operations. His command was at a point where continual attacks were made by the enemy in order to pierce the line, and an intricate system of old trenches in front, coupled with the fact that his position was under constant rifle and machine gun fire, rendered the situation more dangerous. A counter attack had been made against the enemy position, which at first achieved its object, but as they were holding out in two impoverished points Lieut.-Col. Watson saw that immediate action was necessary, and he let his remaining small reserve to the attack, organising bombing parties and leading attacks under intense rifle and machine gun fire.

Outnumbered, he finally ordered his men to retire, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement, though he faced almost certain death by so doing. The assault he led was at a critical moment, and without doubt saved the line. Both in the assault and in covering his men’s retirement he held his life as nothing, and his splendid bravery inspired all troops in the vicinity to rise for the occasion and save a breach being made in a hardly tried and attenuated line. Lieut.-Col. Watson was killed while covering the withdrawal.”

“The Times” of May 11th gave the following particulars, respecting Lieut.-Col. Watson: –

He was the youngest son of the late W. Spencer Watson, F.R.C.S., and was educated at St Paul’s and passed into the Army from Sandhurst, being gazetted to the Yorks Light Infantry in 1897. He was invalided in 1904, after taking part in the Tirah campaign 1897-1898, in which he was dangerously wounded, and in the China campaign of 1900, receiving the medal for each of these campaigns, in the first case with two clasps.

In 1910 he joined a Yeomanry regiment, and on the outbreak of war went with them to Egypt as captain and took part in the fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Promoted major, he came home to join a battalion of the Y.O.Y.L.I., going with them to France early in 1917. In May of that year he was dangerously wounded at Bullecourt, and received D.S.O. for gallantry and leadership.

He returned to the front last January, although he had not recovered from the effect of his wound; was shortly afterwards promoted lieut-colonel, and was killed in action on March 28th. Lieut-Colonel Watson was a keen sportsman, and was known locally as a good cricketer, boatman, and footballer, as well as a straight rider to hounds. Up to the time that he joined the forces in the present conflict he had been the estate agent to Sir Charles Henry, Bart., M.P., at Parkwood, and managed the Farm at Crazies Hill.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

“All possible economy must be effected”

The economic cost of the war affected every aspect of life at home.

The Church Accounts, 1917-1918.

Wargrave Vicarage,
April 20th, 1918.

My dear Friends,

We now have the pleasure of publishing the parochial accounts for the year ending at Easter, 1918.

The income for which they account to £623 as against £542 11s. 0d. the increase of subscriptions is partly due to the inclusion of all the Churchyard Accounts of which only part has been included in previous years, but this makes an addition of only £19 12s. 0d., and the remainder is due to increased support. The increased church collections is to some extent attributable to the addition of two Organ Recitals, £20 16s. 6d, but to the very generous response to special appeals, as in the case of the Red Cross, £36 5s. 0d, but the general level of weekly offertories has been distinctly higher and the result is most pleasing.

The increased income is balanced on the expenditure side by additions to salaries and the heavy cost of fuel.

Sir William Cain’s gifts are distributed so widely in the parish that his liberality is known to all and everyone in Wargrave has reason to be grateful for them, they have for instance made the V.A.D. Hospital possible, on its present scale…

A copy of the statement of accounts is to be sent to every subscriber, but no copies are to be included with the parish magazines as in former years, because all possible economy must be effected in printing and paper. The Schedule of Special Offertories will however be inserted in the magazine together with this letter.

I remain faithfully yours,

STEPHEN M. WINTER

Wargrave parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Sixpence per war savings certificate

Wargrave War Savings Association had been a roaring success.

War Savings

The Wargrave War Savings Association began its work on January 12th, 1917. From the commencement up to March, 1918, the Association has purchased £2,800 Certificates value £2,170 0s. 0d. it has sold 15,450 sixpenny coupons (£386 5s. 0d.) and it has taken £1,802 13s. 0d. in single payments for Certificates bought outright.

The whole of this work was really due to the initiative of the Hon. Treasurer. His generous gift of sixpence on every Certificate up to twenty-five for any individual subscriber has no doubt proved a great encouragement to saving the gratitude and appreciation of the subscribers has been very widely expressed.


Wargrave parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Conduct, knowledge, manliness and sports

The army had set up a competition for boys at Piggott School when stationed nearby a few years earlier.

The [Piggott] School Challenge Cup

The Cup was presented by the Officers and Men of the 83rd and 84th Companies of the Royal Engineers, February 13th, 1915. It is held yearly for one year only, by the best boy in the school in regard to conduct, knowledge, manliness and sports. Half marks are given by the Headmaster and half marks by the votes of the boys themselves. It has been awarded this year to Reginald Crampton.


Wargrave parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Immediate help in an emergency

With many clergy acting as army chaplains, a former chaplain who had got stuck in England when the war started was helping out a Berkshire church.

Crazies Hill Notes

General sympathy is felt for the Rev. W. G. Smylie who has had a serious breakdown of health, which occurred quite suddenly the first week In March. He is now at the Bournemouth Hydro and the doctor gives a very good report of his progress. It is hoped that he will return in a month’s time thoroughly restored to strength.

The Bishop referred the Vicar to the Diocesan Clerical Agency for immediate help in the emergency. The Agency is in constant communication with a number of Clergy all of whom are licensed by the Bishop of Oxford for work in this diocese. The Vicar was thus introduced to the Rev. C. S. G. Lutz who was a tutor with Mr. Pritchard in Wargrave many years ago. Mr Lutz has been an Army Chaplain in Malta and Gibraltar. At the time of outbreak of war he held an S.P.G Chaplaincy on the Continent but was in England on leave.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Armageddon

The vicar of Wargrave set out his view son the war and the future.

Armageddon:

When this Magazine is printed and issued we may know a great deal more about the fortunes of the great battles on the Western Front, but at present the whole weight of the German offensive has been hurled against the British line. Vast numbers of men have been concentrated so as to give the enemy a great preponderance on particular sections. Our men have everywhere fought with the utmost gallantry for long hours, they have borne up against almost impossible odds, they have exacted a heavy toll for any tract of ground that they have yielded. But, at the moment, the enemy has broken through the defensive line which was held when the battle began on March 21st and the breach which was made south of St Quentin, has enforced a retirement of the whole line. At one point the withdrawal has been for a distance of fifteen miles. Our armies now hold the line running due south from the Scarpe, reaching the Somme near Peronne. We have given up about two-thirds of the country evacuated by the enemy over a year ago. The spirit of our men is magnificent, their confidence unshaken, their line is not pierced. That is the position so far as we know it this morning, March 25th 1918.

There is nothing in life so uncertain as the fortunes of War. We pray to God for victory and we pray that in His mercy He will give us a speedy and decisive victory. We are praying for such an issue to the War as shall advance His kingdom. But victory may be long delayed; we may yet have to sustain more serious trials than any that have at present befallen us. Let us then be strong and of a good courage. The fortune of war is uncertain, but there is no uncertainty about the ultimate issue. God overrules all things in heaven and earth. He is working His purpose out. He calls men to co-operate with Him, allows us men to be fellow workers with Him, He, who gave men freewill, allows men also to obstruct His purpose by their gainsaying wickedness. But no creature can frustrate His purpose. The time may be long, as we reckon history, but the issue is certain. His Kingdom will come and the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

We are fighting against forces which are ranged with the world, the flesh, and the devil to win dominion by blood and iron. Such an empire is clean contrary to the Kingdom of God. It abuses power for such oppression as is seen in Belgium, Servia, and Armenia to-day. It may have its day as other empires of the world have done. It was long before Pharoah let the people go, but the night came when the Lord brought them out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm.

So whatever may befall us in the uncertain ebb and flow of battle fortunes, we have set our feet upon a rock. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”.

Wargrave parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

An almost miraculous escape

The SS Aragon was carrying troops to Egypt when it was sunk. One of the survivors was a Wargrave man.

Crazies Hill Notes

We congratulate Joseph Carr on his almost miraculous escape while stoking in the ‘Aragon’ when it was torpedoed.

He has been home on a short leave and looks cheerful and well.

While writing we also hear that William and Herbert Plested have come home, and the former who has been in the United States for nine years will find many changes in the place and population.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

A permanent record to tell what manner of men gave their lives for their Country

Wargrave wanted to be sure not to forget the parishioners who had been killed in the war.

Roll of Honour

The names of the men from this Parish who have fallen in this War will be inscribed in the Parish Church underneath the East Window, which is erected in their memory.

But we should wish to preserve some record of closer human interest to future generations than the mere list of names could afford.

A Roll of Honour has therefore been compiled, which gives a short paragraph of personal notes under each name.

It is published as a supplement to this issue of the Parish Magazine and friends are thus given an opportunity of adding or altering anything they may wish.

The idea is that this Roll should be suitably engrossed, after the war, and preserved with the Parish Registers as a permanent record to tell what manner of men gave their lives for their Country.

Additional Copies of this Roll of Honour can be obtained from the Vicarage at three pence each or one shilling for six.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

“If a sufficient number could spare one vegetable a week instead of one or two giving a large quantity the result would be very satisfactory”

A soldier stationed in Italy wanted to play football with his friends.

Crazies Hill Notes

Contributions of Vegetables for Wargrave Hospital will be gladly received on the Tuesday, during the Working Party. One vegetable will be very acceptable. If a sufficient number could spare one vegetable a week instead of one or two giving a large quantity the result would be very satisfactory.

Hare Hatch Notes

A Letter has been received from Sergt. W. Rixon, who is stationed in Italy, asking for a football. We are sure that the kindness of those friends who contributed to this need, will be greatly valued by him.

Wargrave parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

During the war we all have to make ourselves responsible for more than we could rightly undertake in time of peace

The new vicar of Wargrave took on a new role as school inspector for church schools, mainly because his ownership of a horse meant he had transport denied to others.

Diocesan Inspection

There is one General Diocesan Inspector in this diocese who gives his whole time to the work, but the area of the three counties is so large that he can only visit one in each year. He is therefore assisted in each Deanery by an Honorary Inspector, appointed by the Bishop, who examines the Schools in two out of every three years.

The Vicar resigned this office when he left the parish of Medmenham in the Deanery of Wycombe. He has been asked to resume it in this Deanery. There are twenty-six schools to be inspected in the sixteen parishes of this Sonning Deanery. Somebody must do the work and it requires somebody with a horse, (even motor cars cannot run without petrol). So the Vicar has felt that it would not be right to decline. It is very congenial work, but acceptance of any additional task seems to require a word of explanation when we are shorthanded here and the things already left undone are evidence that the Vicar has no time to spare.

The fact is that during the war we all have to make ourselves responsible for more than we could rightly undertake in time of peace. And if we happen to have experience which makes a particular task lighter than it would be to a new hand it is not fair to decline it, unless it is an absolute impossibility. This work is done in the morning in the Schools and late at night at home so it will not much interfere with parochial visiting.

Wargrave parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)