“The Great War in which our whole nation and indeed nearly all the world is engaged”

The anniversary of the war’s start was cause for the parish of Reading St Mary to take stock.

Intercessions

For those just gone to the front for the first time, especially Frank Taylor, our late Sacristan, and Edward Henry Bartholomew, one of our Choirmen, both of whom have gone to France; also Claude Towers, who has just started for Mesopotamia.

For the fallen, especially Richard Page (died of wounds received on June 7th), and Arthur Clements Hiberden.

All Saints’ District
The War

On Saturday, August the 4th (the third anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War) there will be a celebration of the Holy Communion at 8 O’clock, and on Sunday the 5th, there will be celebrations at 7, 8 and 10. Throughout the day the special services will be used, and copies will be provided for the use of the congregation. The collections will be for the Assistant Clergy Fund.

R.I.P.

Our deepest sympathy will be given to Mr. R. F.S. Biddulph and his family on the loss of his elder son Richard Herbert Hoel Biddulph who died of wounds in France on July 5th. He was a member of the Canadian Forces and volunteered for service immediately on the outbreak of war.

St Saviour’s District
August 4th

It will not be possible to pass this third anniversary of the Great War in which our whole nation and indeed nearly all the world is engaged, without some special looking to God, and renewal of national purpose. Probably Sunday August 5th, will be more specially kept as a day of United Prayer and renewal of purpose before God, and of thanksgiving too for renewal of purpose to united effort and sacrifice, which he has made, and is still making to us. Let us at S. Saviours come together before God in Church and there in worship, communion and prayer remember our nation, our church, our dear ones etc. and offer ourselves again to him to do and to suffer all that He wills.

R.I.P.

John Warren Wells, of the Canadian contingent, has been killed in France. As a small boy he lived in Garnet Street, and our sympathy is with his family and relatives, especially with Mr. George Wells, our sidesman. Among those recently wounded in France is, we are sorry to hear, George Jacobs, of 1 S. Saviour’s Terrace, we hope that his family will soon get news of his good progress.

St Mark’s District

We are glad to have good news of the S.Mark’s lads from France and elsewhere, though we are sorry to hear that Trooper H.T. Chamberlain has been in hospital at Alexandria for some weeks suffering from severe breakdown and shell-shock. We trust he will soon be quite restored to health again.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, August1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

A most successful Red Cross Sale

Newington House is a grand house still standing in Winkfield, and with a lovely garden. It made a delightful spot for a sale to raise funds for the Red Cross.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION

On June 27th a most successful Red Cross Sale, organised by Mrs. Harrison was held in the grounds of Newington House. There were four stalls, the stall-holders being Mesdames Empson, Clark, A. Elliott, Druce, Hayes-Saddler, Miller, Simpson-Baikie, and Wilder. Other helpers were Miss Duchesne, Miss Aris, Miss Wells, Mr. Harris, Mr. Wainwright, and Lord George Pratt, who raffled a number of things with great success. Goods were kindly given by Messrs. Langley, Lawrence Stores, Sandwith and Wainwright. It was a perfect afternoon, and about 200 people attended, the sale resulting in the raising of a very satisfactory £46.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/8)

Sick leave from France

A Maidenhead teacher’s husband came from from the front due to illness.

8th June 1917
Mrs Wells had leave of absence for two days, as her husband had sick leave from France. Secretary acquainted of this fact.


Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 396)

Four Earley men lost at sea

More Earley men had joined up, while several sailors from the parish had lost their lives in the Battle of Jutland.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Stuart Adams, Joseph Corby, Ernest Attewell, Alfred Wilson, Frank Lloyd, Ernest Farmer, Percy Childs, William Childs, Archibald Childs, Vincent Robertson, Charles Silver, Alfred Soper, William Martin, Reuben Martin, Arthur Jermey, Leonard Upton, Alfred Bolton, Frank Masser, Thomas Bluring, William Sales, William Cane, George Allen, Arthur Palmer, Walter Hayward, William Wells, Arthur Eighteen, Frederick Seymour, Frank Ambrose, George Freeman.

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

Sick and Wounded: George Hiscock, William Purdue.
Killed: Hilton Parker, Thomas Brown.
Lost at Sea: Harry Tillin, Harry Stevens, Percy Baker, Percy Bunday.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/7)

“When one looks at the casualty lists, one has a vague feeling that the need is very great”

The headmaster of Reading School was keen to serve.

The Burlington
Sheringham
Norfolk

April 17th, 1916

Dear Mr Wells

Thank you for your letter. There could I think be no question of my going until at any rate after the end of the summer term. As you say it is very difficult to say how great the need is. When one looks at the casualty lists, however, one has a vague feeling that it is very great. I should be glad if you would bring my letter before the Governors and let them decide what they think is best.

Kind regards
Yours sincerely

George H Keeton

Letter to the Clerk to the Governors of Reading School (SCH3/5/50)

The only thing is to beat the Germans and we need every able-bodied man

The headmaster of Reading School was ready to join up.

The Burlington
Sheringham
Norfolk

April 13th, 1916

Dear Mr Wells

I am inclined to think that the time has now come when schools should be left in the hands of those who are either incapable of or past military service. It is true that I have offered myself to the War Office for Foreign Service, but I have a feeling that something more is required of a citizen than to wait until our Government can make up its mind.

I should be glad then if you will be good enough on my behalf to ask the Governors whether they will arrange for me to go into the Army if I can induce the military authorities to take me. It may, of course, be that the Governors may think that in view of the amalgamation [with Kendrick Boys’ School] the School may suffer somewhat by any change at this moment, but for myself, I think the only thing is to beat the Germans and for that what with our conscientious objectors and the exemptions for one cause or another we need every able-bodied man.

I am very sorry to see today that Mr Sutton has lost one of his sons.

Kind regards.

Yours sincerely

George H Keeton

Letter to the Clerk to the Governors of Reading School (SCH3/5/50)

An awful, awful tragedy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to Ralph again to let him know how her Red Cross and other war work was going.

Jan 18th [1916]…

We heard of the great doings at the G[reat] E[astern] Rest Room. Over 100 men there last night – 40 sailors, 60 men & then more, and an efficient staff of helpers. All night. Then in afternoon I … called on Recruiting Officer’s wife…

From 6 to 9 (with break for dinner) the Knights Chamber Private Registered Red X Work Party. 32 workers all in caps & white aprons and sleeves, and it is really a joy to see that Room full – all happy, and the long tables covered with clean oil baize, and your old nursery cupboard moved there to hold the material. I hear there is a tremendous “muddle” at Northampton, & as these inanities here appealed to Lord Spencer they have dragged him into their mesh of muddle, and I have written no word & keep silence, but events move, and things must take their course. Sir George Pragnell looks like a bulldog that will not easily let go, and the evidence he took from me was quite sufficient to show misapplication of money, and a vast trickery of the public they feared my action would bring to light. They would have done better to leave me alone!…

I read the papers and wish I knew what to think! Montenegro and its heights to add to the pecuniary burdens of ruined nations, but in the meantime how far adding to their resources?…

My whole love always
Own Mur

Ralph’s sister Meg also wrote to him, with thoughts on politics, and more on the Campbell family’s loss with the death of their cousin Ivar. (more…)

Tricolour Day for the French

Ladies in Wargrave sold French flags and rosettes, and postcards of the local church, in aid of our wounded allies.

Tricolour Day

“The French Wounded Emergency Fund’s” special day, Tricolour Day, was kept in Wargrave on October 2nd, and a house to house collection and sale of tricolour rosettes and pennants and St. Michael’s postcards was made throughout the parish.

The following kindly collected: Mrs. Nicholl, with Mrs. Sanderson Furniss, Mrs. Theobalds, Miss Joan Wells, Miss Betty Wells, Miss Joan Crisp, and Mrs. Remnant collected in Hare Hatch and adjoining parts of the village; Miss Brenda Rhodes at Hennerton and near neighbourhood, Miss Goulding and Miss Cain in High Street, Miss Fairburn and Mrs. Churcher in part of the village, Miss Ryder, Mrs. Harry Wells, Miss G. Huggins, and Miss Dorothy Bell at the station, Miss Georgina Holland and Miss Joan Willis in Crazies Hill, and Miss M. Easterling and Miss Wyatt part of Victoria Road.

Very many thanks are due to these kind helpers for the success of the day and to the contributors, and also to the following ladies who kindly made themselves responsible for the making up of the rosettes and pennants sold on Tricolour Day: Mrs. Nicholl, Mrs. Bond, Miss Goulding, Mrs. Lang, Mrs. Remnant, Miss Cain and Mrs. Wedderburn.

The sum collected was £42 4s. 11d.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

The tedium of convalescence

The parish of Reading St John had invited wounded soldiers for an afternoon out at the vicarage (a house called The Lawn).

THE WOUNDED SOLDIERS
The following letter has been received from the wounded soldiers who were entertained by the Working Party at The Lawn:

War Hospital No. 3, Reading
19th September 1915

Dear Sir,

Just a line on behalf of myself and friends, to thank you, and the ladies and gentlemen who so kindly assisted, for the enjoyable afternoon we all spent at the Vicarage on Friday. We all felt that we could not let the occasion pass without expressing our appreciation of your kindly efforts on our behalf to relieve the tedium of convalescence.

Most of us will be leaving on furlough this week, but wherever we go we will take away with us very pleasant memories of our stay in Reading.

With kindest regards,
I remain,
Yours sincerely,
C. Wells, Sergt.

Reading St John parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P172/28A/3)

A most welcome gift of vegetables aboard ship

Our friend Florence Vansittart Neale was heavily involved in getting hold of fresh vegetables for the Royal Navy. Here we see one parish’s response, when they abandoned their usual horticultural show in favour of donating their best crops to hungry sailors.

At the meeting of the Wargrave and Knowl Hill Horticultural Society held in January, it was decided that owing to the War the Annual Show would not be held. A letter was read from the Vegetable Products Committee asking for vegetables for the Fleet. The Hon. Secretary was asked to organise the sending of some hampers. In answer to her appeal hampers have been forwarded to the naval base from Miss. Choatem, Mrs. Young, Rev. H. Wells, Mrs. Groves, Mrs. Rhodes, Major Bulkley D.S.O., A. E. Huggins, Esq., J. Shepherd, Esq., W. E. Cain, Esq., Sir Charles Henry, Bart., Mrs. Nicholl and Mrs. O. Young.

That the vegetables have been greatly appreciated is evidenced by the following letter received by Mrs. Oliver Young.

14, Mess, H.M.S. Hecla,
c/o G.P.O.
27/1/14
Madam,

I am writing to thank you for your most welcome present of vegetables. It has never been an easy matter, even in peace time, to get a sufficiency of such things and so I leave to guess how much we appreciate your thoughtfulness.

My mess-mates join their thanks with mine and wish you all the good things imaginable in return for your kindness.

Yours sincerely,
R. Larcombe

Mrs Oliver Young will be very glad if those who are not able to send a complete hamper will send her contributions of vegetables on Tuesdays in March as she can make them up and dispatch consignments.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

Scouts and rotters

The vicar of Cranbourne asked why the country was at war, while saluting the young men who had volunteered to serve.

THE WAR
Why are we at war? The answer may be given in the words of Scripture “for righteousness sake.” The Empire is at war
(1) For the sanctity of treaties.
(2) For the support of friends wrongfully assailed.
(3) For the defence of the weak.
(4) For the cause of peace.

Our task is to break the curse which for more than a generation has been blighting civilisation, – the curse of military oppression which has arrested progress, poisoned morality, sucked the life out of religion, and made a mock of every human ideal. This is well put in a short poem by Mr. James Rhoades.

Not for passion or for power,
Clean of hands, and calm of soul,
England at this awful hour
Bids her battle-thunders roll.
That crown’d arrogance may quail
And brute-force be backward hurled –
Lest the hypocrite prevail,
Lest a lie should win the world;
Lest she see the trustful weak
Trampled on by perjured strong –
That her arm may help to wreak
Justice on red-handed wrong,
Till the hierophants of fear
Cease, beneath the darkened sun,
To boom out in Europe’s ear
To grim gospel of the gun.
So, to meet you myriad host
As we muster land by land,
Witness Heaven- no braggart boast-
That for righteousness we stand!
In the dread impending hour
Heedful of that warning word,
“‘Not by my might, and not by power- By My Spirit’ saith the Lord.”

(more…)