“There is much anxiety felt in several homes where the sons have not been heard of for some time”

More Bracknell men had fallen.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR

We have had to add four names to the list of those who have given their lives in the war.

George Matthews of the Royal Marines, Arthur Wilson, who was formerly one of our choir boys, Corporal S. Bowyer of the Royal West Surrey Regiment, and Charles Olyott, who was a choir man; his loss is deeply deplored, and he has left a wife and three little children. We greatly sympathise with those who have been bereaved. Mrs. Olyott has now lost two sons, and her third son is in Mesopotamia.

Others have been wounded, amongst them Private W.T. Atkins, who only recently went out to France, but we are glad to think his wound is not serious. There is also much anxiety felt in several homes where the sons have not been heard of for some time.

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

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“The British soldier was never so cheerful as when he was hopelessly and miserably uncomfortable”

Reading School pupils were urged to face the future.

Colonel Wilson’s Address.

Colonel Wilson, who was accorded a very enthusiastic reception, said he considered it a great honour to have been invited to present the School prizes. He wished heartily to congratulate the School on its record, particularly its war record, which was one of which any School might rightly be proud. They had, too, another record – that of being one of the oldest Schools in the United Kingdom, with a history extending over nearly 800 years, and, if he might offer a word of advice to the boys, it was that they should always remember their School after they left it, and never do a single thing that might put a black mark on this brilliant record. (Hear, hear.) The last 4.5 years had done a great deal to bring back to many of them memories of their School life, and the memories thus revived, when they had met with those with whom they had been at School, had always been happy ones. He was a great admirer of Kipling and of the patriotic spirit that permeated his writings. Patriotism, however, was something that was born in them. They did not talk about it very much, but they liked to think about it. He wished to say one word to them on the spirit that had animated the nation during the war – a spirit which he hoped and trusted would animate the nation during the serious and difficult times that lay before them. The generation to which he belonged was passing away, while the generation to which they belonged was coming on and would have to tackle the vast problems of the future.

The Old Spirit.

He often wondered when the war broke out, whether the spirit of the men of England, which had animated her soldiers on the battlefields at Agincourt and Crecy, and her Sailors at the Nile and Trafalgar, would manifest itself in the men of 1914, after the passage of so many years. It was only after the gallant old Regular Army and the French Army had had a really serious series of reverses on the Western front that the British nation said, “We are up against somebody who means to fight us and is trying to beat us” and it was then that the spirit of the nation awoke. This war was entirely different from any war in which England had fought in the past. It brought together men of all classes, the vast majority of whom never thought of the profession of arms as one they would ever be likely to follow. If the comradeship which they had made at the front was going to last, then it was the best thing that had ever happened to this country of ours. (Applause)

The British soldier – and he said this with no thought of detracting from our Allies – was entirely different from the soldier of any other country. The British soldier was never so cheerful as when he was hopelessly and miserably uncomfortable. When things were at their worst he was the most cheerful person he could find, but as soon as things were happy and comfortable, he started “grousing.” (Laughter.) But the British soldier had what was, to his mind, the greatest saving grace of all-and that was his wonderful sense of humour. It was the cheerfulness, the sense of humour, and devotion to duty which had characterized the British Soldier and the British nation that had enabled it to win through as it had won through.

Difficult times lay before them, and if they were to win through them also, he would advise his young hearers to imitate those men who had been through 4.5 years of war. Let them imitate the high sense of duty and the high sense of patriotism and determination which had characterised all of their actions. And he was sure that if they did in civil life as they had done in military life, there would be no doubt as to the future of the nation. He asked them to remember when they went out into the world, that other men had just as much right to live as they had, and that is was their duty to see that they had the same advantages as they themselves had had, if it was in their power to give them. He urged them to be patriotic. In this as well as in other lands there were lots of people who seemed to have far greater admiration for the laws and legislation of other countries than their own. Let them love and venerate their own country, and if they thought its institutions needed altering, well let them alter them, but that did not mean transferring their love to another country. He did not believe the cosmopolitan patriot- “the sturdy patriot of the world alone, the friend of every country but his own.” He begged them always to remember their duty to their country, for if they did so they would be sure of leaving it better and happier than they had found it. (Applause.)

Reading School Magazine, April 1919 (SCH3/14/34)

“The collapse of our Boy Scout Department caused by the Leaders having been called up for service in HM’s Forces”

Youth work at a Reading church was suffering with so many of the young men serving abroad.

BROAD ST SUNDAY SCHOOL

Report for 1917

We have much pleasure in printing below the report of work done in the Sunday School, which was read at the Annual Meeting of Church and Congregation on Thursday February 8th by the Hon. Sec., Mr D. A. Wilson.

The Senior Departments also have been carried on successfully – the YWBC under the leadership of Mrs Hendey and the YM’s Institute still under the leadership of our veteran friend Mr W. A. Swain, in spite of reduced numbers due to the war. This lack of numbers we have in a measure been able to remedy by drafting a dozen of our older scholars from the Intermediate Department to the Institute about a year earlier than we should have done in normal times.

This fact, together with what I may almost call the collapse of our Boy Scout Department caused by the Leaders having been called up for service in HM’s Forces, and through which I regret to say a number of boys have drifted away from the school, has caused our numbers in the General School to be fewer than usual.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Missing, wounded and dead

There was bad news for several Reading families.

Notes from the Vicar

Intercession list.

Missing: Leman John Cross (Berks Yeomanry);

Wounded: Private Charles Edward Pearce, Royal Berks Regt.;

Departed: Private Forrest (one of our old C.L.B. boys); Edwin Wilson. R.I.P.

Reading St Giles parish magazines, January 1918 (D/P96/28A/34)

“Everyone misses his smiling face”

There was good news and not-so-good news of Maidenhead men.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are very sorry to learn that Ernest Bristow has been wounded, but there seems every hope that his injuries are not serious. One of his chums writes,

“He went up to one of our advanced dressing stations to take over stores, and it was while standing at the mouth of a dug-out that he was wounded. A Bosche fleet of aeroplanes came over, and a bomb dropped quite near, wounding some ten men and killing two others. He caught it in the left arm and in both legs, but his wounds are flesh wounds, and not dangerous. He suffered from a severe shaking up, but bore it extremely well. The sergeant who dressed his wounds thinks he will soon be all right again. Everyone misses his smiling face and bright personality, and none more than his sorrowing pal. We all feel that his loss to the Unit is irreparable… He was by far the best clerk, and one of the most popular in the Unit.”

We earnestly trust that the hopeful tone of this letter may be justified by events, and that Corporal Bristow will suffer no permanent injury.

Harold Islip, who returned to his post after leave about a month ago, has been in hospital suffering from dysentery. Cyril Hews, George Belcher, and Donald Wilson have been home again for ten days, all in good health and spirits. Herbert Brand, who has been Company Q.M.S. in the 8th Berks., has been for two or three months past in a Cadet Corps, and expects shortly to receive a Commission.

Wilfred Collins is now quite convalescent and was in Maidenhead a few days ago.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, November 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Horrid Revolution in Russia – but may be better than the last one

If the February Revolution had shocked Europe, that of November (October in the Russian calendar) was to be even more earthshaking, as the Bolsheviks seized power.

10 November 1917

Horrid Revolution in Russia. Kerensky fled. Lenin at head. Can’t be worse – may be better!

Guildhall Banquet last night. Good speeches. Lloyd George not back from Italy. Combined Army Council – England, France & Italy [illegible] under Lord Wilson.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The whole gamut of human emotion

The emotional toll of supporting loved ones at the front was beginning to tell in Maidenhead. One imagines the tears in church – but every now and then there was joy amidst the sorrow.

OUR ROLL OF HONOUR

The Minister has not for some time past read from the pulpit the list of our soldiers, because the strain upon the feelings of the more closely related friends was too great. This month there is space to spare in our columns, and we therefore print the list.

Five of our lads have fallen:

Harold Fisher …Royal Berks.
Duncan Wilson …A.S.C.
Robert Harris …8th Royal Berks.
Stephen Harris …3rd Royal Berks.
John Boyd …2nd Royal Berks.

Two have been discharged:

James Partlo …4th Royal Berks.
E.S. Mynett …Recruiting Sergeant

Forty-nine are still in the Army:

Cyril Hews …Royal Engineers
F.W. Harmer …Royal Berks.
W. Percy Pigg …A.S.C.
Cyril Laker …K.O. Scottish Borderers.
Reginald Hill …2nd Royal Berks.
Robert Anderson …4th Royal Berks.
John Bolton …23rd London.
Thomas Mulford …Royal Engineers.
J.O. Wright …8th Royal Berks.
George E. Dovey …9th Royal Berks.
Percy Lewis …R.A.M.C.
Arthur Rolfe …R.F.A.
Ernest Bristow …R.A.M.C.
Harold Islip …R.E.
Edward Howard …A.S.C.
George Belcher …R.E.
Horace Gibbons …11th Aus. Light Horse.
J. Quincey …A.S.C.
Donovan Wilson …A.S.C.
Aubrey Cole …A.S.C.
W.H. Clark …A.S.C.
Cecil Meade …A.S.C.
Benjamin Gibbons …6th Royal Berks.
David Dalgliesh …R.F.C.
Hugh Lewis …R.E.
H. Partlo …A.S.C.
Herbert Brand …8th Royal Berks.
George Phillips …A.S.C.
J Herbert Plum …R.E.
Wilfred Collins …Canadian Dragoons.
Alex. Edwards …R.F.A.
William Norcutt …A.S.C.
George Norcutt …R.E.
Victor Anderson …R.A.M.C.
Herbert G. Wood …R.E.
C.A.S. Vardy …R.E.
A. Lane …R.E.
Frank Pigg …R.F.C.
Leonard Beel …R.E.
P.S. Eastman …R.N.A.S.
A. John Fraser …A.S.C.
Charles Catliff …R.E.
Ernest A. Mead …7th Devonshires.
Robert Bolton …R.M.L.I
Frank Tomlinson …R.E.
George Ayres …L.E.E.
Thomas Russell …A.S.C.
G.C. Frampton …A.S.C.
W.J. Baldwin …Royal Navy.

In addition there are many who have passed through our Sunday School and Institute, but have not recently been in close connection with us. These also we bear upon our hearts, and bring in prayer before the Throne of Grace.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are glad to be able to say that Reginald Hill is still going forward, and that he is able to walk a little with the aid of sticks. He has now been at the Sheffield Hospital between five and six months. His parents are spending their holiday at Sheffield.

Robert Bolton has gone over with his Company to France.

Wilfred Collins is in Hospital at Sulhamstead, still suffering from heart trouble.

Sidney Eastman is at Mudros, doing clerical work.

David Dalgliesh has been home on leave, in the best of health and spirits.

GOOD NEWS!

In our last number we spoke of the fact that the son of Mr. Jones, of Marlow, was “missing,” and that all hope that he was still living had been relinquished. But the unexpected has happened, and news has been received that Second-Lieutenant Edgar Jones is an unwounded prisoner in the hands of the Germans. His parents have surely run through the whole gamut of human emotion during these weeks.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Godspeed and a safe return

The Mayor of Reading wished men from his own church a safe return from the front.

EASTER VESTRY MEETING AND PARISH MEETING

The Annual Vestry Meeting was held in St Peter’s Hall on Wednesday, April 11th…

The Mayor [F A Sarjeant, also one of the churchwardens] expressed the appreciation of the parishioners of Mr W J Bastow, Mr A J Wilson and Mr E J Likeman who were serving in His Majesty’s Forces, and in the name of the meeting wished them Godspeed and a safe return…

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

Conscientious objectors honoured

It is unusual to see a conscientious objector listed on a church’s roll of honour.

Spencer’s Wood Roll of Honour.

Tom Allen, Canadian.
Cpl. W. Appleby, R.B.
*Edward Beales, R.B.
Alfred Beken, R.F.A.
*Arthur Bradfield,R.B.
*Archie Butler, Territorials.
Fred Card, R.E.
Charlie Clacey, R.N.
Tom Clements, R.F.C.
Will Clements, A.S.C.
Ted Clements, R.F.A.
Frank Cocks, R.B.
Charlie Cocks, R.B.
Harry Coffill, R.N.
Charlie Day, R.B.
Dick Day, Devon Regt.
Jacob Didcock, R.N.
Cpl. Fred Didcock.
Sgt. W.Doherty, Man. Regt.
*Jim Double, R.E.
Percy Double, R.B.
Chappie Double, R.B.
Sgt. Kenneth Eggleton, A.M.C.
E. Eggleton.
E. Foster, R.E.
Sgt. Hawkins, R.B.
Reginald Jewell. R.B. (wounded).
Reginald Lee, R.A.M.C.
Edgar Lee, R.E.
Wilfred Lowe, R.F.C.
Leonard Luckwell, Coldstream Guards.
Walter Luckwell, R.F.A.
A. Marcham, R.B.
A.H. Marcham, R.B.
Jolly Middleton.
Arthur Middleton.
Sydney Middleton, R.F.C.
Harry Moss, A.S.C.
Arthur Moss, A.S.C.
Albert Povey, R.B.
William Povey, R.B. (prisoner of war).
– Sloper (C. objector).
Fred Swain, A.S.C.
Bert Swain, A.S.C.
Leonard Swain, Coldstream Guards.
S. Tiller.
*Alfred Watkins, Canadian.
George Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Edwin Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Charles Webb, Berks Yeomanry.
Sgt. Wallace Webb, C.C.
Stanley Webb, R.F.A.
Lieut. William Wheeler, C.Dr.
Owen Wheeler, R.E.
Lce-Cpl. H. Wheeler, R.B.
*Laurie White, R.N.
Frank Wilson, R.F.A.
William Wilson, R.B.
Fred Wiseman, East Kent.

*Has made the supreme sacrifice for King and Country.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Added to the Earley prayer list

More men had joined up from Earley.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

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

George Harper, Herbert Harper, Charles Young, Walter Burgess, Sam Hunt, Thomas Wilson, William Bright, Kenneth Comport, William Gardner, Cecil Gardner, Charles Ludgate, James Belson, James Belson junior, Richard Belson, John Brown, George Brown, George Cane, Isaac Mason, Everard Webster, Charles Lambourne, Walter Purver, Harry Rickards, Charles Hopgood.

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

SICK: David Gwynne, Walter Bluring.
WOUNDED: Arthur Belson.
PRISONER OF WAR: Albert Gibbs.
KILLED IN ACTION: Arthur Palmer, Victor Burgess, William Bartlett.

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

Doctors on active war service & might have prior claims to jobs after the war

Doctors in Maidenhead were reluctant to give a permanent job to the man filling in for a doctor doing war work, as they did not want anyone working with the armed forces to have their career opportunities restricted. They were also happy to continue treating the wounded.

8th December 1916

Letter from Dr. Moore re medical staff.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. The following letter from Dr. Moore was re & considered by the Board.

Maidenhead Nov. 22. 16.

Dear Sirs,

In answer to your letter on the 10th Nov asking me to obtain the opinion of the medical staff of the Hospital on the enclosed letters which I return herewith I write to say that I called a meeting on Thursday last which was fully attended, I am requested by it to say:

Firstly as to the election of Dr Maconochie on the staff, they recommend that he be temporarily added to that today during the absence of Dr Wilson as they were unwilling to prejudice in any way the permanent election of those practitioners in the Town who were away on active war service & might have prior claims. I was also requested to state that as there seemed some difference of opinion among the members of the General Committee at the last meeting, that they wished strongly to express their view that any election of a new member of the staff should first be referred to them for their opinion as to his first ability & qualifications. They also believe that this concession had been previously discussed and agreed to by the Committee.

Secondly in answer to the letter from the Town Clerk, I was requested to say that the staff are ready as before to receive and treat cases. They would suggest that a regular supply would facilitate the work especially with the eye cases which take much time.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital minutes (D/H1/1/2, p. 323)

Vegetables and cigarettes

The village of Crazies Hill dedicated its harvest festival to supporting the troops, with gifts of varying levels of healthiness.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Harvest Festival was held on October 15th. Throughout the day the Services were bright and hearty. The congregations were large; indeed everything was in keeping with the joyous occasion. The Children’s Service also, in the afternoon, was well attended. The Children’s offerings were made during the singing of a hymn when the children marched in procession and placed the various articles in a basket. The basket was large, yet was well supplied with packets of cigarettes, sweets, and other things. These were carried to the Parkwood Hospital after the Service as the Children’s gifts for the wounded soldiers.

At the Evening Service the anthem ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ was rendered very nicely by the Choir. The Special Preacher was the Rev. H. I. Wilson, Rector of Hitcham, to whom we are much indebted for coming.

The decorations were carried out with much care and skill – the building looking a veritable flower garden. It would be difficult to realize the amount of labour and time spent in arranging the flowers, plants, corn and vegetables. The result was certainly beautiful. We are very grateful to the following who so generously gave their labour and time: Mrs. Light, Mrs. Habbitts, Mrs. Wakefield, Mrs. Woodward, Miss Rose, Miss Stanton, Miss Beck, and Miss Doe, and the following who so kindly sent gifts: – Mrs. Whiting, flowers and vegetable marrow; Miss Beck, flowers; Mrs. William Willis, plants; Mrs. Hull, flowers; Mrs. Weller, flowers; Mrs. Goodwin, flowers; Mr. Kimble, flowers and vegetables. Mr. Griffin, flowers; Mr. Bacon, bread; Mr. Stanton, flowers. Miss Fleming, corn and wheat; Miss Rose, flowers; The Hon. Mrs. Crawford, corn; Capt. Willis, flowers.

We are also indebted to Parkwood for so kindly sending a collection of choice plants.

The collections throughout the day, which were in aid of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, amounted to £1 10s. 7 ½ d.

The vegetables and flowers were sent to Wargrave Military Hospital, Mr. Whiting most kindly conveying them thither.

Throughout the day offerings of cigarettes, etc., were most generously made for our men serving at the present time.

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

“I am quite happy and enjoy life immensely, wouldn’t have missed it for anything”

Several men from Reading St Giles had fallen in the war. The vicar pays a personal tribute to their heroism:

NOTE FROM THE VICAR

Hearty congratulations to Sergt. S.W. White, 1/4th R. Berks, on winning the D.M.C. I believe he is the first of the old C.L.B. boys to obtain honours in the war.

To the list of the fallen in the war is a long one this month, and it contains some names closely connected with the work of the church (Reginald Golder, Herbert Day, Harry Walker, Leonard Smith), they all played their part bravely and have died gloriously, and I am sure we shall not forget them nor their good work here. All four were splendid types of the real patriot who thought no sacrifice too great for England: all four loved the church they worshipped in and, as I know well, did not forget the lessons they were taught in it.

Reginald Golder was a very special friend of mine, he rarely missed coming to see me each ‘leave’ and his devotion to his Grandfather in the days gone by was something to admire. His final words in his last letter to me, written a few days before the final action in which he was taken prisoner:

“I am quite happy and enjoy life immensely, wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

It was a letter showing his deep interest in the things and persons connected with S. Giles’. To the parents and relatives of all these brave men we give our heartfelt sympathy. For them we give our prayers and our affection: they have won a great reward.

To be added to the intercessions list: Private E.F. Mundy, 11th Labour Batt, Royal Berks Regt,; Lieut Frank Moore, 22nd Batt King’s Royal Rifles; Cpl. C.V. Pyke, R.F.C. ; George Biles, 3rd Batt,. Royal Berks Regt.; Geoffrey Church ; Lieut. Boston; Private A.T. Henton, 9th Royal Berks Regt,; Private W. Clare, A.S.C. ; Private S. Watson, Grenadier Guards; Private J. Gibbons, 6th Batt. R.I.F.; Private T.B. Mills, London Scottish.

Sick and Wounded: Private S.J. Tugwell, D.C.L.I.; L, Cpl. Mark Seymour, R.E.; Private W Hart; Private G.F. Stroud, A.S.C.; C.S.M.L. Goodenough 1/4 Royal Berks Regt.; Private E. Wilson, 24th London R.; Gunner H.G. West,R.F.A; L. Cpl. A Harris, Royal Berks Regiment.; Private Redstone, Private G.W. Holloway, 3rd Gloucester Regt.

Prisoners: Private H. Guttridge, Private James Smith. ¼ Royal Berks Regt.

Missing: Private Albert Langford, ¼ Royal Berks Regt.; L.Cpl. Jack Foulger, West Kents; Private Frederick Long, 6th Batt. Royal Berks Regt.; L. Cpl. H. Goldstone, R.W. Surry Regt.

Departed: Private Davey, L. Cpl Herbert Dray, Sergt. Reginald Golder, 2/4 Royal Berks Regt.; Private R. Morris, Private S. Land, Private H.V. Walker, ¼ Royal Berks Regiment,; Private A. Josey. 2nd Hants; Private J. Miles, Oxford and Bucks Lt. Infantry; Private Arthur T. Knott, Private T. Seymour, Royal Berks Regt.; Private Edward Rogers, 8th Batt. Royal Berks Regt.; Private John Simmonds, 6thBatt. Royal Berks Regt.; Private H. Leonard West, Canadian Cont.; Driver Rodney Lock, A.S.C.; Sergt Clement Perrin, 1/4 Royal Berks Regt.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P96/28A/34)

Killed and wounded in recent battles

The impact of the war was beginning to hit home in Reading, with the relentless news of losses and severe wounds.

The Vicar’s Notes
Thanksgivings

For successes granted to the united efforts of the Allies.

All Saint’s District

The following additional names have been sent in for remembrance at the Altar.

Archibald Wren Carter, Royal Claude Wilson, Leslie Charles Frank Payne, Harry Edgar Hopcroft, Frederick Reginald Johnson.

R.I.P.

Frederick Painter, who was a signaller in the 2/4th Royal Berks, was we regret to hear, killed on July 21st. His brother Tom, it will be remembered, was killed at Givenchy on April the 15th, 1915. We now hear that Arthur, another brother, Corporal in the 1/4th Royal Berks, is missing, and believed killed. Our heartfelt sympathy is with Mr, and Mrs. Painter their parents, 4 Dover street, and with their family. It is a great anxiety to Mrs. Arthur Painter.

Also Albert Day, Arthur Day, George Grant, and Leonard Charles Monney, have been killed in the recent battles in France, leaving widows and children to mourn their loss. We assure them of our sympathy.

The wounded, we are glad to hear, are doing well, even George Gaines whose legs have been so badly damaged by a shell. We are sorry to hear that Cecil Allen is reported missing.

Our War intercessions on Wednesday afternoon and Sunday evening continue as usual.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P98/28A/13)

Special prayers for members serving in HM Forces

Members of a church group remembered members serving in the armed forces.

GUILD OF ST PETER

The September Devotional Meeting of the Guild took place on Thursday the 14th, in Church…

Special prayer was offered on behalf of those members serving in His Majesty’s Forces, viz:

Alfred James Wilson, Frederick Goodyer, Owen Lewington, Albert Harry Spratley, Douglas Clarke, Albert Ballard, and Albert Brown; also on behalf of Alfred Bolton who has been killed in action (R.I.P.)

Earley parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P191/28A/31/10)