These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War

A final list of the Wargrave men who served in the war. NB: where this symbol † appears in the list, an entry for this soldier exists in the corresponding supplement to follow.

ROLL OF HONOUR.

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War.

Additions and Corrections for this Roll should be sent to the Vicar as soon as possible.

Adby, L.
Adby, C.
Adby, W.
Adby, O.
Alderton, F. J.
Allen, C. W.
Allum, H.
Amos, G.
Andrew, H.
Arnold, A. E.
Arnold, W.
Attlesey, H. F.
(more…)

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Showing generals how to perform card tricks

Will Spencer was glad to hear how his soldier brothers and family friends from Cookham were getting on. One brother, Horace, was a professional conjurer in peacetime, a skill which entertained his superiors.

13 January 1918

Read a long letter which had come for me by the morning post from Mother, describing their quiet Christmas – none of the boys, & Natalie [wife of Harold Spencer] not able to come, through having an influenza cold. Percy had been with them on the 22nd, leaving on the 23rd. Notwithstanding that the plums Mother had obtained proved to be old ones, the puddings, of which she made two, had been pronounced to be a success. Percy had said they were the best of her making he had ever tasted. She wished I might have been there, & then also have had a piece. The second pudding was still intact, save for the piece cut out which Percy had….

Katie Poskett’s elder boy is in the army, & the younger called up. She finds it difficult to bear. That Percy had passed all his exams I had previously heard. Mother now writes that he is Second Lieutenant & down in Wiltshire. Horace, in France, has been showing generals how he performs his card tricks, & then talks of ‘his friend General — ’ to comrades who “can only boast of corporals’ friendships”.

Diary of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/28)

A wild course of indiscipline

Percy Spencer wrote again to sister Florence. As one of the older trainee officers in his 30s, he was working with many who were just out of public school or university.

21st (Res) Battalion Lon[don] Regiment
G Lines
Chiseldon Camp
Nr Swindon
Jan 9, 1918

My Dear WF

I have been so busy the last few days working and keeping warm. I have been quite unable to write…

My life here is at present very much on the lines of a cadet – I am still at school, tramping among the hills and freezing. I have 30 boys to look after and having pulled them up short in their wild course of indiscipline, we’re beginning to get on quite well together. Today I went and saw them play football. We won a very bad game.

Yesterday I was Battalion Orderly Officer and woke things up generally. Strangely enough altho’ my brother officers have been tongue licked in consequence, I think I’m better liked than I was.
Today I’ve been on the hills, 820 ft high, attacking places. It was better fun than roaming about over them at midnight as I had to do the other night.

Marlborough 7 miles away seems a very nice place, and I hope to go there on pleasure.

Swindon 4 miles away is a wretched town with no soul.

This is a very straggly letter dear, but you’ll have to let it pass until I get rid of a wretched cold that has overtaken me….

Yours ever
Percy

PS I want John’s very kind present to me to be glasses, & I’ll choose them when next on leave, if I may.

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/3-4)

“Life here promises to be frightfully monotonous after I get to regular regimental duties”

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence as he approached the end of his training as an officer.

21st (Res) Battalion Lon[don] Regiment
G Lines
Chiseldon Camp
Near Swindon

Jan 4, 1918

My dear WF

What a glorious day it’s been. Today I’ve been on the hill tops watching boys doing an attack practice with live ammunition – quite exciting. A delicious day. What must it have been from your friendly bay windows.

Life here promises to be frightfully monotonous after I get to regular regimental duties. At the moment about 50 of us kill time at what is termed a Brigade Class. This carries on for about 3 weeks; then there is a 4 day revolver course, and then we footle around until our orders come through for France or Egypt. We then get about 5 days leave, after which we may flit at any time.

There is a medical examination before we go, and I propose if my teeth do not improve to have them put right before I go out. Conditions here not being very good, I find my teeth giving me a certain amount of trouble, so I think it advisable to get them seen to before I’m called upon to stand the harder conditions of France or Egypt.

[Censored by Florence]

Very shortly I am leading a patrol of young officers around some infant mountains, returning about 1 a.m. if I don’t get lost in the Wiltshire hills, so I’m now off to study the map.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/1-2)

“He behaved with great bravery and died as a soldier”

Some men from the little village of Crazies Hill had been home on leave, but there was sad news for another local family.

Crazies Hill Notes

We were glad to see Charles Haycock and Bert Plested in Church the other Sunday – both back on leave from active service and looking well. We were also glad to see Charles Ellison Woodward, who is home on short leave from his dangerous work as wireless operator on a mine-sweeper. Sergeant Iles is home and looking well. Walter Denton has also been home during September; and as we are sending this to the printer, we hear that Jim Weller – one of five brothers serving – has come home for a few days.

Much sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs. Minchin of Upper Culham whose son was killed in action. We add the following taken from the “Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard”: –

“It is with much regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Arthur Minchin, who was killed in action in France on the 16th of August last. He was only 29 years of age. For several years he worked as one of the undergardeners at Park Place, and during the whole of that time he had been a most faithful member of the Remenham Parish Church choir. He was a young man of most agreeable manners, very unassuming, but was beloved by all who knew him. Less than two years ago he left Park Place and entered the Wiltshire Constabulary. He was for some time stationed at Trowbridge and The Wiltshire Times of Saturday last says “P.C. Minchin was deservedly popular with his comrades in the Police Force.”

After serving some time as P.C. he, seven months ago, joined the colours and was immediately sent over to France. For over five years he had been a member of the Territorial Force at Henley and was universally liked by his comrades. In France, he did good work as is testified by the C.O. who writes to his widow as follows:-

“He (Private Arthur Minchin) was a brave man – a good soldier, and his loss is deeply regretted by officers and comrades alike.”

The Chaplain of his battalion also writes:

“He behaved with great bravery and died as a soldier. He was very popular with his comrades who miss him very much.”

The sincerest sympathy is extended to his young widow. He had only been married seven months.

Wargrave parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

“There’s some fun in this life though the monotony and drudgery”

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence with his impressions of the camp where he was undergoing officer training.

21st (Res) Bn, London Regt
G Lines
Chisledon Camp
Nr Swindon

Jan 13, 1917

My dear WF

Tomorrow I intend to see the MO here and try for leave to get dental treatment in London. If I fail, I shall in any case get 4-6 days before I go out and shall, of course, come to see you.

It is still bitterly cold here, but today has been very fine and I have enjoyed myself though on duty.

As company orderly officer I had to inspect huts this morning. In two huts men were standing about instead of being on parade. Most of them informed me they were an ablution fatigue, and until they moved off to the washing sheds I had to appear wise, though at a loss to know what they meant. One poor little fellow who looked ill and who I assumed to be sick, when asked what was the matter with him, replied, “Religion, Sir”. He eventually explained he was a Jew.

So there’s some fun in this life though the monotony and drudgery of feet & kit inspections and so on are trying at times.

I have bought my boys a few books and some boxing gloves. If you at any time have any cheap books you have done with, I shall be very glad to have them….

Of course there are a lot of officers here I know very well.
Unfortunately there are several here who wish they hadn’t reason to know me, and therefore I am not as happy or comfortable as I should be as a stranger to the Division. However, I can’t help that.

Now I’m off to church so I’ll say goodbye.

With my dear love to you both
Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/8-9)

Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons

The vicar of Reading St Giles was worried about the fate of British missionaries, and local converts, in German-controlled parts of Africa.

NOTES FROM THE VICAR

Zanzibar Diocese

When war broke out in 1914, 42 missionaries of the Zanzibar Diocese were at work in German East Africa, and hardly any direct news of them has since been received. Twenty African clergy and teachers are said to have died of hardships in German prisons. It adds to our anxieties to know that a great number of our African Christians are unshepherded and deprived of the sacraments. Now that a determined attempt is being made to take this, the last remaining colony of the Germans, the dangers and difficulties of our 19 Englishmen and 22 Ladies may be greater than ever.

Nyasaland Diocese

The war has debarred our missionaries from continuing their work on the north-east shores of Lake Nyasa, and the Diocese also is inconvenienced through the commandeering by the British Government of the Mission steamers “Chauncy Maples” and “Charles Jansen.”

To be added to our Intercessions List:

Private Albert Henry Oliver, R.M.A., Lieut. Commander C.J. Benton, R.N.R., Driver J. Cutter, R.E., Sergt. J. Burridge, A.O.C. Bombadier H. Burridge, R.G.A. Gunner G. Moss, R.G.A. Private W. Burridge, Scots. Fusiliers. H. Case, R.G.A.

Missing: Private A. Smith. Wounded: Private S.H.Truss. Private J. Wiltshire. Lieut. G.R. Goodship.

To the list of the departed: Private Sadler, T.J. Seymour, Hyde (R.Berks), E.J.Andrews, Criddle (A.S.C.), Capt. R. Attride (R.Berks).

Reading St Giles parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P191/28A/24)

“It is extraordinarily difficult to teach the officers anything but the men are good”

Ralph Glyn’s friend Hereward Wake was now training soldiers in Wiltshire. He was not impressed – but at least he approved of Sir William Robertson (1860-1922), the new Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

General Staff
61st (SM) Division

9/4/16
Salisbury

My dear Ralph

Three letters from you to answer, more shame to me, but I am putting in more work than usual here, preparing for the fray. This Division has existed 15 months. Warned for war 6 weeks ago, they thought it ought to be trained, so it was armed& equipped, the whole of the Staff & commanders were changed, & for the first time the men fired a rifle & carried a pack. Result, as far as the targets are concerned, was complete immunity. And the people figured bravely in the scheme for Home Defence for over a year. It is extraordinarily difficult to teach the officers anything but the men are good. We shall begin to come over early next month.

I left WO on 1st March, so what can I do for you? Charles French can help you, however.

I sympathize very much with you being in Egypt and hope you may escape. If it absolutely depends on Salonika it looks bad. You say there are only 2 courses there, offensive or clear out, so I suppose we shall take the third, namely stay there & do nothing. I wonder if the Greeks might fare badly at the hands of the Bulgars if we cleared out? Would they not at once take Salonika? And how are we at the end the war (if there ever is an end) to get them out of it again, or for that matter to re-establish Servia [sic]?

The big storm here 2 weeks ago has flattened everything in the Midlands & the roads are still blocked with trees & telegraph wires – the poles all snapped off short at Courteenhall & there was 3’ [feet] of snow. We had less of it here, but a lot of trees down.

Remember me to Linden Bell – a good Staff Officer, isn’t he? as well as a good fellow.

I feel great confidence now that Robertson is CIGS. He loves the truth better than himself, and fears nobody.

Yours
Hereward

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/26)

This horrible war

Ralph Glyn’s sister Meg Meade (staying for a weekend with friends) wrote to him again anticipating his birthday.

Feb 27th [1916]
Fonthill House
Tisbury
Wilts

My darling Ralph

Many many many happy & happier returns of 3rd. I do wonder where you will be on your birthday, but let’s hope that next year we may be able to celebrate it with becoming distinction, and that this horrible war will be over and done with…

Now & then in the papers we get a thrill by seeing that “Colonel Glynn” has arrived at various places with Sir Arthur, & of course everyone is teasing me about your sudden rise of rank! But I tell them that’s nothing to what will happen to you by the end of the war! You must have been having the greatest fun in the world, & a most thrilling time. I hope you’ll not have forgotten how to speak English by the time you come home though!

Maysie & John came to tea the other night. He had a return of his illness – very slight – but still the Med: Board won’t pass him for another month….

Your ever loving Meg

Their mother Lady Mary also wrote with war and family news:

Sunday Feb. 27, 1916 Peter[borough]

My own best darling blessing

Verdun and its outer fort has been the news of the war which made our other news yesterday so much the less sad, for dear old Uncle Sid died peacefully that morning (the 26th)…

Maysie got into her Windsor house yesterday – Elgin Lodge…

I hear today Aunt Syb has heard from Ivar’s Colonel and from the Chaplain, saying all they can to comfort as to not much suffering, [but?] one would not be able to believe much in that agony of far off-ness, and yet I know she has been much helped by knowing he died in hospital…

Lady Wantage has sent me 10£ for my Work Room and this is a great help.

Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2-3)

The Broad Street Brothers continue to serve

Here is the latest list of men associated with the Broad Street Brotherhood asociated with Broad Street Congregational Church in Reading:

MEN OF THE BROTHERHOOD ON ACTIVE SERVICE, NOVEMBER 17TH, 1915

Bailey, 1932 Pte E G, 4th Royal Berks Regiment, 83rd Provisional Battery, Burnham on Crouch, Essex
Barrett, 2045 Sadler Sergt W, 4th Hants (How) Battery, RFA, Indian EF, Aden
Bishop, 4003 Corp. T E, No 1 Supernumery Comp., 4th Batt. Royal Berks Regiment, Barton Court, New Milton, Hants
Brant, 68686 Pte G P, RAMC, V Co, Hut 181, Haig Hutments, Tweseldown Camp, Surrey
Bucksey, 2697 Trooper C, 1st Berks Yeomanry, 2nd South Midland Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division, BMEF
Burgess, 100747 Sapper J, D Co, RE, Inner Lines, Brompton Barracks, Chatham
Burrett, 4005 Pte W, 4th Royal Berks Regiment, Arnould House, High Street, Lowestoft
Chapman, Sapper E, RE, Wantage Hall, Reading
Cox, 888 Dr W J, 1st Berks RHA, 2nd South Midland Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division, BEMEF
Cranfield, Pte G, 2/4th Royal Berks, B Co, 162 Upper Bridge Road, Chelmsford
Edwards, 4078 Pte H, Section 1, MT, ASC, 73rd Co, Attached 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Supply Column, EF, France
Elvin, 1702 Pte A C, RAMC, T, 4th London General Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SE
Gooch, 2273 Corp. E, B Squadron, Berks Yeomanry, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
Gooch, 1656 Trooper Percy, 1st Berks Yeomanry (wounded)
Gooch, M2/034985, 21st Division Supply Column, 273rd Co, ASC, MT, BEF, France
Goodyear, 69005 Pioneer J, 35th Division Signal Co, RE, Bulford Camp, Wilts
Grigg, Pte C A, RAMC, 16 Radnor Street, Chelsea, London, SW
Hawting, 15775 Pte H T, 1st Batt, Royal Scots Fusiliers, B Co, 3rd Division, BEF, France
Hunt, 9215 Rifleman J, Prisoner of War, 1st Rifle Brigade, English Gefengenem, Solton Colony Konigsmoor, 14P, Hanover, Germany. Letter address only. For parcel address see another entry, No. 37.
Lambden, P134777 Pte F, 9th Co, ASC, MT, Osterly Park, Middlesex
Lay, 1910 Pte W, A Co, No 1 Platoon, 1/4th Royal Berks Regiment, BEF, France
Lee, M2/035034 Driver W R, 345 Co, ASC, MT, 25th Division Sub, Anm. Park, BEF, France
Littlewood, B, RR
Mills, 13026 Pte C, B Co, 5th Platoon, 8th Royal Berks Regiment, BEF, France
Mills, 1621 Sadler Corp. H, 3rd troop, B Squadron, Royal Berks Yeomanry, 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division, Albania Barracks, Cairo
Milner, 2678 Lance-Corp. H J, 1/6th East Surrey Regiment, E Co, Signallers, No 13 Bungalow, Kuldana, Murree, India
Parr, 71372 Sapper F C, Royal Engineers, 20 Lancaster Road, Hitchin
Pocock, 8607 Corp. E C, 4th Platoon, 33rd Division ACC, Hut 29B, F Lines, Bulford Camp
Pounds, Sergt M, Berks RHA, Reading
Richardson, 16895 Pte H J, RMLI, H Co, H3 Room, Chatham Barracks
Rolfe, Driver H E, 181, ASC, B Squad, Dorset Yeomanry, Cairo, Egypt
Smith, 10456 Pte C, 5th Royal Berks. Wounded.
Smith, L V, Friends Ambulance Unit, Army Post Office, S10, BEF, France
Ward, 1026 Pte F, C Co, 2/6th Cyclist Section, Royal Sussex Regiment, Potter Heigham, Norfolk
Waite, 13687 Gunner J H, 16 Eastney Road, Eastney, Portsmouth
Hunt, 9215 Rifleman Joseph, 1st Rifle Brigade, Konigsmoor Bie Tostedt, Kriegsgafangenew Lager, Kries Harberg, Deutschland. Prisoner of war. Parcel address only.
Shelley, 66407 Pte E, RGA
Gooch, Pte Stanley, Royal Engineers, Reading

In Memoriam
George Shearwood, 323 London Rd, who gave his life for his country whilst serving with the New Zealand Contingent in the Dardanelles
Keene, George, who after many months of service at the Front, in France, was killed whilst doing his duty in the trenches with the 1st Batt. Herts Regiment

From PSA Brotherhood
May, Brother V M, 219 Southampton Street, who was killed in action in October, with the 8th Royal Berks Regiment

Broad Street magazine, December 1915 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A roaring farce

Ellen, the daughter of newly elected Glasgow MP John MacLeod, wrote to Ralph Glyn with details of the campaign. Her father beat rival Gavin Ralston decisively in the end,with over 5000 votes to little more than 500. Oddly to today’s eyes, both candidates were Unionists, with no other parties standing. College Division, incidentally, was the Glasgow constituency Ralph was “nursing” with a view to standing in the next General Election.

Rughriach
Connel
Argyll

Sept. 26, 1915

Dear Mr Glyn

I think “many happy returns of the day” is rather a happy remark to make to you when your name appears as having been decorated by the Czar. Many congratulations. Of course that makes College Division a certainty now!

Father’s election was a scream! The whole thing was a roaring farce, but the trouble involved was too sickening. Imagine the GPF getting up at 7.30 a.m. in order to make speeches at the dockgates. His sacred second cup of coffee had to go to the wall that day! The story goes that one of Mr Ralston’s meetings the hecklers were busy. Ralston managed to give them sly answers which evaded the point but served as an answer. This annoyed the hecklers to distraction. At last they gave it up and the last of them sat down. Ralston said “And now my friends I would like to ask myself a question”. A voice from the back of the hall “And a rotten silly answer ye’ll get!” (Rotten was not the word used though!)

Mother & I were fortunate in getting seats in the Serjeant-at-arms gallery to see him take his seat in the House, make his bows, etc. It was v. interesting.

I hope you are keeping fit & having an interesting time…

George is off to France, but of course we don’t know when. He was very happy to get off after 12 months training in Wiltshire.

Norman is at Portsmouth undergoing gunnery training prior to getting a new “small craft”. He has been on a detector net trawler the last few months.

I must now go & write to your GPF who is performing Parliamentary duties. (Doesn’t that sound fine!) One of the evening papers said he well deserved the nickname of “Conscientious John”. What new insult will they hurl at him next!

With renewed congratulations

I remain

Yrs very sincerely
Ellen MacLeod

PS Awful thought! I quite forgot to put Captain Glyn at the beginning. Very sorry, I hope you’ll forgive.

Letter from Ellen MacLeod to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/23)

“One poor fool has cut his throat” – difficult conditions for the recruits

No sooner had he joined the army than Percy Spencer began to have second thoughts. Conditions at the camp he was assigned to were dreadful, with one suicide. His former boss, Reginald Holliday, had a staff post in the Territorial Army, and was keen for Percy to join him. But would this be possible faced with army bureaucracy? A lengthy struggle kicked off with this letter.

No. 3 Company
Gloucester Regiment
YMCA Tent
Horfield Barracks
Bristol
Sep. 13, 14

Dear Sir

Thank you so much for your letter – I’m very glad you think I’ve done the right thing.

I should like nothing better than to be with you in this business, so if you think I should be useful to you, I shall be more than glad if you can arrange a transfer as you are good enough to suggest.
I sincerely hope you will be able to do this, but in fairness to you, must point out that I am the rawest of recruits – a four days soldier, without uniform or kit. Moreover we have all been badly mauled by some OTC youngsters here.

But you will know whether I should be up to the work you require me to do, and, needless to say, I would do my utmost not to disappoint you, sir.

Today I have been transferred to No. 3 Company, and believe I shall get my number tomorrow when it is rumoured that we are to go to Tidworth, Aldershot or Woolwich. If we are moved, I will advise you at once.

Conditions are very bad here, and men are sneaking off, and one poor fool has cut his throat. But the camp is well situated in glorious country, and the staff here are undoubtedly doing their utmost to deal with an unprecedented situation.

Yours faithfully
Percy J Spencer
To –
Staff Captain R J Holliday
6th London Infantry Brigade

Letter from Percy Spencer to Captain Holliday (D/EZ177/7/12/1)