Our heroes pay the great price: tragedies of this ghastly war

The death of George Shearwood, a young man originally from Reading, caused great distress at Broad Street Congregational Church. He was one of three heroic figures commemorated in the church magazine in June 1915.

The many friends of Mr George Shearwood were grieved to hear a few days ago that he had been killed in action in the Dardanelles. George Shearwood was the son of Mrs Shearwood of 323 London Road, one of our oldest church members. He emigrated to New Zealand some five years ago, but at the outbreak of the war he was in England on holiday. Like so many others he had no liking for war, but when the New Zealand Contingent was being raised, he felt it to be his duty to join his compatriots, and so he bravely made the great surrender. He was a splendid fellow in every sense of the word, and greatly esteemed by all who knew him. His death is one of the many tragedies of this ghastly war. Whilst we rejoice in the magnificent courage and devotion of our friend, we sincerely sympathize with his bereaved mother and the members of his family in the irreparable loss they have sustained. We pray that they may derive comfort from the thought that their loved one nobly gave his life for his King and Country.

We desire to express our deep sympathy, too, with Mrs Davis of 18 Swansea Road (a much esteemed member of our Women’s Social Hour) and her husband in the sad loss they have sustained in the death of their son. Thomas Davis was a very promising young fellow, with a bright career opening out before him. After serving a successful apprenticeship with Messrs Wellsteed he passed on to a large firm in Hackney; and there, when the war broke out, he joined the 4th Battalion City of London Royal Fusiliers. In due course he went out with his regiment to the front. He spent his 21st birthday in the trenches, and now, somewhere in France, he has paid the great price. He was formerly a member of our PSA Brotherhood, and an active worker in connection with the YMCA.

Another of our heroes, in a different way, was our late Brother George William Winterbourne. Brother Winterbourne did not join the army. For one thing he was too old. But he did his bit in that direction by helping to guard the Water Tanks at Tilehurst.

It was with sincere regret that the members of the Institute heard of the death of Mr George Shearwood while on active service in the East.

Previous to leaving Reading he was associated with the Institute for several years and won the esteem of all who knew him by his consistent Christian character and true manliness.

In the Institute there is a roll of honour giving the names of past and present members serving in His Majesty’s Army. Mr Shearwood is the first of these to give his life for his country, and while we mourn our loss we are cheered by the thought that he died doing his duty as a soldier of the King, and that he has now entered a higher service of the King of Kings.

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

Payment of back rent by the National Relief Fund not a precedent

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund considered various requests for assistance from individuals who had been disadvantaged by the war:

31 May 1915Applications for relief were considered from:
Gray, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 50/- be made in accordance with the recommendation of the Windsor Committee, but the Executive Committee does not regard the payment of back rent as a desirable expenditure of the National Relief Fund, & instructs the assistant secretary to inform the Windsor Committee that the grant given must not be regarded as a precedent for such payment.
Pike, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 12/- be made.
Winney, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of £2.12.6 be made as representing one half of the sum expended by the Windsor Committee.
Beasley, Windsor. Resolved that the applicant was not suitable for relief from the NRF.
Crow, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 25/- be made.
Waller, Windsor. Resolved that the applicant be not suitable for relief from the NRF.
Ottley, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 10/- be made: though the Committee does not admit that the mere fact of the rise of price in raw material gives a claim on the NR Fund, the special circumstances & advanced age of the applicant affords reasons for relief being given.
Thatcher, Abingdon. The Chairman reported grant of £2.0.0 on behalf of this case.
Winterbourne, Abingdon. Grant of £1.0.0 reported.
Willis, Maidenhead. Grant of 10/6 per week, beginning May 1st, reported.
Forrester, Maidenhead. Grant of 10/6 per week for two months beginning May 17th reported. The Sec: was instructed to communicate with the Sub-committee on Professional Classes at the offices of the Central Committee upon the circumstances of this case.
Pounds, Peasemore, Wantage. Grant of 5/- per week for three months beginning May 17th reported.
Fish, Warfield, Easthampstead. Reported as refused by chairman.
Ross, Clewer. Reported as having been received & refrred to the SSFA for further information.
Rosser, Wokingham. Reported as not recommended by the local Committee.
George, Maidenhead. Reported that the grant authorized on behalf of applicant on March 23rd had not been paid as the local Sec: had not found it necessary to pay the same.

The grants as reported were confirmed by the Committee.

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