The interest and attraction of the work

A Wargrave curate who had volunteered as an army chaplain was enjoying his new life.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Rev. W.G. Smylie is now working in a Church Army Hut for the benefit of the soldiers in the Inkerman Barracks, Woking, Surrey. He writes very happily about the interest and attraction of the work. He may soon go to France.

Mr Smylie is much missed by his friends at Crazies Hill and the best wishes of all will follow him in his new work.

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

“There was no mention of a diamond ring”

A Swiss internee claimed to have had a diamond ring stolen while he was interned.

5th July 1918

The attached letter [no copy found so far] from the Swiss Legation is submitted.

It has been acknowledged to the effect that it is having attention.
P. Theisen was received with other Aliens from Woking Military Prison 31.10.14 for internment.

He was transferred to Brixton 22.2.15.

When received here from Woking, his property consisted of a gold watch – gold chain – gold ring – attached to the chain. As the reception officer was doubtful as to the “gold” it was entered in our property book as metal watch – metal chain – metal ring, and signed for as correct by Theisen. There was no mention of a diamond ring, and none was received or entered.

The day prisoner was transferred he asked for a diamond ring, and was told there was no such ring. He admitted that he had not seen it after Woking Prison. Two officers received him and stated that he had no ring, neither was one entered on the transfer document, except the metal one referred to.

Prisoner apparently applied to the Governor of Brixton on this subject and a reply was sent to Brixton to the above effect. Nothing can be traced as having come for him at the end of 1915, which would be several months after his removal. If anything came, it would of course be sent on unopened from here. Perhaps Brixton can answer this.

C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

A strange looking man who looked ill, got into a trench & started making charts

Sydney Spencer was obviously a suspicious looking character! Halma is a strategy board game involving constantly moving pieces across the board.

Sydney Spencer
Friday 10 May 1918

Got up at 7 am and went over to my platoon front to make out my range charts. I was taken for a spy and questioned by an Essex officer. The sentry had described me rather comically. I was to him a strange looking man who looked ill (!!) & wandered about, & finally got into a trench & started making charts!

At 9.45 gave evidence in a case at the orderly room & then had a bath at old brewery. Met Forster & another chap with whom I walked back.

Found that once made, our battle positions were to be changed! We seem to be sort of playing at Halma! After lunch I had a long sleep from 2.15 pm till 4.30 & much I enjoyed it too. Now I am writing to dear old Jumbo [Kenneth] Oliphant who wrote me last night. His address is St Margaret’s, Fern Hill Park, Woking.

Stand to tonight is at 8.15 pm. I took out a carrying party. Two journeys down a road you wot of, master diary. We had one casualty from machine gun fire. A C Company man. Got back at 11.30.

Letters from Florence, Broadbent & Father. Wrote a long letter to Florence.

Percy Spencer
10 May 1918

A glorious day. Paterson lunched with us. The Lance Corporal who was no good – only offence apparently that he plastered tracts on latrine seats.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15); and Percy Spencer (D/EX801/67)

A dramatic scene in Parliament

Irish Secretary Augustine Birrell resigned for his mishandling of Irish nationalism and the Easter Rising.

32 Addison Road
Kensington, W
May 4/16

My dear M

I have been harried from pillar to post since my return on the 29th. Heavy foreign mails in & out, the excitements of the House, & the sitting of our Synod in London. This last is rather absurd as half our small body are away as chaplains or combatants, but it has involved services which must be attended by the elect few…

On the 2nd I went to the Palace, & found the attention was appreciated. Together we went to the Intercession service at noon, & Kensington Church seemed more than ever alive with the history of your family…

Today Joan was to have gone to Woking with Louise, but her Captain is home (today), & I replace her, a poor substitute in L’s eyes! I was only engaged to lunch with the Asquiths & of course could put it off. I saw the dramatic scene in the House yesterday. The 2nd Irish Secretary I have seen resign! It was a fine manly speech & received as such by the House. I don’t know who is to go in his stead. No one well known, I think….

Tell Meg, A J says one submarine a week since Jan: 1 (at least). An interesting account of the action off Lowestoft, but with borrowed caution I had better wait to see her…

Ever
[illegible signature – Sybil Campbell?]

Letter to Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/4)

Heartily sick of seeing soldiers, thank you

Soon after his Harwich experiences with the YMCA, Sydney Spencer of Cookham paid a visit to Kenneth ‘Jumbo’ Oliphant, the friend he had worked there with, and the latter’s mother, in Woking, Surrey. They had both had quite enough of the army.

Sept 30th
At home in Cookham

I spent from last Saturday tea time till Tuesday at St Margaret’s, Fern Hill Park, Woking, with Kenneth & Mrs Oliphant. It was a most restful time after the stress of Harwich. As soon as we got into the house Mrs Oliphant told Kenneth that the King was reviewing troops in Woking & would we like to go. It was pathetic. We had been seeing soldiers until we were heartily sick of it & here they were again. We declined the invitation smilingly…

Fred Oliphant [Kenneth’s brother] has a commission in the Seaforths and Granville [another brother] in the old Public School & University Corps. Higham of Oriel wrote me that Wright is also in that corps. I expect he will be as merry in that as he was up at Keswick.

Diary of Sydney Spencer, 1914 (D/EX801/12)