Getting on at Messines

The Battle of Messines in June 1917 was a British advance near Ypres.

15 June 1917
Getting on at Messines.

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

The finest, cosiest, and prettiest place in the whole Second Army Area

A Reading church sponsored a place of recreation for soldiers at the front.

“Words Fail Us.”

Such are the words used on a Christmas card by the Y.M.C.A. to convey their deep gratitude to all who have helped in the erection of Huts in France and elsewhere. The words may be even more fittingly used to emphasise the desperate need for these buildings, and we rejoice in having been privileged to take part in this good work. It will be remembered that soon after our pastor’s return from France in March of last year, he announced his wish to erect a Y.M.C.A. hut, and was met by so gratifying a response from his many friends in Trinity and elsewhere that, by the end of August it was being used by our fighting men on the Western “Front.” This month, by the help of the above-mentioned Christmas card, we are able to show our readers a picture of our own hut.

It is situated La Clytte, about 4.5 miles south-west of Ypres and within three miles of the front firing-line very, very near danger. It is by the side of a road, along which is passing a continual stream of men to and from the trenches. Near by is a rest camp, into which the men are drafted after having served a certain time actually in the line. Hence our Hut, capable of accommodating from two hundred to three hundred men, meets the very real need of a large number of men actually in “the thick of it.”

The picture represents its actual appearance from outside, which resembles many other Y.M. Huts, but the interior is most beautifully and artistically decorated with about 250 coloured pictures, with the result that Mr. Holmes (Sec. Y.M.C.A. 2nd Army) pronounces it to be the finest, cosiest, and prettiest place in the whole Second Army Area. For this proud distinction we must thank its present leader, Mr Cecil Dunford, who is an artist, and so in touch with colour-printing firms. To him, too, we are indebted to him for our picture. His helpers are the Rev. Eric Farrar, son of Dean Farrar a most interesting fact and the Rev. Herbert Brown, Chaplain to the Embassy at Madrid.

At Christmas-time, our thoughts flew naturally to the men in our Hut, and Mr Harrison, anticipating our wishes, telegraphed that a sum of £20 was to be spent on festivities. It will interest all to hear what was done.

On Christmas Eve a Carol service took place, assisted by a regimental band, followed by a distribution of free gifts and cake. On Christmas Day the Hut was crowded for service at 10 a.m., and 45 men present at Holy Communion. From 12-1 a free distribution of cakes and tea was enjoyed. An afternoon concert was held, after which the men were again supplied with tea and cakes. At 6.30 p.m. a very informal concert was held, interspersed with games and amusing competitions ducking for apples bobbing in a pail of water, drawing in to the mouth a piece of toffee tied to a long string held between the teeth, pinning blindfold a moustache to the Kaiser’s portrait, etc. Free drinks and tobacco were again distributed, and after three hearty cheers for the people of Reading, the National Anthem brought a memorable day to a close.

To the men this day was a bright spot in their cheerless, dangerous life, and their enjoyment is depicted by Mr Dunford in some clever sketches one of a man straight from the line, in a tin helmet and with pack on his back, beaming happily at a steaming mug of cocoa, and murmuring “Good ‘ealth to the Y.M.”; another man, whose swelled cheek testifies to the huge mouthful of sandwich (evidently “tres bon!” in quality and quantity), wittily designated “an attach in force on the salient.” To the helpers the Christmas festivities evidently proved exhausting as shown by two laughable sketches of utter collapse, one worker clinging feebly to a post, the other being dragged along the floor to a place of rest. Yet we venture to think that even they, with us, rejoice to do something to brighten the lot of our brave boys in khaki.


Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: magazine, February 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

“A fine example of courage and coolness”

The vicar of Wargrave was optimistic that the war would end soon, as the parish celebrated the heroism of some of its men, and mourned the loss of others.

1917:

Another year opens under the cloud of War, but the very length of the shadows behind us should give new vigour to our hopes for the future. The War cannot last forever. The original plan of the enemy has certainly failed. The strength of the Allies grows greater. There is every promise that the Government will express the mind of the nation and that the people will gladly respond to the demands which may be made upon them. The conviction that our cause is righteous has possessed the soul of the nation and given character to our manner of fighting. The appeal to God for Victory is based upon submission to His Will; sobered by the realization that Victory must be used to the praise of His Holy Name; and inspired by the certainty that He, who ordereth all things in heaven and earth, is working His purpose out, and will over-rule the conflict of the nations to the advancement of His Kingdom and the greater happiness of mankind.

So with renewed hope let us take heart to utter the familiar words, and wish one and all a Happy New Year.

The Military Cross

Lieut. F. Kenneth Headington, 1st London Brigade, R.F.A. has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. We offer him out heartiest congratulations. It is indeed a happy thing when from the midst of the sorrows of war there comes occasion for the sympathy of joy. Their many friends will rejoice with Mr. and Mrs. Headington, and with all the family, in this good news of well deserved recognition.

We would like to mention the following commendation which Sergt. James Iles has received:-

“This N.C.O. has shown a high standard of efficiency throughout the campaign. He has been under direct observation of his squadron leader during two engagements. At Nevy, on September 1st, 1914, where he was wounded in the wrist, he continued to endeavour to use his rifle after being wounded, and when compelled to desist owing to hand becoming numb, he helped to bandage several more severely wounded men. At Potize, near Ypres, May 12th, 1915, he had all the men of his troop except himself and one other become casualties owing to shell fire. He still remained in his portion of the trench and showed a fine example of courage and coolness to the remainder of the squadron.”

We would like to mention that the Military Medal has been granted to the Sergeant.

Hare Hatch Notes

We deeply sympathise with Mrs. Pugh in her second sad bereavement. Her son Charles has given his life for his country, he was seriously wounded whilst mine sweeping and had a relapse after being admitted into the hospital at Shotley, near Harwich, which proved fatal. His body was brought home and laid to rest in our Churchyard. The service which commenced with the hymn “Eternal Father strong to save” was most impressive. As the Naval Authorities were unable to send representatives, the soldiers at the Wargrave V.A.D. Hospital attended and some acted as bearers; “Honour to whom honour is due.” This loss coming so soon upon the death of Mrs. Pugh’s beloved husband, who was greatly respected and highly esteemed, must be hard to bear. We trust that our expressions of sympathy and our prayers may afford the family great comfort.

The deepest sympathy is also felt for Mr and Mrs Hunt, Tag Lane, whose son Arthur was killed in France on November 19th. As a member of the Sunday School and the Mission Choir he was most regular and attentive, he attained very high honours when a member of the Wargrave Scouts. He worked for several years with his father at The Lodge. We greatly regret his loss, the remembrance of him will not quickly pass away. He gave his life for a noble cause.

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

“Before the sun sets, the man whom you wish to help may have passed away from earth and from the reach of your help”

The Church of England Men’s Society helped support soldiers by their work (alongside similar organisations) providing places of rest and recreation behind the lines.

C.E.M.S.
S. Giles Branch

A Meeting of the branch will be held in the parish room, on Tuesday, December 12th at 8.30 p.m., to consider the report of the Annual Conference. Any member wishing to read the report before that meeting, I would be pleased to send a copy.

The Archbishop of York appeals for subscriptions for more huts for our troops. Lieut. Stanley, the agent in charge of the C.E.M.S. on the western front, speaking at the Manchester Conference, said,

“You as a society have provided a most noble work in providing huts at the front, a long chain of huts from Ypres in the north to the banks of the Somme in the south. You were asked to provide a sum of £12,000. Up to date, September 27th, you have provided £16,180. I am going to ask you to double those figures. We have been asked to supply 80 huts at once. The huts are essential. Do not delay. Before the sun sets, the man whom you wish to help may have passed away from earth and from the reach of your help.”

The President of the Reading federation, the Rev.F.J.C. Gillmor, will be pleased to receive subscriptions for the above, or may be sent to the hon. Secretary of the branch,

H.J. HILDERLEY, 65 Pell Street.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P96/28A/33)

“All true life involves sacrifice”

Newbury parish church followed its neighbours in Thatcham in purchasing a copy of “The Great Sacrifice” by James Clark (1858-1943). The original painting is now at the Battenberg Chapel on the Isle of Wight as a memorial to Prince Henry of Battenberg, a grandson of Queen Victoria who was killed at Ypres.

An oil painting of the well-known picture “The Great Sacrifice” has been placed in the church by an anonymous donor; underneath the picture is a board surrounded with a laurel wreath, and on this board may be placed the names of those who have died in the war. Cards for this purpose may be obtained from the Church House. We trust that this memorial may not only keep in our minds our young men’s noble sacrifice, but may remind us of the fact that all true life involves sacrifice, after the One Perfect Example.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, November 1916 D/P89/28A/13

A terrible blow

A family friend or relative wrote to Ralph, shocked by Lord Kitchener’s death, and the casualties at the front.

Brocket Hall
Hatfield
June 13th 1916

Dearest Ralph

I was delighted to hear from you, & I am glad now to hear from Meg that you are with her. Do take care – & get rid of that dysentery before you start off again, or you will have to come back. This weather, which is simply beastly, is rather bad for you, but I don’t doubt that they [illegible] from chills!

It was dear of you to write. I am only too glad to have been able to cheer up your beloved father & mother. They were so dear & delightful about it all, & I saw it all. By the way, I meant them to, & it makes me so happy that it has cheered them at a time which must be very trying to them. There never were two more unselfish, singleminded people, & anyone who knows them & loves them as I do, can only rejoice to be able to do anything, however small, that will make them more comfy. Uncle George was so anxious for this. How I wish we were in London, but if you do find a moment, here we are, but the weather is too bad for anyone to visit the country, unless obliged.

How dreadfully Lord Kitchener’s death must have shocked you. It is a terrible blow, & one really could not take it in at first, & it did sadden one. I am told the King feels it too dreadfully. It is a personal loss to him, as Lord K was such a help, so honest & straightforward that HM could always depend on him.

Do thank Meg for her letter this morning. What a time “Jim” must have had – & what a splendid fight it was. The Admiralty ought to be whipped for their r[o]tt[e]n report – on Friday night it was quite unpardonable. Alfric is very well & looks beautiful. My little Robbie is so jealous that he won’t let Alfric come near me if he is present, so I have to see Alfric by stealth!

Bless you. Much love to you & Meg, & pray be careful!
Yours ever

Evan

PS The Canadians have had an awful time at that horrid Ypres Salient. We have a nephew there, who writes us an account of it. He only lost 2 officers killed in his battalion, but of course had many casualties. The only thing that seems of any avail is “heavy guns”. One prays they have enough. But have they?

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/38)

Grim, but good: German dead stacked like flies on French wire

Maysie Wynne-Finch was beginning to settle down in Windsor. She continued to be outraged by cronyism in high places – and not a fan of Winston Churchill.

Mar. 10/16
Elgin Lodge
Windsor

My darling R.

Thank heaven our stay was not long in the White Hart. We like this little house more every day, it’s getting quite nice as we have got more of our own stuff here, lamps etc. I do wish you could come and stay!…

Yes, the Russian doings seem to be near to you. I hear one Division was returned from Egypt without even landing not long ago. It certainly appears that things are working up to the grand finale in the west. The French are splendid. John saw a man who had been talking to Clive our liason officer at Verdun, last Saturday 4th, Clive had returned that day, & said that Friday night 3rd, the French had a single man of their general reserve up – & were absolutely confident. That’s a week ago, but as far as one can judge from the papers things have not altered much. Clive also said he’d seen himself the Hun dead as the papers described like flies on the French wires by 100s & also in dense droves packed upright in dead stacks. It’s grim, but good.

Rumour has it, too, that as at Ypres in 1914 the Huns were heavily doped, & appeared quite drugged as if not knowing what they were doing. Mabel Fowler told me, who had heard through General Ruggles Brice, who was on leave from France & had seen a French General who told him.

Poor Meg, these are anxious days. No one seems to doubt that some kind of naval activity is coming. Jim wrote as much to me. Wasn’t Arthur B’s answer to Winston perfect. The latter seems to have taken leave of his senses. The only thing that gives me misgiving is that the Admiralty have sanctioned that scandal of G Sutherland’s command. You must know all about it – probably have sent him. It’s too outrageous – Eileen worked it through Lambert one hears, but why was it allowed? Lambert isn’t alone. Eric Chaplin military advisor, forsooth. It beats even army staff appointments!! I never thought the navy would have civilians in sailors’ shoes – it’s affair disgrace….

Your ever loving
Maysie

[PS]…
Wasn’t it dreadful about dear Desmond. The only hope too in that family. That dreadful Edward & his worse wife. He’s trying to divorce her already I believe. She’s a terror.

Desmond was delightful & had done so well. It seems too so unnecessary. He was showing some kind of bomb to some General & as usual it went off. Desmond & young Nugent both killed.

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

A room full of weary, war-stained men, straight from the trenches

The minister at Trinity Congregational Church reports on his work at a YMCA hut at the Front, serving men getting a temporary respite from trench warfare.

Again we are indebted to Mrs Harrison, who has very kindly furnished us with further details concerning the work of our beloved pastor.

YMCA Hut
Jan. 24th-Feb 16th

We are now really at the Front, and have to be more careful to say nothing except generalities, and those very brief. We are perfectly well and happy, and like the new lot of helpers very much indeed. This hut is always open, so we take it in turns to do night duty. Things are rougher here in many ways than at the base, but the food is excellent, and the work is exactly what we came out to do. I wish it were permitted to tell you more details, but I don’t suppose it will matter your knowing that we are about six miles from the first line of trenches. Yesterday we went for a most interesting walk to within three miles of a famous town, the name of which begins with Y. We stopped by a fine old church whichn was completely wrecked some six weeks ago. Last night I trudged through heavy rain and pitch-dark cobbled streets to address a crowded meeting of men in a Y.M. hut about a mile from here.

They gave me a most attentive and quiet hearing, – it was a great opportunity, I could not have wished for a better. To-night I am going there again to help at a sort of “sing-song” they are having, – as a waiter, not a performer!

We get many chances of talks with the men in the rest-room, and also over the counter while serving them with coffee, etc. It is pathetic to see the big room full of weary, war-stained men, half of them asleep, and the rest half asleep. They come straight in to us from the front trenches, having had nothing to eat all day, but their good temper and quiet kindness to each other and to us, and their evident appreciation of what is done for them, are things to see and remember. We need all the health and strength, and all the other help we can get, for things are decidedly grim just now. We are sleeping in the cellar, and at the first warning of the danger we make tracks for our refuge like rabbits. There is a lot of amusement to be got out of it, and no one could call life out here dull, but what is far more important, is that officers and men speak in a way that would do you good to hear. There is not the slightest doubt about the need for what we are able to do, and of the way in which it is appreciated.

There is no denying that we are in the midst of danger, but it is right that we should face it, and we shall be kept safe. Think of us as utterly content with life, and do not have any thoughts of worry or anxiety on our behalf.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, March 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

“Heavenly from my point of view”

Maysie Wynne-Finch told her brother Ralph that she was quite pleased her husband was in too poor a state physically to go back to the front for a while. She also shared an amusing joke about the title selected by Sir John French, recently created Earl of Ypres for his leadership on the Western Front.

Friday Feb 3rd [1916]

You can imagine how delighted I am the doctors flatly refuse to let John go to France for anyhow 3 months. They say it will take two before the new cut in the jaw heals, then it may break out again & until there is no chance of this cannot get any plate in & he has no teeth hardly left now, poor darling. Meantime they are again urging him to take on the Adjutancy at Windsor if only for 3 months, so finally he has consented under the circumstances & on condition they let him go as soon as he can pass for France. So he reports to begin duty this next week now, & we are trying to find a little house down there again. It’s heavenly from my point of view.

Billy got back on leave two days ago. Seems very well. They have been having a pretty lively time from shelling lately it seems. We met Captain Tollemache today – back on a fortnight’s leave. I think you know him. He was on the Dardanelles from June till the evacuation.

These last Zepp raids have cause much excitement. They came so early, & got so far, & stayed so late – Dirty beasts.

Do you know the title Lord French should have taken other than Ypres? … Lord Loos is the answer…

Your ever loving
Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

No peace or victory till the politicians have been exterminated

Maysie Wynne Finch wrote from Wales, where she and her wounded husband had taken refuge at his family home, to her brother Ralph Glyn. She was not impressed by British politicians, or by men trying to avoid service.

Sunday 28 Nov/15
Voelas
Bettws-y-Coed
N. Wales
My dear darling R.

No, I had not seen anything about attacks on Col Sykes – How scheming. All lies I am sure. Oh dear, these politicians, will they never be stamped out & exterminated, we shall have no peace or hope of victory till they are. How people can give presents to Miss Asquith & make it an occasion to tell lies about olf Asquith – God knows – & people like the Speaker too….

Col Toby Wickham … has been recalled from France & is waiting to hear what if anything he’s to do next. All his Yeomanry have been broken up into Div. Cav. & he’s been PM of Ypres for the last month. He’s miserable being home.

What a delightful couple the Harlechs are. She’s enchanting. He was busy trying to get recruits for Welsh Guards, of which he’s Colonel… Billy Gore is off any day, with his Yeomanry Brigade. They go east – where no one knows of course. They have been waiting to start over 10 days now….

John is having a rare lot of “shooting at something which can’t shoot back” as someone put it. At first it hurt his jaw rather, but now it doesn’t seem to often. His back hasn’t healed up even now. I had no idea it would take so long. Of course at the hospital they said it was one of the dirtiest little holes they’d seen. It only missed his spine by a nick too, you know! I expect you’ve heard the story but it was new to me, of the Sergeant to a frightened private under fire, “Now then my man, what’s the matter with you, they ain’t h’after you – you ain’t no blooming cathedral or bloody work of h’art”!! I love it.

Best love darling…
Your own loving Maysie

At last the brave yokels in this district are enlisting having made sure they must go or be fetched! They all try ASC of course!!

Letter from Maysie Wynne Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

Three days without food in a forgotten trench

More Earley men (and a woman) joined up in the war’s second autumn. Others had suffered the vicissitudes of war.

Yet another of our choirmen, Mr F C Goodson, has gone forth to the war and carries with him our good wishes. Mr Goodson has joined the Army Service Corps (19th Labour Company) and will be employed in France, probably at one of the landing stages. On Sept 7th we heard of his safe arrival on the French coast, and the Vicar heard from him on the 20th.

Mr Stanley Hayward, who for many years has served both in the choir and as principal server, has also gone. Mr Hayward offered his services as clerk to the Army Ordnance Corps, and left home to report himself to Woolwich on Sept. 8th. He, too, carries with him our best wishes.

Mr William Stevens, of 119 Grange Ave, private 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwicks (which played a gallant part in the first battle of Ypres in Oct, and later on took part in the battle of Neuve Chapelle) has been home and amongst us. Pte Stevens was wounded in the back and buried by a bursting shell in the trenches, and was subsequently dug out. Among his other experiences, he was left with 11 others in an advanced trench for three days without food, as the order to retire failed to reach them. On this occasion he was officially reported “missing”. He has now recovered his health, and sailed on Sept. 2nd to rejoin his regiment. His two brothers are serving, one in the Persian Gulf; the other is in the Royal Navy and shortly expected home on sick leave.

We regret to learn that Mr Herbert E Long, of 40 St Bartholomew’s Road, trooper in the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, has been wounded at the Dardanelles. Fortunately the wounds appear to have been slight. Like Mr W Stevens, he too has two brothers serving in the Army, one with the Army Service Corps in Egypt and one presently in England.

Miss Hilda Sturgess, one of our Sunday School teachers, sailed on Sept 10th for Egypt in company with about 100 nurses. Miss Sturgess reluctantly gave up her class at the beginning of the War and joined the nursing staff at St Luke’s Red Cross Hospital for the wounded. After many months work there the War Office requested her to undertake work in one of the hospitals, presumably Cairo or Alexandria, and she accepted the call. It is a courageous action to go out with strangers into a strange country without hope of return for at least six months. It seems to us a true and honourable service to one’s country and deserving of every commendation.

Mr Reginald Sturgess, another of our old choir leaders, has left England for the Dardanelles. He joined the West Kent Yeomanry about a year ago. They have been quartered near Canterbury these many months wondering whether they would be sent abroad or not. Orders came last month, and they are now either in Egypt or, more probably, at the front in Gallipoli. Mr Reginald Sturgess has won considerable distinction in machine gunnery, and will without doubt prove himself an efficient and capable soldier.

The Rev. J W Blencowe, whose lectures on the Melanesian Mission have been greatly appreciated here, has resigned his curacy at Wokingham and been appointed Chaplain to HM Forces in the Dardanelles. By a curious coincidence Mr Blencowe will go out with the West Kent Yeomanry to which Mr Reginald Sturgess belongs. At the time of writing we have no other information than that Mr Blencowe was ordered to be ready on Monday the 20th ult. If he sails with the West Kents, the chaplain and one of the troopers will begin their friendship with a good deal in common.

Earley parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P192/28A/13)

Eggs are a real help to wounded soldiers

Two men with Ascot connections had been reported killed, while other parishioners supported the war effort.

The War.

CAPTAIN SIDNEY CLEMENT, we deeply regret to state, is reported as having been killed in action at the Dardanelles on April 26th last. He was serving with the 5th Battalion of the Australian Infantry. The son of the late Major R. Clement, he is well known at Ascot. He leaves a widow and two young children. We feel deeply for his family, and for his mother who is resident in this Parish.

THE REV. ERIC W. BRERETON, son of our Parishioner, Mr. Brereton of the Huntman’s Lodge, has been chosen to be one of the Chaplains at the Front. We ask GOD’S special Blessing on his most responsible work.

TROOPER JAMES JOHNSTON, 1st Lifeguards, is reported killed near Ypres. We sorrow for his wife and children.

THE SICK AND WOUNDED.
It may interest some people who have kindly subscribed to the Penny Fund for the Sick and Wounded St John’s Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross Society, to know that a sum of £27 14s. 11d. has been collected at Ascot, Bracknell and Cranbourne Wards of the Winkfield Polling Districts.

EGG LEAGUE for the Ascot Military Hospital:-
Will any parishioner who is willing to give an egg or eggs, either regularly each week or from time to time, communicate with Miss La Trobe-Bateman, who will explain the means of conveyance to the Hospital itself. Such gifts are a very real help to our wounded soldiers.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8)

They gave their lives in defence of the country

It was reported that two Earley men had given their lives.

We desire to express our heartfelt sympathy with Mr and Mrs Pace on the loss of their son who was killed in action near Ypres; also with Mr and Mrs Pusey whose son Ralph, one of our old choirboys, has been missing for some months and is now stated to have been killed. The latter was in the Guards who have distinguished themselves so greatly; the former, one of the Englishmen in Canada who voluntarily offered and gave their lives in defence of the Mother Country.

Earley parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P192/28A/13)

A soul-stirring example in Cookham Dean

Cookham Dean was proud of the many young men who had answered the call of their country, including those who had been killed. Unusually, they also honoured the men who had volunteered, but been rejected on medical grounds.

The Roll of Honour.

It is with very mingled feelings that this paragraph is written. Cookham Dean may well be proud of its Roll of Honour, which is published again this month. Many names have been added to it, since it was issued last in April, of lads who have responded to their Country’s Call and whose names are now added to those who earlier set them such a soul-stirring example.

One name is removed from the list of the living and finds a place among the honoured dead who have given their lives for their country- Major Richard Saker, Connaught Rangers, recently attached to the 5th Batt. Australian Infantry. He took a gallant part in the action on the occasion of the landing of the Expeditionary Force at the Dardanelles, was wounded, but, after receiving surgical aid, immediately returned to the firing line and was shot down at once by an enemy sniper. Major Saker had served in the South African War and held the Queen’s Medal, with four clasps. He was in the 38th year of his age, and leaves a widow and a dear little boy to mourn his loss, to whom we offer our respectful sympathy. A Memorial Service for Captain Saker was held in Church on the Sunday after the sad news had been received, June 27th.

Since the April list was issued Major Henderson has been mentioned in despatches and promoted Lieut.-Colonel. 2nd Lieuts. Brian Lawrence (‘Dial Close’) and Russell Simmons have been promoted Lieutenants. Sergeant William Markham distinguished himself at Hill 60, near Yprès, in a gallant action and the D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct Medal) has been conferred upon him; he merits our very heartiest congratulations this distinction. Pte. Ernest Blinko, with others in his Company, 9th County of London (Queen Victoria’s Rifles) has been offered a commission, but, after consideration, preferred to remain as he was; nevertheless, the offer itself is a compliment which onwe are certain was well deserved. Pte. Charles Piercey has been promoted Sergt., and Pte. Ernest Horne is now Corpl.

On the Supplementary List, alas, we have lost two. 2nd Lieut. Bian Lawrence (‘Mountfield,’ Maidenhead), only son of our kind friends, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lawrence, was killed in action on June 1st; he was only 17 years of age, but had already proved his worth a gallant, reliable officer, and was a young soldier of the greatest promise; he had endeared himself alike to his brother officers and the men under his command. The dear boy has given his life for his country, and we are proud to think that his boyhood’s days were spent in this parish; had it been possible, we would have considered it a great honour if his body could have been laid in our Churchyard. To his parents and grandfather we offer our deepest and most respectful sympathy, well knowing that life in this world can never be the same for them again. Sergent Ernest Lemmon died of wounds on May 9th; he was not known here, but for months past our prayers have been offered for him and others that God would save and defend them, and we believe that those prayers have been answered as God knows best.

It is only right that the names of those who would otherwise have been on the Roll of Honour but for the misfortune that, after examination by Military Doctors, they have been pronounced medically unfit to join His Majesty’s Forces, should be recorded in the Magazine: – Albert Harris (nr. Dean Farm), Sidney George Hunt (Spike Hatch), Harry Jordan (Dean Farm), Alfred Luker (Orchard Cottages), James Price (Primrose Cottage), Harry West (School Cottages), have all offered themselves, all honour to them, but for the above reason could not be accepted. It may be that there are one or two more whose names have not reached me. It is most satisfactory to feel that there are very few young men in this place who are content to abide at home when a Call, such as never before, has sounded in the ears of the Nation, has been made to them. Why in their case has the Call been made to them in vain?

Cookham Dean parish magazine, July 1915 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“Miners horrid!”

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey continued to be angered by the miners’ strike.

15 July 1915

Crown Prince intends to get to Paris! So far not quite successful. We fighting in Ypres & Gallipoli.

Miners horrid!!

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