Wokingham 1914

Henry Charles Mylne was re-elected as Wokingham's Mayor in 1914.  His colleagues believed his early death was due to the uncesaing effirts he made throughout the period.

Henry Charles Mylne was re-elected as Wokingham’s Mayor in 1914. His colleagues believed his early death was due to the relentless efforts he made throughout the period.

Wokingham news  throughout 1914 

 Jim Bell transcribes the Wokingham news section from the Reading Mercury throughout the whole of 1914. It is a remarkable insight to a small town assisting the war effort, reporting on its awful consequences, but at the same time attempting to carry on with its day to day life. Tombola’s, rallies, fundraising speeches and emotional appeals to help the Belgians appear on a weekly basis, but as in previous years, also not forgetting the unceasing support for its local fire service. 


   The annual meeting of the Choral Society was held in the Church House on Monday evening. The Rev. B. Long presided, and the balance sheet, presented by the hon. secretary and treasurer (Mr. T. May) showed a balance in hand of £9 12s. 1d. The following were elected officers of the society:- President, Mr. W. Howard Palmer; conductor, Mr. H.R. Eady, F.R.C.O.; hon. secretary and treasurer, Mr. T. May; committee, Mrs. Johnson, Misses Brass, Mercer, Perkins and Voss, Dr. Nash, Messrs. Dowdrey, D. Herring, H. Harvey, and H. Breach. It was decided to practice at the Church House on Monday evenings at 8.15 p.m., the work being Haydn’s “Creation.” Votes of thanks to the chairman and to the hon. secretary and treasurer terminated an enthusiastic evening.


The first practice of the season was held at St. Paul’s Parish Room on Monday evening, when “St. Paul,” the work chosen for the Easter concert, was commenced.


Miss Barry entertained the candidates if the Girls’ Friendly Society (All Saints Parish) at the Church House on Saturday to a tea, followed by a Christmas-tree and games. Miss Ellison, on Wednesday, gave a similar entertainment At St. Paul’s Parish Room to the candidates from St. Paul’s Parish.


 A concert, organized by the local Good Templars, was given in the Old British School-room in Milton-road on Saturday evening. The programme was a good one, and was capitally sustained by local and other friends of the movement. These included Miss M. Sansome, A.L.C.M., Miss Miller, Miss J. Manley, Mr. F.S.N. Lovell, and Mrs. Roberts.


The children of the Palmer Sunday School were entertained at their annual tea and prize-giving on Thursday in the Drill Hall. A sumptuous tea was provided for all who had attained a certain percentage of marks during the year, the children present numbering some 300, and included members of Miss Cottam’s Sunday Bible class of girls, blue ribbon, whit ribbon, and ordinary prizes distinguished the various degrees of merit. Miss Cooper distributed the prizes, which numbered close upon a hundred. The Rector, the Rev. B. Long presided, and there were also present the Rev. J.W. Blencowe and the teachers, as well as parents, were admitted to the prize-giving. Miss Cooper superintended the arrangements for the tea. A conjuring and ventriloquial entertainment was appreciated.


The Baptist Sunday School treat took place on Wednesday in the School-room in Milton-road. A generous tea was provided for the children, who were waited upon by their teachers. After tea, an entertainment was carried out by some of the teachers and Bible class scholars, comprising a fairy play entitled “Nursery Rhymes.” The Rev. E.E. Smith presided, and Mr. P. Sale contributed a reading.

Sat 17th Jan

Fire Brigade Wedding-At St. Paul’s Church on Monday, Mr Weston B Martin, son of Mr & Mrs H Martin of Denmark Street was wedded to Miss Margaret Emily Smallbone of St. Leonard’s, Wokingham, only daughter of Mr S Smallbone. The bride was attended by Master Joey Dearlove who acted as page dressed in fireman’s uniform.

The bridegroom was driven to the church in a fire engine accompanied by the brigade including the Marquis of Downshire who acted as driver and Lord Hillsborough. Mr Martin has been a member of the brigade for 23 years and that body presented him with a clock. A reception was afterwards held at Fernleigh, home of the bridegroom’s brother.

Sat 24th January


The Committee of the Women’s Suffrage Society were “At Home” in the Drill Hall, on Wednesday afternoon, when a large number of people assembled to hear the result of the prize competition organised by the Society. Mrs. Robie Uniacke, chairman of the Society, presided, and the prizes for the best essays on Mrs. Fawcett’s “History of Women’s Suffrage” were presented by Miss Oakley Walker. The prize winners were Miss R.A. Cole and Mrs. M. Cruttwell. In the evening the “Friends of Women’s Suffrage” had their annual gathering, and were entertained with a grammaphone and speeches by members of the Society.


   The scholars of the Embrook Sunday School, some 50 in number, were entertained on Wednesday in the Schoolroom to their usual winter treat. They were well looked after by their superintendent, Miss Wescott and the teachers, including the Misses Philbrick, Barry, E. knapp, H. Knapp, D. Deane, L. Deane, Marshall, and Mrs. Crawshay. After tea, a magic lantern entertainment, attended also by parents, was provided. The Rev. H.M. Walter spoke a few kindly words. Mrs. Crawshay distributed the prizes.


   The monthly public meeting of the Branch took the form of an entertainment given by members of the Band of Hope in the Church house on Tuesday. The young performers, organised by Miss Beaumont and several other lady helpers, acquitted themselves admirably. The programme included the fairy play, “Sleeping Beauty,” which was much appreciated.


   In an advertisement on the 5th page will be found a list of subscriptions to January 23, aggregating £440 which have been given towards the £700 required to purchase a new motor fire engine for the use of the Wokingham Fire Brigade, of which the Marquis of Downshire is the popular captain. As will be seen from the announcement the Brigade covers a very wide area, and there should be no difficulty in raising the £250 which is still required.

Sat 31st Jan

   The Hon. Mrs. Mary Isabella Joynes, widow of Mr. Robert Joynes, of the Royal Artillery, and daughter of the fourth Lord Braybrooke, left estate of which the net personalty has been sworn at £32, 853.


   Mrs. Long entertained the members of the Mothers’ Union at the Church House on Thursday, when Mrs. Murdoch gave an address.


   The annual meeting of the London-road C.C. was held at the “Three Frogs,” Wokingham on Thursday, Mr. J. Sargeant being in the chair. The balance sheet showed a balance in hand of £1 3s. 2½d., after placing £1 as reserve to a ground account. The hon. secretary (Mr. V. Fulcher) stated in his report that the club had had a very successful season, having played twelve matches, won eleven, and lost one, and having 1,400 runs for and 729 against, thus winning the championship of the Second Division of the league, after having been the runners-up for four seasons in succession. The following were elected: Captain, Mt. T. May; vice-captain, Mr. G. Clements; hon. secretary, Mr. V. Fulcher; committee, Messrs. J. Sargeant, J. Jewell, P. White, S. Gater, H. Butler, L. Bunce, A. Whittingham, W. Barker, S. Riddell, F.W. Hawkins, and F. Donnington; auditor, Mr. W. Loader.


   The H Company annual ball, held in the Drill Hall on Wednesday, was a success, some eighty guests being present. Sergeant Morrish and Corporal J. Lane were M.C.’s. An enjoyable time was spent.


   On Wednesday a social evening was held in connection with the Wesley Guil in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, Rose-street, Mr. Burland being the chairman. An excellent programme was carried out by Mr. F. Swain, Mr. Jefferies, Mr. Welch, Mr. Trowell, Master N. Blake, and Master J Baverstock, and the “Prize Band.” An advertisement competition was won by Mr. Nichols.

Sat 14th Feb

Alderman Heron’s wife died Thursday last week at 22 Market Place.

Sat 28th Feb

   Mrs. Arthur Walter, who has left England for a tour in South America, expects to be away for several months.


   The Point-to-Point Races of the Royal Artillery (Aldershot Command) are advertised to be held at Bill Hill on Tuesday, March 24. There will be a farmers’ race. Entries close on March 16 to Lieut. M.H. Dendy, R.H.A., R.A. Mess, Aldershot.


   On Tuesday evening in the Church House, Mr. F. Grubb, secretary of the Anglo-Indian Association, gave a lantern lecture entitled “A Tour in India.


   The Town Hall was full on Monday evening when the Town Band gave a concert in which Messrs. Barber, Rothen, Dobb, Mrs. Hall and Miss D. Wescott took part.


   The PPs dramatic Company gave “Eliza Comes to Stay,” preceded by “In and Out of a Punt,” in the Drill Hall, Wokingham, on Tuesday. Those taking part were Mr. R.G. Attride, Mr. A.G. Lester-Garland, Mr. and Mrs. Percy Attride, Mr. and Mrs. E.P. Stratford, Mr. A.V. Turner, Miss M.E. Rose, Mr. C.L. Pike, assisted by Mr. W.J. Breach, provided the incidental music.


   At a successful social held in St. Paul’s Parish Room, on Tuesday evening, by invitation of the staff of St. Paul’s Schools, there was a games tournament, prizes being awarded to Mrs. Ivory, Mrs. Teakle, Miss White, Miss Wakefield, and Messrs. Ivory, Knapp, Mitchell, and Exton.


The “Wokingham Phoenix” Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites held their social evening on Wednesday in the Wesleyan Schoolroom by permission of the Wesley Guild. Bro. W.P. Tucker, C.R., was in the chair, and introduced the deputation, Bro. Cave, who gave an address on the work of the Order. An excellent programme of music was rendered by the Misses D. Lammas, G. Brown, E. Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Trowell, Miss Lester and Mr. Welch, Miss M. Webb being the accompanist.


  At the Wokingham Borough Police-court yesterday (Friday), Lilian Cowdery, aged 25, a domestic servant, was charged with attempted suicide. The girl was seen by a policeman to jump into a pond. She was rescued, and afterwards told her sister that a tramp tried to murder her by throwing her into a pond. The accused was remanded until today (Saturday).

Sat 2nd May


   At the annual meeting of the local Habitation of the Primrose League Lieutenant-Colonel J.B. Walker (ruling Councillor) presided. The chairman announced that the Habitation consisted of 17 knights, 33 dames, and 320 associates. The numbers appeared to be smaller than last year, but Swallowfield had started a league of their own. The following officers were elected: Ruling Councillor, Lieutenant-Colonel J.B. Walker; Dame President, Mrs. Murdoch; Hon. Secretary, Miss Annesley; Treasurer, Mr. E. Robinson. General and Mrs. Fasken’s names were added to the Committee. An address was given by Mr. Thornton, and during the evening Miss Bennett sang “The Union Jack.” Mr. Albert Lock gave a conjuring and ventriloquial performance. Messrs. Collis, Davidson and Painter acted as Stewards.


   On Wednesday evening a recruiting concert, under the title of a Bohemian Concert, was held in the Drill Hall under the auspices of the “H” (Wokingham) Company. 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment. Colonel O. Pearce Serocold, Commanding Officer of the Battalion presided. The Hall was filled and a large number of ladies were present. The arrangements, staging etc. were capitally managed by a Committee consisting of Sergeants Morrish, Hughes, Lance-Sergeant Knapp, Corpoals Lane, Barrett, White, Barker, Ford and Potter, also Privates Hurdwell and Webb. The officers present were Captain and Adjutant Shape, Captain H.U.H. Thorne, Lieutenants Attride and Holcroft, and 2nd Lieutenant Faley.

   Catering for the large assembly was ably carried out by Mr. Allnatt, who has recently taken over the Wokingham Brewery premises in Broad Street. During the evening the chairman explained the terms of Territorial enlistment, and said that the Company was in reality over strength, but they required recruits to keep up their position. He presented to Private F. Poulter the efficiency and long service medal. Private Poulter had, for twelve years, attended camp, and had passed as efficient every year. A capital programme was carried through successfully. Miss L. Callingham acting as accompanist. Songs were sung by Misses K. Woodley and E. Bright, and Messrs. O’Callaghan, S.L. Mills, E. Sims, and W. Hyde; the Wokingham Old Boys’ Brigade gave hand-bell selections, while Lieutenants Holcroft and Attride gave an amusing sketch, ” A sister to assist her.” Admission was free, by ticket, and many were unable to obtain admission, those having sons or relatives in the Company being most successful in gaining entrance.


   Messrs. Trollope announce that they have sold by private treaty the freehold residential property “Manor House,” Barkham, extending to 61 acres.


   The large dining-room was crowded on Tuesday with a representative company on the occasion of the sale by auction by Mr. Arthur Ayres, auctioneer, of Reading, of the properties and shares belonging to the estate of the late Mr. George and Mrs. Mary Ann Grace, the former of whom carried on for many years past successfully the business of a wool stapler and fellmonger at Loddon Bridge House. Wokingham. There was keen competition for the whole of the lots which were sold, as the following prices will show:-

   Loddon Bridge House, with fellmonger’s factory and grounds of 7½ acres; started at £650, and eventually knocked down at £1,200.

 The meadow adjoining Lot 2, and comprising an area of 5¼ acres, commenced at £200, and eventually sold for £360.

   The pair of villa residences, Lot 3, let and producing £31 4s. per annum; started at £400, and sold for £550.

   Lot 4, the allotments and cottage at Hurst, with an area of half and acre: started at £80 and changed hands at £100.

   The parcel of freehold pasture land, forming Lot 5, situate at Hurst, close to Sindlesham Halt, with an area of over half an acre, eventually made £45 ater bidding had commenced at £25.

   Lot 6, a similar plot, with an area of over three quarters of an acre: bidding started at £40, and was sold at £65.

   Lot 7, a similar plot, with an area of over an acre, started at £65, and changed hands at £85.

   Lot 8, a similar plot: bidding started at £60, and eventually the property was sold for £110.

   Lot 9, Nos. 34, 36 and 38, Rose-street, Wokingham, 3 freehold dwelling-houses, let and producing £44 10s. per annum: bidding started at £300 and they were sold at £450.

   For the 50 shares in Colebrook and Co., Ltd. the most spirited bidding of the day was experienced, after an initial bid of £1 1s. these changed hands at 35s. per share.

   The 59 shares in the Reading Cemetery Co. changed hands at £5 per share.

   The freehold dwelling house, No. 92 Peach-street, Wokingham was bought in at £145, but we understand that this will be sold very shortly.

Sat 9th May


The Marchioness of Downshire, in the presence of a large company of residents of the town and district on Wednesday afternoon formally opened a grand bazaar in the Drill Hall, Wokingham in aid of a new motor fire engine, which it is proposed to purchase for the borough. The Wokingham Fire Brigade, which has been in existence nearly 40 years, has done valuable and efficient work in the past with their horse manual but it was felt that it should become more up to date and secure a motor fire engine, which will enable the brigade to cope more thoroughly with any outbreak which may occur in the town and ever increasing populous district of Wokingham Without.

   The Marquis of Downshire, who is High Steward of the Borough and also Chief Officer of the Fire Brigade, started a subscription list with £100, and of the £725 required upwards of £644 had been raised by private subscription before Wednesday’s final effort to secure another £100.

   So excellent was the response to the appeal made by a committee of the Brigade, that a Dennis patent turbine motor fire engine was ordered from the makers at Guildford, and this will soon be delivered. The engine is from 40 to 45 horsepower, has a current of from 200 to 250, with 1,200 feet of hose and a 60 feet jet, and is capable of travelling 30 miles an hour. As stated the price is £725.

   On Wednesday a new sister engine belonging to the Farnborough Fire Brigade was brought over by Chief Officer Collins, and it was on view in the Drill Hall yard. Previous to the opening of the bazaar members of the Wokingham Brigade were taken round the town on it in charge of the Captain (Lord Downshire).

   The following are the members of the Wokingham Fire Brigade all of whom were present in their brass helmets and smart uniforms:—

Chief Officer, The Marquis of Downshire; Deputy Chief Officer, F. Caiger; Lieutenant, A. Goswell; hon. Surgeon, Dr. T.B. Bokenham; engineers, F.G. Martin, W.B. Martin, and F. Knight; firemen, W.R. Brant, F. Dearlove, G.A. Brown, H.J. Painter, R. Herring, E. Hawkins, and the Earl of Hillsborough; hon. Secretary, Fireman Harold Watts, 7 Broad Street, Wokingham.

   The opening ceremony took place at two o’clock, and among those present were: The Marquis and Marchioness of Downshire, the hon. Mrs and Miss Peel, Major W.K. Bunting (chief officer of the Camberley Fire Brigade), Lieut. Colonel Fox (chief officer of London Salvage Corps), Miss Gregorie, Mr. P. Sale, C.C., the Rev. H.M. Walter, the Rev. J. Stratton, Mr. E. Watts, Fireman Harold Watts (hon. secretary), Chief Officer Collins (Farnborough Fire Brigade), Dr. T.B. Bokenham, Mr. A.J.S. Kennett (Reading, etc.

   The members of the Wokingham and Farnborough Fire Brigades were lined up on each side of the gaily-decorated platform.

   Fireman Harold Watts announced apologies, with wishes of success to the bazaar, from the Mayor and Mayoress of Wokingham (Mr. And Mrs. H. Mylne), Lord Londesborough (President of the National Fire Brigades Union), Mr. Sydney A. Hankey, Mr. And Mrs. Howard Palmer, Lady Bective, Mr. John Walter, Mr. S. B. Joel, Captain Godsal, Colonel Seabrook (Chairman of the Council of the National Fire Brigades Union), Chief Officer Halls (Windsor Fire Brigade), Mr. And Mrs. E.M. Sturges, and the Deputy-Mayoress (Mrs. W.T. Martin). Mr. Watts announced that £644 of the £725 required had been subscribed, and they were hoping that as a result of that bazaar the remaining sum of £100 or more would be realised. (Applause.)

   The Marquis of Downshire said he was there in two capacities—as High Steward of the Borough of Wokingham and as Captain of the Fire Brigade,—and he was very proud to hold both those positions, and he hoped he would always be able to serve the true interests of the inhabitants. Applause.) He wished to most cordially thank all the organisers, including the stallholders and helpers, and all those who had subscribed to the stalls for that bazaar: the residents of Wokingham, Wokingham Without, and those in the surrounding villages for their subscriptions and help to the motor fire engine fund; to those in charge of the refreshment stall, particularly Miss Cooper and Miss Rose; to Mr. Medcalf and his committee for organising the side shows; to Mr. Maidment and the teachers of the Palmer Schools for arranging the morris dances; to Mrs. H.B. Hall and party and Mr. F Ayers and party for arranging the concerts; to Mrs. S. Butler (conductor) and the members of the Wokingham Red Cross Prize Band; and to all those who had assisted in any way. He could only hope that they would be able to get sufficient money to pay for their new motor fire engine, and then the members of the Brigade would endeavour to make themselves proficient with the gift that had been kindly provided. He wished to thank Colonel Fox for kindly volunteering to come there that day in his smart Brigade uniform. He should also like to thank the Captain of the Farnborough Fire Brigade for kindly coming over with his men and showing the Wokingham people the kind of engine the local Brigade shortly hoped to have. (Applause). He took that opportunity on behalf of the Brigade, of thanking for all the great kindness and help they had rendered them. (Applause.)

   Mr. P. Sale said that as County Councillor for that borough, and also as a member of the Wokingham Town Council, it gave him great pleasure to be present that afternoon. He had known the Brigade since its formation, now nearly 40 years ago and he was very pleased to see what a great step forward it had made. (Applause.) When they came to think of it, it was rather out of date when they received a call from some five miles or so in the country to have to hunt about in order to find horses. He was sure they were all pleased to know that a good portion of the sum had already been provided, which would enable the motor engine to be purchased, and so enable the Brigade to become more and more efficient when called to a fire. The men certainly ought to be efficient under such an excellent Chief Officer, and he was sure the town had reason to be proud of the Brigade. (Applause).

   He remembered that when the Brigade was first formed under their old friend, Mr. John Briginshaw, who he was glad to know was still alive, they went to Chiswick and created surprise by carrying off the chief honours at the competition there. The inhabitants of Wokingham most cordially sympathised with the Brigade in the efforts they were making to secure the new motor engine, and he should like to acknowledge the debt which the townspeople owed to the members who gave up their business and pleasure at the call of duty. (Applause.). They set them all an excellent example, and he wished the Brigade every success. (Applause.)

   Deputy Chief Officer F. Caiger and Lieutenant A. Goswell, on behalf of the members of the Brigade, tendered their grateful thanks to Lord Downshire for all the kindness he had shown them in the past, and for the great assistance he had rendered in raising a fund for their new motor engine. The latter remarked that Lord Downshire’s household had contributed £160 to the fund. They knew that when their Captain took the matter up it was bound to be a success. (Applause.)

   Little Miss and Master Bokenham having presented to the Marchioness of Downshire a choice bouquet of orchids, supplied by Messrs. E.H. Davidson and Co., of Twyford.

   The Marchioness said she felt it a great honour to have been asked to open that bazaar. She hoped it would be a great success, because she knew how earnestly and thoroughly they had all worked to try and make it so, and what a splendid cause it was for. She had great pleasure in declaring the bazaar open. (Applause.)

   Colonel Fox, Chief Officer of the London Salvage Corps, in thanking Lady Downshire for opening the bazaar, said he thought Wokingham was a very lucky town. They possessed a smart Brigade and were very fortunate to have such charming ladies, headed by the Marchioness of Downshire, to assist at a bazaar of that kind on behalf of funds for a new motor engine. Of course it was for the good of the townspeople generally to have as efficient Brigade, and they were extremely fortunate in having as the Chief Officer the Marquis of Downshire, who not only knew his work, but did it well. (Applause.)

   He was recognised in the National Fire Brigade Union as an officer who took a very great interest in the work. (Hear, hear.) Colonel Fox also paid a tribute to the efficiency of the Brigade and thanked Fireman Harold Watts (the hon. Secretary) for all he had done.

   The sale then commenced. Concerts took place during the afternoon and evening and the total takings of the whole event amounted to £124 1s 3½d.

Sat 6th June

Mr W Chambers, Sergeant-at-Mace died in Australia. (Sydney Daily Telegraph 28th April) Taralga. William Chambers who arrived recently from England died suddenly at the Goodbron Hospital today. The late Mr W Chambers was well-known as a caterer at Wokingham and Wellington College. He served in the Volunteers and retired with the rank of sergeant. He was, for about 20 years a Sergeant at Mace and Sidesman at St. Paul’s Church. He had advised his friends of his intention of returning home.


Bovril, Limited, are continuing the payment of full wages to the relatives and dependents of all men in their employment, married or single, who are called up as Reservists or Territorials.

Captain Godsal, of Haines Hill, has given all his horses to the Government, and has also offered the use of his stables.

 The whole of the 4th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Territorials) on Wednesday morning volunteered en masse for service abroad.


No appeal has ever touched “the hearts of the British people”—to use the Prince of Wales’ words—with such ready success as that made on behalf of the National Relief Fund. The first day brought in a quarter of a million sterling—a striking tribute to the generous sympathy which is being manifested on behalf of those distressed by the havoc of war. But, although the response has been so gratifying, much more money will be needed.

   The fund is in every sense a national fund, principally because it is a great advantage to have one central organisation to deal with distress throughout the whole country. Experience shows that when such funds are raised and administered locally, it sometimes happens that the wealthiest, and therefore the least necessitous districts, obtain disproportionate relief, and the poorer parts of the country suffer by comparison Besides, no overlapping is possible when all the money is sent to , and administered by, one fund for the entire kingdom.

   For this reason, arrangements have been made for the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association and the Royal Patriotic Fund to co-operate with the National Relief Fund. All monies sent, therefore, will be used in the best possible way, in relief of distress arising from the war, both among the families of our soldiers and sailors and among industrial workers. To avoid waste, the help given by the National Relief Fund is closely co-ordinated with the work of the Cabinet Committee that deals with all forms of effort to relieve distress.


   Ordinary telegrams for places abroad, and radiograms, however addressed, can only be accepted at sender’s risk and if written in plain English or French. In the case of telegrams for Switzerland and Turkey, French only is allowed. All telegrams will be subject to censorship, and must bear the sender’s name at the end of the text, otherwise they are liable to be stopped until the name is notified by paid telegram. Any words subsequently added by paid inland telegram must, as a matter of course, also be paid for at the relative Foreign or Colonial rate.

   Registered abbreviated addresses will not be accepted either as the addresses of telegrams or as the names of senders. Ordinary telegrams in code and cipher or without text are prohibited.

Sat. 22nd Aug


   On Thursday night a meeting was held in the Town Hall, Wokingham, when Colonel Colebrooke Carter explained the object of Lord Kitchener’s scheme. The Mayor of Wokingham was in the chair, supported by Lord Haversham, Colonel Jones, Major Adam,  Mr. E.M. Sturges, and Mr. S.A. Hankey.

   The Mayor said the meeting was to enable Colonel Carter To give some information as to the calling up of the extra men.

    Colonel Carter said they were engaged in a great conflict and Lord Kitchener had asked for more men. It was the duty of every man and woman to do all that was possible to enable him to have a force at his disposal. It was of vital importance to get a second Army together, drilled and ready to fight. It was arranged that a recruiting committee should be formed to assist the Recruiting Officer. In Wokingham a sub-committee would be focussed. It was proposed to have a house-to-house call, and so find out all those men who were eligible for service. All who were physically fit were eligible. Men must be between the ages of 19 and 30. Separation allowance would be made for wives. Lord Kitchener had made up his mind to get a second army together strong to protect us in all difficulties. It was a way of life and death, and under these circumstances the nation could not refuse to respond to this appleal. (Applause.)

   Lord Haversham said that, thanks to our splendid Navy, the expeditionary force had been successfully landed to assist our allies. The Territorials and Yeomanry had been of great assistance to our Regular troops. The Territorial ranks were full, so those who wished to join Kitchener’s force must be quick about it. Mr. de Vitré had come forward to take names of recruits at the Drill Hall,

   Admiral Eustace referred to Oliver Cromwell’s well-trained body of men, and said Lord Kitchener wanted to get a body of men together like that. It was the duty of all to come forward.

   Colonel Jones said they were fighting an aristocratic clique of bullies who bullied their men. The present was a just war.

   Councillor Sale, in proposing a vote of thanks to the speakers, said they lived in a land of liberty. They were undertaking a gigantic task in the interest of peace. The Germans were not a liberty people. They were excellent people, and those he had met did not want to be at war with England but they were not at liberty. The Government were acting in defence of liberty. He regarded the call to arms as a most sacred call, and all had, he considered, a certain obligation to obey. He hoped the County of Berkshire would answer the call.


   In view of the present war crisis, a short account of this local fund should prove interesting to many, especially to those who subscribed. The latter have a right to know how the three trustees have carried out their trust during the past thirteen years, and as I am the only trustee left in the town it is obviously my duty to enlighten both subscribers and the public on the subject.

   The fund was started in October, 1899, by the late Captain Arthur Hill M.P., and a Committee consisting of the Mayor (Alderman W. White), Rev. R. de Muller Nixon, Messrs. G.A. Belcher, E. Garrard, E. Ifould, F. Martin, G.T. Phillips, H.G. Powell, with Messrs A.T. Heelas and F.P. Hatt as Hon. Secretaries.

   The first step taken was to start a fund to assist local widows and orphans of our soldiers and sailors who lost their lives in the Transvaal War. Feeling in the town at the time was strongly against so much money being collected and sent away to the large national funds, so this local fund was started to give immediate assistance to those living amongst us who did not appear to be satisfactorily covered by the other funds. The idea proved a popular one, especially among the poorer classes, as was proved by the generous way in which they supported it through the medium of collection boxes, etc. On November 14th, 1899, a grand patriotic concert was given in the Drill Hall in aid of the fund. H.R.H. Prince Christian, who was also a subscriber, supported by all the gentry of the neighbourhood, was present, and the concert proved a great success financially. Private subscriptions were raised to defray the expenses of the concert in order that the whole of the profits might be given to the fund. In addition, about fifty collection boxes and a few subscription lists were distributed, and when the fund was closed in 1901 there was a balance in the bank of £201 8s. 4d., all the accounts being duly audited by Mr. J.J. Evans in October 22nd of that year.

   It so happened that our married local soldiers and sailors came through the war well, and there was not a single claim on the fund. Then arose the question as to its disposal. Seeing the money was collected conditionally for the distribution to local widows and orphans, the Committee did not feel justified in handing it over to any outside fund, as it would have been lost to the town, and at the same time would not have fulfilled the conditions given at the time of collection.

   It was then decided to appoint three trustees: Messrs Ifould, G.T. Phillips and A.T. Heelas, to manage the fund, with Mr. James may as honorary legal advisor. The money was promptly withdrawn from the bank and invested with the result that we now have a fund starting at £334 0s. 0d., which I trust will be utilised for relieving the families of our brave soldiers and sailors who are gallantly fighting for their King and Country. A meeting will be shortly held to elect a new trustee in the place of Mr. E. Ifould, who has resigned, and to make arrangements for the distribution of the fund.

                                                                        (Signed) Arthur T. Heelas. Aug. 12th 1914.

Sat 29th Aug


   At a meeting held in Friday of last week, the Mayor presiding, the movement of enrolling “loyal citizens and inhabitants” so as to guard life and property was carried a stage further. Members had given in their names as being willing to act as a special police reserve. The Mayor was supported by Admiral Eustace and General Fasken. He pointed out the need of home defence in the matter of spies and spoke of the value of drill. He had asked General Fasken to take command. General Fasken who said he had served for forty years and had again volunteered-(Applause)-accepted the position. He said the special police reserve were not sworn in until they were wanted. Mr. Garry enquired if the men were to drill and prepare as a kind of irregular force. Admiral Eustace said their duty would be to assist the police. It was decided to hold the first drill on Langborough Recreation Ground on Wednesday afternoon.


   On Monday the bread tickets under Bromley’s Charity were distributed by the trustees. The usual St. Bartholomew’s Day sermon was preached at All Saint’s Church in connection with this charity.


   The fete fixed for Wednesday last week has been postponed. The new motor fire engine is expected to arrive at one o’clock on Monday.


   It is advertised that the annual show of the Wokingham and District Agricultural Association, which was to take place at Hines Hill on the 7th October, is for this year abandoned.

Sat 5th Sept


   The Bishop has licensed the Rev. Ernest George Drummond, M.A., to the curacy of St. Paul, Wokingham.


   Wheat is the crop of the year here, and spring oats, where sown early, are good, but on heavy land, and where late sown, a failure. Barley a fair crop and yield very good but very indifferent sample. Roots are a good plant, and, if rain should come, will be a good crop. Most farms have finished harvest, having bad seed weather. The hay crop is light but of good quality.


   Through the kindness of Mr. Cusack, Shute End House, has been lent for Belgian refugees. Furniture has been lent by a number of the residents of Wokingham, and the house has been thoroughly cleaned by a band of willing woman helpers. The carting of the furniture also has been kindly undertaken by Messrs. Osgood, Laird, Herring, Bullock and Ayers. The following ladies are serving on the Committees:-Miss Hankey, Miss Sturges, Lady Haversham, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Eustace, Mrs. Durbridge, Mrs. Ardizzon?? With Misses Handy and Barry as joint secretaries. Mdlle. Luitzen is managing the household.


   The Miniature Range is crowded on Monday and Thursday evenings with men who are learning to shoot while the Terrace Room is used for drill, which is being enthusiastically taken up. On Monday night 700 rounds of ammunition were used.

Sat 12th Sept


   There was a large gathering in the Drill Hall on Saturday evening, to stimulate recruiting for Lord Kitchener’s new army. The Mayor presided, and was supported by Lord Haversham. Mr. E. Gardner, M.P., Mr. Boyd Carpenter, Mr. Philip Sale, Mr. W.T. Martin, Mr. Vincent Craig, Colonel White, General Fasken, Captain Dalgleish, Admiral Eustace, Mr. Edgcumbe, etc. A stirring and eloquent speech was made by Mr. Boyd Carpenter, who quickly gained the ear of the large assembly and was constantly applauded. The Member for East Berks also spoke, as did Mr. P. Sale. Lord Haversham proposed a vote of thanks to the speakers.


   The annual sale of work in aid of the C.M.S. was held in St. Paul’s Parish Room on Thursday afternoon. A large variety of women’s and children’s garments made by the St. Paul’s Girls’ Sewing Class, as well as shirts for men and articles suitable for sending to the Red Cross Society, were on sale, and a brisk trade was done.

 Sat 26th Sept

Lady Eustace died.

Lt. Frederick de Vere Allfrey, 9th Lancers, only son of Frederick Vere Allfrey and grandson of Mrs Bruce of Arborfield Court, was killed aged 22. He was shot by a wounded German after he had dismounted to extract a lance from a wounded comrade’s leg.

Sat 17th Oct


   The Drill Hall was crowded on Wednesday evening, when an excellent concert was given in aid of the local patriotic fund. Throughout the greatest interest was maintained by the crowded audience and appreciation for the excellent numbers presented was shown by loud applause.

 The programme was as follows:-

March, Selection, The Wokingham Orchestra: Song and Chorus, “England’s Battle Hymn” (F. Sydney Smith); Dr. Nash: Song, “Queen of Nations,”; Miss Olive Crowe: Piano Solo, “Chanson Triste” (Tchaikovsky); Major Adam: Songs, (a) “The Two Grenadiers” (in French) and (b) “I’ll Sing Thee Songs of Araby” (Fred Clay); Mr.Sydney Barraclough: Recitation, “Lasca” (Frank Desprez); Miss Nora Butler: Songs (a) “See, Love, I Bring Thee Flowers” (Frank Lambert), and (b) “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal” (Roger Quinter); Mr. E. Croft: Song “Mother Machree”; Madame Ellen Heron: Violin Solo, “Mazurka” (Mlynarski); Miss Marjorie Bower: Song “Up From Somerset” (Sanderson); Mr. C. Powell Eastbury: Song “Awake Spring” (Montague Phillips); Miss Dorothy Wescott: Song “Tis Jolly to Hunt” (Sterndale Bennett); Dr. Nash: Monologue; Mr. C. Powell Eastbury: “Your King and Country Need You” (Paul Rubens);

   Madame Ellen Heron: An amusing one-act farce “Blatherwick’s Diplomacy” by J.B. Trenwith, was produced under the direction of Mr. Sydney Barraclough. The characters were:-

Adolphus Blatherwick, an aspiring but impecunious dramatist         Major Adam

Mrs. Eliza Blatherwick, his wife                                                         Mrs H.B. Hall

Gertrude, their daughter, a suffragette                                               Miss Crowe

Arthur Chetwynd, her suitor                                                              Mr. McEwan

Gwendoline Mary, the cook                                                               Miss OliveCrowe

John Henry Stubbs, a broker’s man                                                    Mr. Ernest Targett

Aunt Matilda (a little deaf)                                                                 Miss Dorothy Sale

Edmund Fitzclarence, manager of the Thespian Theatre                    Mr. E. Croft

   The scene: A morning room in Blatherwick’s house.

            “God Save the King” was sung by Madame Ellen heron, the well-known local favourite. Mr. Staniland gratuiteously printed the programmes and advertised the concert and Mr. P. Sale very kindly sent plants for decoration.


   On Monday evening a meeting of special constables was held in the county Police Station. Supt. Goddard explained that it was proposed to swear in special constables for the county this year, and not for the Borough of Wokingham alone. Admiral Eustace said that the county had responded with a large number of special police reserves. An Act had now been passed which enabled them to swear in special constables, and the County Council had decided to swear in 2,000 to act anywhere. They had heard from the War Office that Wokingham was one of the proclaimed areas, which, although it did not mean it was under Martial Law, it was getting on that way. Bridge guarding was most important. They did not want soldiers to do what they could do themselves. There were 50 or 60 Germans in Wokingham and district, and they must be ready.


   On Sunday afternoon the Fire Brigade received a call from Everseley and within 14 minutes were at the scene of the fire. A store in the occupation of Mr. Dearlove was burnt down, but the efforts of the brigade prevented other damage.

Sat 24th Oct


   A matinee was given at the above theatre on Tuesday in aid of the Belgian refugees. The well-known bass, Mr. Berry, sang “The Battle Hymn,” assisted by a chorus, and later the “Bugle Call”. The directors have much pleasure in handing over £5 to the fund.


   The East Berks Women’s Liberal Association have made and sent to the Belgian Relief Fund 125 under-garments, and a large bale of warm clothing. The Hon. secretary, Miss L. Kemp, has received the following message from M. Navaux, secretary of the fund: “Please convey my sincere and heartfelt thanks to all the members of your Association who have contributed towards this gift. My countrymen, I am sure, will always feel the deepest gratitude for all that has been done for them in this time of trouble, by the British public.


   A social evening and whist drive was held in the Drill Hall on Wednesday evening in aid of the Tobacco fund for the 1st and 2nd Battn. Royal Berks Regiment at the front. There was a good attendance. Eighteen tables were occupied and the prize-winners were: Ladies: Miss Taylor, Miss Smith and Miss Belcher; Gentlemen: Messrs Stacey, Spencer and Hebbes. The prizes and refreshments were supplied by a committee of ladies.

Sat 14th Nov


   The result of the collection by the Mayoress (Mrs. Mylne) of Wokingham for the Queen’s “Work for Women” Fund was as follows: By sale of flowers, £20 11s. 9d.; by collection in places of worship, £19 7s. 10d.; by card collection, £56 0s. 5d.; total, £96. The Mayoress wishes to thank all those who so kindly helped to produce this very gratifying result.

An auction sale will be held today (Saturday) at the Small Town Hall, Reading, by Messrs. Nicholas, the whole gross proceeds of which they will hand over to the Prince of Wales’s fund. The Mayor will open the sale at 12 o’clock.


   Ald. H.C. Mylne has been chosen as Mayor and Chief Magistrate at Wokingham for the ensuing year, this being the sixth occasion on which that gentleman has been elected to fulfil the duties which fall to the holder of these important positions.

Sat 21st Nov


   On Wednesday evening the Wokingham branch of the Young Helpers’ League Union and Wesley Guild held a lantern lecture in the Schoolroom, Rose-street. Mr. Kidd presided, and Miss Moxey, of the National Children’s Home gave an address, illustrated by lantern slides.


   The East Berks Women’s Liberal Association has this week despatched 20 comforts for the soldiers, together with a large box of bandages, and old linen to Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild. They have also made 89 garments and collected a large bale of warm clothing for the Belgian Relief Fund to be sent to refugees in Holland.


   An advertisement states that an exhibition of water-colours of the battlefields of Belgium before the war, by Miss E. Fellowes, will be held in aid of the above fund at The Studio, Gipsyside, Wokingham, on the 26th, 27th and 28th inst.

C. E. T.S. (Temperance Society)

Mr. H. Ferris Pike, Diocesan Secretary of the C.E.T.S., gave an interesting lantern lecture and explained the nature of the “emergency pledge” of total abstinence during the war, in the Church House on Tuesday evening. The President (the Rev. B. Long) presided over a good attendance. Miss Voss was at the piano and Mr. E. Paice worked the lantern.


   On Friday last week some 45 special constables were sworn in before Mr. H.C. Mylne and Mr. L.R. Erskine. Superintendent Goddard stated that each would be given a warrant card, which he must always carry, and they would also be served out with a staff, whistle and badge, which were the property of the county. Although they had sworn in for the county, he did not think they would be called up outside the borough. Mr. Mylne said he had to thank them in previous years for holding themselves in readiness, but this year it was different. He had to thank them for drilling so ardently for the past three months, and also for the excellent patrol duty they had done, which was very valuable work. One could say how much mischief had been averted. They had, unfortunately, a large number of the enemy in their midst, who would undoubtedly strike sooner or later. He was afraid they had a great deal of work before them, but he was sure they would do their duty in no niggardly manner. Mr. Erskine said he was glad to see such a large number present. It did one good to see so many come forward in such a patriotic spirit. He had been s magistrate in two other counties, but he had not seen a better force of police.

   The following were sworn in: Messrs. A. Wardlaw, A.T. Heelas, H.T. Wallis, V. Craig, C.W. Rawlings, T.B. Pither, A.E. Moreland, E.P.W.A. Adlam, W. Liddiard, L.F. Morres, A. Price, B. Reading, H.T. Blake, E. Garnett, J. Butler, T. Butcher, W. Knight, C. Townsend, E. Milton, S. Barraclough, W.A. Wilson, F. Staniland, G. Smale, G. Hall, V. Fulcher, S.V. Maris, J.W. Talbot, D. Herring, G.E. Loader, J.A. Alderidge, W. Eggleton, A. Jennings, M.F. Mitchell, W. Teakle, F.A. Palmer, W.H. Barry, J.H. Boney, T. Herring, E.R. Thatcher, C.F. Mason, F.G. Fisher, F.N.A. Garry, A. Rasey, W.A. Fifield.



Combined operations were undertaken by sea and land against the German troops and fortified places on the Belgian coast, on Tuesday. Two allied squadrons were engaged. One bombarded Zeebrugge, doing severe damage to the harbour-works and locks and setting fire to many buildings. The other squadron co-operated with a land force which attacked the German positions near Nieuport. Two German batteries were silenced. The allied squadron finally withdrew, having one torpedo-boat seriously damaged. German submarines attacked the squadron which bombarded Zeebrugge.



Extract from the letter of an officer at the front, written on November 14, 1914

We probably have a couple of days’ rest in billets, which is delightful after a rather hard three weeks in the trenches. When there, it is impossible to wash more than one’s hands and face occasionally, and of course it is impossible to get one’s things dry. It is really horrid, but we get used to it so quickly that we hardly notice it.

   But what has happened to recruiting in England? It must not stop. Men are wanted, and will be wanted for months, as it is certain that as time goes on they will want to be relieved in the fighting-line. We all hope for a change in this line soon. If only they could come out here for a bit they would recruit at once I feel sure; at least all who consider themselves men. Perhaps they think they will not be wanted. That is wrong entirely. It really nearly makes one sick when you see men out here in the trenches and on the alert for hours together in the most awful weather, then to pick up the “Daily Mail” and see that 20,000 men have watched a football match somewhere. It is disheartening to the men. And to give such people peace and prosperity others far more worthy are laying down their lives willingly. Something will have to be done to stir them up if they cannot do it themselves.


   The coming of winter, if it has lessened the active pressure of the enemy upon the Allies’ front in Flanders, has also made the lot of our men more difficult. The condition of the trenches, says the “eye-witness,” became after the first fall of snow “wretched beyond description.” The men have to stand in half-frozen slush. “The problem of how to enable them to keep their feet warm and dry is now engaging serious attention.”

   The artillery of the Allies has established a well-defined superiority at certain points on the battlefront

   Ypres is, and has been since the battle-front was drawn before it, in the hands of the allies. No German has succeeded, except perhaps by subterfuge, in entering the town or even in getting near it. “The Allies’ position there is stronger than it has ever been.”


   Along the battle-front in Belgium and France the enemy’s guns were violently active on Sunday. Their fire was especially directed upon the unhappy cities that have already suffered so heavily. Ypres, Reims and Soissons. Ypres was in flames—its belfry, its Cathedral, its markets, and many of its houses. It paid the price that Germany exacts for successful resistance.

   Paris reported “a very warm day” in the Argonne, where the enemy made “a number of very hot attacks” without success.

Sat 28th Nov.


   On Wednesday a successful sale of work was held in the Baptist Sunday Schoolroom in aid of the funds. The sale was opened by Mrs. R. Jackson of Reading, who was welcomed by the Rev. E.E. Smith. A bouquet was presented to Mrs. Jackson by two little sons of Mr. G.A. Pigg. Mr. J. Watts proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs. Jackson, and Mr. M. Blake seconded. The stalls were tastefully arranged and held many useful articles, and were presided over by Mesdames Moorcock, Kirkby, Blake, C. Brant, Medcalf, Butler, Player, and Griffith. Misses. Cordery, Smith (2), and Blake. During the evening various amusements were provided. The concerts were arranged by Miss Lilian Butler and the living pictures by Miss C. Sale. The following assisted in the musical programme, viz., Mrs. G. Hall, Miss M. Kirkby, Miss N. Butler, Mr. H.B. Hall, Mr. P. Sale, Miss Marshall, Mr. Croft. Miss G. Loader, Master C. Brown, Master O. Reynolds, Miss Golding, Miss E. Pither, and Mr. C. Grigg. A dart-board with the Kaiser’s head for a bull’s-eye was largely patronised. Gramophone selections were given by Mr. F. Staniland.


   On Wednesday a successful whist drive and social took place in the Drill Hall, organised by Mesdames W. Martin (Drill Hall), White and Brant. Mr. D. Herring acted as M.C. The object of the effort was to raise a fund to supply the local (H) Company Royal Berks Territorials, now on active service at home, with tobacco and cigarettes. Prizes were given by Mr. T.E. Ellison, Mr. W.T. Martin, Messrs Heelas, Sons, and Co. (Wokingham), Mr. W. Bodle, Mr. Snell, Mr. Herring, and Mrs. E. Brant. Refreshments were the gifts of the following: Mrs. W. White, Mrs. W. White jun., Mrs. Lovelock, Mrs. Barrow, Mrs. A. Brant, Mrs. D. Herring, Mrs. Searle, Mrs. Beckenham, Mrs. Harrison, and Mr. E. Painter. Five pounds was the amount raised by the effort.


   At St. Paul’s Church on Sunday evening at 5.45 a memorial service was held in memory of those in the parish who had fallen in the war. The Rector (Rev. H.M. Walter) conducted the service, assisted by the Rev. E.G. Drummond


   Red Lodge, London Road, has been furnished for Belgians, and a party of five ladies and four gentlemen from Brussels, Louvain and Antwerp are now residing there. A committee of ladies, with Miss Vera Robinson as hon. secretary, have been responsible for the arrangements.

Sat 26th Dec


   On Monday evening a concert was given in the Embrook Sunday School, as an entertainment to the members of the “D” Company, Leicestershire, now stationed in this neighbourhood. Mr. England-Croft, assisted by the Rev. E.G. Drummond, had arranged a capital programme, which was augmented by a number of items, contributed by the soldiers. The room was crowded and the concert was musch appreciated. The civilians taking part were Messrs. S. Barraclough, England-Croft, E.T. Lunn, McEwan, E. Targett, W.B. Webster Binfield), Webster (of Reading), W. White, S. Adams and the Rev. E. G. Drummond. The Major of the Leicestershires, who was present, expressed his thanks in suitable terms. The accompanists during the evening were Mr. England-Croft and one of the military visitors.


   Distribution of “Bull” beef and bread was made on Monday, St. Thomas’s Day, from the Rose Hotel. The trustees and helpers afterwards dined at “The Rose.”


   The children of St. Paul’s Sunday School were entertained to tea in the Parish Room on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. This was followed by a distribution of prizes and an entertainment.


   The children of St. Paul’s Day Schools were entertained on Wednesday, the infants at 3, and the older children at 5 p.m. Each child received a present as well as a bun and an orange.

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2 Responses to Wokingham 1914

  1. Andrew Radgick says:

    Mr E. P. Stratford, one of the performers listed in the DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE, was Ernest Stratford. He died of wounds at Bourne End on 20th April 1915, and is buried in Wokingham (All Saints) Churchyard. His name also appear on the Roll of Honour at Crowthorne.

  2. Elizabeth Tucker says:

    R G Attride was a pupil at the school where I am Librarian. I have a folder tracing his history through the school, containing information from our old school magazines. He was quite a character, and so featured quite a lot! He also was one of the founders of the Old Boy’s Association that still exists here, and so he kept in touch after he’d left the school. I also have details of his military service, and an account of his death from regimental records and history books. And then, on your marvellous website, I find mentions of him in between times. He was a keen member of the Debating Society at School, a keen sportsman and also took part in many dramatic performances. It’s not a surprise to find him involved in community events. It’s nice to be able to fill in some more details about his life. Many thanks.

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