Scotland Hill House Group:

at Robert Godden’s

Thursday 14th (not 7th) December, then Thursday 11th January


Robin Lane House Group:

Diana Middleditch—hosted at Muriel and John Mason’s

Wednesday 13th December  Instead of bringing pieces of prose can each of you choose a favourite Carol and maybe say why, and we can also look at a reading that appears in all the Gospels and try and detect the different approaches.  Hopefully we can take time to sing the chosen Carols probably unaccompanied.

Then meeting Wednesday 3rd January 2018



Remembrance Sunday Service

Corporal Peter Liddiard

Copy of IMG_20171112_102354

Our Communion table was donated by Mr and Mrs Liddiard in memory of their son Peter.  We see this every Sunday but have we really taken much notice of it?  Mrs Marjorie Liddiard was a long-standing and well-loved member of our congregation.  She passed away in November 2005 having celebrated her 90th birthday that April.

I used to sit with Mrs Lidds every Sunday morning and I remember that one year, it was coming up to the anniversary of Peter’s death that she said to me that she really hoped that at some time a church service would include a remembrance of her Peter.  How fitting that we remember him on the 60th anniversary of his death, on Remembrance Sunday.

Peter had been in Jordan deployed in the Army Catering Corps.   Following the end of the Anglo-Jordanian Treaty, the British troops were being sent back home.

On 17th April 1957 the three crew and 24 passengers took off in a Vickers Valetta C.1 transport aircraft.  The aircraft departed from Aqaba at 10.23 am bound for a stop at Mafraq Airport in Northern Jordan and then RAF Habbaniya in Iraq.  Seven minutes into the flight,  the aircraft hit turbulence causing the wing to fail, the aircraft spun into the ground 20 miles north west of Aqaba, it caught fire and was destroyed, killing all on board.

The bodies were transported to RAF Habbaniya, to what had been their original destination.  They were buried on a rainy day with full military honours, all personnel wearing white tropical uniforms.  Each RAF lorry carrying coffins had an eight man escort slow marching on either side, with arms reversed.  They were laid to rest in the RAF/Commonwealth War Graves cemetery on 27th April 1957. The personnel who lost their lives were:  Three RAF crew, eighteen 10th Hussar troops, five REME soldiers and one Army Catering Corps soldier.  Mrs Lidds showed me the letter she had received from the Army describing in minute detail the day of her son’s funeral, it was well read.

After the British left Iraq these graves were completely neglected but since 2005 US forces have made them good again and have annually placed poppy wreaths on Remembrance Sunday.

Peter Liddiard was only 20 years old when he died.  Mrs Lidds did not have Peter to say goodbye to, however the little pocket Bible that had been with him on the day of the accident, was returned to her without a mark on it, she took comfort that this little Bible had been close to her son when he died.

It is my prayer, that we have done justice to Mrs Lidd’s heartfelt request that Peter was honoured at our church as a fallen serviceman.


William’s Story

Remembrance Ecumenical Service

Sunday 12th November 2017

IMG_20171119_135339 william

We hosted the Ecumenical Service on the evening of Remembrance Day.  Sharon had thought that a personal story to accompany the service would be fitting:  this is the personal story of William.

William Finharty Marsh was born on 12th March 1898. He grew up in Berwick upon Tweed in Northumberland.  In 1914 when he was 16 years old William worked as an apprentice printer.

On 28th June in that same year, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated and this was the catalyst of the start of the First World War. On 4th August Britain declared war on Germany and the first British troops arrived in France three days later.

In Britain, tens of thousands of young men flocked to join the Armed Forces.  Nobody imagined the horrors that would ensue; most believed it would be over by Christmas.

William joined the 1st Northern Cyclist Battalion with two friends, he was aged just 16 years (his friends were both 17 years).  William’s father informed the Army of his age and he was discharged.  On 23rd February 1915 William joined the Northumberland Fusiliers at Alnwick.   William was only 17 years old when he joined this battalion, he was still 2 years underage.  However this time his father realising William’s desire to do his duty, let him be and did not go after him.  In fact there were over 250,000 young men who fought in the war who were under the age of 19 years which was the legal limit for armed service overseas.

To assist in the recruitment drive William took part in a 5 day tour around Northumberland which included his home town of Berwick.  This tour helped to recruit over 100 men.  William was next sent to a camp near Blyth on the coast of Newcastle for training.  However his age was discovered by the hierarchy and he was again discharged.

William eventually found his way to France in 1917 arriving in Boulogne.  He was then sent to Etaples for two weeks training.   Etaples was a particularly notorious base camp for those on their way to the front.  Under atrocious conditions, both raw recruits and battle-weary veterans were subjected to intensive training in gas warfare, bayonet drill and long sessions of marching at the double across the dunes.

From Etaples, William was assigned to the 6th Battalion, the Manchester Regiment, joining them at Dunkirk.  His first front line service began on 13th June 1917.  He spent time attached to the 2nd Battalion, the Australian Tunnelling Company.  He was employed as a labourer, assisting the Aussie tunnellers as they dug underground trenches and attempted to breach or mine the German lines.  William was eventually reattached to his Battalion and sent to Ypres.

The 3rd Battle of Ypres also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, began on 31st July 1917 and centred on the town of Ypres in Belgium.  Passchendaele lay on the last ridge east of Ypres; 5 miles from a railway junction, which was vital to the supply system of the German 4th Army.  The next stage of the Allied Plan was an advance to close this German controlled railway.  The British initially made promising gains but eventually the attack lost momentum and became bogged down.  The last substantial British attack was on 10th November. Sources differ, but both sides sustained approximately 400,000 casualties each, equating to around 4,000 casualties a day each.

William was listed as missing during the fighting and presumed dead and a telegram was sent to his parents.  His young fiancée Eleanor refused to believe that he was dead.  ‘He is alive, I just know he is alive’ she is reported to have said.  William reappeared after four days, he had stayed with a comrade who had been blinded during the fighting and waited with him until it was safe to bring him to an aid station.

William was later attached to the East Lancashire Regiment and was discharged from the Army on 27th March 1919 aged just 21 years old.

William was not physically injured and returned home and for that we thank God especially when so many of his comrades died whilst serving their country.

William married Eleanor and relocated from Berwick to Dunstable in Bedfordshire where William worked as a printer until he was 74 years old.  They had 13 children and 17 grandchildren.  Both William and Eleanor lived full and long lives.  William died in 1982 aged 84 years and Eleanor outlived him and died at the ripe old age of 96 years.

I am proud to tell William’s story I didn’t know him as William, but Granddad.  He was my mother’s father.  He never spoke of his experiences to anyone.  He kept the horror to himself, however in his late 70’s attempted to record some of his memories on a tape recorder and it is thanks to this recording we have so much information about his time in the war.

This year saw the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and you probably saw the televised commemorations over the weekend of 31st July, at both Ypres and the Tyne Cot Cemetery.  My mum and son Philip were extremely lucky to be able to take part in those commemorations. My mum had her dad’s photograph on her lap during the service of commemoration at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the service was a fitting tribute to all those who were lost in the fighting but also to those who served, fought bravely and did return home.



Sandhurst Churches Together services this Christmas

Sandhurst Churches Together

Extend a warm Invitation for you to come to any of our Christmas Services


Sandhurst Baptist Church   –  01252 879088 –                 

17th December      Carols by Candlelight                                                        5.00 pm

Christmas Eve      Watchnight Service                                                            11.30 pm

Christmas Day      Family Christmas Service ……                                         10.30 am


Sandhurst and Yateley Methodist Church  01344 774967

17th December       Carols by Candlelight                                                        6.30 pm

Christmas Eve Midnight Service with Holy Communion ………                   11.30 pm

Christmas Day Christmas Morning Family Service                                       10.00 am


St George’s Church, Owlsmoor  –  01344 771286 –        

17th December Carol Service ………………..                                                 6.30 pm

Christmas Eve Nativity Service (all age friendly …….                                 3.00 pm

Christmas Eve Carols around the tree (all age friendly)                              4.30 pm

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass                                                                       11.30 pm

Christmas Day All Age Service with Holy Communion….                          10.00 am


Church of the Immaculate Conception, Sandhurst  –  01252 876820 –

Christmas Eve Vigil Mass                                                                               6.00  pm IC*

Christmas Eve Vigil Mass                                                                               10.00 pm HG *

Christmas Day Mass ………………………………..                                              9.00  am  IC*

Christmas Day Mass                                                                                      11.00 am  HG *

                    *Immaculate Conception, Sandhurst                   * Holy Ghost Church, Crowthorne


St Michael’s Church, Sandhurst –   01252 873030 –     

17th December Christingle Service (all age friendly)                                  4.00 pm

Christmas Eve Nativity Service (all age friendly)                                        3.15  pm

Christmas Eve Hand bell Concert                                                                6.15  pm

Christmas Eve —-Carol Service by Candlelight …………………………    7.00 pm

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass                                                                     11.30 pm

Christmas Day Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion                      8.00  am

Christmas Day Family Communion (all age friendly)                                9.30  am


Kerith Community Church, Sandhurst School  –  01344 862699            

17th  December…. Carols by Candlelight ……                        4.00 pm and 7.00 pm    *Sandhurst

Christmas Eve Family Nativity Celebration                            4.00 pm   * Bracknell

Christmas Eve ….Christmas Eve Unplugged                        11.00 pm  * Bracknell

Christmas Day Christmas Day Service                                  10.00 am  * Sandhurst

Wishing you a very Happy and Blessed Christmas



Bible Study

A new day time Bible Study led by Rev Sharon Gardner will begin in January. This will normally run on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month.

The first meeting will be on Tuesday 16th January at 2pm.


There will be evening Bible Study (usually) led by Rev Sharon Gardner on Tuesday evenings immediately after Prayer Group, from 8-9pm starting on Tuesday 9th January. This Bible Study may give way to things like a Lent Course (starting 14th February), or Church Council meetings as appropriate.