Albert Church

Date published: 30/04/2013
© Newbury Weekly News



Funeral of “Skipper” Church





Mr. Albert Church, who was a member of the Newbury Volunteer Brigade thirty years and Captain for 22 years, resigning in 1910, was laid to rest in the Old Cemetery, Newtown-road, on Monday afternoon. He had passed peacefully away on the previous Wednesday at his residence at Headley at the age of 78. Full honours were accorded by the present and past members of the Newbury Brigade to their “Chief”. The present members, in brass helmets and full uniform, the old members in mufti, lined the entrance to Newbury Parish Church, where the first part of the service was held. Afterwards, with their motor engine, they occupied a prominent position in the funeral procession from the Church to the Cemetery. Throughout the route the deepest respect was shown. Afterwards the members gathered at the Fire Station, where Mr. J. Rokeby Hallen, who was second Officer of the Brigade during part of Mr. Church's captaincy, paid a fine tribute to the “Old Skipper”. Members of the Hungerford Fire Brigade were also present in uniform.


Many old friends and townspeople, including the Mayor and Deputy-Mayor, were noticed in the church, at which the service was taken by the Rev. A. H. D. Newbold, the Vicar of Speen and the Rev. St. J. de la Bere, Vicar of Kingsclere Woodlands. The service was quit simple. The hymns sung were “On the resurrection morning” and “Abide with me.” The organist  Mr. Bernard  Ramsey, Mus. Bach., played “O rest in the Lord” as the coffin was borne from the church.


The mourners were Mrs. A. Church (widow), Mr. and Mrs E. H. Church (son and daughter-in-law), Mrs H.J. Booth (sister-in-law), Mr. Frank Comyns and Mrs Comyns (cousin), Mr. and Mrs. H.E.R. Turner (London), Miss Breen (Guildford), Mr. E. Salway (Devonport), Mrs. Hassell and Miss English.


There follows a number of long lists:

Members of the Volunteer Fire Brigade,

Others present in church,

Donors of flowers and wreaths.



Newbury Weekly News 20 February 1930









Once more the “Reaper Time” hath taken toll,

And gathered yet another mortal to his goal.

Gone is that “Skipper” Ajax of the Old Brigade.

Solid of purpose, just,

A friend in need – a man to trust;

Keen of perception, and of judgement sound,

He stood four square and held his ground.

Sturdy as oak, not bent beneath the blast,

Steadfast of purpose, whatever be the task;

Shrewd was his brain, sharp was his wit,

Kind was the smile that oft his keen eyes lit,

Soft was his heart, and vast as Heaven's vault

A priceless storehouse, stocked with scarce a fault,

Strict was his sense of duty to be done,

 A perfect finish is a task well done.

His was a nature rare, or seldom met,

That keeps the world in friendship's net;

Nor breathes a soul that he left behind,

Who hears a rankling spot within his mind,

True sample of the song he loved and sang,

“A fine old English gentleman,”

The memory upright can ought o'er efface,

Though other skippers take his place;

For never shall his glory fade,

His “child” remains – the Fire Brigade.

His work fulfilled, he sleeps content

For all to see his monument,

Sleep so, and rest in peace,old Friend,

While we will bear your memory to the end.


                                      ROGER HALLEN.



Newbury Weekly News 20 February 1930

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 20 February 1930

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