Ernest Henry Church

Author: Judith Thomas, School Librarian, St Bartholomew's School
Date published: 12/02/2014
©

THE CHURCH TWINS
 

There proved to be quite a lot about the Church twins and I will leave you to sort out exactly which of them is buried in Newtown Rd cemetery.
Both seemed to be interested in the Debating Society, but neither particularly sporty until EH’s last summer when he was a regular cricketer. Obviously motivated by patriotism from an early age.
 
From the computerised admittance registers:
Church Ernest Henry b May 29 1900, entered school Sep 20 1909, left school Jul 27 1916, son of Albert, Town Mills, Newbury, miller. Killed in war, RAF.
Church Albert Edward, same birth date, same entry date, left school Dec 22 1915, same father. Farming Australia, then England.
 
Newburian magazines
 
Feb 1912 – Twelfth Night
Church [sic], taking , as he did, his brother’s part at almost a day’s notice, is worthy of great commendation. [Played either Viola or Sebastian; cast decimated by “influenza colds”].
 
Feb 1913 – Debating Society
“The world is a happier place to live in today than in the Middle Ages”. AE Church did not agree people were healthier in the Middle Ages because they did not play games [sic].
 
Nov 1914 – “The English devotion to athletics has not proved detrimental to England”. AE Church seconded the opposer and remarked on the 200,000 Canadians who had come to fight, yet 300,000 Englishmen attended football matches. At a Reading match there were 12,000 spectators of whom 6,000 were fit but obviously preferred to watch football than to fight for King and country.
 
Dec 1914 – “Machinery is the cause of 20th century ills”.
E H Church seconded the proposer. He deplored the effects of factories on countryfolk who were huddled in towns which then became slums. Machinery led to luxury and life was healthier when people walked rather than taking the tram or a motor-car. All one generally learnt from newspapers turned out to be lies.
 
March 1914 – “Invasion would be beneficial to the nation”
Church [sic] dwelt on the ruin and devastation that would occur following an invasion. Bad for trade. A blow for Navy prestige and neutrals would then join the Germans as would not feel threatened by our Navy. Couldn’t then assist our Allies on the continent.
 
Dec 1915 – “The criticisms of the Daily Mail have not been in the best interests of the Allies”. [criticising Kitchener and the coalition]
Seconded by AE Church- the Daily Mail did not speak the truth and had given the British public the idea that the Russians had been beaten on all sides whereas in fact they were merely retreating in good order.
 
“More rigid discipline in education would lead to greater national efficiency”
EH Church opposed the motion. Un-English, working through fear, meant Prussianism and the rule of officials leading to narrow-mindedness, mediocrity and the downfall of the British Empire. There was no inefficiency in the nation. Strikes are not always unjust.
 
Sport
Mar 1915 – EH Church beat AE Church in the Fives singles.
Jul 1915 – AE Church scored 0 in a school match.
Jul 1916 – EH Church regular player in school matches, once saved the school by just managing 17 before rain stopped play. Described as a “good bat with some punishing power, has improved a lot. Could bowl a bit with a quaint, ungainly action; only fair in the field.”
                Shooting – 6th overall in the school championships, represented Town House in House competition, came 3rd.
 
Dec 1916 – EH Church – Artists’ Rifles OTC.
 
Dec 1945 Roll of Honour
Church, in hospital at Birmingham, following an accident, Flt Lt Ernest Henry Church (1909 – 16), Royal Air Force, aged 45 years.
Ernest Church was another of Mr Sharwood Smith’s boys who went straight from school to join the Royal Flying Corps, as it was called in the last war. He rose to the rank of temporary captain and it will be remembered that he lost a leg while flying over the trenches in France. During the present war he has been engaged as an inspector under the Ministry of Aircraft production, and held the rank of Flt Lt. His death was the result of a motor accident. He had been to Birmingham on business on Jul 23rd and accepted a lift back to Coventry in a motor-car. On the journey the car came into collision with another vehicle and Ernest Church received injuries from which he died. The funeral service was held at Newbury Parish Church and was attended by many friends: the ONA was represented by Mr Herbert.
To his mother and to his twin brother Albert (1909-15) we offer our deep sympathy.
 
There was apparently no suitable photo of him they could use in the magazine.
 
There should be copies of the Newburian magazine in Newbury Library as I donated an almost complete run of bound duplicates to them many years ago. Possibly kept in a Reserve collection?
 
Judith Thomas
School Librarian
St Bartholomew's School

 

Sources:St Bartholomew's School Library

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