“It is, indeed, a great inspiration and joy to have a big proportion of our soldier and sailor “boys” home for good”

Men were flocking back to their old lives.

DEMOBILISATION

This long word, which stands for so much to so many, is standing for a great deal in our church these days. It is, indeed, a great inspiration and joy to have a big proportion of our soldier and sailor “boys” home for good, and to see that their enthusiasm for their old church and [Sunday] school is undiminished. Their presence is giving a splendid fillip to some branches of our church work, notably the Young People’s Union. The strength of the men’s section of that youthful branch is now so strong that the other sections of that Union were recently entertained entirely by the men-folk, even to the preparation of a “supper”.

Tilehurst section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Advertisements

New War Loan

The war might be over, but it still needed to be paid for.

24th June, 1919.

A circular letter was read from the Local Government Board calling attention to the new War Loan just issued.

Minutes of Wantage Board of Guardians (G/WT1/23, p. 400)

Careful and repeated consideration of many war memorial designs

There was a U turn over the Mortimer memorial.

War Memorial

The recent public meeting reversed the decision of its predecessor, and unanimously agreed to place the Memorial at the Cross roads at the top of the hill near the Pound. Mr. Maryon’s design was accepted, after the committee’s careful and repeated consideration of many other designs. At least £500 is now asked for. An account has been opened at Lloyds Bank, Reading, and donors are asked to draw cheques to “Mortimer War Memorial or Bearer” and send them direct to Lloyds Bank. Smaller amounts should be sent in cash to the Hon. Sec. at Wisley, Padworth Road.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

“They will have the consciousness that they have had a part in a most magnificent and wonderful piece of service”

Life back home was difficult for some.

OUR SOLDIERS.

The majority of our soldiers have now been demobilized , a few only remaining in the Service, in Germany and elsewhere. It is a great joy to see the men home again. Some of them do not find it very easy to discover exactly the post in civil life which will give them the start they want, but we hope that in a very short time they will all be in a right place, and be full steam ahead for a prosperous and useful life. They will have the consciousness that they have had a part in a most magnificent and wonderful piece of service, for which may God forgive us if we ever cease to be grateful.

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, June 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“Various brothers gave some of their experiences during the time they were on active service”

More men were welcomed home.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

On Saturday, June 21st, we held the “Welcome Home Tea” to our Brothers who have been on active service, and are now demobilised. They numbered about 30, and a most pleasant evening was spent.

A meat tea was generously given by our President (C Steward Smith, Esq., JP) and afterwards various brothers gave some of their experiences during the time they were on active service. Musical items were rendered, and during the latter part of the evening coffee and sandwiches were served. It was really one of the best and most enjoyable evenings held in connection with the Brotherhood for many a day.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, July 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

“Everyone seems to be doing war work but myself”

Old Girls and teachers of St Stephen’s High School in Clewer had done war work of various kinds.

News of Old Girls

E. Truman is abroad, Army nursing.

St Stephen’s High School Building Fund

For some time the need of new premises for the High School has been urgent, and now that the war is over it is proposed to carry out the plans…

It is felt that the Old Girls and former members of staff would like to contribute a substantial sum towards the Building Fund in commemoration of the Declaration of Peace, and we, the undersigned, urge upon all the necessity of making a special effort to support it as liberally as possible.

Extract from letter from Mrs Salmon

Miss Gedge has stopped writing. Do you know anything of her? She was doing war work when last I heard. Everyone seems to be doing that but myself. I had the chance of doing a little last year in Zemba, and was glad of it. I was elected Chairwoman of “Our Day” Fund, and in six months we collected over £3,700, which we were quite proud of, as, apart from the troops, there are under 600 whites in Nyasaland! We got up dances, concerts, a play, etc, and ended with a Fancy fair, at which latter we made £1,200. It was a great success. We held it in the Zemba Gardens, and the stalls were so pretty-arranged among the trees, and tea tables dotted about in the shade. The Governor performed the opening ceremony, and then liberally patronised each stall. Patricia, as a Red Cross Nurse, collected £12 as a 1/- dip.

We left a few days later as Hugh has retired from the service, and we are now waiting for an opportunity to get over to Australia.

Mollie Salmon.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1919 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

A welcome home gathering

Reading Methodists welcomed home the troops.

19 June 1919

Mr Phipps proposed, Miss Beecroft seconded, That the meeting to celebrate Peace, decided to be held by the June Quarterly Meeting, be held if possible in Wesley Church.

The following were elected to form a Committee to make arrangements for the Welcome Home Gathering of Demobilized men & others who have served in the Forces: Messrs Willis, Everitt, Goss, Turner, Hinton, & Ralph Clifford, with power to add.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

Home to clock golf and bowls

Another soldier was home.

The members of the Parish Church Branch of the CEMS were invited to the Rectory garden for a social evening on June 18th, and indulged in clock golf and bowls on the lawn. Among those present was Mr Harry Canning, returned from his service in the forces in Egypt.

Newbury parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Lovely procession

The Bisham war memorial was dedicated.

18 June 1919

Memorial service in church, then processed through village to Cross for dedication. Bishop [of] Buckingham came. Most lovely.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

“It was decided to place a Memorial on the wall”

There was progress towards a Newbury war memorial.

The War Memorial Committee came to the Church on June 18th at 2.30, to meet Mr C O Skilbeck, who came down from London to advise them, on behalf of the Oxford Diocesan Advisory Committee. It was decided to place a Memorial on the wall just near the Lady Chapel, and Mr Skilbeck gave the Committee the name of an architect who would draw up a design. As soon as this is settled upon, an appeal for funds will be made. To provide this Memorial, and to put the Westminster Chimes upon the Bells, may involve an expenditure of £200 or £250.

Newbury parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

The war will not, strictly speaking, have “terminated”, until the peace terms have been duly ratified

The war had still not technically ended, as the treaties had not been signed. But peace celebrations were in full swing.

Peace Celebrations

At a second General Meeting, on 17th June, the recommendation of the Committee that these celebrations should take the form of a Tea, with games, etc, for the children of the parish, was approved. “Children” to include all ages up to 14, and any still attending school over that age. By the time this magazine appears it is hoped that the German Representatives will have signed the Peace Terms. But Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria remain to be dealt with, and moreover the war will not, strictly speaking, have “terminated”, until the terms have been duly ratified by the proper representative assemblies. No doubt, however, an official Peace Celebration Day will be proclaimed before this has taken place in all the countries concerned.

Meanwhile, as announced at the Meeting, the Military Authorities are arranging central functions for those who have served overseas, and there will be a gathering and entertainment in Reading.

War Memorial

At the same Meeting, further recommendations of the Committee were adopted, viz:

(a) The erection of a Cross in the Churchyard in memory of those who have fallen;

(b) The improvement of the Parish Recreation Grounds, in connection with a Sports Club to be formed.

It was referred to the Committee to raise two separate funds for these two objects (Peace Celebrations and War Memorial), the latter fund to be applied first to the Cross, and secondly to Recreation Grounds, etc.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1919 (D/EX725/4)

A stormy meeting

Opinion in Bisham was divided over the parish’s war memorial.

16 June 1919

Meeting in evening at schools about war memorial in church. Rather stormy.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said

St Augustine’s was the only children’s home for boys run by the Community of St John Baptist. Many of its inmates went on to serve in the Armed Forces, and they shared their experiences with the Sisters.

June, 1919
Dear Friends of St Augustine’s Home

The health of the boys has been excellent this winter, for which we are most thankful. We had a bad epidemic of influenza a year ago, and when the disease made its re-appearance in Windsor in the beginning of winter, we trembled, but schools were closed, and we resorted to gargling and house-spraying, and had not more than half a dozen cases at most.

Our always kind doctor and dentist have returned home from war work, and again look after our boys…

We ended our financial year with bills amounting to more than £200 unpaid. We are printing not merely our last balance sheet, but a pre-war one, by way of an interesting and instructive comparison. One thing that may strike you is that not merely are our expenses heavier, but our subscriptions are considerably less. There have been so many claims on everyone, but we hope that as these lessen, the claims of a Home like ours, which has sent many sons to the front and is helping to train others to take the place of those who have fallen, may appeal not merely to former subscribers but to those who will become new friends…

Our household linen cupboard, and our clothes cupboard, were almost empty this spring… Then … came a large package of garments, cutlery and other things from a war hospital… during the last two weeks of March.

A number of kind friends at Eton and other places made a special Lent effort and sent us a nice contribution of stockings… If other friends would follow this example (perhaps some of those who have knitted so assiduously for soldiers) and ask their friends to do the same, the stocking basket would wear a more cheerful aspect…

August will soon be here, and we hope to see some of our old boys down for the holidays, though Peace celebrations may very naturally take them elsewhere. They have come and gone from time to time as leave allowed, and many thrilling things some of them have to tell – though told always in the simplest, most matter-of-fact way. Some have been in ships torpedoed, one received and transmitted wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said. And some of our boys will of course never return, but have won the “great promotion” of which the Home is so proud.

Yours very gratefully
The Sister-in-Charge

Letter to Friends of St Augustine’s Home, Clewer (D/EX1675/23/4/6)

Welcome Home to Returned Heroes

The men of Maidenhead were welcomed back home.

June
Welcome to Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen by CEMS

On Saturday, June 14th, 5.30 to 9.30 pm, at St Luke’s, Vicarage Lawn. The Band of the Comrades of the Great War will play. if any returned Parishioner does not get an invitation, will he please communicate with Mr E Hazeldine, Hon. Sec., 5, College Rise.

July
CEMS Welcome Home to Returned Heroes

It was a happy inspiration of the St Luke’s Branch of the CEMS – which, of course, includes St Peter’s – to give a Welcome Home to the men of St Luke’s Parish, who as Sailors, Soldiers or Airmen have fought for their country in the Great War, together with their wives and sweethearts.

By the kindness of the Vicar, whose absence from home on such a memorable occasion was much regretted – not the least by the Vicar himself – the gathering took place on the Vicarage Lawn on Saturday, June 14th, and, favoured with brilliant weather, proved a great success.

When we say that 800 men and wives accepted the Society’s invitation to tea, it will be realised what a vast amount of work was entailed. But with the organisation in the capable hands of Mr Hazeldine (Hon. Sec.), and Mr Habbin (Chairman of the CEMS), and the willing help of many ladies of St Luke’s and St Peter’s congregations as waitresses, the large party was admirably served.
After tea, there were Concerts, a good programme of music by the Band of the Comrades of the Great War, and performances on the piano and violin by two wounded artistes, all of which was much appreciated. Between the various items were opportunities for conversation with, and congratulations to, the returned warriors – by no means the least enjoyable part of the proceedings – together with a further supply of refreshments. The heartiest thanks of the CEMS are offered to all the kind friends who gave them such valuable assistance in carrying through the “Welcome”, as also to those who generously contributed towards the cost.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, June-July 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Gratitude for deliverance from the German menace

The War Memorial

The committee met on June 13.

Present: The vicar, the Rev. H B Mead, the two churchwardens, Messrs F B East, W B Waters, H Masters, E Long, G C Sturgess, H B Mole, E Clayton Jones, A H Salman, J A Murray, H Knapman, T R Stevens, F C Edwards, G C Love. Ladies: D A Lawrence, G Fanstone, E Type, N Driscoll, A L Martin, H L Stevens, S Goose, B Newbery. The appointment of Mr Richard Brown and Mr Frank B East as joint treasurers of the fund met with approbation. The newly elected treasurers proceeded to receive the first payments, and a first and most gratifying instalment, in cash and promises, the amount of £407 8s 1d was returned. It was resolved to ask the builder to proceed with the work with as little delay as possible. The committee adjourned to Friday 18 July.

This glorious start, recorded above, may rightly call for a word in these pages. There are hundreds of people round about the church who may like to have a share in this Memorial; and the generosity of the first givers will, we hope, move them to follow their example. As we may have said before, we do not want to beg anyone to give to our memorial porch; we only desire to ask them to decide whether or not they will show their gratitude for deliverance from the German menace in this way. Those who have given, and those who mean to give, know that a considerable sum must be yet obtained if the architect’s fee and builders expenses are to be met. We have a large and determined committee, and they may be relied upon to bring the matter under the notice of the parishioners and worshippers of the church. Outside these there are but a few that can be approached; the amount must be raised amongst ourselves, and we are confident that it will be raised.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)