Love for those who have defended us, especially those who have given freely of their lives that we might live

Important – War Memorial Chapel at St Luke’s

At last, after much preliminary work, we are launching this scheme of ours, by which we are trying by beautifying our Church to mark our gratitude to God for his protection and care, and our love for those who have defended us, more especially for those who have given freely of their lives that we might live. Briefly, we hope to build (where the Vestries now stand) a Chapel panelled in oak with the names of the fallen on each panel, in which we may hold quiet services, and where, overshadowed by the sense of the presence of those we love that have passed beyond the veil, we may meditate without bitterness on the wonderful mystery of suffering and sacrifice, as made more clear to our finite minds, by the Cross of the Son of God, in whose House we shall be at prayer.

All our generosity and the help of our friends will be needed, if we are to do this worthily. At a meeting held on August 21st, Miss Apthorp – well-known to us as Commandant of the VAD Hospital – was unanimously elected as Hon, Sec. of the Fund. Reluctantly, as a mere clergyman, I accepted the office of Hon. Treasurer. An account has been opened at the London, County, Westminster and Parr’s Bank in High Street, called the “St Luke’s War Memorial Fund”.

A circular letter, we hope, will shortly be distributed to every house in the Parish, except in Furze Platt, which has its own scheme. If any are left by accident outside the Parish, it will be by mistake. Of course, any friend may obtain one personally by asking for a copy. Then collectors will call. I hope every house will give something. The names of all the fallen from the Parish (whatever their religious views) will have the first claim to a place on a panel, unless anyone’s relatives do not wish them to be remembered there. After that we will place the names of all worshippers at St Luke’s. Any doubtful case will be decided after taking full advice.

The scheme adopted is to try and raise the money in twelve months, beginning this September.

I hope very much that all who can, will give a monthly subscription, even if they cannot give a large donation. Personally, I have given a donation, and I intend to give each month as well. So far, the biggest donation has been £25, but I hope that will soon be surpassed; and a shilling a month, please remember, means 12/- by next year. Some good collectors have already volunteered, but we want many more. Each collector will be given a card with 25 houses on, and will bring the card to Miss Apthorp to be initialled on the Monday after the first Sunday of each month, either between 10 am or 1 pm in the morning, or between 6 pm and 8 pm in the evening, giving her any money they have collected during the previous month. From October 1st Miss Apthorp will be at Stanlow, High Town Road; till then her address is Ray Court. The first paying-I day will be Monday, October 6th. Miss Apthorp will take the money, initial the card, and return it to the collector. If any collector is ill, if Miss Apthorp is notified, she will call for the money. Further volunteers are asked to inform Miss Apthorp at Ray Court or the Vicar at the Vicarage of their readiness to undertake a district.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

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Distinguished service in Greece

A Berkshire woman was recognised for her work in Greece.

Miss Marjory Shepherd has been awarded the Greek Decoration Medal of Military Merit, 4th Class, in recognition of distinguished service during the campaign.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, August 1919 (D/EX725/4)

A bright spot in a time of need

A Reading church received news about the YMCA hut they had supported for soldiers behind the lines.

The “Trinity” Hut

Owing to the departure of many of the Y.M.C.A. Secretaries from the war area, it has been very difficult to get any definite information about our second Hut in France. Until just lately we believed this was erected at St. Omer, but now find that to be incorrect, as the following prove:
2nd July, 1919.

My Dear Mr. Harrison,

I went up this week to see Mr. McCowen as he was coming back from Germany on his way to London, and immediately took up the question of the allocation of your Hut with him. He well remembers the situation and says that your Hut was not actually in the St. Omer area, but it was at St. Malo-les-Bains, near Dunkirk, which after all is not so far away from St. Omer. He says this is the second Reading Hut. I have asked Mr. Sitters to send me a report as to the work of this Hut during the last few months, and also to see that the board saying it is the Reading Hut is still up in it. This Hut has served, during the past few months, thousands of men, who have been using Dunkirk as a demobilisation centre. Further particulars will be coming through, which I will send along. There is a possibility that the Navy may move the Hut to the mole at Zeebrugge, as there is a great need for an extension of our work at that place, but I will see that you are advised if this is done.

I am enclosing herewith the official receipt for the fifteen pounds which you so kindly sent. It was used in the Hut for Christmas festivities.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed) H.N.HOLMES.
Chief Secretary for France.

The report referred to is as follows:-

“The Reading (Malo) Hut was first erected in the Ypres centres, where it provided rest and recreation for countless numbers of men going in and coming out of the trenches. In it provision was made for reading, writing and games. Concerts and lectures were given from time to time, and services were held on Sundays. A refreshment counter where tea, cocoa and coffee, biscuits, cigarettes, etc., could be obtained, was greatly appreciated by those frequenting the Hut.

Later on, owing to the movement of troops, the sector was occupied by Belgian troops, who made considerable use of the Hut. One feature of their occupation was the excellent concerts given by officers and men of the Belgian army. On account of the Germans shelling the place very heavily it was found necessary to move the Hut to a more sheltered spot. It was dismantled, moved south two miles, near to the famous St. Sixthe Convent, re-erected, re-painted, and re-opened within seven days.

On the signing of the armistice the Hut was moved to Dunkirk, where it has provided accommodation for various units, including re-mounts, men being demobilised, and men returning from leave and going to Egypt. On its removal to Dunkirk it was beautifully re-decorated and fitted with electric light, and may now be considered one of the most attractive huts in France.

The subscribers, through whose generosity it has been possible for the Y.M.C.A. to meet the needs of so many men, will be happy to know that the Hut has been a bright spot in a time of need to thousands of the brave men who have been defending our country.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )

“Our village is still like a battlefield”

The August issue of a Reading church magazine had news from a family of Belgian refugees who had now returned home.

Our Belgian Guests

Though we have now bidden good-bye to our Belgian family, they are not forgotten, and we gladly avail ourselves of Miss Hammond’s kind permission to print the following letter, (long held over through lack of space) telling of the return home.

Kelfs-Herent,
29TH March, 1919.
Dear Miss Hammond,

We reached home a fortnight ago, on the 15th of March, at half-past four in the afternoon. We found our house quite empty, for the Germans had stolen most of our things, and what they left others took. The doors and windows are broken, the walls both inside and out are damaged, and there is a large hole in the roof. The Germans did their cooking everywhere, leaving the house so dirty that it has taken me ten days to get it even a little clean! We must wait till next year for fresh wall-paper, it is still too dear.

Food is very scarce; there is hardly anything in the shops and everything is much dearer than in England. Meat costs 9-10 francs the Kilo, butter 15 franks, margarine 8.5 franks. A sack of flour costs 110 franks, and one cannot even then always get it. Every day we say that war for existence is now beginning, and happy are the people who live in the promised land of England or France. Our village is still like a battlefield; some of the houses have been re-built but not all. The people living next to us have so aged during these four years that we did not recognise them. We have no cow or horse, and they are so dear that we must wait a while before buying.

I hope that you will give our compliments to all the kind friends at your church, and thank them again for all they did for us during the four years of war.

Please accept the sincere respects of your grateful family.”

M. Van De Venne.
Elise De Kruster.

We are very grieved to hear that, since reaching home, our friends have sustained a very heavy loss in the death of their dear little girl, Elisa, on June 3rd, after an illness of three weeks. We shall all join in sympathetic remembrance of the sorrowing father and mother.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )

A Peace oak in Remenham

The happy suggestion has been made that we should plant a “Peace Oak” in the field adjoining the School as a memorial of the close of the War. The suggestion has been warmly received, and the tree will be planted as soon as the suitable time comes.

Remenham parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

After paying the expenses of the Peace Celebrations there will be a surplus remaining

There was a peace bonus for Burghfield children.

Peace Celebrations and War Memorial

The Committee appointed at the second General Meeting of the 17th June (see July Magazine) met on 14th August. The accounts will be audited and published in due course. But it may be stated that after paying the expenses of the Peace Celebrations there will be a surplus remaining. The Committee decided to allot £10 of this to the provision of suitable games, tackle and appliances for the use of the children in all the schools – the remainder to be added to the Memorial Fund.

Of this latter Fund it was decided that three quarters should be available for the provision and erection of the proposed Cross in the Churchyard, and one quarter for the sports and recreation grounds of the parish; and two sub-committees were appointed to enquire and report upon these two latter matters.

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

Not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations

Those who had not returned from the war were remembered in the midst of rejoicing.


The Sunday School

The Peace-time Picnic was greatly enjoyed at Beacon Hill, on Wednesday, 13th August. The day was very fine – the sun’s rays being tempered with a delightful breeze, and the sylvan beauties of the park with the glorious views from the downs were never before seen in such perfection by the majority of those present.

The last School Picnic at Highclere was held in July 1914 – almost on the eve of the great world tragedy of August 4th of that year – and not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations. We bow our heads in reverent remembrance of them, and thank God for those who have been spared and have been enabled to take up their work again.

The work on this occasion was indeed joyous, as load after load of happy people of all ages, but mostly young, were discharged on the soft turf from the motor lorries provided by Messrs. Pass & Co. Three journeys were made each way, the first company starting at 1 o’clock and the last at 3.45 from the Lecture Hall and the return journeys were made, the first at 6.30 and the last at 9.15, thus giving all a fair average of time at the Hill.

The all important function of tea was celebrated on the slopes near the Lodge at 4.30. Mrs. F.C. Hopson and a willing band of helpers catered for the hungry throng, 300 strong, while Mr Henry Marshall eclipsed all his past efforts by the splendid brew he produced. All were unanimous in saying that the tea was an unqualified success. After the tea, sports and games, under the direction of Mr. H. Allen and Mr. Spalding, held in the field, and the first hoot of the lorry’s siren sounded all too soon.

The whole of the arrangements worked perfectly under the direction of the Superintendents of the School, and the result was a day of pure and unalloyed enjoyment. Mention must be made of the kind assistance rendered by Mr. Harris, who in the absence of our newly elected Minister, officiated at the tea, also of the numerous friends in the congregation who contributed so liberally towards the expenses, and are hereby tendered the grateful thanks of the Officers and Teachers.

It may be interesting to shew by way of contrast the cost of a pre-war picnic at Beacon Hill with that of a post-war expenditure for practically the same number.

1914
£ S d
Total expenditure 16 15 1

Less Tea and Rail Fares 3 4 6
Paid for by 43 friends at
1s 6d each
Net Cost £13 11s 7d

1919
£ S d
Total expenditure 17 17 8 ½

RECEIPTS

Balance previous treats 17 0
Contributions 11 3 9 ½
Provisions sold 1 9 2 ½ 13 10 0

Balance Due to Treas. £4 7s 8 ½ d

The cost of transit was the most expensive item this year owing to 50% increase of railway fares and the unsuitable times of the trains an expenditure of £9 had to be incurred for motor lorries. Leaving this item out of the account the other expenses work out to even less than the pre-war picnic.

The cost of tea, including the boiling of water and hire of crockery, was about 5⅓d. per head, inclusive of teachers and helpers – a wonderful result, which, in these days of high prices, reflects great credit on Mrs. F. C. Hopson and those helping her.

The Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, September 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

No reduction in pension

13th August, 1919
O. A. Pensions

It was proposed by Mr Cutler, and seconded by the Revd A A Bull, and resolved, that this Board support the following Resolution passed by the Guardians of the Durham Union –

“That we seek an Amendment of the Old Age Pension Act to provide that no Old Age Pensioner shall suffer any reduction in Pension owing to he or she being in receipt of a pension due to the loss of a son whilst on Active Service, where the receipt of the said Pension brings the total income above the maximum prescribed for in the Act in determining the present conditional scale of Old Age Pensions.”

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

“It was nearly five years since we have sat on a roundabout”

Belgium rejoiced in its freedom, despite financial pressures.

THE BELGIANS

The subscribers to the Belgian Home Fund met in the Lecture Room, August 13th, wind up accounts. It was reported that the furniture and fittings not returnable had been sold and all liabilities met, and that £14 12s. 9d. remained in hand. Mrs. Lewis proposed that the amount be sent by banker’s draft to Mr. Van Hoof, at Boom, to be divided between the two girls, Jeanne and Eliza. Mrs. Hews seconded, and the proposition was carried unanimously. A hearty vote of thanks was passed to the Secretary and Treasurer for their services, and to Mr. A.T. Taylor for kindly acting as Honorary Auditor.

Mrs. Hews read a letter she had received from Jeanne Van Hoof, and we print an extract here for the benefit of those who were not present:-

“I hope you do not think we have forgotten you already. I know I have waited a long time before writing, but I have to do such an enormous amount of home work, that I scarcely find time to do anything else. Here in Boom everything is very much like before. We came home just on the day of the yearly Carnival, and the people are as merry as before. A fortnight after there was a big fair on the market place. Liza and I enjoyed ourselves immensely, because it was nearly five years since we have sat on a roundabout. There was a circus, three roundabouts, and a barracks where you could go and buy sweets. The food is at the present time dearer than when we first came. A two-pound loaf costs 8½d., meat 4s. a pound, and an egg is nearly as dear as a loaf. Shoes are scarcely obtainable, so that we sell those we have still left, and can’t get any new pairs……”

Jeanne made a lot of friends in Maidenhead, and we shall be glad to hear of her welfare, and that of the whole family, from time to time.”

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

Only married for nine weeks

The after-effects of being gassed in the trenches could last for years.

A Soldier’s Death

On Sunday, Aug. 10th, there died in the Royal Berks Hospital, Reading, at the age of 30, Lance-Corpl. Frederick Thomas King. For some time he had been suffering from pneumonia, the complaint being aggravated by gas-poisoning contracted whilst serving in France. Deceased had only been married about nine weeks. We take this opportunity of expressing our sympathy with his widow and family.

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

The dawn of peace is a time when high ideals are needed more than ever

By the summer of 1919 some were unhappy with the way the country was going in peacetime.

Editorial

The dawn of peace is a time when high ideals are needed more than ever. A well known cartoonist in Punch has recently represented John Bull lying lazily in a hammock with a pipe in his mouth and refreshments at his side, sighing, “Funny thing how slack this victory feeling makes you. I’ve done nothing since last November. Wonder if a spell of work would cure me.” Where restraint and self-sacrifice were merely enforced during the war, there has been a sharp re-action in favour of license and self-indulgence. The strike epidemic is one form of it. The voluntary sacrifice that is recorded by war memorials up and down the country – memorials which sometimes bear the names of 10,000 men of one regiment – leaves a very different heritage; courage, endurance, vision: vision, not the fading illusion of the unpractical dreamer of dreams, but the inquiring ideal which the prophet had in mind when he said, “Where there is no vision the people perish”.

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

Hospital will undertake the treatment of all such cases as before the War

Maidenhead Hospital was getting back to normal.

8th August 1919

It was proposed by Dr. Moore, seconded by Revd T. Lewis and resolved that

As this Hospital is now again in a position to attend to throat, ear, nose and nervous cases, which, owing to the exigencies of the War were temporarily undertaken elsewhere, the Secretary to the Education Committee be informed that this Hospital will undertake the treatment of all such cases as before the War.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2)

One week’s extra “peace” holiday

8th August 1919

Closed this afternoon at 4pm for summer holidays – 5 weeks – plus one week “peace” holiday. The school will re-open on Monday Sept 22nd.

Sonning Boys school log book (89/SCH/1/2, p. 86)

“An exact copy of the single crosses which are to be erected in France and Belgium will link up our churchyard with the resting places of our gallant men who have fallen out there”

Burghfield planned a simple yet effective war memorial.

The result of the collection for the Celebration Fund and the Memorial Fund is not yet known as we go to press.

Until the amount of the latter at their disposal is ascertained, the Committee can hardly consider how to spend it. At present, as regards the Cross, the only suggestion made is that it should be an exact copy of the single crosses which are to be erected in France and Belgium, one in each cemetery. It is argued that this will, as it were, link up our churchyard with the resting places of our gallant men who have fallen out there, and will not be inappropriate for those whose deaths occurred elsewhere.

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

A Reredos for the Side Altar

Plans were advancing for the Clewer church memorial.

Mr. F. E. Howard, the architect employed by the War Memorial Committee for the Brocas Chapel has been requested to prepare a design for a Reredos for the Side Altar, which will cost about £100. Towards this we have in hand about £80. Further contributions are invited.

Clewer parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)