Eat 3/5 of the meat you used to

The German assaults on civilian shipping were having an effect on food imports, and meat in particular was beginning to be in short supply. The Sulhamstead parish magazine advised:

The supply of meat for the ensuing year is causing considerable deliberation on the part of the Government and an Act of Parliament has been passed dealing with the subject. It is stated that we must be prepared to rely principally upon home grown stock and that we ought, each of us, now to eat three fifths of the meat we have hitherto each consumed. The remaining two fifths, it is said, is wanted for the soldiers. In the growing families, and especially the bread winners, is to be maintained, so it remains for the better off classes to use their restraint. It seems, therefore, that there still is something we can do for our soldiers and sailors. The government have now taken authority to prevent the killing for market of female calves that will be wanted for milk at a later date.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, July 1915 (D/EX725/3)

Special orders for Ralph Glyn

Ralph Glyn was sent on a secret mission to the south of France:

Captain RGC Glyn, General Staff, of my Directorate is under orders to proceed via Marseilles to GHQ – MEF on special duty. He will leave London (Victoria) at 8.30 am on August 2nd. Captain Glyn is taking out some secret documents and will be accompanied by his soldier servant – Pte Coxon – ASC.

I shall be obliged if the necessary warrants and permits may be issued.

July 31st 1915
Chas E Callwell

Safe conduct for Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

“Butcher’s meat has to go”

Two more Cranbourne men had fallen in the war, while others had followed them to the front. Meanwhile those left behind were sending eggs for the wounded, and taking the advice of an almost certainly fictional letter in the church magazine to save food and money.

We have to record, with much regret, the deaths of Sergeant Tom Hillyer, and Private James Andrews.

Sergeant Hillyer was killed in action in April. He was well known in the Parish as a Postman and as the winner of several prizes for walking at the Sports of the Windsor Forest Athletic Club. When the war began he at once enlisted in the Canadian contingent and was very soon promoted to be sergeant. He had seen service in the Egyptian campaigns and in the South African War, and held four medals.

James Andrews was gardener at Springhill and being reservist had to join his regiment at once. After eight months fighting he was seriously wounded and died of his wounds early in May. He was a much respected member of our branch of the C.E.M.S. and a regular communicant. Memorial services were held in our Church for both of these soldiers who died for their King and Country.

The following names are to be added to the list (published last month) of those who are serving in His Majesty’s forces.

Charles Goodchild, Suffolk Regiment.
Charles Peters, Lance-Corporal, Mechanical Transport.
Ernest Hawthorne, Royal Engineers.
Arthur Robert Hatcher, Royal Engineers.
Frank Edmonds, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.
Albert John Edmonds, Berkshire Yeomanry.

Several in this Parish are contributing to the egg collection which is being made all over the country for our wounded soldiers. Miss K. Meyer is the local Secretary and takes the gifts each week to Windsor, where they are packed and sent to headquarters in London, from which place they are sent to our hospitals in England and France. Since April 30th, 1485 eggs have been given by residents in Cranbourne and Winkfield, but during the last month the number sent each week has been getting less. The Secretary wishes it to be known that even one egg a week, or one a fortnight will be gratefully received, for “every mickle makes a muckle.” She would be glad to receive the eggs on Thursdays, as she takes them to Windsor every Friday.

We have seen an interesting letter and as it seemed to contain some most valuable information, we have persuaded the writer to let us publish it in our Magazine. It is too long to print the whole of it in this month’s issue and so it will be “continued in our next.”-



This comes hoping you are well, as it leaves me at present, but terribly worried over this cruel war. It’s hard enough to get on now that work is plenty. What will it be when the war is over and hundreds of thousands of soldiers come back to work and take the situations which are being kept open for them. And the bill there will be to pay. The Parliament is spending 3 millions of pounds every day on the war, and you don’t suppose they are finding the money in their cellars where Guy Faux was hid. No, my husband says they are running up a big debt, and who do you suppose will pay it, he says. Why, he says, it is us the working people will have to pay it, at least it will come hardest on us. So those who are making a little more just now (which is not you or me) should be saving every penny beyond their bare living, and not fancying themselves rich.

It is a mercy I learned to make the most of things, and I may mention some of the things I am doing now. First of all, butcher’s meat has to go. No bits of steak and one-and-five per lb. Even the gentry are not buying such a lot of butcher’s meat just now, so that there may be more to go round for the poorer classes. Any meat I can buy must not be choice parts. If it is nicely stewed any part can be made good, especially just now, with vegetables not so hard to get. Onions one must have. They are most wholesome and they make anything go down. Brown a bit of onion in a saucepan with a bit of dripping and a good dust of flour. When it is all brown, add a little water and stir till it boils, and makes a thin sauce. Drop in the meat and a tea spoon of vinegar, also a little pepper. Cook it slowly till the meat is soft. You can keep putting in any bits of vegetables, also potato. When you dish it up, you get back everything you have put in- no waste. Of course the pot must be filled up with more water if the meat is getting too dry.

As for potatoes, I should feel ashamed of myself if I was to peel them. The Irish, who know what potatoes are, think the skin of a baked potato the best part. Any way, if boiled in their skins you get much more flavour, and can strip off the skins as you eat them. Peeling them in the old way wastes one pound in every four pounds. It is wise to buy what potatoes you can, as they are good food, except for babies, and make other things go further. If I ever run to a rasher, I fry some cold potato with it, as a saving, and as for ‘sausages and mashed,’ the potato is half the battle.

Sausages are a help just now. Put them in a pie dish and over them a batter made with flour, milk, and water, and one egg, and they go a long way as ‘toad in the hole’; or put them in the dish, covered with potatoes and bake like a pie. If only plainly fried they are too dear. Fish, when you can get it, will save the meat. Plaice, haddock, cod or hake can be made quite tasty. Put on a tin, and sprinkle with vinegar, pepper and salt; cover it with a bit of clean paper and put a bit of dripping round. Bake it till it is ready to leave the bone. Baste it through the paper whenever you have time. Serve it with the liquor which runs out, which is quite tasty.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

Three National Anthems

The children sang the National Anthems of our allies at the annual prizegiving day at Crazies Hill School.

Crazies Hill Notes

On Friday, July 30th, the School broke up for the Summer holidays, and the annual prize distribution was held. A large number of parents and others interested in the School were present, and were shewn some very credible examples of children’s work. The School itself presented quite an altered aspect, on the walls were hunt specimens of painting, there peered at one from every angle all sorts of animals and insects, and the place was ablaze with colour. In one part of the room garments made by the girls were exhibited, in another modelling, all of which were really well done and reflected great credit upon the teachers.

After the Vicar had addressed the children, Mrs. Winter very kindly gave away the prizes, it was rather an exciting moment for the children as for the most part they did not know to whom the prizes were to be given. The Vicar proposed three cheers for the Head Teacher, and in turn he and Mrs Winter were warmly acclaimed.

After the singing of the French and Belgian National Anthems by the children, the proceedings terminated with ‘God Save the King’.

Wargrave parish magazine, September 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

A widow and six young children

Two more Bracknell men had fallen – one young man, the other a father of six who was the popular local postman.


Two other names have been added to our Roll of Honour: Stephen Sone was killed in action on May 9th in France. He was in his 20th year, and had joined the Black Watch a year before the war began. As a boy he had been a member of the Sunday School, and in later years he was a regular attendant at the Men’s Club. He leaves the memory of a steady, straight lad who, here at home as at his country’s call, quietly did his duty. “Greater love hath no man than this.” Our sympathy is with his family in bereavement.

Corporal Sidney Harvey was wounded some weeks ago as recorded in the June Magazine, He was brought to England to a hospital at Rochester and for some time was reported to be doing well; however something went wrong, and he had to undergo an operation, after which he became unconscious and died on June 23rd.

He was our postman for the last 4 or 5 years and was consequently very well known in Bracknell. As a reservist he was called to rejoin his Regiment, the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, at the beginning of the war, and had served for some time at the Front. He has left a widow and six young children, and very much sympathy is felt for her in her great sorrow.


The Women’s V.A.D,, Berks 2, has again been actively employed, under two fully trained Nurses, at the Red Cross Hospital (now at Oaklea), the 6th South Wales Borderers having on their departure for Aldershot, left 10 patients in their care. Only one patient is now left, but there seems every probability of more regiments passing through, whose sick and injured will require hospital treatment. The Quartermaster would be very glad of the loan of a large cupboard, to hold the kits of 13 men.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

Sir Charles Ryan on the war

Sir Charles Ryan (1853-1926) was an Australian military doctor. He had been invalided to England from the Dardanelles, and gave a lecture to girls at a Berkshire school. Perhaps he showed them some of his photographs of the Dardanelles campaign.

29th July 1915
Sir Charles Ryan gave the girls a short address on the European war.

Ascot Heath Girls School log book (C/EL109/2, p. 244)

Entertaining the Army Service Corps in Earley

Parishioners at Earley St Peter entertained the Army Service Corps men billeted locally, while worrying about their own loved ones at the front.

Report of C.E.M.S. Soldiers’ Entertainment Committee.

The generosity of the Parish enabled the committee to give Twelve entertainments to the 178th Co. of the A.S.C.; the subscribers being the Rev. Canon Fowler, Major M. Hull, Messers. Allen, Bennett, Bastow, S.O. Bastow, Beldam, Bartlett, Culham, Friedlander, Farrow, Goodenough, Goodyer, Hawkes, Hart, Heelas, Howlett, Jordan, Jones, Keep, Lee, J.Lewington, Love, Masser, Murton, Newbery, Rushbrook, Smith, Martin, Sutton, Sargeant, Tagg, Tomlin, Wilson, Wooldridge, White, Webb, Wait; Mesdames Blyde, Barkshire, Dunlop, Fowles, Friends, Goodyer, Hawkes, Hawkins, Lawrence, Montizambert, Payne, Shaw, Stroud, Southern, Wyley, Warmington, Witherington; the Misses Beauchamp, Corner, Croome, Carlsson, Davis, George, Goodwin, Hannaford, Keep, Maurice, Miller, Montizambert, Stroud, Taunton.

It is proposed to continue the entertainments for the 263rd Co., at present billeted in the Parish, but to make this possible a further appeal for funds must be made, and I shall be very grateful for any subscriptions.

List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s Forces.

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:- Richard Goodall, Charles Carpenter, Ernest Threadgill, James Winchcombe, Leonard Reeves, William Farmer, Andrew McFadyen, Edward Iles, Arthur Buskin, Stephen Platt, Percy Taylor, Arthur Harris, George Palmer, George Webb, Frank Snellgrove, Richard Hayden, George Rogers, William Mengham, Jack Durman, Guy Comport, Herbert Broadbear.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:-
Killed – Haviland Durand, Edward Smithers, Thomas Palmer; Sick – Arthur Mylam (gas poisoning).

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1915 (D/P191/28A/22)

Our Belgian guests

The people of Hare Hatch in Wargrave were generously helping to support Belgians in the area, while Florence Vansittart Neale invited some refugees to tea at Bisham Abbey.

Hare Hatch Notes
Our Belgian Guests Fund has profited during the past three months to the extent of £5 2s. 5d. The Hon. Secretary, Miss S. Nancy Huggins, desires on behalf of the Committee once again to thank the Subscribers and Collectors for their great help which is most gratefully received.

Diar of Florence Vansittart Neale, 28 July 1915
Belgians came (A Meesters etc) to tea.

Wargrave parish magazine, July 1915 (D/P145/28/31; diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Having a rest out of action

Percy Spencer was not able to write to his sister Florence while under fire in the trenches. At the end of July he managed to snatch time for a postcard, undated but postmarked 27 July 1915:

My dear Girl…

We are having a rest out of action and are all feeling much better for it as we have certainly had our share of the work.

I shouldn’t wonder if some of us get leave in a few months time and I may be lucky enough to get a few days, but don’t know when or if.

Yours ever

Postcard from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/4/39)

Germans checked!

There was a terrible accident when the hydrogen balloon of a British airship exploded in its shed at Wormwood Scrubs. Florence may have heard about this before the papers got hold of it, as the airship programme was run by the Admiralty, her husband Henry’s employer.

27 July 1915
Better news about Russians. Germans not taken Warsaw yet. They [are] checked. Explosion at Wormwood Scrubs!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

County Surveyor urgently required overseas

The civil engineering skills of the Berkshire County Surveyor would be a valuable asset to the Army. The County Council was willing to let him go if necessary.

The Staff Purposes Sub-committee have considered an application made by the County Surveyor for leave of absence to take up service under the Government during the war. This application was originally made in May last to the Highways and Bridges Committee for leave to volunteer, and that Committee reported as follows:

… in their opinion no obstacle should be put in the way of the County Surveyor entering Government service for the period of the war, but having regard to the importance of his present duties from the national point of view they recommend that consent should only be given provided his service and rank under the Government be equally important to those of his present position….

On 5 June the County Surveyor reported to the Highways Committee as to the proposed organisation of his Department in case he should be given Government service, which report was adopted by them and is as follows:

C A Veal, who was temporarily engaged for the period of the war at £1 per week, has left, and T Clayton, the temporary Clerk of Works, will terminate his appointment about 1 September.

Mr Clayton’s service I suggest might be retained as he will be invaluable as a draughtsman, and in connection with the repairs to Bridges and Police Stations.

Subject to the above it is not suggested at present to engage any additional assistance, and although supervision cannot, of course, be so efficient during my absence I am of opinion that the work of the roadmen and roller gangs can, as at present, be superintended by the Sub-Surveyors, who are willing to put in any extra time or work which may be necessary for the purpose.…

On 26 July the following minute from the War Office, addressed to the Clerk, was received:

War Office
July 26th, 1815
To the Clerk of the Berks County Council

The services of Mr J F Hawkins are urgently required for employment overseas on the staff of Brigadier General Gibbon, who has especially asked for him. Mr Hawkins would be employed as Field Engineer with the rank of temporary Captain, RE. It is hoped that his services can be spared, and that he may be released at once as the matter is urgent.

G A Travers, Major AAG, RE

Your Sub-committee decided by a majority (the Chairman dissenting) … that leave of absence be given to the County Surveyor … and that, from the date the County Surveyor was Gazetted, E D Aldridge be engaged as a clerk at a salary of 10/- per week…

Arthur E Preston, Chairman
27 July 1915

Report of Staff Purposes Sub-committee to BCC Finance Committee, (C/CL1/1/18)

We thought we should press on to a righteous victory

The first anniversary of the war was a time to take stock. In Bracknell, the words of the Times newspaper struck home:

On August 4th we shall enter on the 2nd year of the War. Special Services of Intercession will be held to pray that God will prosper our cause and give success to our arms. The spirit in which this should be done is stated in The Times of July 26th, in noble words as follows:

“We knew before the war that we had National faults, but we made no National effort to mend them; and when the war began we thought that the goodness of our cause would mend them, and that we should press on to a righteous victory in one happy and united onset. That has not happened, as it could not happen. Nations are not so easily cured of inveterate evil; and now failures, luckily partial and not ruinous, have shown us that the evil is part of ourselves and cannot be thrown off, like a garment, at will. These habits, produced by sloth of mind, by self-seeking, and the consequent lack of desire for any kind of excellence, as they have grown upon us in peace, encumber us still in war; and we cannot rid ourselves of them in a moment, so that we may win the victory. If we could be free of them thus easily and for that particular purpose victory would teach us nothing, and we shall soon be as we were before the war with more arrogance and more blindness to that disaster that delay would make only more certain. The wisdom of religion, so long ignored, tell us now that we can only cure ourselves of our faults if we hate them in themselves, and not merely because the perils with which they threaten us. It is conviction of sin, not conviction of danger that must change us if we are to be changed. Conviction of danger alone will only make us upbraid each other; conviction of sin will set us asking plain questions of ourselves.”

These words are from a newspaper leading article, not from a sermon, and surely it is a hopeful sign that they should thus appear, a sign that we are at any rate beginning to learn the lessons that we must learn if we are to come to God in the Spirit that will obtain an answer to our prayers.

So we are invited to come to Church on Wednesday, 4th August, to come in the spirit of penitence, to invoke afresh God’s pardon and help.

The services will be:- Holy Communion at 5 a.m. and 8 a.m; Service of Intercession at 12 noon; Service of Intercession with hymns and address at 8 p.m.

At St. Martin’s Service of Intercession at 7.30 p.m.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, August 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/8)

Convalescent soldiers take over the Woodclyffe Home

In Crazies Hill an existing Convalescent Home was turned into a small hospital for the wounded, as the village mourned one of its own who had fallen, and was concerned also for another man severely wounded. The home was the newly opened Woodclyffe Home, whose donor Harriette Cooke Smith had intended it for ladies of small means.

Crazies Hill Notes

Owing to the kindness of Sir Charles Henry, the “Home” here has been turned into a hospital for the wounded. We have at present about 10 wounded men from different parts of the Front, and although their wounds have been serious we are glad to find that they are now in the advanced stages of convalescence, and able to enjoy the beautiful grounds and garden, by which the Home is surrounded. The authorities, I am given to understand, expressed such pleasure with all the arrangements when they inspected them, that Sir Charles in his generous manner has consented to add another building to the hospital, so as to provide room for more beds. The building, which is a neat wooden structure, fitted with electric light, is already nearing completion, so very shortly we expect an increase in the number of wounded soldiers among us.

It is with sincere regret that we record the sad news, that Sergeant William Gray was killed in the trenches, and our deepest sympathy goes out to Mrs. Gray in her sad bereavement.

Private Arthur Goodwin of the 1st Royal Berks Regiment has, we regret to say, been seriously wounded and is at present in Whitechapel Hospital, London.

Wargrave parish magazine, July 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

“The last job they would ever need done for them”

An Ascot man serving with the Canadians shared some of his bleaker experiences, including the burial of dead comrades.

THE MILITARY HOSPITAL at the Grand Stand re-opens this month.


Gunner George Cannon, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cannon of Swinley was drowned off the Dardanelles on April 17th, when the Transport Maniton went down. Captain Denison, Commander of his Battery, writes to us:-

“I am very sorry to lose Gunner Cannon, as he was a first class man and an excellent soldier … The Battery is doing well: but I am afraid that will not make good the loss to his own people.”

He was an excellent young man: and our most true sympathy goes out to his parents. RIP.

Mr. W. Francis, our much respected parishioner, of London Road, Ascot, has received a letter from the King, in which his Majesty writes in terms of warm appreciation of Mr. Francis’ four sons and one son-in-law in the army. One of these sons died of wounds in South Africa early in the war.

“If GOD is for us, who can be against us? If GOD is not for us, all our munitions, all the heroism of our men, will not avail to secure the victory. It may not yet be patent to all, but it is undoubtedly true, that at this moment the whole fate of our Empire depends upon this – whether we have among us, in the Churches or outside, enough spiritual might, spiritual power, spiritual decision, to grasp firmly the Unseen, and to use the forces that GOD holds out to those who put their trust in Him.” (R.F. HORTON)

THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS from one of the heroic Canadian Contingent (and Ascot parishioner) will be read with interest:-

“You will see by the papers how the Canadians have done, and the men we have lost. We ourselves took 2 lines of trenches from the Germans last week. But we lost a good many men, and then we had to stay there and hold them under fire all the time, until we were relieved by the Gordon Highlanders. I saw my old lot that morning, the 5th Battalion. They have lost all but 6 officers: and there are only 97 of the old men left who went out to France with me… They will have to give us more men to make us up to strength, or we shall soon be all wiped out. But these must do the best they can: that is what we are here for. The Tommies call us the “mad Canadians.” …

I was in one of the German trenches last week and there were a good many bodies lying about, so some of us volunteered to go out and bury them. I went, and the first body I went up to was one of the Scots Guards. He had been dead for 5 days. I took his card off, and buried him as well as I could, and marked his grave up with a Cross. I shall report him to his regiment. Then we set to work, and buried at least 40 more, Guards, Welsh, Warwicks and Germans. Poor fellows, they had been lying there for a week. It was the last job they would ever need done for them.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

Outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Florence Vansittart Neale attended an open-air service in London in support of the war. The Bishop of London preached an inspiring sermon on the soul of the nation. But there was worrying news about a nephew of Florence’s husband Henry.

25 July 1915

Service outside St Paul’s. Bishop. Troops – [illegible] bands.

Heard Lionel Dickinson wounded in Dardanelles.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)