‘Not many “offer forms” were filled up’ for National Service Scheme

Cranbourne people were prepared to grow food and save waste paper, but were less keen to offer their services.

A Waste Paper Depot has been arranged at the Sunday School. Waste Paper is received every Wednesday afternoon between 2 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.

The Seed Potatoes have arrived and will be given out on Wednesday, April 25th, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. We are grateful to Mr. Belcher for the use of his barn.

A canvass of the Parish in connection with the National Service Scheme has been made, but not many “offer forms” were filled up.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)

Are You GROWING all the FOOD you can for YOURSELF and THE NATION?

Entrepreneurial Maidenhead nurseryman J P Webster encouraged people to buy his products to tackle food shortages.

“The U-Boat Problem is not solved, and the real problem threatens the food of the people to an extent that no one could have anticipated.”

First Lord of the Admiralty, 8th March, 1917.

Do You

REALISE THE EXTREME GRAVITY OF THAT STATEMENT?

Are You

GROWING all the FOOD you can for YOURSELF and THE NATION?

The Nation

APPEALS to YOU to cultivate every yard of Land you can in this time of her trial!

OUR SEEDS ARE UNSURPASSED

And will ensure you Good Crops.

And Crops are largely increased by the use of Chemical Fertilisers. We stock all the standard kinds.

J. P. WEBSTER, FRHS, SEEDSMAN AND HORTICULTURAL SUNDRIESMAN,
124 High Street, & Station Front, Maidenhead
ALSO AT COOKHAM AND BOURNE END.

Valuable prizes offered at all Local Shows.

“Unless the nation as a whole shoulders part of the burden of victory it will not profit by the triumph, for it is not what a nation gains, but what a nation gives, that makes it great”

– Prime Minister.

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Amateur dramatics behind the lines – “each pause is filled with the roar of guns & explosion of shells”

Percy wrote cheeefully to Florence, telling her about the amateur (and cross-dressing) dramatics by his soldiers.

April 24, 1917

I wonder if the sun is shining on you as well. It’s a perfectly glorious day here, full of sea, wind, aeroplanes and shells. There’s precious little sleep after daybreak this sort of weather.

Yesterday I went for quite a good walk across the fields along narrow waterways, and in the evening I went to the Follies and saw an absolutely topping performance. I do wish I could have you both here one evening just to show you what alluring damsels some of my boys make. Of course one can’t get away from the incongruity of it all, for each pause is filled with the roar of guns & explosion of shells, and at the end of each scene, as the windows are thrown open, bursting shells in the distance are just about all the view.

Altogether we’ve had a very good time lately, and but for a couple of rounds which the Huns fired at another NCO and myself a fortnight or so ago, we’ve been particularly immune from that being-shot-at feeling.

I’m enclosing one or 2 more souvenirs. I think Tyrrell’s is a perfectly charming group (the family put their Sunday clothes on for the event). The other is really sad – the central figure committed suicide a few days ago – why, heaven knows.

Well, I’m being so interrupted, I’m going to close.

Oh, I forgot to say I have been applied for direct (without a cadet course) by the OC of the Battalion I’m to go to, and the Brigadier has endorsed all the nice things said about me in the letter sent with my papers by the CO. So I doubt whether I shall get much, if any, time in England.

With my dear love to you both
Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/29)

His old headmaster attended the funeral

22 year old Arthur Gibbs, who sadly succumbed to his wounds, was remembered by his old primary school headmaster.

April 23rd 1917

Arthur Gibbs, an old scholar, was buried in All Saints Church this afternoon. He was wounded in France and died at Leeds. The Head Master attended the Funeral.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 173)

A gardener’s gallant conduct

A former Hare Hatch man who had emigrated to British Columbia before the war was honoured for his courage. Frank Howard Heybourne was in his early 30s. A landscape gardener in peacetime, the medal he received was the Military Medal. He survived the war, living until 1968.

Hare Hatch Notes

The following letter gives us much pleasure, and we are glad to be able to publish it in full. We heartily congratulate Sergeant F. H. Heybourne on the honour he has gained, besides endorsing, especially the latter part of the letter: “That he may be spared to continue the good record,” we wish him further success and a safe return.

10th Canadian Infantry Brigade. A-5-69
To No. 628005, Sergeant F. H. Heybourne,
47th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

On behalf of the Brigade I desire to congratulate you on the Honour which has been awarded you in recognition of your gallant conduct as a Canadian Soldier. It afforded me much pleasure to forward the recommendation submitted by the Officer commanding your Battalion. I thank you for the good service you have rendered to date, and trust that you will be spared to continue the good record which you have already set for yourself.

Edward William,
Brigadier-General
23-4-1917 Commanding 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade.’

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

“Our hearts and prayers go out to these dear lads, confident that the day is not far away now when they will come back to us”

There was news from some of the young men from Spencers Wood.

Our Soldier Lads.

Two more of our young men have been wounded in recent engagements: Pte. Fred Norris and Pte. William Povey. Fred has been in France for two and a half years and has been wonderfully fortunate. He is now in a Bristol hospital and going on well. Pte. Povey has been twice wounded, the first time about eighteen months ago at Loos. Both lads were regular in their attendance at our little church.

Cheering letters come from Harry Wheeler, Percy and Chappie Double, who are all so far well, although Harry has suffered from trench feet. Our hearts and prayers go out to these dear lads, confident that the day is not far away now when they will come back to us. God bless them!

Spencers Wood section of Trinity Congregational Magazine, April 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Awful battle round Hill 60

The news took a turn for the worse.

22 April 1917

Awful battle still going on round Hill 60. Naval raid on Dover. We sunk 2 destroyers & injured a 3rd. Took prisoners.

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

Serbians now living in our midst

Reading people offered prayers for the Russian Revolution and for Serbian refugees who had come to Reading.

The Vicar’s Notes
Intercessions

For Russia in her time of crisis.
For Serbia and the Serbians now living in our midst in Reading.
For all the operations of the allies this spring.
For all those lately confirmed.
For the Dedication Festival at S. Saviour’s that the War-shrine may be a real spiritual help to the Parish.

Thanksgiving

For Successes granted to our arms in Mesopotamia and France.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

The cost of food and other commodities has more than doubled since the commencement of the war

Berkshire policemen were given a pay rise to cope with war conditions.

21 April 1917

The Clerk referred to the death of Lieut-Col Thorne, the Deputy Clerk of the Peace, who had been killed in action near Arras on 9 April, while in command of a battalion of the Royal Scots.

Resolved on the motion of Lord George Pratt, seconded by Sir R. D. Acland, knight, KC: That a letter of condolence be sent to the widow of rhe late Deputy Clerk of the Peace.

Police Constable 212, Frederick Charles Kimmer, has been called upon to join the Army, being under 23 years of age.

War Bonus

The cost of food and other commodities which has more than doubled since the commencement of the war, is being felt very seriously at the present rate of pay and bonus. The rate of pay of a Constable on joining, together with the 3/- war bonus, amounts to 26/11 per week, in addition to the incidental advantages he obtains in the way of clothing, boots, rent, rates and pension, and, in the case of single Constables, bedding, fuel and light.

Information has been obtained from all the County forces in England … and, placing the wages and war bonus with others… Berkshire compares very unfavourably with others… only 6 county forces coming beneath it.

Taking everything into consideration, the Committee recommend the following extra war bonus to all ranks .. to commence from 1 April, 1917, be payable until three months after the conclusion of the war…

32 per week for each member
1s per week for wife
6d per week for each child under the age of 15 years

It is estimated that the extra cost would be about £2,550.

Adopted.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Gravel seized for a PoW camp

The County Council continued to monitor the damage caused to local roads by military traffic.

ASCOT AND WINDSOR ROAD

The section of the main road from Ascot and Windsor has been badly cut up by heavy military and other motor traffic…

READING AND SWALLOWFIELD ROAD

On the break up of the frost in February the main road between Reading and Swallowfield, which had suffered severely by heavy timber and motor omnibus traffic, became dangerous to traffic. The Committee as a matter of urgency authorised immediate temporary repairs to the worst sections of the road and forwarded an estimate of the cost to the Finance Committee…

ABINGDON AND SOUTH HINKSEY ROAD

This road, which carries a continuous service of motor omnibuses as well as a considerable amount of heavy military traffic, is now in a deplorable condition and there is little likelihood that the amount appearing in the annual estimate will be sufficient to keep the road in a safe condition for traffic.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

Requisitions have been received from the Military Authorities for the supply of 170 tons of gravel for use on paths at the Prisoners of War Camp, Holyport; and for repairs to military roads at Ascot.

Report of BCC Highways and Bridges Committee, 21 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Percy Spencer is “in every way suited for a commission in HM Army”

Percy Spencer had been doing sterling service as a sergeant in the administrative section of the London Regiment. His commanding officer thought so highly of him that he recommended him for a commission. Shockingly, it was turned down.

I beg that application for a commission by Sergeant Spencer may be favourably considered.

In view of his services during the war and my own personal knowledge of him, both whilst commanding 142nd Inf. Brigade at various periods, and as OC 21st London Regiment, I am quite willing to take him at once into the battalion under my command as an officer without proceeding to a cadet school.

I have a vacancy for a 2/Lieut. Vice S/Lieut. Kennard attached from 24th London) who has now been transferred to RFC (21.4.17).

I think he is in every way suited for a commission in HM Army.

H P Kennedy, Lt Col,
Commanding 21st London Regiment
21.4.17

Copy letter from Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy (D/EZ177/7/12/34)

Ploughing the land

The local committee of the National Relief Fund, which aimed to help people thrown into poverty as a direct result of the war, decided to help out a mother trying to keep her son’s farm going.

21 April 1917
Application for Loan

The following letter from Mr W H Tottie was read:

Mrs Lake, Yew Tree Farm, Swallowfield
This woman has with her husband been looking after a farm for their son who is in the Berkshire Yeomanry. As her husband died recently and she has since then been quite unable to find or pay for labour she now wants assistance towards ploughing the land. A neighbouring farmer will do this for her and he asks £5, but Lady Constance Pasley thinks it could be done for less – say £3 – the Pensions Committee and the War Agricultural Committee have no powers to grant this and I would suggest that our National Relief Fund should help her. It is obviously desirable that the land be tilled. Mr Norland and the War Agricultural Committee have particulars.

Yours sincerely
(Signed) W H Tottie

The Committee decided that Mrs Lake be granted a loan of not exceeding £5, such loan to be repayable six months after the issue of the cheque and to be secured by a promissory note signed by Mrs Lake.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

A friend from the front

A Crowthorne teacher took time off to see a (boy?)friend home on leave.

20th April 1917

School reopened on Tuesday. Miss Haines was this day being granted leave of absence to see a friend from the front.

Crowthorne: Broadmoor School log book (C/EL100, p. 169)

We shall all share in the blessings of Victory as we should all share in the Miseries of Defeat

A rousing call to arms, or rather to joining in the National Service Scheme to help out on the home front.

Twelve good Reasons

1. BECAUSE the Greatest War the World has ever seen is nearing its climax, when we and our Allies must either conquer or be conquered.

2. BECAUSE Victory will mean the preservation of our homes, our lives, our liberties and all we hold dear, while Defeat will mean the loss of all these things and triumph of a Despotic Military System which seeks to destroy the British Empire and impose itself on the whole world.

3. BECAUSE having passed laws to compel men of certain ages to fight it is the bounded duty not of one man or one set of men, but every man to see that the Army and Navy are provide with everything they need to secure Victory, and to help to that end as far as possible.

4. BECAUSE our food supplies from abroad being threatened or reduced, and many agriculturists at home having been called up, men are urgently required to maintain and if possible to increase, our home supplies.

5. BECAUSE we cannot do these things unless all the manpower of the country is available and is properly organized, for which purpose the National Service Department has been formed.

6. BECAUSE our enemies the Germans are already organizing every man, woman and child for a similar purpose, but by the much less desirable method of Industrial Compulsion, which we are especially anxious to avoid.

7. BECAUSE if everyone helps who can , the war will be shortened, thereby saving at least six million pounds per day in money, and what is of infinite greater importance the lives, limbs and health of human beings, including in many cases our own relatives and friends.

8. BECAUSE every right-minded and patriotic man desires to help, but many do not know how or where to begin. Like an untrained and undisciplined Army, we are helpless without organization.

9. BECAUSE the National Service Department provides this organization, and when it has the names and qualifications of every one between the ages of 18 and 61, it will be able to supply man power where it is most needed, and to prevent the waste of it by putting “round men into round holes and square men into square holes” the right man in the right place.

10. BECAUSE certain occupations are essential while others are non-essential, and at any cost to ourselves or our comfort, the former should not want for a moment for labour which can be supplied by those engaged in the latter, or by those who are not engaged in either.

11. BECAUSE we shall all share in the blessings of Victory as we should all share in the Miseries of Defeat and it is therefore “up to” everyone of us to offer our services, whether they are accepted or not. To take part in civil occupations of National Importance involves little sacrifice when compared with that which we call upon our Soldiers and Sailors to make.

12. BECAUSE every man who enrols will be able, with a clear conscience, to reflect that in the hour of the Nation’s peril, he offered “to do his bit” by placing himself at the service of his country.

Note. If you agree that the above reasons are good reasons why all should enrol, go to the nearest Post Office, National Service Office or Employment Exchange and get a free form of application , fill it up (whether you are engaged already in work of National Importance or not) and post it (unstamped) to the Director General of National Service.

Reading St Mark section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

Viewing an aeroplane at close quarters

Children in a Berkshire village were excited when they saw an aeroplane being repaired.

April 16th-20th 1917

On Thursday afternoon, April 19th, the children had a half holiday that they might go on the Downs to see an aeroplane which had descended near the Old Well at about 9am.

The pilot had lost his bearings and had other trouble, so mechanics were sent for and the aeroplane was put in working order and continued on its journey at about 5.30pm.

The children were much interested in all they saw, having never before had the chance of viewing an aeroplane at close quarters.

Aldworth School log book (C/EL54/2, p. 298)