Peace Decorations in the Mall

Boys from Slough witnessed an important Act of Parliament being passed.

September 2nd 1919

On Thursday August 31st the boys of the Gardening Class were taken to London. The trip included a visit to the zoo, a visit to the British Museum to see the illuminated manuscripts and historical autographs, the Peace Decorations in the Mall, and the House of Commons. One and a half hours were spent in the Gallery listening to a debate on Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Pensions. By good luck Black Rod came and called the Commons to the House of Lords for the Royal Assent to the Bill.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1)

Advertisements

“It is hoped that those who have been ‘On Service’ will turn up in force”

A pre-war type of church party was revived in Wokingham.

Parish Social Gathering.

In 1913 and 1914, Parish ‘Socials’ were held, which it was hoped would become annual affairs. The events of the past four years have, however caused their postponement, but it is now proposed to continue the sequence and a garden party will take place at the Vicarage on Saturday, August 30th, 3 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. It will be open to all members of the Parish without further invitation- (children will be admitted if accompanied by their parents) – and it is hoped that Parishioners will take advantage of this opportunity of foregathering in a friendly way, and above all, that those who have been ‘On Service’ will turn up in force. A Flower Show is being arranged for Exhibits from the Parish, and there will also be Concerts, Competitions, &c. £12 ought to cover the expenses, and will no doubt be forthcoming(it only means about an average of 3d. per head of the population). Contributions to this sum and also promises of cakes or other food are invited and may be sent to the Vicar, as soon as possible. Anyone willing to give a helping hand either beforehand or on the day itself is asked to give in his or her name. Programmes will be sent round in due course.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Soldiers asked to give those who had been at home these last five years the benefit of their unique experience of men and things

Earley men were warmly welcomed home.

Sailors and Soldiers Entertainment

A very kind and liberal support in money and provisions removed all anxiety as to the expense of the entertainment given on Aug 30. Our only regret was the comparatively few were able to be present. The weather was cold and threatening, and though the sky held clear till half past six we were then driven to take cover in the parish hall when an enjoyable concert filled up the remained of the evening. The committee under Mr george Love’s management had provided a sumptuous tea at 4 o’clock, the hall decorated with flags, and the guests were entertained by Mrs and Miss Lawrence, Mrs Love, Mrs Weait, Mrs and Miss Porter, Mrs Edwards, Mrs Shackleford, Mrs Wilby, Mrs Long, Mrs Box, and Miss West. Games on the lawn with competitions and prizes had been arranged by Mr Love (chairman), and Messrs Sturgess, Wright, Weait, Long, Edwards, West, Porter, Lawrence, Shackleford, Clayton-Jones, Wilby and Cyphus. The evening concert was the contribution of Miss Elsie Ruffel, Messrs. O West, F L Wing, R Wing, A H Earley, HE Wilby, and CE Cyphus (Pianist).

Our guests were as follows William H Pomeroy, HMS Ophir; William B Waters, Royal Berks; G E Gibbons, R.A.S.C., M. T.; F A Charlton, R.E.; Harry F Fulbrook, 2nd Batt. Hants. 29th Div.; Vernon Truss, RAF; Albert H Barlow, 7th Queen’s R.W. Surreys; Chas. Shackleford, R.A.S.C., M. T.; H J White, RAF, E Henwood, 10th Tank Bat.; E J E Capel, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; C W Green, RAF; O J West, HM Wireless Service; O H Long, 2nd O. Dorset Yeomanry; A W Long, R. A. S. C.; A H Earley, 219th Field Coy. R.E.; A G Earley, RAF; P G Canning, London Regt,; W H Andrews, Royal Berks and Tank Corps.; W G Ayres, R.G.A.; A J Franklin; G Gibbons; J A Earley, 1/4th R. Berks Regt.; C E Cyphus, Tank Corps.

At the close of tea the Vicar expressed the pleasure of the committee in welcoming the home-coming of their guests. He traced the steps which had led to this entertainment of them, and expressed his hope that they would gather together on more than occasion for counsel in the management of parish matters, and give those who had been at home these last five years the benefit of their unique experience of men and things.

The party dispersed soon after 9.30 after a thoroughly enjoyable time. We much regretted the unavoidable absence of Mr T R Stevens.

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

A reception for the Boys returning from the war

The men who had served from London Street Primitive Methodist Church were honoured.

26 August 1919

Resolved…

That as regards the unveiling ceremony,

(a) It be held on Wednesday 1st October at 7.30 pm
(b) That Rev E J T Bagnall preside.
(c) That Mr Waite be asked to receive memorial on behalf of Trustees.
(d) That Mr Smith be asked to present his roll of honour to the church.
(e) That Mr Smith speak first & Mr Alderson to follow.
(f) That Mr Drew be asked to arrange for suitable music.

That reception be held for the Boys returning from the war on following night, viz Oct 2/19.

That committee consisting of Mr Cheyney, Mr Pierce, & Ferguson arrange for the supper.

That Mr Cheyney, I Godden, A Chilton, arrange concert etc.

That reception be limited to Boys & one friend each. Trustees & Leaders to act as Waiters.

London Street Primitive Methodist Church trustees’ minutes (D/MS59/1A/2)

Released from internment

Children of interned aliens were generally cared for in the workhouses if their mothers were not alive. Once the war was over, they hoped to return home.

26th August, 1919

A letter was read from Mr John Geiger, of 15, Brighton Road, Reading, of the 17th instant, stating he had been released from Internment, and should be thankful to know what steps to take on behalf of his three sons now under the care of the Guardians.

The Chairman stated that the man was written to, to attend before the House Committee at 10.30 that morning, but he had only just arrived, and he suggested that the man should come before the Board.

Geiger appeared before the Board and explained his position as regarded the providing of a home so that he might take his three sons out, and asked that they might be allowed to remain in the Institution until he could provide a home.

After some discussion, on the suggestion of the Chairman, it was resolved that the Children should remain in the Institution for three weeks and that Geiger should pay 10/- weekly in respect of each child, and at the end of that period it was hoped the man would be able to remove the children.

Wokingham Board of Guardians minutes (G/WO1/26)

A touching memorial

Lockinge-born William Hallam, living across the border in Swindon, was moved by a war memorial.

24th August 1919

Wife and I went to St. Paul’s this morning. A touching ceremony was the unveiling – after the service – of a memorial window to Lieut. James who died of wounds.

Diary of William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/26)

Public Drumhead Service in memory of those fallen in the war

A military-style drumhead service in Reading commemorated the fallen.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

All brothers will agree the best course was taken to abandon our meeting of the 24th [August] in favour of the Public Drumhead Service, in memory of those fallen in the war; it proved a most impressive meeting.

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

Cards of welcome to all sailors and soldiers who have been demobilised

Earley men were welcomed home.

Short Notes

The men’s association has been active in sending out about 100 cards of welcome to all sailors and soldiers who have been demobilised. This involved a good deal of inquiry and care. Now they are following up this by a proposal to entertain such as are able and willing to come to tea and sports on the vicarage lawn on Aug 30th or the first week of September. To do this, a committee of ladies is being appointed, also for the sports a committee of men themselves. An appeal for the provision of the tea and gifts in kind will be made later, and there is little doubt of a generous response to this. Any immediate promises of help in this way will be welcomed by the Vicar or Mr T R Stevens.

We offer a welcome home to Mr William Long after four years and three months absence in Egypt. Mr Long served in the Army Service Corps, and is now set free. His return to Reading gives us the pleasure of having him back in the choir, where with alto Mr Leslie Grinstead his presence will be much valued.


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

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)

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)