Flu at Oxford

The epidemic had now struck the University of Oxford.

20 October 1918
Heard Jack Farrer ill with “flu” at Oxford.

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

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There are splendid times to come

Maidenhead Congregationalists were cautious but optimistic.

THE WAR.

Things seem to be moving rapidly just now. It is too much to say that the end is in sight, but we feel we are at last heading straight for the end we desire. The changes during the last week or two have been almost miraculous, but it is safest not to make predictions. The enemy has more than one move in hand by which the final victory may long be staved off. But recent events must be trying terribly the morale of his troops and of the nation. We must still work hard and pray hard. It has been a tremendous test of endurance for the Churches as well as for the business and social life of the land. Thank God that He has enabled us so far to endure, and to keep up heart. May we be more efficient as servants of the Kingdom. If we have learned our lessons well, there are splendid times to come.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, October 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

How the high wages are spent

Good news was tempered with sadness as men continued to die.

Florence Vansittart Neale
19 October 1918

Dear old Christopher died of pneumonia or flu. None of his family there. Up at the Orkneys. On hospital ship “Agadir”….

Had letters from girls. Wonderful entrance into Lille – all inhabitants kissing. Bring sugar & sweets for our soldiers.

William Hallam
19th October 1918

This afternoon I went through the town.… I could not help noticing this afternoon all the people especially women are dressed up to the nines and even then looking into the drapers windows for more clothes. This is how the high wages are spent.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

The conflagration may spread with no governments left to reconstruct the world

Lady Mary Glyn anticipated the Communist Revolution which would take place as Germany collapsed at the end of the war.

30 Half Moon St
London W
Oct 19 1918
My own darling

Railway facilities all much altered by the war….

John is to go for 3 months to GHQ on Wednesday on staff of General Ruggles Brise. Maysie will try to get small house or flat in London & stay near us & help our house hunt.

Your letter today – very interesting, and I find my views are not at all yours! And that you think Wilson has made disastrous mistakes, but I cannot help seeing the danger lies in another Bolshevist rising in Germany? And that the conflagration may spread with no governments left to reconstruct the world if we do not give a chance to the right people to make an enduring peace when the Armies judge the right moment has come?

It is evident that a long fight is ahead of us if the Hun saves the 195 Divisions, and has these and the navy to bargain with? And much is going on we can know nothing of; I have a faith that while soldiers must decide on the terms of Armistice, the statesmen (if we believe there are any left) must deal with the civilian element in all nations, and it is to these people that the decision will be given as to the form democratic government will take?

Meantime it seems to me to be the most solemn time when tremendous issues are at stake and that no human power can hold and keep the mind of man in place but the Divine Power, and in our recognition of what we call for want of a better – the “personal” Rule of that God in whose image we are all made. So it is a time for faith, & a glorious venture of faith. The demonstration has come – the vindication of the Righteousness for which we have ventured everything – that we should not mar and deface this glorious revealing through any passion for vengeance now which is not the avenging of divine justice is the paramount need, and I should trust Foch even more than Clemenceau? Clemenceau is said to be a man of no faith? It would be our undoing now not to be guided by men who believe in the powers of the world to come. We hold the lantern in our hands of a light that is not our own. We have to see that lantern is not darkened.

The world we know is full of private & individual sorrow, poor Norman Lang has lost his wife with this dread influenza…

My darling – how wonderful it would be if we were to have our Christmas together…

Own Mur


Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)

Very successful work

Reading was hit by flu, with over 70 children from one school affected.

Reading
18th October 1918

There is an epidemic of Influenza – number on books 209. Number present this morning 135.

Braywick
18th October 1918

This week three afternoons have been granted for picking berries as the weather became fine and dry. The girls have been very successful at the work.

Hampstead Norreys
18th Oct 1918

The children have picked 168 lbs of blackberries during this week.

Boyne Hill
Oct: 18th

Notice has been received that this school is to be closed [for influenza] from noon today until Nov: 4th.

Log books of Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6); Braywick CE School log book (C/EL65/4); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2); Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3)

More names for Newbury Roll of Honour

Four more Newbury men were reported to have been killed.

ROLL OF HONOUR

87 Gunner R P Styles, RFA, killed in action in France, August 22nd, 1918. RIP.
88 Ernest Henry Deacon, Gunner, RFA, died of injuries in Scotland, December 2nd, 1917. RIP.
89 Pioneer Henry Winter, killed in France, 7th August, 1918.
90 Signaller Frederick Beckley, 29th Battery RFA, killed in action Sept. 12th, 1918, aged 20.

Newbury parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“We may justifiably rejoice a little, and take courage for the severe struggle that we still have to face on the Western Front”

The vicar of Maidenhead was optimistic.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

… This season, certainly, opens under happier national auspices than the last three. With our troops victorious in France and the Balkans, and with Christian arms once more triumphant throughout the length and breadth of the Holy Land, we may justifiably rejoice a little, and take courage for the severe struggle that we still have to face on the Western Front, before the ideals that we have at heart shall have attained a complete victory …

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

Lille evacuated by the Germans

The Germans were on the run.

17 October 1918
Lille evacuated by Germans. Admiral R. Keyes landed there.

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

Black-berry picking in the afternoon

Oct. 17

We took the children for black-berry picking in the afternoon.

Peasemore School (C/EL49/2)

“Tommy from the line” thinks he should be able to buy “fags” at any hour of the day or night

Men on their way home for a spell of leave stopped off at a special camp. This is a first hand description from one of the helpers.

“LEAVES FROM A LEAVE CAMP.”

Mr Frampton, who is at Boulogne, sends us the following:-

“From the windows of the canteen where the writer is “doing his bit,” may be seen any evening a body of men with tin hats and rifles swinging along the road to the entrance of the “leave” camp. They are of many types, and it is most interesting to watch them file into the camp. One can see at a glance there are men from every walk of life, for the “khaki” does not cover a man so well that his former occupation cannot be shrewdly guessed.

As soon as they arrive in sight the canteen is at once closed. It has perhaps been open all the afternoon for the benefit of the staff attached to the camp, but it is necessary to close it now, for otherwise “Tommy” would make tracks for the counter in order to purchase “fags,” soap, towels, socks, and the numerous articles he is out of after a spell “up the line.” Of course, “Tommy” wishes to go to “Blighty” looking smart and clean, but he may not purchase just now. He is dealt with as follows:- Each man as he passes the gate is served with a ticket entitling him to an evening meal and breakfast in the morning. After all have enjoyed the evening meal, the canteen opens for an hour or two, and Tommy may make his purchases. Cigarettes and tobacco are an easy first, and the other articles sold are far too numerous to specify. Well, from say 7 to 9 o’clock he can buy what he needs, or play games in the canteen. Each canteen boasts a piano also. So much for his first few hours in the last camp before that journey to “Blighty” in the morning.

Lights out at 10 p.m., and “Tommy” is safely tucked up, sometimes twelve in a tent, till morning. It is a bit close, but it keeps them warm. Well, now, the morning arrives at last for “Tommy” who is “going home,” but it arrives too soon for the canteen hands, who were in all probability up at 4.30 the morning previous. However the canteen hands are often aroused at about 4 a.m. by some wakeful “Tommy,” who enquires in no uncertain voice, “When are you going to open?” The response is, “When you’ve all had breakfast.” Sometimes the conversation is not so short and sweet, but long and, truth to tell, “very lurid,” for “Tommy from the line” thinks he should be able to buy “fags” at any hour of the day or night, for, does he not work and fight day and night? And on the other hand the canteen hands consider that from 4.30 a.m. till 9 p.m. is a fair day’s work (with short breaks), and do not care to be roused at 3.30 a.m. by a strident voice shouting “What time do you open?”

Well, the canteen does eventually open, and you can imagine, say 1,000 men, making a sudden rush to the counter. They’ve had breakfast, and been supplied with their railway pass and ration cards for use in “Blighty,” and now they are about to spend on luxuries not so easily procured “higher up.” They are easily and quickly served with chocolate for the kiddies, postcards for mother, fancy handkerchiefs for “My dear sweetheart,” etc., etc. The articles mentioned are only samples, for “Tommy” is pleased to buy the best he can get, as a rule, for he has also got some arrears of pay in his pocket.

About two or three hours after breakfast he receives the order “Fall in.” It does not take long to “Fall in,” and the march is begun to the quay side. The first man, for instance, steps on board at say 10.30 a.m., and one hour later he realises that all are on board and he is actually leaving France behind for a short space of time. Two hours to ——- and two more in the train brings him to a London terminus, and if he is as lucky as the writer he will be “indoors” in five or six hours after leaving France. Again, if he is lucky he will have a splendid time in “Blighty” and return in better trim for “doing his bit.”

Of that return, more another time, for it has many a sad side to it, but as the writer is not now at camp where “Tommy” passes through on his return, perhaps he may never give you the impressions he gains by witnessing the return of so many fine men, whose hearts are doubtless very full of their own thoughts.

In conclusion, it may interest those at home to know that both “Tommy” and his officers are catered for by the “Expeditionary Force Canteen,” and the “Canteens” are an institution likely to remain very much in the foreground in the army when the great day of “Peace” shall arrive once more. May that day be not far distant!”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, October 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Magnificently maintaining the British tradition through dangers and hardships

News of Reading men:

PERSONAL

We desire to offer our hearty congratulations to Lieut. W. D. Hart of the Royal Marine Artillery, who has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. Lieutenant Hart, MC, joined the RMA in August 1915, and obtained his commission in October 1916. Before the war he attended the Young men’s Bible Class, and was a valued member of our Church Choir.

Our friend Private F. Snell is once more in the No. 1 War Hospital, Reading, for treatment. We trust the operation which he must undergo may be successful, and that we may ere long have the pleasure of welcoming him back into our midst.

Private Hedley Wyles has been in hospital in Dublin. We are glad to know that he is now better, and able to resume his duties with the Royal Wiltshire Regiment.

Private Duncan Frame has gone to France with the Hants Regiment. Our thoughts and prayers go with him and the many other Broad Street “boys”, who are so magnificently maintaining the British tradition.

We were glad to have Lieutenant Oswald Francis, MC, worshipping with us once more when he was recently home on furlough, and to know that he has come safely through his many dangers and hardships.

Private E. G. Emmett is at the RAF Armament School at Uxbridge, hoping to qualify as an Instructor in Machine Gunnery. It was a pleasure to see him looking so well when he was on furlough a few days ago.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

An epidemic of influenza

The dreadful flu epidemic hit Berkshire.

Abingdon
1918, 14th-18th October

There is an epidemic of influenza, poor attendance the whole of the week. Sent out notices of absence replies all reported illness. Only 99 girls present on Wednesday morning…

School closed on the 16th owing to the epidemic and reopened November 11th.

Hampstead Norreys
16th Oct.

School closed this morning for blackberrying. Children return to school for the afternoon.

Beedon
16th October.

School closed for blackberrying – 60 lbs gathered.

Boyne Hill
Oct: 16th

Dr Paterson has again been notified of the increasing number of influenza cases.

The PT [pupil teacher] was too ill to remain in school this afternoon.

Log books of Abingdon Girls’ CE School (C/EL2/2, p. 167); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2); Beedon CE School (C/EL55/1); Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3)

The Americans have saved the situation

Some resented the Americans’ domination of peace negotiations.

St Mary’s Bramber
Oct 16 1918

My own darling

The news in the evening paper is all good and I wonder what you think of Wilson? It satisfies me as quite adequate, but Dad is full of resentments! I do not think there is anything to be wondered at that he puts his own country first? They have saved the situation & in order to save it he had to become the spokesman for his very mixed country, & make clear to them why & for what they had come in. Having done this, he was then responsible for his 14 points which were not those of the Allies, and it was up to him to interpret them in the light of this present, a present he had more than any man alive brought to pass. But it does not bind us or even control any action in the field – how could it?

It cannot be altogether a matter of congratulation that the Hun thought he could make of Wilson another Lenin or Trotsky, and Wilson’s utter repudiation is a glorious vindication of the sovereign people’s right to speak. If the Hun wishes to ignore the crowned sovereign representatives in the Alliance he has found the thing itself there in that utterance & he is up against a Majesty he has failed to recognise, and which may teach the Hun People a new lesson, – illuminated him within that word now. It must be so wonderful to be with those armies as you are, to have to do with the men who are to represent this revolution when the Armistice can be signed – with the insignia the President cannot have – the crown of personal sacrifice, the anointing of the oil of a gladness only they can know who have learned what it is “to be joyful as those that march to music, sober as those who must company with Christ”. And if this is so the Coronation service is no dead letter even if it is a people being so crowned – King, Priest and Prophet, and I believe that office left out in our Kingmaking service is to be restored when a true democracy recognises the Theocracy.

Wilson’s answer comes very near to it – it is a great solemn warning – “the power not ourselves that makes for righteousness” is surely in it? Do tell me all you think. It has set me thinking, and I have to write it out to you…

I am not happy about Willie Percy. Mar: says he is so poorly the Doctor says he must come away from Jerusalem to another climate….

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

Killed in an aeroplane accident

Not many workhouse boys can have risen to the heights of being an officer.

Oct 15th
Heard of the death of Frank Hopgood. He was a boarded out boy from Reading Union and had all his education at this school. Leaving at 13 yrs of age he went to work and at the commencement of the war joined up and went to France. He gained a Commission and as second-lieutenant was killed in an aeroplane accident at Faversham yesterday morning.

Log book of St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

The special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services

The Government wanted ex-servicemen to get first choice of jobs where possible.

EMPLOYENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS

The Local Government Board have forwarded a communication from the Ministry of Pensions, in which the special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services when suitable vacancies arise, are urged. The Ministry suggest that preference should be accorded to disabled men (subject to reinstatement of former employees) when vacancies occur on the clerical, technical, or manual staffs of Local Authorities, and also call attention to the claims of young men between 18 and 21 returning from military service in connection with the recruitment of juniors for the administrative and clerical staffs.

WAR CHARITIES

The Sub-committee appointed for the purpose have dealt with the following applications for certificates of registration and exemption under the War Charities Act, 1916:

No of certificate Name of charity Applicants
58 Hungerford and District Red Cross Agricultural Relief of Allies Fund John C Adnams, Hungerford

Exemption to 8 June, 1918
7 Lance-Corporal Pounds, Prisoner of War Mrs K G Hanley, Forbury, Kintbury

Report of Berkshire County Council Finance Committee, 15 October 1918 (C/CL/1/21)