Very few of our men remain undischarged

MOst of the men from Maidenhead Congregational Church were back home.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Very few of our men remain undischarged. Frank Tomlinson, who has not been home for about three years, is expected in these parts very shortly now. George Ayres received the heartiest of welcomes on his return a week or two ago. He has been in Germany for nearly a year. We congratulate Wallace Mattingley on his second “pip.”

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

Two million men in all theatres of war

The wartime work of the Church army was spotlighted.

The Meeting in support of the local Church Army Hostel was held in the Council Chamber on November 5th, the Mayor being in the chair. The speaker, the Rev. W H G Shapcott, from Church Army Headquarters, gave an interesting account of the work of the Church Army for the soldiers during the war, describing how they had had to deal with two million men in all theatres of war, for whom 17 to 18 hundred huts had been in use. Thirty centres had now been started at home, the Newbury Hostel being one of these. He strongly appealed for local support for the Hostel and the Captain-in-charge stated what had already been done there. About £2409 has been spent on the Hostel, and £100 has to be spent, and it is earnestly hoped that the money will be forthcoming, both for this and for the maintenance of the Hostel.

Newbury parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Starting for Malta

Charles Carpendale, a distinguished naval officer, later had a pioneering role at the BBC. He also became a volunteer bookbinder.

26 October 1919
Carpendales came to tea. He starting for Malta on Tuesday to his ship “Benbow”.

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

Orders any day

After the war, Mesopotamia, which had formed part of the Ottoman Empire, fell under British control. It later became Iraq.

24 October 1919
Dan & Lorna arrived at tea time to stay before he goes to Mesopotamia. Expects orders any day to sail.

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

A service patient

October 21st, 1919

Letter from Berkshire Asylum read stating that the Minister of Pensions has paid the sum of £2.2.0, the cost of maintenance of Arthur Sumner in that Asylum up to date of his being classified as a service patient, and this Union has been credited with the amount accordingly.

Windsor Board of Guardians minutes (G/WI1/26)

Fighting against the Bolsheviks

Oct 13th
Visit of Richard Player, an old boy, who has just arrived from Russia where he has been fighting against the Bolsheviks.

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

Accidentally killed at Archangel

A Burghfield mechanic was killed abroad.

NAVAL OR MILTARY NOTES

We regret to record that Mr and Mrs Green, of Mill Cottage, have received a telegram informing them that on 4th September their son, Albert L Green, 2nd A/M, RAF, was accidentally killed at Archangel. He was only just 20, and was one of our Brightwell apprentices.

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

“There was little or no truth in the rumours that the German missionaries acted a political agents for their Government”

Mission workers were keen to renew cooperation with Germans.

THE GERMAN MISSIONARIES.

Before the war there were large numbers of German missionaries at work in British territory, about 400 in India alone. When the war broke out they were all expelled, and their work has remained for the most part at a standstill up to to-day. It appears to be the intention of the British authorities to refuse permission for their return for the present, perhaps for many years. At the last meeting of L.M.S. Directors, a resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority urging the authorities to shorten the period of exclusion as far as possible. It is a most serious matter for mission work over so large an area to cease, and for so many Christian Churches to be shut out from any participation in foreign enterprise. At the Board meeting it was stated on unexceptional authority that there was little or no truth in the rumours that the German missionaries acted a political agents for their Government.

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

A nasty accident

A soldier on leave caused a nasty accident for a Remenham woman.

It was with regret we heard that Miss Ames, our indefatigable helper in the Parish, met last month with a nasty accident at Weymouth, where she was staying for a holiday. A Colonial soldier ran into her with his bicycle, and she was thrown violently to the ground and much bruised, and mercifully escaped the loss of sight in one eye. We learn with relief and joy that Miss Ames is now progressing quite favourably towards recovery.

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

Molested by a soldier

Not all soldiers were heroes.

September 19th 1919

As five girls were coming to school this afternoon they were molested by a soldier who behaved in a grossly inappropriate fashion.

I immediately gave information to the police who took prompt action. I further reported the matter to the Education Committee and the Chairman.

Log book of Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1, p. 482)

Medals commemorating ‘peace’ and a portrait of Nurse Cavell

Edith Cavell was a British nurse based in Belgium, who heled a number of British and other soldiers to escape and was shot dead by the German occupying force. She is remembered for her words, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

Wallingford Boys Council School
1919, 15 September

A portrait of Nurse Cavell, purchased by the boys, hung in the hall today.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School
15th September 1919

The whole of the boys attended the Town Hall this morning to receive medals commemorating ‘peace’.

Log books of Wallingford Boys Council School log book (SCH22/8/3, p. 76); and Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School (C/EL72/3, p. 214)

Experiences In France

War time experiences would continue to inform lives in peace time.

Circuit Quarterly Meeting held at Tilehurst, September 10th 1919

Rev. W. A. Parrott related some of his experiences in France, & told of how he had – at the urgent request of many men – baptized & administered the sacrament.

Minutes of Reading Wesleyan Methodist Circuit Quarterly Meeting (D/MC1/1A/1)

Detained as evidence at a forthcoming Field General Court Martial

We wonder what the court martial was for, almost a year after the war’s end.

9th September, 1919
L/c E Edwards, Labour Master

Letter from Captain F Paterson, DAPM, Rouen, read stating that L/c E Edwards is detained as evidence at a forthcoming Field General Court Martial and, that as soon as the Court is convened and settled, he would be released for demobilisation.

Windsor Board of Guardians minutes (G/WI1/26)

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 )