What a vast difference it makes to know that the War is won

We end our WWI blog with this reflection on the future which faced Berkshire by the end of 1919.

Advent

The lesson and meaning of Advent have been brought home to us by varied and heart-stirring experiences in recent years. During the war we have felt both the warning of judgement and the comfort of the assured triumph of righteousness as never before. Last year our hearts were full of thankfulness, – ‘then were we like unto them that dream’ – and the dominant message of Advent was the Coming of the Prince of Peace. Today we look forward more soberly to the future. God is working His purpose out, His kingdom is being established upon earth, but, in the meanwhile, the reign of peace seems longer delayed than we had hoped, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power.”

So it becomes us to remember the Gospel teaching as to the conduct of those who wait while the Lord delayeth His coming. They are to be good stewards and intent upon their work.

It is a most appropriate Advent lesson for us all; we can see that the country needs all hands to the task of rebuilding, and this means that it is a patriotic duty for every man to work hard and do his best in his allotted place. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”

But what a vast difference it makes to know that the War is won and that all the work done now goes to make the world a happier place for the children who are growing up. Such an outlook puts joy into work and makes men feel the warmth of fellowship as comrades in a task worth doing.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

Two German rifles (one without a bolt)

Another school displayed enemy weapons.

November 27th 1919
Received from the Parish Council, per Mr. Cooper, two German rifles (one without a bolt) to be kept at the School in memory of the great war.

Log book of Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1, p. 490)

Returned from military service

26th November 1919
I am informed that Mr Edwards has returned from military service and has resumed his appointment as school attendance officer.

Aston Tirrold CE School log book (C/EL105/1, p. 196)

Changes to war savings

25th November 1919
Our War Savings Association is now attached to the Wallingford Local Committee.

Aston Tirrold CE School log book (C/EL105/1, p. 195)

A memento of the Great War

Germans guns went on display.

Six captured German rifles have been presented by the authorities to Winkfield Civil Parish. At a recent meeting of the Parish Council it was decided that they should be divided among the Schools, to be kept there as a memento of the Great War.

If we are fortunate enough to receive two rifles they will hang well on either side of the Roll of Honour in the main schoolroom.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, November 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/11)

A telegram advising closure

The terrible influenza pandemic was still raging.

Nov. 18th
Visited school this afternoon with telegram from Education Secretary advising the closing of the school on account of an outbreak of influenza. This was done.
Wm Davenport

Buscot CE School log book (C/EL73/2)

An absence (in the Army) of more than three years

Another man returned to civilian life.

1919, 17 November
Mr Edwards, resumed work as Attendance Officer after an absence (in the Army) of more than three years.

Wallingford Boys Council School log book (SCH22/8/3, p. 78)

‘Cutting the sod’ for the village war memorial

What better day to start the memorial off?

11/11/19

From 3pm to 3.30pm today the children took part in the ceremony of ‘cutting the sod’ for the village war memorial.

Log book of Leckhampstead School (C/EL 51/2)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

(more…)

“The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world”

In the end the League of Nations would fail to prevent an even worse conflict, but in 1919 hopes were high.

School News
Christmas Term, 1919
Nov. 11th

We assembled in the School hall at 10.50 am, Sister read us the King’s proclamation, and at 11 am, when the Curch bell rang, we kept the two minutes’ silence, which was being observed throughout the British Empire. Afterwards, Mrs Everett spoke to us about the League of Nations…

We were all acquainted with the ordinary selfish person, yet perhaps we were less familiar with what is known as “family selfishness”, or people who do not mind what happens as long as their family does not suffer. But there is yet a third kind of selfishness, in thinking too much of one’s own country, a selfishness often disguised under the name of patriotism. A true patriot can never do too much for his own country, but in this great League of Nations, we have to include the greater part of the world – not only England, but Germany, Austria, Russia, Japan, and all the other great powers. We have to see that every nation has her fair and proper share, so that the strong shall not oppress the weak, and, moreover, the children of each country may have a chance of growing to healthy manhood and womanhood. The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world. The Headquarters will be at Geneva, where all disputes and other affairs will be settled.

Concluding, Mrs Everett said that the older people would do their “bit” as long as they could, but it rested with the younger generation whether the small beginnings would prove a success, and the children of another generation would have reason to look back and bless them.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1920 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

Saving coal & light

Even a year after the war things were still in short supply.

4th November 1919
Began school at 1-30 today – for purpose of saving coal & light.

Log book of Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School (C/EL4/2, p. 195)

Pinning peace medals

Maidenhead children were presented with something to remember the end of the war by.

King Street School
4th November 1919

The Mayor, accompanied by the Mayoress, and the Clerk to the Education Committee, visited this afternoon to distribute the Peace Medals to the children. Time would not permit for him to hand each child his medal, so he pinned one on the Head Teacher & asked the teachers to do likewise for the children.

Gordon Road Boys School
November 4th 1919

The mayor accompanied by the Mayoress and Town Clerk visited the school to distribute the Peace medals.

Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School
Nov. 4th

The Mayor, accompanied by the Mayoress & Mr Davies, addressed the children for a few minutes this afternoon, the occasion of the distribution of Peace Medals. The afternoon Cookery Class was postponed.

War Loan takings today = £3.15.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Gordon Road Boys School, Maidenhead (C/EL/107/1); Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3

The special week’s holiday in honour of ‘peace’

24th October 1919
The school closed at midday (the special week’s holiday in honour of ‘peace’ granted at the request of H. M. the King being taken as a mid-term holiday) and will reopen on Monday Nov 3rd.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School log book (C/EL72/3, p. 216)

Peace mugs distributed

Souvenir mugs to celebrate peace were in high demand in Hampstead Norreys.

24th Oct.

Yesterday (Thurs) the Peace Mugs were distributed to all the scholars by Mrs Coper of Eling. A number of parents also attended to receive mugs for those children above or below school age.
The 1st Class children sang two songs before the presentation, and afterwards, on the proposition of the Head master, thanked Mrs Cooper for coming to distribute the mugs.

They were bought with money collected by the Peace Celebrations Committee.

Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

England expects every one to do his duty, now, just as in Nelson’s time

21st Oct.

As today is “Nelson’s Day”, I gave a short address to the children of 1st Class on “Sea-Power”, showing how Britain is & has been for hundreds of years “Mistress of the Seas”, but that she has always used this power justly, allowing the true freedom of the seas to all nations, especially taking under her care the smaller nations, and keeping the seas clear of piracy and slave-trading. I also spoke of the Battle of Trafalgar, and of Nelson’s famous signal, impressing upon the scholars that England expects every one to do his duty, now, just as in Nelson’s time.

Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)