“We could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again”

Teenage boys from Earley had the fun of a camp dispelled by sad news of old friends who had gone to the Front.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE AND SCOUTS

We had a most enjoyable time on the School journey in spite of the weather. A very full account is being published in the “Reading Observer”, and we are hoping that Mr Albert Smith will be able to spare the time to come and give us a Lantern Lecture describing our travels, so we shall not enter into details now. Several of the Cadets and two more Scouts joined us at Hungerford when we spent a most delightful four days, everyone showing us the greatest kindness.

The news of the death of our late Staff-Sergeant George Maskell came as a great shock to us on our return, and we could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again. We had a Memorial Service after Matins on Sunday, August 12th, some of our friends from St Giles’ and St John’s Companies joining us for the Parade Service and staying to the Memorial Service. We offer our deep sympathy to the relations and friends of one whom we all loved – RIP.

On going to press we have just heard of the death of another of our CLB Staff Sergeants, John Parker. Jack was one of our very keenest and best CLB workers and we shall miss him terribly. We offer our deepest sympathy to his mother and other relations and friends. RIP.


Earley St Peter parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Setting such a good example in food economy, that at present there is not much prospect of compulsory rationing

Reading clergy agreed none of their churches would put on a tea for Sunday School children this year.

THE VICAR’S LETTER

My dear friends,

The Bishop of Oxford, in the Diocesan Magazine for this month, calls especial attention to the effort that is to be made following on the National Mission of last year. To stimulate prayer and interest and self-sacrifice for the overseas work of the Church, Sunday, October 14th, and the days following have been set apart for this purpose in Reading, and we hope that there will be a wide response. The Bishop expresses his earnest wish that we and our people should realise the great obligations laid upon us by the war for the evangelization of the world…

At a meeting of the clergy, of all denominations in Reading, held a short time ago, it was resolved that there should be no Sunday School Teas as usual, but that an afternoon should be set aside for games and sports. We are sure that both children and parents will feel that at this time public meals of any sort are to be avoided. We understand that so many town, including Reading, are setting such a good example in food economy, that at present there is not much prospect of compulsory rationing.

Your friend and vicar,
W W Fowler

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list: George Bernard, Bernard Walker, Charles Simmonds, Ernest Dormer, William Cooper.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:

KILLED IN ACTION: Albert Denham, Frank Snellgrove, George Jeram.

SICK: Alban Fixsen, William May, Cornelius O’Leary, Francis Broadhurst.

WOUNDED: Frederick Smithers, Frank Taylor, Gilbert Adams.

MISSING: William Wynn.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Carrying on under exceptional circumstances

A Slough soldier came to visit his old school while home on leave.

July 30th 1917

Lieutenant Henry Chilverd R.F.A came to the school today. He was promoted to Sec[ond] Lieutenant in the regular army eighteen months ago for ‘carrying on’ with his battery under exceptional circumstances.

He had been in the army before the war and also served in the North West – Canada. His younger brother was the first of our old boys to be killed in this war.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1, p. 399)

Squads of schoolboys to bring in the harvest

Shortages of labour due to the vast numbers of men gone to the war combined with restricted imports to lead to fears for a food crisis.

Public School Boys as Harvesters

The Director-General of National Service has appealed for the help of the elder boys from Public and Secondary Schools as a Reserve of Labour.

There has been good response from the Schools on the part of the Masters and Boys.

Free railway warrants are to be provided for volunteers undertaking work for two consecutive weeks in term time or three consecutive weeks in the holidays.

Boys will be organised in squads. Each squad will be in charge of an assistant master.

Squads will not be asked to do any work under this Scheme on Sundays.

Boys will receive the current rate of wages applicable to the locality, i.e. 3d to 4d. per hour. Boys will only be paid for work done. When not employed through wet weather or for other reasons, they will receive no pay.

Squads for fruit picking are included in the Scheme.

The Rev. R. Holmes, White Waltham Vicarage, Maidenhead, is Secretary for this District and he has asked the Vicar, the Rev. S. M. Winter, to act as Local Correspondent for Wargrave. Applications for the services of such volunteer workers for further particulars should be addressed to him.

Potato Spraying

The Food Protection Committee, through the kindness of the President, have taken steps to obtain Sprayers and the necessary Spraying Material.

The Sprayers will be lent by the Committee to all who require them, and the Liquid will be obtainable at cost price.

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

Donations for wounded army horses

Berkshire schools were affected by the war in varying ways.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School
1917, 23rd-27th July

As last year the County Council gave War Time Certificates instead of Prizes.

During the year the girls have sent:

1. To the Jack Cornwall Fund for Memorial Ward – 13/
2. Xmas puddings for soldiers at the Front – one guinea
3. To the RSPCA Fund for sick and wounded army horses – 12/
4. The Overseas Fund on Empire Day – 7/

Broadmoor School
27th July 1917

Miss Haines was allowed to leave school at 2 o’clock on Monday to see a friend from the trenches.

Charlton Infant School
27th July 1917

The usual school treat is not taking place this year, in accordance with the wishes of the Food Controller.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2); Crowthorne: Broadmoor School log book (C/EL100); Charlton Infant School log book (C/EL12)

“I know that the Mothers will take these restrictions in the right spirit”

One Reading parish offered war savings certificates in lieu of food at the Sunday School treat.

The Vicar’s Notes

This year, in accordance with directions of the food controller, there will be no tea in connection with our Sunday School treat; but to make up for this, it is proposed to give every child a 6d. War Stamp. So I hope all parishioners will give a warm welcome to our collectors when they come round for contributions. Wednesdays the 25th (St James’ Day) has been suggested as the probable date for the treat; and the schools in each district of the parish will arrange separately for sports to be held on any grounds that may be conveniently close by. There will be no joint gathering or procession of the children. I am sorry too that the Mother’s Meeting’s teas will have to be suspended this year throughout the Parish; but I know that the Mothers will take these restrictions in the right spirit.

Intercessions

Our wounded especially Roy Russell (now in hospital at Lincoln). Arthur Russell (just wounded in France).
For prisoners, especially Charles Mercott (one of our servers, now a prisoner of war in Germany).
For the fallen, especially John Middleton-Cross (killed instantly in action in Belgium on June 7th)
R.I.P.

Thanksgiving
For the recovery of Ian Dunbar Dickson (wounded near Salonika).

Reading St Mary parish magazine, July1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

“Personally, my hopes lie in the Constituent Assembly choosing a Constitutional Monarchy” in Russia

Customary insistence that churchgoers should wear their Sunday best had gone by the wayside.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

This short line comes to greet you in the midst of what I hope will be pleasant summer weather. The very beauty of Nature around us must make us in our green Island think of the goodness of God’s bounty to us all ; and it must in our thankfulness suggest to us how great our sympathy should be with all those of our kith and kin, who in weariness too often, in hardship too frequent, are on our behalf in the shell-scarred, dusty, noisome trenches of many foreign lands.

I would not exhort, as Vicar, for just now we are all very ready to stir each other up to action, but I would rather beg of you as a fellow worshipper, that we should try not to grow weary or fainthearted in our prayers for those we love, whether at home or in Church. St Luke’s Church is open always from 8 am to 6 pm, later on Fridays and Sundays; St Peter’s is open, too. Those who cannot find a quiet corner at home, can find one there. Working clothes do not matter; God wants our hearts, not fine clothes.

There is, too, the War Shrine to provide a centre for our prayers. And many could come to the weekly Friday Intercession Service. We have to remember that life is not the only boon we can ask for those we love but that honour, purity, and straightforwardness are even greater things. I think we are all doing this pretty well; but I suppose we could none of us honestly say we could not do a great deal better…

Now may I say one ward as regards Treats, etc. The War certainly imposes on us the need for great economy. All expenses should, so far as possible, be cut down. But the War has already lasted nearly three years, and owing to the Republican disorder in Russia, the hope of an early Peace has faded away; though the entry of the United States into the War has made more certain than ever before a full and final victory. We must all hope for a speedy settlement in the land of our great Russian Ally; personally, my hopes lie in the Constituent Assembly choosing a Constitutional Monarchy.

So, many children are fast growing up without much memory of the peaceful days before the War. For them there should be, I think, very simple and economic Treats. I hope those who agree with me will support our Sunday School Fund during this month. I feel that the Mothers are another class who should have some little outing, as cheap as possible, of course, still a little change from the daily work and anxiety…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Cherries instead of tea

Earley children enjoyed their summer treat despite the lack of a meal.

SUNDAY SCHOOLS
The Sunday School Summer Treat had to be postponed from Wednesday, July 18th, on account of the wet, to Saturday, July 21st, when we had a beautiful evening. Although Wednesday afternoon was so wet, we were able to distribute a bag of cherries to each of the children, which were much appreciated. By kind permission of Mr and Mrs Friedlander the games and sports were held in the park, and although the usual tea and scrambles were not given, owing to the Proclamation, the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Plans for air raids

Small children in Reading practised their air raid drill.

Battle Infants School, Reading
20th July 1917

Instructions have been received that a plan of action is to be arranged in case of an “air raid”. A drill for this was practised on Thursday.

Grey Friars Infants’ School, Reading
July 20th 1917

‘Air Raid’ Drill practised this morning according to scheme prepared.

Stoke Road School, Slough
July 20th 1917
An old boy of the school called this week having been promoted on the field to Second Lieutenant in the Canadians – 2nd Lieutenant D Oldham.

Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2); Grey Friars Infants’ School log book (R/ES4/2); Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1)

Making the best of the difficulties and privations of the times in which we live

Children in Earley would show their solidarity with the troops by doing without refreshments at the annual Sunday School summer party.

SUNDAY SCHOOLS
We hope to hold our Sunday School Summer Treat on Wednesday, July 18th. In loyal obedience to the King’s Proclamation, and in accordance with the wishes of the Food Controller, we shall not have any tea this year, but shall hope to have a jolly evening of games and sports, and we feel certain that all our young people will show the same spirit as our splendid troops and make the best of the difficulties and privations of the times in which we live.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Air raid safety drill

Some Reading children were prepared to face air raids.

16th July 1917
The Vicar visited the school this afternoon, and saw the children practise a safety drill in case of an Air Raid.

Reading: All Saints Infant School log book (89/SCH/19/2, p. 229)

The treatment and training of disabled soldiers

The Disablements Sub-committee of the County Council’s War Pensions Committee reported with its progress finding training schemes for disabled former soldiers.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that two Schemes for training disabled soldiers have been drafted after careful consideration and in consultation with Colonel Morrison, the authorities at Windsor Castle, the Windsor Institute and the University College, Reading….

These Schemes can only be successfully carried into practice under the Royal Warrant of April 17, 1917, which provides that the man’s pension shall temporarily cease while under treatment or training, and that all expenses and payments to an approved amount shall be made by the War Pensions Committee….

The period of training in the Gardens at Windsor should be at least 12 months, and should not be restricted to the period of 6 months stipulated I the provisional approval already received from the Statutory Committee.

It was also strongly urged that both these Schemes should be approved and put into operation immediately, because the delay which has already occurred has not only prevented several suitable men from receiving the benefits of this training, which they were at one time prepared to accept, but is likely, if continued, to endanger the success of any Schemes that may be introduced for the treatment and training of disabled soldiers….

The following statistics are reported to date:

Cases registered 927

Cases already considered 193

Cases needing no assistance 484

Cases which may need assistance 211

Cases to be re-considered 174

Cases awarded treatment 27

Cases awarded training 16

Approximate number of cases in hands of Sub-committee for investigation 300

Meanwhile, Berkshire County Council’s Higher Education Committee dealt with some financial implications of the war.

Higher Education Committee

In view of the uncertainties due to … the chance of termination of the War and return of teachers whose situations and annual increases have been guaranteed, it is recommended that the present arrangements should be announced as provisional…

Bursars and Student Teachers

Of 12 Bursars [trainee teachers given scholarships] appointed last year, one failed to take up the Bursary as he joined the Army… Of nine Student Teachers whose engagements terminate on 31 July, one is already on Military Service and one joins up in August…

Higher Education Sub-committee report to BCC Education Committee, 14 July 1917; Disablements Sub-committee of the War Pensions Committee report, 14 July 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Air raid precautions

The Government circulated schools with instructions on how to respond to an air raid.

13th July 1917
A copy of a memorandum dealing with ‘Precautions in Air Raids’ received from the Board of Education was received from Mr Pugh. A plan of action in accordance with the suggestions in the memorandum was drawn up and sent to Mr Pugh.

Emmer Green CE School log book (R/ES8/3, p. 132)

Strict rationing at the Sunday School treat

While other towns had cancelled Sunday School parties, or at least put them on without the usual refreshments, it was business as usual in Maidenhead.

THE S. S. TREAT.

At a meeting of the Superintendents and Secretaries of the Maidenhead Free Church Sunday Schools, it was resolved to hold the Treats as usual this year. This will be good news to our youngsters, for in many towns, some of them not far distant from us, the Food Controller’s frown has prevailed. The demands for food economy can be met, so our Superintendents and Secretaries think, by strict rationing, and every child’s portion is to be separately tied up in paper, with no free helping from plates! And as the delightful Thicket is so near, and there is no call for economy in the use of healthy muscles, we need make no demand on railway or horse wagon, and fresh air is plentiful enough, and we hope high spirits too. So let our young folks look forward to the 12th July.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, June 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Collect all the blackberries from the hedges

Food shortages were tackled by encouraging people to pick and preserve homegroown and wild fruits.

Fruit Bottling

It is again by the kindness of the President that the Committee are able to announce a large supply, one hundred dozen, of bottles. These have been bought on special terms from the Ministry of Food, and will be obtainable at cost price from the Wargrave Shop.

Notes on Fruit Bottling

1. Clean and dry the bottles thoroughly; and always remember in dealing with glass vessels of any sort not to put them when cold into hot water, or when they are hot not to put them into cold water or even stand them down on a cold surface such as some stone slab, or on bricks, or you will be almost certain to crack them. If you are going to wash a dirty glass bottle put it first into luke warm water and, if necessary, increase the heat gradually. A bottle taken out of very hot water should be stood on a wooden surface or a blanket may be placed over a stone slab to take off the first shock of the cold stone. The very smallest crack in a bottle may make the contents go rotten.

2. Pick your fruit when it is just ripe and no more. Clean it and dry it. Pack it closely in the bottles, which should be quite full. Apples and pears should be cut in quarters; and all other fruit should be put in whole. Then fill the bottles with clean warm water, and put on the rubber ring and the glass lid, and next put the metal rim loosely over them. At present do not screw the metal rim down tight. Stand the bottles up to their necks in cold water in a fish kettle or open boiler, which should have a false bottom so as to prevent the bottles standing on the thin metal of the kettle which gets so hot as to occasionally crack the glass*. Put a little hay round the bottom of the bottles to prevent their hitting one another when the water boils, and so getting cracked. Bring the water in the kettle very slowly to the boil, and let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, with a cloth in your hand to prevent the bottles burning you, take each bottle out one by one, and without a moments delay screw the metal rim down tight upon the glass lip and rubber ring below it, whilst the water in the bottle is at boiling heat. Then take out the next bottle and serve it the same, and so on till all your bottles are tightly screwed down. The neglect to screw the lid down tight IMMEDIATELY the bottle is taken out of the kettle is at the bottom of almost all failures.

The above is a rough and ready method, but it will be found to answer if you will

3. REMEMBER –
To fill your bottles with fruit
To fill each bottle with clean warm water, but do not use any sugar
To leave the metal rim and glass cover just loose while cooking
To have a false bottom in the kettle and to put a little hay round the bottom of the bottles
To fill the kettle with cold water
To boil up the water in the kettle very gradually, and then
To keep it boiling steadily for 15 to 20 minutes
To screw each bottle down quite tight the moment you take it out of the boiling kettle, one minute’s delay may spoil the whole bottle of fruit.

4. Gooseberries Raspberries, Currants, Plums, Damsons, Blackberries, Apples, Pears, and most other fruit may be preserved in this way. Strawberries are not recommended.

5. Do not forget to collect all the Blackberries from the hedges, and remember that for bottling they should not be too ripe. By doing this, even the very young children can help to increase the food supply.

6. How to use bottled fruit:- Unscrew the metal rim and if the glass lid does not come off easily lift it carefully by inserting a blunt screw driver between the bottle and the indiarubber band. The contents of the bottle can be used in any way in which fresh fruit is used, by cooking it in puddings, or pies or by stewing it with a little sugar.

Anyone desiring more detailed information should obtain the R.H.S. Pamphlet (Price 6d.) on Fruit and Vegetable Bottling and Storing R.H.S. Office, Vincent Square, Westminster, SW1.

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