Death of a brother

A teacher’s brother was killed.

July 19th 1918

Miss Peters has been absent this week on account of the death of her brother.

Log book of Francis Baily Primary School, Thatcham (90/SCH/15/1, p. 48)

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Journeys through the air

A Newbury teenager launched on life with the RAF.

This term, unfortunately for our cricket, we returned to school without C.B. Alderson, who is going into the R.A.F shortly. Good luck to him in his journeys through the air!

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)

Influenza

18.7.18 Several children away suffering from influenza.

Cookham Rise County Primary School log book (C/EL71)

Not possible to start a Cadet Corps at Wallingford Grammar School

Many teachers were absent serving their country.


Secondary Schools

WALLINGFORD COUNTY GRAMMAR SCHOOL.

The Governors have considered the question of the formation of a Cadet Company in connexion with the school, but have decided, in view of the present shortage of staff and the many calls on the time of the Head Master, that it is not possible to adopt the proposal at the present time….

BURSARS AND STUDENT TEACHERS

Of ten Student Teachers whose engagements terminate on 31 July, one is already on Military Service … and one is due for Military Service.

Report of the Higher Education Sub-committee to Berkshire Education Committee, 13 July 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

Our hearty good-will and our deep sense of all that France has and is suffering for the cause of freedom and the Allies

Bastille Day, the French national day, is actually on 14 July, commemorating the fall of the Bastille and start of the French Revolution. Berkshire schools clearly had a rather vague grasp of French history, but cannot be faulted for their admiration for our ally.

Aldworth
July 12th 1918

On Friday afternoon, being France’s National Day, the children were addressed by the Vicar, the French Flag saluted and the Marseillaise sung – the following letter was also sent to the President of the French Republic:

Aldworth Vicarage
Reading
England

July 12th 1918

Dear Mr President,

The inhabitants of Aldworth wish to take the opportunity, which France’s National Day affords, to express to you our hearty good-will and our deep sense of all that France has and is suffering for the cause of freedom and the Allies.

We also take this opportunity to assure you that we are determined that the war shall at length, at whatever cost, be waged to a victorious issue.

Believe us to be, dear Mr President, your most devoted Allies.

(signed) A. L Watson, Vicar of Aldworth, Chairman of the Parish Council

Coleshill
12th July 1918

At noon to-day the children first saluted ‘The French Flag’ and then our ‘Union Jack’ in the playground. After this they sang ‘the Marseillaise’ and our own National Anthem, this being ‘France’s Day’.

Aldermaston
12th July 1918.

Pamphlets have been sent by the local War Aims committee to be given to the children today to commemorate France’s Day July 14th. The Head Teacher will give a short explanation of the subject to the school.

Hinton Waldrist
July 12th 1918

France’s Day. Children assembled in playground at 1.30. An address given by Capt: J. Loder Symonds. The French Flag and Union Jack saluted. The Marseillaise and God Save the King sung.


Log books: Aldworth School (C/EL54/3); Coleshill CE School (D/P40/28/5); Aldermaston School (88/SCH/3/3); Hinton Waldrist C of E Schoolk (C/EL84/2)

The wounded soldiers of France

1918 July 12th

France’s National Day celebrated. Lady Faringdon & Miss Gillett visited the school and joined in celebrating the occasion. The children sang the “Marseillaise”, “O God, our Help in Ages Past” and our own National Anthem.

Badges were distributed and a collection made amounting to £2 18s 5d for the wounded soldiers of France.

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

“For how much has God given us to be thankful”

Joan’s father escaped conscription at least for a while.

July 10th Wednesday

Daddie appeared before the tribunal yesterday unknown to us & got four months exemption with leave to appeal again. However the military representative may appeal against this, but it is by no means certain that he will, nor his success should he do so. For how much has God given us to be thankful.

Diary of Joan Evelyn Daniels of Reading (D/EX1341/1)

Influenza prevalent

The flu epidemic was starting to hit.

Datchet
1 July 1918

Only 190 present. Influenza prevalent.

White Waltham
July 1st 1918

Sergt Major London of Australian Expeditionary Force (Mrs Constable’s brother) visited the school this afternoon and spoke to the Mixed Group from 3.15 to 3.45 on “Children of Australia”. The children greatly enjoyed the talk.

Datchet National Mixed School log book (SCH30/8/3, p. 405); White Waltham CE School log book (D/P 142/28/3/2, p. 272)

Killed by the explosion of a shell

A Reading teacher serving in the army was killed in what is now Iraq.

27th June 1918
Heard this morning from Mrs Sheldon that her husband Frederick George Sheldon (who was assistant in the old school in Southampton St. and subsequently in the George Palmer Boy’s School from its opening Oct 3rd 1907) had been killed by the explosion of a shell, whilst he was serving as acting sergeant in the A.O.C. Mesopotamia, on June 18th 1918.

Reading: George Palmer Boys’ School log book (89/SCH/8/1, p. 152)

The Austrian offensive seems to have vanished into mid air

Officers were well treated on their visits home, on leave or wounded.

Florence Vansittart Neale
22 June 1918

I & two officers motored to Oxford. Saw Dorchester, had lunch en route. Saw Magdalen, New College & Christ Church. Two MO Canadians here for Sunday, Captains Johnston & Reay. They out all evening. We brought Phyllis home. She left Oxford.

Joan Daniels
June 22nd Saturday

Bruce McPherson has come for the weekend… Bruce has had a very nasty wound in the back of his head which he got last October.

The Austrian offensive seems to have vanished into mid air.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and Joan Daniels of Reading (D/EX1341/1)

Saluting the Roll of Honour of Old Scouts now serving in H.M.’s Forces

Boys joining the Scouts were not just having fun – they anticipated possible military service.

Several friends attended a Parade of the Windsor Forest Boy Scouts which was held on the Sunday School, on Saturday, June 22nd, when the following scouts were admitted after passing the tests of a tenderfoot. A. Kleinod, H. Hyde, R. Harrington, F. Fasey, J. Robb, A. Johnson, W. Prior, H. Welch, M. Adams, E. Payne. Mr. Asher very kindly presented the badges and Miss Ducat (a Scout Mistress) the certificate of admission. The troop was formed into a semi-circle as each Scout made the Scout’s promise, which is as follows: “I promise on my honour to do my duty to God and the King, to help other people at all times and to obey the Scout Law.” Mr. Asher then addressed the troop with kindly words of encouragement, and said he trusted each Scout would at all times remember their promise. The troop then did some staff and cart drill, and after saluting the Roll of Honour of Old Scouts now serving in H.M.’s Forces, the proceedings ended with the national anthem.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, July 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/6)

£10 war savings

Newbury children were rewarded with a day off for their contributing to the war savings programme.

21st June 1918

Half holiday to celebrate passing of £100 line by School War Savings Association.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 43)

“Wounded in the back. Hope it is not serious. Poor boy”

Elisabeth, a German relative of Johanna’s had been visiting Will and Johanna Spencer in Switzerland. She was planning to sneak some gifts through customs inspection. This ruse proved successful and the gifts passed muster when Elisabeth returned to Germany on the 29th.

Will Spencer
21 June 1918

During the afternoon Johanna was wearing the shawl which she is asking Elisabeth to take with her for Mutter [Mother]. She wears it, in order that it may have a better chance of passing the Customs House as a worn article of apparel. Johanna also dried some lemon peel today, for Elisabeth to take with her.

Joan Daniels
June 21st Friday

Mummie had a PC from Gerlad saying that they had received a telegram from the War Office to say that Leslie [McKenzie] was wounded in the back. Hope it is not serious. Poor boy.

Diaries of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/26); and Joan Evelyn Daniels of Reading (D/EX1341/1)

Maypole dance for wounded animals

Maidenhead children helped raise funds for wounded army animals.

20th June 1918
Sixteen children were taken this evening to do a Maypole Dance for a fete in aid of the Blue Cross Society.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 421)

“Far away from my battalion and the plague of khaki”

Percy had gone on ahead of his unit to arrange billets in the French countryside.

June 19 [1918]
My dear WF

I like this place. Far away from my battalion and the plague of khaki, here I am billeting – at least I was yesterday.

Today I’m just waiting for my people to turn up.

I like the chateau with its monster lime trees – one, the largest I have ever seen. And I like the big farmer who took me into a direct current from his styes and there held me in lengthy conversation – and the old ladies apparently born in strait waistcoats who hold one spellbound for hours in a flood of patois out of which one thing only is clear – they require an exorbitant price for what they are pleased to call an officers’ mess.

The postman, fat & aged, is refreshing too. His cheerful announcement of letters & postcards with all details and contents of the letter is good to the heart. His cheery good day to me as I passed and request for a cigarette & explanation that tobacco is very scarce went straight to my cigarette case.

And then there is M. le Maire, schoolmaster & umpteen other things, who left his overalled charges to show me billeting matters and give me lengthy explanations only pausing to hurl corrections across the courtyard to the schoolroom, where one of the boys was reading aloud.

And then there is Madame at the estaminet where I have my temporary headquarters, who provides me with an interminable reserve of eggs and coffee, and constant shocks. The climax was reached when I asked for milk, and taking a homely bedroom utensil [a chamberpot!], she drew therein a supply from her little goat and served me liberally therefrom.

And that’s my village.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/47-49)