Prisoners from this district are benefitting from the Lavender Market

Ascot PoWs would benefit from recent fundraising.

Our Readers will be glad to know that the “Lavender Market” held on July 20th resulted in a net profit of £200 odd, which enables the Ascot Women’s Suffrage Society to send £100 to the Royal Berkshire Regiment Prisoners of War Care Committee, and £100 to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Those who helped so generously will be gratified to know that their own prisoners from this district are thus benefitting.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, September 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/8)

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“One of the men had his legs nearly blown off”

William Hallam was on holiday in Cornwall but still had the war forced on him.

William Hallam
20th July 1918

This morning just after breakfast a merchantman’s crew were landed at St. Ives. About 20 Chinese and four English officers. One of the men had his legs nearly blown off and he was taken to Penange hospital. We heard 2 vessels had been sunk about 7 miles off. Stormy again.

Florence Vansittart Neale
20 July 1918

Heard Tzar really shot on 16th. Poor man.

More strikes threatened in Coventry &c. Hope they will come round!!

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

Merry as a marriage bell – despite the unbidden guest

Church choirs typically had an annual jolly day out. The choir at Broad Street Church in Reading invited along a group of wounded soldiers in 1918.

July

RIVER TRIP

Arrangements are being made by the Church Choir for a river trip in the afternoon of Saturday, July 20th, when they hope to entertain a party of wounded soldiers. Goring and Hartslock Woods will most likely be the places visited. In addition to the members of the choir and their wounded friends, there will be accommodation for about thirty visitors. Full details have not yet been arranged, but particulars may be obtained from members of the choir after July 1st. It is very desirable, however, that early application should be made for tickets by those who wish to join the party.

August

CHOIR TRIP

On Saturday, July 20th, the annual choir trip took place, the destination this time being Goring and Hartlock Woods. A party of twenty-five wounded soldiers from the military hospitals had been invited as guests of the choir, so there was accommodation for only about forty other friends.

In the forenoon the weather outlook seemed very uncertain, but as 1.30 pm drew near it assumed a more promising aspect. Immediately after the arrival of “the men in blue” the steam-launch “River Queen” was started, and the party of 105 proceeded upstream at a steady pace. The choir discoursed sweet music as we journeyed and “all went merry as a marriage bell”.

We reached Goring without mishap at 4.15 pm, and there we disembarked for about twenty-five minutes, to permit of a hasty look round. Setting off on the return journey at 4.45 pm, we reached Hartslock Woods at 5 o’clock, and took a short walk whilst arrangements were being made for tea.

At 5.15 we sat down to do full justice to the good things provided. The sun was now shining with unwonted brilliance, and was even considered by some to be too powerful. After tea, Mr F. W. Harvey read a letter from the Rev. W. Morton Rawlinson (who unfortunately, through indisposition, was unable to join the party) and in an appropriate speech gave welcome to our guests. To this welcome, the officer who accompanied the wounded soldiers fittingly replied, and expressed the gratitude of those for whom he spoke.

The company now dispersed in various directions. Some rambled along the banks of the river; others explored the beautiful woods; and still others climbed the high hill from which an uninterrupted view could be gained of “Father Thames”, stretching away into the distance on either side.

As our soldier friends had been granted an extension of time it was not proposed to start for home until 8.15. but unhappily the fickle sun, which had promised so well at tea-time, was hidden from view by a heavy thunder-cloud, which speedily began to give us a taste of its contents. Everyone made for the boat, and at 7.30, as there seemed to be no prospect of a change in the weather, it was decided to return.

The rain continued most of the way home, but the choir again delighted us with various musical selections, and made it impossible for us to feel depressed or even dull. Their efforts to beguile the time, from Tilehurst onwards, were supplemented by those of three youngsters on the lookout for stray pence, who, on the river bank, kept pace with the boat and provided a varied exhibition.

Altogether, although the rain was an unbidden guest, the trip was most thoroughly enjoyed, and great praise is due to the choir for the entertainment given to their wounded guests and to the whole party. We should like to thank Mr Harvey, too, and the members of the Choir Committee, for the excellent arrangements made for the comfort of all.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, July and August 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Good news from France

Florence Vansittart Neale was cheered by the latest war news.

19 July 1918

Read Times.

Good news from France – by counter attack French & Americans retook 8 miles & 5000 prisoners.

Bread to be white soon. No more land to be ploughed up at present.

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

“Any letters which contain obscure expressions, abbreviations and indirect references to prohibited subjects are liable to delay, and may have to be stopped”

Complaints about how internees were treated were strictly forbidden.

19.7.18

[to] The Gov
Reading P of I

The U S of S [Under-Secretary of State] requests that the Irish interned prisoners in your custody may be informed as follows:

The S of S has asked that you may be reminded that letters are allowed for the purpose of communicating with your relations & friends on domestic matters and matters of business in which you are personally interested. They must not be used for the discussion of public events or for complaints about your internment or treatment; any such complaints should be made to the S of S.

Communications which offend against these rules will be stopped by the Censor.

Arrangements have been made to deal with all letters as quickly as possible, but any which contain obscure expressions, abbreviations and indirect references to prohibited subjects are liable to delay, and may have to be stopped.

If your correspondents understand English you are recommended to write to them in that language.

A J Wall
Secy

Each man was informed of this on reception and also a notice was placed In the hall.

A further notice embodying this letter has now been placed in the Irish Prison.

C M Morgan
Gov:
20-7-18

HM Prison
Reading
July 19. 18

From the MO to the Governor

Regarding the petition of H. Shlapowsky, I reported fully upon May 8th of this year.

He is [illegible – herplocked?] on the right side (not badly) and there is a weakness on the left, but … [illegible] behind. He has done no heavy work here, but has … [illegible] pretty, fights with fellow prisoners and has been on hunger strike.

What he says about us is nonsense, and I have declined to allow him to bug Alber from the Chemist.

Since his hunger strike in April, he has registered a weight of over 110 lbs. I am willing to supply him with a … [illegible] but I find we shall have a [illegible].

At the present time I see no necessity for increased rations.

W T Freeman.

Prison Commission
HO
SW1

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

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)

Two old boys home on 7 days leave

Two Sandhurst soldiers visited their old teacher.

July 19th 1918
Jack Carter and Jon Morgans, two old boys home on 7 days leave called to see me this week.

Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 444)

The General Memorial should in every way take precedence of individual memorials

The parish of Wargrave made some decisions about future war memorials.

War Memorials

The Bishop wrote a letter to the Diocese, in October, 1917, in which he said:-

“Experience has already shown that it is most desirable that local effort should be concentrated on one common Memorial. It is also important to consider carefully the nature of any proposal made, and to obtain competent advice, if possible on the spot, so that every memorial should be worthy of the occasion and permanent in character. To obtain satisfactory results, some delay and great care are imperative.”

The Bishop also commended to the Diocese a memorandum drawn up by an Advisory Committee on the subject. The first three points are as follows:-

(1) Advice should be sought when a Memorial is first proposed, and before the question of the form it should take is decided.

(2) The Committee urges the importance of concentrating upon one common design and the avoidance, if possible, of several small Memorials. The best and most permanent Memorial is that which best harmonizes with the building or surroundings in which it is placed. It is not intended to exclude separate Memorials erected under one common scheme, e.g. the fitting up of a chapel.

(3) The creation of a united Memorial should be postponed until the end of the War, though it may be of importance to decide beforehand what form it should take.

The General Memorial

A General Memorial to those, from the Parish of Wargrave, who give their lives for their Country is already secured, in the Parish Church, by the erection of the East Window. But it will not be completed until the end of the War. It is necessarily incomplete until the record of names has been inscribed, and a sum of money has been set apart for that purpose. But the East Window is the gift of one donor and there is no doubt that many others would like to join together in the completion of the Memorial. The form which such Complete Memorial will take is at present undecided, except that a list of the names will be incorporated in it. There are, unfortunately, already as many as thirty-nine names on this Roll of Honour. So long a list necessarily affects the question of design and treatment.

If many people wished to join in erecting such a General Memorial in the Parish Church after the War, they might determine, instead of merely erecting a tablet, to embellish some portion of the Church with carved wood and sculptured stone, so as to establish a Place of Memorial, or even a Memorial Chapel to those who shall have fallen which could express in the most permanent form the affection and gratitude of those for whom they died.

One generous offer has already been made which confirms the probability of such a plan. If anything of the kind is at all likely to become the general wish of the parish, it is very important that the Vicar and Churchwardens should not allow any individual monuments to be now erected which would afterwards impede an artist in planning a general design.

Individual Memorials

Everyone will agree that the General Memorial should have precedence of all individual memorials, it is therefore necessary to decide at once upon the part of the Church where the General Memorial shall be placed.

But it may well happen that some parishioners may wish to erect Individual Memorials in the actual part of the Church which is thus reserved. They may feel that they wish their particular memorials to be incorporated in the general one, while preserving the individual character of their personal tribute. If this be so they must either defer the design and erection of their Memorials until the General Memorial is taken in hand, or we must now form some idea of what the General Memorial is to be and choose our Artist, so that he may take charge at once. He would then only allow such Individual Memorials as would fit into his general design and harmonise with it.

And, apart from this particular matter of War Memorials, there is a real need for the expert advice of an Artist in the case of any application for the erection of a monument. A Parish Church is designed as one whole, to which all features should happily contribute. It would be quite possible to introduce a monument which, though beautiful in itself, would be generally regretted as out of harmony with the view of the building as a whole. And even if a monument were unobjectionable in this respect there are questions of style, material, and treatment which require expert knowledge.

The decision itself rests with the Vicar, but he needs expert advice to enable him to decide in a way which will secure general approval in the years to come. It therefore seems best to choose some one Artist, who will be generally acceptable to the Parish, and to ask him to act as our adviser to whom all designs for proposed memorials may be submitted.

The Meeting of Parishioners

In the face of these difficulties the Vicar and Churchwardens invited the Parishioners to meet them on Friday, July 19th, in the Parish Room. The Vicar explained the situation and asked for some guidance as to their wishes.

There was a unanimous feeling that the General Memorial should in every way take precedence of individual memorials, that the general supervision should be entrusted to one Artist, and that the form of which the General Memorial should take should be deferred until the Artist’s views could be known. But it was unanimously resolved:-

“That the East End of the South Aisle be set apart for Memorials to those who have fallen in the Great War.”

The Vicar then submitted the name of Sir Charles Nicholson to the meeting. He explained that the Churchwardens and he had no special knowledge and no prejudice for or against any particular name, but they had done all they could to find the man best suited for the task. In the course of these enquiries this name gradually took precedence, and when they consulted the Church Crafts League, (as suggested by the Diocesan Advisory Committee), the Secretary wrote as follows:-

“Our correspondence re the proposed decorative work in your Church was considered at our Committee Meeting yesterday and it was the unanimous opinion that you could not do better than consult Sir Charles Nicholson.”

The Meeting, after some discussion, unanimously resolved:-

“That the name of Sir Charles Nicholson, Bart., F.R.I.B.A., submitted to the Parishioners in accordance with the notice convening the meeting, be adopted subject to the support of the Building Committee.’

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

The National Kitchen is in no sense a charity

Ascot struggled to make the National Kitchen scheme work.

The National Kitchen depot in South Ascot is only developing slowly. The food is excellent, and may be ordered by anyone. As the Committee are responsible for payment of all food ordered, it is essential that those ordering food shall be held liable for payment if the food remains unsold. The Kitchen is in no sense a charity; its prices are based upon the expectation that the profit shall cover the expenses.

South Ascot Parochial Magazine, July 1918 (D/P186/28A/18)

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)

“A torpedo boat came gliding in like a needle”

William Hallam was on holiday in Cornwall, but couldn’t escape the war.

William Hallam
16th July 1918

It was wet until dinner time then cleared and was a beautiful day. We had crabs for tea. This afternoon I took that book – rather big for a guide and went round identifying some of the old houses. The quaintest town – the old part – I was ever in but clean even in the lowest streets.

On the pier to-night we saw 2 merchant vessels come in for safety from the submarines and 3 chasers and then a torpedo boat came gliding in like a needle.

Florence Vansittart Neale
16 July 1918

Phyllis quite happy at 4 London General!…

Tzar shot by Bolshevists at Ekaterinberg.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8) and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

Able to give information to the police

An internees was ready to help police with their enquiries. The interview in question took place on 20 July.

Met: Police Office
N. Scot: Yd
SW1
The Prison Comm[issio]n

I should be very glad if you would authorise the Governor of Reading Pn to allow a Police Officer of this department to have an interview with M J Stephan, interned under D of R Regn, Stephan having informed the Governor that he is able to give information respecting a man named Louis Brandt.

BT
16-7-18

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

“For nearly four years he and others of a sensitive and refined nature fought suffered, bore the rough and tumble hardships of a private soldier, without recognition, without reward or any other distinction than that of doing their duty”

One of the first Earley men to join up in 1914 died at the hands of the influenza epidemic.


In Memoriam

Frank Earley died of influenza in Italy, June 13 1918.

Our readers will remember that in the May magazine we offered our best wishes to Pte. Frank Earley on his return to Italy after a brief and well earned spell of leave. He is gone from us now, not to return. In his home in Manchester Road, by his brothers in France and Italy, and by many friends his loss will be felt.

Always serious from the time he joined the choir as a little boy, as the years went on he took things more seriously, his character taking shape. In August 1914 he was just 18 years of age, and volunteered at once with his brother for service. After six months training he crossed to France. For nearly four years he and others of a like sensitive and refined nature fought suffered, bore the rough and tumble hardships of a private soldier, without recognition, without reward or any other distinction than that of doing their duty.

In the first year of the War commissions were not sought as they are now. Volunteers in the ranks made up the little army which went out to save England. We who knew Frank Earley well can picture him at his post; we knew he never flinched from what was hard, never swerved from what was straight. Thoughtful, modest, resolute – he bore this look in his quiet, almost suffering face, with the strong lines playing about his mouth.

On his last leave he was home for two Sundays. His pleasure at the play on Saturday night did not prevent his presence at the early Celebration at 7.30 the following morning; and on the second Sunday he made his Communion again at the same hour. In Italy he quickly won the admiration of his nurses in the hospital during the brief interval before he laid down his tired life. So passes another of those English boys who at the first responded to England’s call, and by an unselfish devotion to duty have earned themselves an imperishable name.

Short notes

We have heard from our old friend and choir-boy Mr Harry C Taylor who has served at the front in the Guards since 1914. He is presently in hospital in London after a bad attack of influenza.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P192/28A/15)

Safe and well in spite of rumours to the contrary

There were concerns for men from Warfield.

Our sympathy goes out to Mrs. Bowyer of Scotland Farm, and Mr. and Mrs. Green, of Nuptown, whose sons are reported prisoners of war, and it is with the deepest regret that we have heard that Private William Baigent is reported missing.

We are glad to know that in spite of rumours to the contrary R. Lawrence’s son is safe and well.

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

On both

Elderly William Spencer of Cookham was proud that his daughter Florence Image was having her first satirical article published in Punch.

Fernley
Cookham
July 14, 1918

My dear Sydney, …

I am very glad you like my first effort in blank verse. … But Flo [his daughter Florence] has beaten me altogether. I can only attain to the ‘Advertiser’ but she, a puss, has just had an article of more than a column’s length accepted by ‘Punch’. She has revised the proof & I expect it will appear next Wednesday though it does not follow that acceptance means immediate publication. It has to do with ‘Dora’ & is entitled ‘On Both’ referring to any breach of D.O.R.A’s act being punishable with six months imprisonment, or a £50 fine, or both.

Letter from William Spencer of Cookham to his son Sydney (at the front) (D/EZ177/1/6/1)