“The War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you”

The Superintendent at Broadmoor felt unappreciated for his organisation’s contribution to the care of insane PoWs. This complaint elicited a hasty letter of gratitude on 16 November.

3rd November 1919

Dear Major Wells

With regard to the enclosed I don’t know exactly what manner of report may be required, but I have neither the time nor inclination to go further in the matter.

In 1916 I undertook to relieve Netley Hospital of the care & treatment of their German Insane Patients, a job that was not at all congenial & which apparently nobody else would look at.

Later on the War Office, without consulting me on the subject, by telegram gave orders that I should undertake the duty & responsibility of repatriating the German Insane via Boston, not only from this Hospital but from others, the patients being sent on here for review and dispersal. I made no demur but carried on all this extra gratuitous work in addition to my own heavy civil duties which had to be performed with all my very able-bodied staff on active service.

Result, I am gazetted out of the army without remark & the War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you.

Under the circumstances I feel I am under no obligation whatever to render further gratuitous service to the War Office, altho’ the material might be forthcoming.

These remarks refer entirely to the War Office; the DMS Staff at Aldershot were always kindly, helpful & courteous, & Major General Browne was complimentary in acknowledgement of the work performed.

Yours faithfully

[Dr Baker
file copy not signed.]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

An act of gallantry and devotion to duty

A teacher who had served with distinction in the Royal Engineers was rewarded by a promotion when he got home.

Higher Education Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

MAIDENHEAD COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL

With regard to the Manual Room, a sectional part of one of the Hospital Wards at the Canadian Hospital at Cliveden was purchased for £100, and an estimate of Messrs Partlo of £108 for taking down, carting and re-erecting has been accepted….

WINDSOR COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL

There were 136 applicants for the post of Headmaster… The Governors selected Mr F Morrow, BA (NUI), the Second Master at the School. Mr Morrow was educated at Pocock College, Kilkenny, and has had 16 years’ experience as an Assistant Master, 10 years of which have been at the Windsor County Boys’ School. He has published a text book of practical geography. His war service was with the RE, in which corps he attained the rank of captain, and was awarded the MC for an act of gallantry and devotion to duty.

School Management Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

TEMPORARY WAR BUILDINGS FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES

The Board of Education have notified that HM Government have decided that huts required by Local Education Authorities for Educational purposes shall be sold to them at a discount of 33 % on the valuation.

The Secretary has been asked to make enquiries and report cases where these huts might be useful.

By-laws and Attendance Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

MEDICAL INSPECTION

Dr Napier, Assistant School Medical Officer, has returned from Military Service and resumed work on 29 September. Dr G R Lake, who has helped the Committee part time during the last four years, will cease work at the end of the present month. The Sub-committee have placed on record their appreciation of Dr Lake’s work which enabled them to carry on a curtailed scheme of Medical Inspection during the War.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Newbury District Hospital has once more resumed its pre-war appearance

Newbury District Hospital was almost back to normal, but struggling with post-war economic conditions.

The past year has been a period of reconstruction. The last soldier patients left in March; the two annexes erected for their reception were sold in June; one was removed in August, and the other in October, when the Hospital once more resumed its pre-war appearance.

Several improvements have been made, viz: A new duty room, and improved bathroom and lavatory accommodation for the Thurlow ward; the old duty-room near the kitchen has been converted into a store room, and the old store-room which was very inadequate is now made use of as a splint cupboard.

The Matron’s rooms have been done up and re-furbished; the waiting-room, Nurses sitting and dining-rooms, and the bed-rooms of the Staff have all been re-decorated, and other necessary repairs and renovations, which had to be neglected during the war, have been carried out.

After much deliberation and consultation with Mr. Mervyn Macartney, as architect, a scheme for Central Heating and Domestic Hot Water Supply was decided on, and tenders invited for the work. The tender of Messrs. Toomer & Co., of Northbrook Street, was finally accepted. The Domestic Supply is now installed and working, and the Central Heating will be proceeded with in the Spring, as it was found impossible to obtain the necessary materials from the makers before the onset of Winter.

To meet the expenditure on improvements, renovations and repairs, a sum of £400 has had to be taken from “Reserve”; and a Special General Meeting held in October, sanctioned the withdrawal from Capital of a further sum up to £1,000 to meet the outlay on Central Heating.

In February, Miss Gough succeeded Miss Phoebe Jones as Matron, and after considerable difficulty has managed to get together an efficient staff.
….
The Financial position of the Hospital is causing the Managing Committee grave concern. A circular was sent out to subscribers in July, explaining that owing to high wages and high prices, the Hospital cannot now be maintained for less than about £2,500 a year, while its present income does not exceed on an average of years £1,400 all told.

The Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Managing Committee of the Newbury District Hospital For the year ending December 31st, 1919 (D/H4/4/1)

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)

A fair charge upon the Army Council

Reading Workhouse Infirmary was one of the many buildings taken over as a war hospital.

11th September 1919

Claim against the War Office

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that they had received the claims made by the Guardians upon the Army Council in respect of the occupation of their premises as a War Hospital for the periods ended 31st March and 30th September, 1918, and the 31st March last, and that they had forwarded such claims to the Army Council for payment. The clerk stated that, with regard to the two first mentioned claims, the Ministry of Health considered that they were excessive, and that he had received from the Ministry of Health, copy of a letter which had been addressed to the Secretary of the War Office as follows:

“I am to add that these claims have been the subject of an interview between the Clerk to the Guardians and this Department, and that this Department are of opinion that the claims constitute a fair charge upon the Army Council.”

Discharged Soldiers & Sailors

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Hemsworth Union asking the Guardians to support the following Resolution passed by them with regard to relief to discharged soldiers.

“That this Board of Guardians expresses its indignation and disgust in Discharged Soldiers and Sailors being compelled to apply for relief to this Board, and protests against the delay of the Ministry of Pensions in dealing with Soldiers’ and Sailors’ pensions which should be paid on production of the Local Medical Officer’s Certificate, and that a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Prime Minister and other Boards of Guardians for their support.”

Recommending that the Board support the principle of the Resolution.

Report of Finance & General Purposes Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Reopening of a school after its use as Hospital

Schools returned to their proper purpose.

Redlands Boys’ School
September 2nd 1919

On this date I, F. W. Holmes-Walker commenced duty as Head Master, on the reopening of the school after its use as Hospital.

Alfred Sutton Primary School
2nd September 1919

School re-opened today. The scholars are working on full time today, Redlands having re-opened and relieved the building of Wokingham Road Intermediate School. The school is working on a trial time table.

Log books of Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30, p. 356); Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading (89/SCH/37/1, p. 254)

Only married for nine weeks

The after-effects of being gassed in the trenches could last for years.

A Soldier’s Death

On Sunday, Aug. 10th, there died in the Royal Berks Hospital, Reading, at the age of 30, Lance-Corpl. Frederick Thomas King. For some time he had been suffering from pneumonia, the complaint being aggravated by gas-poisoning contracted whilst serving in France. Deceased had only been married about nine weeks. We take this opportunity of expressing our sympathy with his widow and family.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

Peace seems to bring with it as many activities as war

Wounded soldiers made a generous gift to a Maidenhead church.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

This July we have had a busy month of Parish work and Festivities. Indeed, I never remember to have passed a summer month so lacking in leisure. Peace seems to bring with it as many activities as war. Still, with its arrival, it is a great joy to welcome old friends on their safe return. Among others, the return from the wilds of the Danube, even if fleeting, of Mr Sellors, our old colleague, has been a great pleasure to us all.

In connection with the War, St Luke’s Church has received an almost unique gift. Together with, I believe, St Paul’s Cathedral alone, the wounded soldiers at the VAD Hospital have worked us a strikingly beautiful red silk Altar Frontal and Antependium for the fald-stool [sic?]. It was done for us as a surprise, and was finished just before the Hospital, the mounting being completed by July 26th. The idea was formulated, I believe, by the Commandant, but all details and material were got for the men by Mrs Salmonson; and, I know, that the active sympathy of many other workers contributed to its final success. The names of the men who worked on it are written on the back of the Frontlet or Super-Frontal. By lifting the fringe we shall see thus an enduring record of the names of the skilled and kindly men who did the work. It is to be used and dedicated on Sunday, August 3rd, the Eve of the Anniversary of the War. The Special Prayer of Dedication will be said at the 11 am Service, when some front seats will be kept for VAD workers…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Laundry machinery at the Cliveden Red Cross Hospital

The Maidenhead Board of Guardians decided to check out the laundry machinery previously used to wash soldiers’ sheets. [In the event, it turned out to be unsuitable.]

30th July, 1919
Laundry

Resolved that the Master inspect the laundry machinery at the Cliveden Red Cross Hospital with Mr F Rogers, managing Director of the Maidenhead and District Laundry Company Ltd and that Mr Rogers be asked to inspect the laundry at the Institution and to give a quotation for placing certain necessary machinery therein.

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

Shell shock and mania

Shell shock could have lasting effects.

Tuesday, the 3oth day of September, 1919

REPORT OF HOUSE COMMITTEE

The Master reported that a man named West had been admitted to the Workhouse under the following circumstances:

West, a soldier suffering from shell-shock, had been discharged from Ashurst Military Hospital to proceed to his home at Exeter, but, whilst in the train, his conduct brought him under the notice of the Railway Authorities, and he was removed from the train at Cholsey Station and subsequently brought to the Workhouse by the Police, suffering from acute Mania. The Master applied to the authorities at Ashurst Hospital to re-admit him, but they refused to do so. The Master had then applied to No. 1 War Hospital at Reading, and they had received the man and stated that they would return him at once to Ashurst.

Your Committee recommend that a full statement of these facts be laid before the War Office.

Minutes of Wallingford Board of Guardians (G/W1/36)

“When we look back and see how terrible was the peril through which was passed, it is enough to make our blood freeze”

PEACE!

For the Peace which has been granted to us may the Lord’s holy Name be praised! The deliverance has been wonderful; we should be the most ungrateful people on earth if we failed to offer Him thanks. Our late foes are already threatening vengeance for peace terms which they describe as inhuman. But it is only just that the chief criminal should suffer most. As the Allied note stated, no fewer than seven millions of men lie buried in Europe as a result of Germany’s desire to tyrannise over the world, while twenty million other men carry upon them evidence of wounds and suffering. Something was bound to be done to make a repetition of the frightful crime impossible.

It was by a miracle of God’s mercy that we were saved from disaster. When we look back and see how terrible was the peril through which was passed, it is enough to make our blood freeze. But, defending the right, we were “under the shadow of the Almighty.” How better can we thank Him than by striving anew to get His Will done on earth? There are foes with whom we ought to come to fresh grips. Since we have won to-day, let us fight with more eagerness to-morrow. We can put aside machine-guns and bombing places and gas masks, and take up the old weapons of Faith and Prayer, the spear of Truth, and the sword of the Spirit. And may God bless our native land!

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

Public auction at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden

Maidenhead Board of Guardians thought they might be able to profit from equipment from one of the now-closed war hospitals.

30th July, 1919

The following report was received from the House Committee.

Your Committee met on the 23rd instant and beg to report … they resolved that the Master inspect certain laundry machinery to be offered for sale by public auction at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden, accompanied by a local laundry proprietor if possible.

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

14 july 1919 The school will be used for Peace Celebrations

Speenhamland
July 14th

Collection made for French Red Cross…

Meeting this evening at 6.15 to arrange details of the Peace Celebration festivities to be held next Saturday.

South Moreton
1919, July 14

Received notice today that the school will be used on July 19th for Peace Celebrations.

Log books of St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); South Moreton Board School log book (C/EL104/2)

Useful articles

Hospitals benefitted from the end of the need to treat wounded soldiers.

11th July 1919
It was proposed by Col Muir, seconded by Rev. T. Lewis, & resolved, that a letter be written to thank the Commandant of the V.A.D Red Cross Hospital at Maidenhead for Convalescent Soldiers for a large number of useful articles of furniture, material etc. sent to this hospital on the closing of the Convalescent Hospital.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2)

A devoted band of workers who came month after month so regularly to work for the wounded

Earley women’s work during the war was successful.

War Work

Mrs Norris wishes to thank all her devoted band of workers who came month after month so regularly to work for the wounded. Altogether 1,182 garments were sent in – everything well made, and appreciated at the Depot. We are thankful to have been able to help in this way.

Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)