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)

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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)

“We are truly sorry to lose from our midst one from whom we expected much in coming days”

After all the dangers of war it was illness which felled one returning soldier.

CONDOLENCE

We much regret to have to record the death of Mr Frank W. Snell of 22 Eldon Road. Our friend had not long been demobilised. He was on active service for a considerable time in France, and was seriously wounded in the head and face. There can be no doubt whatever that the brief illness to which he succumbed was due to this cause. We are truly sorry to lose from our midst one from whom we expected much in coming days, and we tender our sincerest sympathy to his parents, and the other members of his family, in their sore bereavement.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A sale of effects at the Military Hospital

War hospitals were closing.

Tuesday, the 10th day of June, 1919

HOUSE COMMITTEE

SALE AT BASINGSTOKE MILITARY HOSPITAL

The Master reported that there would shortly be a sale of effects at the Military Hospital at Basingstoke, and on the proposition of the Rev. A H Caldicott, seconded by the Rev. Sir J Key it was resolved:

That the Master and Matron be authorised to attend the sale and purchase any articles which they might deem expedient.

JUNIOR ASSISTANT NURSE

The Master reported that he had received a personal application for the post of Junior Assistant Nurse from Gertrude Roff of Sandford, Oxon. The Master explained that Mrs Roff desired a post in this district, so as to be near her husband, who was a patient in the Ashurst Military Hospital, and on the proposition of the Rev. A H Caldicott, seconded by Mr Hunt it was resolved:

That it be a recommendation to the Board:

That Mrs G Roff be appointed Junior Assistant Nurse at a salary of £20 per annum, plus an allowance of £4 per annum for uniform, with War Bonus at current rates, and that the appointment be for one month on probation.

REPORT OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE

On the proposition of the Rev. A H Caldicott, seconded by Mr A D Wells it was resolved:

That the appointment of Gertrude Roff to the post of Junior Assistant Nurse for one month on probation be confirmed.

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

“War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”

An army doctor was a leader in the temperance movement.

An Open-Air Meeting in connection with the St Luke’s Branch of the CETS was held in the Vicarage Garden, on Tuesday evening, June 10th, under the Presidency of the Rev. T H Thurland, the Vicar being away on holiday. The Chief Speaker was Dr Harford, General Secretary of the CETS, who first distributed the certificates, etc, won by the Band of Hope members, the handsome Challenge Banner for the Maidenhead Band of Hope competition having been won by North Town.

Dr Harford, in his address, spoke chiefly to interest the large number of juveniles present. He told them of his service for nearly four years as an eye specialist in France, and related many incidents and told of the scenes of destruction and military activities. He next quoted the remark of M. Clemenceau, French Prime Minister, that “War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”. This meant that when at war we had got but one thing to do – to see we got it through; but in Peace everybody began to fight everybody else we had first to make a good Peace, not only in Paris, but also at home. He urged the young people to do all they could to fight against the evils caused by drink, one of the greatest curses of our land. The Doctor related an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury relative to the coming big campaign of the CETS, the “Merrie England” Movement, in which the Society would send cinemas and lecturers around the country to give an impetus to better housing and or enlightened action as to food, health and thrift. The Society was anxious that everybody should have happy homes – not only good, decent houses, but real happy homes. As to cooking, the Doctor had a severe shock when, on asking a little boy if he liked nice puddings, and taking for granted the inevitable “Yes”, the little boy frankly replied “No, sir!” The Doctor’s point was that if the wives would only give their husbands plenty of sweet puddings, the men would not care for so much beer, in which they found the sugary element. In the new homes of Merrie England the children must be taught to play games.

Dr Harford later told some experiences as a missionary for many years in West Africa, where he was nearly eaten by cannibals. An effort was being made to suppress the use of gin out there, this spirit being the buying and selling “coinage” of the country. – (Laughter). As part of the “Merrie England” Movement, every parish was being asked to arrange a little pageant play already published as part of the local Peace celebrations; and he hoped the Maidenhead CETS would carry this out.

Reprinted from The Maidenhead Advertiser.

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