Special lessons on “The Empire” and “Patriotism”

The war continued to inform Empire Day celebrations in Berkshire schools.

Slough
May 23rd 1919

Celebration of Empire Day.

Empire lessons were given throughout the school.

A hollow square was formed in the playground and the flag was hoisted while the National Anthem was being sung.

The Chairman Mr Andrews, the Revd Theo Cousens and Mr Frank Smith addressed the children, the subject being the Empire and its builders.

Patriotic Songs were sung and the school was dismissed for a half holiday.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
23rd May 1919

This being Empire Day, the ordinary timetable lessons were not taken, but special lessons on “The Empire” and “Patriotism” were given throughout the school, and at 11 a.m. the whole of the children were assembled around the school flagpole, and the vicar raised the Union jack amid great cheering from the scholars & the assembled parents and parishioners. Canon Fowler, Mr R Lea & Miss Weldon made patriotic speeches, & the children sang some appropriate songs.

In the afternoon the usual May Day Festival was held at 3 p.m….

At the close of the proceedings, a collection, amounting to £3.1.5 was made, the money to go towards an “Honour” board for Earley school-boys who have fallen in the war.

Ascot Heath Boys’ School
May 23rd 1919

Empire Day was celebrated at 2.30 p.m. in the presence of many parents and Friends. Sir Neville Chamberlain R.C.B. addressed the Children on the “Meaning of Empire” and “Our Duty Towards It”.

Ascot Heath Girls School
23rd May 1919

The children assembled in the Boys field and were addressed by Sir Neville Chamberlain.

Priestwood
23/05/1919

Special lessons have been given this week to prepare for Empire Day. This morning at 11.30 and this afternoon at 3pm parade, demonstration consisting of appropriate songs renditions took place in the playground.

Reading Christ Church CE Infants School
23rd May 1919

Tomorrow (Saturday) being Empire Day, the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted by all the children, who listened to an interesting address by Captain Wing. The lessons during the morning were on Empire Day.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1); St Peter’s CE School, Earley: log book (SCH36/8/3); Ascot Heath Boys’ School log book (C/EL110/4); Ascot Heath Girls School log book (C/EL109/2); Priestwood Council Infant School (C/EL70); Reading Christ Church CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6)

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All will gather together for the singing of ‘Land of our Birth’

22/05/19

Lessons bearing on the Empire will be given today in connection with the celebration of Empire Day. At the close of school all will gather together for the singing of ‘Land of our Birth’ and the national anthem. As arranged by the education committee tomorrow afternoon will be a holiday.

Log book of Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1)

There is a new spirit amongst our young people

An elderly nonconformist clergyman had hope for the post war world and the new generation.

The Gates of Youth, By Rev. Monro Gibson, M.A., LL.D.

I am now about as far away from the gates of Youth as any one in this world can well be, but the remarkable thing is that the father I go from them, the increasing distance, instead of making them look smaller, makes them seem larger and ever larger – so much so that in my old age I confess to a great and increasing longing to help my young friends to see what a glorious, magnificent life which is opening before them.

The adventure of life begins with the dawn of personal responsibility. In childhood we are in a garden, a Garden of Eden, let us say, sheltered, secluded, happy in its limitations; but sooner or later the gates of Eden open outwards, and the world is all before us with its continents and islands, its seas and oceans, its illimitable possibilities; its fearful risks on the one hand, its great reaches on the other.

Difference between Men and Animals

Herein lies the immense difference between the life of man and that of lower animals. They have each their limits imposed on them by nature. In every case there is growth along certain fixed lines, and up to certain fixed limits; but in no case is there any possibility of a development at all corresponding to that of the boy into a Shakespeare or a Newton, or the girl into a Florence Nightingale or a Catherine Booth; and that altogether irrespective of the infinities and eternities which lie beyond. On the other hand, there is no peril corresponding to that which may transform a noble youth into a Judas or a Kaiser or a sot.

These things being so, there is call for the most earnest thought in passing through these fateful Gates. It will not do simply to yield to the impulse of the moment as if it did not matter much how you set out or what you were aiming at. I do think, however, that there are some warnings which, though very much needed four years ago, are not called for now. For there is a new spirit amongst our young people. There has been a high summons to whole-souled devotion to a great cause, and to that summons there has been a noble response, so that I believe there are very few young men or young women either, who would be willing now to welcome a life of self-indulgence or pleasure-seeking or easy-going mediocracy; and those who would still prefer that kind of thing are too far down to be likely to be reached by any high appeal. The great majority now, I am sure, demand the strenuous life, the life of active service with something in it of adventure or peril, calling for courage, resourcefulness, sacrifice if need be. The cricket pitch and the golf course, the dance and the supper party may still find a corner in life but only a corner. Surely the feeling now is practically universal that to put one’s life into any such things as these is despicable in the last degree. How encouraging it is to find that when there is a call for volunteers to an enterprise which means almost certain death, like the attack ion Zeebrugge or the final Voyage of The Vindictive, every one is not only ready but is disappointed if he cannot be accepted.

A New World

You may say: It is the War that has done this, and we are all very glad that it has come to an end. Yes: but is there any reason why the spirit the War has called forth should come to an end with it? By no means. We are constantly reminded that it is a new world we are entering into, with greater opportunities, nobler prospects and more difficult problems that we have ever known; and there will be a new call for the exercise of all the noblest faculties the War has evoked, and for many others for which even its multiplied demands have not afforded scope and opportunity. Surely it is not without significance that a man who represents so large and in many respects so unpromising a constituency as H. G. Wells has done should even passionately urge the claims of the Kingdom of God upon the service of us all, and especially of our young people who will be the chief agents in the new developments before us. We have all along had before s the call to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” to make that the great ambition of our lives; but so far it has kindled the souls of only a very small minority. May it not now “catch on,” to use the common phrase, and gather itself the patriotism, the enthusiasm, the devotion, courage and self-sacrifice of the generation now coming on the scene.

Moreover, we are now apparently entering on a new era of democracy whose success will depend not on a small number of super-men or heroes of the Nietschean or Carlylean type to subdue the masses to their will; but on the people, each with his share of responsibility, every one with his full share of opportunity, with education that will open up fields of service to every variety of talent, and with institutions that will give full scope for its exercise. Even as things have been in the world, our young people have had much encouragement to put forth every effort in the beginning of life to train their powers for usefulness; but it is more worth while now than ever it was before. In the old Book of Proverbs it is written, “A man’s gift maketh room for him.” True now in a fuller sense than when the wise man wrote it down, it will still be more so in the days that are coming. Therefore I would congratulate our young people especially on the prospect before them, entering on life in times like these which are more full of portent and of promise than even those of which the poet Wordsworth wrote:

“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven.”

It is indeed true as it always was, that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life”; but now that there is this new spirit in the land for enduring hardness, for concentration of energy, for ventures of faith and courage, and now that the life which is set before us, which and full as it has always been, promises to be richer and fuller than ever, we may hope that it will no longer be true that “few there be that find it,” but that multitudes of our young people, young men and young women, will press through the gates into the new life.

Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, May 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

Victory Loan Procession

11 July

A number of scholars were absent yesterday [10 July] having gone to Newbury to see the Victory Loan Procession.

Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

Ready for Peace or Empire Day, whichever comes first

Flagstaff

Mr Rogers of Furze Platt has kindly given the National School (Boys’ Department) a flagstaff. The boys, out of the profits of the School garden, have paid for its fixing and purchased a flag. So they are ready for Peace or Empire Day, whichever comes first.

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

War was always unspeakably dreadful

A pupil at St Barthomolomew’s School imagined a future where war was unknown. It may be a creative writing exercise, but it shows the effect the war had on young people’s views of the world.

WAR.

Scene ——————– A room in a house
Time ——————— 2000 A.D.
Dramatis Personae — One sister, one small brother.

Small brother. Sissy, what does war mean? I read it in a book, something about the termination of war or something.

Sister. War, dear child, is the settlement of national quarrels by fighting.

When two or more nations had a quarrel, they used to fight each other till so many people on one side got killed or driven back, that they had to give in.

Sometimes nations just made war for greed because they thought they were stronger than their opponents, indeed this was nearly always the case.

Small brother. Please, what’s reponents?

Sister. Opponents, I said, it means enemies.

Small brother. O yes, I understand enemies; please sissy, why didn’t you say enemies if you meant enemies?

Sister. When you’re a little older, you’ll understand perhaps, but don’t fidget or I shall have to send you upstairs.

Small brother. Go on about war, sissy.

Sister. In the beginning war wasn’t quite so bad, although morally, of course, it was always unspeakably dreadful.

People used to fight hand to hand, and kill each other from quite near, with spears, long steel spikes and other weapons, then later, they shot with bows and arrows, you’ve heard of bows and arrows.

Well, everybody regarded it as a sort of game, with definite rules, particularly we English, who were always slow and stupid.

Small brother. Sissy!!

Sister.
Now don’t interrupt.

Well, people liked fighting very much really, or at any rate some did, they used to put on expensive armour and ride about on beautiful horses, and when there wasn’t a war, they went about saving fair maidens out of enchanted castles, and it was all very nice.

Everything went well, because all the countries used the same weapons, and fought in the same way, but gradually men began to invent more deadly weapons, and some of the countries invented the before their enemies knew anything about it, so of course they said it wasn’t fair and were very cross, and lots of them got killed.

Guns were invented, and other dreadful things, and people fought from a long way off. Nearly everybody fought, and they still had rules like in a game.

Things got worse and worse till the last war, that was about 1914, and then thousands of people got killed, and it was all like a very bad nightmare, men, women and children got killed and aeroplanes dropped bombs about in the town and no one was safe anywhere. After everybody had spent most of their money on the war and lost most of their sons, and had some of their houses knocked down, they got very tired of it, but it had to be finished, because a very wicked country called Germany was threatening the peace of the whole world, not that the whole world really wanted peace, mind you, because they didn’t, but they liked to think they did, and anyhow, they hated the Germans very much, and not without cause.

However, the people who were running the war for England began to see that it wasn’t a game any longer, because they didn’t get enough to each and their sons being killed; so when Germany invented clever things to kill people quicker, which weren’t allowed by the rules, they invented cleverer ones back and said nothing about it, and in the papers the people read all about the wicked things Germany was doing and thought Germany dishonourable for disobeying the rules, and some people say that the English people who were working the war for the English broke the rules first, but this isn’t certain, and anyway, the Germans were a greedy and unscrupulous people, much worse than us, though we were far from perfect, and they were beaten.

And people began to sit down and think a bit, which wasn’t often done in those days, and they came to the conclusion that war wasn’t a game any longer, and that they had better prevent its happening again, so they got together a kind of jury and they called it the League of Nations.

They talked for over a year; some said there must be no more fighting of any kind, and others said that the nature of man couldn’t exist without fighting, so they talked and talked until at last they came to a decision.

They decided to go back to the bow and arrow method, because it looked so nice and wasn’t as dangerous as the other methods, only bows, arrows and armour, were to be used, and directly anybody was wounded he would count as dead, and directly a quarter of the fighters on one side were dead, the other side would have won, and in case of any contravention of the rules, the whole world would punish the offender very severely, and since no country could ever be stronger than all the rest put together, the idea seemed practical and sound.

Well the next fight after the real war was between France and America, it was brought about by a difference of opinion as to whether Paris or New York should lead the fashions in ladies’ hats. It was, of course, a difficult problem, and the League of Nations discussed it for three months, at the end of this time there was a terrible hat strike, and women had to go about bare headed and many of them caught colds and died.

At last the League decided that France and America must figure it out.

The battle was arranged in Hyde Park, London, 100 men from Paris and 100 men from New York were chosen, the battlefield was railed around and people had to pay £20 to watch. The proceeds went to the society for stray cats.

Just before the battle began an Englishman invented an impregnable armour, so he sold the secret for a million pounds to the Paris men, and then got another million from the New York men for telling them, too.

So the first day’s fighting killed no one, and broke a lot of arrows, also it rained hard and the people who had paid £20 to come and watch were very sick about it.

On the second day someone invented an arrow which could pierce the armour, and both sides got hold of the secret, but everyone got to know of it before the battle, so they all wore double armour and again no one got killed, and still it rained, and the fighters sank up to their ankles in mud, because their armour was so heavy, and at the end of the day their friends had to pull them out with ropes.

Now this sort of thing went on for six days; each day better arrows were invented and thicker armour was worn to shield off the arrows, and as a result no one was killed and hundreds of arrows were broken, and still it rained very hard, and all the people who watched got wet and angry, and many died of chills.

And each day, the fighters sank deeper in the mud, because the ground got softer and their armour got heavier.

At last, on the seventh day, which was a Sunday, the situation seemed impossible, because the armed men knew that they couldn’t even get within range of each other; directly they stepped into Hyde Park they would get stuck, and since the rule was that each side should start at opposite ends of the park, it seemed hopeless.

However, a clever Englishman came to the rescue; he constructed two great rafts, and on these the fighters were to row out to the selected spot.

On a given signal they were to step off their rafts and fight as usual.

It cleared up a bit that day and the sun came out, so that heaps of people came to watch in boats and the stray cat’s shares went up seventy-two points.

The Lord Mayor came specially to give the signal for fighting to start.

Directly he blew the whistle the fighters stepped off the rafts, it was calculated by an American that each man weighed seven hundred pounds, anyhow they were never seen again, they sank right down through the each till they reached the centre of gravity and there they presumably remained.

So the question was never settled and everybody bought their hats in London.

Since then there have been no wars.

K.P.L.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

Essays in connection with the Navy League

Apr 10th
Letter from Mr Godding to say the Mayor would present the prizes to the winners of the best essays in connection with the Navy League next Wednesday aft. Ap. 16th.

St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

“What we have sunk to makes me sad”

John Maxwell Image had some interesting view on the effects of the war (some unfortunately anti-semitic).

29 Barton Road
7 April ‘19

My very dear old man

We have the American influx on us in full swing – u.g.s as plentiful as before the War: Navy blue and gold by the hundred: and now suddenly the Yanks. Where can all be accommodated?…

Ye take too much upon ye, ye sons of Zeruiah – that is the natural feeling as to the American air. They came in at the last hour – to receive every man a penny, and claim to boss the show.
Britain, bled to the white in men and money, cannot stand up against them. Grousing is no good. Our fighting class are killed off. Those now alive, want only panem et circences [bread and circuses]. They can‘t look beyond the day. Those who can make money, squander it: the unhappy ones with fixed incomes, and with a little saving, to tax for the proletariat’s advantage, won’t find England a fair country to live in, except for the Bolshevik. What claim to his own property will be regarded by Parliament.

Half an hour ago I was shewn Punches Almanack for 1915 – i.e. in the first 6 months of the War. It made me sad! What we expected then; and what we have sunk to. The retreat from Mons had but convinced us that we should thrash von Klack, and certainly – ; that, driven back to Germany, the Kaiser’s Army will be met by Cossacks in occupation of Berlin. No mention could I see of submarines! None of air-raids of any kind! What is more striking still, there was no hint of brutality by German soldiers, anywhere. There seemed in the country a contemptuous disdain for our German opponents. We should stamp them down, as did our fathers, and then Russia would mop them up. Poor Russia! And her German Tsaritsa – the cause of it all!

There was a curdling leader in the paper a few days ago on the Bolshevist Chiefs. Lenin, the writer who knows him [says], has brains and energy: and he is of noble birth. But Trotsky and the others – their names were all given – are one and all of them JEWS – and with the Jew characteristic of making a good thing for themselves, while others do the fighting.

It was a leader in the Times on April 1st (Tuesday). Read it. Trotsky, Zinovieff, Svendloff, Kameneff, Uritsky, Yoffe, Rodek, Litvinoff, many others – Jews one and all.

The Hon. Russell’s new book was reviewed in the Observer, did you see it? The Russell has the impertinence to pretend that Bolshevik ruthlessness is the offspring of Love! Is the man sane? or merely dishonest?

Your dear friend
JMI

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

“It has helped in a small way a great patriotic movement”

Time had come for one War Savings Associaton to fold.

ST JOHN’S PARISH WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION

There being now so few members paying in, it is proposed to make a change by asking those few remaining members to join with the GFS Association…

Our St John’s Parish Association has been in existence nearly two years. It was affiliated to the Reading Centre on 7th March 1917, though it did not begin working till a month later.

In that period 127 Single Payment Certificates and 50 by instalment payments have been issued at a cost of £137 3s 6d, with withdrawals amounted to 18/-, leaving a balance in hand in Certificates and Cash of £2 18s 0d.

The total number who joined was 42, but only 6 are now paying-in members.

The represents, of course, only a small part of the support given to the War Savings effort in the parish. The Association was started late, so that the schools and other Associations absorbed the larger amount of the savings, but it has helped in a small way a great patriotic movement.

Reading St. John parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

A united Act of thanksgiving for the deliverance from the grave peril which threatened the lives and liberties of Englishmen

The war memorial porch at St Bartholomew’s would be quite expensive.

The [war memorial] committee met on March 19 and in spite of the snow and cold all were present except Rev. H B Mead, Mr R Brown, Mr Walters, Mr Love, Mr Long, Miss Type, and Miss Goose. Mr Box was elected onto the committee. Much useful work was done and the following leaflet for distribution was approved:-

S Bartholomew’s Parish War Memorial

It was resolved at a general meeting of parishioners on March 13, of which public notice was given, to make a united Act of thanksgiving for the deliverance from the grave peril which threatened the lives and liberties of Englishmen, and issued in the Great War. The meeting decided to build a beautiful and commodious North Porch on the London Road side of S Bartholomew’s church, and to inscribe on its walls the names of all the men connected with this parish who had laid down their lives in the War.

It was further determined to invite contributions from all persons living in the parish or worshipping at the church, who are disposed to take part in this common Act of Thanksgiving, as a lasting memorial of their sacrifice.

£500 is asked for.

Donations should be entered in the book of an accredited collector. A balance sheet of all the receipts and expenditure will be issued by the committee.

Signed E J Norris Chairman of Committee

The next meeting of the committee was fixed for April 9 at 7pm in the parish hall.

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

A thankoffering for deliverance from the great menace and peril, and a memorial in honour of those who had by their deaths saved England

There was an animated debate in Earley regarding the war memorial at St Bartholomew’s.

War Memorial Meeting

A well attended meeting of parishioners and worshippers at our church was held on March 13. The Vicar was voted into the chair, and set out the steps which had led to that gathering. He said he thought he might take it for granted that the desire of all of them was, first to make a thankoffering for deliverance from the great menace and peril, secondly to embody with this act of thanksgiving some memorial in honour of those who had by their deaths saved England. They had no wish merely to commemorate the event in history of the great European War of 1914-1918. Any memorial raised would have a religious character, and therefore might well be associated with the parish church. He said that the Parochial Church council, at whose instance this general meeting had been called, put forward two well considered suggestions as to the form the memorial should take; these were (1) the building of a large and useful north porch, with a record on the walls of the names of those who had given their lives; and (2) the panelling of the Lady Chapel and, if possible, the painting of some glass in that chapel. These were two suggestions only, and he invited more from the meeting.

On resuming his seat, Mr Crapp rose and advocated the painting of one or more of the windows in the church; Mr Box seconded this. Mr T Hayward proposed the decoration and completion of S. John’s chapel. Miss Matthews suggested the endowment of a memorial bed at the hospital and a mural tablet at the church; Miss E L Norris seconded this. Mr R Brown advanced the claims of the north porch and of the Lady chapel; Mr Whatley supported him.

In the discussion the following took part:- Mr Wright, Mrs Norris, Mr Lawrence, Mr Mole and others, and on a vote being taken 36 were given for the church porch, the Lady chapel scheme receiving 12 and second place. Questions were asked respecting the cost of building, and the chairman expressed some little doubt of their ability to raise a sufficient sum. However, his hesitation was not shared by Mr Frank East, whose comment evoked applause from the meeting. A committee was appointed to carry out the scheme. (List of names supplied).


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

The national unity which the war brought into being is dissolving again into fragments

The post-war world terrified many.

LENT, 1919.

Lent find us this year in the midst of an after-war reaction. The national unity which the war brought into being is dissolving again into fragments, and the national seriousness which deepened as the war dragged on seems to be giving way to an almost hectic frivolity. We are threatened again with the class war, we are living once again for pleasure or for merely selfish ends. Outside the borders of our own land the situation is far worse. The conditions in Russia, and to a less extent in Germany, put one in mind of a striking phrase in the Apocalypse, ‘The Devil is come down into the Earth, having great wrath, for his time is short.’ Evil unmitigated and unabashed seems actually to occupy the seat of power in Russia, and is seeking to extend its sway over all the world. In such days as these it is imperatively necessary that the Church, the Organ of God the Holy Spirit, should put itself on a war footing and organise itself for defensive and aggressive warfare. The powers of evil are gathering force and the Kingdom of Good may stand ever against the Kingdom of Evil in clearer definition, in intensified goodness and in energetic action.

Reading St. John parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

“Those who have fought for the victory we have obtained have reason to expect better civil life”

A Reading book club discussed social changes to be expected.

7 March 1919

The 298th meeting of the club was held at Soundy’s on Friday 7th March 1919…

The host had followed the old practice of the club (unfortunately too frequently not observed of late) & had prepared a paper. His subject was “Some Labour Problems”, & he commenced by referring to the two International Conferences now taking place in Paris, viz the Peace Conference & the International Labour Conference. The former has spent considerable time in discussing the formation of a League of Nations with a view to securing the Peace of the world so far as warfare is concerned, but Soundy pointed out that there is another Peace that is possibly even more to be desired & one that will have more important influence on the future of the nations, viz Peace in the Labour world, & this is being discussed at the International Labour Conference.

After referring to the cost of the war & to the question of the nations recovering from its effect, both financial & industrial, he stated that this can be done solely by securing peace and cooperation between the parties representing capital & labour. Relations between employers & employed must be improved. Germany has found out that might is not right & the same principle must be brought to the front in the labour market.

To re-establish our own financial position exports must be increased, & to achieve this, the rate of production must be increased. So long as this is done & is kept up the rate of increase in wages does not matter. He referred to the conditions of labour to apply in the future, which are being discussed at the Conference, & also to the evidence given by the Coal Commission in this country. Where the highest wages have been paid the cost of production has been lowest & vice versa. No man will do his best, when he feels he is underpaid, but workpeople must realise that to get better conditions they must become better workmen, & Trade Unions must make their members realise this.

Those who have fought for the victory we have obtained have reason to expect better civil life & to achieve this there must be a better understanding between employers & workpeople, & an effective peace between capital & labour.

An interesting discussion followed & it was unanimously felt that the thanks of the Club were due to the host for his most interesting paper & for having once again kept up the old traditions of the Club.

Dodeka Book Club minutes (D/EX2160/1/3)

The work of the Navy in the Great War

Newbury children attended a lecture on the Navy.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
19th February 1919

A party of boys was taken, at the suggestion of the Education Committee, to a lecture at the Picture Palace on ‘The work of the Navy in the Great War’.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
28th February 1919

On the afternoon of Feb. 19th the upper classes attended an illustrated lecture on ‘The Navy’, at the Picture Palace.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 48); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School log look(90/SCH/5/5, p. 244)

More than enough money for a good new flag

Braywick
24th January 1919

The concert proved a great success and more than enough money was raised for a good new flag and supplementing the staff. Money over goes to war charities. The scholars acquitted themselves very credibly at their concert and received many notes. The Sum of £8 was the result of their efforts.

East Hagbourne
1919
Jany 24th

Having been demobilised I returned to take charge of this school today.
E J Packer

Log books of Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4); East Hagbourne School (C/EL35/2)