“I want it to be in every way worthy of the greatness of the men’s sacrifice “

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners, …

I venture to appeal that our special effort for a War Memorial Chapel may not hurt our ordinary parochial funds, especially the Free Will Offering Fund. Unless we pay for our ordinary work in the Parish, our gifts to the War Memorial Chapel are not real thankofferings, but only a pretence. May I appeal for wider support for the Free Will Offering Fund (Assistant Clergy Stiepnds) …
Then I do beg of all who can to support the War Memorial Chapel we hope to build. I want it to be in every way worthy of the greatness of the men’s sacrifice and of the honour of being a part of the House of God…

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

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

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A want long felt

Clewer had decided on a recreation ground for its memorial.

The Parish War Memorial

The following circular has been issued by the Memorial Committee, and will be distributed amongst the subscribers:-

Dear Sir or Madam,

The Committee are glad to be able to announce that they have acquired a piece of land about six acres in extent in a very central part of the parish, for the purpose of a Recreation Ground – a want that has long been felt. The sum of £422 17s. 10d. has already been subscribed and some £250 more is necessary to complete the purchase, laying out and fencing. It is earnestly hoped that those who have not already supported the Fund will kindly contribute now and so share in providing a permanent War Memorial to the gallant men of the parish who have laid down their lives for King and Country.

Yours faithfully,

Clewer parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)

Peace Decorations in the Mall

Boys from Slough witnessed an important Act of Parliament being passed.

September 2nd 1919

On Thursday August 31st the boys of the Gardening Class were taken to London. The trip included a visit to the zoo, a visit to the British Museum to see the illuminated manuscripts and historical autographs, the Peace Decorations in the Mall, and the House of Commons. One and a half hours were spent in the Gallery listening to a debate on Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Pensions. By good luck Black Rod came and called the Commons to the House of Lords for the Royal Assent to the Bill.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1)

Soldiers asked to give those who had been at home these last five years the benefit of their unique experience of men and things

Earley men were warmly welcomed home.

Sailors and Soldiers Entertainment

A very kind and liberal support in money and provisions removed all anxiety as to the expense of the entertainment given on Aug 30. Our only regret was the comparatively few were able to be present. The weather was cold and threatening, and though the sky held clear till half past six we were then driven to take cover in the parish hall when an enjoyable concert filled up the remained of the evening. The committee under Mr george Love’s management had provided a sumptuous tea at 4 o’clock, the hall decorated with flags, and the guests were entertained by Mrs and Miss Lawrence, Mrs Love, Mrs Weait, Mrs and Miss Porter, Mrs Edwards, Mrs Shackleford, Mrs Wilby, Mrs Long, Mrs Box, and Miss West. Games on the lawn with competitions and prizes had been arranged by Mr Love (chairman), and Messrs Sturgess, Wright, Weait, Long, Edwards, West, Porter, Lawrence, Shackleford, Clayton-Jones, Wilby and Cyphus. The evening concert was the contribution of Miss Elsie Ruffel, Messrs. O West, F L Wing, R Wing, A H Earley, HE Wilby, and CE Cyphus (Pianist).

Our guests were as follows William H Pomeroy, HMS Ophir; William B Waters, Royal Berks; G E Gibbons, R.A.S.C., M. T.; F A Charlton, R.E.; Harry F Fulbrook, 2nd Batt. Hants. 29th Div.; Vernon Truss, RAF; Albert H Barlow, 7th Queen’s R.W. Surreys; Chas. Shackleford, R.A.S.C., M. T.; H J White, RAF, E Henwood, 10th Tank Bat.; E J E Capel, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; C W Green, RAF; O J West, HM Wireless Service; O H Long, 2nd O. Dorset Yeomanry; A W Long, R. A. S. C.; A H Earley, 219th Field Coy. R.E.; A G Earley, RAF; P G Canning, London Regt,; W H Andrews, Royal Berks and Tank Corps.; W G Ayres, R.G.A.; A J Franklin; G Gibbons; J A Earley, 1/4th R. Berks Regt.; C E Cyphus, Tank Corps.

At the close of tea the Vicar expressed the pleasure of the committee in welcoming the home-coming of their guests. He traced the steps which had led to this entertainment of them, and expressed his hope that they would gather together on more than occasion for counsel in the management of parish matters, and give those who had been at home these last five years the benefit of their unique experience of men and things.

The party dispersed soon after 9.30 after a thoroughly enjoyable time. We much regretted the unavoidable absence of Mr T R Stevens.

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

“Our village is still like a battlefield”

The August issue of a Reading church magazine had news from a family of Belgian refugees who had now returned home.

Our Belgian Guests

Though we have now bidden good-bye to our Belgian family, they are not forgotten, and we gladly avail ourselves of Miss Hammond’s kind permission to print the following letter, (long held over through lack of space) telling of the return home.

Kelfs-Herent,
29TH March, 1919.
Dear Miss Hammond,

We reached home a fortnight ago, on the 15th of March, at half-past four in the afternoon. We found our house quite empty, for the Germans had stolen most of our things, and what they left others took. The doors and windows are broken, the walls both inside and out are damaged, and there is a large hole in the roof. The Germans did their cooking everywhere, leaving the house so dirty that it has taken me ten days to get it even a little clean! We must wait till next year for fresh wall-paper, it is still too dear.

Food is very scarce; there is hardly anything in the shops and everything is much dearer than in England. Meat costs 9-10 francs the Kilo, butter 15 franks, margarine 8.5 franks. A sack of flour costs 110 franks, and one cannot even then always get it. Every day we say that war for existence is now beginning, and happy are the people who live in the promised land of England or France. Our village is still like a battlefield; some of the houses have been re-built but not all. The people living next to us have so aged during these four years that we did not recognise them. We have no cow or horse, and they are so dear that we must wait a while before buying.

I hope that you will give our compliments to all the kind friends at your church, and thank them again for all they did for us during the four years of war.

Please accept the sincere respects of your grateful family.”

M. Van De Venne.
Elise De Kruster.

We are very grieved to hear that, since reaching home, our friends have sustained a very heavy loss in the death of their dear little girl, Elisa, on June 3rd, after an illness of three weeks. We shall all join in sympathetic remembrance of the sorrowing father and mother.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )

Victory in the Great European War

Lower Basildon CE School
30th July 1919

School closed this afternoon for the Summer Holiday. The Education Committee have granted an extra week’s holiday, in accordance with the wish expressed by King George, to commemorate the Victory in the Great European War.

Aldermaston School
30th July 1919.

School closed at noon today for summer holidays, His Majesty King George has expressed a wish that in commemoration of the signing of Peace the children should be granted an extra week’s holiday.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
31st July 1919

Peace Celebration sports were held in playground yesterday afternoon.

Log books of Lower Basildon CE School (C/EL7/2, p. 205); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 108); and Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School (90/SCH/5/5, p. 251)

“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)

“The last time I saw Sturdee was at the Falkland Islands”!

The American Commander in Chief, General John Pershing, British Admiral Doveton Sturdee and General William Birdwood were all granted honorary degrees from Cambridge after the war.

29 Barton Road
27 July ‘19

My very dear Smu

[Visiting Southwold, Suffolk] On Thursday 10th there came, with their crews, 2 armoured cars, which had been serving in Russia: and in the photographs sold in the shops next day, we recognised unmistakeably Mr and Mrs Image.

I see that I’ve only left a few inches to describe the Honorary Degrees on Wednesday 23rd – so I’ll enclose the paper I found on my seat. The figure I was most anxious to see was Admiral Sturdee. He looked like a Dean or an Archdeacon – an ecclesiastic of high degree. Just in front of me was a naval Lieutenant in uniform (with a pretty young wife) – so I appealed to him. He gave me all information quite simply – and as we rose to go, and watched Sturdee leave the Senate House, he said, “the last time I saw Sturdee was at the Falkland Islands”!! I was delighted to see a fellow who had been in that fight.

Pershing looked capable of sternness.

The u.g.s (who were all in their khaki) chaired Birdwood.

Our kindest remembrances to ye both.

Bild

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

Very tired after peace celebrations of last evening

22nd July 1919

Attendance low this morning. Children very tired after peace celebrations of last evening. Most of the parents + children taking part in a fancy dress parade + then going to see the bonfire until nearly midnight.

East Ilsley CE School log book (C/EL39/1, p. 491)

The procession of July 19th had a unique significance at once more glorious and more tragic than any that has taken place in the long annals of our country

There were celebrations in Windsor.

The month just passed will be noted in the annals of our National History for the public celebrations in thankfulness for the Peace which has now been declared. Saturday, July 19th was appointed as a universal holiday and both in London and in many of the provincial cities pageants were arranged and carried out in a worthy manner. The London pageant was of course the focus of all other celebrations and was carried out with great magnificence. The march of the troops through the main streets, in which all the regiments who had taken part in the war were represented including those of our French Allies, headed by Marshal Foch, must have been a never-to-be-forgotten sight to all who were fortunate enough to see it. Some of us are old enough to remember the Victoria Jubilee processions in 1887 and 1897. Then there was great rejoicing and great magnificence, but the procession of July 19th had a unique significance at once more glorious and more tragic than any that has taken place in the long annals of our country. It represented a triumph which has been won by a whole nation’s sacrifice and heroism. May we be truly thankful for so great a deliverance and more than ever united in the service of God and our country; for thus only can we gather in the Blessings of Peace.

The Windsor celebration consisted of a march of the demobilized soldiers and those of the garrison together numbering about 2,000, together with contingents of lady workers, boy and girl scouts and others who had taken part in home work. Besides this procession there were river fetes, aquatic sports, a torch light procession, a bonfire and illuminations. Notwithstanding the slight rain which set in about mid-day, nothing daunted the enthusiasm of the sightseers, who paraded the streets till the late hours of the night.

Clewer parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)

Fireworks and flares

On 19 July 1919 peace celebrations were held across the county following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

St John’s School. Caversham
July 19th 1919

Saturday- to celebrate the conclusion of peace all the children of the town [Reading] were entertained to tea, games etc in either Palmer or Prospect Parks.

King Street School, Maidenhead
19th July 1919

“‘Peace Day’ was kept by a sumptuous tea for the children in school this afternoon. Several people came to help entertain them. An old pupil gave musical selections while children had their tea & the popular airs they were familiar with were much enjoyed.

After tea, cheers were given for the soldiers & the king & concluded with the National Anthem. Children were then taken to Kidwell’s Park to enjoy sports, roundabouts & other amusements.

Aldworth School
July 14th-18th 1919

This week we made 100% attendance!

The Peace celebration was held on Saturday July 19th – Dinner, tea and sports in the old playground, for all parishioners, followed by fireworks and flares in “Battle Field” at Westbridges.

Lower Sandhurst School
July 19th 1919

To day Saturday in common with all parts of the country this Parish held its Peace Festival.

The school children assembled at school and marched to the Wellington Arms where they met the other two schools and headed by a band a procession was formed and a move was made to the Broadway. Here the ceremony of hoisting the flag was performed, prayers and thanksgivings were offered for victory and peace speeches were delivered, Mr. W. J. Joye, Chairman of the Managers, being one of the speakers.

Tea and sports were provided for the children and although the weather was unpropitious the children spent a happy time.

Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School
19th July 1919

‘Peace Celebrations’. During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
19th July 1919

Today was observed as “Peace Celebration Day” for the parish of Earley, & the children of the school, whether living in Earley or in Reading, were included in the invitations. By kind invitation of J Rushbrooke esq, the celebration took place in Bulmershe Park, where, despite showery weather, a most enjoyable afternoon & evening were spent.

Cookham Alwyn Road School log book
July 19th

Saturday: Peace Celebrations. Tea to scholars in School Buildings. March to Kidwells Park at 4.15.

Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn
19th July 1919

Peace celebrations at Eastbury. The school children took part in the procession, sang patriotic songs, and afterwards partook in tea in a lane kindly lent for the occasion. Giving in to the rain, the sports were held on the following Monday.

Charney Bassett
19.7.19

Peace-day was kept up in the village. The children had a tea in a barn kindly lent for the occasion, and the adults a meat tea; owing to the bad weather the sports were postponed until Sat the 26th.

Speenhamland
July 19th

We have been making preparations for the Peace Celebrations tomorrow, and work has to some extent been interrupted.

Bracknell
19th July 1919

Peace Celebrations.

During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

Log books of St John’s School. Caversham (89/SCH/14/1); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Aldworth School (C/EL54/3); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Cookham Alwyn Road School (88/SCH/18/1); Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn (D/P79B/28/2); Bouverie Pusey School, Charney Bassett (C/EL41/2); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3)

Preparations for the Peace Celebrations

Berkshire’s children prepared for a day to celebrate the final peace treaty.

Hampstead Norreys
18 July

In singing lessons have been practicing patriotic songs & a song & dance fpr Peace Celebrations tomorrow (19th)…
We closed school at mid-day, owing to preparations in the school for the teas tomorrow. The school will remain closed until Tuesday morning to allow the room to be put ready for school work again.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School
14th-18th July 1919

Holiday on Friday for Peace Festivities.

Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School
18th July 1919

School closed today on account of children’s Peace Commemoration Treat.

Cookham Alwyn Road School
July 18th 1919

This school has been invited to join in the Peace Celebration of the Borough of Maidenhead.

Newbury St Nicolas CE Girls’School
18th July 1919

This afternoon we prepared for the Peace Celebration to take place tomorrow.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
18th July 1919

After play in the afternoon, the rest of the session was devoted to preparations for the Peace Celebrations on the 19th.

King Street School, Maidenhead
18th July 1919

The children devoted the afternoon to decorating their rooms for Peace Day.

Bradfield CE School
July 18th 1919

School closed this afternoon. Peace Day tomorrow.

Redlands Boys’ School, Reading
July 18th 1919

The preliminary races for the day of Peace Celebrations were run in Wheelers Meadow during the week and on account of these the lessons on the time table were not adhered to.

St John’s School. Caversham
July 18th 1919

The children left school about 2:15pm in charge of the teachers, marched to the Reading recreation ground and ran the preliminary heats of the races, the finals of which were to take place on peace day the 19th in the Palmer Park. Registers were not taken.

Battle Infants School, Reading
18th July 1919

The Head Teacher was out of school on Thursday for an hour making arrangements for the Peace Celebrations, which are taking place next week.

Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury
The usual lessons were suspended in the girl’s section of the school at 3.30 today. This was to enable some of the girls to practice for some items in the children’s peace celebrations festival tomorrow.

St John’s School, Reading
July 18th, 1919

The Chairman of Managers looked in on Thursday ^& Friday & arranged for a Thanksgiving Service for “Signing of Peace” next Tuesday.

Log books of Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2); Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2); Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School (C/EL4/2); Cookham Alwyn Road School log book (88/SCH/18/1); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School log look(90/SCH/5/5); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Bradfield CE School (D/P22/28/2); Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30); St John’s School. Caversham (89/SCH/14/1); Reading: Battle Infants School (SCH20/8/2); Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); St John’s School, Reading (D/P172/28A/23)

Each child wore a red white & blue rosette

Peace festivities were in full swing.

Clewer
July 17th

School was closed all day today. The children assembled at 1.15 and marched to Clewer Park with flags. Each child wore a red white & blue rosette. These had been made previously during the Handwork Lessons by the 1st Class. The day was beautifully warm & fine and a very enjoyable time spent. The children dispersed soon after 8 o’clock.

Aldermaston
17th July 1919.

Five away this afternoon (Hants children) to attend peace celebration.

16 Heath End children were absent this afternoon as Mrs Mc Connell of Heath End House [in Baughurst, Hampshire] had invited them to a tea to celebrate “Peace”.

Reading: George Palmer Boys’ School
17th July 1919

In afternoon adjourned to meadow adjoining Coley Park to run off preliminary heats of Peace Day Sports.

Coley Street Primary School
17/07/1919

The children’s ‘Peace Day’ activities are being fixed for Saturday 19th.

Log books of St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2); Aldermaston School (88/SCH/3/2-3); George Palmer Boys’ School log book (89/SCH/8/1); Coley Street Primary School Reading (89/SCH/48/4)

Victory Loan Procession

10th July 1919

School closed for afternoon on account of the Victory Loan Procession.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 57)

Stand up as a token of respect to those who have fallen in the great struggle

1st July, 1919

The Chairman, referring to the signing of Peace, desired the members of the Board to stand up as a token of respect to those who have fallen in the great struggle, he also wished and proposed to place on the minutes the high appreciation of the members of the Board for the courage shewn by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and others comprised in His Majesty’s Forces, including the many thousands who came from the Dominions…

The Vice-Chairman and the members of the Board heartily associated themselves with the Chairman in his remarks, and unanimously passed the resolution, which was seconded by Mr Rasey.

Wokingham Board of Guardians minutes (G/WO1/26)