PEACE! What a blessed word!

The Broad Street Brotherhood rejoiced at the end of the war.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

PEACE! What a blessed word! How often we have sung “In God’s good time there will be peace”.

And now after four years of awful slaughter, turmoil and anxiety, there is at hand that righteous and lasting peace for which we have so fervently prayed.

It is a time for great joy. Praise and prayer. But let us remember with proud and loving thankfulness those who have won us this great blessing by the sacrifice of all they had. God give us a real peace, peace amongst the nations, and peace at home.

Our heartiest congratulations are extended to our secretary, Brother A S Hampton, on being presented with the coveted Red Triangle by Princess Marie Louise, for his untiring zeal in connection with the YMCA.

We are sorry to learn that our Brother C. Saxby, well-known to the choir members, is still a prisoner of war in Germany, but we are hoping by the time these notes are out, that he will have been released.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918

Advertisements

A club for ex sailors and soldiers on similar lines to the Recreation Huts so popular overseas

Ascot wanted to continue supporting servicemen after their return home.

The concert arranged by the R.A.F. in the Cinema on December 11th, in aid of our Christmas Presents for Men in the Navy and those serving overseas, was a great success. The ladies of the “Some Concert Party,” gave an excellent Entertainment to a crowded audience, and the receipts, after deduction of entertainment tax and expenses amounted to £37. Donations to the Fund, chiefly forwarded by Miss Tydd, came to over £8, making a total of over £46.

Some time before the performance 135 parcel presents had been despatched by registered letter post at an average cost of 5/- each. It has been suggested that the balance remaining in the hands of the Committee might well be transferred to a new fund for providing a club for ex sailors and soldiers in the parish, run on similar lines to the Recreation Huts so popular overseas.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, January 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/1)

A memorial worthy of the men and lads fallen in the War, and the cause for which they have laid down their lives

Influenza was making inroads at home, while the town of Newbury started to think about a war memorial.

The influenza epidemic, if it is the influenza, has been and still is causing a great deal of illness in the parish, both among adults and among children. The Day Schools and Sunday Schools have both had to be closed, and there have been several deaths. We would offer our sympathy to those who are in sorrow at this time, especially to Mrs Philip Webb, Mrs Berry, Mrs Jones, Mrs Hosier; also to Mr and Mrs Barber, whose son Pte William Barber, one of our old choir boys, has died on service in Norfolk; to Mrs Frederick Newport and Mrs Lipscombe, whose husbands have died on service; to Mr and Mrs Buckingham, whose eldest son Lieut Edward Buckingham, RAF, has been killed by accident in France…

We ought to be thinking what form the Memorial to our men and lads fallen in the War is to take. We wish to do something worthy of them and the cause for which they have laid down their lives, and it is probable that there will be several suggestions as to what the Memorial should be. When Christmas is over we must have a meeting of parishioners to consider the matter, and get to work upon it.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Rarely, if ever, before, have we been called upon to mourn the loss of so many of our friends, in such a short time as during the past month”

Broad Street Church had endured many sad losses through the war, and the toll was not yet over.

CONDOLENCES

It is our sad duty to report from time to time the death of members of the church and congregation. But rarely, if ever, before, have we been called upon to mourn the loss of so many of our friends, in such a short time as during the past month….

Private Ernest Layton Francis, son of our esteemed Deacon, Mr Ernest Francis, and Mrs Francis, was well known and greatly beloved at Broad Street. Up to the time of his enlistment in the London Scottish Regiment he was a most faithful teacher in the Sunday School, and he exerted a powerful influence for good over his boys. Both teachers and scholars alike bear testimony to his patient and enduring work, and they all deplore his loss.

Mr Witcombe, Chief Warder at Reading Gaol, had been a loyal member of the church since 1911. During the whole of the war period he has given unstinted and devoted service in the work for men and women in khaki attending our rooms, and his cheery presence was always an inspiration. His early and unexpected death from pneumonia has fallen as a sad blow upon his wife and family.

Mr Harry Haydon was, in early days, a loyal worker in connection with the C[hristian] E[ndeavour] Society and Sunday School… a few months ago he had to join the army, but, as he was never strong, the period of training proved too great a strain on his constitution, and the influenza scourge found in him a victim. He leaves a wife and two young children to mourn his loss…

[Miss Rosa Millard and Miss Christina Codiferre are also named as among those dying of influenza.]

The influenza epidemic, which has been raging throughout the country lately, seems to have been worse in Reading than in most places. For several weeks the Sunday School had to be closed. So, too, had the Soldiers’ Rooms. Very many of or Broad Street homes have been visited, and some, unfortunately, with fatal results. It is a relief to know that the evil is now abating, and we trust that those friends who are still suffering may speedily be restored to health.

PTE E. LAYTON FRANCIS

The deepest sympathy has gone out from our whole community to Mr and Mrs Ernest Francis and their family, in the sad loss they have sustained through the death of their second son, Private E. Layton Francis. Layton Francis was a fine type of strong, intelligent, upright manhood, and his passing is deeply regretted by all who knew him.

When the war broke out he was anxious to volunteer at once for active service, but he was prevailed upon to complete his course of training as a Chartered Accountant before doing so. After successfully passing his final examination, he voluntarily joined up in the London Scottish Regiment, and saw much active service in France, Macedonia and Palestine. Readers of the magazine will remember the interesting descriptions he sent of various places in the Holy Land.

At Es Salt, on May 1st, 1918, he was seriously wounded in the right arm. After undergoing treatment in several Military Hospitals abroad, he ultimately reached England and was taken to the Military Hospital at Napsbury, near St Albans. Here, unfortunately, he was seized with influenza, and, pneumonia supervening, his weakened constitution was unequal to the strain.

We give below a couple of extracts from the many letters received by his parents. They testify to the very high regard in which he was universally held:

From a school friend:

“To me Layton was the best chum I ever had, or can hope to have. In fact he was more than a friend, he held the place of a brother. He was a real gentleman, and the life that God has taken will always be a great example and ideal for me to live up to.”

From a friend and former worshipper at Broad Street:

“Although I was considerably older than Layton you know what friends he and I were whilst I was at Reading. It was a friendship of which I was proud. He was the finest boy I have known. He was such a splendid combination of strong character, high principle and lofty ideals. He was absolutely straight – too great a character either to tell a lie or to harbour a mean thought. He was a fine example of young muscular Christianity.”

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Members of Parliament stripped naked?

Even the Irish internees were being allowed short periods out on parole. The Governor of Reading Prison, not exactly a sympathiser, still refised to have them strip-searched on their return.

29 Nov 1918

F M Reynolds, Irish interned prisoner, was released on parole on 17 Nov 1918 and returned today.

No – these men on parole are not searched and the same procedure was [observed?] in [illegible] except a “special search” was made [illegible] was stripped. It would be of no use, and if this course was adopted there would be [illegible] of Members of Parliament stripped naked & c &c. Besides, these men can carry any mental messages they wish.

If the Commissioners wish it, of course I will specially search the men, but as they are on parole, I do not recommend it. At the same time, I have no doubt that many [do pass] messages & apparently written ones go [illegible].

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

29th Nov 1918
Frank Reynolds

This Irish prisoner, who was released on parole on the 17th instant, returned to my custody today.

[C M Morgan]
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

29 Nov 1918
J. MacDonagh

Prisoner applied to me this morning for a petition to be released on parole on account of the illness of his brother.

He was given permission and I told him I would mark it “urgent” if the petition was sent in & he wished it.

He thanked me & left.

About 10 minutes afterwards he sent in a slip of paper requesting me to telephone to the Secretary of State and ask for him to be released on parole. I told the Warder I could not telephone to the Secretary of State, but would mark his petition urgent, and besides I had no knowledge of the case.

As no petition came from him this evening, I sent over to inquire. The reply was that as I had refused to telephone he would do nothing. I told him he could telegraph himself, but he refused.
I attach the telegram he has sent in.

C M Morgan
Gov

[to] The Commissioners

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

“Although we always anticipated the ultimate success of the Allies, we hardly dared to hope for the great and glorious result which has been achieved”

Reading Board of Guardians reflected on the war and its impact.

28th November 1918

Report by the Chairman

As this is the first meeting of the Board since the Armistice was signed, I should like to say a word or two on the triumphant termination of the terrible war which has raged for over four years and has ended in the complete downfall of German domination. Although we always anticipated the ultimate success of the Allies, we hardly dared to hope for the great and glorious result which has been achieved.

Our thanks for victory, however, are tinged with regret by the losses which have been sustained. The War has been brought home to nearly every household in the land, and there is hardly a family in which some beloved relative or friend has not fallen or been disabled. The members of this Board have had to mourn the loss of many dear ones. I am sure that we should all like to express our sympathy with Mr Guardian Waters whose stepson was killed on the very last day of the War.

It has been my privilege to preside over the Board during the whole period of the Warm, and I am very glad to be the “Peace” Chairman as well as the “War” Chairman. We have had many serious difficulties to contend with, but with the able guidance of Mr Oliver we have been able to surmount them all. Our Institution was one of the first to be taken over as a Military Hospital & it has been found to be so splendidly adapted for the purpose that I expect it will be one of the last to be given up. The Master, Matron, Superintendent Nurse, Nursing Staff, & Officers generally have shown splendid devotion to duty under the most trying and arduous conditions, and we thank them one and all for the self denying services they have rendered. Many of the members of the Board have been engaged in War Work in various capacities, those taking part being: Mr W G Cook, Mr F E Moring, Mr A E Deadman, Col Kensington, Mr Hall-Mansey.

Staff:
Office: J R Beresford, K L Jones, G H Turnbull, A Dawson, K Garrett, K Ayling, K Hawkes
Relief: Mr F H Herrington, Mr G M Munday
Institutional: H Challis, A Sanders, G Smith, W Bibby

Out of this number Challis has been killed & Dawson has lost a leg.

Mr Guardian Waters
Mr Waters thanked the Guardians for their expression of sympathy in the sad bereavement he and his wife had sustained.

Election of Mayor

As the Guardians and Officers had not received the usual invitation to attend the election of Mayor, to accompany him at the Thanksgiving Service held at St Mary’s Church on the 13th November last, strong criticism was adversely expressed ad the Press asked to make a note thereof.

Minutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

War bonus declined

26th November 1918

Nursing Staff

An application from Nurse Brown, a trained nurse who came on the 23rd September and who was expected to remain over the New Year, for a War Bonus was declined.

Minutes of Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing, Reading (D/QX23/1/2)

Working to be repatriated as quickly as possible

The question of hiow to repatriate internees was beginning to be considered.

HM Prison
Reading
Nov. 26. 18

From the MO to the Governor
Concerning the state of body & mind of Ion Perrocino [?].

He has maintained his weight on a special diet that I have allowed him. No doubt he feels the cold weather.

He is depressed about his internment and gets very excited when he insists upon discussing his return to Brazil.

He is evidently working to be repatriated as quickly as possible. I do not believe he will take his life or go mad.

His behaviour to myself has always been correct.

W T Freeman

Reading Prison
26 Nov 1918

Sir

Owing to the absence of Clerk & Schoolmaster Mr Stevens, through influenza, I was working alone for a fortnight, during which the error in W Horlock’s account occurred. I greatly regret the submission of this error, but I was working under considerable pressure and difficulty, and did my best to keep the office work going and to carry out what checking I could.

I am
Sir
Your obedient servant
M N Loarn
Steward

[to] The Governor

[The error related to a purchase of liberty clothing for the internees.]

HM “Place of Internment”
Reading

26th November 1918

Sir

I have the honour to acknowledge your letter … dated 21st November 1918 on the subject of the interned Alien Albert Hemmerle.

The prisoner states that the Duchy of Lichtenstein is at present in a state of revolution, but that he will write to his parents and request them to obtain from whatever form of Government there may be, the required guarantee that he will remain in Lichtenstein if deported there.

I have the honour to be
Sir
Your obedient servant

F G C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Under Secretary of State
Home Office
London SW1

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

On the sick list with influenza

Flu continued to strike down the prison staff.

21 Nov [1918]

Temporary Officer Night Watchman Novell being on the sick list with influenza, I have appointed temporarily Mr D Wilson, a pensioned Metropolitan Police Constable, to perform the duties. Mr Wilson was employed here before the war but rejoined the Metropolitan Police about 4 years ago. He has now returned to Reading. His former employment was approved by the Commissioners.

C M Morgan

Gov
[to] The Commissioners

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

The interned Germans and pro-Germans could hardly be expected to show much enthusiasm at the defeat and downfall of the Central Powers

Not everyone in Berkshire was pleased by the outcome of the war.

18 Nov 1918

Circular no. 172 of 14.11.18.

A thanksgiving service so far as it is applicable to this Place was held at both the RC service and that conducted by the Nonconformist Minister. There is no [Anglican] Chaplain.

I requested that the service should take the form of thanksgiving for the cessation of hostilities, without any reference to Victory as the Germans and pro-Germans who compose the congregations could hardly be expected to show much enthusiasm at the defeat and downfall of the Central Powers.

C M Morgan
Gov.

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

A nice consignment

Possibly a bit late to be of use, but Remenham continued to support the war right up to the end.

RECTOR’S LETTER

In response to the appeal sent by the National Salvage Council to Mrs Barber, Culham Court, for fruit-stones and nut-shells, we were able to send a nice consignment to the Depot at Southend on Sea, and received a kind acknowledgment. Those who sent collections of stones and nut-shells to the Rectory were Mrs Ames, Mrs Barber, Miss Bradford, Miss “Peggy” Simpson, and Messrs Ward, Wallis, Woods and Gibbons.

Remenham parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

“Services no longer required”

The end of the war meant one priosn officer had a very short time in the army.

14th Novr 1918

Warder Northam

This officer who was mobilized on the 5th instant was yesterday discharged from the Army, “services no longer required”, and he returned to Prison duties today. His Record of Service and Medical History were returned to the Head Office on the 6th instant – also the Exemption Card.

C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

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

Congratulations on the termination of this terrible war

The war was over, but the wounded still needed to be treated.

12 November 1918

Inmates from Hungerford Union.

Read letter from the Clerk to Hungerford Union saying that the Military Authorities were possibly taking over that Institution for a Hospital. Resolved that the Clerk be instructed to reply that this Board are prepared to receive about 50 of the Hungerford inmates on similar terms they receive the inmates from Reading.



The Armistice

Resolved on the motion of the Chairman recorded by the Vice Chairman that we the Guardians of the Newbury Union desire to offer you to you our King and to our Queen most heartfelt congratulations on the termination of this terrible war and trust that now you will leave rest from your long labours of devotion and love to your subjects. All thanks to Almighty God for His mercies.

The Clerk was instructed to forward the resolution to His Majesty.

Newbury Board of Guardians minutes (G/N1/39, pp. 108-109)

Heavy demands on women’s leisure time

This would be one of the shortest hiatuses in civilian life of the war.

WOMEN’S OWN

The committee of the Women’s Own have very reluctantly come to the conclusion that it will be best to suspend the Wednesday afternoon meetings till after the war. So many of the members are doing extra work of various kinds that the numbers we are able to welcome seem hardly sufficient to justify the cost of heating the room in these days of rationing. We hope the women will soon be released from these heavy demands upon their leisure, and be in a position to rejoin us.

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine (D/N11/12/1/14)

Prison staff very short owing to Influenza

Reading Prison staff members were falling prey to influenza. The Governor issued a desperate plea for help. In reply he was sent a clerk and schoolmaster from Canterbury Prison.

7 Nov 1918

I shall be glad if the Commissioners can lend me a few officers for a time. My staff is very short owing to Influenza &c.

Principal Warder Witcombe dead.

W. Northam joined up last Tuesday.

Wr Bilke influenza last 3 weeks & likely to be ill for some time.

Engineer Hooper influenza today.

Clerk & Schoolmaster Stevens influenza last few days and likely to be away some time.

The Steward is carrying on, but is not well, & if he collapses, I have no one at all in the office, Mr Stevens being already sick.

I should be glad of a clerk who understands office work & returns, and two warders – temporary officers are unfortunately unobtainable – and the two prisons – Irish and Aliens make it [illegible].

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