Not yet out of the wood

There was news of soldiers associated with Maidenhead Congregational Church.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We have not as much information this month as we would like, and shall be glad if friends will send us news of the boys month by month.

Harold Islip has been home on leave. After his gassing, he was in hospital for a week, and in a convalescent camp for a fortnight. It is about 17 months since his last leave. On return he went straight back to duty.

John Hedges paid his old school and church a visit on a Sunday in August. It is some six or seven years since he left us to seek his fortune in Australia. He returned in a khaki suit. After some hard experiences he is at present doing clerical work in London.

Reginald Hill still continues to improve though he must yet pass through another operation before he is out of the wood. But we hope to see him home about Christmas.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, October 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

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Camouflage with a vengeance

The Images experienced a power cut as a result of an air raid, and heard some interesting Navy news.

29 Barton Road
22 Oct. ‘17
My Most Dear Old Man

On Friday evening we were at dinner – the clock, I remember, was in the middle of striking 8 – when, in a flash, down went the electric light, and up bounced Florence to find whether it was so all through the house. It was! and we had in a candle, to the accompaniment of bombs and anti-aircraft guns, seemingly 2 miles away to the north. I wonder, were they trying for the aerodrome at Hardwick? for they are reported to have attempted that at T in Norfolk. Well, we went unconcernedly to bed, and were awakened by a glare at 2.10 – sign that the raiders were clear of England. But oh how humiliating! They can drop bombs at will, and unharmed, in England. Once cross to France, and they are chivvied and hustled, go wherever they attempt. The French can bring them down. Never has there been such a field day before, for Zepps.

Some friends, fresh from Liverpool, told me the other day of the steady silent inundation of Americans now overflowing the place. Especially of the hundreds upon hundreds of Yankee aeroplanes, beautifully packed, daily landed on the quays.

In one dry dock these people came across a large Yankee man-of-war, painted blue with pink spots (or was it, pink with blue spots. Those were the colours anyhow.) Camouflage with a vengeance: but it has the effect of destroying outlines and muddling them up at a distance. This they observed especially in the case of HMS Ramillies lying out in the stream – a battleship, painted the most bizarre horror, chiefly black and white stripes.

All this is very fine – but as today’s Daily Mail asks, in Italics, ‘Who commands the North Sea?’ The British navy may be the ‘incomparable’ weapon we hear it called, but it is bluffed by the Huns and its convoys and their escort snapped up by a small force of 2 raiders, almost in hearing of the Grand Fleet. The Kaiser’s vaunt of Germany’s future being on the water looks justified – Nelson went to the Gulf of Riga – but we can’t.

Our united love to you both.
Ever yours,
Bild

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

A necessary bit of war work

There was a call for men to join the Police Reservists and help maintain law and order at home.

EARLEY SUB-DIVISION BERKS POLICE SPECIAL RESERVE

Owing to removals and army munition work our numbers are becoming very much reduced, and we would earnestly ask any men in the parish of Earley, whether living in the Borough [of Reading] or not, who are not already acting as Specials or Reservists to come and give us a hand in this necessary bit of war work. After all, to patrol for 3 hours once a month from 9-12 pm is not a very great thing to ask, and there must be many men who could if they would come forward and thus ease the strain on those who have been quietly and steadily doing this work for over 3 years.

The Rev. H Wardley King, 1, Green Road, who is undertaking the duties of Sub-Divisional Officer pro tem, will be very grateful to receive names of any willing to help.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

Cecil Webb, Herbert Plumer, Walter Smithers, Ernest Thompson, John Edwards, Eric Burchell.

In addition to those already mentioned, we especially commend the following to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED: Duncan Simson, Levi Rackley, Charles Barton, George Bungay, Samuel Dee, George Embery, Ernest Embery, Benjamin Rickards, Albert Gray, Herbert Harper, Herbert Oliver, Clifford Holliday, Thomas Ilott, Arthur O’Dell, Owen Lewington, John Phillips.

KILLED: Charles Bowden, William Murphy, William Wynn, John Hitchcock, Albert Hosler.

MISSING: Arthur Langmead.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Happy evenings

Soldiers training at home were grateful for the hospitality shown by Reading people.

Our Soldiers’ Club

This is now well established and a steady increase in the attendance testifies to the appreciation of the comforts provided. Though only open a fortnight, the following letter is the grateful testimony of one who came every night and looked on the Club as “home”:- Reading 20/10/17.

Dear Mr. Stevens, –

You no doubt will be surprised to learn that I am leaving Reading this afternoon for Tidworth. It came very unexpectedly. I cannot let this occasion pass without tendering very heartfelt thanks for the way that I have received and the kindness shown to me by various gentlemen of the soldiers’ club. In fact, I will always look back upon the happy evenings which I spent there with very pleasant memories. I cannot tell you how I feel in leaving Reading, but will always maintain that the Trinity Congregational Church Soldiers Club is worthy of the highest credit which it thoroughly deserves, and I sincerely hope and trust that the good work will continue and that Miss Austin will sell the refreshments better than ever.

Again thanking you one and all,

Believe me, I remain,

Yours Sincerely,

John J. Kingdom.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, November 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

Flags and horse chestnuts

The patriotic children of Lower Sandhurst were still keen to contribute to the war effort.

October 18th 1917

‘Our Day.’

The children made Red Cross flags for sale for the fund.

Our collection box was opened and was found to contain £1 – 14 – 0 which sum was forwarded to the Secretary of the local Red Cross Committee.

One cwt. of horse-chestnuts was forwarded for the manufacture of munitions.

Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 414)

“Some excess in food has been going on” – but families should get more sugar

Food restrictions were well under way in Newbury.

October 18th, 1917.

Maximum Prices

The Committee have fixed the maximum retail price of milk (delivered) as follows:

For the month of October, 2s per gallon, and 6d per quart, and from November to March inclusive, 2s 4d per gallon, and 7d per quart, prices for all other measures to be in proportion.

The Committee have under consideration the question of Meat prices and Butter.

Sugar Distribution Scheme (Manufacturers, Caterers, Institutions)

Very valuable assistance has been given by a member of the Committee, not a member of the Council, in dealing with these applications. Many more applications have been received from Manufacturers than estimated, and a great deal of delay has been caused in issuing the vouchers, owing to the difficulty of getting further supplies from the supplying department.

The rationing under the scheme, of Manufacturers and Caterers, should mean a very appreciable increase in the amount of sugar available for private consumption. The Committee would put on record that such rationing has been carried out strictly under the rules of the Food Control Department, that is for Manufacturers, 11 ½ per cent of their 1915 supply, for the period covered by the immediate authorities, and for Caterers and Institutions, on the basis of 2-7ths of an oz. per meal, with certain modifications to meet special restrictions such as those against afternoon teas for people who live out in Institutions, and allowances against the sugar used in cakes in certain classes of catering business.

Householders Applications

These applications on the whole are not very incorrectly [sic] filled in, a good many being traced who had omitted the address, by names of schools being inserted on the forms. Voluntary assistance has been given in filing applications, writing envelopes, etc, and all sugar cards should be out early this week.

Hotels, Restaurants

We regret to say that the registers required to be kept under the “Public Meals Order” have not been very well kept in many cases, and that some excess in food has been going on. We hope that this is now stopped.

Food Economy Campaign

The Committee have received a communication from the Ministry of Food asking them to set up a special committee for this purpose, but they have decided to deal with such a campaign, as the question arises, at meetings of the full committee.

We received 48 applications for licences to sell sugar, from retailers, 47 licences have been granted, one application being refused by the Committee on the grounds that no legitimate retail business was in existence.

Flour Compensation

The Committee and their staff were given a good deal of work in connection with this matter.

Potato Licences

The Committee received a large number of applications for dealing in potatoes, the majority of which have been dealt with. They have some late applications which have just come in.

Members of the Committee for the Sugar Distribution Scheme had to meet on an average twice a week, to deal with the above, and also in regard to Flour Compensation, and other details of their work.

Newbury Borough: Report of the Food Control Committee (N/AC1/2/8)

A refugee from the air raids

Yattendon children were sent out to pick horse chestnuts (for munitions) and blackberries (for jam to send to the troops).

Yattendon CE School
Octr 10th

Holiday given this afternoon to enable the children to gather horse chestnuts, which are asked for by the Ministry of Munitions.

Received circular re “Picking Blackberries” from Education Committee.

Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School
10th October 1917

Re-opened school after fair holiday, admitted one boy (from London – a refugee from the air raids).

Log books of Yattendon CE School (SCH37/8/3) and Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School (C/EL4/2)

Arrived from the front

A Pangbourne teacher welcomed a brother home on leave, while the Datchet children’s collections from the hedgerows for the troops diversified.

Pangbourne
9th October, 1917

Miss Drury, at her own request, given a day’s leave of absence to see her brother who has arrived from the front.

Datchet
9 October 1917

I have sent several boys for horse chestnuts while the weather is dry.

The children went a blackberrying.

Datchet National Mixed School log book (SCH30/8/3, p. 401)

Pangbourne Primary School log book (C/EL78/2, p. 62)

Drawing on the nation’s too limited wool supply

By this point in the war 10 Berkshire policemen who were serving at the Front had been killed. Closer to home, demand for army uniforms was monopolising the nation’s wool supply. Most men’s outdoor clothing was based on woven woollen cloth, which was warm and waterproof.

6 October 1917
Clothing for 1918

The Acting Chief Constable has received the following letter from Messrs Titley, Son & Price, whose tender for the supply of clothing for the year 1918 has been accepted.

19, Cheap Street, Bath
13th Sept. 1917

Dear Sir

When we tendered for 1918 overcoats, something serviceable at old prices, we anticipated some difficulty but this has been increased by the few men, on the two lists we have received, who are doing without them. We calculated that we might obtain sufficient material to supply about half your force; and in the state of the wool market, which as you know is practically commandeered for military requirements, we do not see how we can fill more than that. We have plenty of blue to enable us to offer Capes, Serges, or Trousers in lieu, without drawing on the nation’s too limited wool supply. Could you kindly, at the next pay day, help us by causing to be discovered if there are not a large number of men with overcoats sufficiently new to enable the exchange to be made.

Yours obediently in all commands
Titley, Son & Price.

The Committee recommend that the Acting Chief Constable be empowered in all cases where the Superintendents report that the great coats now in the possession of the men are serviceable and likely to last until the next issue in 1920, to issue capes, serges or trousers in lieu thereof, or to grant, as compensation, £1.1s.0d on the understanding that in the event of a man’s coat not lasting until the issue in 1920, he shall repay an amount in proportion to the period unexpired.

Constables killed in action

I regret to report the death on active service of the following Police Constables, viz PC 111 Raymond E. Offer, PC 119 Charles Warman, PC 213 Arthur Frank Wheatcroft and PC 82 George William Bennett.

PC 111 Offer died on 20 July 1917 from wounds received in action, and PCs 119 Warman, 213 Wheatcroft and 82 Bennett were killed in action on 1 August, 16 August and 8 September respectively.

All four were unmarried, and so far as I am aware had no one dependent on them for support. Bennett joined the force on 1st January 1907.

This makes 10 Constables who have lost their lives during the war.

PCs 80 Pill and 41 Vile have rejoined the Force, the former on 1 September and the latter on 24 September.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

All the fir trees are being cut down

The Canadian Forestry Corps had been specially created to provide wood for the needs of the Front. The woods of Berkshire provided much of the raw materials.

1st October 1917

A beautiful day again but quite an Autumn feeling in the air morning & night. Wife went up to Padworth to see her father’s grave. She says all the fir trees round them are being cut down by Canadian lumber men.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before

The vicar of Maidenhead All Saints reminded his flock about the work of merchant seamen bringing food to the country, and of church workers comforting the troops close behind the lines.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-…

St Peter’s Harvest Festival is to be held at the end of this month (September 30th)… And this Harvest we have, indeed, much for which to be thankful. The War has brought home to us our dependence on our daily food in a way unknown to most of us before. We have to thank God for the labours of our farm workers and allotment holders, who, in the face of an inclement Spring, have greatly increased our food supply; for the valour of our Navy, that has convoyed our store ships past many perils; for the steadfastness and courage of our Merchant Sailors, who, risking often sudden death or lingering suffering, have yet dared to go on faithfully bringing grain and meat and other things for the maintenance of our people.

Lastly; sometimes people ask me for the name of some Charity to which they may give a donation, outside the Parish. Just now few deserve more support than the Church Army Recreation Hut Fund. There are over 800 in full work. All are under the auspices of the Church, and special provision is made for those who wish for a quiet place for prayer or study. They are, also, available and used for Church Services. I feel thy deserve great support, for, excellent as the work of the Y.M.C.A. usually is, these Church Army Huts make a still greater claim on our generosity as Church people; that our men should not feel that the Church has in any way neglected them. Any donations should be sent to the Secretary, Church Army Headquarters, 55, Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, London, W.1.

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

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Horse chestnuts for munitions

Horse chestnuts (or conkers) contain a chemical called acetone which can be used in the manufacture of explosives. The Government asked Britain’s children to help collect them for the war effort.

26th September 1917
The girls of this school are collecting horse chestnuts for the Ministry of Munitions.

Ascot Heath Girls School log book (C/EL109/2, p. 278)

In a nervous state due to air raids

Air raids were traumatic for children, prompting some families to move out of targetted areas.

King Street School, Maidenhead
10th September 1917

Twelve children have been admitted from raid areas in London & elsewhere & in most cases parents stated children were in a nervous state or asked for special care & treatment while at school.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1917, 10th to 14th September

Ten girls came too late to be marked on Monday afternoon. They had been to see an aeroplane which had come down in a field near Culham.

Wallingford Boys Council School
1917, 10 September

Re-assembled after 5 weeks’ holiday. Commenced collection of Horse-Chestnuts for Ministry of Munitions of War.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, pp. 399-400); Abingdon Girls CE School (C/EL 2/2, p. 147); Wallingford Boys Council School log book (SCH22/8/3, p. 63)

Scarborough under attack

Sir Henry Vansittart Neale served on the local (Maidenhead) Tribunal hearing conscientious objectors’ and essential workers’ cases against conscription. Meanwhile, the Yorkshire town of Scarborough was being attacked from the sea.

5 September 1917

Men out on river. About 40 came. Henry at Tribunal & Food Production meetings…

Bombardment of Scarborough.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A substitute for certain industrial processes connected with the war

Newbury children were recruited to collect horse chestnuts for use in munitions – which would in turn release more food.

Friday, August 31st, 1917

Teacher on Military Service

The Sub-committee recommend that Mr G F Pyke, a Certificated Assistant Master on the staff at the Newbury CE Boys’ School, who has been on military service since March 31st last, be granted an allowance at the rate of £13 per annum whilst he is holding his present rank in the Army; such allowance to take effect as from April 1st, 1917.


Collection of Horse Chestnuts

A circular letter was received from the Board of Education intimating that the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Munitions had asked for the assistance of Local Education Authorities in collecting this year’s crop of horse-chestnuts.

It appears that a considerable quantity of grain is at present being used in certain industrial processes connected with the war, and that in order to set this grain free for food, experiments have been made to discover a substitute. This substitute has been found in the horse-chestnut, and it is stated that for every ton of chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption.

The secretary was asked to make the necessary arrangements with the schools for the older boys and girls to assist in collecting the horse-chestnuts in the borough and neighbourhood, and to communicate with owners of property with the view to permission being granted to parties of children to collect the nuts on their premises.

The Sub-committee have made the following arrangements for the temporary storage of the chestnuts:

(a) for children collecting north of Newbury Water Bridge: at Mr J Stradling’s premises (The Newbury Coach and Motor Works), London Road.

(b) for children collecting south of Newbury Water Bridge: the playshed of the Council Boys’ School, Station Road.

Minutes of Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Education Committee, Newbury Borough Council (N/AC1/2/8)