“Avoid anything which would give the Germans ground for retaliating on our people interned in Germany”

Internees, like prisoners, were able to earn small sums of money by working.

[18 Aug 1918, in response to a complaint]

No man is paid more than 14/- a week for any work – upkeep of Prison or Mailbag by Prison. The system approved was that one man could work for another man and be paid by that other man: the actual sum is arranged between them.

As I have never allowed men to retain money in their possession, though there was no rule against it and it is done in every other Camp, the only way men can pay another for doing the work is by transferring the agreed sum of money to him, and consequently it appears in the earnings book.

In a similar way men who were tailors bought cloth and made civilian clothes for other men who were interned, the transfer in these cases sometimes amounting to several pounds. My instructions from the Commissioners were that this place was so far as possible to be run as a Camp and not a Prison – and Prison was to be kept out of it – especially as there were over 40 prisoners of war here.

In all forms, books, writing paper &c, the word “Prison” was to be erased & the name of Trial earnings book is a misleading one. It is really a book shewing a man’s receipt of money from whatever sources, and his expenditure, which may be canteen, clothing, any outside shop, watch repairs, transferring money to another man, &c. In each case the man spending signs for the expenditure, & if it is a transfer the man receiving does the same. I only allow men to transfer or send money once a week – each Tuesday.

As this is the only Place of Internment under the Commissioners, they gave me a free hand to draw up rules as were found to be practicable by actual experience. This I have done from time to time, and had them approved by the Commissioners. A point kept in view by Mr Dryhurst, instructions being to avoid anything which would give the Germans ground for retaliating on our people interned in Germany and which would enable these men after release to say they were interned in a Prison under Prison rules.

C M Morgan
18.8.18

[to] The Gov

Please note the following modifications.

I. The practice of one Alien working for another on Governor work will cease.

II. As from the 21st inst, the maximum amount of weekly earnings may be extended to 21/- in future in individual cases at your discretion.

By order EB 19/10/18

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

Advertisements

“I do not believe that he has suffered seriously from his internment”

The British authorities were concerned about the physical and mental health of internees.

H M Prison
Reading

Aug, 17, 1918

From the MO to the Governor
Concerning the petition of Fritz Herman Veltmeyer.

I have interviewed him today and do not believe that he has suffered seriously from his internment. His mental balance seems correct.
He has lost some weight and if he continues to do so I propose to allow him some extra food.

W T Freeman

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

Convoy attacked

The Harwich Force was a Navy squadron tasked with protecting shipping.

17 August 1918

Heard 2 destroyers Harwich base sunk. 26 lives lost. Convoying ships from Holland.

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

“He hated Germans, who had ruined his country, Russia”

The perennially dissatisfied internee Herman von Schlapowsky was certainly not pro-German.

15 August 1918

That I spoke to Herman von Schlapowsky this morning about his health, and suggested that he might write a petition to be sent to Germany as the newspapers talked about repatriation of certain Germans.

He stated that he was not a German, and would not go to Germany or Poland or any country under German rule or in the occupation of Germans, and wished to be sent to Russia or to Switzerland, of which country his wife is a native, but he hated Germans, who had ruined his country, Russia.

C M Morgan

[to] The Under Secretary of State
Home Office

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

“Irish prisoners have been offered the blue dress & prison boots but decline both, and expect to be allowed to have ordinary clothing selected by themselves and paid for by the Commissioners”

Irish internees demanded special treatment – but the prison authorities were scared of setting precedents.

13 Aug 1918
W L Cole

Lights are extinguished at 9 pm.

Instructions have been received that gas consumption is to be reduced by one sixth. If lights are continued beyond 9 pm, which is the same as last year, the gas consumption will be increased as compared to last year and not reduced – and other men will expect the same.

Irish prisoners have been offered the blue dress & prison boots but decline both, and expect to be allowed to have ordinary clothing selected by themselves and paid for by the Commissioners. They have every opportunity of obtaining clothing from their homes, but want to make what they can. Cole is the leader of all this.

I have already reported on the subject of letters and parcels. There is no delay here.

C M Morgan
Gov.

[to] The Commissioners


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

Internees allowed to purchase anything that can be purchased by ordinary outside people

A series of exchanges about food supplies at Reading Prison shows how internees could supplement the official rations.

30 July 1918
As bacon is now obtainable without coupons, some of the interned prisoners are asking if they may buy some, if they can get it.
Instructions requested please.
C M Morgan
Gov

Please state what articles of diet the Internees are permitted to purchase & whether there is any limit in quantity.
OFNT
6-8.18

They are allowed to purchase anything that can be purchased by ordinary outside people – except extra cereals, ie cake, biscuits; and their jam purchase is limited to 8 oz per head per week (in addition to what is issued to them).
C M Morgan
Gov
8/8/18

This may be permitted if it can be obtained locally and does not interfere with the supplies available for the general population in the neighbourhood.
OFNT
13/8/18

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

Priority milk for mothers and children when occasion should arise

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee was concerned about supplies of meat and milk.

13th August.

It was decided that a charge should be made of 6d per Ration Book I respect of lost Ration Books, the loss of which could not be satisfactorily explained.

The Committee had under consideration a proposal by certain butchers for the closing of their shops at the end of the current month in order to give their employees a much needed rest. The Committee in the interest of the public were unable to sanction the proposal unless some arrangement could be made which would leave the shops open from say Saturday to the following Friday.

Complaints by two milk retailers that their producers would be unable to supply them with the quantity of milk after the 29th September next, were before the Committee. The producers were to be communicated with and asked for their reasons for stoppage of supply.

The Committee decided to formally adopt the Milk Supply (Priority) Scheme in order that they may be in a position to deal with the supply of priority milk for mothers and children when occasion should arise.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Government funds for convalescent soldiers

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital wanted to recoup some of the costs of nursing the wounded.

9th August 1918

Government funds for convalescent soldiers.

It was resolved that the higher rate allowed by Government for convalescent soldiers received into hospital be applied for.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, p. 363)

“I feel that I have lost a friend in addition to a very gallant officer”

There was sad news for a number of Wargrave families.

The following names must be added to the Roll of Honour:-

Ogbourne, Harry.
Trooper 1st Life Guards, died of wounds due to enemy air raid, May 20th, 1818, aged 24. He was the youngest son of Mrs. Ogbourne, widow of John Ogbourne of Wargrave. He was educated at the Piggott School, Wargrave and the Knowl Hill School. Before the war, he was engaged as Assistant to the Lock-keeper at Shiplake Lock. He volunteered in October, 1914. He was sent to France in May 1915, and with two short periods of leave, he remained there until his death. His Squadron Leader gave him a most excellent report.

Sinclair, Gerald John.
Captain, 1st Battalion The Black Watch, only son of John Sinclair, was educated at Rugby, and joined the Inns of Court O.T.C.in September, 1914, from there going to Sandhurst in January, 1915. He joined the reserve Battalion in Scotland, in July, 1915, and went out to France in April, 1916, where he was wounded in Peronne, in July. He returned to France the following January. He was 21 on March 21st, 1918, was killed in action on April 18th, and was buried in the Military Cemetery at Givenchy. His Colonel wrote “I feel that I have lost a friend in addition to a very gallant officer.”

Woodruff, Charles Herbert.

Lance-Corporal 2nd Royal Berks, killed in action between April 22nd and 27th, 1918, aged 24. He was the youngest son of Mrs. Woodruff, widow of George Woodruff, who was cowman at Scarlets for twenty-two years. He was a Piggott Scholar and on leaving school he went to work under a gardener. Before the War he was an under-gardener at the Lodge, Hare Hatch. He volunteered on August 30th, 1914. He was stationed in Ireland for three years with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, but in 1917 he was transferred by his own desire to the Royal Berks in order that he might share in the fighting. He was sent to France, June 1st, 1917.

Missing.

The following are the names of those who are now missing:-

Burton Haycock, John Frame, Frank Heakes, James Hes, Arthur Haycock.

Prisoners.

The following are prisoners:-

Robert Burrough, Fred Hall, Albert Hodge, Henry Wise, Charles Crampton, Jack Gieves, James Pithers, George Woodruff.

O Lord, look down from heaven, behold, visit, and with the eyes of thy mercy, give them comfort and sure confidence in Thee, defend them from the danger of the enemy, and keep them in perpetual peace and safety; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

The life of a father or husband, or brother or son – perhaps yours – may depend on what you collect

Wokingham people were urged to save fruit stones.

Fruit Stones & Nut Shells are urgently needed. Converted into charcoal, they apparently possess special properties which are necessary in the manufacture of gas helmets. Ample stocks will be available in the future, but at the moment the need is most urgent. Will all therefore who read this set aside fruit stones and nut shells (don’t let them get mouldy) and the ‘Wolf Cubs’ will collect them. Don’t be afraid that you haven’t got enough to be any good – every little helps, and the life of a father or husband, or brother or son – perhaps yours – may depend on what you collect.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P154C/28A/1)

The further call for soldiers brings home to us the coming climax of the War

There was still need for more soldiers.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

… Last month was a busy one, and our record of it has to be compressed; nor can I find space for a letter from Mr. Sellors, who, I am glad to say, keeps well and fit at Salonika…

As regards to more serious things, we have to thank Mr. F. Rogers for two beautiful flags for the Church; they will be a valued reminder of all we have gone through together during the War. The further call for soldiers brings home to us the coming climax of the War. Still more families have a personal interest in the welfare of our Navy, Army and Air Force.

Let those of us at home turn still more earnestly to God for strength to do our duty and bear our burdens. For from him alone comes the power to be workers, and not drones, whether for God’s service, or that of our Country, or our Homes.

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

PARISH MAGAZINE

Owing to paper shortage, we are only allowed about 525 copies of the “Dawn of Day” a month. So about 1590 people will have to be content with Parish matter only.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

“The real thing: he was a rock, strong, capable, self-reliant, and possessed the complete confidence of every man and officer in the battalion”

A tribute was paid to a Burghfield hero.

THE WAR

IN MEMORIAM

George Ouvry William Willink, MC
2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

George was only 2 ½ years old when the family came here, in July 1890, so his life’s home has been in the parish, and he loved it. And that he has not been spared to live out his days at Hillfields is a sore loss to all classes.

Perhaps no record can be more suitable for printing in the Magazine than the following notice by his Eton Tutor, Mr Vaughan, his parents’ old friend, which appeared in the Eton College Chronicle:

“George Willink came from Mr Locke’s school, St Neot’s, Eversley, in 1901 to Mr Vaughan’s House. Diffident at first, and somewhat slow in thought, he yet showed already those qualities of steadfastness, unselfishness and good temper, which in time won for him the respect and affection of all. He made himself, by pluck and concentration, one of the best in the House at football and fives. In the Lent Half of 1907 he played for Eton v. Harrow in the first “Rugger” match between the two schools, when Eton won by 12 points to 0, and in the summer of that year rowed 2 in the Eight at Henley, and thus at the end of his blameless career came into his own.

“He was always so self-effacing”, writes the boy who was his most intimate friend in the House, “that it was only those who knew him really well, as I did, that realised what a splendid fellow he was”.

It might truly have been said of him at Eton, as it was at Oxford, that “Things, whatever they were, would go all right, if he was mixed up with them.” Throughout his life he thus exercised far more influence than he himself realised. “If my own sons”, his Oxford tutor wrote, “should grow up with that sort of character, I should feel more thankful for this than for anything else in the world.”

In 1907 he went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he not only rowed in the Varsity Trial Eights, and managed his College Boat Club, of which he was captain, but worked hard at History, and reaped his reward by obtaining a Second Class in the History School in 1911. In 1913 he was called to the Bar. A keen member of the Eton, and of the Oxford, OTC, in both of which he was a sergeant, he had, on coming to London, joined the Inns of Court OTC (in which his father had once been a captain), and was a lieutenant when the war broke out.

He commanded for some time as captain, No. 1 Company of the Battalion at Berkhamsted, and the universal testimony of officers and men to his good work is remarkable. The words of one of the former (Sir F G Kenyon) may be quoted: “There never was an officer more hard-working, more conscientious, more self-sacrificing, and without claiming any credit for himself”.

In 1916, as soon as he could obtain permission to leave Berkhamsted, he joined the Berks Territorials, in his his brother Captain F A Willink had already seen foreign service, and in July proceeded to France.

In 1917 he was mentioned in dispatches, and later gained the MC for a daring rescue by digging out with a few men, under heavy fire, some buried gunners. Rejoining his regiment, after a “course” behind the lines, on March 23rd, he took over command of his Battalion, the CO having been killed a few days before.

On the 28th he fell while he was gallantly leading, in advance of his men, a counter-attack. “On the first day that I took over the brigade, in September 1916,” writes his Brigadier, “I put him down in my mind at once as the real thing. He was a rock, strong, capable, self-reliant, and possessed the complete confidence of every man and officer in the battalion.”

In the words of a barrister, twenty years his senior in age, who served as his CSM at Berkhamsted: “He was one of the ‘gentlemen unafraid’ and as such has found his welcome in Valhalla’”.

More might be said, especially as to the affection which he inspired, as well as confidence. But this is not the place for it, and after all, his Burghfield neighbours know.

Honours and Promotions

Temp. Lt Geoffrey H B Chance to be Temp. Captain from 27th April 1917.

Casualties

Private E J V Cox (Worcester Regiment), missing; Private F G Cummins (Royal Berks Regiment), severely wounded; Private D Hutchins (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded.

Lance Corporal Howard Pembroke (see Magazine for April) has been definitely offered the choice of a commission in either the Infantry or the Royal Air Service. But he prefers to remain in the ASC, where however he will have to wait for a similar chance until he is older.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1918 (D/EX725/4)

He had gone “over the top” more than 17 times

There was news of men from Maidenhead Congregationalists.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Alfred Isaac is at the Crystal Palace, in training for the Navy. George Ayres is at Anglesey, in daily expectation of orders for overseas. Wallace Mattingley is in Ireland. A. J. Lane is having his first experience of life in the front lines. Alfred Vardy is map-making a few miles from the coast in France. Reginald Hill is still in hospital at Cliveden. Ernest Bristow is daily looking for his discharge. Mr. and Mrs. Sale recently spent a day in Maidenhead, visiting their old friends. Mr. Sale is passed in the highest class for general service, and was “joining up” immediately.”

DEATH OF BENJAMIN GIBBONS.

The distressing news has just come to hand that Benjamin Gibbons was killed in action on June 24th. It is scarcely more than three weeks since he went back to France, after some time in Ireland. When he was last home on furlough he was far from well, but he was quite ready to return. In answer to a question he said that he had gone “over the top” more than 17 times. May God’s tenderest consolation be with the bereaved parents.

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

The use of jam, treacle or syrup will be discontinued

Internees were about to be deprived of jam, unless they could pay for it themselves.

Prison Commission
HO
20.7.18

[to] The Gov
Reading P of I

Please note that when your present stock of jam is exhausted, the use of jam, treacle or syrup will be discontinued, but it may of course be purchased in reasonable quantities by interned prisoners.

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

“Any letters which contain obscure expressions, abbreviations and indirect references to prohibited subjects are liable to delay, and may have to be stopped”

Complaints about how internees were treated were strictly forbidden.

19.7.18

[to] The Gov
Reading P of I

The U S of S [Under-Secretary of State] requests that the Irish interned prisoners in your custody may be informed as follows:

The S of S has asked that you may be reminded that letters are allowed for the purpose of communicating with your relations & friends on domestic matters and matters of business in which you are personally interested. They must not be used for the discussion of public events or for complaints about your internment or treatment; any such complaints should be made to the S of S.

Communications which offend against these rules will be stopped by the Censor.

Arrangements have been made to deal with all letters as quickly as possible, but any which contain obscure expressions, abbreviations and indirect references to prohibited subjects are liable to delay, and may have to be stopped.

If your correspondents understand English you are recommended to write to them in that language.

A J Wall
Secy

Each man was informed of this on reception and also a notice was placed In the hall.

A further notice embodying this letter has now been placed in the Irish Prison.

C M Morgan
Gov:
20-7-18

HM Prison
Reading
July 19. 18

From the MO to the Governor

Regarding the petition of H. Shlapowsky, I reported fully upon May 8th of this year.

He is [illegible – herplocked?] on the right side (not badly) and there is a weakness on the left, but … [illegible] behind. He has done no heavy work here, but has … [illegible] pretty, fights with fellow prisoners and has been on hunger strike.

What he says about us is nonsense, and I have declined to allow him to bug Alber from the Chemist.

Since his hunger strike in April, he has registered a weight of over 110 lbs. I am willing to supply him with a … [illegible] but I find we shall have a [illegible].

At the present time I see no necessity for increased rations.

W T Freeman.

Prison Commission
HO
SW1

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