Many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others

The hard work of women from Newbury and Speen during the war is reviewed.

RED CROSS WORKING PARTY

The Parish Red Cross Working Party, under the superintendence of Mrs L Majendie, was started by her at the Rectory, Newbury, on May 1st, 1915.

The first meeting was hastily summoned for the purpose of making respirators, but as it was found these were not required, being provided by the War Office, work for hospitals and other objects was substituted.

Mrs Majendie carried on the meetings at more or less regular intervals from a fortnight to three weeks, with suspension of these generally during Lent.

She was assisted, first by Miss Boldero (who also held a number of supplementary meetings for mending for Newbury District Hospital), and later by Mrs and Miss Majendie, Speen.

The number of names on the books was between 50 and 60, and of these over 30 attended regularly from the first meeting, May 1st, 1915, to the last, February 18th, 1919. Thanks are due to all the members, but more especially to these last, also to the various hostesses who provided tea, and lent their houses for meetings (many more would have been glad to do this, if lack of space had not forbidden it).

The hostesses were Mrs L Majendie, Miss Boldero, Mrs A Majendie and Miss D Majendie, Miss Godding, Mrs Gould, Mrs Hawker, Mrs Porter, Mrs Camp, Mrs O’Farrell, Mrs Colbourne, amd Miss Bellinger. Some entertained at their own houses, some at the Conservative Club, and a large number of meetings were held at the Parish Room.

Some members have left Newbury, including several Belgian ladies, who worked regularly for a time.

The objects worked for were very numerous, 24 in all, and included the following:

1. Reading War Hospital, twice.
2. Newbury District Hospital, 9 times.
3. Newbury War Depot, 6 times.
4. Miss Power’s Hospital, once.
5. General Hospital No. 18, France (to Miss Hayne), once.
6. The Minesweeper Newbury, 7 times.
7. HMS Conquest (to Lieut. Burgess), once.
8. Submarine F3 (to Lieut. Burgess, once).
9. The Navy League, 3 times.
10. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Malta, once.
11. Malta and Near East Special Red Cross Appeal, once.
12. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Rouen, twice.
13. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Stationary, No. 3, France, 12 times. Extra parcels were often sent to Dr Heywood’s Hospital at other times.
14. Ripon Camp Hospital (Dr Mackay), twice.
15. French Red Cross, twice.
16. French War Emergency Fund, 11 times.
17. National Committee for Relief in Belgium and Northern France, twice.
18. Belgian Red Cross, once.
19. Italian White Cross, twice.
20. Russian Prisoners of War, once.
21. Serbian Relief Fund, 7 times.
22. Syria and Palestine Relief Fund, 5 times.
23. Air Raid victims in London, once.
24. Soldiers’ Children Aid Committee, twice.

Making 73 meetings in all.

The many grateful letters received are too numerous to quote, but each one showed clearly how much the recipients appreciated the parcels of well made clothing despatched from Newbury. Not only were new clothes sent, but many gifts of garments slightly worn, but in good condition were also sent to various Societies. These were received with special thankfulness for the many refugees in France, Belgium, and Serbia, and as the work of repatriation in some of these terribly devastated regions will have to be carried on for months to come, parcels might still be forwarded from time to time if members cared to collect for them.

Thanks are specially due to those members who were kind enough to continually lend their sewing machines for ten meetings, and to several who undertook from time to time cutting-out at home.
The sum of £92 7s 8d was collected in donations and subscriptions, and was expended in flannel, flannelette, linen, twill, sheeting, muslin, gauze, lint, and cotton wool, which were all worked up into about 2,653 different articles, comprising, roughly speaking, the following:

735 treasure bags, 386 bandages, 376 miscellaneous things (such as washers, dusters, hot water bottle covers, table napkins, etc), 253 children’s garments, 210 men’s shirts, 177 knitted articles (socks, helmets, mufflers, operation stockings, etc), 128 collars and ties for hospital wear, 108 men’s vests and other underclothing, 106 women’s underclothing and blouses, 86 towels, 68 pillow cases and sheets, 20 pair steering gloves (leather palms): total 2,653.

The pleasant fellowship in which the members worked so untiringly through many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others, may well have strengthened not only parochial and personal ties, but also many wider ones with those they were privileged to help.

Newbury parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Advertisements

The immediate need for comforts for the soldiers is over

A sewing group decided to move on from wartime work to raising money for the church.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

On February 12th the vicar visited the Working Party to review the work that has been done since its inception in 1915, and to decide as to its future.

It was started by the Rev. T. Guy Rogers in April, 1915, as a Parochial Working Party, primarily to bring together members of St John’s and St Stephen’s congregations for friendly intercourse. This was to be fostered by a common interest, viz work for our local hospitals. The meeting was held on Wednesdays at the Institute until the Flying Corps took possession, when it adjourned to the Princes Street Mission Room. Miss Homan and Mrs Morley were in charge, and when Miss Homan left Miss Britton took her place.

£47 15s 9d has been collected in the parish for materials, and 3,572 things have been made.

The immediate need for comforts for the soldiers being over, the question arose as to whether it should come to an end, or, if not, under what conditions it should be carried on.

It was suggested that it should revert to its original name – Parochial Working Party – and that its raison d’etre should be to work on a business basis for the CMS, buying materials and making things for anyone who would give orders – all profits to go to the CMS. But the Working Party should also do any needlework when needed for either of the churches, e.g. mending communion linen, surplices and cassocks.

It should meet on Wednesdays from 2.30 to 4.30, and any member of either church should be welcomed, provided only that she could sew. These suggestions were agreed to.

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

PoWs weak and run down

Imprisonment was an ordeal.

XMAS PRESENT FUND FOR WINKFIELD MEN ON SERVICE.

The appeal for this fund met with a hearty response, the amount raised was £22 8s. 5d.. and nearly every family in the parish contributed.

The Vicar has received many letters and cards from the men, expressing great appreciation of the remembrance of them.

It was a great pleasure to welcome home this month two more of the prisoners of war. Fred Johnson and Fred Blau. Both showed the effects of what they had undergone, and arrived home weak and run down, but with home comforts we hope it will not be long before they completely recover their health and strength.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1919 (D/P 151/28A/11/2)

“An incalculable amount of pain, many limbs, and indeed many lives must have been saved by the timely arrival of the bales”

Wargrave had been at the heart of work providing surgical supplies during the war.

Wargrave Surgical Dressing Society

This Society, which has just brought its work to a close owed its existence to the energies of Miss Choate.

At Millward’s, generously lent by the late Mr. Henry Nicholl and recently by Major C.R.I. Nicholl, was started by her in March 1915, a work which grew to such an extent that during the four years some 500,000 dressings and comforts were dispatched to the wounded from Wargrave. These were not, of course, all made in the village. Under Miss Choate’s organisation, branches were started at Dartmouth, Ledbury, Loughton, Pangbourne, Peppard, Shiplake and Wimbledon, while welcome and regular parcels were received from Twyford, Kidmore and Hoylake. But all were packed for shipment and consigned from Wargrave.

The parcels went to Hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations at almost every fighting area – to Mesopotamia, to Gallipoli, to Egypt, to Serbia and to American and Colonial Hospitals in England and in France.

It is impossible to ever estimate the value of the work. An incalculable amount of pain, many limbs, and indeed many lives must have been saved by the timely arrival of the bales. As a lame man said to the writer “Only we who are still suffering the effects of the shortage of medical comforts at the beginning of the war can appreciate fully the work these people have done.”

In the early days, consignments were sent in response to urgent appeals from Commandants and Matrons of Hospitals, but since 1916 the Society, in common with other of the larger Societies in England, has worked under the direction of the Department of the Director General of Voluntary Organisations at the War Office.

A.B.

A meeting of the Society and the subscribers was held on Wednesday, Feb. 5th, at Millwards to decide upon the disposal of the Balance in hand. Every provision had been made for carrying on the work through the winter if the war had continued, and the funds amounted to over £200.

In the absence of Capt. Bird, the Vicar was asked to take the chair. After a full discussion it was unanimously resolved that £200 be given to the Ward Fund and Recreation Fund of the Manor Hospital, Hampstead.

It was a great happiness to all concerned to feel that the money should benefit a work with which Miss Sinclair was so closely associated.

It was resolved that the remaining balance be given to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, for a Care and Comforts Fund for the Soldier Patients.

The accounts have not yet been audited but it is expected that the amount to be given to Reading Hospital will be about £20.

These resolutions, together with the audited accounts, must be submitted to the Charity Commissioners for approval, but there is every reason to think that they will be endorsed by them.

The men in the Manor House Orthopedic Hospital, Hampstead, for discharged Soldiers and Sailors, wish to send their grateful thanks to the Members of the Surgical Dressing Emergency Society, Wargrave, for their splendid gift (£200) to be used for their Care and Comfort. As many Wargrave ladies have consented to be god-mothers in the wards, it is the wish of the men that some of them should be on the new Committee, called the Care and Comforts Committee, who from time to time will decide how the money shall be spent. The appreciation of the men is very touching in its sincerity and sense of sympathy.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

“He speaks well on the whole of his treatment in the prisoners’ camp”

Cigarettes were this year’s Christmas gift for Maidenhead soldiers.

OUR SOLDIERS.

A letter of Christmas greeting was again sent to each of our soldiers, and a packet of cigarettes to those who were overseas. We hope that in a very short time the majority of them will be back amongst us. Robert Bolton and Alfred Isaac have already been discharged. Reginald Hill was at home for Christmas leave, looking quite recovered after his long hospital experiences. Wallace Mattingley and George Ayres are in Germany.

We are glad to hear that 2nd Lieut Edgar Jones, son of Rev. G H. Jones, of Marlow, who, after a few days in France was taken prisoner about 17 months ago, returned home in time for Christmas. He speaks well on the whole of his treatment in the prisoners’ camp.

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, January 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Certificate for vegetables

January 23rd 1919

Received certificate signed by Sir David Beatty, from the Fleet, as an appreciation of the vegetables sent by the school children.

Hinton Waldrist C of E School log book (C/EL84/2, p. 168)

Still continuing the War Savings Association work

War savings work continued.

January 15th 1919

Am still continuing the War Savings Association work.

The accounts for the period April-Dec. 31 have been audited and certified correct.

The amount of £101. 13. 6 has been paid in by the children.

Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 456)

The headmaster of Three Mile Cross has received his discharge from the army

Things were getting back to normal.

Husrt
13th January 1919

I have been informed by the Education Secretary that the headmaster of Three Mile Cross has received his discharge from the army, therefore Mr Darlington will return to Hurst Boys’ School.

Speenhamland
Jan 13th

Letter from Mr Jeeves to say that the children had collected £2.0.3 during the Christmas holidays for St Dunstan’s Hostel.

Log books of Hurst C of E Boys School (D/P73/28/23);St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

Care and comforts continue

Reading women continued to make supplies for wounded soldiers.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY
Articles made during the month: 8 pyjama suits, 6 white shirts, 3 cholera belts, 14 treasure bags, 6 locker cloths, 1 pair of gloves, a muffler, 49 face cloths; total 3,442 articles.

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

Proud to be able to give pleasure to those to whom so much is owing

Earley girls entertained wounded soldiers.

Girls’ Club

About 30 members of the club, accompanied by Miss Bowden, went up to Struan House V.A.D Hospital on Saturday Jan 11th and gace a concert and entertainment – consisting of singing and country dancing – to the wounded soldiers there. Miss Bowden contributed some popular songs with choruses to the programme, which gave great pleasure. The performers were most enthusiastically received, and all enjoyed themselves very much and felt proud to be able to give pleasure to those to whom so much is owing.

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

War echoes

The war was over but not forgotten.

WAR ECHOES

Honours and Promotions

Temporary Captain G H B Chance (MGC) to be Temporary Major (November). Harry D West (RGA) is Farrier Sergeant Major (date unknown).

Casualty

Private William West (MGC), died in France (of broncho-pneumonia).

Repatriation

Private F J Painter (5th Royal Berks)

Christmas Parcels

In view of the difficulties both of obtaining things to send, and of ascertaining correct addresses, and also in consideration of the fact that hostilities are suspended, Mr Willink has made no arrangements for sending parcels this season to sailors and soldiers. They may be sure, however, that they are not forgotten by all at home.

The Influenza

This epidemic, which has amounted to a veritable plague, seems to be abating in this country. We are told that throughout the world it has directly, or by after-effects, caused over 6 million deaths, more than the number reported from action of this war of 4 ½ years.

WAR SAVINGS

Peace and Thanksgiving Campaign

The war may be practically over, but money is still urgently required for a time. The National War Savings Committee have been called on by the Government to make one more big effort during the period ending with next autumn. Berkshire’s share is assessed at £900,000, of which our Bradfield Local Committee are asked to raise £50,000. with this object, Lantern Lectures, with excellent slides, will be given in each Association’s area from January to April. The present arrangements for Burghfield are:

January 8th War on Land
February 5th War in Italy
March 5th War at Sea
April 2nd War in the Holy Land

The first and third will be at the Handicraft Room, Mrs Bland’s School; the second and fourth in the Jubilee Room or the C of E School, 7 o’clock in all cases.

The Committee hope that readers of the magazine will make these facts known, and do their best to see that the campaign is a success.

A Burghfield War Memorial

It is, perhaps, too soon to begin public consultation of this matter. But it is not too soon to begin thinking about it. Probably we are all agreed that there should be some visible memorial of this Great War to keep alive the recollection of the working part playing in it by Burghfield men.

Burghfield parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Gay with flags and laurel leaves

There was a still a need to support the troops.

St Peter’s Notices

The Furze Platt Working Party meets at Furze Croft on Tuesday, 7th and 21st. The Secretary wishes to thank all workers and subscribers for their steady support through these years of war. No further funds will be collected for this society, but workers are asked to continue their efforts a little longer, as we have a certain amount of material in hand for making the garments which are still being asked for by the hospitals; also, Government has given us wool, as knitted garments are very much needed for the army abroad. A full account of the work of this branch of the Society will appear in the February or March number of the Magazine. I believe it will be found that more work has been done this year than ever before, and I am sure people will be glad to know that as the Society asked that games should be supplied for the troops, our December subscriptions provided some footballs and games for 2/4th and 5th Battalions of the Royal Berks and the 187 Light Trench Mortar Battery.

The Bazaar has realised £171 13s 3d. great credit is due to the workers. The Town Hall looked gay with flags, and the stall were most effective, draped with white, with a flag of one of the Colonies or of an Allied Power as a centre piece, and festooned with garlands of laurel leaves made by the boys of Furze Platt…

Now that there are fewer Collections for War Charities, will Church people consider the possibility of becoming supporters of the Free-Will Offering Fund? We, most of us, profess to believe in everybody getting a living wage, and yet this Fund has very few supporters.

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

“The turmoils of War, I hope are over, and the dark War clouds rolled away to give place to a brighter and serene sky of peace and goodwill”

Datchet Working Men’s Club was delighted by the end of the war.

January 1919

The turmoils of War, I hope are over, and the dark War clouds rolled away to give place to a brighter and serene sky of peace and goodwill. Throughout all this indescribable tension, in which the sorrows of our heart have been enlarged beyond the powers of human voice to describe the members remaining who through force of circumstance were not allowed to rally to the colours, but who have helped in various ways to keep on high the flag of liberty and justice, have stuck to the club with laudable courage and have ever striven to welcome to the utmost those returning on the various leaves, or to alleviate in the highest degree the conditions of the wounded – or prisoners of War.

Moreover their desire has been to resuscitate it as Phoenix from its ashes the reviving has been beyond measure the heart is in good working order and there is a good tonic in reserve to keep it regular in its action.

We have lifted our eyes to the hills for help and our optimism has soared to great heights even altho pessimism has striven to keep it down.

This has given us immense courage and endurance.

We look forward to the return of the Boys with jubilation and we shall give them a rousing welcome when they do so.

But alas! For those, who are waiting for yet more glorious day than the signing of the Armistice or of the Peace we shall ever think of them as warriors faithful, true and bold, and laurels of beautiful thought will ever encircled our memory of them, no matter whither fate my lead us.

The permeating influence of our worthy President has at no time been felt more magnetising than during the past years and I am sure we even now rise up as it were and call him blessed his great benevolence to us.

May the time be far distant when his heaven on earth prefess a call!

The Vice Presidents have again guided their thoughts with swords for one defence and have followed one leader’s call to win the “land of promise” from the enemies of true social intercourse and fellowship.

Mr Langton has another year supplied us with the “Daily Graphic” and this kind thought has inspired us to think unselfishly and so help the “Brotherhood” so often preached about but little practised.

Datchet Working Men’s Club annual report (D/EX2481/1/5)

There is still a very stiff bit of road to be travelled before the desired end can be reached

Some now wanted to move forward instead of looking back at the war.

MINISTER’S JOTTINGS

Without the slightest misgiving I can most cordially wish every reader of these notes a very glad and happy New Year. It is a great joy to be able to do this once more. During the past four years of strife and bloodshed it has not been possible; but we are now at the dawning of a brighter and better day. We thank God for the answer to our many prayers, and we take courage. There is still a very stiff bit of road to be travelled before the desired end can be reached. But the future is bright with promise, and we shall earnestly pray that the terms of the peace, which we eagerly anticipate, may be such as shall make all war impossible in future.

Meantime, we must get to work to set our house in order. During the time of war we have been compelled to suspend several of our ordinary activities. The time has now come when we must begin to think about renewing them. Though our energies have been diverted from the usual channels they have not been wasted. Far from it. Excellent work has been done in providing hospitality for the men and women in khaki in our midst, and we cannot be too grateful to the splendid band of helpers who have carried the work through so successfully. But with the coming of peace the necessity for this service will be gone. Reconstruction is the word which is on all lips in these days. Let us seriously tackle our own problems of reconstruction, and thus help to ensure the happy future for which we pray.

BROTHERHOOD

Again we are at the beginning of a new year, and at this time there is a tendency to look backward, when we cannot help remembering the terrible tragedy of the last four years. But turning and looking forward, we see a brighter time coming for the whole world.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, January 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Important changes at the Hospital after an interesting but difficult year

The war’s end meant changes for Newbury District Hospital.

Newbury District Hospital : The Thirty-Fourth Annual Report and Balance Sheet for 1918

For the year ending December 31st, 1918:

There have been important changes at the Hospital during the past year, and in many respects, the period under review has been an interesting but difficult one.

Miss Atkins, whose services as Matron are well known to the Subscribers, left in August last to be married. Having regard to her long arduous and successful work in the Hospital the Committee took upon themselves to present her, on behalf of the Subscribers, with a sum of £25 on leaving. The Subscribers are asked to ratify this grant.

Sister Biddle also left in August to take up another engagement. Miss Atkins was replaced, as Matron, by Miss Phoebe Jones, whose testimonials were of a very high character. She entered on her duties at a time when the work was very heavy, and as the Nursing Staff, for some time afterwards, was very inadequate, the Committee recognise that her position was a difficult one. Every effort was made to replace Sister Biddle, and to put the Staff on a satisfactory footing in other respects, but it was not until October that the situation was somewhat relieved by the engagement of Sister White.

Shortly afterwards the outbreak of Influenza put a further strain on the Hospital, as a large number of cases of pneumonia were received. Practically all the Probationers were laid up by Influenza, and to add to the difficulties the Matron herself was attacked, and after being laid up in the Hospital for some time was obliged to go away to recruit.

During her absence Sister White was in charge and proved herself efficient, but it became obvious that the Staff was over worked, and must be strengthened as soon as the general scarcity of Nurses would allow it.

On the advice of the Matron the Committee, late in the year, authorised advertisements for a third Sister, and some other additions to, and alterations in, the Nursing Staff. As it was not possible to make this addition immediately it became necessary to relieve the Staff by closing one of the Annexes, and reducing the number of Soldiers in the Hospital for some weeks. Throughout this period the domestic Staff was, as it still is, a source of anxiety, it being necessary to depend to a great extent on temporary assistance.

It will be seen from the statistics annexed that notwithstanding these difficulties, an unusually large number of Patients were treated in the Hospital during the year. As compared with 1917 Civilian Patients increased by 104 and Soldier Patients by 38. It would have been impossible for the small staff to cope with this work without the help of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment and some other ladies, all of whom rendered most valuable assistance.

Since the retirement of Dr. Heywood, Dr. Kennedy has been responsible for Soldier Patients, Dr. Adams giving his assistance as regards surgical matters when required.

The Rev. W. S. Edgell undertook the duties of Hon. Secretary on the retirement of Mr. Savill in April.

The Committee has again to acknowledge the general interest in the Hospital evidence by the gifts of vegetables, supplies and other useful articles throughout the year. The Newbury War Hospital Supply Depot has again furnished many requisites, and Miss Wasey again organised a successful Pound Day and also presented fittings for the Anaesthetic room. Mrs. Wombwell, Mrs. Rooke and Menstone House School made very liberal donations for the entertainment of the Soldiers at Christmas. Mr. Wombwell, Mr. R. Beynon, Mr. Hogg, Mr. Cotterell, Mr. Johnson and others shewed their interest by gifts and in other ways.

Hearty thanks are due to all the members of the Medical Staff, upon whose time the Hospital has made large demands.

The Committee also desire to thank Mrs. Sharwood-Smith, the Commandant, and the Officers and ladies of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment, who have done very valuable work.

Miss Cecile Boldero, the Assistant Commandant (latterly Commandant) was most helpful in the difficulty caused by the deficiency in the regular Nursing Staff.

Miss Salway has again given massage and special treatment to Soldiers, for which the Committee are most grateful, and thanks are due to Mr. Alleyne for taking charge of the recreation room.

Thanks are also due to the former and present Matrons, and the Sisters, and Nurses, for their services during a very strenuous year. In addition to their heavy nursing duties they have had to meet difficulties in catering, and the want of a permanent and sufficient domestic Staff. The economic results of their efforts are best shewn by the Statistics annexed as to cost per occupied bed, and cost of food per head. Having regard to the great rise in prices the Committee think these figures very satisfactory.

During the past year, and in fact during the war, few repairs and renewals could be done owing to the pressure of work, and a thorough overhauling of the Hospital is required now that the soldiers have gone. A considerable expense will be involved. A sub-committee has been appointed to report on the necessary repairs and renewals and on certain structural alterations. The most pressing work upstairs has been done, but the sub-committee has not finally reported. An important matter to be considered is central heating, and some other mode of heating the passages, etc. this is most desirable, and perhaps necessary, but the expense would be very large. The question of the disposal of the temporary Annexes is under consideration: one of them is now clearly unnecessary, and it is doubtful whether either of them should be retained.

In this connection it may be mentioned that when the soldiers left, the Chairman received from the Southern Command, Salisbury, a cordial letter thanking the subscribers and the committee for the generous provision made for soldiers during the war, and the care bestowed on them.

W. Walton, Chairman

W. S. Edgell, Hon. Sec.

Newbury District Hospital annual report (D/H4/4/1)