A real “Godsend” to the boys

Churchgoers in Reading and Windsor paid for a recreation “Hut” behind the front lines.

Notes from the Vicar

Intercessions list

Ptes. W.G. Pearce, 2nd Worcestershire Regt,; H.A.T. Wicks, 33rd Training Reserve Batt,; H.W. March, 47th Canadians.

Missing: Lce,-Cpl. Harold Walker.

Sick and Wounded: Pte Green; Pte. Bailey.

Departed: Lce,-Cpl. J. Cole; Gunner W. Shaw. R.I.P.

C.E.M.S.

The following report has been received about the Reading and Windsor Federation Hut.

“Everything has been done to make this Hut one of the most attractive and comfortable in this area. Crowds of men pass through daily, and much use is made of the stationary Literature, and Games provided for their comfort. Concerts are held, Lantern Services and Voluntary services of all kinds. It’s a real “Godsend” to the boys.”

Subscriptions are still needed to supply the above Hut. And will be gratefully received by the Hon. Sec. Mr. Lane, 5/-

H.J. HINDERLEY, Hon. Sec.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P96/28A/34)

Furze Platt has no lack of War Workers

The women of Furze Platt were hard at work.

Furze Platt War Working Party

The following work has been completed during the last six months:- Mosquito Nets 59, Anti-Vermin Vests 44, Sun Shields 85, Bandages 46, Shirts 21, Bags 133, Bed Socks 80 pairs, Slippers 21 pairs, Nightingales 18, Bed jackets 41, Swabs 300, Mufflers 35, Mittens 61, Socks 7 pairs, Helmet 1.

The subscriptions have fallen by about 15/- a month, as against the amount subscribed at this time last year, and the cost of wool and material has greatly risen. Thanks to having some material in stock at the end of last year, the Working Party has been able to furnish almost the same amount of goods for hospitals and troops at the front; but I should like to call people’s attention to the position of affairs, and to beg them, as far as is in their power, to keep up their subscriptions.

The fact that so much work has been done shows that Furze Platt has no lack of War Workers, and we may be proud of the fact that no work has been returned to us by the Depot as incorrectly done.

G.M. Skrine, Hon. Sec. and Treasurer

June 26th 1917

Furze Platt War Working Party

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

Quite a nice Australian

The Hallams invited an Australian soldier home. 22 year old Gordon Ingles had joined the Anzac Cyclist Battalion a year earlier.

24th June 1917
We had a young Tasmanian soldier in to dinner and tea – Gordon Ingles – from Hobart – quite a nice fellow.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

Well known local ladies raise funds

A big bazaar was held in Wargrave in aid of war charities.

June
A War Time Bazaar

A bazaar will be held on Saturday, June 23rd, at Ferry Lodge, Wargrave. The proceeds will be divided between the St. Dunstans Hostel for Blinded Sailors and Soldiers and the Lord Roberts’ Memorial Fund.

Many Ladies well-known in the neighbourhood are taking a great deal of trouble to make the Bazaar a success.

Quite a novel feature will be introduced in using different rooms at Ferry Lodge, in which the particular things appropriate to the rooms will be sold. These will include a bedroom, kitchen, drawing room, river room, etc.

Joyce’s well-known band has been engaged to play by the river, and there will be cocoanut shies, clock golf and other amusements.

The entrance has been fixed at 1/- from 3 to 6.30 p.m. and at 6d. from 8 to 10 p.m. people coming by river can moor their boats at the Ferry Lodge landing stage.

July
The Bazaar

On Saturday, June 23rd, a Bazaar was held at Ferry Lodge, and Mrs. Maxwell Hicks and her helpers are to be most sincerely congratulated upon the excellent result attained. The object was to raise funds for St. Dunstan’s Hostel, Lord Roberts Memorial Fund and Local Wargrave Charities. All these will benefit most materially, as about £600 was realised.

Lady Henry very kindly came to open the sale.

Wargrave parish magazine, June-July 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Sacks of waste paper

Winkfield people collected waste paper and grew potatoes for the nation.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Secretary of the War Savings Association reports that we have now 57 members, and 19 War Savings Certificates have been bought. As the Association was only started in the first week in April we may hope that it will not be long before the membership will increase to three figures.

Several sacks have already been filled with waste paper and we hope soon to hear of the filling of many others.

The holders of the new allotments at Winkfield Row have been working very hard, and with favourable weather should reap a good reward. The Government recommend that this year all potatoes should be sprayed to guard against disease, and the Committee hope to be able to arrange for the hiring of a portable spraying machine for use in the parish.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

Conspicuous bravery

A member of Reading’s Broad Street Church was awarded a medal.

The news that our friend, 2nd Lieut. Victor Smith, had won the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery at the Battle of Arras, has caused considerable pleasure throughout our whole community. Lieut. Smith has a host of friends and well-wishers at Broad Street, who hold him in the highest regard for his own sake, as well as for his work’s sake. They rejoice in his new honour. I wish to offer heartiest possible congratulations to Lieut. Smith and our earnest hope and prayer that he may be spared for many years to enjoy his new distinction….

Sunday June 17th is the day fixed for the Annual Choir Festival this year, when special music will be rendered by the choir at both morning and evening worship…

For many years now the members of the choir have been entertained to a River Trip, the expenses incurred being met, in large part, by the collections taken at the Festival. This year, owing to the conditions brought about by the war, they have decided to forego this outing. Instead they propose to invite a number of wounded soldiers to a Garden Party at which tea will be served and a concert provided. The cost of this entertainment will be more than usual, as it will be impossible to invite friends to buy tickets and thus share the expense.

We feel sure that the congregation will appreciate this patriotic desire of the choir members, and encourage them in their good work by giving generously to the collections.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Useful work

The War Savings Association at Cookham Dean School had started a little too late to attract all potential local members.

The War Savings Association, under the care of Miss Lomas, is doing useful work, though the number of contributors is not very large. The fact is that several of the children and others were already making use of the Post Office for the same purpose. Payments are received at the School, on Tuesdays, at 4 p.m.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“We gladly take this opportunity of putting their minds at rest”

There was a bit of a spat among women war workers in Bracknell.

We have been given to understand that some of the Bracknell members of Q.M.N.G. have taken exception to Warfield Members having made bandages for the War Hospital in Reading, under the impression that this had been done out of funds entrusted to Q.M.N.G.

We gladly take this opportunity of putting their minds at rest on this subject. Q.M.N.G. Funds were not touched for this and the accounts were kept quite separately. We have similarly undertaken work in response to an appeal from Colonel Burges. But in those cases we have got extra workers in addition to any who may have been members of Q.M.N.G. to help any such urgent case.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

Cancelling the Sunday School tea is helping their country to some small extent

Food shortages meant that the usual summer tea party for children attending the Sunday School at St John’s Church in east Reading had to be called off. Instead, the children were to be given a war savings certificate.

SUNDAY SCHOOL TREAT.

This has always been a very great event in the lives of our Sunday Schools, but this year it will be deprived of its most attractive feature, for in view of the very clear instructions of the Food Controller we cannot give the children a tea. The Sunday School Committee has gone carefully into the question of the form the Treat should take this year so as to give the children a good time and also to give them some compensation for the loss of their tea.

They have decided that the children shall march out to some field as in former years, and that they shall be refreshed with whatever fruit is in season and available, and also that there shall be given to each child a sixpenny War Savings Stamp. They feel that in this way the children will be given a real and lasting equivalent for their tea; those who already belong, as very many of them do, to a War Savings Association will be encouraged to continue, those who do not will be stimulated to join up.

At the same time contributors to the treat will feel that they are helping their country to some small extent, and the children to a very real extent, and will be relieved of the uncomfortable feeling that owing to the embargo on the tea, they are saving their own pockets at the expense of the children.

Reading St. John parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

‘I shall probably have to do the common or garden “over the bags” stunt one merry morning’

Percy Spencer’s hopes of a commission seemed to have been dashed, but now at last he was going to get the opportunity – although he would have to undergo extra training, and would probably not get the administrative job he was most suited for.

June 11, 1917
My dear WF

You’ll think I’m a dreadful correspondent, but you’ll have guessed the reason of my silence – I’ve been terribly busy.

My commission papers went up with an application for a direct commission to be granted to me from the OC of the Battalion I was and am wanted for. (By the way this CO is now a Brigadier.)

Well, there is a rule that no direct commissions are to be granted. So altho’ my application was recommended by the Divisional Corps & Army Commanders & a special application was made to the war Office, the WO has refused to allow me to hold commissioned rank, unless I first come home for a cadet course. The reason given being that it has been found undesirable to grant direct commissions whatever the circumstances to men who have been mainly engaged upon clerical work. Isn’t it funny – and isn’t it a nasty sort of reflection upon “clerks”?

Just then was not an opportune moment for going into such matters. So it was put on one side until today.

Tonight my papers have gone up again for a cadet course in England; and if I dodge the shells & the submarines I ought to be in England within 3 weeks for a cadet course somewhere.

The crab of the business is that it will only be by the veriest luck that I shall get an administrative appointment at the end of it, and shall probably have to do the common or garden “over the bags” stunt one merry morning.

Anyhow, I feel I ought to hold commissioned rank, whether as a fighting or an administrative officer – and this stigma upon clerks must be removed, what!

If and when I come home I shall have some long stories to tell, some of which I’m sure John will wholly approve….

Yours ever
Percy

The asparagus was great. Never was it eaten with such relish or in such extraordinary circumstances.

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/38-40)

Anterhinums instead of vegetables

The head gardener at Bisham Abbey made the mistake of thinking the flower garden should be defended against vegetables. Meanwhile General John Pershing (1860-1948) made a visit.

9 June 1917

Martin had planted anterhinums instead of vegetables! Has to take them up….

American General & staff arrived – General Pershing.

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

Maintain unity of spirit and the will of sacrifice in the allied nations

The Bishop asked Berkshire churchgoers to pray for the war to end successfully.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the June Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked

For the maintenance in the allied nations of unity of spirit and the will of sacrifice.

For the prosecution and ending of the war in the Name of God, and of Liberty.

For the chaplains, doctors, nurses, the RAMC and the ASC…

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

Wounded play the usual games

More officers were welcomed to Bisham Abbey.

4 June 1917
Young Lillyman (another Australian) came in afternoon. The wounded spent afternoon here & played usual games & went on river.

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

Big push begun again!

Florence Vansittart Neale played hostess again at Bisham Abbey.

3 June 1917

Military attaché and wife to tea – saw house and garden….

I showed Captain Kennedy [the Australian officer staying at Bisham] the house…

Big push begun again!

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

Food ships from America

John Maxwell Image was hopeful that food restrictions might soon be a thing of the past now that the USA was a fully fledged ally.

29 Barton Road
3 June ‘17

Mon frere

Here’s a good news [sic] though (so it be true) which I heard yesterday from young Mike Foster’s American wife – the town holds no other such causeuse – she is a good deal too in the know, and she is quite recently back from the States – well, she told me that things are moving so briskly that by July 1st the American foodships will be coming over to Europe two or three every day…

With all love
Bild

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