Four years and four months of desperate warfare manfully endured rewarded by a victorious Armistice

The vicar of a Maidenhead church was among those who had suffered from the international influenza epidemic.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

ALAS! for the first time I have to apologize for a late Magazine; but the “Flu” must be my all sufficient excuse. It is indeed, a time of difficulty just now, so many households have illness, and many have to mourn losses; to all these our hearts go out in sympathy. But overshadowing all this is the feeling of a load having been lifted from the mind and heart of the whole Nation on St. Martin’s Day (November 11th). Four years and four months of desperate warfare manfully endured rewarded by a victorious Armistice, to lead, as we all pray, next Spring to a just and abiding Peace. The Civic Service, acknowledging the Nation’s gratitude to Almighty God, held before the Town Hall, was well attended, and I am told by all who heard it how deeply they were stirred by Mr. King-Gill’s Adress. On the same night (Wednesday) full congregations returned our thanks as a Parish to God in St. Luke’s and St. Peter’s…

Then, I have been asked by the Mayoress and Mrs Gardner to remind parishioners of the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops. These fit crippled sailors and soldiers for earning their living in an independent way. Envelopes will be delivered at all houses, and collected at Christmastide by Boy Scouts. We all hope they may be well filled.

Finally, as regards a Thankoffering by the parish. Many friends have asked me what we mean to do to mark our gratitude for Peace and Victory. I feel that it is almost too early to settle that yet, until Peace is actually signed, or nearer than it is, as yet. Next year, I hope to call a Parish gathering to discuss what form our memorial of the gallant dead, and of the self sacrifice of those who survive, should take. But this year some people feel they would like to give something at once. It has been suggested, and the Churchwardens and I have agreed, that the Christmas Collections should, after deducting £10 at St Luke’s for the Sunday School, and £2 10s at St Peter’s, be given towards the Endowment Fund we are trying to raise to help to maintain the Assistant Clergy…

Lastly, I would ask your prayers for those called on, as Electors, to choose Members of Parliament, and for the New Parliament itself, that all things may be ordered “to the glory of God, the good of the Church, the safety, honour, and welfare, of our Sovereign and his Dominions.”

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P181/28A/

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We may find peace more dangerous than war, but we have great faith in the newly granted votes for women

Earley women were encouraged to consider their vote.

The Vicar’s Letter

My Dear Friends

Our first feeling this month is surely one of deep thankfulness to Almighty God for our deliverance from the dark cloud of war that has so long brooded over us; we can hardly yet realise the greatness of our victory; as a nation, we have taken it calmly and seriously, and in our thanksgiving services, we have shown that we definitely ascribe it to the giver of all good. It is well that we should have been so, for we have a great deal before us; in the first place let us pray earnestly for a just and righteous, an an abiding peace; and in the next place let us all remember the great responsibilities that are opening upon us, or we may find peace more dangerous than war.

After all great wars there has always been more or less of an upheaval, and many people are looking forward with dread to the next two or three years, but we feel sure that the common sense of our country will prevail, and that the spirit in which we have carried on through the war will carry us on through the early and troublesome times of peace, if we are only true to ourselves and the principles on which we have met the long struggle for right and justice.

Not least among the factors which will make for this result is the coming General Election; if everyone will give his or her vote for what he or she thinks really best for the welfare of the nation. We shall have gone far to solve many of the problems that will soon press upon us: and in this connection we have great faith in the newly granted votes for women; it is surely a great historic occasion when the “Mother of Parliaments” for the first time admits women to vote for her formation, and we hope that there will be no slackness in recording the vote, but that every woman will weigh for herself the position of affairs and fully discharge her responsibility.

Owing to the very large increase in the cost of printing and paper the Magazine, if continued, will have under present arrangements, to face a deficit of £40 or £50 for the coming year; moreover, it is impossible to obtain nearly a sufficient number of the “Dawn of Day” to go round, as the publishers cannot supply more than about 400 copies, and we want nearly 600; it is therefore, possible, that the magazine may have to be discontinued for a year; if this is the case we hope to issue a bi-monthly or quarterly sheet containing the chief Parish news at the price of a halfpenny a copy, as is done in other parishes. In any case we hope to continue the Magazine on its old basis, as soon as conditions improve.

In case, therefore, that the Magazine does not appear in January, I take this opportunity of wishing everyone a Happy New Year as well as a Happy Christmas; we have much, very much, to be thankful for, and we should try and show our thankfulness by sympathizing withal those whose Christmas will be darkened, though we may hope not without happiness, by helping others, and above all by consecrating our lives by coming to the Holy Communion on Christmas Day, and resolving come more regularly in the future.

Your friend and Vicar.

W.W. FOWLER.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

Suddenly the end of the long drawn tragedy has come – so use your vote unselfishly

Sulhamstead advised new voters – women and less wealthy men – to use their new votes wisely.

We thank God that this paragraph is no longer headed “The War”. Suddenly the end of the long drawn tragedy has come, and the whole kingdom and Empire has united in thanksgiving. May God grant that the lessons learnt during the War may be fruitful in the “Reconstruction” of our country and in the increased happiness of the lives of all.

Within a few days of the receipt of this issue of the magazine, an election will be held through the country. For the first time women will vote in a Parliamentary Election. The vote is a serious responsibility. We must all aim at so giving our votes that they may not be used selfishly, but for the good of the whole community.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, December 1918 (D/EX725/4)

The agony and sorrow and sacrifice through which we have passed

The Rector of Remenham had strong views about our defeated enemy, and about domestic politics.

Rector’s letter

Since I wrote last month events connected with the War have moved with startling, dramatic rapidity. Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, had collapsed, and then on November 11 Germany, the last of our enemies and the worst, whose conduct has been stained with iniquity and brutality and loathsome disregard of the obligations of honourable warfare, was overwhelmed. And now hostilities have ceased, and we breathe freely once again. We trust that, when the actual terms of Peace are settled, the wrongdoers will be adequately and justly punished; and that the foundations of righteousness may be firmly laid among the nations of Europe. On Sunday November 17, we held our Thanksgiving Services to acknowledge the good hand of God upon us, and, while our hearts were lifted up to him in profound gratitude, the agony and sorrow and sacrifice through which we have passed solemnised and, I believe, hallowed our worship.

The country on December 14 will be faced with the responsibility of a general election, and for the first time women will have the parliamentary vote. Let us pray that they may exercise it wisely, and I believe they will. The present Coalition Government, composed of Unionists and Liberals, will appeal to the nation for a fresh mandate to empower them if returned to office, to negotiate the terms of Peace, and, after Peace, to grapple with the grave problems of reconstruction that await solution. Old party divisions will for this election be put aside, and the Government will ask the country to support the united Coalition. The forces opposed to them, as far as I can judge, will be independent Labour and Socialism, and as their interests are confessedly sectional, they are not likely to safeguard the well-being of the nation, at this critical juncture.


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

Election day

It was the first chance many people had to vote – women and poorer men.

14 December 1918

Election day. 1st time all on same day. Not known result till 28th.

Packed up bag & took champagne to Hospital. P[hyllis] decidedly more cheerful. Felt better. Tells me the crisis is past! Difficulty opening champagne. Oor Sister had regular volts. I came home 2.5.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

No government has ever had to face a greater task than that which will now come to power

The suffragan Bishop of Buckingham warned there was still a great deal of work to do.

The Bishop’s Message

The war is over and we cannot find words to express our feelings: only in our thanksgiving to Almighty God can we give utterance to the thoughts of our hearts.

The war is over, but the stupendous task remains of repairing the breaches, building up the waste places, and restoring the paths to dwell in. This can be done only if the same spirit is maintained-the unity of effort, the subordination of selfish interests, the wise leadership, the loyal co-operation, the self-sacrifice, the organization, the discipline which has brought us to victory – if this is preserved in peace. The spiritual forces of the whole world must be moved in action. The League of Nations is not a fancy of visionaries; it is a practical possibility which can be realized if Christians unite to bring it about. It is not enough to wish for it, or even to pray for it, we must work for it. Surely here the Church must make its influence felt and not be daunted by difficulties in the way.


The Marriage Laws

We have reason to be devoutly thankful that the Divorce Bill was defeated in the House of Lords, but there are strong forces at work and we must be watchful. It is indeed distressing that at such a time as this there should be such persistent efforts to lower the moral standard – for that must be the effect in spite of the specious arguments. We owe a debt to Lord Parmoor for his vigorous leading.

The General Election

No government has ever had to face a greater task than that which will now come to power. The election will be a great test of the nation’s purpose. Can we put aside all petty issues and party bitterness and selfish aims and unitedly undertake the great work of reconstruction in a manner worthy of a people that has proved itself so great? The prayers which have been such a power in the war can be no less effective in gaining the victories of peace. Here are some questions on which we hope the church may speak with a united voice, for example, the immediate need of dealing with the housing of the people, the improved standard of Wages, the Education question, and the retention of control of the liquor trade. We render humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God fo0r the great and glorious victory, and for the fidelity, courage and devotion of the allied forces.

We pray

For the great Council of the nations which shall determine the conditions of peace.

For the ministry of the crown and those upon whom rests the duty of leadership in restoring conditions of peace in all countries.

For all those who profess and call themselves Christians, that they may act accordingly to their profession.

For the Church, that it may, by wise action, have due influence in the counsels of the nation.

For our troops, that they may be strong to resist the special temptations to which they are exposed.

For the soldiers who are prepared to take Holy Orders.

For the General Election.

For the Central Board of Finance, and for success in the promotion of the Central Fund of the Church of England.

For the revival of Missionary work which has been hindered by the war.

For the Diocesan Board of Missions.

For the C.E.T.S.

For the Diocesan Inspectors.

E.D. BUCKINGHAM.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P191/28A/25)

Tomorrow’s General Election

The first election to allow women and all adult men to vote was looming.

Reading
Dec 13th 1918

School closed all day to prepare it for a Polling Station in tomorrow’s General Election.

Windsor
Dec: 13th

Mrs Baker still absent [with influenza]…

School closed on Friday as it was required for preparation for a Polling Station on Saturday in connection with the Parliamentary Election.

Log books of Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30); Holy Trinity Infants School, Windsor (C/EL58/2)

Election booths put up

The groundbreaking General Election of 1918 would be the first in which women, and all men over 21, could vote.

Reading
Dec. 12

School closed on Friday, wanted as a “Polling Station” for the Parliamentary Election. Booths put up on Friday, election on Saturday 14th Dec.

Newbury
12/12/18

School will be closed tomorrow in order that the rooms may be made ready for use as a polling station for the parliamentary election.

Clewer
Dec. 12th

School closed to allow the room to be prepared for the General Election tomorrow.

Log books of St John’s School, Reading (D/P172/28A/23); Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2)

Among the nations of the earth, as well as at home, the old order changes and a new order begins

New voters in Maidenhead were urged to exercise their new rights wisely.

GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES. – BISHOPS’ LETTER TO NEW VOTERS

The following letter has been addressed by the Archbishops to the men and women who have become electors by virtue of the Representation of the People Act. It is signed by the two Archbishops and by all the Diocesan Bishops except those of London and Oxford, who are abroad:

Lambeth Palace, SE, Nov. 19., 1918

We Bishops of the Church of England offer our heartfelt greeting to the men and women of our nation who, in the forthcoming General Election, will exercise the franchise for the first time.

The possession of a vote in the choice of representatives of the people in Parliament is at all times a solemn trust. To you it has been committed at an hour when the nation’s responsibilities and opportunities are so great, so clear, so solemn, that the most unthinking can hardly fail to be impressed.

Here at home the most urgent problems of national welfare await solution. Arrears have to be made up; arrested progress resumed; new ventures attempted. Your help is needed in securing that long long-standing abuses are taken away and much-needed reforms are brought about to improve the health, the housing, the education, the moral standard of the nation. Your help is needed in filling our political life with that spirit of fellowship and service for the common weal which has wrought so mightily in the peoples of the Empire since we went to war. Your help is needed in making England a land to which her sons and daughters may be more and more proud and thankful to belong. We shall rise to the height of the occasion only if the energies of the whole nation are united and controlled by the force of a citizenship instructed and self-disciplined, sustained by a high ideal and devoted to the common good.

Nor can we forget that, now more than ever, our political responsibility is world-wide. Among the nations of the earth, as well as at home, the old order changes and a new order begins. It is for us as a nation to do our part in seeing that the new order shall be firmly established on the foundations of righteousness and liberty. Whatever of added influence our victory has brought us must be used to strengthen the ties which shall bind all nations in one fellowship for the peace and welfare of mankind.

Remembering these high responsibilities, you will realise that in the choice of representatives in Parliament it is not enough to be satisfied with party zeal or fluency of speech. You will wish to choose members who are marked by width of outlook, by single-minded service, and by sterling character.

God is making a new world, and He is calling upon all who, loving good and hating evil, desire to seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, to be His fellow-workers. If we are ready to obey the call, we may hope to do something in our generation to hasten the day when in fuller measure than we have known as yet God’s kingdom shall come and His Will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

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

Hope for coalition government

Influenza meant some missed the peace celebrations.

17 November 1918

General election Dec 14th. Hope for coalition government.

Our thanksgiving services today. Johnson & I spent it in bed [with flu]. Most vexing. Dr M. [Moore] came, said I might come down tomorrow… Dorothy bad with flue.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Turkey has given in completely

Germany’s ally Turkey surrendered. Meanwhile, at home, Ernest Gardner of Cookham, the sitting Conservative MP for Wokingham, would successfully stand for Windsor at the upcoming 1918 election, following a redrawing of constituency boundaries.

31 October 1918

Turkey out of the war!

Henry & I went off after early lunch to Windsor to nominate Mr Gardner. Lloyd George in chair. Good speeches. We had coffee & tea at Langtons & then walked on terrace. So thankful Germans had not destroyed it.

Heard Turkey had given in completely. We going to Dardanelles & Constantinople. They submit to all proposals.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

The Americans “have indeed done splendidly – & better than one had dared to hope & expect, & our own men have shewn another example of what the British soldier is”

Retired bishop E C Glyn was impressed by our American friends.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex
Oct 10 [1918]
Darling Ralph

You must have had a very interesting & exciting time in your visit to the front – & I expect you had a warm welcome & encouragement to go on with your good work with the American Expeditionary Force. They have indeed done splendidly – & better than one had dared to hope & expect, & our own men have shewn another example of what the British soldier is.

I only wish that our brutes at home, e.g. [illegible] & Co, could play the game in answer to the army. The country seems divided in opinion about the election but I suppose it will come to pass as LG requires it….

Letter from the Revd E C Glyn to Ralph Glyn