The provisions of the Royal Warrant with regard to discharged disabled Soldiers and Sailors

The porter of Abingdon Workhouse, wounded on active service, returned to work – but stayed on the army’s books.

11th June 1917

A circular recently issued by the Local Government Board calling attention to the provisions of the Royal Warrant with regard to discharged disabled Soldiers and Sailors was read and it was resolved that the same be filed for future reference.

A letter was read from the Local Government Board stating that the Workhouse Porter, E. J. Bradley, had been transferred to Class W. of the Army Reserve to enable him to resume his duties under the Board and requesting in the event of Bradley ceasing to hold Office, the board might be immediately acquainted with the fact. Resolved that the request of the Board be complied with.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

A splendid address on Duty and Patriotism that even the tiniest could understand

Empire Day was the focus for patriotic expressions in schools across the county.

Piggott Schools, Wargrave
Empire Day

The children of the Piggott Schools celebrated Empire Day (May 24th) in right loyal fashion. They assembled at the School, and with flags flying, marched down to Church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an appropriate address. Re-assembling on the Church Green they proceeded to the Schools and took their places round the flag pole from which the Union Jack was flying. A good number of parents and friends of the children with many of the soldiers from the hospital were waiting their return. As the boys passed the soldiers they gave them a salute in recognition of what they had done for their country.

The National Anthem was sung, and the flag saluted, and Miss. E. Sinclair gave a splendid address on Duty and Patriotism in such a way that even the tiniest could understand it. Capt. Bird proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Sinclair and hearty cheers were given in which the soldiers joined. Three Patriotic and Empire Songs were sung by the children, the Vicar called for cheers for the Teachers, and Mr. Coleby announced that Mrs. Cain had most kindly provided buns and sweets for all as they left the grounds. Hearty cheers were given her for her thoughtfulness. Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1917

Empire Day was celebrated today. The Headmaster addressed the children assembled in the Hall, and the National Anthem was sung. The children then went to their classrooms and ordinary lessons proceeded till 11 o’clock. Each class teacher then gave a lesson on “Empire” and kindred subjects till 11.30. This was followed by a Writing Lesson when some of the important facts were taken down.

The school assembled in the Hall again at 11.55 and after a few more remarks by the Headmaster the national Anthem was again sung and the children dismissed.

Opportunity was taken of this morning’s addresses to instil into the children’s minds the necessity of economising in the use of all food stuffs, and more especially of bread and flour.

A holiday was granted in the afternoon. (more…)

Unfit for General Service

The porter at Abingdon Workhouse had joined up like so many others. After being wounded, he planned to return to his old job.

30th April 1917

The following letters were read viz:-

From J Bradley, the Porter, stating that he had been discharged from Hospital and was returning to his Regiment, and as he was unfit for General Service suggesting that he might return to his duties as Porter if it could be arranged. Resolved that the Board do apply to the Local Government Board to take steps for the discharge of Bradley in order that he may resume his duties as porter.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

Promoting the economical use of foods

The Education Committee was at the forefront of war savings schemes locally. School were also to be used to promote changes in people’s habits with regards to food and cookery given the food shortages resulting from the war.

Report of Berks War Savings Committee

The War Savings Committee submit the following report of their work since the report to the July meeting of the Education Committee:

In accordance with the powers given to them on appointment, the following additional members have been co-opted:

Mr G F Slade
Mr T Skurray

During July and August last… Local Committees for War Savings came into being at Abingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead. Since that date, as a result of public meetings addressed by Miss Fraser of the National War Savings Committee and the Education Secretary, Local Committees have been started at Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, Wallingford, Bracknell, Hungerford and Wokingham. Up to the 31 March, War Savings Associations have been established under the control of these Local Committees as follows:

Abingdon, with 6 Associations

Wallingford, 15 Associations

Pangbourne, 4 Associations

Hungerford, 7 Associations

Newbury, 15 Associations

Thatcham, 5 Associations

Wokingham, 13 Associations

Windsor

Maidenhead, 32 Associations

Bracknell, 13 Associations

As a general rule, these local committees deal only with their immediate areas, but efforts are being made by the National War Savings Committee to secure the extension of their activities to the surrounding parishes; e.g. the Associations of Marcham and Moulsford are affiliated to the Abingdon and Wallingford Local Committees respectively, and the War Savings Associations at the Cookham, Alwyn Road Council School, and Clewer S. Stephen’s School are affiliated to the Maidenhead and Windsor Local Committees respectively, whilst the Earley CE School War Savings Association is affiliated to the Reading Central Committee.

The Associations in connexion with Windsor Castle and the Broadmoor Asylum are affiliated directly with the National Committee.

The number of War Savings Associations (in addition to the above) in the Rural Parishes formed up to the 31 March, is 56; at least one half of these are in connexion with the schools….

The average amount saved by each Association during the quarter January to March, 1917, is £217. These figures do not include the grouped Associations, and relate only to the smaller Rural Associations, where the opportunities to save are less than in the larger centres of population.

The Berks Teachers’ Association officials in January consented to help in the work, and have been successful in arousing and maintaining interest in the movement. Messrs Camburn, James and Fryer, in particular, have done most valuable service.

The National War Savings Committee have been invited by the Ministry of Food to assist in the Food Economy Campaign, and the Berks War Savings Committee have had before them the Central Committee’s suggestions for Local Authorities and War Savings Committees, and in conjunction with the School Management Sub-committee, they have approved the arrangements embodied in the following memorandum:

FOOD CAMPAIGN

The Food Controller, in conjunction with the National War Savings Committee, has suggested that “Under the auspices of the Education Authorities a Conference might be called in every area with a view to enlisting the enthusiastic support and active help of teachers. In the case of ordinary schools, the children will form a means of securing the interest of the parents, and invitations to meetings and special classes can be issued through them. The Domestic Science teachers will be wanted to take charge of such classes.

After consultation with HM Inspector, the following preliminary Scheme has been drafted:

That the Instructresses be instructed to modify their syllabus with a view:

To promote the economical use of foods of which there is an available supply in the locality.

To prepare specimen menus for family use based on the above, with notes on the quantities required to give a proper diet.

To arrange to have the cooked meals on view after the lessons, so that the mothers can see them and ask questions.

To confer with the Head Teachers of the neighbouring schools as to the best way of spreading useful information among the parents of children not in attendance at the Centres, either by inviting visits which could be regarded as object lessons or by co-operating in drawing up a scheme for simple instruction in the schools.

It is to be noted that:

While it is important to keep the full record of all meals and their cost, it is not to be expected that the employment of substitutes will effect any substantial saving in cost, as the price of substitutes must rise as the standard foods become scarce.

It is most important to give guidance as to the feeding of children, as in some families there may be a tendency to reduce the food value of their meals.

Where milk is obtainable, it will be very useful to emphasise its uses in cookery.

It is hoped to hold a conference as soon as the Instructresses have drawn up their Scheme, and it is most important that the scheme should be prepared as soon as possible.

This Conference was held on the 20th April and the preliminary steps have been already taken to start work.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee

The Sub-committee have arranged with certain employees on Military Service, who were receiving allowances from the Committee, to invest on their behalf part of their allowances in War Savings Certificates.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee, 28 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Gravel seized for a PoW camp

The County Council continued to monitor the damage caused to local roads by military traffic.

ASCOT AND WINDSOR ROAD

The section of the main road from Ascot and Windsor has been badly cut up by heavy military and other motor traffic…

READING AND SWALLOWFIELD ROAD

On the break up of the frost in February the main road between Reading and Swallowfield, which had suffered severely by heavy timber and motor omnibus traffic, became dangerous to traffic. The Committee as a matter of urgency authorised immediate temporary repairs to the worst sections of the road and forwarded an estimate of the cost to the Finance Committee…

ABINGDON AND SOUTH HINKSEY ROAD

This road, which carries a continuous service of motor omnibuses as well as a considerable amount of heavy military traffic, is now in a deplorable condition and there is little likelihood that the amount appearing in the annual estimate will be sufficient to keep the road in a safe condition for traffic.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

Requisitions have been received from the Military Authorities for the supply of 170 tons of gravel for use on paths at the Prisoners of War Camp, Holyport; and for repairs to military roads at Ascot.

Report of BCC Highways and Bridges Committee, 21 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Businesses closed owing to the operation of the National Service Scheme

2nd April 1917

The following letters are read and ordered to be filed for future reference viz:-

From the Town clerk of Workington setting out a copy of resolutions recently passed by that Council with reference to:

1. The disposal of the Stock in the trade of businesses closed owing to the operation of the National Service Scheme and

2. Service under National Service Scheme ranking for monetary consideration equal to that given under the Military Services Act.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

The desirability of cultivating as much land as possible

Even the workhouse authorities were encouraged to help with the food problem.

19th March 1917

The following letters were read but no orders were made thereof.
1. From the Prime Minister pointing out the desirability of cultivating as much land as possible during the present planting season…

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

Allowances for British-born wives of Interned Aliens

British women who had married foreigners were not interned – but they were often not able to support themselves when their husbands were.

5th March 1917

The following letters are read and ordered to be filed for future reference viz:-

From the Local Government Board

1. With reference to the revised scale of allowances to British-born wives of Interned Aliens and

2. With reference to Officials of Local Authorities enrolling as Volunteers under the National Service Scheme.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

Collecting for war loans

Pupils in Abingdon were assiduously putting their family’s savings in war loans.

1917, 11th-16th February

£12.2.3 for War Loan was taken on Monday.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 133)

Paupers of military age

Able bodied men seeking overnight accommodation in the workhouses were to have their military eligibility checked.

5th February 1917

The following letters are read and ordered to be filed viz:-

1. From the Local Government Board with regard to the notification of the Casual Paupers of Military Age received in the Casual Wards being given to the nearest Recruiting Officer unless such pauper holds a statement signed by a Recruiting officer shewing that his position had already been investigated and that he was not liable for Military Service and that such notification should now be sent in the case of married as well as single men. The something having reported that something had notified such cases with Recruiting Officer at the Recruiting Office Abingdon.

2. From the same body with reference to the New War Loan.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/32)

A war bonus for teachers

Both qualified and unqualified teachers were to receive increased pay during the war.

1917, 8th-12th January

Received notice from the Committee of the War Bonus to be made to teachers, Miss Constable, C[ertified], and Miss Barrett and Miss Wearing, Un[certified], will be eligible.

Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 131)

Unskilled single men are permitted to escape service

The Board of Guardians of Abingdon Poor Law Union, who would have to pick up the pieces when families fell on hard times, wanted to see married men with families left at home to support their children.

27th December 1916

A circular letter is read from the clerk to the Hammersmith Union enclosing the following resolution recently passed by that Board with reference to the action of the Recruiting Authorities in calling to the Army married men with families, and it is resolved that the Board do approve of the resolution and that a copy thereof be forwarded to the Secretary of State for War, the Chairman of the Man Power Board and the local Members for Parliament.

That this Board views with concern the action of the Recruiting Authorities in calling to the Army married men with families who invariably have heavy business and domestic responsibilities, whilst unskilled single men are permitted to escape service, and respectfully begs to call the attention of the War Office and the Man Power Board to the urgent necessity of calling to the colours all single men of military age classified fit for general service or garrison duty abroad, as it is believed that by doing so a very important economy in the National Finance, both now and after the war, will be effected.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians G/A1/32

A war bonus for teachers

The little ones at an infants’ school in Reading were only to go to school in the afternoons over the winter.

All Saints’ Infant School, Reading
27th October 1916

Received notice from the Education Committee, that the children are to assemble at 1.30pm and be dismissed at 3.30pm from Nov 6th to March 2nd.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School
23rd-27th October

Poor attendance owing to sickness among the girls. Letter sent to Managers asking them to apply to the Local Education Authority for War Bonuses for Teachers owing to the increased cost of living.

Reading: All Saints Infant School log book (89/SCH/19/2, p. 215); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 127)

The Government demands Berkshire’s steamrollers

Military traffic was damaging roads at home, while road mending equipment was requisitioned to use on roads near the front lines.

Report of Highways Committee, 7 October 1916

MILITARY TRAFFIC

The Acting County Surveyor has reported that the road between Didcot and Harwell for a length of about 1 ½ miles, and a section of the Newbury and Abingdon road for a length of a quarter of a mile, have been completely ruined by Military Transport traffic from the camps in the neighbourhood. The Road Board has been informed of the damage and asked to make an inspection of the roads in question.

STEAM ROLLERS

On 4 September, 1916, the Road Board, at the request of the Government, made an urgent request that the three heavy steam rollers belonging to the Council should be handed over to the war Department for use overseas. As the matter was one of urgency, the request was reported to the Chairman of this Committee and the Chairman of the County Finance Committee, who provisionally consented to the rollers being released on the terms proposed by the Road Board, viz that the Treasury should accept a debit for the cost of three new rollers, and that the Ministry of Munitions should give the manufacturers a certificate to enable them to expedite the construction of the new rollers.

In the opinion of the County Surveyor, rollers of a lighter pattern would be more suitable for the work of the County than new heavy rollers, and the Committee have asked the Road Board to arrange for the delivery of one 8-ton roller and two 10-ton rollers. It has also been pointed out to the Board that the Government will effect a considerable saving by the substitution of light for heavy rollers, and a suggestion has been made that the War Department should discharge the cost of the hire of rollers required by the County in the meantime, to an amount not exceeding the estimated saving of £220.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Bravery in France

News from three Berkshire schools, affected by the war in different ways.

Wescott Road School
October 6th 1916
One of our old scholars – Charles Sadler has won the D.C.M for bravery in France.

Aldermaston School
6th October 1916.
During the week 7 field post cards have been received from soldiers at the front, acknowledging the gifts sent to them by children from the school, as a result of the collection made on Empire Day.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1916, 2nd-6th October
First week of War Savings, amount paid in £1.1.5. Poor attendance, several girls absent because their fathers and brothers have been home on leave.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 166); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 60); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 125)