Air raid drill in Reading

Battle School continued to prepare for the air raids which never in fact materialised.

Battle
7th December 1917

Raid Drill was taken on Tuesday.

Redlands
Dec 7th 1917

150 of the boys attended a meeting in the Girls’ Dept. The meeting was addressed by the Rev. Wickham Legg and Miss Danker. Subject was “War Savings.”

Reading: Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 307); Redlands Boys’ School, Reading: log book (86/SCH/3/30, p. 330)

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No liability for personal injury as the result of an enemy air raid

Who should pay for air raid losses? One men spirited employer refused to pay out under their workmen’s compensation policy for an employees killed in an air raid on his place of work.

17 November 1917

The Chairman reported that he had agreed to extend the time for the payment of £3 lent to Mrs Lake for an additional month from 27 November 1917. The action of the Chairman was approved, and the Committee decided that Mrs Lake be allowed a further two months extension to 27 January 1918.

The Chairman read the correspondence between the Treasurer, Mrs Coleman and the Government Committee, with reference to the fatal accident to Mrs Coleman’s husband in the air raid on June 13, 1917.

The Chairman stated that following the authority of the Government Committee he had authorised a payment of 12/6 per week to Mrs Coleman pending the settlement of her claim for compensation against her late husband’s employers under the Workman’s Compensation Act.

The following letter from Messrs Griffiths & Gardner was read:

Coleman deceased

Our clients Messrs R Barrett & Son Ltd in whose employ Mrs Coleman’s husband was at the time of his death owing to an enemy bomb exploding, have handed us your letter to her of the 6th instant and requested us to reply thereto.

We have advised our clients that there is no liability under the Workmen’s Compensation Act for personal injury as the result of an enemy raid. The deceased’s death did not result from personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, but purely owing to the raid.

We ourselves ran the same risk in our offices, as the deceased did at Messrs Barretts.

Yours faithfully
Griffith & Gardner

The Treasurer was authorised to send a copy of the above letter to the Government Committee for their observations.

The Chairman read correspondence between the Treasurer, Mr Bowyer, Miss Smith and the Government Committee, from which it appeared that Mr W F Bowyer and Miss G I Smith claimed amounts of £3.4.3 and £1.0.1 respectively, for clothing destroyed in the air raid of July 7, 1917.

The Committee decided to recommend the claims to be paid.


National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Evacuee families go home

The fear of air raids was beginning to subside.

16th November 1917

Several families are now leaving the town who came to Reading a short time ago to get away from the air-raid area; many children’s names are, in consequence, being removed from the registers, after being on them, for a few weeks.

Reading: Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 306)

Air raid drill in Battle

Children in Reading practised what to do in the event of an air raid.

9th November 1917

Raid Drill was taken this afternoon.

Reading: Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 305)

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all

The vicar of Earley issued a reproach to those at home not supporting the war but behaving with only their own interest at heart.

The Vicar’s Letter

My dear friends

Winter is fast coming upon us and during the cold and wet days and nights our thoughts naturally go forth to our men fighting for us at the front; and when we think of them and all they have to endure, how can we grumble, as many are grumbling, at the increasing difficulty of obtaining many of the necessaries of life, and how can we be self-indulgent and wasteful, as so many are, in spite of all appeals for economy.

A large number of people seem hardly to notice that there is a war at all; we have hardly yet felt its real pinch, and if all will but share alike, there is no need why we should feel it to a greater extent than we do at present. We are not speaking of Reading or any part of it, for we believe that Reading as a whole has set a very good example, but there are always some people who think only of themselves, and the appeals from the authorities show that the need for self-denial is very great.

We heartily congratulate Mr Sarjeant, our people’s churchwarden, on being elected for a second time to fill the office of Mayor of the borough; he has carried out his arduous duties to the satisfaction of all, and Mrs Sarjeant has ably helped him as Mayoress: may it fall to her lot this coming year to preside at our town’s celebration of peace….

Your friend and vicar
W W Fowler

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

your prayers are asked
For the Irish Convention and the maintenance throughout our own country of the spirit of unity.
For the upholding of the courage and determination of the Allies.
For those suffering from raids…

C. OXON.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

Frank Hamblin, Frederick Argent, John Bolton, Frederick Winkworth, Albert Neill, George Bolton, Reginald Taylor, Herbert Guy, Albert May, William Allen.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED – George Cane, John Rosser, Harold Jones, Harry Rixon, Victor Gaines.

MISSING – Norman Black.

KILLED – Leonard Dann, Allan Smit, Frederick Nunn.

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

A great air raid

The Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist were relieved not to have suffered at the hands of the latest air raid.

31 October 1917
News came of a great air raid by the Germans on the eastern counties & London. No damage done in any of our Houses in London or at Folkestone either to the Sisters and those in their care, or to property. D. G. [Deo gratias – thanks be to God].

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Broken up

The Hallams had sad news of an Australian soldier they had befriended.

William Hallam
31st October 1917

This morning at Breakfast time we heard from Gordon Inglis one of those Tasmanians who used to come in to see us. He tells us Don Blackwell, one of the others, was killed at ½ past 10 at night on the 17th in Polygon Wood. We were all very much cut up at this news. He was such a fine fellow. The girls especially broken up.

Florence Vansittart Neale
31 October 1917

Busy preparing for the whist drive. Had about 165 in two rooms….

Bad raid in London. Not much damage, only 3 got through! But most of people up 3 hours.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25) and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Plodding on

Will Spencer’s quest to change nationality was going well. Florence Vansittart Neale continued to be anxious about the war news.

Florence Vansittart Neale
27 October 1917

No air raids mercifully, tho’ bright moon. Germans pushing Italians back. Germans claim 20,000 prisoners. We plodding on.

Will Spencer
27 October 1917

Called & spoke for the first time with Herrn Fursprech Engeloch, who expressed himself very pleased that the matter of my naturalization would now end satisfactorily. He returned to me my Aufeuthaltsbewilligung, for the event of our going to Goldiwil.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)
and Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX810/26)

A rather large influx of “raid” children

More families fled London, while local children collected chestnuts for munitions.

Crowthorne
October 26th 1917

There has been a rather large influx of “raid” children from East London.

Yattendon
Octr 26th

Half holiday given this afternoon for chestnut picking.

Crowthorne C.E. School log book (D/P102B/28/2); Yattendon CE School log book (SCH37/8/2)

Camouflage with a vengeance

The Images experienced a power cut as a result of an air raid, and heard some interesting Navy news.

29 Barton Road
22 Oct. ‘17
My Most Dear Old Man

On Friday evening we were at dinner – the clock, I remember, was in the middle of striking 8 – when, in a flash, down went the electric light, and up bounced Florence to find whether it was so all through the house. It was! and we had in a candle, to the accompaniment of bombs and anti-aircraft guns, seemingly 2 miles away to the north. I wonder, were they trying for the aerodrome at Hardwick? for they are reported to have attempted that at T in Norfolk. Well, we went unconcernedly to bed, and were awakened by a glare at 2.10 – sign that the raiders were clear of England. But oh how humiliating! They can drop bombs at will, and unharmed, in England. Once cross to France, and they are chivvied and hustled, go wherever they attempt. The French can bring them down. Never has there been such a field day before, for Zepps.

Some friends, fresh from Liverpool, told me the other day of the steady silent inundation of Americans now overflowing the place. Especially of the hundreds upon hundreds of Yankee aeroplanes, beautifully packed, daily landed on the quays.

In one dry dock these people came across a large Yankee man-of-war, painted blue with pink spots (or was it, pink with blue spots. Those were the colours anyhow.) Camouflage with a vengeance: but it has the effect of destroying outlines and muddling them up at a distance. This they observed especially in the case of HMS Ramillies lying out in the stream – a battleship, painted the most bizarre horror, chiefly black and white stripes.

All this is very fine – but as today’s Daily Mail asks, in Italics, ‘Who commands the North Sea?’ The British navy may be the ‘incomparable’ weapon we hear it called, but it is bluffed by the Huns and its convoys and their escort snapped up by a small force of 2 raiders, almost in hearing of the Grand Fleet. The Kaiser’s vaunt of Germany’s future being on the water looks justified – Nelson went to the Gulf of Riga – but we can’t.

Our united love to you both.
Ever yours,
Bild

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

Raid area children

More refugees had fled air raids in London for the safer environs of Maidenhead, while the little ones in Burghfield were helping pick blackberries for soldiers.

King Street School, Maidenhead
15th October 1917

Eight new scholars admitted – all of which were raid area children.

Mrs Bland’s Infants School, Burghfield
October 15th 1917

Holiday given this afternoon in order that children might pick blackberries for the troops. No. of lbs picked 68 ¾.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); and Mrs Bland’s Infants School, Burghfield (86/SCH/1/1)

A refugee from the air raids

Yattendon children were sent out to pick horse chestnuts (for munitions) and blackberries (for jam to send to the troops).

Yattendon CE School
Octr 10th

Holiday given this afternoon to enable the children to gather horse chestnuts, which are asked for by the Ministry of Munitions.

Received circular re “Picking Blackberries” from Education Committee.

Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School
10th October 1917

Re-opened school after fair holiday, admitted one boy (from London – a refugee from the air raids).

Log books of Yattendon CE School (SCH37/8/3) and Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School (C/EL4/2)

Safe in Sunninghill

More families had fled the danger of air raids.

5th October 1917

I have this week admitted 7 children who have come to live here from London on account of the Air Raids.

Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School log book (88/SCH/32/3, p. 218)

Visitors from London

The attacks on London had led to many families fleeing to the safety of Berkshire.

October 1st 1917
Owing to air raids in London several visitors are in this district. Have admitted 6 children in consequence.

Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 413)

Escape in a barrel

Florence Vansittart Neale’s nephew Lieutenant Paul Eddis was a submarine officer who had been interned in neutral Denmark for some time. He made a daring escape hidden in a barrel.

Florence Vansittart Neale
30 September 1917

Exciting letter of Paul’s escape. He home Friday. Got in barrel….

Too full moon! Fear raids. General Maude’s victory in Mesopotamia very good.

30th week of air raids. Met by barrage of fire. 3 balloons brought down.

Heard of Paul’s arrival & escape in barrel to waiting yacht 15 hours! Evading destroyers [illegible] to Helsingborn.

William Hallam
30th September 1917

Up at 10 past 5 and working from 6 till 1. Beautiful weather still and the nights as light as can be with a full harvest moon – just right for those air raiders. After dinner – roast lamb fowl too dear; 1/9 a lb, I went to bed … A gloriously bright moonlight night.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)