Such a happy day

Inmates at Wokingham Workhouse got to join in the peace celebrations.

29th July, 1919

The Chairman, on behalf of the House Committee, reported …

That the Master reported on the Peace celebrations held at the Institution on the 22nd instant, as follows:

The Peace Festivities were carried out in accordance with the programme arranged by the House Committee. On Saturday, July 19th, those who were able went out and participated in the Town Festivities and those who were unable to walk and cared to go were taken in motor cars.

On Tuesday, July 22nd, the date fixed for the Festivities at the Institution, the proceedings commenced with dinner, which was served at 1 pm, and in the regrettable absence of the Chairman through illness, the Vice-Chairman presided, the following Guardians also being present: Miss Sturges, Miss Gregorie, Capt. Coston, Messrs Bennett, Aldridge, Rasey and Allnatt, also the Chaplain, Mr Sargeant, and other ladies and gentlemen. After dinner the Town Band played on the lawn, a Roundabout, Races, etc, of all descriptions, and Dancing, were indulged in. A very fine exhibition of dancing was given by the Misses Lauman, Bisher, and Claude, the children from Bear Wood School gave a most excellent display of Plaiting the Maypole and Old English Dances, also singing some charming songs. Tea was served and afterwards the sports and dancing were resumed and continued until dark.

A most enjoyable day was spent, the inmates were most grateful to the Guardians for providing all the good things, and to the ladies and gentlemen who assisted in making such a happy day.

That the Committee had considered the question of a holiday for the Officials in connection with the Peace Celebrations and suggested that each Official should be given a day’s holiday and £1 for expenses.

On the motion of Mr Rasey, seconded by Mr Bennett, a vote of thanks was passed to the Master, Matron and Staff, for the able manner in which they had carried out the Peace Celebrations.

Wokingham Board of Guardians minutes (G/WO1/26)

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How the Declaration of Peace (when it comes) may fittingly be celebrated

Burghfield got cracking with memorialising the war.

May

A framed list of Burghfield men who have given their lives in the War has been drawn up by the Rector, and hung in the Church near the Lectern.

War… and Peace

A General Meeting, open to all parishioners, will be held in the New Schools, Burghfield Village, on Monday, 26th May, at 7 o’clock.

Objects:

1. To discuss the question of a Memorial of the part played by Burghfield in the War.
2. To consider how the Declaration of Peace (when it comes) may fittingly be celebrated in the parish.
3. And, if thought right, to appoint a Committee (a) to prepare recommendations for submission to a second General Meeting; and (b) to raise funds.


June

The War… and Peace General Meeting

This was held according to notice, on Monday, May 26th, in the C of E School, and was well attended. On the proposition of Mr Willink, Mr Job Lousley, as Chairman of the Parish Council and Parish Meeting, was voted into the chair. In a few well-chosen words, he explained the objects of the meeting, as stated in last month’s magazine, and asked for remarks. After several suggestions had been made, and noted for consideration, it was agreed to appoint a Committee of 20, with power to add three or four to their number, to report to a further general meeting for approval, and the following were elected accordingly, viz: Messrs F Aldridge, C Chamberlain, E Chance, Major G Chance, R Davidson, Lieut. F E Foster, F C Higgs, Col. R Kirkwood, H C Layley, J Lousley, M H Parfitt, A J Pearse, G Pembroke, Lieut. A Searies, F T Wenman, E Wigmore, H G Willink, and E Wise; also Mrs Butler and Miss Goodall. Mr H D Higgs kindly undertook to act as Hon. Secretary. The Committee will hold their first meeting in June, and it is hoped that any persons having suggestions to make will communicate at once with them.

Burghfield parish magazine, May-June 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Our prisoners of war are slowly returning

PoWs were starting to come home.

Notes from the Vicar

I wish you all every happiness and blessing for 1919. May we be found worthy of the peace that it will bring, and worthy of the great sacrifices made for us by our brave men.

Our prisoners of war are slowly returning. Before very long now we may hope to welcome back the Rev. H.A. Smith-Masters, C.F., and the others from the parish.


Intercessions List

Sick and wounded: Lieut. Thomas Rudd; Private William Lay.

Departed: Private Robert Aldridge, R.A.M.C. ; Lieut. Henry Eyres, R.A.F.; Maria Goodship; Elizabeth Gillmor.

Reading St Giles parish magazines, January 1919 (D/P96/28A/36)

“A rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial”

How best to recognise the service of the country’s fallen, and those returning alive?

St John’s Parochial Church Council

The fourth meeting of the Parochial Church Council was held at the Princes Street Room on Monday, January 20th, 1919, at 8.15 p.m….

Mr W. H. Pountney moved the following resolution: That the question of providing a new organ for St John’s Church be re-opened by this Council; and a scheme devised forthwith to secure the end in view in memory of those who have fallen in the great war, as a thanksgiving for the blessing of peace, and as a matter of expediency.

This was seconded pro forma by Mr Aldridge.

… This was seconded by Mr Sutton, supported by Miss Sutton, Mr Fanstone, Mr Churchill and Dr Murrell, and Mr F. Winter, several of the speakers saying that whatever was done as a War memorial should be something in connection with both churches, and not for St John’s only. The vicar said he thought the form of memorial should be in accordance with the views of the relations of those who had given their lives, and that a rebuilt organ, although it would be a good thankoffering for peace, would not be suitable as a memorial…

Mr Haslam then moved the following resolution: That a committee be formed to consider the best form for a Memorial to those parishioners or members of the congregations who have given their lives for their God, King and Country in the great war, and to report to this Council.

Mr L. G. Sutton seconded this resolution and it was carried unanimously.

The following committee was elected to carry it into effect: the vicar, the churchwardens, Mr L G Sutton, Mr H A Kingham, Mr F H Wright, Mr Fanstone, Mr Murrell, Miss Britton and Miss Winter.

Mr E C Pearce moved the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr H R Sutton, and carried unanimously:

That a committee be formed to consider and report to the vicar how best to welcome the men and women returning from War Service to the parish, and to take steps to attach them if possible to the parish life.

The following committee was elected to carry this into effect: the vicar, Mr E C Pearce, Mr H R Sutton, Mr W Wing, Mr Fanstone, Miss Simmonds, Miss Rundell, and Cap. Blandy, with power to confer with others.


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

Laid to rest: the Newbury roll of honour

The Newbury men who had been killed were listed in the church magazine by installment.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Copied and supplied to the Parish Magazine by Mr J W H Kemp

(Continued from last month.)

45. Pte Benjamin Weller Smith, Duke of Cornwall’s LI, killed in France, June 18th, aged 24. Laid to rest at Bus, France.

46. Corp. Harry Lawes, killed in Mesopotamia 21st January, 1914.

47. Pte Ernest Westall, Territorials, died 16th June, 1916, in hospital.

48. Pte William Oscar Wickens, 8th Batt. Royal Berks Regt, missing since Oct. 13th, 1915, now reported killed.

49. Pte Bertram Edgar Wickens, Inter-communication Section 1/4 Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds April 17th, 1917.

50. Pte Gerald Lionel Wickens, 1/1 Trench Mortar Battery, 1st Infantry Brigade, killed in action August 27th, 1916.

51. Pte James Reginald Swatton, killed November, 1916. RIP.

52. Basil Henry Belcher, Royal Berks Regt, missing, believed killed, July 1st, 1916.

53. Pte Charles Whitehorn, killed in action July 3rd, 1916, 5th Royal Berks Regt.

54. Alan George Busby, killed in France June 9th, 1917. RIP.

55. In memory of Thomas Alfred Stillman, 2nd son of Mrs Stillman, of Market Street, Newbury, killed in action June 6th somewhere in France.

56. In memory of George Frederick Stevens, Qr-Master-Sergt, Royal Engineers, killed in France, July 10-11, 1917.

57. Sergt Frederick John Preston, 2/4 Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds, Le Trefont Hospital, France, 7th June, 1917.

58. L-Corp. William Crook, 94142, 128th Field Co, RE, killed July 1st, 1917, late of Diamond Cottages, Newbury.

59. Sergt W H Lake, 633 battery RFA, Indian Expeditionary Forces, died August 10th, 1916; prisoner of war in Turkey.

60. Pte Frank Pibworth, 6th Batt. Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds August 1st, 1917.

61. Pte Charles Mundy, KOYLI, killed Sept. 14th, 1917.

62. Pte Alfred John Aldridge, 16th Royal Warwickshire Regt, killed in action in France July 27th, 1916.

63. Pte Albert James Geater, A Co 1/4 Royal Berks Regt, killed in action August 16th, 1917.

64. Signalman Arthur William Stevens, 1st Devons, died of wounds in Hospital, France, October 4th, 1917.

65. Pte George Herbert Smith, 6th Batt. Royal Berks, killed in France March 10th 1915.

66. Pte James Henry Smith, 6th Batt. Royal Berks, killed in France August 27th, 1915.

67. Pte Edward Albert Smith, 6th Batt. Royal Berks, killed in action August 16th, 1917.

(To be continued.)

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

A resignation at the Berkshire National Relief Fund

Changes were afoot at the Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund, which made small grants to individuals who were in reduced circumstances due to the war.

9 February 1918

The following letter from Mr F H Wright resigning his position as Hon. Secretary was read:

Jan. 12th 1918

Dear Sir Reginald

I think the time has arrived when I should resign the Secretaryship of the Berkshire National Relief Fund. You may remember that I undertook this Secretaryship at the pressing request of Sir Robert Mowbray when the war broke out in August 1914, and that I devoted the latter part of my summer vacation to the organization of that work. when I undertook the work, it was on the understanding that I might not be able to help after the College Term began, but the invaluable assistance rendered me by the Assistant Secretary, Miss Gladys Pott, enabled me to retain the nominal Secretaryship so long as Miss Pott was Assistant Secretary.

As you know, Miss Pott had to resign last year and inasmuch as there is no room available at the Shire Hall, where all the books and papers referring to the Fund are kept, it would appear to be better for the Secretaryship to be taken over by one of the County Officials and I am given to understand that Mr Chambers would be willing to undertake the work.

Believe me to remain
Yours faithfully
(Signed) Francis H Wright

Registrar

Resolved: That the resignation be accepted with regret and that the Hon. Secretary be instructed to write to Mr Wright expressing the great appreciation felt by the Committee for all that he had done in organising and carrying on the work of the Committee.


Correspondence from the Foreign Office, the Government Committee and Mr Aldridge of Spencers Wood, relative to the case of Mrs Louise Swain, was read.

The Secretary reported that the Chairman and Mr Benyon had authorised a temporary allowance of 10/- a week for one month until Mrs Swain could obtain work.

A further letter was read from Mrs Swain stating she had been unable to obtain work, and after Mrs Swain had attended before the Committee, it was resolved that the allowance of 10/- should be continued to her for a further five weeks.

Application for a grant for the purpose of ploughing and fencing land at Lambourn was received from Mr E C Jennings of the Sheep Drove, Lambourn, and after his letter had been read and considered the application was refused.

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

“The War still continues, would that it were not so”

Several Newbury men had been reported killed, but those left behind were still keen to support the troops.

The War still continues, would that it were not so. We have suffered several losses lately among the young men in the parish: William James Quinton, of the Gloucester Regiment; Albert James Geater, Royal Berks Regiment; Arthur William Stevens, 1st Devons; Albert Corderoy, Hants Regiment, all killed in France; and William Aldridge, 1st class petty officer, RN, who went down in HMS mine-sweeper Begonia. We offer our sincerest sympathy to the relatives of these brave young men, whom we can ill afford to lose, and we thank God for the example which they have set us.

Harold Hughes, youngest son of Mrs Hughes, of 6, Berkeley Road, has lost a leg in France, and we trust that he will make a good recovery.
We are glad to see Dr Heywood back again in Newbury, after the valuable work which he has been doing at the seat of War.

The Soldiers’ Club at the old “King’s Arms” in the Market Place, has only been used lately very occasionally, because there have been no troops billeted in the town, but we hear that there is the likelihood of 1000 men of the Royal Flying Corps coming to Newbury, and if this does take place we hope to open the Club again, and shall be glad of offers of personal assistance and of subscriptions. The Club, when it was held in other premises, proved a great boon to the men, who thoroughly appreciated the kindness and attention of the ladies who managed it, and gave up so much of their time to it.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

A great success

The Soldiers’ Club in Newbury was a great success, and about to outgrow its premises. William Mount, the local MP, was the great grandfather of outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Soldiers’ Club in the Pelican Yard has proved a great success under the care of the promoters and managers, not to forget Mr and Mrs Johnson and their family who have been most kind in helping. Mr Johnson has most generously let us have the room free of charge, but it will be let at the beginning of this month, when we hope to move to premises not far off.

We are very glad to hear that our Member of Parliament, Mr W A Mount, has made such a good recovery from his very serious illness on France.

Since our last issue several more Newbury lads have given up their lives for their country. May they receive an Eternal Reward for their self-sacrifice. We think with affectionate gratitude of:

Alfred John Aldridge
William James Piddington
Walter Clarke
Cecil Taylor
and
Guy Leslie Harold Gilbert.

Let us remember our Lord’s words: “He that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”

Newbury parish magazine, September 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Just arrived from Salonika

A west Berkshire teacher’s husband was back in England, having been wounded on the eastern front.

June 14th 1916
Reopened school [after Whitsun holiday since 9 June]…

Mistress absent this morning, having gone to see her husband who had just arrived at Eastleigh Hospital from Salonica. Miss Aldridge (Art. 50) [unqualified] in charge during her absence. The Mistress returned in time for afternoon school.

Yattendon CE School log book (SCH37/8/3)

Doing their bit: protecting Berkshire soldiers from gas

Pupils at three church schools were affected by the war. Girls in Aldermaston were spending their spare time making gas respirators for local soldiers, while Earley children got an afternoon off because of a military sports day. The head master at Yattendon joined the army, leaving his wife, who also taught at the school, as temporary head.

Aldermaston CE School, 1st October 1915

The 1st and 2nd class girls, under the supervision of Miss Adams, have been engaged in sewing on gas respirator pockets for the 3/4 Berks Regiment which is stationed here. Some of the girls volunteered to give up part of their dinner-time, and others in the village gave up an hour or so in the evening in order to “do their bit”.

Earley CE School, 1st October 1915

School was closed on Wednesday afternoon as some Athletic Sports by the soldiers were then being held in the field adjoining the school premises.

Yattendon CE School, Oct. 1st 1915

Today I received the official sanction of the Education [Committee] to enlist & the letter setting out the conditions is filed in the portfolio [which no longer survives].

Arrangements have been made for my enlisting in the ASC at Aldershot and tomorrow I go there to take up service.

My wife takes charge of the school, and Miss Toms comes on Monday as Supply Elementary Teacher until Miss Aldridge can take up the appointment for the period of the war.

E. Crook.

Aldermaston CE School, October 1915 (88/SCH/3/3); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Yattendon CE School log book (SCH37/8/1)/em>

County Surveyor urgently required overseas

The civil engineering skills of the Berkshire County Surveyor would be a valuable asset to the Army. The County Council was willing to let him go if necessary.

COUNTY SURVEYOR
The Staff Purposes Sub-committee have considered an application made by the County Surveyor for leave of absence to take up service under the Government during the war. This application was originally made in May last to the Highways and Bridges Committee for leave to volunteer, and that Committee reported as follows:

… in their opinion no obstacle should be put in the way of the County Surveyor entering Government service for the period of the war, but having regard to the importance of his present duties from the national point of view they recommend that consent should only be given provided his service and rank under the Government be equally important to those of his present position….

On 5 June the County Surveyor reported to the Highways Committee as to the proposed organisation of his Department in case he should be given Government service, which report was adopted by them and is as follows:

C A Veal, who was temporarily engaged for the period of the war at £1 per week, has left, and T Clayton, the temporary Clerk of Works, will terminate his appointment about 1 September.

Mr Clayton’s service I suggest might be retained as he will be invaluable as a draughtsman, and in connection with the repairs to Bridges and Police Stations.

Subject to the above it is not suggested at present to engage any additional assistance, and although supervision cannot, of course, be so efficient during my absence I am of opinion that the work of the roadmen and roller gangs can, as at present, be superintended by the Sub-Surveyors, who are willing to put in any extra time or work which may be necessary for the purpose.…

On 26 July the following minute from the War Office, addressed to the Clerk, was received:

War Office
July 26th, 1815
To the Clerk of the Berks County Council

The services of Mr J F Hawkins are urgently required for employment overseas on the staff of Brigadier General Gibbon, who has especially asked for him. Mr Hawkins would be employed as Field Engineer with the rank of temporary Captain, RE. It is hoped that his services can be spared, and that he may be released at once as the matter is urgent.

G A Travers, Major AAG, RE

Your Sub-committee decided by a majority (the Chairman dissenting) … that leave of absence be given to the County Surveyor … and that, from the date the County Surveyor was Gazetted, E D Aldridge be engaged as a clerk at a salary of 10/- per week…

Arthur E Preston, Chairman
27 July 1915

Report of Staff Purposes Sub-committee to BCC Finance Committee, (C/CL1/1/18)

Knitting for the troops

By December the schoolchildren of Thatcham (at least, the girls) were busy knitting warm clothing for the troops as winter approached, as the parish magazine reports:

The National School Children’s Work for Soldiers
The children’s hands have been very busy making useful articles for our soldiers at the front, under the direction of their teachers, during their spare time. Socks and belts have been knitted by Edith Absolom, May Arnold, Beatrice Aldridge, Bessie Broughton, Nellie Browning, Edith Goodman, Elizabeth Herbert, Jeannie Hacker, May Lyford, Emily Schubert; and scarves by Hilda Hazell and Alice Maynard. Mrs Turner, of the “Crown,” kindly gave wool for one pair of socks, and the rest of the materials was most kindly provided by Mrs Glastonbury, Head Mistress, Miss Reynolds, and Miss Boulter, her assistants. The parcel containing a number of these articles was recently forwarded to the Lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and the following letter of thanks was received in reply:-

Devonshire House, Piccadilly.

“The Lady-in-waiting is commanded by the Queen to thank the teachers and children of the Thatcham School most heartily for their very kind gift of comforts for the use of the troops at the front. Her Majesty highly appreciates this contribution.”

We may be quite sure that the soldiers’ need of such useful articles as these will be very great during the coming winter months, and that they will be extremely grateful to all kind workers who give their skill, their time, and materials to provide them. Moreover, we must not wait until the want of them is seriously felt, for then it will be too late to set about providing them.

Thatcham parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P130/28A/1)