Wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said

St Augustine’s was the only children’s home for boys run by the Community of St John Baptist. Many of its inmates went on to serve in the Armed Forces, and they shared their experiences with the Sisters.

June, 1919
Dear Friends of St Augustine’s Home

The health of the boys has been excellent this winter, for which we are most thankful. We had a bad epidemic of influenza a year ago, and when the disease made its re-appearance in Windsor in the beginning of winter, we trembled, but schools were closed, and we resorted to gargling and house-spraying, and had not more than half a dozen cases at most.

Our always kind doctor and dentist have returned home from war work, and again look after our boys…

We ended our financial year with bills amounting to more than £200 unpaid. We are printing not merely our last balance sheet, but a pre-war one, by way of an interesting and instructive comparison. One thing that may strike you is that not merely are our expenses heavier, but our subscriptions are considerably less. There have been so many claims on everyone, but we hope that as these lessen, the claims of a Home like ours, which has sent many sons to the front and is helping to train others to take the place of those who have fallen, may appeal not merely to former subscribers but to those who will become new friends…

Our household linen cupboard, and our clothes cupboard, were almost empty this spring… Then … came a large package of garments, cutlery and other things from a war hospital… during the last two weeks of March.

A number of kind friends at Eton and other places made a special Lent effort and sent us a nice contribution of stockings… If other friends would follow this example (perhaps some of those who have knitted so assiduously for soldiers) and ask their friends to do the same, the stocking basket would wear a more cheerful aspect…

August will soon be here, and we hope to see some of our old boys down for the holidays, though Peace celebrations may very naturally take them elsewhere. They have come and gone from time to time as leave allowed, and many thrilling things some of them have to tell – though told always in the simplest, most matter-of-fact way. Some have been in ships torpedoed, one received and transmitted wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said. And some of our boys will of course never return, but have won the “great promotion” of which the Home is so proud.

Yours very gratefully
The Sister-in-Charge

Letter to Friends of St Augustine’s Home, Clewer (D/EX1675/23/4/6)

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“He had survived all the dangers of War, only to fall a victim to influenza”

Some survived the war, only to die from the dreadful influenza epidemic.

In Memoriam.

E. Bradfield.

When Bradfield left the N.G.S. in 1909, he had been Senior Prefect for three terms. He was the mainstay of the Debating Society, and for a long time, acted as Sporting Editor of the “Newburian.” A prominent member of the Cricket XI, he was second in the batting averages for 1909. He was also one of the foremost actors in the School in his time here he took up a journalistic career and became the Editor of “Milling,” a Liverpool organ of the Corn trade. The influenza epidemic claimed him among its victims.

E. M. Plenty

Plenty left the N.G.S. while still fairly young and proceeded to St. Paul’s School, where he greatly distinguished himself. He joined the Air Force and had a brilliant career, attaining the rank of Major. The news of his death was the-more sad for the fact that it comes with that of Armistice: he had survived all the dangers of War, only to fall a victim to the plague which carried off Warren and Bradfield.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

Special lessons in geography and history as the armistice and peace continue

One Berkshire school wanted to imcorporate the changing face of Europe into classes.

18th March 1919

The same schemes of lessons will be used for the year 1919-20 as for 1918-1919 but special lessons will be given in geography and history as the armistice and peace continue.

Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 420)

“The news of his death was only received after the signing of the Armistice”

There was a particular poignancy when news of a death came after the war had ended.

Roll of Honour.

Frederick Pither.

The news of his death was only received after the signing of the Armistice and the blow, therefore, come with added force to his wife and children.

We would desire to convey to her the very real and special sympathy of all.

Military Cross.

Lieut. R. Palmer – to whom heartiest congratuilations.

Blinded Soldiers’ Fund.

The total sum received is £32; made up as follows:-

Carol Singing £22 10s., Christmas Dinner Table envelopes £9 10s. This latter sum is for the children of Blinded Soldiers.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Our hearts are all lighter because the War is, we hope, finally closed by this Armistice

Great challenges faced the country after the war.

Dear Friends and Parishioners

The past month has been one of much Parish festivity. Our hearts are all lighter because the War is, we hope, finally closed by this Armistice. Still there are great difficulties to face, and we must pray for courage and wisdom to tackle them in the right spirit and with the right methods. Our interest and our prayers should be enlisted for the Statesmen assembled in Conference in Paris that they may be granted wisdom to re-order and re-establish the Countries of Europe on just and wise lines.

And in the case of our social problems at home, we all need to pray (for practically all of us now have some voice and some responsibility) for the wisdom, industry, and patience needed to realise our present hopes and ideals. We all want to maintain the increased sobriety of the Nation, we all want better homes for the poorer members of our community, we all want to retain a decent wage for all sections of our workers, whether with brain or hand; we all, as Church people, are keen on improving our Educational system, and developing the religious and moral side of it on all Schools; we are all resolved to maintain the sanctity of Christian marriage, and to promote that purity of life which alone will provide an A 1 population (to use the Prime Minister’s phrase), for the working of the great Empire which we hold in trust for God and man.

All this is easy to discuss, but to bring about is a work of almost overwhelming difficulty. Nothing but the Grace of God is sufficient for its accomplishment. Let us remember our hopes and ideals in our prayers, and then do our best in a spirit of comradeship that thinks first of the Church and Nation as a whole, and only secondly of party or class.

The next few weeks are a general time in Church life; we can use them for the study of great questions affecting Church and Nation before the special period of Lenten discipline begins.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar,

C E M Fry

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Let us play our part manfully for God in the new conditions we all have to face

Maidenhead continued to celebrate peace and look to the future.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners …

Alas, we have to raise the price of the Magazine to 2d, when bought from a District Visitor, or over the counter at Mr Marsh’s shop. The price for a year, delivered separately, is 2/6 instead of 1/6. We are, I believe, the last Magazine in Berkshire to raise our price, but last year has been run at a loss, and the cost of paper and printing has enormously increased…

Then may I wish you all a very Happy New Year, the safe return of all friends from the Forces, and a final Peace on just lines in the world…

As regards the future, the Band of Hope Tea is to be held on January 7th at Brock Lane Room, St Luke’s Sunday School Treat on January 23rd, and North Town later on. For these treats I will gladly receive (and even request) donations. Let us make our Armistice Tea a success.

Then as regards the further future, I hope to call a Meeting to discuss a War Memorial for the Parish of St Luke, Maidenhead, in February, as, doubtless, the Mayor will call upon all citizens to do something for the Borough at the Town Meeting in January. I think we ought, as Church people, to plan something definite for the Church or its work. Let us put our heads together in the meantime…

In the meantime, let us try and back up our existing work, so as to play our part manfully for God in the new conditions we all have to face.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C E M Fry.
Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

“The turmoils of War, I hope are over, and the dark War clouds rolled away to give place to a brighter and serene sky of peace and goodwill”

Datchet Working Men’s Club was delighted by the end of the war.

January 1919

The turmoils of War, I hope are over, and the dark War clouds rolled away to give place to a brighter and serene sky of peace and goodwill. Throughout all this indescribable tension, in which the sorrows of our heart have been enlarged beyond the powers of human voice to describe the members remaining who through force of circumstance were not allowed to rally to the colours, but who have helped in various ways to keep on high the flag of liberty and justice, have stuck to the club with laudable courage and have ever striven to welcome to the utmost those returning on the various leaves, or to alleviate in the highest degree the conditions of the wounded – or prisoners of War.

Moreover their desire has been to resuscitate it as Phoenix from its ashes the reviving has been beyond measure the heart is in good working order and there is a good tonic in reserve to keep it regular in its action.

We have lifted our eyes to the hills for help and our optimism has soared to great heights even altho pessimism has striven to keep it down.

This has given us immense courage and endurance.

We look forward to the return of the Boys with jubilation and we shall give them a rousing welcome when they do so.

But alas! For those, who are waiting for yet more glorious day than the signing of the Armistice or of the Peace we shall ever think of them as warriors faithful, true and bold, and laurels of beautiful thought will ever encircled our memory of them, no matter whither fate my lead us.

The permeating influence of our worthy President has at no time been felt more magnetising than during the past years and I am sure we even now rise up as it were and call him blessed his great benevolence to us.

May the time be far distant when his heaven on earth prefess a call!

The Vice Presidents have again guided their thoughts with swords for one defence and have followed one leader’s call to win the “land of promise” from the enemies of true social intercourse and fellowship.

Mr Langton has another year supplied us with the “Daily Graphic” and this kind thought has inspired us to think unselfishly and so help the “Brotherhood” so often preached about but little practised.

Datchet Working Men’s Club annual report (D/EX2481/1/5)

In spite of the glad fact of the cessation of hostilities, we cannot expect many of our men home for Xmas

Some were still serving.

In spite of the glad fact of the cessation of hostilities, we cannot expect many of our men home for Xmas, and so we are making the usual arrangements to send each of them a present and Xmas greeting, and the funds for this are coming in well.

We shall now hope soon to welcome home our prisoners of war, and we are glad to learn that one of them – Pte. Frederick Onion has already landed in England.

We heartily congratulate Sergeant. Major Edwin Gray, who has been awarded a bar to his military medal.

Warfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)

A red letter day

Aston Tirrold
20th December 1918

In commemoration of the signing of the armistice, a lady in the village, Mrs Moon, gave the school children a tea followed by a conjuring entertainment. Needless to say it was a red-letter day in our little community. Later on in the evening (7.30) under the auspices of the local War Savings associations, a Lantern lecture was given by Dr Smith.

Speenhamland
Dec 20

Visit of Edward Tuck of the Royal Navy.

Ascot Heath
December 20th 1918

School closed (a.m.) for the Xmas Holidays. An Entertainment was given to the Children this afternoon by the Managers to mark in some way the end of actual Hostilities.

Log books of Aston Tirrold CE School (C/EL105/1); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Ascot Heath Boys’ School (C/EL110/4)

Extra relief this Christmas in view of the cessation of hostilities

Paupers in Windsor Poor Law Union were allowed extra cash to celebrate peace.

December 17th, 1918
Extra Christmas Relief

Memorandum from the Local Government Board read authorising Boards of Guardians granting extra relief to recipients of Outdoor Relief this Christmas in view of the cessation of hostilities.

Moved by the Chairman.
Seconded by Mr Hamilton.
That to celebrate the cessation of hostilities and Christmas, all regular recipients of Outdoor Relief from this Union (excluding non-resident and non-settled cases) be granted during this week extra relief to the extent of 2/- for each adult and 1/- for each child.

Windsor Board of Guardians minutes (G/WI1/26)

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/

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)

“It is even yet difficult to realize that the war is over”

Bracknell was starting to come to terms with the end of the war.

It is even yet difficult to realize that the war is over, and though, thank God, the fighting is ended we must remember that, for a long time to come, we shall have to keep to the food regulations, and the coupon books, and practice economy and war saving in every possible way.

One more name has been added to the Roll of Honour, Sergt. Gordon Court, who was killed on November 4th, just a week before the Armistice was signed. He had much fighting in the earlier part of the War, and then after some time of service in England he went out again a few weeks ago. It seems likely that his will be the last name to be added from this Parish, to the gallant company of those who have laid down their lives in the great cause. Fifty-seven names are on our list of fallen. We hope that we shall be able to erect some permeant memorial which will worthily preserve their memory.

We congratulate Sergeant Percy Smith, of the R.A.M.C., on the Military Medal which has been awarded to him.

In common with the rest of the country we have been visited with the plague of influenza, and it has caused the death of several persons in Bracknell, and its immediate neighbourhood.

Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)

Whom could England put in place of Lloyd George at this juncture?

The upcoming General Election was a historic one – the first in which all men over 21, and at least some women (married women over 30), could vote. The new Labour Party appealed to the working class new voters.

6 Dec. ‘18
My very dear old man

The Poll (but possibly you already know this) will be taken on MTWOF (16th to 20th)…

As for the election – I’m not “enthusing”. I only seem to fear it is Eclipse and the rest nowhere. Whom could England put in place of Lloyd George at this juncture?

We shan’t make Germany cash up, but under any other leader we should secure less than under him.

Beattie and Foch have ‘guts’ and are not timorous of Ultimatums – but these civilian tin-gods! I really half think that one of the Labour men would be more solid and less certain to be weakened than the creatures we are sending. The Hun will play upon Wilson’s vanity for bossing, and England, as usual, will cringe. Carson wouldn’t! O that he could have gone.

Ever affec.
Bild.

Her wounded brother, after whom you kindly ask, is still in St Thomas’s Hospital. It will, I fear, be a very long time with his left wrist – but I can see the great progress in it already.

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

Queen Mary’s noble example has helped us be brave

Hurst WI rejoiced at the end of the war.

To Her Most Gracious Majesty Quueen Mary from the Women’s Institute of Hurst, Berks, membership 95.

We the members of the Hurst Women’s Institute being deeply sensible of your Majesty’s sympathy with our services & trials in the last few years beg that you will accept our humble congratulations in the termination of the war. We know that whatever have been our sufferings & deprivations that they have been equally shared by our Queen, & this knowledge has enabled many of us to be brave. Now that a calm joy fills our hearts we are anxious to share this also with your Majesty whose noble example has uplifted us all & whose personal sympathy has done so much to rivet the people’s affections ever more firmly to your Majesties.

Signed
Alice Martin
President

Wed Dec 4, 1918

Draft address to Queen Mary from Hurst WI (D/EX1925/33/5/2/1)