The great silence: the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain

The first Remembrance Day was observed in churches across the county.

Wargrave

Armistice Day

The first anniversary was well observed in the parish. There was a celebration of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. A muffled peal was rung from 10.30 to 10.45 a.m. A service in church was held at 10.45 and ended with the two minutes of silence when 11 o’clock was struck on the tenor bell. A full peal of bells, with firing, was rung in the evening. The services were well attended and ringing was exceptionally good.

Crazies Hill Notes

On November 11th an Intercessory Service was held in memory of those who laid down their lives during the War, and, at the hour of eleven, a silent tribute was paid to the fallen. Those moments of meditation were for many of us, accompanied by grief; but there were also hope and pride and high resolve in the thoughts of all who took part in that Service. Perhaps the uppermost thought was that the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain.

Burghfield

Armistice Day

Rural circumstances do not lend themselves to such striking manifestations as were to be seen in towns and cities during the “great silence”. But there can have been few in the parish who did not act upon the King’s suggestion and desire. Many of us would like this mute solemn commemoration to be repeated annually.


Ascot

On the Anniversary of the Armistice there was a special Celebration of the Holy Communion at 10.40 at which all our parishioners, who gave their lives in the War, were remembered by name.
The service was so timed that, at the moment of silence throughout the Empire, the large congregation was in the act of pleading the Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and the Dead.

In the evening there was a special Service of Thanksgiving , when we prayed for God’s Blessing upon the Ex-Service Men’s Club, the first portion of the Ascot War Memorial, which was declared open by Lady Roberts, and handed over to the Men’s Committee immediately afterwards. During the first week over 150 men joined the club.

Cranbourne

On Armistice Day a large number of our Parishioners came to Church at a few minutes before eleven o’clock and spent the time in silent prayer. After the bell had struck eleven strokes and the two minutes had elapsed, a Celebration of the Holy Communion took place. Instead of a sermon the Vicar read Mr. Arkwright’s no well-known hymn “O Valiant hearts” and before the Church Militant Prayer the names of all our fallen were read at the altar and specially commended to God’s keeping.


Newbury

On Armistice Day, November 11th, we kept the King’s command by holding a Special Service at 10.55, including the two minutes silence at 11 o’clock. There was a large congregation. The sights in the streets of our great cities, when all traffic stopped and men stood with bared heads, must have been most striking. Truly does the whole Empire honour the men who gave their lives in God’s Cause of Righteousness.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31); Ascot and Cranbourne in Winkfield District Magazine, December 1919 (D/P 151/ 28A/11/12); Burghfield parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4); Newbury parish magazine, December1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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Support the League of Nations on Armistice Day

Internationalism and the new League of Nations were hoped to prevent any future wars.

21st October, 1919

A letter was read from the Chairman of The League of Nations Union, dated 14th October, 1919, suggesting that Nov. 11th, the anniversary of Armistice Day, be celebrated in every city, town and village as League of Nations Day, and that an appeal for funds to support the League of Nations be made in connection with this celebration, and he enclosed an outline of the scheme, including a few suggestions.

On the motion of the Chairman, it was decided to postpone consideration of this matter until the next meeting.

On the motion of the Chairman, seconded by Mr Rasey, the Clerk was instructed to procure copies of the letter and literature and to forward same to the Chairmen of the Parish Councils within this Rural District.

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

A bright spot in a time of need

A Reading church received news about the YMCA hut they had supported for soldiers behind the lines.

The “Trinity” Hut

Owing to the departure of many of the Y.M.C.A. Secretaries from the war area, it has been very difficult to get any definite information about our second Hut in France. Until just lately we believed this was erected at St. Omer, but now find that to be incorrect, as the following prove:
2nd July, 1919.

My Dear Mr. Harrison,

I went up this week to see Mr. McCowen as he was coming back from Germany on his way to London, and immediately took up the question of the allocation of your Hut with him. He well remembers the situation and says that your Hut was not actually in the St. Omer area, but it was at St. Malo-les-Bains, near Dunkirk, which after all is not so far away from St. Omer. He says this is the second Reading Hut. I have asked Mr. Sitters to send me a report as to the work of this Hut during the last few months, and also to see that the board saying it is the Reading Hut is still up in it. This Hut has served, during the past few months, thousands of men, who have been using Dunkirk as a demobilisation centre. Further particulars will be coming through, which I will send along. There is a possibility that the Navy may move the Hut to the mole at Zeebrugge, as there is a great need for an extension of our work at that place, but I will see that you are advised if this is done.

I am enclosing herewith the official receipt for the fifteen pounds which you so kindly sent. It was used in the Hut for Christmas festivities.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed) H.N.HOLMES.
Chief Secretary for France.

The report referred to is as follows:-

“The Reading (Malo) Hut was first erected in the Ypres centres, where it provided rest and recreation for countless numbers of men going in and coming out of the trenches. In it provision was made for reading, writing and games. Concerts and lectures were given from time to time, and services were held on Sundays. A refreshment counter where tea, cocoa and coffee, biscuits, cigarettes, etc., could be obtained, was greatly appreciated by those frequenting the Hut.

Later on, owing to the movement of troops, the sector was occupied by Belgian troops, who made considerable use of the Hut. One feature of their occupation was the excellent concerts given by officers and men of the Belgian army. On account of the Germans shelling the place very heavily it was found necessary to move the Hut to a more sheltered spot. It was dismantled, moved south two miles, near to the famous St. Sixthe Convent, re-erected, re-painted, and re-opened within seven days.

On the signing of the armistice the Hut was moved to Dunkirk, where it has provided accommodation for various units, including re-mounts, men being demobilised, and men returning from leave and going to Egypt. On its removal to Dunkirk it was beautifully re-decorated and fitted with electric light, and may now be considered one of the most attractive huts in France.

The subscribers, through whose generosity it has been possible for the Y.M.C.A. to meet the needs of so many men, will be happy to know that the Hut has been a bright spot in a time of need to thousands of the brave men who have been defending our country.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )

A splendid and lasting tribute of our gratitude to God for the valour of our men

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke, holidaying with a brother home from the front, liked the parish’s war memorial plans.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

I write this letter far away in the stormy Hebrides; where lochs abound, great winds blow, and sea birds and seals are as common as rabbits ought to be on Maidenhead Thicket.

I feel that the few days I have been away – much of it spent in travelling – must have thrown a great strain on my colleagues at a very busy time. I suppose I must plead that the Armistice, the hope of an early Peace, and my brother’s return, must be my excuse…

As regards the future, I am hoping that on June 30th, the Parochial Church Council and the War Memorial Committee may approve of the beautiful plans Mr Cheadle has drawn out for us. I believe the Borough memorial Committee close their appeal on June 30th. We shall then have a clear field, and shall not in any way spoil anyone else’s scheme. The Memorial Chapel will be (if adopted) a splendid and lasting tribute of our gratitude to God for the valour of our men. In it we can pray for all we love here or in the next world. We can draw near to the Fallen in our thoughts. We can meditate on the One Great Sacrifice and think of our own kith and kin who followed that example in no unworthy way. But if we do undertake this work we ought to carry it out as nobly as lies in our power.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

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

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)

“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)