To be released from the Royal Air Force early in April

As men returned home, women who had filled their jobs were surplus to requirements.

13th February 1919

Administrative and Relief Staff

Reporting that the Clerk informed the Committee that Mr F S Jones, Second Assistant Clerk, and Mr G E Turnbull, Case Paper Clerk, had been demobilised and resumed their duties on the 5th and 11th instant respectively, and that Mr J R Bedford, First Assistant Clerk, would be released from the Royal Air Force early in April next. Also that Mr G A Munday had been discharged from the Army and would resume his duties as Relieving Officer of the No 2 District on the 1st March next.

Recommending that Miss Freeman and Miss Plant revert to their original duties, that Mr Horne, who was acting as temporary Relieving Officer for the No 3 District, be given notice to terminate his duties on the 31st March next, and that Mr Turnbull be recommended for appointment on the Out-door Relief Staff. Also that a Special Meeting of the Committee be held to consider the salaries of the Officers on the Administrative and Relief Staffs.

Report of Finance Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

Advertisements

Due to the general prevalence of illness throughout the county, people in many districts have been averse to congregating together

Applications for roadside war memorials were starting to come before Berkshire County Council.

Report of the Highways and Bridges Committee, 11 January 1919

WAR MEMORIALS

An application has been received from the Bath Road Club for sanction to erect a war memorial, in the form of a signpost, near Aldermaston lane on the Bath road.

The Committee do not recommend that consent be given.

A similar application from Cookham for permission to erect a memorial in the form of an Iona Cross is under consideration.


Report of Agricultural Instruction Committee to Education Committee, 11 January 1919

…The Committee present the following report of the Agricultural Organiser, received from the Principal and Acting Dean of University College, Reading, viz…

It should be pointed out that [during the quarter ending 31 December 1918] the work has been disorganized by the general prevalence of illness throughout the county. People in many districts have been averse to congregating together, with the result that in some places it was impossible to get audiences, whilst in others it was found necessary to postpone, or cancel, lectures which had been arranged. Moreover most, if not all members engaged on county work, have suffered illness during the quarter.

G S Bedford
Agricultural Organiser…

TRAINING OF DISCHARGED OFFICERS

The Committee have been asked to carry out a scheme for the training in agriculture of discharged officers; and a special Sub-committee has been appointed, consisting of representatives of this Committee, the Agricultural Executive Committee and the War Pensions Committee (in consultation with the Local Director of the Ministry of Labour). Under the scheme selected officers will receive an allowance of £125 per annum for 2 years, and additional allowances will be made to married officers, with children, up to £90. The administration of the scheme, and the amount of award, have been entrusted to this committee….

TRAINING OF MILKERS

Out of 29 applications, fifteen certificates have been awarded to women who (without State assistance) had been milking since the commencement of the war, and previous to 1918. Letters of appreciation have been sent to the applicants whose work was satisfactory, but whose length of service did not entitle them to certificates….

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Release in advance of general demobilisation

Reading Board of Guardians was keen to get its staff back from the army.

19th December 1918
Release of Men from the Forces

A letter was read from the Local Government Board stating that Sir Auckland Geddes regrets that he does not feel justified in asking at the present time for the release of Messrs J L Bedford, F L Jones, G E Turnbull, and G A Munday in advance of general demobilisation.

Resolved that the Clerk be instructed to write to ask for the immediate release of either Mr Bedford or Mr Jones.

Minutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

“Few workers have shown such a stout heart and cheerfulness under trials””

Burghfield women contributed to the national need as their talents offered. Olive Hockin (1881-1936) was a fervent suffragette with links to arson attacks. Her book was republished in 2016.

THE WAR

The Village Red Cross Working Party is in “full swing”, and much good work still continues to be done each week by the following members:

Mrs Appleton, Mrs Butler, Miss Bedford, Miss Brown, Miss Cullum, Miss Davidson, Mrs Evans, Mrs George, Mrs Groves, Miss Kent, Mrs Chamberlain, Mrs H Chamberlain, Mrs Lamperd, Mrs Marlow, Mrs Moore, Mrs Montague, Mrs Gray, Mrs Overton, Mrs Philpotts, Mrs Richards, Miss G Richards, Mrs Stroud, Mrs E Wise. Surely there are still more who would like to devote an hour and a half each Thursday afternoon to so good a cause.

We have pleasure in announcing the engagement of Miss Jolie B. Buck (grand-daughter of our honoured old friend and neighbour the late General Buck of the Hollies) to Captain James McCallum, of the Canadian Forestry Corps. Captain McCallum is probably going to France shortly, and the wedding will not take place for some time. Miss Buck is at present serving as a lady driver to the Forestry Corps at the Canadian Camp, Ufton.

“Two Girls on the Land – War Time on a Dartmoor Farm”, by Olive Hockin (Edward Arnold, 1918, 2s 6d). A record of a whole year’s work told with sympathy and directness. Few workers on a farm have shown such a stout heart and cheerfulness under trials as the authoress, Mrs Kirkwood’s daughter; and her Burghfield friends will find every page of her story interesting.

Burghfield parish magazine, August 1918 (D/EX725/4)

A gallant lad who enlisted “because he thought it was his duty”

The service of several Burghfield men had ended, either through death or illness.

THE WAR

Honours and Promotions

Major Richard Kirkwood, who as temporary Lieutenant Colonel has since the beginning of the war been in command at Exeter of the Depot of his old Regiment (the Devons), has been seriously ill. He is now being relieved, and is receiving the permanent honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and we hope to see him and his wife back at Boldrewood in November.

Discharges

So far, only the following names have come to hand of Burghfield men discharged from the Navy or Army in consequence of wounds or sickness contracted on service, viz:

Joseph Bedford, ex 8th Royal Berks (wounds)
E H Bracey, ex MGC (wounds)
Arthur L Collins, ex 2nd Anzacs, AEF (sickness)
Ernest Goddard, ex 1st Royal Berks (wounds)
William Goddard, another son of Joel Goddard, born and bred in Burghfield, but not resident for some years, has also been discharged, ex RE, on account of wounds.

Obituary Notices

Percy G Day, a gallant lad who enlisted “because he thought it was his duty”, though he broke his apprenticeship by doing so, was son of George Day of Trash Green. He was in the 2/4th Royal Berks, but was found not strong enough to go to France with the Battalion in May 1916, and was latterly employed on munition work in Leeds, where he died on 6th October in hospital.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1917 (D/EX725/4)

Cheer him in his pain and solitude

Members of Maidenhead Congregational Church were serving in various fields. One man was having a nice break in Malta on his way to the east, while another was suffering with a severe wound.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Sidney Eastman sent us a message announcing his arrival at Malta. He says,

“A line of greeting from an isle of sunshine and blossoms! The brilliant blue of sea and sky, white sails and grey giants, sandstone rocks and golden architecture, vividly focussed by the eyes of an enthusiast, convey to the chambers of memory a mental masterpiece in the producing of which nature and man work hand in hand – nature gives light while man gives shade. I am very fit now, and much enjoying a day or two of respite here.”

Evidently the “sunshine and blossoms” have got into our deacon’s soul.

Reginald Hill has been rather badly wounded and is at the Wharncliff War Hospital at Sheffield. We may be quite sure that letters from any of his old friends of the West Street Church would cheer him in his pain and solitude, and would be joyfully welcomed. Letters should be addressed, “17 Ward, 6 Block.” We are glad to know that his doctors anticipate that he will probably make quite a good recovery.

Ernest Bristow is in Hospital in France, suffering from influenza.

Alfred Vardy was married on March 8th to Miss Coxhead, and is now on active service in France.

We were glad to see Ernest Mead on Sunday last looking quite fit and well.

W.H. Clark has arrived at Salonika.

A. Lane has been transferred with his section to Marlow.

Charles Catliffe is with a Signal section at a Camp near Bedford.

MILITARY MOVEMENTS.

Most of the Engineers who have been for some months in training at Maidenhead have been removed elsewhere, and at least an equal number have been brought to our town to take their place. The new-comers seem to appreciate the comforts of the Clubroom more than their predecessors, and use it in much larger numbers. But the Free Church parade service has suffered. So far, only a few attend, instead of the eighty or more of recent months. Perhaps the organization has been at fault, and we will yet hope for better things.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, April 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Khaki chit-chat

There was plenty of news of men belonging to a Congregational church in east Reading.

Khaki Chit-Chat.

Friends will be pleased to hear that Segt. Leslie Smith, who lies in hospital at Stourbridge, is now making very good progress. I believe I am right when I say that he received his wounds as far back as three months ago. The injury to his ankle has been proving rather seriously troublesome, and that, combined with the low state to which his general health sank, gave grave cause for anxiety about a month ago. Since then, however, bad news has turned to good, and good, which we hope will yet grow better.

Sergt. Gilbert Smith, his brother, arrived home last month on leave, to the joy of his family circle and his friends. We congratulate him upon looking so well, and trust that good fortune will continue with him.

We are sorry to hear through Mrs. Jordan that our caretaker has been in hospital recently with frost-bite. This is not altogether surprizing when one remembers that the weather in France where our men are is not one whit less severe than it is at home here. We are glad he is out of hospital again, and hope he will get the boots he needs. If he doesn’t, then we hope that next time he will be invalided home for a spell.

Sergt. Taylor, son of Mr. A Taylor, of Bishops Road, is at present in a hospital in Scotland, going through the slow process of recovering from shrapnel wounds. We sympathize with his home people and especially his wife, in their feeling that to be so far north means that he is just as much out of reach as he would have been had he been kept in France.

Mr. Taylor, of Talfourd Avenue, has been home on leave recently from Salonika. It was extremely unfortunate that he happened to be so unwell for a great part of his visit here. Better luck next time, or rather let us hope that when next he returns it will be for good.

Leslie Newey is “joining up” the 1st of March. We admire his eagerness to follow his brother’s steps, but hope for several reasons that he will be disappointed in his desire to get to France.

Mr. Goddard wrote from Bedford the other day a cheering and encouraging letter to the Sunday School, in he stated that he is taking a class in the Sunday School there. A man who can do that when he joins the army and leaves home is “keeping fit” in more senses than one.

Sergt. Jones, son-in-law of Mr. Lindsey, is in one of our local hospitals undergoing treatment for his right arm, we regret to say that the degree of future usefulness of this unfortunate limb is a matter of uncertainty. There is ground for hope, however, and we trust that the best possible will be eventually be realized.

We were glad to see Mr Planner and Mr. Clement Tregay looking so well during their recent visits home. Mr. Watkins has also been home recently on leave. The first and last of these are now “somewhere in France,” as is also Mr Thomas who, we hoped, was destined to stay in the old country.

Mr. T. Brown is at present enjoying the gentler climate of Lower Egypt.

Jess Prouten is still in Mesopotamia, and I believe would be glad to hear oftener from old Reading friends.

Old friends of Park will be pleased to hear of the visit of a certain man in khaki to the Institute the other day. He was an Australian on leave (Tom Vinicombe, an old scholar of the Sunday School), and he explained his appearance by saying that he thought he would like to have a look at the place where he had spent such happy times as a boy.

Recently our Week-night Services have been rather changing in their character. The subjects taken are matters of general interest and they are treated from the strictly Christian and spiritual point of view. Among those dealt with hitherto have been “The Local Controversy on Spiritualism,” “President Wilson’s Attitude and Ideals,” “The Work of British Women in France,” and “The Housing Problem in the Light of the War.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, March 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

The right spirit

Several soldiers from Clewer had been reported killed.

In Memoriam

The sad news has come to us that two of our late Servers, Walter Bedford and Alfred Hearn, have fallen on the Field of Battle. They have left behind them a memory, which will be long cherished amongst us, as that of two young men of blameless life, devoted to the service of the Church, who gave their all to the Cause of God and their Country.

Alfred Hearn has left a widow and one child to mourn his loss. Walter B. Bedford had been in our Choir from his childhood, until some few years ago when he took up work in London, where he also joined a Choir. R.I.P.

The Major of his Brigade writes of Walter Bedford:- “I am more than sorry to lose him, and so is every one from the General downwards. The two years he has been with me he has always taken things in the right spirit and never complained of hardships.” A comrade also writes:- “He was such a good pal, and always did his duty as a Briton should.” He was brought up from his childhood by his aunt, Mrs. Squelch, in the Surly Hall Road.

We have just heard the sad news of the death of Luke Bowler, Lance-Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, aged 22, also killed in action. We offer our sympathy to his mother. – R.I.P.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P39/28A/9)

“The horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded”

The vicar of Earley St Peter faced the enormity of the challenge of the National Mission.

THE NATIONAL MISSION OF REPENTANCE AND HOPE

It is doubtful whether the Church of England has ever been called to a task so great as that to which we are now summoned by the Archbishops. There have been great movements within the Church; but this is a movement of the whole Church, a call to discharge that mission to the nation, as a nation, with which it is entrusted. The times require such an effort; the horizon of men’s thoughts has been suddenly and immensely expanded; we are conscious, as most of us were not two years ago, of our membership in the nation, and of the responsibility of our nation in the world.

Our sons and brothers at the Front are serving their nation and helping it to meet its responsibility, at the risk of their lives; many of them in doing so are finding a new realisation of God. We at home must seek from God the power to rise to new heights so that we may be worthy of their sacrifice and provide for them on their return a home that will sustain their spirit of devotion to duty and service to God.

But to this end we must first take stock of ourselves. Very much has come to light which shows the need for amendment and renewal of life. It is sad to find how little the manhood of the nation, as represented by the men in training camps and the like, is really touched by the church. We have not brought home the message with which we are entrusted as it needs to be brought home. We must seek in prayer and meditation and conference to find the cause of our ineffectiveness where it exists, so that we may repent of it and remove it where it lies in ourselves as individuals or as members of the Church in our neighbourhood.

If we will do that, there is before us a great hope – the hope of an England leavened and guided in regard to its whole life, domestic, social, industrial, political, international, by a Church whose members have sought the will of God in humility and prayer….

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
James Ilott, Albert Barton, William Pocock, Edward Whitworth, Alfred Harris, Albert Higgs, Wilfred Capel, George Bungay, Frank Bedford, Herbert Canning, Donald Hendy, Alfred Harwood, Albert Brown, Charles Webb.

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

Sick and Wounded: Maurice Holliday, Alfred Smith, Albert Hiscock, Albert Saunders.
Prisoner of War: Albert Harwood.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/6)

Hard training under canvas

A teacher from Reading School who had recently joined up wrote to his headmaster to report on his experiences. Unfortunately, he later found that he had been sacked while on service despite having been promised that his job would be held open. He sued.

June 7th 1916
A Company 2/7 Bat RWF Regiment
Stationed at Elveden Camp
Thetford
Norfolk

Dear Mr Keeton

Many thanks for your letter regarding my application for a testimonial. I agree with you that it might be better to have it later on so as to have it up-to-date, as well as adapted to circumstances. It will also diminish the chances of its being lost either on my travels or at home.

As you will notice from the address, we have been moved from North Wales. We left Abergele rather over a week ago and were sent to Bedford to join the 68th Division, and then sent on here for a few weeks’ special training. I have had a chat with my platoon officer, but he told me there was no probability of my obtaining my commission later on unless I can pass for General Service, and that of course is out of the question owing to my sight.

We have been subjected to rather hard training down here, and are living under canvas. Weather so far has been fairly propitious, however, with the exception of a few thunderstorms and occasional showers of rain. In a few weeks we expect to move again, either back to Bedford or else to a new place.

Yours sincerely
C W Hardisty.

Letter to the headmaster of Reading School (SCH3/5/50)

An experiment training women in light farmwork

Reading University pioneered the recruitment of women to work on farms, as the County Council’s Agricultural Organiser reported. However, he was unconvinced by proposals to settle Belgian refugees on a lavishly stocked smallholding.


ANALYSES MADE BY THE COLLEGE
On account of the members of the staff of the analytical department of the Faculty being absent on military duty, the College had had unfortunately to temporarily close this branch of the work….

WOMEN AND FARM WORK
The members of the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee will be pleased to hear that an effort is being made by University College to assist the farmer in the difficulty of the scarcity of labour by training women in milking and other light farm work, and drafting them out to different farms. This work was started purely from an experimental standpoint. So far the venture has been justified, and to such an extent that the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries are taking a lively interest in it. Should the demand for the services of women for farm work increase it might become necessary to extend the facilities for training them, and it would appear that it is at this stage that the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee could co-operate in the scheme, should such necessity arise…

BELGIAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE
I interviewed Sir Richard Paget, the Chairman of the above Committee, together with Monsieur de Meyer, the Belgian Agronome, in regard to the utilisation of families of refugees for the purpose of demonstrating Belgian intensive methods in this country. In brief I was informed that there were very few agricultural refugees in England, and the Committee desired to place no less than 15 families in one colony. This of course, apart from other considerations, is impossible on account of the necessary housing accommodation not being available. To satisfy the conditions laid down by the Refugee Committee in regard to even one family would seem to be too big an undertaking financially for the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee. Should such a demonstration holding be attempted, it would be necessary to set aside approximately 8 acres of land equipped with suitable buildings for family and stock, livestock and implements. Manure and seed, and a subsistence allowance for the holder’s family would need to provided during the first year. Moreover, a portion of the land would be set aside for market garden purposes and would need to be equipped with suitable frames and steam pipes. In so far as one can judge at the present stage, heavy expenditure would appear to be necessary, and even supposing that such expenditure would rank for Government grant on the usual basis, it is doubtful whether the finances of the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee alone, without other assistance, would permit of the suggestions as set out in Sir Richard Paget’s circular letter being adopted…

G S Bedford
Agricultural Organiser for Berkshire
University College, Reading
1st April 1915

Report of the Agricultural Organiser to BCC’s Agricultural Instruction Committee (C/CL/C1/1/18)

Christmas presents from America for soldiers’ children

Christmas was never likely to be a happy one for the children whose fathers had volunteered to serve. Not only did they fear for their father’s safety, but money might well be in shorter supply than usual. Happily well wishers in America (still neutral) sent a selection of gifts.

GIFTS FOR SAILORS’ & SOLDIERS’ CHILDREN.
Presents have been sent from America, and were added to by the ‘Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families’ Association’, for the children of those in this Country engaged in War. The numbers of such children in this parish were given by the Rector to Mrs. Benyon, who very kindly sent a box of gifts for them. These were distributed by the Rector and Mrs. Angel-Smith in the Parish Room on Saturday, January 30th. The Mothers who received for their children are: Mrs. Bedford, Mrs. Burgess, Mrs. Butler, Mrs. William Cox, Mrs. Day, Mrs. Dyer, Mrs. Pusey and Mrs. Van Veen.

Theale parish magazine, February 1915 (D/P132B/28A/4)

The noblest death a man can die

Theale men were continuing to join up, even as another paid the price of patriotism. The church paid tribute to him, while praying for peace.

FOR KING AND COUNTRY.

The following names of those serving are added to those already published:

Harry Janes, Third Officer, H.M. Transport, No. 186.
Harry Ernest Webber, Royal Berks Reserve.

ROLL OF HONOUR.

Killed in Action.
Oct. 5th. – George Bedford, 1st Royal Berks Regiment, No. 6627.
Aged 32 Years

The Service of Intercession on Thursday, November 19th, was devoted to his memory.

“He was a good Churchman, and a good man, steady and industrious, a devoted Husband and Father. He has given his life for his King and Country, the noblest death a man can die. We commend his soul to the gracious keeping of our Heavenly Father, and pay Him to comfort and support his widow and orphaned child.”

From the Rector’s address.

George Bedford, having been a member of the Diocesan Guild, and a ringer in our Belfry, a muffled peal was rung to his memory on Saturday evening, November 21st.

CHRISTMAS.
We cannot utter the traditional wish for a “Merry Christmas this year, for the dark cloud of War will still overshadow us. But we wish our readers and all in our parish a “Blessed” Christmas, which is the Bible word for “Happy.” And let us all pray on the Birthday of the Prince of Peace, that God may soon give to use and all the world the Blessing of Peace.

Theale parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P132B/28A/4)

It may almost be called a World War

The Theale parish magazine may be one of the first places to use the phrase “World War”.

THE WAR.
During the last four weeks out thoughts have been full of what may almost be called the ‘World War’ in which Great Britain and the Empire have been forced to intervene to make good her solemn and repeated pledge to support the neutrality of Belgium, ruthlessly attacked by Germany, which had signed the same pledge, to fulfil our obligations to our allies, the French, suffering from wanton military despotism, and for our own preservation. In this righteous cause tha nation is prepared to make every sacrifice, and its justified in appealing to God to bless her efforts and to give us victory. Prayers have been offered in our Church since the opening of the War. But alas! it is likely to be a long struggle, and we must go on praying. ‘Prayer must be made without ceasing of the Church,’ so we invited out people to attend a short ‘Service of Intercession’ every Friday evening at 7 o’clock, and to attend the Sunday Services in far larger numbers for the same purpose.

The collections made in our Church on Sunday, August 16th , amounted to £12 14s. 6½d., to which were added subsequent contributions, bringing the total sum sent to the ‘Prince of Wales’s National Defence Fund’ up to £16 9s. 0d., a most generous gift from our parish. A receipt for this amount has been received from Buckingham Palace by Mr. D. M. Davies, Churchwarden, and have been placed in the Church Porch.

‘God Save the King’ will be sung in our Church at the close of each Sunday Evening Service. The rector is making a list of all who are gone forth as sailors or soldiers from our parish to serve their Country, which he read out in Church last Sunday evening. He will be glad to receive the names of any that have been omitted, or who may join in future. Let us remember them by name in our prayers.

The following have already gone from their homes in Theale to serve their Country:-

Thomas Beasley, Kitchener’s Army.
George Bedford, Royal Berks Regiment, Bellringer.
Percy Bowley, Territorials.
George William Burgess, R.A.M.C.
Walter Butler, R.A.M.C.
Albert Chapman, Territorials.
Sergeant-Major Davies, R.A.M.C.
Alfred Day, Territorials.
George William Duckett, Kitchener’s.
Frank Eatwell, Royal Marines.
Albert George Fisher, Kitchener’s.
William Fisher, Royal Horse Artillery.
Lance-Sergeant Frank Hill, Royal Berks Regiment.
Lieutenant Clarence Krabbè, Royal Berks Yeomanry.
Reginald William Leavy, Territorials.
Sidney Parsons, Royal Navy.
Herbert Parsons, Royal Navy.
Richard Parsons, Territorials.
John Parsons, Territorials.
George Henry Pusey, Territorials, formerly 5th Lancers.
Edwin William Rouse, Kitchener’s, Bellringer.
Edward Theodore Van Veen, Yeomanry Territorials.
James Wright, Kitchener’s.
Oscar Wyatt, Artillery Territorials, Bellringer.

Theale parish magazine, September 1914 (D/P132B/28A/4)