Belgians have lunch at Bisham

A Belgian refugee family came to lunch at Bisham Abbey

10 May 1917
The Van de Verves came to luncheon – went round garden.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Calling on the Belgians

Florence Vansittart Neale invited local refugees to lunch at Bisham Abbey.

9 May 1917
H & I to Maidenhead – he to massage. Left screens at Red X Hospital. Called on Belgians – asked them to come tomorrow to lunch, 4!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Belgian refugees can now fend for themselves

The Belgian refugees supported by the Congregational Church in Maidenhead were now more or less self supporting.

THE BELGIAN REFUGEES.
At a meeting of the Subscribers held in the Lecture Room on March 8th, it was resolved that as Mr. Van Hoof is now in regular employment, and as the Treasurer has about £30 in hand, subscriptions might safely be allowed to cease. The rent of the house in Fairford Road is still to be paid for the present. As the Subscribers do not wish to cast off any responsibilities they have assumed, it was agreed that should any emergency arise, such as serious illness or prolonged unemployment, they should again be called together to determine what course should be adopted.

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

Thankofferings from the Christmas dinner table

Winkfield people continued to support our allies in beleagured Belgium, and more women were called to help making clothes and bandages for the wounded.

THE BELGIAN RELIEF FUND.

The envelopes for thankofferings from the Christmas dinner table, which were distributed throughout the parish, have been opened and the contents counted by the Vicar and Churchwarden. Ninety-two envelopes were returned and the total amounted to £12 2s. 5d., which was forwarded to the National Committee for Relief in Belgium.

Mrs. Maynard would be glad to receive the names of any from the Church end of the parish who would be willing to work for the Red Cross, either at home, if materials were provided, or at a Working Party at the Vicarage once a week.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

War charities registered

The County Council’s War Charities Sub-committee had been busy registering local war charities, ranging from bandage making to Christmas gifts for the armed forces.

REGISTRATIONS

Since the last report to the Council the following applications for registration under the War Charities Act, 1916, have been approved, and the Clerk has been instructed to issue certificates and to notify the Charity Commissioners:

No of Cert. Name of Charity Applicant

21 Bracknell War Work Depot (Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild) Mrs Littlewood, Hillside, Bracknell

22 Hanney Xmas Tree Fund for men serving HM Forces H. Leslie Edwards, schoolmaster, Hanney

23 Bracknell Xmas Parcels Fund Canon H. Barnett, Bracknell Vicarage

24 Bradfield District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society C J Haviland, Mead House, Bradfield

25 Bracknell Oaklea Auxiliary Hospital Mrs L A Berwick, Sunny Rise, Bracknell

26 Crowthorne Waste Paper Collection of War Charities Miss H M M Moody, Ferndene, Crowthorne

27 Wargrave Woodclyffe Auxiliary Hospital W. Ryder, The Little House, Wargrave

28 Wokingham Work Guild Mrs H M Lomax, Frog Hall, Wokingham

29 South Easthampstead District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Miss E Monck, Aldworth, Crowthorne

30 Heatherside Auxiliary Military Hospital Miss E Monck, Aldworth, Crowthorne

31 Finchampstead Belgian Refugees S F Smithson, The Old Rectory, Finchampstead

32 Maidenhead Rural North Branch of British Red Cross Society Mrs Carpendale, Pinkneys Green

33 Hungerford Sailors and Soldiers Xmas Parcel Fund E C Townshend, Willows Close, Hungerford

34 Finchampstead Hospital Supply Depot Miss L M Hopkinson, Wyse Hill, Finchampstead

35 Bourton War Hospital Supply Depot Mrs W H Ames, Church Farm House, Bourton

36 Hungerford District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

37 The VAD Red Cross Hospital, Hungerford A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

38 The VAD Red Cross Hospital, Barton Court, Kintbury A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

39 Twyford and Ruscombe War Committee Rev. R W H Acworth, Twyford Vicarage

40 Sonning and Woodley Surgical Requisites Association Mrs C Christie Miller, The Deanery, Sonning

41 Mortimer VAD Hospital Miss F M Wyld, Highbury, Mortimer

42 Waltham St Lawrence Prisoners of War Fund Claude M Warren, Old School House, Shurlock Row

43 Wokingham South Rural District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Mrs A M Western, The Coppice, Finchamapstead

44 Registered in error – subsequently cancelled

45 Ascot Military Hospital Miss Nora Collie, Ascot Military Hospital

46 Wantage District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Miss Gertrude Elliott, Ginge Manor, Wantage

47 Binfield Popeswood Auxiliary Hospital Henry E A Wiggett, White Lodge, Binfield

48 Spencers Wood Local Red Cross Fund Rev. F T Lewarne, Spencers Wood, Reading

49 Faringdon District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Henry Procter, Gravel Walk, Faringdon

EXEMPTION CERTIFICATES (to 7 January, 1917, only)

2 Burghfield Sailors and Soldiers Xmas Parcel Fund H G Willink, JP, Hillfields, Burghfield

3 East Challow Xmas Presents Concert Fund Miss E B Vince, Manor Farm, East Challow

4 Kintbury Xmas Presents Fund Mrs Alice G Mahon, Barton Holt, Kintbury

Report of War Charities Sub-committee of BCC, 20 January 1917 C/CL/C1/1/20)

“We will always admire the English people and think of them as true friends”

The Belgian family being supported by members of a Maidenhead church were deeply grateful for their Christmas gifts.

OUR BELGIAN GUESTS.

The Committee sent to 14, Fairford Road, a parcel of goodies for Christmas, with kind wishes, and received the following acknowledgement:

“Dear Members of the Committee, we wish you all a Merry Christmas. We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us. We all wish that 1917 will bring both victory and peace. We will always admire the English people and think of them as true friends. We will always remain your friends. The family Van Hoof.”

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

Cakes and money for Belgian refugees

Belgian refugees in Cranbourne were treated to a New Year party.

The Cranbourne Committee responsible for the care of the Belgian Refugees in the neighbourhood, entertained the Refugees in the Sunday School on January 2nd. Many kind presents of cakes and money were received from the ladies of the parish, most of whom were present at the tea. A very enjoyable evening was spent.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

Offerings for the suffering Belgian children

Cranbourne churchgoers and Sunday School children were moved by the sufferings of children in wartorn Belgium.

The collections for the Red Cross and Order of St. John in Jerusalem at the Intercession Services on December 31st amounted to £8 13s. 4d. The purses for offerings for the suffering Belgian children were also received the same day. The children of the Sunday School and some members of the congregation had passed these round the dinner table on Christmas Day. The children’s contribution amounted to £1 0s. 9d. and that of the congregation to £4 10s. 9d., making a total of £5 11s. 6d. We received a most grateful letter of thanks from the London Committee.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

Thankful recognition of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country

The Bishop of Oxford urged Berkshire people to take part in the Day of National Prayer on 31 December.

Wokingham

Day of National Prayer.

The following announcement is made by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York:-

In accordance with what was done throughout England on the first Sunday of the years 1915 and 1916, it is proposed that in the Cathedrals and parish churches of England on Sunday, December 31st next, special prayer should be offered in connection with the war, and thankful recognition made of the devotion which has been shown by the manhood and the womanhood of our country.

Reading

December 31st

The last day in the year will be observed as a day of special prayer and thanksgiving in connection with the War. The collections at all the services will be given to the Red Cross Society and the Order of the Society of S. John of Jerusalem, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Archbishop.

Earley

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

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

Your prayers are specially asked
For the good hand of God upon us in the war.
For our allies, and especially for the Roumanians [sic] and the Belgians…
For the day of prayer concerning the war (December 31st).

THE DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE NATION AT WAR

December 31st has been fixed as a day of prayer. You will not need material to help your devotion, as, I think, we have sufficient. But, as the strain of the war increases and there are no signs of the end, we need to be more than ever faithful and importunate in common prayer.

C. OXON

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:
Victor Jennings, Charles Bowden, Walter Ravening, Cecil Ravening, William Parsons, Joseph Cane, Frederick Brooker, Percy Brooker, Henry Furnell, Charles Smith, Frederick Smithers.

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

Sick: Frederick Allen, William Worsfold.
Killed: Stephen Ravening, Arthur Furnell, Frank Furnell, Thomas Brooker, Albert Hall.
Missing: Allan Smit.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P154C/28A/1); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P98/28A/14); Earley parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/12)

The Christmas Dinner Table Collection for Belgian children

The Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine issued an appeal to families to make a Christmas dinner collection for the benefit of children in wartorn Belgium.

December 1916
An Appeal is being made for Belgian children. An envelope will be left at every house. Will you pass it round at your Xmas dinner.

January 1917, p.49 “Belgian Children Relief Fund.- The Christmas Dinner Table Collection amounted to £12 5s. The distribution and collection of the envelopes in the Parish was undertaken and carried out by the ‘Wolf Cubs,’ and we are glad that their efforts were so successful.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1916 and January 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Belgians want peace at any price – and no wonder

Florence Vansittart Neale was depressed by the war news, while Lockinge-born railway worker William Hallam was making weapons for the war in Swindon.

Florence Vansittart Neale
8 December 1916

Lloyd George forming a ministry. Things in bad way. Greece blockaded. Fear for troops in Salonika….

Met Gustav Kupor. Feel very sorry for Belgian soldiers. No wonder they want peace at any price.

William Hallam
8th December 1916

In to work at 6 to night and by the morning I had finished this war work. Howitzer gun arches.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

Unjustly punished

The Visiting Committee of justices of the peace who regularly inspected Reading Prison found that they had a more challenging role with the prison now occupied by interned enemy aliens – some of whom would have preferred to be treated as PoWs, even though they were from friendly nations. Milan Christitch or Kristitch was a Serbian tailor, and Rene Stassen a Belgian cornbroker.

2nd December 1916

Rene Stassen, Alien, asked for a reply to his application on various subjects made to the committee at their last meeting [though not minuted then].

Milan Christitch complained that he had been unjustly punished by the Governor, also about his work, and also could he be transferred to a Camp.

Was informed he must petition to the Secretary of State.

Reading Prison Visiting Committee minutes (P/RP1/6/1)

Belgian refugees leave Ascot

A Belgian refugee couple who had found a home in Ascot had moved on.

THE BELGIAN REFUGEES, to whom the Parish has given hospitality for two years, have left Ascot. The furniture kindly lent by friends for their house has been returned. Some of it which is not wanted back by the owners is to be sold, by their permission, at the Rummage Sale on December 1st.

The thanks of the parish are due to those who managed the Belgians’ affairs during their stay among us. We trust Monsieur and Madame Dardin will be happy in their new home in Richmond.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1916 (D/P151/28A/12)

Some cease to contribute to Belgian relief

Members of Maidenhead Congregational Church continued to support their Belgian families, but in slightly fewer numbers.

BELGIAN RELIEF FUND.

The Secretary of the above fund desires to report that sufficient money will be forthcoming in the present system, if subscriptions are maintained, to allow our guests rent, gas, and a limited supply of coal, thereby leaving them the wages received from employment at Wycombe (a nett amount of 27/- per week) for food and clothing.

In spite of rumours to the contrary, it will be necessary to continue subscriptions at any rate during the winter months, and, on the present much reduced basis, the emergency fund will have to be used to some extent to make up the amounts of subscribers who, for one cause and another, have ceased to contribute.

The Treasurer will be glad to have the arrears, which, in a few cases, have been allowed to accumulate, and will be pleased to forward a statement of amounts owing on application.

OUR MILITARY.

We offer hearty congratulations to Mr. Cyril Hews upon his promotion to 2nd Lieut. He has been in the Army from the outbreak of the war, and has done a lot of hard work in this country and in France.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, November 1916 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Blinded soldiers turn to chicken rearing

Berkshire County Council and its committees dealt with several war related matters. One was the registration of the multitude of independent war charities which had sprung up.

Report of School Management Sub-committee, 14 October 1916

HEAD TEACHERS AND MILITARY SERVICE

The following Head Teachers have rejoined the Army since the last meeting: Mr Mills (Childrey), Mr Hunt (Cold Ash), Mr Bird (Priestwood), Mr Andrews (Mortimer St Mary’s) and Mr Verrall (Brimpton). Their places have been filled temporarily by the appointment of the Certificated Assistant (Woman) of their respective schools, or by the transfer of a teacher from another school.

Report of Smallholdings and Allotments Committee, 14 October 1916

COTTAGES AND LAND FOR BLINDED SOLDIERS, &C, FOR POULTRY FARMING

Enquiries were made on behalf of the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Hostel, St Dunstan’s, as to whether any assistance could be given in finding locations near Reading for Blinded Soldiers who have been taught chicken rearing. They require a cottage and about an acre of ground at a rent not exceeding £30 per annum.

The agents in the Reading district were asked if they had any suitable properties available, but from the replies received it appeared that no suitable places were available for renting, and only three or four were put forward for sale.

It was stated by St Dunstan’s that at present only leasing could be considered.

Report of the War Charities Committee, 14 October 1916

The following applications for registration under the War Charities Act, 1916, have not been approved, and the Clerk instructed to issue certificates and to notify the Charity Commissioners: (more…)