The best results are obtained only by getting into touch with the men personally

Thousands of wounded or sick troops had now returned home. the nation owed them support for their service. Some needed medical help, others re-training for new occupations, or help finding jobs.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that they have been notified of approximately 2,524 disabled soldiers and sailors discharged into the county. Of the cases now entered upon the Register, which exclude those being investigated, the numbers specifying disabilities are as follows:

Amputation of leg or foot 51
Amputation of arm or hand 34
Other wounds or injuries to leg or foot 353
Other wounds or injuries to arm or hand 147
Other wounds or injuries to head 69
Other wounds or injuries 192
Blindness and other eye affections 77
Heart diseases 217
Chest complaints 93
Tuberculosis 101
Deafness and affections of the ear 72
Rheumatism 151
Epilepsy 37
Neurasthenia 47
Other mental affections 31
Other disabilities 532

Of this number all have been provided with a Medical Attendant [i.e. a doctor] under the National Health Insurance Act, and special treatment, including the supply or repair of artificial limbs and surgical appliances, has been provided in accordance with the recommendations of Military Authorities, Medical Boards or ordinary medical Attendants.

From the 1 April 1917, 280 cases have received Institutional treatment – both in and out-patient – at Military Hospitals, Civil Hospitals, Sanatoria, Cottage Hospitals or Convalescent Homes.
The total number of tuberculous soldiers and sailors to date is 101, and of these 72 have received Institutional treatment within the County under the County Scheme and three have received Institutional treatment outside the County Scheme. This treatment is provided through the County Insurance Committee.

The Committee has assisted with Buckinghamshire War Pensions Committee in the provision of a new wing for Orthopaedic Treatment at the King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor. This, which was urgently needed, and will be of the greatest benefit to men in that part of the county, will be opened in the course of two or three weeks. The Committee has also been instrumental with the Buckinghamshire Committee in obtaining the approval of the Minister of Pensions to a proposed Scheme for the provision, equipment, and establishment of a special hospital for totally disabled soldiers and sailors at Slough and an assurance from the Ministry of adequate fees for maintenance thereof. Her Royal Highness Princess Alice is forming a provisional Committee, and we have every hope that the proposed arrangements will e speedily carried into effect.
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The spiritual welfare of those who are so ready to give their lives in the great cause

Reading churchgoers were asked to contribute towards the cost of building a chapel at the closest army camp.

The Vicar’s Notes
Best greetings and blessings to all the parish for the New Year. There seem to be real signs at last of the prospect of peace. God grant that, when it comes, it may be real and lasting.

The Following Appeal comes from the Bishop of Buckingham.

Halton Camp.

With the approach of winter the problem of holding the church parade Services for this large camp has become acute. The accommodation provided by the Churches in the immediate neighbourhood, and by the Y.M.C.A. huts (which are readily lent for the purpose, and which are doing such excellent work), is quite insufficient for the purpose. With the present accommodation it would require many more parades than are possible every Sunday to take in all the troops attending Church.

It is proposed therefore to erect a large wooden building capable of holding 1,000 to 1,500 men, such has been found suitable in other large camps. The primary objective would be to make provision for the Church services during the winter, but the building would also be available for other purposes. It is estimated that the cost of such a building would be £1,000. Voluntary help would be given by qualified architects among the troops and Royal Engineers.

This is the only large camp in the Diocese of Oxford, and we feel that the Church people of the Diocese will be desirous of showing their interest in the spiritual welfare of those who are so ready to give their lives in the great cause by making by making a prompt and adequate answer to this appeal. It is most desirable that the matter should be put in hand at once, before the severe weather sets in.

The scheme has the hearty approval of the General Officer Commanding and the Bishop of Oxford and the Bishop of Buckingham.

Subscriptions will be thankfully received by the Senior Chaplain, the Rev. P.W.N. Shirley, Halton Camp, Bucks, or by the Bishop of Buckingham, Beaconsfield.

Sympathy

During the past month there has been an exceptional amount of sickness and a large number of deaths. Our deepest sympathy is given to all those who have suffered the loss of those near and dear to them. May the divine comforter bring them every consolation and support in their time of sorrow.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P96/28A/15)

Should price rises mean OAPs got extra help?

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund met again at Shire Hall, Reading, to discuss applications for financial support due to the circumstances of the war. The committee would go quiet after this with a minor meeting on 3 June 1916 with no substantive matters discussed, and no other meetings until 1917.

4 December 1915

Miss Pott reported that no further application had been received from Mrs Pounds of Peasemore; that Mrs Forrester had found employment in one of Boots’ supply stores in the London district & was also in receipt of an allowance from the Central Bureau for the Employment of Women; & that the grant of £100 asked for had been received from the Government Committee of the NRF.

Applications for relief were reported from
Brandon, Maidenhead. The applicant being resident in Buckinghamshire, his application had been refused.
Chapman, Theale. Reported that the local Committee recommended that no further relief be give,
Patterson, Maidenhead. The Chairman reported that he had authorized a further grant of 10/- per week for 2 weeks so that the allowance would continue until January 2, 1916, after which the applicant would be in receipt of other monies. The Committee confirmed the Chairman’s action.
Turner, Wantage. Resolved that the case be referred back for further information, and be decided by the Chairman upon the facts supplied by the Local Secretary.

Miss Pott reported that the Abingdon Secretary had written to ask whether the Committee would give relief to Old Age Pensioners in consideration of the rise in cost of living. That she had laid the letter before Mr Nisbet, the Local Government Board Inspector, who had replied that the Government Commission of the NRF had decided against relief being given on such grounds; & that a copy of Mr Nisbet’s letter had been sent to Abingdon.

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

“No German shell will ever penetrate the Bucks accent”

Percy Spencer was still delighted by news of his sister’s engagement, and had some cheery reports for her of life near the Front. The amusing books Florence was sending him were going down well.

9.9.15
Dear Florrie

Hurrah! for the good tidings of great joy. Don’t let anything postpone it.

Give my love to Mr Image and tell him all my sympathy is his. Poor fellow, he’ll never have any peace at all now, and as for an enjoyable pipe, already he must see the vision of it fast fading. They’re always sending our fellows away upon courses of instruction in the various arts of killing; why not send you away for a 14 day’s pipe loading course with say a one day refresher course occasionally. Something of the kind will have to be done.

Well dear, I’ve no news to tell you except that I’m very busy so don’t expect to hear from me much. But don’t worry.

I’ll write when I can, and when I can’t, take it for granted I’m all right. I’ll let you know soon enough if I’m not all right.

I’ve just discovered a Maidenhead boy in our Signal Section; also a Wycombe man who went to school with the Skulls! So I think I’m safe enough, as the Signal Office is between me and the enemy, and no German shell will ever penetrate the Bucks accent, or anybody connected to a Wycombite Skull. After thinking it over carefully, I’m sure you’ll agree that even Will in his worst moments couldn’t beat that at short notice.

“Short [Cruises?]” has been a Godsend to us. The Quartermaster Sergeant has even been seen to smile once or twice lately since I lent it to him, and he confesses that it’s done him a world of good. It’s just the sort of thing we have time for, and the style of reading to take us away from the monotony of our affairs.

My heartiest good wishes and love to you both
Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/4/44)