Cake to celebrate peace

10th July 1919
Cake for Peace Celebrations

The Master reported … that a quantity of cake would be required for the inmates in connection with the festivities for the Peace Celebration, and he was directed to make the best arrangements he could to obtain the same.

Report of Stores & Furnishing Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Internees allowed to purchase anything that can be purchased by ordinary outside people

A series of exchanges about food supplies at Reading Prison shows how internees could supplement the official rations.

30 July 1918
As bacon is now obtainable without coupons, some of the interned prisoners are asking if they may buy some, if they can get it.
Instructions requested please.
C M Morgan
Gov

Please state what articles of diet the Internees are permitted to purchase & whether there is any limit in quantity.
OFNT
6-8.18

They are allowed to purchase anything that can be purchased by ordinary outside people – except extra cereals, ie cake, biscuits; and their jam purchase is limited to 8 oz per head per week (in addition to what is issued to them).
C M Morgan
Gov
8/8/18

This may be permitted if it can be obtained locally and does not interfere with the supplies available for the general population in the neighbourhood.
OFNT
13/8/18

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

“May this terrible war not last another year, but may the world be blest once more with peace, but this time for evermore”

Here is our diarists’ take on the war’s fourth anniversary:

Joan Daniels of Reading
August 4th Sunday

The fourth anniversary of the war & therefore Remembrance Day so Mummie, Elsie, Ruth & I went to church to intercession service.

May this terrible war not last another year, but may the world be blest once more with peace, but this time for evermore….

War news still splendid, we have now advanced 30 miles at some points.

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey
4 August 1918

½ an hour too early for early church – then went again at 11. Nice little service – Intercessions to Russian hymn.

William Hallam of Swindon
4th August 1918

Wife & Marj. to St. Sav. at 8 to H.C. & I went to St Paul’s at XI.

F & L. went up to Lockinge at 3 o’clock.

To-night we had a cake for tea with currants in, the first time since before Xmas.

Diaries of Joan Daniels (D/EX1341/1); Florence Vansittart neale (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

The men have little beyond what they stand in

The Governor of Reading was anxious about how to deal with gifts sent to the Irish internees from home, when they were banned from receiving letters.

Place of Internment
Reading
28 May 1918

1. Will the Commissioners please inform me what I should do with letters that arrive for the Irish interned prisoners – several have come today. I should prefer not to open them, as they many contain money – which would have to be acknowledged, and also as the men would not have the letters, it might lead to questions as to the amount received. I cannot well put them with property as any money orders would lapse. Should they be marked not delivered and returned to Post Office?

2. Parcels – should they be opened & delivered or returned or what is being done?

3. All of the men have requested to write for money and clothing. My instructions at present are no letters or visits. 1 and 3 depend on each other as regards letters. So far I have issued any clothing that has come, as the men have little beyond what they stand in.

Since writing the above, parcels of Jam – sugar – cakes have arrived from Ireland. All are rationed articles, what is to be done with them please.

At present they can be locked up.
CMM

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

A most unsoldierly appearance

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence to gently discourage her frequent food gifts, as he felt guilty accepting them when he knew food was in short supply in England.

Mar. 6, 1917
My dear WF

Yes, I got the socks & very good & welcome they are.

I’ve just read a very interesting document on “Delousing”.
Camphor and Naphthalene are or is recommended. Can you in some odd corner of your time help me in the greatest problem of this part of the world next to shell dodging!

I loved your last letter: as I think I have told you already, my greatest regret is that I can’t preserve your letters. I keep ‘em till my pockets present a most unsoldierly appearance & then they have to go west. Why “west” by the way?

Garwood wishes me to thank you for the “rum” you sent him. It makes a splendid drink.

The food question seems to be acute, and I feel that we are probably living better here than the masses are at home. Of course I love your parcels, but don’t you think, dear, that the time has come when they should be suspended, or made more occasional, and the cake cut out altogether. Please don’t be hurt, we thoroughly appreciate your dear gifts, but personally I almost have a guilty conscience in enjoying them.

I have been so busy I am sorry there is no time for more just now but to send you both my dearest love and to hope you’re both as fit as I am.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/24)

Socks and sardines

East Reading women and children continued to support the wounded:

CARE AND COMFORTS COMMITTEE

The vicar has received a letter from this Committee acknowledging with many thanks the receipt of the following:

Cake, eggs, biscuits, sardines, sweets, fruit, potted meat, honey, jam, books and magazines, from the children at St John’s Church. These gifts were presented at the service on October 28th.

The following articles have been sent from the Working Party: 16 shirts, 5 bed jackets, 3 pyjamas, 32 pillow cases, 7 pairs socks, 2 socks (arm), 88 many-tailed bandages, 28 locker cloths, 14 treasure bags. Total, with those already sent, 1,849.

Reading St. John parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Wounded warriors

Soldiers recuperating in the Katesgrove area of Reading had a pleasant summer afternoon courtesy of worshippers at Christ Church.

Entertainment of wounded soldiers

On July 15th our branch of the CEMS had the great pleasure of entertaining some of the wounded soldiers from our Reading hospitals. Thanks to the kindness of the Vicar the event took place in the Vicarage garden, now looking at its best, and St Swithun proving kind, a most enjoyable time was spent by all concerned.

Thirty wounded warriors, convoyed by Messrs Bell & Eldridge from No 5 (Katesgrove) War Hospital, arrived with military punctuality at 2.30 and were soon enjoying themselves in various ways on the larger lawn. Some played bowls with the ladies and members, others competed in clock golf and lawn quoits, whilst those who did not feel equal to much exertion reclined in deck chairs and listened to the pleasant strains of a gramophone. Meanwhile the ladies’ committee prepared tea on the smaller lawn to which the men were summoned at 3.45. After tea a short whist drive, arranged by Mr J Risdale, was carried through and prizes given to the winning soldiers. Cigars, the gift of Mr W R Howell, were then handed round and we said good-bye to our guests.

Our thanks are due to Mrs Morris, Miss Breedon and Mr Pole Routh for the loan of games; to Mr Cripps for the loan of crockery; to the many ladies who so kindly gave cakes and lastly to Mrs W J Brown who so kindly and efficiently managed the tea.

Christ Church parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P170/28A/24)

Cigarettes and cakes for wounded soldiers

The people of Earley continued to support entertainment for wounded soldiers, complete with food and smoking sessions.

EARLEY WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ ENTERTAINMENT FUND

Since my report of 28th February, two more Entertainments have been given, and as they have been on similar lines, there is no need for me to occupy space regarding same, except to say that they are still very greatly appreciated by our guests. In justice to those who have so generously supported us by contributions in cash and kind, I append a list, made up to date, in continuation of that published in December last, except the Christmas Entertainment which was reported in the March Magazine. In the March Report on the position of the Fund it was subsequently found that payment had not been made, as agreed, for the use of the Hall, or for hire of conveyances; consequently it was necessary to issue a further appeal, which I am glad to report has met with a most generous response, and there will be no difficulty in continuing the Entertainments up to Easter. The Committee desire em to express their gratitude to all.

List of Donors
£ s d
Nov. 29th Cash received to date 32 4 11
Miss George 2 6
Mrs Lily 5 0
Mrs Jordan 5 0
Mr Heelas 1 0 0
Heelas, Ltd 5 0
Anon 2 6
Miss Montizambert 10 0
Mr and Miss Jordan, for prizes 1 6
Miss Maurice 10 0
Collected by Miss Eileen Joel 3 0 0
Mrs Lilly 1 0
Miss Carlsson 10 0
Miss Jordan 2 0
Mr A C Jordan 10 0
Mrs Jordan 2 6
Miss Jordan 2 0
Mr Jas Hissey 10 0
Mr Rogers 1 6
Mrs Lilly 2 6
Mrs Jordan 2 6
Miss Jordan 2 0
Anon 2 6
Mrs Witherington 5 0
Mrs Marshall 5 0
Ms Jordan 2 6
Miss Jordan 2 0

The following since second appeal:

Mr Wooldridge 2 6
Miss Goodwin 5 0
Misses George 5 0
Mr F F Ellis 5 0
Miss Pither 5 0
Mr and Mrs Francis 5 0
Miss Schofield 1 1 0
Mr and Mrs Robb 10 0
Mrs Marshall 2 6
Mrs Evans 2 0 0
Mrs King 5 0
Mrs Lilly 4 0
Mrs and Miss Jordan 5 0

Collected by Miss Eileen Joel as follows:
Mr Watson 1 0 0
Miss Eileen Joel 6 0
Miss Carlsson 10 0
Mlle Weill 10 0
Master Stanhope Joel 5 0
Master Dudley Joel 5 0
Mr Collins 5 0
Miss Dellow 2 6
Miss Goodfellow 2 6
Stud Groom 3 0
Miss Lovegrove 2 6
Miss Eyles 2 0
3 13 6

Mr E Shaw 10 0
Capt. Wheble 2 0 0
Mr Rushbrooke 1 1 0
Mrs Witherington 5 0
The Misses Hannaford 10 0
The Misses Beauchamp 10 0
Mr and Mrs S O Bastow 5 0
Mrs and Miss Jordan 5 0
Mrs Wilkinson 2 6
Miss May 5 0
Anon 2 6
Rev. Canon and Mrs Fowler 1 0 0

Total to date 57 13 11

Loan of motors since last report: Mrs Joel, Mr Barnard, Mr Heelas, Mr Richard Lea, Mr Helps, Mr Bonnett, Mrs Dunlop.

GIFTS IN KIND

Mrs Honey, Mr B Francis, Mr Hedington, Mr Culham, Miss Dellow, Mrs Masser, Miss Carlsson, cigarettes; Mrs Robb, cigarettes and cake; Mlle Weill, prizes and cigars; Miss Lea, cakes; Mrs Bright, cakes; Mr A C Jordan, sweets; Mrs Ballard, cake, bread and butter; Mrs Porter, cakes; Miss Pither, apples; Mr Harris, bread; The Misses Hannaford, cakes, Mrs Friedlander, apples; Mrs Dracup, prizes; Miss Carlsson, sugar and tea; Miss Wain, prizes; Mr and Mrs Masser, oranges.

NB – The Hon. Secretary, Mr Love, 55 Wokingham Road, would be obliged by a note of intended gifts in kind at least one day before an Entertainment, so as to avoid ordering similar provisions. Next Entertainment, Wednesday, April 5th.

Chas J Howlett,
Hon Treasurer
27th March, 1916

Earley St Peter parish magazine, April 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/4)

When the evening shadows fall: a valuable service for soldiers in Maidenhead

Maidenhead Congregational Church continued to provide a homely environment for off-duty soldiers billeted locally.

OUR SOLDIERS’ CLUB ROOM.
The room continues to be thronged every evening, and is undoubtedly doing a most valuable service for the men. There is always a large number engaged in letter-writing, for which paper and envelopes, ink and pens are provided free. The five bagatelle tables are never idle, the piano has little time for rest when the evening shadows fall; the news-papers and magazines are well thumbed. The ladies at the refreshment buffet take about £5 weekly, mostly in half-pence, for coffee, tea, cocoa, Oxo, buns, cakes and cigarettes. The B.W.T.A. ladies in the mending room “take in washing,” and see that it is returned darned and patched up. Two Concerts and a Conjuring Entertainment have been thrown in as extras, and other delights of a similar character are in process of being arranged.

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

A very merry tea for the soldier-lads

Those wounded soldiers well enough to move were invited for a day out from temporary war hospitals in east Reading.

On January 22nd another invitation was given to the inmates of Redlands Hospital, and extended to those of St. Luke’s Hospital. Unfortunately, many of the men were confined to bed, so our numbers were rather smaller than we had anticipated.

Games again proved a source of much pleasure, during which Mr. Mobbs, a true friend of “the soldier-lads,” gave much pleasure with his gramophone.

After a very merry tea of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, etc., an entertainment was provided by the “Birds of the Air” Concert party. This clever and novel performance, consisting of songs, dances, etc., was greatly appreciated by the men, and called forth tremendous applause. The performers were the Misses Morris, Mr. Streeter, and Mr. Walford Knowles. Mr. J.A. Brain, home on leave, also delighted the audience with his comic songs, as did Private Scott with his witty stories.

Cigars and cigarettes were generously provided, and before our guests left, one of their number thanked us for the very enjoyable afternoon and started his comrades’ volley of ringing cheers.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, February 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

The children’s gift to the Serbian Relief Fund

Children who attended the Anglican Sunday School in Bracknell did get a Christmas party this year – but no entertainment other than a storyteller.

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEA.

This took place on January 4th, at the Victoria Hall. The tea seemed to be much enjoyed by the party of 220, who found the tables well supplied with cakes and bread and butter, arranged by the kind ladies who had undertaken to help. After tea crackers were handed round and caused much enjoyment. Then, while those helping were having their tea, Mr. Grant stood forth and told the children a capital fairy story which was listened to in quiet. A distribution of presents followed. In the classes of elder children, three or four in each class who had gained the highest number of marks received a small gift, while in the Infant classes each child was presented with a present.

The Vicar explained to the children that there was to be no entertainment, and the money that would otherwise have been spent on this was to be sent as the children’s gift to the Serbian Relief Fund. This announcement was received with applause. When “God Save the King” had been sung the children were dismissed, and as they left the Hall each child received an orange and some sweets, the kind gift of Mr. Western.

Bracknell section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

Christmas parcels

There was an interdenominational effort in Bracknell to co-ordinate sending Christmas gifts to the men at the front.

Christmas parcels have been sent to all the men who are on active service both in the Navy and the Army. The Chavey Down men received their parcels through the working party on the Down. The members of the Congregational Church and P.S.A. sent to those connected with their organizations, and the remainder, about 70 in number, were provided for by subscriptions contributed by many in Bracknell.

Grateful letters of acknowledgement have come from a large number of the men, who desire the Vicar to thank all the Bracknell friends who contributed; the contents of the parcels seem to have been much appreciated.

The parcels were packed by Mrs. Barnett at the Vicarage, with the kind assistance of Mr. Payne and Miss Hunton. The contents of the parcels were such things as biscuits in tins, cake, Oxo, potted meat, milk and cocoa, chocolate, apples, soap, candles and cigarettes.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)

“By far the best entertainment our wounded heroes get in the district”

The parish of Earley St Peter made something of a speciality of entertaining wounded soldiers.

EARLEY “WOUNDED SOLDIERS” ENTERTAINMENT FUND

In continuation of my account dated 25th November last, I am glad to report that there seems to be no lack of interest shewn by our friends and helpers in this deserving cause, nor in appreciation of our efforts by those whom we have been privileged to entertain.

Fifty-five guests were entertained on the 1st inst. and 55 on the 15th, and it needs but little time to be spent amongst them to find out how pleased they are with the form of entertainment provided. Presents of fruit, flowers, smokes, sweets, cakes, &c, continue to be given, whilst additional games have been introduced; three especially good ones, “Fishing” and “Bombardo”, kindly introduced by Miss Joel, and Parlour Bagatelle by Mrs Helps, having proved a great attraction. The hat-trimming, hairdressing, bowling and other competitions continue in great favour, and the evergreen sketch, “Mixed Pickles”, by the Misses Hayward and E. Francis and Messrs Edwin and Maurice Love creates much amusement, in fact we now have the credit of providing by far the best entertainment our wounded heroes get in the district.

I regret the Editor cannot allow this report to stand over for the special event we hope to provide on Wednesday, the 29th instant. On that date we are arranging to give dinner to 60 at 12.45, followed by the usual amusements: and promises of joints, puddings, mince pies and other good things have already been provided, so that an excellent repast is certain, and the only difficulty we are likely to have to face will be the provision of motors. In regard to this branch of helpers we have had the assistance of Mr Friedlander, Mrs Joel (bus and car), Mr Ed. Heelas, Lieut. Usmar, Mr D. Helps, Mr Richard Lea, Mr O. Dixon, [and] Mr A. C. Jordan, and to them our grateful thanks are due.

It is impossible to write to all who may wish to contribute to this Fund, but our hon secretary, Mr Love, or myself, will be glad to receive any additional gifts at any time. Since my last report the following further gifts have been received. Our Lady Subscribers have been good enough to attend and give valuable help.

Chas. J Howlett, Hon. Treasurer
16 December, 1915

DONATIONS

Miss George (further donation) 2s.6d
Mrs Lily 5s
Mrs Jordan (further donation) 5s
Mr E. D. Heelas £1
Heelas, Sons & Co., Ltd 5s
Anon (further donation) 2s.6d
Miss Montizambert (further donation) 10s
Mr and Miss Jordan (donation, prizes) 1s.6d
Miss Maurice 10s

GIFTS IN KIND
Miss Eileen Joel, Cakes and Cigarettes
Mrs A. C. Jordan, Cakes
Mrs Friedlander, Fruit
Mrs Marshall, Cigarettes
Mrs Wooldridge, Flowers and Fruit
Miss Jordan, Prizes
Mrs Bright, Cakes
Mrs Masser, Cigarettes
Mr A. C. Jordan, Chocolates and Cigars
Lieut. Usmar, Cigarettes
Mrs Murton, Cigarettes
Miss L. Goodwin, Cakes
The Misses Beauchamp, Cakes
Miss Lea, Cakes

Earley St Peter parish magazine, January 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

Wonderful generosity at a time of rising prices

Longworth fundraising for Belgian refugees amounted to what was then a substantial sum. The latest element of war work was the making of cakes for wounded soldiers.

The Longworth Belgium Fund is now closed. £42 has been sent to the Committee in Oxford, and we give below the letter of thanks addressed to Mrs. Crum as Treasurer. Further gifts may, of course, be sent to the address given on the letter.

29, Holywell
Oxford
Dear Mrs. Crum,

Thank you so very much for all you have done for us. Will you very kindly express to the people of Longworth the warm gratitude and appreciation of their efforts felt by the Oxford Committee. To subcribe and to continue subscribing so long, so regularly and so large a sum is really wonderful, specially as we know and realize how the cost of living has risen and how that makes itself felt at once by all villagers, and to all who have no large incomes. Please tell your people how much we feel indebted to them and express our sincere thanks.

Our best thanks to you yourself.
Yours very sincerely,
Monte Carlyle.

Cakes are wanted for the wounded soldiers in Red Cross Hospitals. Will any who would like to provide one regularly, give their names to Mrs. Illingworth, and she will tell them when they are wanted, and collect them for Lady Hyde, who will send them to the Hospitals.

Longworth parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/6)

Absolute hell a few miles away

Percy Spencer told sister Florence he was safe, and gave her some information about the supply of newspapers at the front. But the danger was alleviated by some puppies:

May 26, 1915
Dear Florrie

I’m having a rest.

The Brigade Major mentioned the other day that he thought I was the hardest worked fellow on the staff – I suppose because to avoid mistakes I take night messages and often get very little sleep. So to my disgust I’m not in the battle now raging but am remaining behind to carry on with a few ore & Captain Holliday and to rest as much as I can. Really I suppose I’m lucky as it’s absolute hell a few miles away where we are successfully operating though losing a lot of men.

Thank you for your letters and parcel. I’m blessed if I remember if I wrote and thanked you for the parcel with the cake mother made in it, and father’s flowers. It was kind of him to fag about with them.

I expect you are having the same sort of weather as we are – glorious but terribly hot.

Today brought me four letters – yours, one from T.W., another from Sydney and one from Mrs Everest his former landlady]. Dear old lady; I think she’ll be leaving me something in her will if I don’t look out. Anyway you and I seem to have brought a gleam of sunshine into their (hers and Annie’s) secluded lives – and we are all glad of it.

All this morning I spent in the garden idly watching aeroplanes being shelled, or – for a change – two little brown puppies here, playing hide and seek round a small clump of iris. But for this damnable war and all the uncertainty it involves us in, our situation would be enviable.

Have I told you that I get the Advertiser [presumably the Maidenhead Advertiser] every week (thanks very much), and do not require any money as I keep the petty cash.

Generals & people like that get the “Times” through about 7-8 pm the day of issue, but Mrs Hothouse is wrong in stating that the men get anything more than one day old papers. Very often they don’t get that.

I’ve absolutely nothing to tell you except that I keep remarkably well and jolly. Give my love to all at home.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/4/30)