A doctor returns from France

A doctor returned home after serving at the front.

6 February 1919
Sister Bertha Margaret went away from Clewer being no longer needed as doctor, Dr Attlee having returned from France.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

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The baneful influence of Bolshevism

Post-war Europe was threatened by the spread of revolution.

The Peace Conference now sitting and deliberating in Paris is the supreme object of our interest and our Prayers. The present disturbed state of Europe makes it imperative that the Conference should agree as soon as possible in its resolutions and in the action to be taken by the Allied Countries for the suppression of Bolshevism, and the liberation of Russia and Poland from its baneful influence. A multitude of difficult problems has to be solved by the Conference. We must pray that its Unity may not be impaired by any purely selfish ambitions on the part of any of various nations taking part in it, but that Peace based upon Justice to all, may continue to be its high ideal. Let us pray that man’s wisdom may be over ruled by that wisdom from on high which is “first pure, and then peaceable.”

Clewer parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)

Treatment for gas poisoning contracted in the trenches

One of the many institutions run by the Community of St John Baptist was a Convalescent Home in Folkestone, Kent – the ideal place for one of the clergymen who assisted the Sisters to go to rcover from his war experiences.

27 January 1919
The Sub-Warden went to St Andrew’s Home in order to have treatment for gas poisoning contracted in the trenches.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

A Peace which we have every reason to believe will shape the destiny of the world for many generations to come

Clewer Church looked forward with optimism.

Our first duty and privilege is to wish all our Readers a Happy New Year – and we do so with more confidence in the future than we have felt for some years past. This year will be known as ‘The Peace Year’, for in it is to be laid the foundation of a Peace which we have every reason to believe will, with the Blessing of God, shape the destiny of the world for many generations to come. How earnestly we ought to pray for the guidance of those who are now taking part in the Peace conference at Paris, that by their endeavours, ‘Peace and Happiness, Truth and Justice, Religion and Piety,’ may be established amongst the Nations of the World for all generations – The great Victory which Almighty God vouchsafed to us in 1918, has opened out to us such glorious prospects of better things to come, if only we prove ourselves worthy of them, that we realize that the present year is the most critical period in the history of mankind.

On the first Sunday in the New Year Special Prayer and Thanksgiving will be offered in all Churches that we may dedicate ourselves to afresh to Him who alone is “the Giver of Victory and the Author of Peace.”

Our alms on Sunday, Jan. 5th, will be for the Red Cross Society as in the years during the War.

Clewer parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)

Worthy of the wonderful lives that had been laid down

Schoolgirls at Clewer were asked to think about the post-war world and their place in it.

Sale of Work for the Building Fund

The great event of the end of the Christmas term [1918] was the Sale for which we had been working so long…

The epidemic of influenza in the neighbourhood threatened us with long postponement, but having so much to see for Christmas we determined to carry on if possible…

The Hon. Mrs Alington, the wife of the Headmaster of Eton, had kindly promised to open the Sale… It was impossible to meet together just then without looking forward a little. They had to ask over and over again how they were going to prove themselves worthy of the great sacrifices that had been made and ask themselves again and again were they really worthy of the wonderful lives that had been laid down. In promoting the cause of education and building up for the future they were carrying on the great work that had been done during the past four years. She would just like to remind them of two poems, one of which had been frequently quoted during the last few years, but which brought strongly before them what they thought:

“What have I done for thee, England my England,
What is there I would not do, England my own.”

They had got to ask themselves how they were going to be worthy of this country which had been saved for them. The second quotation the speaker read was as hereunder:

“I will not cease from mental strife,
Nor see the sword sleep in my hand
Till I have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

The sword had been held up for them to do their utmost to build Jerusalem in our green and pleasant land…

The grand total … came to over £140. The expenses were small, and over £130 was paid into the War Savings Association in which the School “Improvement Fund” now holds more than 420 certificates.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1919 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

Election booths put up

The groundbreaking General Election of 1918 would be the first in which women, and all men over 21, could vote.

Reading
Dec. 12

School closed on Friday, wanted as a “Polling Station” for the Parliamentary Election. Booths put up on Friday, election on Saturday 14th Dec.

Newbury
12/12/18

School will be closed tomorrow in order that the rooms may be made ready for use as a polling station for the parliamentary election.

Clewer
Dec. 12th

School closed to allow the room to be prepared for the General Election tomorrow.

Log books of St John’s School, Reading (D/P172/28A/23); Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2)

Some return to school, some don’t

Flu was beginning to lessen – in some places.

Thatcham
Dec 2nd

Several of the children who have been away suffering from influenza have returned to school this morning.

Clewer
Dec. 2nd

Miss Green who was expected to commence duties today is unable to start owing to Influenza.

Reading
2/12/1918

Mrs Guppy will be absent from school for a fortnight in consequence of her husband being on leave. She has provided a substitute.


Log books of Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2); Coley Street Primary School Reading (89/SCH/48/4)

Died during the closure

There was sobering news when a school reopened after being hit by flu.

White Waltham
November 18th 1918

School reopened this morning. During the closure Arthur Butcher died of influenza.

East Ilsley
18th November 1918

Reopened after closure for influenza. Eight absent from epidemic sickness.

Peasemore
Nov. 18th

School closed for a fortnight as recommended by the County Medical Officer of Health, on account of influenza among the children.

Newbury
18/11/18

School re-opened today after 3 weeks closure for influenza.

Clewer
1918 Nov 18

School opened. Numbers low. Still many absences through influenza.

Basildon
18th November 1918

The armistice between Germany and the allies was signed and hostilities ceased on November 11th at 11am.

Log books of White Waltham CE School (D/P 142/28/3/2, p. 282); East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1, p. 488);Peasemore School (C/EL49/2); St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury ( N/ES 7/1); St Stephen’s Girls’ School, Clewer (88/SCH/23/5); Basildon CE School Log Book (SCH39/8/1)

At last the “cease fire” has sounded from end to end of the long front

The news was sinking in, even for the girls at the House of Mercy.

Burghfield

THE WAR

At last the “cease fire” has sounded from end to end of the long front; and the stern terms of Armistice have been perforce accepted by Germany, following on similar surrenders by Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria. With deep, heartfelt thankfulness to God, Who alone giveth victory, we rejoice, and trust that a just and lasting Peace will in due time follow. Meanwhile, if ever men may be proud of their race, we of the British Empire have that right. With men, with ships, with arms and munitions, with coal, with money, and by our high example, we Anglo-Saxons have indeed played our part. And terrible as our losses have been, we may now feel sure that they have not been in vain.

It was good to see the church nearly full at the Evening Service of humble thanksgiving, which was promptly arranged by the Rector on Tuesday, 12th November, the day after the Armistice was signed: and to feel the earnestness and unity of spirit which all showed, and which we hope will ever be with us in the parish in peace as well as in war.

Wargrave
Hare Hatch Notes

Thanks giving services. A large congregation assembled in the Mission Church, on Tuesday, November 12th, at 7 p.m., to render thanks to God for our glorious victory. It was a simple but yet most impressive service. The collection on behalf of the King’s Fund for disabled officers and men amounted to £2.

CSJB
12 November 1918

Choral Eucharist at 8.30 in thanksgiving for cessation of war. The Warden dispensed us from silence. The girls had a talking dinner & tea, & holiday in evening.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1918 (D/EX725/4); Wargrave parish magazine (D/P145/28A/31); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

A wonderful day – full of thankfulness

The lights came on again as the armstice was celebrated at home.

Florence Vansittart Neale
11 November 1918

Armistice signed 5 a.m. Hurrah. War 4 years, 3months & a week.
A wonderful day – full of thankfulness. Fighting stopped at 11 a.m. Peace. Peace. We heard it on the golf links. I, the girls & Boy. Shaw heard the church bells, & we the sirens & guns!! London I hear a marvellous sight – crowds & all happy & orderly. Own overseas went up.


William Hallam
11th November 1918

We heard Germany had accepted the armistice about 20 past 11. We all left off work at 12 and came home. I washed and changed and after dinner we all went round the town which was soon decorated up and everybody visiting. Heard the first fireworks for 4 years. People letting them off even down at the Tram Centre. After tea along to Bath Rd reading room. Quite a crowd there waiting for evening papers to see the terms but there were not pub liked- the terms I mean. We all went down to St Paul’s to a thanksgiving service at 8. The most noticeable thing I suppose on going out was to see the street lamps lit. At the conclusion of the service we had a solemn Te Deum with incense.

CSJB
11 November 1918

The Armistice signed at 4 a.m. ‘Te Deum’.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

A few cases of Spanish influenza

Flu hits more areas.

Newbury
29/10/18

School re-opened this morning after mid-term holiday. Only 29 were present out of 41. Several children are away through ‘influenza’ and another child is excluded through measles in the house. Notice has just been received that the schools will be closed until Nov 11th owing to the outbreak of influenza.

East Ilsley
29th October 1918

Religious instruction deferred to last period + registers closed at 9.5 to let elder children start early for blackberries.

Beedon
October 29th

Blackberry gathering in the afternoon.

Thatcham
Oct. 29th

Attendance very poor this afternoon as … there are … a few cases of Spanish influenza.

Speenhamland
Oct 29th

School closed because of Influenza.

Bradfield
Oct. 29th

Only 31 children were in attendance today owing to colds and fear of the influenza.

Clewer
Oct. 29th

School closed owing to the prevalence of Influenza.

Log books of St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury (N/ES 7/1); East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1); Beedon CE School (C/EL55/1); Thatcham CE School (C/EL53/4); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Dr Watney’s School, Bradfield (C/EL10/2); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2)

Asked to give an entertainment to the wounded soldiers

Clewer girls were asked to put on a concert for recuperating soldiers.

June 14th 1918

The school has been asked to give an entertainment to the wounded soldiers at [King] Edward VII Hospital on Saturday next – the performance will be rehearsed this afternoon so the timetable will not be observed.

Clewer St. Stephen Intermediate Girls School log book (SCH/8/8/2, p. 177)

“2 old boys have been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in France”

A school was proud of two Old Boys, while a teacher took off time to spend it with her sweetheart while he was home on leave.

White Waltham
June 10th 1918

News has been received that 2 old boys, George Ranscombe and Oliver Clark have been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in France. A letter of congratulations has been sent to Sergeant Clark and Lance Corporal Ranscombe signed by scholars, staff and correspondent congratulating them on their success.

Clewer
June 10th 1918

Miss Crook is absent from school on June 10th onwards to visit the home of her fiancé home from the Front.

White Waltham CE School log book (D/P 142/28/3/2, pp. 269-270); Clewer St. Stephen Intermediate Girls School log book (SCH/8/8/2, p. 176)

Workmen “called up” for the war

A printer could not fulfil his firm’s orders due to losing most of his employees to the war.

10 May 1918

Office Papers could not be sent as usual for the week because the printer had not been able to send the forms which had been ordered some time before, owing to lack of workers, his workmen “called up” for the war.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

In open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea

Three Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist had a terrifying experience as they travelled home from India.

20 April 1918

Sister Alexandrina, Sister Marion Edith and Sister Edith Helen, who had left Calcutta March 9th, arrived safely after an adventurous voyage. They had only been allowed to travel with special permission from the Government of India on account of Sister Alexandrina’s state of health, which made it necessary for her to leave India.

Their ship was torpedoed by an enemy sub-marine in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Africa. Then passengers were transferred to the ship’s boats and all were saved. They were in open boats for about 2 hours in a rough sea. The Sisters & their companions were picked up by a British sloop-of-war and landed at Bizerta, where they remained for 4 days. Then they were taken on board a French mail boat carrying troops and were safely landed at Marseilles after a very uncomfortable voyage owing to the crowded condition of the steamer.

From Marseilles they travelled by train to Paris & Havre, & from thence crossed to Southampton.

Owing to rationing orders limiting the quantity to each House of certain articles of food, & the scarcity of others, the Sisters from the other Houses cannot for the present come to the House of Mercy for tea on Sundays, as has been the custom, nor have their meals there when having day’s retreats.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)