The pleasant mudscape

Perhaps a brother’s experiences informed this schoolgirl’s creative writing.

Dialogue Between Two German Owls, or An Elegy written in Flanders

The shrapnel shrieks the knell of parting day;
In Flanders, mud above his gouty knee,
A sapper backwards ploughs his watery way,
To mend the telephone, and have some tea.

Now sinks the pleasant mudscape from the sight,
For, from the air, a sleety drizzle drenches,
Save where a lorrie [sic], with its floundering might,
Takes touzzly [sic] Tommies back towards the trenches.

Save that, on yonder splintered stump,
A German owl doth of her lord enquire,
“What bird is that, who buzzing round our dump,
Usurps our birth-right in this black quagmire?”

“Oft did our faint hearts to those bomb-shells yield,
In burrows hiding, while the crockery broke,
For England drives her aeroplanes afield,
Often to perish, ‘neath our strafing stroke.

Let them not mock what German soil,
And lager beer, and morning hates upbore,
Soon we shall hear, with a disdainful smile
Some long and glorious lies about that corps.

The boast of daring and the pomp of power
All that the British War Office e’er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour,
A reckless start-off to a German grave.”

Thus spake the German, heedless of the waste
For female ears this eloquence to raise,
And, as with long-drawn screams the shrapnel raced
Around her, she could see no cause for praise.

“Can leaking urn, or animated bust
Back to its mansion drive that floating flock?
Make those propellers churn the silent dust,
Or flatten out upon a cold dull rock?”

The applause of listening generals to command,
And angry threats of martial courts to raise,
To scatter pamphlets o’er a smiling land,
Or works like these their hapless nation pays.”

Haply some hairy headed swine may say,
“Oft have we heard him at the peep of dawn
Blowing with hasty bombs our food away
To beat the Hun upon the upland lawn.”

Then sank her head upon the lap of earth,
An owl, to fortune and to fame unknown;
A sniper frowned not on her humble birth,
And, very hungry, marked her for his own.

H. MOSS, Va.

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

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A Memorial for Peace

Old Girls of a private school in Clewer wanted to remember the war.

St Stephen’s High School Guild

The Annual Meeting of SSFHG took place at the High School on Tuesday, 22nd April, 1919.

It was the largest gathering of the Guild for some years, and only showed how very many of the members had been prevented by war work from attending previous meetings.

V Truman … announced the suggestion discussed at the General Meeting, “That the Guild should find some means of helping the funds for the new School building.” She explained the ideas which had been put forward by members, but added that it had been suggested that the Old Girls’ effort might take the form of a Memorial for Peace. She thought that a written appeal might be sent to all who had been in any way connected with the High School, and the Old Girls should endeavour to raise the sum of £100. This was agreed to, and Mrs Ogilvie kindly undertook to draw up an Appeal, and to send it to all whose addresses were known.

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

The need for collecting eggs for the Wounded Soldiers in the hospitals in England and France has come to an end

Clewer had contributed thousands of eggs to help feed wounded soldiers.

Clewer

The following remarkable Egg Report has been sent for insertion by Miss Durant:-

Now that the need for collecting eggs for the Wounded Soldiers in the hospitals in England and France has come to an end, I should like to express my thanks to all those in Clewer who have so kindly assisted in the good work by giving eggs and money.

Since I commenced collecting in March, 1915, Clewer has contributed 7,890 eggs and £56 11s. 0d. in cash, and I especially wish to thank the children of Clewer Green Schools, who have collected 462 eggs and £49 1s. 9d. towards the result.

M. DOROTHY DURANT,

Collector for Clewer.

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

Shelter for the weary

Clewer considered a shelter as its war memorial.

It is proposed to erect a Public Memorial to those who have fallen in the War. The Form suggested is that of a picturesque Shelter at the corner of the Rectory Allotments immediately facing the ‘Duke of Edinburgh,’ where there has been from time immemorial a wooden seat for the weary to rest on. Two designs have been procured, one by Major Henderson, and the other by Mr. Selkirk. It is proposed shortly to call a Public Meeting to consider the matter. Further notice will be given when the date of the meeting has been settled. In the meanwhile any suggestions will be welcomed by the Rector who will communicate them to those who have the matter in hand.

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

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)

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)