Beginning military service as a chaplain

The Community of St John Baptist said goodbye to their warden, who was starting his service as an army chaplain.

21 June 1917

The Sub-Warden went away to begin his military service as Chaplain at Strensall Camp near York. The 7 am celebration [of Holy Communion] was at the High Altar followed by the Travellers’ Service.

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

Meat now easier to obtain


The food situation was becoming a little easier.


9 June 1917

The Sub-Warden received orders on the 5th June to report himself to Strensall Camp, York, on the 21st inst.

Instructions have been received with regard to mails to India, which are now to go fortnightly instead of weekly. The first mail under the new system will leave here June 13.

Notice was given that, owing to meat being now easier to obtain, the 2nd meatless day in the week would be given up.

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

An extraordinary state of affairs

The vicar of Dedworth was a little miffed to be turned down for service as an army chaplain.


All Saints’, Dedworth

Since the publication of last month’s Magazine, I have heard that the Chaplain General cannot offer me a Chaplaincy. I understand that this is the fate of the majority of Priests who are recommended to the Chaplain General by their various Bishops. It seems to be an extraordinary state of affairs, however, I am sure the regular worshippers at All Saints’ will be much relieved, not because they would miss me personally, but because they would be sorry to be deprived of the usual number of Services.

Clewer parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

Mercifully preserved from an air raid

The Clewer-based Commnity of St John Baptist had a big convalescent home in Folkestone on the Kent coast, and also did mission work in the town. They faced the danger of an air raid in May 1917.

25 May 1917

A bad air raid took place at Folkestone in the evening. About 60 killed and many more injured. Our 3 houses, and all our Sisters, patients & workers mercifully preserved from any injury, for which special thanksgiving was made afterwards at the altar.

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

No unnecessary travelling

Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist had their holidays constricted by the financial effects of the war, and the order’s chaplain offered himself to work with the troops.

11 May 1917

Notice sent to all the [daughter] Houses that in consequence of directions issued by Government that there should be no unnecessary travelling, and also because of the increased expense of journeys, the rests must not be broken up, but each Sister must take hers all at the same time, and so far as possible in one place.

The Chaplain has been accepted as Military Chaplain, and may be called up for service abroad or in England any time after the 15th inst.

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

Promoting the economical use of foods

The Education Committee was at the forefront of war savings schemes locally. School were also to be used to promote changes in people’s habits with regards to food and cookery given the food shortages resulting from the war.

Report of Berks War Savings Committee

The War Savings Committee submit the following report of their work since the report to the July meeting of the Education Committee:

In accordance with the powers given to them on appointment, the following additional members have been co-opted:

Mr G F Slade
Mr T Skurray

During July and August last… Local Committees for War Savings came into being at Abingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead. Since that date, as a result of public meetings addressed by Miss Fraser of the National War Savings Committee and the Education Secretary, Local Committees have been started at Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, Wallingford, Bracknell, Hungerford and Wokingham. Up to the 31 March, War Savings Associations have been established under the control of these Local Committees as follows:

Abingdon, with 6 Associations

Wallingford, 15 Associations

Pangbourne, 4 Associations

Hungerford, 7 Associations

Newbury, 15 Associations

Thatcham, 5 Associations

Wokingham, 13 Associations

Windsor

Maidenhead, 32 Associations

Bracknell, 13 Associations

As a general rule, these local committees deal only with their immediate areas, but efforts are being made by the National War Savings Committee to secure the extension of their activities to the surrounding parishes; e.g. the Associations of Marcham and Moulsford are affiliated to the Abingdon and Wallingford Local Committees respectively, and the War Savings Associations at the Cookham, Alwyn Road Council School, and Clewer S. Stephen’s School are affiliated to the Maidenhead and Windsor Local Committees respectively, whilst the Earley CE School War Savings Association is affiliated to the Reading Central Committee.

The Associations in connexion with Windsor Castle and the Broadmoor Asylum are affiliated directly with the National Committee.

The number of War Savings Associations (in addition to the above) in the Rural Parishes formed up to the 31 March, is 56; at least one half of these are in connexion with the schools….

The average amount saved by each Association during the quarter January to March, 1917, is £217. These figures do not include the grouped Associations, and relate only to the smaller Rural Associations, where the opportunities to save are less than in the larger centres of population.

The Berks Teachers’ Association officials in January consented to help in the work, and have been successful in arousing and maintaining interest in the movement. Messrs Camburn, James and Fryer, in particular, have done most valuable service.

The National War Savings Committee have been invited by the Ministry of Food to assist in the Food Economy Campaign, and the Berks War Savings Committee have had before them the Central Committee’s suggestions for Local Authorities and War Savings Committees, and in conjunction with the School Management Sub-committee, they have approved the arrangements embodied in the following memorandum:

FOOD CAMPAIGN

The Food Controller, in conjunction with the National War Savings Committee, has suggested that “Under the auspices of the Education Authorities a Conference might be called in every area with a view to enlisting the enthusiastic support and active help of teachers. In the case of ordinary schools, the children will form a means of securing the interest of the parents, and invitations to meetings and special classes can be issued through them. The Domestic Science teachers will be wanted to take charge of such classes.

After consultation with HM Inspector, the following preliminary Scheme has been drafted:

That the Instructresses be instructed to modify their syllabus with a view:

To promote the economical use of foods of which there is an available supply in the locality.

To prepare specimen menus for family use based on the above, with notes on the quantities required to give a proper diet.

To arrange to have the cooked meals on view after the lessons, so that the mothers can see them and ask questions.

To confer with the Head Teachers of the neighbouring schools as to the best way of spreading useful information among the parents of children not in attendance at the Centres, either by inviting visits which could be regarded as object lessons or by co-operating in drawing up a scheme for simple instruction in the schools.

It is to be noted that:

While it is important to keep the full record of all meals and their cost, it is not to be expected that the employment of substitutes will effect any substantial saving in cost, as the price of substitutes must rise as the standard foods become scarce.

It is most important to give guidance as to the feeding of children, as in some families there may be a tendency to reduce the food value of their meals.

Where milk is obtainable, it will be very useful to emphasise its uses in cookery.

It is hoped to hold a conference as soon as the Instructresses have drawn up their Scheme, and it is most important that the scheme should be prepared as soon as possible.

This Conference was held on the 20th April and the preliminary steps have been already taken to start work.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee

The Sub-committee have arranged with certain employees on Military Service, who were receiving allowances from the Committee, to invest on their behalf part of their allowances in War Savings Certificates.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee, 28 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Not strong enough for military service

The Sub-Warden of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer, decided to take a curate’s job to allow a younger, stronger clergyman to serve as an army chaplain.

13 April 1917

The Revd G H Warlow, who had offered himself for National Service, has arranged to go back as curate to his old parish (Bury Lane) to take the place of the curate who is now an Army Chaplain, Mr Warlow himself not being strong enough for military service.

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

‘I may have to “join up” at any time now’

The curate at Dedworth had applied for service as an army chaplain.

All Saints’, Dedworth

The Rector warned you last month that owing to the call the Country is making upon able-bodied men for National Service, a member of this staff might be withdrawn from Parish work which would mean the cutting down of the number of Services held in the Parish.

Since that date I have been recommended by the Bishop of the Diocese to the Chaplain General as an Army Chaplain, and have also had some correspondence with the latter. It is therefore possible that I may have to “join up” at any time now, or on the other hand nothing may come of these negotiations.

But if the former be the case we hope to make arrangements for at least an early Celebration of the Holy Communion every Sunday and a sung Evensong at All Saints. The Sung Eucharist would have to be given up for the time being. Should these changes come to pass I do most earnestly hope that you will make real use of the opportunities for worship offered you, and do your utmost to “keep things going” until, please God, I return.

Clewer parish magazine (D/P39/28A/9)

“The difficulty of the supply of meat”

The Community of St John Baptist decided to cut down on meat consumption during the war.

5 April 1917

Maundy Thursday.

Notice was sent to all the Houses that a second meatless day (ordinarily Tuesday) would be kept each week owing to the difficulty of the supply of meat in consequence of the war. Rogation & Ember Days & Vigils would be kept as usual, and in the weeks when these occurred they would take the place of the second meatless day.

Permission was given for afternoon cups of tea on Easter day, Low Sunday, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, Corpus Christi and St John Baptist Day.

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

“By each sixpence we kill two birds with one stone, because it helps our Country and ourselves at the same time”

People in Clewer were encouraged to invest in the local War Savings Association.

St. Agnes’, Clewer

Our War Savings Association is going on well. Payments are made at the Mission Room on Mondays from four to five o’clock. New members can join on any Monday: and the numbers are steadily increasing. You become a member by paying one or more sixpences, for which you receive one or more stamps and a card. By each sixpence we kill two birds with one stone, because it helps our Country and ourselves at the same time. If you need the money, you bring back your stamps, and receive for each stamp the sixpence which you paid for it. If you do not need the money, you receive a Certificate when you bring your card with 31 stamps on it. One advantage of joining a War Savings Association is that your Certificate can be bought by an Association before you have finished paying for it, and is therefore worth more to you than it would be otherwise because you get your interest sooner.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

Who are willing to offer themselves?

Clergy were expected to answer the call of the new National Service Scheme as well as laymen.

National Service.

We all know that the Country is calling upon able-bodied persons both men and women from the age of 18 to 61, to volunteer for National Service. It is a call addressed to the Clergy as well as the Laity. Our Bishop is making enquiries of the Clergy in his Diocese to ascertain who are willing to offer themselves, either for spiritual or secular work. The decision rests with him as to which and how many of the Clergy, who volunteer, can be spared from the Diocese. If any member of our staff of Clergy is thus withdrawn from Parish work, we must be prepared to reduce some of the Services and make the best use of our diminished opportunities. Perhaps, as things are, we have too many Services in the various Districts, and a little concentration would not be a bad thing for us. It is sometimes found to be the case that those who have fewer facilities for Public Worship make a better use of them than those who have too many. If the Bishop therefore counsels a temporary reduction in the staff of Clergy in this Parish, we must readily submit to it.

The War Shrines.

All the money needed for the War Shrines in Clewer Village and Clewer New Town has now been subscribed. Any money subsequently sent will be given to the permanent Memorial which we hope to have erected in the Church when the War is over.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

A shortage of starch

The Sisterhood of St John Baptist had to amend its habit due to shortages.

26 March 1917

Notice from Mother that owing to the difficulty in obtaining starch, we should discontinue wearing cuffs for the present as a war measure.

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

“Are we down-hearted”?

A PoW writes home after two years in the hands of the enemy.

Prisoners of War.

We think it would interest our readers to see extracts from letters from one of our Prisoners of War, Private W. Simmonds, of Dedworth. Every month we send in from Clewer a small collection for the Prisoners of War Fund. This month 16/- was sent. The Boys of St. Augustine’s Home contribute largely towards it. Mrs. Buttress and Mrs. Cowie very gladly receive contributions, however small, as they all mount up. They are sent in the beginning of each month, and after reading the letter you will see how very grateful the recipients are. The parcels used to be packed weekly at the Town Hall, Windsor, but now they are sent straight from the London Depot, 4, Thurloe Place, London, S.W.

Letter from Private Simmonds, Kriegsgefangenenlager, Prisoner of War, Langensalza, Germany, Jan., 1917.

Dear Mrs. Cowie,

So pleased to have the pleasure of writing to you, to let you know that I am still in splendid health, thanks to the parcels you send me weekly, for these I think go a long way to keep our spirits up in this very trying time, but I suppose we shall have to stick to our well-known motto – “Are we down-hearted”? At present there is still the same answer amongst us, that is, “No.” But we shall be pleased when it is all finished and we can return to those who are dear to us again.

Madam, I should be very pleased if you can give any instructions as to the acknowledging of the parcels, as no name of the donor is received from the Central Prisoners of War Committee, London. It was a splendid parcel, and of course I should like for yourself to continue packing the parcel, but there we are in war time, and orders are orders, so we must abide by them for the present, but not much longer, I hope.

You say in your letter, Madam, that we must have patience, but I am afraid mine won’t last out; being here two years has tried my patience to its utmost, but still with the help of those fine parcels I have managed to pull through with flying colours. I shall certainly have to visit that War Shrine in Dedworth when I return.

And now will you kindly convey best wishes and thanks to His Worship the Mayor of Windsor, yourself, and all helpers of the Committee and all in the dear old Royal Borough and vicinity for their-never-to-be-forgotten kindness towards myself and all other unfortunate comrades of the Borough. I am sure, Madam, if you and the Mayor heard how good we all speak of you, you would be prouder than the V.C. winner. Again thanking you and all members of the Committee for their kindness,

I remain yours thankfully,

W. SIMMONDS (Private).

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

Our enemies are hard pressed and there are definite prospects of peace

Churchgoers in Clewer looked forwards to prospects of peace.

There is another War-Shrine of precisely similar pattern (each is surmounted by a crucifix) to be erected in Clewer New Town in a spot to be chosen by the inhabitants of that District. The Shrines are beautifully made and are much appreciated.

The New Year.

We enter upon the New Year with brighter hopes and more definite prospects of Peace, than in the year that is just closed. The new Government, with Mr. Lloyd-George as Prime Minister, has already proclaimed its determination to be satisfied with no Peace but that which will secure adequate reparation for the past, and adequate security for the future, and this has been emphatically endorsed by all our Allies.

On the other hand our enemies are evidently hard pressed and have shown that Peace is becoming an urgent matter for them, and that they have nothing to hope from a further continuance of the War. Let us redouble our Prayers and readily submit to whatever sacrifices we may be called upon to make in order to bring the War to a successful conclusion. Let us labour for Peace by the earnestness of our Prayers, and the application of self-discipline to our home-life. Then we may be sure that God’s Blessing will rest upon our efforts, and will fulfil our heart’s desire for a ‘Happy New Year.’

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

An end to afternoon tea

The war effort and the German’s attacks on civilian shipping combined to restrict many goods. Among those economising as a result were the Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist.

12 January 1917

Special notice sent to all the Houses about economy to be practised during the war in obedience to the appeal of the Government to the nation. Mother directed (1) that all afternoon teas were to be stopped, (2) care was to be taken that every railway journey should be strictly necessary, (3) every effort was to be made as to clothes, to make them last as long as possible. This was important on account of the difficulty in getting materials.

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