No more school dinners

Food restrictions affected Reading schools in different ways.

George Palmer Boys’ School
15th February 1918

Terminate to-day course of dinners supplied at the school thro’ the School Cookery Centre.

Battle Infants School
15th February 1918

The school was closed again on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday owing to the work required for the Ration Cards.

Logs books of George Palmer Boys’ School log book (89/SCH/8/1, p. 148); and Battle Infants School (SCH20/8/2, p. 310)

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Short courses in War-time Economy

Adult education tried to meet wartime needs.

WAR-TIME ECONOMY.

Short courses in War-time Economy will be held at University College, Reading, as follows:-

A. War-time Cookery Demonstrations.
(How to make the best use of rationed foodstuffs)
A course of 13 demonstrations on Tuesdays at 2.30 p.m., viz.: 6 weekly demonstrations beginning on February 6th, 1918 (fee 5/-), followed by 7 weekly demonstrations beginning on April 30th, 1918 (fee 5/-).

B. Dressmaking and Renovating.
(How to economise in clothes)
A course of 13 classes on Mondays, 2-30 to 4-30 p.m., viz.: 6 weekly classes beginning on February 4th, 1918 (fee 5/-), followed by 7 weekly classes beginning on April 29th, 1918 (fee 5/-1).

C. Making and Mending in the House.
(How to repair, restore, and adapt household effects for further service)
A course of 13 classes on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., viz.: 6 weekly classes beginning on February 5th, 1918 (fee 5/-), followed by 7 weekly classes beginning on April 30th, 1918 (fee 5/-).

Advertisement included in Reading St Mary parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

Demonstrations of War Time Cookery

The Education Committee was facing challenged with fewer teachers and more children (the latter due to the arrival of voluntary evacuees). They also encouraged cookery teachers to learn how to cope with food restrictions.

Report of the Higher Education Committee, 12 January 1918

Secondary Schools

MAIDENHEAD COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL
In consequence of the increased number of pupils and the difficulties caused by a further member of the staff leaving for military service, the Sub-committee have approved of the vacant place being filled by a whole-time Mistress and a part-time Master.

WALLINGFORD COUNTRY GRAMMAR SCHOOL

Mr Preece, one of the Assistants, has returned from military service, and in view of the increased numbers in attendance, the Sub-committee have authorised the retention of the substitute Mistress on the staff for the present.

Report of the School Management Sub-committee, 12 January 1918

WAR TIME COOKERY

The Domestic Subject Instructresses of the County attended on December 13 and 14 a series of demonstrations on War Time Cookery arranged by the Ministry of Food, who paid their expenses.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)

No half time: kill or be killed

Sydney Spencer summarised the lessons he had gained from his army training. This was the last entry in Sydney’s diary, although we will still be hearing from him in his letters after he went overseas.

28 February 1916
Captain Shaft

Physical Training

Fitness by training. Bayonet not obsolete as many people think.

Physical training has been worked out for 100 years.

During retreat from Mons, new recruits going by in a train saw an old wounded soldier, & called out “Are we down hearted” & they answered “No”, but he called out “Then you will – well soon be”.

Physical Training massages the inside orders.

Physical Training trains the brains.

Men whose insides are all twisted up get straightened out. Such exercise requires mental as well as physical force.

Bayonet

We have a great advantage over the Germans. We fight more extended than any other nation. In other words he is so to speak alone & must “carry on”. Not so with Germans. The German lacks the resource & initiative. The German is gone when it comes to close quarters.

Our fighting spirit must be controlled & skilled.

Direction of Bayonet.

In bayonet fighting “No half time”. One goes out to kill or be killed.

No “orders” should be given in bayonet fighting practice after actions are once learned. All to be done by signs & prodding at your man.

Company Training

All men, if possible, should be put on in company training & men should be trained in his own company.

Keep a Company Diary, & a Record of each day’s work, & sketches, plans, messages & remarks of his own or visiting officers’ work.

Keep a note of capabilities of your men, NCOs & officers.

Diary kept as a confidential document or as a company book. These diaries should be kept till the next “Company Training”.

Training of NCOs.

6 days to NCO & chosen Privates.

1. Map Reading.
2. Outposts, Flank, Advanced, Rear Gun.
3. Duties of Patrols.
4. Writing reports.

Fire direction.
Indication of targets.
Instruction by lectures & practical work. Frequent questionings.
Reforming after an assault. A lot of practice & arrangement required.

Lectures should be given every day if possible on the next day’s work.

Lectures include Regimental Records, Cleanliness & Morality. 1st Aid, Observers.

Every company commander, & every platoon commander, should have an observer.

How to load pack animals.
How to make knots.
Cooking.

Men should be reminded of faults such as slowness. Taking cover clumsily.

The new importance of night marching. Aircraft. “Disappearing Drill”. Company commander makes programme. Hang it in Orderly Room.
Tactical scheme to be carried out. CC should go out beforehand & see ground over which work is to be done.

He should be commander & umpire always, not umpire sometimes and commander at another time. After each operation hold a pow-wow.

Platoon & section commanders should see that men do work in right way or they won’t do it in actual warfare.

“Habit” to be aimed at in loading etc.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/14)

Reading schools continue to be disrupted

The Battle schoolchildren’s education continued to be limited due to the shortage of accommodation, thanks to military needs:

26th March 1915
Notice has been received that after Easter, the children will attend school, for four weeks from 1.30 to 4.30 in the afternoon, instead of the morning session as now.

Slough children supporting the Cheap Food Campaign were doing well, with even the boys keen to help with the cooking.

March 26th
The seven dinners have been prepared and have been quite successes. The invitations to dinner were equitably portioned between the boys and girls.

A Harbox cooker has been made and a stew put into it at 10 o’clock was found nicely cooked at 4.30pm.

The boys want to have a try at cookery and may be given a chance next term.

Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 258); Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1)