Numbers so low, and sickness so rife

Influenza was taking its toll, and many schools would miss out on celebrating the armistice as a result.

Sonning
4th November 1918

On Monday 4th November only 22 boys presented themselves at school. I informed the Correspondent (Rev G.S Crawford) and he communicated with the B.E.C. The Secretary of the B.E.C acting on the advice of the school Medical Officer advised the closing of the school until Nov 18th.

Braywick
4th November 1918

School re-assembled as usual this morning but as the numbers were so low, and sickness so rife Dr Patterson ordered the school to close for a week longer.

Upton
4. XI.18

Henry Roberts and Francis Webb had their marks cancelled during the morning as they appeared to be suffering from influenza.

Milton
Nov 4th

I, Alice Andrews, take up my duties here as Head Mistress.
Owing to Influenza only 30 children assembled – sent for the Rector who advised me to wire to Reading – dismissed children to await instructions.

Boyne Hill
Nov: 4th

School reopened at 9 am with 172 present out of 201. The MOH has been notified.
The building has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Children have again been dismissed until Nov: 11th.

Log books of Sonning Boys school (89/SCH/1/2); Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4); Upton CE School (C/EL48/2); Milton CE School (D/P85/25/25); Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3);

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A war bonus for a nurse at home

There was trouble when a local nurse was dissatisfied with her pay and conditions, as the cost of living soared.

March 6th, 1917

Nurse had sent a letter of resignation since the last meeting, owing to being refused a weekend holiday or one night’s absence of the District during her attendance at a midwifery case, by Mrs Christie-Miller and Mrs Crawford acting on behalf of the Committee. Mrs Crawford had seen nurse privately and had asked her to withdraw her resignation, promising to persuade the Committee to do what they could for her in the way of weekends and in giving her if possible a further ‘war bonus’ or increase of salary: The Committee agreed to allow nurse to go away for Easter ie April 5th – 12th provided that Miss Skinner could send a nurse (midwife) to take charge of the District during that time. The Committee entirely supported Mrs Christie-Miller and Mrs Crawford in their refusal to allow nurse to be away from the District during a Midwifery case….

The Committee agreed to give nurse a war bonus of £1 to cover the remainder of the financial year.

Sonning and Woodley District Nursing Association Minutes (D/QNA/SO1/2)

Vegetables and cigarettes

The village of Crazies Hill dedicated its harvest festival to supporting the troops, with gifts of varying levels of healthiness.

Crazies Hill Notes

The Harvest Festival was held on October 15th. Throughout the day the Services were bright and hearty. The congregations were large; indeed everything was in keeping with the joyous occasion. The Children’s Service also, in the afternoon, was well attended. The Children’s offerings were made during the singing of a hymn when the children marched in procession and placed the various articles in a basket. The basket was large, yet was well supplied with packets of cigarettes, sweets, and other things. These were carried to the Parkwood Hospital after the Service as the Children’s gifts for the wounded soldiers.

At the Evening Service the anthem ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ was rendered very nicely by the Choir. The Special Preacher was the Rev. H. I. Wilson, Rector of Hitcham, to whom we are much indebted for coming.

The decorations were carried out with much care and skill – the building looking a veritable flower garden. It would be difficult to realize the amount of labour and time spent in arranging the flowers, plants, corn and vegetables. The result was certainly beautiful. We are very grateful to the following who so generously gave their labour and time: Mrs. Light, Mrs. Habbitts, Mrs. Wakefield, Mrs. Woodward, Miss Rose, Miss Stanton, Miss Beck, and Miss Doe, and the following who so kindly sent gifts: – Mrs. Whiting, flowers and vegetable marrow; Miss Beck, flowers; Mrs. William Willis, plants; Mrs. Hull, flowers; Mrs. Weller, flowers; Mrs. Goodwin, flowers; Mr. Kimble, flowers and vegetables. Mr. Griffin, flowers; Mr. Bacon, bread; Mr. Stanton, flowers. Miss Fleming, corn and wheat; Miss Rose, flowers; The Hon. Mrs. Crawford, corn; Capt. Willis, flowers.

We are also indebted to Parkwood for so kindly sending a collection of choice plants.

The collections throughout the day, which were in aid of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, amounted to £1 10s. 7 ½ d.

The vegetables and flowers were sent to Wargrave Military Hospital, Mr. Whiting most kindly conveying them thither.

Throughout the day offerings of cigarettes, etc., were most generously made for our men serving at the present time.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

“I don’t think we grudge these sons of ours if their death removes once and for all the horrors of war for future generations”

The vicar of Reading St Giles reported on the news of many young men from the town serving at the Front. Several had fallen in action.

Notes from the Vicar

To be added to the intercessions list:
Charles Barber (H.M.S. Ajax); lieut. James McNie Campbell, 12th Royal Scots; Lce. Corpl. E. Jardine, 5th R. Berks Rgt.; Trooper P.O. Jardine, Berkshire Yeomanry; Lieut. S.H. Jardine, 17TH R, Fusiliers; Private L.F.Jardine, 12th R Warwickshire Rgt; Ernest William Wheeler, R.F.C.; Fredk. H. Goddard, Queens Own Dorset Yeomanry; Leslie Victor Peirce, 3rd R. Berks; A. Williams, R. Fusiliers; Private Charles A. Bartlett, 1st Garrison Worcester Regt.; Private Henry Adams,1st Buffs; Lydall Savill, Eric Savill, Alfred Savill, Cyril May.

Sick and Wounded:
Corpl. Arthur Smith, C.G. Gutch, Private Albert Bendall, Private William Long, Private Leonard Smith, J. W. Redston, Private Ernest James Wise, Sergt. Clemetston, Private R. Crawford, Lieut. B. Lloyd, Drummer W.G. Stevens, Private C. Greaves, Private Thatcher, Departed: Lieut. T.G. Haughton, Capt. Bruce Smith-Masters, Driver R. Lund, R.F.A. Lieut. G.E. Maggs, Sergt. J. Eaton, Private Stanley Durman, Private Victor Burgess, Private Albert Bowley, Private T.J. Tollman, C.V. Tollman, R.N. Lieut. S. Sneider, Private G.H. Wellings.

We are sorry to hear that Sergt. R. Golding is among the “missing.”

Our sympathy goes out to the relatives and friends of these brave men who have so nobly done their duty. I should like to quote one sentence I received from a mother. “I don’t think we grudge these sons of ours if their death removes once and for all the horrors of war for future generations, as we trust it will; the only thing to do is to look steadily at the happiness of those who have passed.” They will always be remembered at S. Giles as their names are on the Roll of Honour.

I think a good many of you would like to read the letter sent by one of Captain Bruce Smith-Masters’ brother officers.

“Capt. Smith-Masters, who was my company Commander on active service for 15 months, was a magnificent type of the British Officer, as we know them. He was looked up to and admired by his Officers, and worshipped by his N.C.O’s and men. It was a tremendous shock to us to hear that he had been killed, as he went into the battle as cheerily as could be, and I certainly expected him to survive. He had been our constant companion for a long period of the campaign, and I think I am right in saying that he was the making of his company. Keen on sports by nature, and an athlete himself, he trained his men excellently, and was the means of their keeping fit. He always had an eye on their personal comfort, and anything that could be done for them, he did. In short, he was an awfully good fellow, and I am terribly sorry to think that he has gone. A finer company commander I never had, a keener officer never breathed.”

S. MICHAEL’S DISTRICT

To the list of the fallen in the war I have with great regret to add the names of Victor Burgess and Ernest Goddard. The deepest sympathy of us all goes out to the relations of these men and others on our list who have given their lives for their country.

Harold Baker is reported as missing in the recent fighting in Franc, but up to the moment of writing this has not been officially posted. We shall, I hope remember in our prayers his relations and friends, and others who are in anxiety and suspense because of the absence of definite news of their missing relations.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P191/28A/24)

Leave to see a soldier brother

The Sonning and Woodley District Nurse had a week off to spend time with a brother on leave from the Front.

Friday January 7th, 1916

It was agreed that the Committee should meet on the first Tuesday in each month now that the Fridays were taken up by the working party for war work….

Nurse Morgan had since the last meeting asked leave to go home to see her soldier brother. As the matter could not be delayed for the next Committee meeting, Mrs Crawford and Miss M Player had allowed her to go for a week and they were able to supply place meanwhile by a nurse obtained for them from the Berks Country Nursing Home. It was agreed that the week should be part of Nurse Morgan’s annual holiday. All had gone well during the week Nurse Morgan was away.

Sonning and Woodley District Nursing Association minutes (D/QNA/SO1/1)