“Even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles”

On an antiquarian trip to his home region in the Vale of White Horse, William Hallam took the time to pay his respects at a war shrine.

18th May 1918

Got up at 7. Went to Challow sta. at 20 past 9. Walked thro’ Goosey across the fields – then onto Charney. Here I looked in the church as a young woman was cleaning it and getting ready for a wedding she told me. Notice that queer carving in chapel. Then I copied down all the Inscriptions I could decipher. The I went to a cottage and enquired the way to Cherbury Camp but the old man said I meant Chawberry. He told me the nearest way but I mistook it and went a devil of a way round. However I enquired again and got there alright about 1 o’clock. I was surprised to find such a perfect camp still existing in the midst of agricultural land. I sat on the bank and ate my lunch of bread and butter and a hard boiled egg and revelled in the sun. The cuckoo had been on all day long. The first day I’ve heard him this spring. There was not a cloud in the sky and even here aeroplanes are more ubiquitous than motor cars and went droning thro the blue at a great height like beetles. I sat here and thought for an hour. I looked over the ploughed field in the encampment and found one flint chip.

I came back into Charney the way I should have come – much nearer- and went into the Pub and had a pint and a ½ of ale. This landlady Shepherd knew me by seeing me regularly at St. Paul’s as they lived at Swindon until 3 years ago when they took this Pub. Her husband a smith now working she told me at Cheltenham in aeroplane works and rides on a bike to & from every week end- 45 miles. I asked about this old house near the Church. She told me a lady had bought it 2 or 3 years ago and spent a lot of money on it – then before she had finished it got tired of it and sold it to a Col. Colmes for 1800£ and now he is spending as much as he gave for it in restoring it. Fortunately in antiquarian lines the chapel & all being put back as it should be. When I started back I sat on the Oak bridge and saw the wedding – not a khaki one – party came out – quite a village wedding – all walking.

It was a scalding hot day and as I sat on a heap of stones resting and having a smoke 2 Swindon men passed by and had a chat on their way to Longworth. Further along the road I turned off and went to Denchworth & looked over the Church & churchyard and here I saw the first war shrine. A frame with a crucifix and list of the names of all the young men gone from the village with a prayer for the passer by to offer up for them so took off my hat and said it. Before it on a ledge were 2 brass vases of fresh flowers. I got back to Challow St. at 6 o’clock and got up home here at ½ past 7. The Country is at its best now especially the Vale.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

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Distress due to the war

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Committee met again at Shire Hall to consider applications for help from individuals who had fallen on hard times due to the war.

21 August 1915

The Sec: reported that Mrs Forrester’s case had been taken over by the Central Bureau for the Employment of Women upon the advice of the Professional Classes Sub-committee of the NRF Committee in London.

That the grant to Mrs Pounds had now been paid in full.

That Ross of Clewer was being relieved by the SSFA.

The Sec: was empowered to renew the weekly grant to Pounds if the application were received & no change had occurred in the applicants’ circumstances.

Applications for relief were reported as follows.

Patterson, Maidenhead. The Chairman reported a grant authorized by himself of 10/- weekly for 3 months. Such grant was confirmed by the Committee.
Haines, Earley. Resolved that the case was outside the scope of the Committee.
Tame, Denchworth. Reported by the Sec: as having been referred to the SSFA.
Stallwood, Maidenhead. Resolved that no grant be given.
Pocock, Chieveley. Resolved that there being no evidence of distress owing to the war no grant be given.
Sadler, Beedon. Resolved that as the payment of debts does not come within the scope of the operations of this Committee, no grant be given.
Chapman, Theale. Adjourned for further information to be obtained from the local sec: & the SSFA.

Berkshire branch of the National Relief Committee: minutes (C/CL6/4/1)