“This hospital is being used for permanently disabled soldiers, so that it will probably remain open for a long time”

The ladies of Stratfield Mortimer folded their sewing group which had supported soldiers.

The War Working Party

The Committee wish to make a final report with reference to the funds which remained in their hands. These were laid out in the purchase of a sofa, an Indian cane chair, and a Singer hand sewing machine, which have been given to the Sutherlands hospital (Reading) for use there until that hospital closes. It will be remembered that this hospital is being used for permanently disabled soldiers, so that it will probably remain open for a long time. When that hospital is closed these properties are to be handed over to the Royal Berkshire Hospital. A most grateful letter of thanks has been received from the Sutherlands Commandant, who is especially delighted with the sewing machine, which will be in constant use by the ladies who undertake the heavy task of mending.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

Employing a greater percentage of discharged men than was required

There was pressure to find work for men permanently disabled as a result of wounds.

6th November 1919
Disabled Soldiers

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Unemployment Exchange enclosing Form of Undertaking with regard to the employment of discharged ex-service men. The Clerk stated that at the present time the Guardians were employing a greater percentage of discharged men than was required by the undertaking. No action was taken.

Report of Finance Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Training disabled Officers in Agriculture

Officers were helped to settle down as farmers.

Agricultural Instruction Committee report
18 October 1919

OFFICERS’ AGRICULTURAL TRAINING

The Board of Agriculture have furnished their observations with regard to the future working of this Scheme, the principal of which are (a) the number of allowances to be granted have been increased from 1,000 to 2,000; (b) the more stringent selection of candidates, and (c) grants hitherto paid to be regarded in future as maximum grants.

The Sub-committee submit the following information:

Applications received
Withdrawn 3
Transferred to other counties 2
In abeyance 1
Returned to Board of Agriculture 2
Refused 23
To be interviewed 5
Interviewed 43
Total 79

Applicants interviewed
Transferred 3
Refused 5
Withdrawn 5
Recommended for grant 30
Total 43

Applicants recommended
Placed 26
To be placed 1
Withdrawn 3
Total 30

Applicants at present in training 23
Applicants relinquished training 1
Applicants not commenced training 3
Total 27

Number of farmers selected as suitable to give training 32

TRAINING OF DISABLED OFFCIERS

The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries have taken over the responsibility of training disabled Officers in Agriculture, who are eligible for training under the Royal Pensions Warrant, and the Committee are asked to cooperate in the administration of the Scheme. The functions which the Committee would be called on to perform are (a) to act as advisors to the Board and to candidates; (b) to assist candidates to get into touch with suitable farmers; and (c) to supervise the training. All allowances and fees will be paid direct by the Board.
Acting upon the Board’s suggestion, the Committee have delegated the local administration of the Scheme to the Officers’ Agricultural Training Sub-committee.

Smallholdings and Allotments Committee report, 18 October 1919

COOMBE ESTATE

Mr A C Cole offered his Coombe Estate (about 2,300 acres) for a colony for the settlement of ex-Service men, and the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries requested that the property should be inspected…

The Committee have received a full report by the Land Steward, but cannot recommend it for either Small Holdings or Land Settlement….

While recommending schemes for Small Holdings which show a heavy annual deficit, the Committee have requested that the attention of the Council should be drawn to the fact that such schemes are not only approved by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, but are undertaken primarily to provide for the settlement of ex-Service men, to whom preference is recommended under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

A scheme with the object of absorbing into industry disabled and discharged Ex-Service men

It was important to find work for former soldiers.

13th October 1919
Employment of Ex Service Men

Reporting the receipt of circular letters from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour calling attention to a scheme with the object of absorbing into industry disabled and discharged Ex-Service men.

Recommending that the Clerk inform the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health of the fact that the Guardians had re-instated all their Officers who had been on service.

War Pensions

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Pensions, referring to the Clerk’s letter stating that the Guardians supported the Resolution reported by the Hemsworth Board, and asking for particulars of cases which had prompted the Guardians to support the Resolution. Further reporting the receipt of a letter from Lt Col Leslie Wilson, MP, stating that he would be glad to be informed of any delay in awarding pensions to men living in Reading, and that he would have any such cases fully investigated at the Ministry of Pensions.

MReport of Finance & General Purposes Committee inminutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

An Institution in which disabled sailors and soldiers could be taught crafts and trades and thus become able to do useful work would be the best form of memorial

What form should a county-wide memorial take?

1 September 1919

The suggestions as to the form of the memorial put forward by Lady Wantage, Alderman Cox, Brigadier General Wigan, Mr Bartholomew of the Oxford Street Social Club and Lt Col Walsh were considered. None of the suggestions were regarded favourably and the meeting discussed generally what kind of memorial would seem most suitable having regard to the fact that a County Memorial was wanted.

Schemes of a utilitarian nature were favoured by Alderman Martin and also by Councillor Quelch, but each referred to the question of a scheme of the kind having a limited radius of usefulness and could not benefit the whole county. Mr F G Belcher suggested that an Institution in which disabled sailors and soldiers could be taught crafts and trades and thus become able to do useful work would be the best form of memorial. He alluded to the monotony of the lives of these poor men, and the need to do everything possible to provide them with interests in life. As an alternative he suggested the establishment of an Orphanage to benefit the children of the men who had fallen in the war. The Chairman pointed out that in any such Institution the question of endowments to provide an income for its maintenance must be met and also that the need of either kind of Institution would pass away within a limited number of years.

It was proposed by Councillor Quelch and seconded by Alderman Martin, “that in all the circumstances and having regard to the fact that no scheme of a utilitarian nature would be likely to benefit the whole county, this Committee is compelled to fall back on the proposal to erect a suitable monument as a permanent memorial in commemoration of the sailors and soldiers of Berkshire who had lost their lives in the war”. Passed unanimously.

Councillor Quelch proposed and Alderman Martin seconded “that the architects of Berkshire be invited to assist the Committee by submitting, voluntarily, sketch plans of such designs as would in their opinion be suitable for the purpose required.” Passed unanimously.

It was mentioned that some 8000 to 10000 names would require to be inscribed.

The question of site was spoken of, and Councillor Quelch undertook to bring the subject forward at the next meeting of the Markets and Estates Committee of the [Reading] Town Council who would no doubt consider the possibility of assisting the project by offering sites which might be suitable for the building of the monument.

The Secretary was requested to ascertain the terms upon which the triangular piece of land at the junction of Caversham Road and Friar Street could be acquired in the event of its being a fitting position for the memorial.

Berkshire War Memorial Committee minutes (R/D134/3/1)

A Lecture at the Picture Palace on the Navy

em>You may remember that Mrs Thornton had been absent since the 12th, due to the return home of her soldier husband. This was causing difficulties for her colleagues.

Sunninghill
18th February 1919

Mrs Thornton is still absent, & as a consequence 4 teachers are managing 5 rooms, & each teacher has charge of 2 classes – an instance of overwork of which we have had much undesirable experience of this school.

Speenhamland
Feb 18th

About 120 children of the Upper Standard attend a Lecture at the Picture Palace on the Navy; they will be required to write an Essay on what they see and hear and prizes will be given for the best.

Receipt for £1.1.0 received from the Organiser of the King’s Fund for the Disabled.

Ascot
February 18th 1919

Through lack of coal great difficulty is being experienced in keeping the rooms warm enough for the boys to work in any degree of comfort.


Log books of St Michael’s CE Mixed School, Sunninghill (88/SCH/32/3); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Ascot Heath Boys’ School (C/EL110/4

“An incalculable amount of pain, many limbs, and indeed many lives must have been saved by the timely arrival of the bales”

Wargrave had been at the heart of work providing surgical supplies during the war.

Wargrave Surgical Dressing Society

This Society, which has just brought its work to a close owed its existence to the energies of Miss Choate.

At Millward’s, generously lent by the late Mr. Henry Nicholl and recently by Major C.R.I. Nicholl, was started by her in March 1915, a work which grew to such an extent that during the four years some 500,000 dressings and comforts were dispatched to the wounded from Wargrave. These were not, of course, all made in the village. Under Miss Choate’s organisation, branches were started at Dartmouth, Ledbury, Loughton, Pangbourne, Peppard, Shiplake and Wimbledon, while welcome and regular parcels were received from Twyford, Kidmore and Hoylake. But all were packed for shipment and consigned from Wargrave.

The parcels went to Hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations at almost every fighting area – to Mesopotamia, to Gallipoli, to Egypt, to Serbia and to American and Colonial Hospitals in England and in France.

It is impossible to ever estimate the value of the work. An incalculable amount of pain, many limbs, and indeed many lives must have been saved by the timely arrival of the bales. As a lame man said to the writer “Only we who are still suffering the effects of the shortage of medical comforts at the beginning of the war can appreciate fully the work these people have done.”

In the early days, consignments were sent in response to urgent appeals from Commandants and Matrons of Hospitals, but since 1916 the Society, in common with other of the larger Societies in England, has worked under the direction of the Department of the Director General of Voluntary Organisations at the War Office.

A.B.

A meeting of the Society and the subscribers was held on Wednesday, Feb. 5th, at Millwards to decide upon the disposal of the Balance in hand. Every provision had been made for carrying on the work through the winter if the war had continued, and the funds amounted to over £200.

In the absence of Capt. Bird, the Vicar was asked to take the chair. After a full discussion it was unanimously resolved that £200 be given to the Ward Fund and Recreation Fund of the Manor Hospital, Hampstead.

It was a great happiness to all concerned to feel that the money should benefit a work with which Miss Sinclair was so closely associated.

It was resolved that the remaining balance be given to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, for a Care and Comforts Fund for the Soldier Patients.

The accounts have not yet been audited but it is expected that the amount to be given to Reading Hospital will be about £20.

These resolutions, together with the audited accounts, must be submitted to the Charity Commissioners for approval, but there is every reason to think that they will be endorsed by them.

The men in the Manor House Orthopedic Hospital, Hampstead, for discharged Soldiers and Sailors, wish to send their grateful thanks to the Members of the Surgical Dressing Emergency Society, Wargrave, for their splendid gift (£200) to be used for their Care and Comfort. As many Wargrave ladies have consented to be god-mothers in the wards, it is the wish of the men that some of them should be on the new Committee, called the Care and Comforts Committee, who from time to time will decide how the money shall be spent. The appreciation of the men is very touching in its sincerity and sense of sympathy.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

A collection for the King’s Fund for the Disabled

Jan. 21

We made a collection for the King’s Fund for the Disabled and I am sending £1.1.0 as the result.

St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

Lieutenant East lost his leg in the service of the Country and Empire

Men were starting to return from imprisonment.

COMMISSION IN THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE

Mr and Mrs East, of Church Cottage, have received notification from General W Birdwood, CO, Australian Force, that their son, Mr Robert East, has been appointed Second Lieutenant from August 10th, 1917. The notification is dated 6/3/1918. It will be remembered that Lieutenant East lost his leg in the service of the Country and Empire.

RETURN OF PRISONERS OF WAR

The first prisoner of war to return to the parish has been Private Roland Pitherall, who returned at the beginning of November.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Four years and four months of desperate warfare manfully endured rewarded by a victorious Armistice

The vicar of a Maidenhead church was among those who had suffered from the international influenza epidemic.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

ALAS! for the first time I have to apologize for a late Magazine; but the “Flu” must be my all sufficient excuse. It is indeed, a time of difficulty just now, so many households have illness, and many have to mourn losses; to all these our hearts go out in sympathy. But overshadowing all this is the feeling of a load having been lifted from the mind and heart of the whole Nation on St. Martin’s Day (November 11th). Four years and four months of desperate warfare manfully endured rewarded by a victorious Armistice, to lead, as we all pray, next Spring to a just and abiding Peace. The Civic Service, acknowledging the Nation’s gratitude to Almighty God, held before the Town Hall, was well attended, and I am told by all who heard it how deeply they were stirred by Mr. King-Gill’s Adress. On the same night (Wednesday) full congregations returned our thanks as a Parish to God in St. Luke’s and St. Peter’s…

Then, I have been asked by the Mayoress and Mrs Gardner to remind parishioners of the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops. These fit crippled sailors and soldiers for earning their living in an independent way. Envelopes will be delivered at all houses, and collected at Christmastide by Boy Scouts. We all hope they may be well filled.

Finally, as regards a Thankoffering by the parish. Many friends have asked me what we mean to do to mark our gratitude for Peace and Victory. I feel that it is almost too early to settle that yet, until Peace is actually signed, or nearer than it is, as yet. Next year, I hope to call a Parish gathering to discuss what form our memorial of the gallant dead, and of the self sacrifice of those who survive, should take. But this year some people feel they would like to give something at once. It has been suggested, and the Churchwardens and I have agreed, that the Christmas Collections should, after deducting £10 at St Luke’s for the Sunday School, and £2 10s at St Peter’s, be given towards the Endowment Fund we are trying to raise to help to maintain the Assistant Clergy…

Lastly, I would ask your prayers for those called on, as Electors, to choose Members of Parliament, and for the New Parliament itself, that all things may be ordered “to the glory of God, the good of the Church, the safety, honour, and welfare, of our Sovereign and his Dominions.”

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P181/28A/

“We shudder to think how thin seemed the partition between us and destruction!”

Maidenhead Congregational Church rejoiced.

PEACE!

The war is over! How difficult it was to believe at first! We could only slowly get our eyes accustomed to the sudden light. It seemed like passing out of a dark prison into the light of freedom again. Timidity was changed into a feeling of triumph. We can scarcely recognise the altered world, the change has been so sudden and startling. Everything seems new. The glow of victory and expectation is everywhere. As the enemy’s records slowly come to light, it is ever more plain how deliberate and wanton was Germany’s onslaught upon a world at peace, how deep her plots to get the nations under her heel, how tremendous her preparations, yes, and how nearly she succeeded! And now her huge strength has been destroyed. We open our daily newspapers now without a tremor. Nothing in the Peace celebrations seems more wonderful than the restraint and dignified calm of the people as a whole. There was no “mafficking” in the streets, there was no bombast anywhere. Perhaps it was because we had all suffered too deeply. Exultation of course there was, and it was abundantly justified. Dr. McLaren in one of his books asks the question, “Does Christianity forbid us to rejoice when some mighty system of wrong and oppression with its tools and accomplices, is cleared off from the face of the earth?” And the great preacher answers his own question with a text of scripture: “When the wicked perish there is shouting.”

It will be good for us to strive to make our gratitude to God more conscious and eager. We have been in tremendous peril! The Prime Minister said some year or two ago, “We shall win, but we shall only just win.” And it has been “only just.” We may well shudder to think how thin seemed the partition between us and destruction! Can we hope that a new sense of God will fall upon the nation? We need divine guidance and help as certainly in the reconstruction problems as in the peril of the war. Britain’s future depends upon the settlements of the coming year. The nation and the Churches too are at the cross roads! None of us, none of our sires or grandsires, have known a time when the call for earnest thinking and devoted service was to be compared with what it is to-day. Everyone of us must give answer unswervingly if we are not to let the hour pass and the opportunity slip away.

And now, among other things, we want our boys back again. We have felt their absence keenly, not only in our homes, but in the Church. There are nine of our own who will not return, and we will not forget them. But the others, may they come back firmer in fibre, more ready to serve Christ in His Church and in His Kingdom, more determined by His help to “build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.” And may the lessons of our great trial and triumph make us all wise and strong while life lasts.”

CHRISTMAS.

We ought to be able to fill our Christmas this year with real and unaffected joy. The great shadow is taken off merry making. Not that all the problems of the world have been solved, but they are nearer solution, and there is a grand hope in our hearts. And the coming of the world’s great King may remind us that the first of all conditions of real peace and content is a child-like heart, a spirit of gentleness and meekness, and of trust in the guidance of the good Father above. Rivalries and frettings eat out our peace, as a moth a garment, as acid soft metal. When man is right with God, all the earth will be right with men. If we are to gain true peace and happiness in the future, either for ourselves or for the nations, it must be by utter submission to Him who was born a child at Bethlehem.

OUR SOLDIERS.

F. W. Harmer is in hospital in London, suffering from some internal trouble, and may have to undergo an operation. Ernest Bristow is much better, and will soon be ready for his artificial leg. He is back at the Maidenhead Red Cross Hospital. Hugh Lewis has been down with a severe and serious attack of “flu,” and is in hospital at Boulogne.”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“Although we always anticipated the ultimate success of the Allies, we hardly dared to hope for the great and glorious result which has been achieved”

Reading Board of Guardians reflected on the war and its impact.

28th November 1918

Report by the Chairman

As this is the first meeting of the Board since the Armistice was signed, I should like to say a word or two on the triumphant termination of the terrible war which has raged for over four years and has ended in the complete downfall of German domination. Although we always anticipated the ultimate success of the Allies, we hardly dared to hope for the great and glorious result which has been achieved.

Our thanks for victory, however, are tinged with regret by the losses which have been sustained. The War has been brought home to nearly every household in the land, and there is hardly a family in which some beloved relative or friend has not fallen or been disabled. The members of this Board have had to mourn the loss of many dear ones. I am sure that we should all like to express our sympathy with Mr Guardian Waters whose stepson was killed on the very last day of the War.

It has been my privilege to preside over the Board during the whole period of the Warm, and I am very glad to be the “Peace” Chairman as well as the “War” Chairman. We have had many serious difficulties to contend with, but with the able guidance of Mr Oliver we have been able to surmount them all. Our Institution was one of the first to be taken over as a Military Hospital & it has been found to be so splendidly adapted for the purpose that I expect it will be one of the last to be given up. The Master, Matron, Superintendent Nurse, Nursing Staff, & Officers generally have shown splendid devotion to duty under the most trying and arduous conditions, and we thank them one and all for the self denying services they have rendered. Many of the members of the Board have been engaged in War Work in various capacities, those taking part being: Mr W G Cook, Mr F E Moring, Mr A E Deadman, Col Kensington, Mr Hall-Mansey.

Staff:
Office: J R Beresford, K L Jones, G H Turnbull, A Dawson, K Garrett, K Ayling, K Hawkes
Relief: Mr F H Herrington, Mr G M Munday
Institutional: H Challis, A Sanders, G Smith, W Bibby

Out of this number Challis has been killed & Dawson has lost a leg.

Mr Guardian Waters
Mr Waters thanked the Guardians for their expression of sympathy in the sad bereavement he and his wife had sustained.

Election of Mayor

As the Guardians and Officers had not received the usual invitation to attend the election of Mayor, to accompany him at the Thanksgiving Service held at St Mary’s Church on the 13th November last, strong criticism was adversely expressed ad the Press asked to make a note thereof.

Minutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

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)

The special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services

The Government wanted ex-servicemen to get first choice of jobs where possible.

EMPLOYENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS

The Local Government Board have forwarded a communication from the Ministry of Pensions, in which the special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services when suitable vacancies arise, are urged. The Ministry suggest that preference should be accorded to disabled men (subject to reinstatement of former employees) when vacancies occur on the clerical, technical, or manual staffs of Local Authorities, and also call attention to the claims of young men between 18 and 21 returning from military service in connection with the recruitment of juniors for the administrative and clerical staffs.

WAR CHARITIES

The Sub-committee appointed for the purpose have dealt with the following applications for certificates of registration and exemption under the War Charities Act, 1916:

No of certificate Name of charity Applicants
58 Hungerford and District Red Cross Agricultural Relief of Allies Fund John C Adnams, Hungerford

Exemption to 8 June, 1918
7 Lance-Corporal Pounds, Prisoner of War Mrs K G Hanley, Forbury, Kintbury

Report of Berkshire County Council Finance Committee, 15 October 1918 (C/CL/1/21)

Victory over our brutal enemy is within sight

October

We purpose [sic] holding our Harvest Thanksgiving Services on the first Sunday in October [6 October]. Owing to War conditions we shall not be able to make our decorations as elaborate as in normal years; but if we do what we can in the right spirit to the glory of God, our efforts will be acceptable in His sight. This year we have especial reason to acknowledge His mercies, for we have practically passed out of the peril of a food crisis, although it is still incumbent upon us to be as careful and provident as possible. And while we thank Him for the Harvest we shall also be thanking Him with fervent hearts for the successes He has vouchsafed us and our Allies on the Western and Eastern Fronts. …

November

Our Harvest Thanksgiving on October 6 was a very happy festival …

This year our thanksgiving for the harvest was deepened by the thankfulness for the many and great successes recently vouchsafed to our forces and those of our Allies in the different theatres of war. At length it would certainly seem that we are getting to the end of the long lane, and that victory over our brutal enemy is within sight; we have no wish to be vindictive in the punishment of Germany, but we and the Allies must see to it that her punishment shall be adequate to her guilt. An American statesman put the case very well the other day when he said that, while justice without mercy is unChristian, so is mercy that forgets justice also unChristian….

The decoration of the church was less elaborate this year than on former occasions, but in the opinion of everyone it was very beautiful… For the general decoration of the church our Squire, Mr Heatley Noble, granted us the help of that estimable ex-soldier Mr William Charlton, and it is enough for us to say that his injuries received in war in no way hindered him from carrying the whole work through with real skill and taste.

Remenham parish magazine, October and November 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)