It is a constant source of anxiety to know if our funds will hold out til the end of the War

The people of Wargrave contributed to help for Berkshire PoWs, including sending them bread to supplement what the Germans provided.

Prisoners of War of the Royal Berkshire Regiment

It is one of the first duties laid upon us to provide for the prisoners of War of our county regiment.

A Committee, of which Rear-Admiral Cherry is Hon. Treasurer and Mrs. Mount of Wasing Place, is Hon. Secretary, has undertaken this work. In February last it was realised by the Committee that to look after the prisoners of all the seven battalions now at the front would be more than they could undertake. It was therefore decided that this committee should only deal with the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 8th battalions – the prisoners of the 1/4, 2/4 and 7th battalions were handed over to Mrs. Hedges, 19, Castle Street, Wallingford, and the prisoners of the 6th battalion to Mrs. Dowell, 155 Malden Road, Colchester.

An appeal was sent to the Parish of Wargrave for support and Mrs. Henry Bond undertook to collect subscriptions for the fund. Mrs. Bond’s appeal has met with a ready and generous support- the amount collected by her in the parish was £101. 2s., in sums of £5 and under.

In acknowledging the cheque Mrs. Mount writes:

Wasing Place,
Reading,
August 21st.
Dear Mrs. Bond,

I really do not know how to express to you my thanks for the splendid collection you have made in Wargrave for the Royal Berks Regt. Prisoners. It is a constant source of anxiety to know if our funds will hold out til the end of the War. Our bread bill alone amounts to between £60 and £70 a month, besides which we have to find adopters for our 280 prisoners willing to pay each £21 per year for these prisoners.

Your splendid collection will go far towards removing any immediate anxiety.

Yours sincerely,
Hilda Mount.


Wargrave parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

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“The mud up to one’s knees everywhere is very trying”

A soldier wrote to his aunt, a farmer’s wife in north Berkshire.

5/4/17

My dear Aunt

I am writing to thank you for that most welcome letter I received. I am sorry I could not answer it before, but we have been busy. We are out of the trenches for a few days’ rest, so now I can write all the letters I owe. How are you all keeping through this very trying weather? I am feeling fit & quite well at present, but of course the mud up to one’s knees everywhere is very trying. It is a terrible job this war for everyone…

In regards to food considering the difficulty of transport we must not complain. Of course it is entirely different from home. It is a job when we come out everyone makes for the Canteen after a few dainties, so if you are not smart you stand a poor chance. Of course I must not tell you any news, but I hope to tell you all one day.

I hear from home very regularly & I tell you I get anxious if the wife does not write. My wife & two daughters are keeping pretty well though it is a nasty separation for them. little Winnie sends me her school work out here…

I remain
Your affect nephew
S H Dowell

Please excuse writing in pencil

Letter from S H Dowell to his aunt Maria Castle of Charlton (D/EX2547/2/4/9/10-12)

A scholarship resumed

Various teachers were serving their countries. The Education Committee had to deal with their absence.

Report of Higher Education Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

SCHOLARSHIPS

Mr E H Austin, whose County Scholarship at University College, Reading, was held over during his service in the Army, has not been passed for general service and has obtained postponement of embodiment to enable him to continue his College course. He has therefore returned to his studies.

Report of School Management Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

STAFFING

The Sub-committee record with regret that Mr Dowell, Assistant Master of Cranborne [sic] Ranelagh School, has been killed in action; and that Mr Glastonbury, Head Master of Thatcham CE School, and Mr R V Weaving, Assistant Master at Hungerford Council School, have been officially reported as “missing”.

LOWER BASILDON

The Managers have notifed their willingness to release their Head master for service in a larger School. The Managers have also agreed to allow the character of their School to be altered for the period of the war, the elder children being conveyed to Upper Basildon School; and Infants and Standard I only being taken at Lower Basildon School in charge of a Supplementary Teacher. The change takes effect from the beginning of the present term.

Report of By-Laws and Attendance Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

LOWER BASILDON CE

The Sub-committee have agreed to convey the elder children from Lower Basildon to Upper Basildon School, and on wet days back to their homes in the evening.

ATTENDANCE OFFICERS

The Sub-committee have appointed Mr E I R Walter as temporary Attendance Officer in place of Mr G H Edwards on Military Service.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

Mr J S James, first class clerk in the Secretary’s department, has been called up for military service and the Sub-committee have approved the appointment of a substitute to fill the vacancy.

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

Friends at the memorial service

A Memorial Service was held on Sunday evening, October 8th, for Private William Dowell. A large number of his friends attended the service.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, November 1916 (D/P151/28A/11)

“His life was too soon done”

A Cranbourne schoolmaster who had taken an active role in the life of the local church before joining the army was killed.

It is with the deepest regret we have to record the death of our friend, Private William Dowell.

He came to us in February, 1913, with a record of many examinations passed with honours and much more good work in former schools. He at once began to take an active part in our parochial life, proving himself a most loyal friend and helper to the Vicar. He was a regular communicant and taught in the Sunday School, and gained the sincere regard of the children. As leader of our “Study Circle” he distinctly made his mark, with great knowledge of the Bible, he spared no pains in preparing the subjects for discussion at the meetings of the circle; with great ability he started the discussions, and his summary of them in the minute book was a model of what such a record should be.

He joined under the Derby scheme on February 29th, 1916, and trained in the Wiltshires and was transported to the Somerset Light Infantry. We had hoped to see him back among us after the war, and it was a great shock to all of us to hear that he had been killed at the front on September 16th. We all, Teachers, Managers, Members of the C.E.M.S., Children and Vicar deeply mourn his loss. We will remember him always in our prayers.

R.I.P.

“To us it seemed his life was too soon done,
Ended, indeed, while scarcely yet begun;
God, with His clearer vision saw that he
Was ready for a larger ministry.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

Enjoying Army life and thankful for good health, good companions and good food

A Warfield soldier was enjoying his training.

CONCERT.

On behalf of our Branch of the Voluntary Work Organisation which provides clothing for wounded Soldiers, a concert was held in the Sunday School on March 4th. There were two performances, in the afternoon at 3.15 and in the evening at 7, and the room was full on both occasions…

The proceeds amounted to nearly £30. The kind performers would not wish to be thanked for doing war work, but the members of the work party wish to express their gratitude, and to say how much everybody enjoyed themselves.

C.E.M.S.

A letter has been received from Mr. Dowell from Worgret Camp, Wareham, in which he says he is enjoying Army life and has to be thankful for good health, good companions and good food. He says also he is learning road making, trench digging, coal carting and potato peeling.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, April 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/4)