Another opportunity of setting foot on English soil

A soldier celebrated Empire Day with his wedding to an old friend.

MARRIAGE

On Saturday, May 24th, two of our old Sunday Scholars were married in our Church by the Pastor. We refer to Mr R B (“Dick”) Wilkins and Miss Rosina Blake. The bridegroom has been for some years away from Tilehurst, having been in residence in Canada, but on the outbreak of war he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and in the course of his career as a soldier he gained another opportunity of setting foot on English soil.

By a curious coincidence it was “Empire Day” when he enlisted, “Empire Day” again when he first crossed to France, and yet again “Empire Day” when he entered upon married life. The wedding was quite a simple ceremony, marked by earnestness and sincerity, and the large congregation was ample evidence to the young couple of the good wishes which they were receiving from many friends.

We trust that the demands of military service will soon cease in Mr Wilkins’s case, and that he and his wife will be able to settle happily in their far off home across the seas. They know we all wish them the very best…

Tilehurst section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, July 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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Special lessons on “The Empire” and “Patriotism”

The war continued to inform Empire Day celebrations in Berkshire schools.

Slough
May 23rd 1919

Celebration of Empire Day.

Empire lessons were given throughout the school.

A hollow square was formed in the playground and the flag was hoisted while the National Anthem was being sung.

The Chairman Mr Andrews, the Revd Theo Cousens and Mr Frank Smith addressed the children, the subject being the Empire and its builders.

Patriotic Songs were sung and the school was dismissed for a half holiday.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
23rd May 1919

This being Empire Day, the ordinary timetable lessons were not taken, but special lessons on “The Empire” and “Patriotism” were given throughout the school, and at 11 a.m. the whole of the children were assembled around the school flagpole, and the vicar raised the Union jack amid great cheering from the scholars & the assembled parents and parishioners. Canon Fowler, Mr R Lea & Miss Weldon made patriotic speeches, & the children sang some appropriate songs.

In the afternoon the usual May Day Festival was held at 3 p.m….

At the close of the proceedings, a collection, amounting to £3.1.5 was made, the money to go towards an “Honour” board for Earley school-boys who have fallen in the war.

Ascot Heath Boys’ School
May 23rd 1919

Empire Day was celebrated at 2.30 p.m. in the presence of many parents and Friends. Sir Neville Chamberlain R.C.B. addressed the Children on the “Meaning of Empire” and “Our Duty Towards It”.

Ascot Heath Girls School
23rd May 1919

The children assembled in the Boys field and were addressed by Sir Neville Chamberlain.

Priestwood
23/05/1919

Special lessons have been given this week to prepare for Empire Day. This morning at 11.30 and this afternoon at 3pm parade, demonstration consisting of appropriate songs renditions took place in the playground.

Reading Christ Church CE Infants School
23rd May 1919

Tomorrow (Saturday) being Empire Day, the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted by all the children, who listened to an interesting address by Captain Wing. The lessons during the morning were on Empire Day.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1); St Peter’s CE School, Earley: log book (SCH36/8/3); Ascot Heath Boys’ School log book (C/EL110/4); Ascot Heath Girls School log book (C/EL109/2); Priestwood Council Infant School (C/EL70); Reading Christ Church CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6)

All will gather together for the singing of ‘Land of our Birth’

22/05/19

Lessons bearing on the Empire will be given today in connection with the celebration of Empire Day. At the close of school all will gather together for the singing of ‘Land of our Birth’ and the national anthem. As arranged by the education committee tomorrow afternoon will be a holiday.

Log book of Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1)

Ready for Peace or Empire Day, whichever comes first

Flagstaff

Mr Rogers of Furze Platt has kindly given the National School (Boys’ Department) a flagstaff. The boys, out of the profits of the School garden, have paid for its fixing and purchased a flag. So they are ready for Peace or Empire Day, whichever comes first.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Lessons on Patriotism for Empire Day

Children across the county celebrated Empire Day with patriotic displays and collections.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1918, 22nd-24th May

On Empire Day the children marched past and saluted the Flag. Recitations and Patriotic Songs were sung and 16/2 was sent to the Overseas Fund.

Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School
24th May 1918

Being Empire Day the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted by all the children, many of whom wore the colours. Each half year since the commencement of the War, the children have contributed liberally to the “Over Seas” Club Tobacco Fund, by means of which nearly £7000 has been spent in sending parcels of “smokes” to the soldiers and sailors at the Front.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
24th May 1918

The morning was kept as our “Empire Day” celebration. The ordinary timetable was not adhered to, lessons on Patriotism taking the place of the ordinary lessons and at 11 a.m. the Flag was raised by the Mayor of Reading (F A Sarjeant Esq) who is one of the School Managers. Speeches were made by the Mayor, the Vicar, Colonel Weldon & R Lea esq, and patriotic songs were sung by the assembled school.

In the afternoon, following the usual custom, May Day celebrations took place… Between 400 and 500 friends of the school & the children were present. A collection was made on behalf of some of the War Funds, and together with donations sent later, amounted to £2.17.6.

Reading: All Saints Infant School (89/SCH/19/2)
24th May 1918

The parents assembled in the school at 11.30am to hear the children sing the special songs they had learned for Empire Day. The Rev. Wardley King gave a short address. The children had a collection for St Dunstan’s Hostel for the blind soldiers and sailors. A half day holiday was given in the afternoon.

Coleshill CE School
24th May 1918

To-day being ‘Empire Day’ the children saluted ‘the flag’ in the girls’ playground and sang the National Anthem. The Empire Pennies brought by the children amounted to £1.0.3½. This sum was sent to The Overseas Fund for Comforts for our Soldiers & Sailors.

Reading Christ Church

On Empire Day May 24 the girls of our Day School presented Sutherlands VAD with a bath chair. The presentation was made by Rose Gillings on behalf of the girls, who asked the Commandant, Mrs Childs, to accept it. The chair was purchased by money raised entirely by the children themselves. Mrs Childs expressed her thanks for the gift. Three soldiers from the Hospital were present and at the end of the proceedings one of them was wheeled in the chair down the schoolroom, greatly cheered by the girls.

Log books of Abingdon Girls CE School (C/EL 2/2); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School (89/SCH/7/6); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Reading: All Saints Infant School (89/SCH/19/2); Coleshill CE School log book (D/P40/28/5); and Christ Church parish magazine, July 1918 (D/P170/28A/24)

A splendid address on Duty and Patriotism that even the tiniest could understand

Empire Day was the focus for patriotic expressions in schools across the county.

Piggott Schools, Wargrave
Empire Day

The children of the Piggott Schools celebrated Empire Day (May 24th) in right loyal fashion. They assembled at the School, and with flags flying, marched down to Church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an appropriate address. Re-assembling on the Church Green they proceeded to the Schools and took their places round the flag pole from which the Union Jack was flying. A good number of parents and friends of the children with many of the soldiers from the hospital were waiting their return. As the boys passed the soldiers they gave them a salute in recognition of what they had done for their country.

The National Anthem was sung, and the flag saluted, and Miss. E. Sinclair gave a splendid address on Duty and Patriotism in such a way that even the tiniest could understand it. Capt. Bird proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Sinclair and hearty cheers were given in which the soldiers joined. Three Patriotic and Empire Songs were sung by the children, the Vicar called for cheers for the Teachers, and Mr. Coleby announced that Mrs. Cain had most kindly provided buns and sweets for all as they left the grounds. Hearty cheers were given her for her thoughtfulness. Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1917

Empire Day was celebrated today. The Headmaster addressed the children assembled in the Hall, and the National Anthem was sung. The children then went to their classrooms and ordinary lessons proceeded till 11 o’clock. Each class teacher then gave a lesson on “Empire” and kindred subjects till 11.30. This was followed by a Writing Lesson when some of the important facts were taken down.

The school assembled in the Hall again at 11.55 and after a few more remarks by the Headmaster the national Anthem was again sung and the children dismissed.

Opportunity was taken of this morning’s addresses to instil into the children’s minds the necessity of economising in the use of all food stuffs, and more especially of bread and flour.

A holiday was granted in the afternoon. (more…)

Impress upon the children the urgent need for the prevention of waste in food

Schools in Newbury were struggling thanks to the war.

Thursday, May 24th, 1917

Resignation of Teachers

Mr G H Keen, an assistant master at the Council Boys’ School, had been called up for military service on May 18th, and it is recommended that his appointment be kept open for him.

The secretary was instructed to press for the release from military service of one of the Authority’s teachers who since his enlistment had been medically classified as low as C3, and in the event of this teacher being discharged from the Army to appoint him temporarily to the Council Boys’ School.

It may be mentioned that there were eight Assistant Masters in the service of the Local Education Authority before the war; but now there are only two in the whole of the Borough Schools, and one of these is filling the position temporarily….

Food Economy

A letter was received from the Board of Education calling attention to the urgent need for economy in food and especially for saving in bread, and stating that information had reached the Food Controller that there was waste among the children who brought their midday meal to school. The Sub-committee were informed that the matter had been brought to the notice of the Authority’s Head Teachers, and that they had been asked to impress upon the children the urgent need for the prevention of waste in food.

The Sub-committee were also informed that “Empire Day”, Thursday May 24th, was made the occasion in the Borough Schools for giving the children a special lesson on the subject of Food Economy, and also that copies of the recent Proclamation of the King were distributed in the schools.

The Sub-committee considered the question of providing a Public Kitchen for the use of children who bring their midday meal to school, and the secretary was instructed to ascertain the number of these children in the Borough Schools, and to submit a report on the matter to the next meeting….

Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Newbury Borough Education Committee (N/AC1/2/8)

The children’s generosity speaks for itself

Children in Crazies Hill were generous contributors to war charities.

Crazies Hill Notes

We commend the Children of the Day School for their generosity in contributing time after time towards the needs of the county during the War. We append the following particulars and consider that they speak for themselves.

In the year 1915 they sent 12/6 to the Fund for the Over-Seas Empire Day Gifts, and before Christmas of the same year 18/6 was sent to the Over-Seas Christmas Gifts Fund.

During the present year the following contributions have already been forwarded:-

15/- to the Star and Garter Home Fund; 10/- to the Over-Seas Empire Day Gifts; 6/- to the ‘Jack Cornwall’ Memorial Ward in the Star and Garter Home, and 13/- to the Wounded Horse and the A.V.C. Fund.

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

Bravery in France

News from three Berkshire schools, affected by the war in different ways.

Wescott Road School
October 6th 1916
One of our old scholars – Charles Sadler has won the D.C.M for bravery in France.

Aldermaston School
6th October 1916.
During the week 7 field post cards have been received from soldiers at the front, acknowledging the gifts sent to them by children from the school, as a result of the collection made on Empire Day.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1916, 2nd-6th October
First week of War Savings, amount paid in £1.1.5. Poor attendance, several girls absent because their fathers and brothers have been home on leave.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 166); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 60); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 125)

No prizes this year – feed starving Belgian children instead

As the school year drew to a close, an Abingdon school reflected on the impact of the war.

1916, 24th-28th July

No prizes were given this year. In order to practice the public duty of economy, the County Council gave none, but in order to preserve the efficiency of the school, a number of War Time Certificates were awarded to girls for completing with credit a year’s work in their respective classes. These were presented on Thursday morning by the Mayoress (Mrs H Clarke) who was accompanied by the Vicar and Mrs Kennedy, Mrs Reynolds, Miss Morland and Miss Clarke. Mr Tatham, Mr Gadd and the Revs Barker and Thomas were also present. Maggie Money, Standard 7, received the Bishop’s Prayer Book, and 8 other girls Certificates from the Diocesan Inspector, 20 others were commended. The Medals, Bars and Clasps had not arrived.

Some things done by the children in War Time:

Xmas puddings to Soldiers to value £1
Overseas Fund Xmas 9/
Wool for socks made £1
Blind Soldiers and Sailors Fund 16/6
Empire Day Overseas Fund 12/6
Cottage Hospital 74lbs weight
Oxford Cot Fund 10/0

They voted that the Prize Money usually given by the Managers, together with 10/6 which they brought themselves should be given to the Fund for starving Belgian children. This amounted to £2.10.6.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 120)

Empire Day celebrated with earnestness

On 24 May 1916 Berkshire schools celebrated Empire Day and used it to encourage pupils’ patriotism – except in Bracknell, where they were stymied by a storm.

Bracknell

We were unable to keep any public celebration of Empire Day at the School. This was partly because in the recent gales our flag staff was blown down and broken. Is there any patriotic person who would come forward and present us with a new one? The flag is an important feature in the celebration of Empire Day, and we really need to be able to fly our flag on suitable occasions. What shall we do on the happy day when Peace is declared if we have no flag staff?

Winkfield

EMPIRE DAY was observed as usual at our Schools. In the presence of the Managers and a few friends the children sang very sweetly a song saluting the flag and the infants gave a very credible patriotic recitation.

The Vicar spoke on briefly on the importance of all – children as well as grown up people – “doing their bit” in the way of sacrifice, if we are to win this war and help write a great and glorious chapter in our History, and he gave each child a leaflet entitled “What you can do for your Country” in which children are reminded that if our Empire is to continue great, it will be through the character and sense of duty of those still at school.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1916
Empire Day.

The School was opened this morning with prayer as usual, but instead of Hymn, the National Anthem was sung.

The Headmaster then gave an address to the children on “Empire Day” and this was amplified later in the Classrooms by the Class Teachers, who gave addresses on Empire, Our Colonies, The Union Jack, The Army and Navy.

Composition and Transcription Exercises were given bearing on the subjects taught in the lesson.

At 11.20 the children assembled again in the Hall, the National Flag was saluted and Patriotic songs were sung.

At 12 o’clock the school closed for the day.

Warfield CE School
24th May 1916

Empire Day was celebrated today with earnestness after an address on the unity of the allies. Special war prayers form a part of the proceedings the national anthem was sung, the scholars marched and saluted the flag and seemed to realise the act of patriotism and the need of gratitude to god for the unity of the nations, the combined efforts of both soldiers, sailors and workers, and the need for their weekly act of self sacrifice by which we are able to send our boys in the war. A small token on festivals we sent 15/6 to the overseas club for food for our prisoners in Germany.

All Saint’s Infant School, Reading
24th May 1916

The Time Table was not adhered to this morning. The children assembled in the playground, saluted the flag and sang patriotic songs. Many parents came to see them. A half holiday was given in the afternoon.

Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School
24th May 1916

Being Empire Day, the National Anthem was sung this morning, and the flag saluted, by all the children, many of whom wore the colours. The lessons during the morning were on Empire Day.

St Michael’s CE Mixed School, Sunninghill
24th May 1916

Empire Day. Empire Lessons given & flags saluted. No holiday, on account of the War.

Crazies Hill CE School, Wargrave

Empire Day was observed as usual by the Day School. The children assembled in Church, at 9.30, and after the service gave a performance of drill in the Recreation ground. They then returned to the School House where patriotic songs were sung and a short address was delivered. The saluting of the Union Jack and distribution of buns concluded the proceedings.

Basildon CE School
24th May 1916

The children bought their pennies for the Over Seas Club which provided tobacco and cigarettes for the troops.

Bracknell and Winkfield sections of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6); Cookham Alwyn Road School log book (88/SCH/18/1, p. 273); Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 343); Reading: All Saints Infant School log book (89/SCH/19/2, p. 208); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6, p. 178); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School log book (88/SCH/32/3); Wargrave parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P145/28A/31); Basildon CE School log book (90/SCH/16/1, p. 414)

Tragedy too deep for words

Burghfield schoolchildren celebrated Empire Day on 13 March 1916 with a set of patriotic tableaux.

MRS BLAND’S SCHOOL

The children of Burghfield Common have beaten all records in the matter of attracting an audience at the Technical Schools. Not a seat was empty when they gave their bright little performance on Empire Day, and whether or not the whole programme was evolved from Miss Jackson’s own brain, it was cleverly conceived and admirably carried out.

Gordon Prior, aged only 13, ably undertook the accompaniments, the chief item being a representation of the Allied countries now at war with the Central European Powers. Florence Pembroke, in gorgeous silver armour as Britannia, Elsie Love as France, Kathleen Bunce as Belgium, Raymond Batts as Japan, Italy by Ernest Brant, Russia and Servia [sic] by Frank Lalouette and William Emms, made a tableau which reminded us, alas! of a tragedy too deep for words, and only a strong personal interest in the performers themselves and their capable achievement enabled us for a moment to forget the anguish of the reality.

A collection made at the doors raised £4 12s 6d, which has been devoted to the aid of soldiers blinded during the war, whose case perhaps makes a greater appeal to our sympathies than any other, and we sent all our love and pity with the pennies so freely and cheerfully contributed by all the company.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1916 (D/EX725/3)

Responsibility – Duty – Sympathy – Self Sacrifice: the watchwords of Empire Day

The war affected schoolchildren in different ways. The Empire Day celebrations at Warfield School involved discussion of the war, while at Aldermaston and Burghfield some teachers and children could not get to work due to the numbers of soldiers in the area. Children at a Cookham school got the afternoon off.

Warfield, 11th June 1915
Empire Day celebrations.

Assembly and prayers including daily prayer for the war.

O God our help in ages past.

March and salute.

God save the King.

Instead of the usual scripture lesson we talked about the four watchwords of Empire Day. Responsibility. Duty. Sympathy. Self Sacrifice.

A postal order of 11/- was sent this afternoon to the Earl of Meath the proceeds of the sale of Empire Certificates for the overseas comforts for brave soldiers and sailors.

Aldermaston, 11th June 1915
Miss Leake resumed duty this morning, and stated she was unable to get from Sulhampstead [yesterday] owing to the great number of troops in the district.

Mrs Bland’s School, Burghfield, June 11th 1915
Attendance fairly good this week but several children were absent yesterday as the soldiers were carrying out manoeuvres near the school.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham, June 11th 1915
The Headmaster gave an address to the children assembled in Hall at 9 o’clock and the National Anthem was sung. A holiday was granted this afternoon in celebration of Empire Day.

Abingdon Girls CE School, 17th to 21st [May 1915]
Empire Day was kept on Friday, the breaking up day. Lessons on the Empire were given, Patriotic Songs were sung, and an Appeal from Lord Meath to British Boys and Girls was read. The National Anthem was sung afternoon before closing school for the Whitsun Holidays.

Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 316); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH3/3, p. 39); Mrs Bland’s Infant School, Burghfield: log book (86/SCH/1/1, p. 189); Alwyn Road School, Cookham (88/SCH/18/1, p. 253); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL2/2)

Empire Day certificates for some deserving soldiers and sailors fund

Warfield schoolchildren supported the war effort:

9th June 1915
We are now selling Empire Day certificates for Friday June 11 which is Empire Day this year, and the proceeds will be sent to some deserving soldiers and sailors fund.

Warfield National School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 315)

Rummaged for refugees

The parishioners of Cookham Dean supported the war in various ways. In June two of their lads at the Front had been badly wounded.

I hope to publish the Roll of Honour with the next issue of the Magazine. There will be many alterations in it and many new names will be added to it. Some of these names are already on our prayer list, but I am almost certain that there are some names to go on which have not been sent to me. I wish very much that parents or others concerned would at once send me the name of any one who offers himself in any capacity for the Service of the Country, so that the name may be included in the list. I do not like to go merely by hearsay in a matter of this kind. People will not take the trouble to communicate with me, and then take offence when the fault is entirely their own…

The rummage sale – thanks to the kind and thoughtful contributors, and thanks equally to the kind and efficient helpers, both before and after the Sale – was very successful, and realised the sum of £12 17s. 10d. There was not the usual amount for sale this year, owing doubtless to the fact that wardrobes had already been ‘rummaged’ in aid of Belgian Refugees…

Miss Lomas and Miss Moore were both very pleased at the kindly response made to the invitation to the children to support, by subscribing a penny, ‘The Overseas Club’ on Empire Day. The Club provides tobacco and comforts for our soldiers and sailors at The Front. The Mixed School contributed 14/6, the Infant School 3/6…

Roll of Honour
Our prayers are specially asked on behalf of:-
William Carter, dangerously wounded, (in hospital in Oxford)
Harry Groves, dangerously wounded, May 16th, (in hospital in London).

Cookham Dean parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P43B/28A/11)