Coal is the key to victory – will you fail?

The coal shortage had a very good reason.



Mix coke with it; a third of coke will have no bad effect upon the fire.

Use fire bricks to reduce the size of the grate, or have a false bottom fitted.

Put the poker out of the way. Never let a fire burn fiercely. Use the small coal to damp down the large.

Keep your pans and kettles clean outside as well as inside. Dirt and soot absorb and waste heat.

Never use gas for cooking when the kitchen fire is alight. Do not light the kitchen fire for cooking when you can use gas instead.

Take out the electric light bulbs that are only a temptation. Put in smaller bulbs and smaller gas burners where less light will serve.

Never mend a fire late at night. Take the coal off when you go to bed. Save the cinders.

Burn all your rubbish. Remember the dustbin often contains a supply of fuel of sorts. The kitchen fire will burn all sorts of fuel.


British coal supports the war in France. It is the great source of power. It is wanted for moving trains. It is wanted for driving ships. It is wanted for making munitions. It is wanted for high explosives. It is wanted to exchange for food and wood and ships.

All the Allies want British coal and must have it. The Germans have seized French coalfields. Italy has none. America’s coal is too far away. It is Britain’s part to supply them all.

All the coal you save is used for WAR purposes – to bring victory nearer.


Issued by the Board of Trade, Coal Mines Dept.

Newbury parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

A terrible blow

Petrol shortages meant a blow for Florence Vansittart Neale, on holiday in Kent. Glycerine was needed for explosives.

21 July 1916
Heard all petrol stopped for private cars! Terrrible blow. Went into Folkestone to try to get some. Heard we could not. Wired to [Kidnes?] – no use!…

Still going well, but awful casualties.

Also no glycerine to be sold without doctor’s orders.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Spicy news about spies

Florence Vansittart Neale in Bisham was excited by the war news, including spy stories, while William Hallam in Swindon scoffed at rumours that the war was causing bad weather.

Florence Vansittart Neale
7 June 1915

More Zeppelin raids (Gravesend). Our aviator brought one down in Belgium….

Mr Courtney [came] with very spicy news – spies here!!

I hear spy told about ship full of explosives at Gravesend. Zeppelin came, but did not hit it. Demolished a whole street, & according to the Maidenhead tailor, soldiers got out 15 of hand & shot 15 of Zeppelin crew (but I don’t think we got it in England!!)

Hear that Selfridge is full of explosives!!

Hear much damage done at Woolwich arsenal by Zeppelin.

William Hallam
7th June 1915

Very hot and dry again yet according to some – a good many in fact – foolish people, we should have had it wet all the time this war lasts, for a time ago when it was so wet they said it was caused by so much heavy gun fire. Very hot to-night.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8) and William Hallam (D/EX1415/23