A kaleidoscope, a transformation scene, a hurly-burly, yet an orderly hurly-burly

The people of Stratfield Mortimer celebrated.

Peace and Victory Day

Two ever-memorable days! On Sunday, July 6th, the special services of praise and joy and thanks and hope, well attended, reverent, hearty, charged with deep feeling. The evening congregation at S. John’s filled the church and the singing was noteworthy.

Then on Saturday, July 19th, the merrymaking. Our special correspondent tried in vain to be in two places at once. Yet even so he could wax eloquent on the proceedings both on the Sports’ Ground and in St. John’s Hall had not the Editor ruthlessly refused to allow adequate space. But no pen could do justice to the loyal, happy fellowship of the many workers, to the spirit of the crowd, to the joy of the children over their (unexpected) medals, to the feasting and the music, to the sports and the cricket and the dancing, to the fireworks and the great big blaze.

The Hall and all who worked there were taxed to their utmost capacity; dinner for near 100 of the demobilised; dinner for the workers; tea for 220 children; tea for 50 older folks; tea for the workers; tea for 25 scouts. A kaleidoscope, a transformation scene, a hurly-burly, yet an orderly hurly-burly. All that was wanted and nothing that was not wanted, and what more could anyone wish than that? Great credit and great thanks to the catering committee.

As for “God’s out-of-doors,” we had no procession and no cenotaph, yet probably not one old or young forgot those whom we could not see with us, yet who were with us none the less. Not one forgot to salute them. Therein lay the deeper message and meaning of all the day’s proceedings. This thought was with us even while we danced or raced, jumped or tugged or sang. All went merrily none the less. And this again is homage to the Sports Committee and to their indefatigable president, Colonel Nash.

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

Advertisements

Fireworks and flares

On 19 July 1919 peace celebrations were held across the county following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

St John’s School. Caversham
July 19th 1919

Saturday- to celebrate the conclusion of peace all the children of the town [Reading] were entertained to tea, games etc in either Palmer or Prospect Parks.

King Street School, Maidenhead
19th July 1919

“‘Peace Day’ was kept by a sumptuous tea for the children in school this afternoon. Several people came to help entertain them. An old pupil gave musical selections while children had their tea & the popular airs they were familiar with were much enjoyed.

After tea, cheers were given for the soldiers & the king & concluded with the National Anthem. Children were then taken to Kidwell’s Park to enjoy sports, roundabouts & other amusements.

Aldworth School
July 14th-18th 1919

This week we made 100% attendance!

The Peace celebration was held on Saturday July 19th – Dinner, tea and sports in the old playground, for all parishioners, followed by fireworks and flares in “Battle Field” at Westbridges.

Lower Sandhurst School
July 19th 1919

To day Saturday in common with all parts of the country this Parish held its Peace Festival.

The school children assembled at school and marched to the Wellington Arms where they met the other two schools and headed by a band a procession was formed and a move was made to the Broadway. Here the ceremony of hoisting the flag was performed, prayers and thanksgivings were offered for victory and peace speeches were delivered, Mr. W. J. Joye, Chairman of the Managers, being one of the speakers.

Tea and sports were provided for the children and although the weather was unpropitious the children spent a happy time.

Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School
19th July 1919

‘Peace Celebrations’. During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
19th July 1919

Today was observed as “Peace Celebration Day” for the parish of Earley, & the children of the school, whether living in Earley or in Reading, were included in the invitations. By kind invitation of J Rushbrooke esq, the celebration took place in Bulmershe Park, where, despite showery weather, a most enjoyable afternoon & evening were spent.

Cookham Alwyn Road School log book
July 19th

Saturday: Peace Celebrations. Tea to scholars in School Buildings. March to Kidwells Park at 4.15.

Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn
19th July 1919

Peace celebrations at Eastbury. The school children took part in the procession, sang patriotic songs, and afterwards partook in tea in a lane kindly lent for the occasion. Giving in to the rain, the sports were held on the following Monday.

Charney Bassett
19.7.19

Peace-day was kept up in the village. The children had a tea in a barn kindly lent for the occasion, and the adults a meat tea; owing to the bad weather the sports were postponed until Sat the 26th.

Speenhamland
July 19th

We have been making preparations for the Peace Celebrations tomorrow, and work has to some extent been interrupted.

Bracknell
19th July 1919

Peace Celebrations.

During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

Log books of St John’s School. Caversham (89/SCH/14/1); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Aldworth School (C/EL54/3); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Cookham Alwyn Road School (88/SCH/18/1); Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn (D/P79B/28/2); Bouverie Pusey School, Charney Bassett (C/EL41/2); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3)

God’s wonderful deliverance of our own nation and the world from the tyranny of lawless force

The first Sunday after the Armistice was the occasion for services of thanksgiving across Berkshire.

Newbury

Monday, November 11th, St Martin’s Day, will for ever be remembered in the history of our country as the day on which the greatest of all wars came to an end, and the strongest and most ferocious of military nations confessed itself beaten. It has been a tremendous triumph for right and justice, and we have endeavoured to express our thankfulness to Almighty God, who has so signally vindicated His mighty power and has so wonderfully blessed our arms and those of our Allies. May we now as a nation and Empire prove ourselves more worthy of His goodness to us, and endeavour to work together to make the world a better, and therefore happier, world.

Thanksgiving Services were held at the Parish Church: on Tuesday morning [12 November], a celebration of the Holy Communion, when there were 88 communicants; on Wednesday afternoon [13 November], when the church was full; and the following Sunday [17 November]. There was also a United Thanksgiving Service in the Corn Exchange, under the presidency of the Mayor, on Sunday afternoon, when there must have been 2,000 people present, and when several hundred failed to gain admittance. Mr Liddle had got together a splendid orchestra for the occasion. May this spirit of thanksgiving remain with us, and may we not forget the spiritual lessons of the war.

The streets presented a very gay appearance, and there were processions (authorised and unauthorised) much to the delight of the young. All the fireworks possible to be obtained were let off in the streets, and one unexploded bomb was found inside the Churchyard gates, and handed over to the police. It appeared afterwards that another member of the Police Force had put it there for safety. We were very glad to see the excellent and sober spirit of the merry-makers. It was indeed an occasion for rejoicing with great joy.


Speenhamland

It was with feelings of profound thankfulness that we heard the Armistice had been signed. Our feelings were deeply stirred at the thought that at last this terrible War, which has oppressed us for over four years, was over, and that there were good prospects of a peace being signed, which we trust will be a righteous and lasting one. Our rejoicings took various shapes during the week, and culminated in our services in Church. We were glad to see many at the Celebrations and at other services; and it was a happy thought to hold a joint service in the Corn Exchange, which was crowded with a devout and reverent congregation. We shall long remember the sight of that vast audience.

Earley

Sunday, November 17, being the first Sunday after the declaration of peace, naturally was observed as a day of thanksgiving. The families of those on our roll of honour responded quickly to the invitation to send flowers, which were massed on the window shelf and corner where the roll hangs. The black oak was relieved by a magnificent display of colour, by flags hanging from the rood loft on the west side.

Reading

Such tremendous things have happened since the last issue of the Magazine that it is almost impossible adequately to express all we should like to say. On S. Martin’s Day, November 11th, about 11.15, came the great news of the signing of the Armistice, and the cessation of hostilities. At 12 o’clock at S. Marys a short impromptu Service of Thanksgiving was held which was attended by quite a number of the faithful. None of us will ever forget the crowded Civic Service held at S. Mary’s, on Wednesday November 13th, when the Mayor and corporation came in state to render solemn thanks to Almighty God for His wonderful deliverance of our own nation and the world from the tyranny of lawless force. Sunday, November 17th was observed as the special Day of Thanksgiving. At the Eucharist at 11 and at evensong at 6.30 the Church was fuller than it has ever been of late years. This is an encouraging sign that our people in in times of joy, as well as in times of trouble and distress, turn instinctively to God.

At 3.30 on the same Sunday the Church Lads’ Brigade came in full strength to S. Mary’s for their parade service; several Officers and Lads were admitted, and the address was given by the Rev. Edgar Rogers, Chaplain at C.L.B. Headquarters in London, who also preached at Evensong. It should be mentioned among the special features of the service of this great Sunday that a large and handsome silk Union Jack was carried in the Procession and also two laurel wreaths to which were tied bows of patriotic colours.

“Deo gratias.”


Broad Street Brotherhood

The Brotherhood held a great mass meeting on Sunday, November 17th, to celebrate, and give thanks for, the Armistice recently concluded with Germany.

Principal Childs of the Reading College [later Reading University] delivered a most impressive address on “The Responsibilities of Victory”, which gave us much food for thought, and left with the members present a clear conception of the trying and serious times with which our country is faced. It was truly a great meeting, and our best thanks are due to the President for arranging it.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P89/28A/13); Speenhamland parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2); Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P192/28A/15); Reading St Mary parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P98/28A/13); Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, December 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Fireworks and thanksgiving to God for the victory of the Allied Cause

Crazies Hill Notes

Thanksgiving services were held on the day of the signing of the Armistice, and on the following Sunday, when a large congregation gathered in the Mission Hall to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for the victory of the Allied Cause.

On Saturday, Nov 16th, the scholars of Crazies Hill School assembled in the Hall for Tea by the kindness of Mr. Bond, who generously provided the refreshments. Afterwards Mr. Chenery showed us a varied selection of interesting and amusing lantern slides, which were greatly appreciated by all.

We desire to record our grateful thanks to all who kindly helped to provide a most enjoyable evening for the children.

Many availed themselves of the opportunity offered by Sir William Cain to witness an excellent firework display at the Manor.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

A wonderful day – full of thankfulness

The lights came on again as the armstice was celebrated at home.

Florence Vansittart Neale
11 November 1918

Armistice signed 5 a.m. Hurrah. War 4 years, 3months & a week.
A wonderful day – full of thankfulness. Fighting stopped at 11 a.m. Peace. Peace. We heard it on the golf links. I, the girls & Boy. Shaw heard the church bells, & we the sirens & guns!! London I hear a marvellous sight – crowds & all happy & orderly. Own overseas went up.


William Hallam
11th November 1918

We heard Germany had accepted the armistice about 20 past 11. We all left off work at 12 and came home. I washed and changed and after dinner we all went round the town which was soon decorated up and everybody visiting. Heard the first fireworks for 4 years. People letting them off even down at the Tram Centre. After tea along to Bath Rd reading room. Quite a crowd there waiting for evening papers to see the terms but there were not pub liked- the terms I mean. We all went down to St Paul’s to a thanksgiving service at 8. The most noticeable thing I suppose on going out was to see the street lamps lit. At the conclusion of the service we had a solemn Te Deum with incense.

CSJB
11 November 1918

The Armistice signed at 4 a.m. ‘Te Deum’.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

“After four years of war we ought to do what we could to make up to the little people for the many ordinary pleasures of childhood which they had necessarily missed”

The Armistice was greeted with joy and celebration in Wargrave.

Victory

The news that the Armistice was signed reached the Wargrave Post Office at almost 11.20 a.m. on Monday November 11th. The Foreman of the Belfry was ready to summon his Ringers and in a very few minutes the bells of the Parish Church rang joyously. The houses were soon bedecked with flags, the village street became full of people and the wounded soldiers marched in procession with noise and merriment. At noon there was a short service for the few who could assemble, but at 7 p.m. there was a general Service of Thanksgiving to Almighty God and the Parish Church was crowded.

The Authorities have permission for the arrangement of public festivities with bonfires and fireworks to be held within one week only of Armistice day. It seemed right to do all that could be done to impress the event upon the memories of the children, and it was felt that after four years of war we ought to do what we could to make up to the little people for the many ordinary pleasures of childhood which they had necessarily missed. But there was no time to call a public meeting to discuss the matter because the only chance of securing provisions was to make the purchases at once. By the hospitality and spirit of Sir William Cain and Mr. Bond the general entertainment of the whole village was happily arranged.

Mr. and Mrs. Bond entertained all the young people under the ages of 18 to tea. The infants met in their own school and were afterwards taken to join the older children in the Piggott School for a magic lantern entertainment. The Boys’ Club, the Girls’ Club, and the other young people had their tea in the District School. The Crazies Hill Children were well provided for in the Mission Hall and Mr. Chenery showed them a good exhibition of lantern slides.

There were many kind helpers and a good many visitors to the tea parties. At each place of entertainment there were a few words spoken to help impress the memories of the young people with the greatness of the occasion and our cause for thankfulness. Mr. Bond, Mr. Huggins, and the Vicar all said something at one place or another, and everywhere there were loud cheers for the host and hostess. It was delightful to see the enjoyment of the children.

The Fireworks were announced to commence at 8 p.m., at the Manor, and the entertainment was for all parishioners. It was a most magnificent display with many set pieces, a host of rockets and a bonfire at the last. The show was arranged at the top of the park just below the garden terrace. A great crowd of people thronged the lawns and overflowed to the grass beyond.

At the conclusion of the fireworks, when the people were gathered to the bonfire, the Vicar, supported by Mr. Bond, expressed the thanks of the parish to Sir William and Lady Cain. Everyone understood that when both time and supply were so limited there could have been no entertainment at all unless someone had acted at once. Sir William Cain has always shown that he has the welfare of Wargrave in mind and on this occasion he acted immediately, taking the whole burden upon himself and supplying an entertainment which no combined effort could have surpassed. The cheers of the guests must have done something to show how much the hospitality was appreciated, and it would indeed be difficult to think of anything that could have been devised that would have been more calculated to impress the memories of the young people with the glorious event of this happy victory than the entertainment which they enjoyed at Wargrave.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

A Belgian Day of sports and fun in Stratfield Mortimer

The parishioners of Stratfield Mortimer continued to warmly support their allocation of Belgian refugees. In the October issue of the parish magazine, they announced a special fundraising day on their guests’ behalf:

Belgian Refugees
The needs of the homeless refugees from Belgium, much or all of whose belongings has been deliberately and wantonly destroyed by savage malice, have touched all hearts. With a view to assisting in the task of providing them with necessary clothing, it is proposed to set on foot immediately a Sewing Party. This will meet in St John’s Hall on Wednesdays, October 7th, 21st, and 28th, from 2.30-5 p.m. Some invitations have been sent out individually, but Mrs. Palmer, who will be leader, hopes that all who have leisure and goodwill, and who are efficient workers, will come whether a separate invitation has reached them or not.

A “Belgian Day”
Now both of these excellent enterprises will devour a considerable quantity of material, and that material will need to be of good quality, for no one wants to make cheap or trumpery things when it is the winter that has to be faced. Whence then the wherewithal for the purchase of half-a-mile of flannel? and, shall we say, a hundred-weight of wool for knitting? A partial answer may come by the holding of a “Belgian Day”. What is a Belgian Day? It is a day when everybody, man, woman, and child, car and horse and dog, is to be cajoled into wearing a favour showing the Belgian colours, which favour is to be purchased at the price of – well, at some price that we can all afford to give; which price goes to the purchase of material for the sewing parties. Maidenhead made £300 this way a few days ago. Reading is determined to out-do this on September 26th. Let us take Saturday, October 3rd, and try to raise £10. Will you be willing to buy and wear a favour or two on that day?

The November issue of the magazine reported on the success of that Belgian Day:

Belgian Day – On Saturday, October 3rd, we held our Belgian Day in Mortimer, and all the people were very busy making “favours”, which nearly all the parishioners wore. Captain Davis decided to give the school children a treat, and the Headmaster (Mr. Andrews) of St. Mary’s School decided we should go in a procession round the village, those who had bicycles of perambulators decorated them, and the best decorated vehicle won a prize. We met at school at two o’clock and marched up to St. John’s School to meet the infants. Mr. Spratley kindly lent us his light van, which we decorated, and sat up the smallest of the children. When we arrived down in the meadow (kindly lent by Mr. Wise) two soldiers were waiting to greet us with a bag of sweets.

There were all kinds of sports, bowling for the pig, which was won by Mr. John Love, and the best decorated bicycle was won by Florence Tubb. Then the soldiers had a tug of war, Mortimer v. Bramley, Stratfield Saye v. “Irish King’s Own”. Mortimer won, and each of the men received a beautiful leather purse. Then between the men’s tug-of-war, 12 girls v. 8 boys, and the girls won. Later on, about seven o’clock, the prizes were distributed (Mrs. Mynors kindly distributed them), and those girls who took part in the tug-of-war received a beautiful handkerchief, it resembled the Union Jack. Then the soldiers danced, and one played a concertina, and while they were dancing another party got ready the camp fire, and the soldiers sang such songs as “It’s a long way to Tipperary,” and “The girl in the clogs and shawl.” When it got darker the soldiers made ready the imitations of the Crown Prince and the Kaiser, stuffed them with all kinds of fireworks, and set light to them. The people watched them burn with excitement. I am sure the school children enjoyed themselves as well as the soldiers. We all thank Captain Davis for the trouble he has taken.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, October and November 1914 (D/P120/28A/14)