“It will mean cooking separate dinners over the gas stove for these six men”

Following this exchange, the Prison Commissioners agreed the Irish could have the same food as the other internees, as it would be too inconvenient to treat them like prisoners as had been requested by the Government.

Noted.
Hitherto the only instructions I have received are that these men are to be treated as the other interned Aliens with the exception that they are to have no visits or letters.

They will therefore be in association daily from 7 am to 8 pm continuously.

C M Morgan
Gov
25.5.15

Place of Internment
Reading
25 May 1918

With reference to the telegrams from the Commissioners yesterday stating that the Irish prisoners will be on Local Prison diet, not interned diet, it will mean cooking separate dinners over the gas stove for these six men. Also as the items for various days are different to those on the approved list for the Aliens at present interned, it will necessitate buying fish locally instead of from Grimsby for these men.

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Edible offal versus falling into a sewer

Food rationing had now hit the universities, accustomed to lavish tables. But if John Maxwell Image felt dismayed, he also knew of the privations at the front, and those suffered by French civilians, courtesy of his brothers in law.

29 Barton Road
5 May ‘18

My VDB

Your letter arrived on Friday, and I can’t tell you how it rejoiced me to find you writing in such good spirits. Cheltenham is the place for you, evidently… I am prostrated before… a Communal Kitchen that provides edible food. (So does NOT ours here.)
I am flooded with printed notices from Trinity “in consequence of a change in the Meat Control Regulations”. Butchers’ Meat will, from May 6 (tomorrow), be served in Hall only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On which days a whole Coupon will be required from each diner.
If he dines without one, or is absent, sans notice, the Fellow incurs a fine of 5/-.

On Mondays and Thursdays, Poultry, Game, Bacon or “edible offal” (!!) will be served instead of Meat. (Note, every item headed with a capital, except “edible offal”.) “And on these days a half coupon only will be required.”

Anyhow, it is “for the period of the war”.

What is to be eaten on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday we are not informed. More “edible offal”?

But the word “Fish” is not mentioned once on these Bills of Fare!

Florence is a genius of a Food Provider. I don’t feel the pinch of hunger. Indeed she and Ruth (the Cook) dish up food that is distinctly “edible”. Salmon, Sole, Bloater, Woodpigeon, etc, and ‘made dishes’ that do the pair credit.

Florence’s two officer brothers write very cheerfully and much oftener than one would expect. Two of their epistles came with yours on Friday, both are in the middle of the great Push, and keep their tails up well.

One had difficulty in getting there. He and his men were stranded within 5 or 6 miles of the British line by the French “borrowing” their “train complete with kits and rations and half their men”.

“The climax (he went on) came when at 2 a.m. this morning one of the party pitched into a ditch which was really the outfall from a sewer. The proceedings were trying for the victim. However he’s quite scraped down now. We dried him in sections before some boilers, and if one keeps up-wind, he’s all right. The worst is, if his kit doesn’t turn up, he has nothing else in France to escape into”.

The other brother sent a very mixed bag. He had been out on a raid the night before. He spoke of cuckoos, housemartins, song birds – lying on his back in an orchard reading the Lady of Shalott, white and blue and tortoiseshell butterflies, – and “when the battery behind us ceased fire for the moment, chaffinches making melody on the trees above” (he must have read Chaucer as well as Tennyson) – then, more sadly, of a “poor old badly crippled woman” who sobbed, in patois, pouring out her troubles to him, and “pathetically asked me whether I would do her the kindness of shooting her! My Captain, who says that he is a well-seasoned soldier, was quite overcome by the incident, so you can imagine that I had to take very great care to preserve an outward calm.”

Most affec.
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

“It is incredible the difficulty of getting food here” – are piglets the answer?

One way around savage food restrictions was to buy your own piglet, and fatten it up on table scraps. Florence Image (nee Spencer) was inspired.

29 Barton Road
15 April ‘18
Beloved Signor

The Signora’s ambitious soul now requires Pigs! She learns that ownership of the unclean animal will entitle you to his entire carcase – (at all events, my lord R[hondda] is said to have granted so much to your first pig. She is full of hope and daring, has already purchased 2 little beasts, one white and one black. I, who am of soberer anticipation, went one day to see them – 10 weeks old. How horrible to feed and pamper creatures, not for their good but for their early death! Callous man!

She is just now in from a cycle flurry, thro’ howling wind and drenching rain, to Comberton, 5 miles off – in search of wood for the finish off of her stye for these two little beasts. It appears that the Meddlesome Food Tyrant demands permission and tickets for any member of the Middle or Upper Classes who wants to buy such a commodity as wood – unless it be old tarred wood. She rode first to Barton, where she had no success, but was directed to Comberton 2 miles further away. Her purchase is promised for delivery tomorrow. We won’t boast till it has actually arrived. But it really was a spirited expedition on a day like this.

It is incredible the difficulty of getting food here. We are fresh from a week of it in this house. Two of Florrie’s brothers, hurriedly recalled to the front, have successively been staying here to say goodbye – sickly that! (The most affectionate letter came here from the Colonel of one: he wrote like a father to his son. And another letter to the other brother from his Brigadier, equally flattering. Alas, since that was written, the whole brigade staff has been wiped out, except the Brig.-General himself, who is recommended for the VC.).

Then there was a cousin and godchild of my own – and my sister is staying with us. Finally a friend and his wife from next door – a Fellow of Caius, going out as Botany Professor to Capetown – when their house, No. 31, was gutted of all furniture, spent 4 days with us…

Well, we have 4 one-and-threepenny cards, per week, for meat. You may guess how thorny our task to feed these numbers. Fish we could get, tho’ not good, but, for meat, we had to bow our pride and accept help from our guests…

With our love to you both.

Affec.
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Many anti-submarine proposals have been received

An internee’s proposals for trapping enemy submarines were greeted with a signal lack of enthusiasm, while the imposition of rationing meant the Place of Internment (aka Reading Prison) had to revamp menus.


Board of Invention & Research
Victory House
Cockspur St
SW1

21-2-18

Sir

I am directed by the Board of Invention & Research to thank you for your letter of the 14th inst: transmitting particulars of anti-submarine proposals put forward by alien C. Slingeneyer, interned at Reading.

In reply, I beg to inform you that many similar proposals have already been received from various sources. If however the Inventor will be good enough to furnish a full description of the device to which he calls attention, the matter will receive careful consideration; and I am to ask that, if no objection be seen, alien C. Slingeneyer may be informed accordingly.

I am, sir,
Your obedient servant
Walter J. James

21-2-18
The Gov. P of I Reading

With ref: to the system of rationing which will shortly come into operation, the enclosed scale of dietary will be taken into use at your Establishment – as soon as you can make the necessary arrangements. The Commission desire to leave you a free hand as to the manner in which the ingredients shall be prepared and the Con: Pn: dietary is enclosed for your information. This, together with the present dietary for interned prisoners will be a guide as to the distribution of the various articles.

Fresh fish will be issued alternately with salt fish. The Commission are arranging for the supply of fresh fish to all Establishments and instructions will shortly reach you on this point.

The dietary cards at present in use will be withdrawn when the new dietary is introduced. On the introduction of the new dietary, no prisoner will be permitted to purchase rationed articles, or articles containing ingredients which are rationed. The rationed articles are bread, cereals (including flour, oatmeal, rice, tapioca, barley, beans, peas etc), meat, sugar, margarine or butter, fats, oils etc.

Signed Alfred Wall, Sec:

Breakfast Bread 6 oz
Porridge 1 pint
Margarine 1 oz
Tea or Coffee

Dinners

Sunday Bread 2 oz
[Illegible] Meat 2 ½ oz
Potatoes 16 oz
Rice 3 oz (uncooked)
Jam 2 oz

Monday Bread 2 oz
Soup 1 pint (containing 3 oz clods, 4 oz peas, 2 oz vegetables, 2 oz onions)
Potatoes 16 oz

Tuesday Bread 2 oz
Fish 12 oz uncooked
Potatoes 16 oz
Rice 3 oz uncooked made into puddings

Wednesdays Bread 2 oz
Salt Pork 13 oz
Haricot Beans [1 ½ oz?]
Potatoes 16 oz
Apple rings or fresh fruit

Thursday Bread 2 oz
Beef 6 oz uncooked
Potatoes 16 oz

Friday Bread 2 oz
Vegetable soup 1 pint consisting of 2 oz vegetables, 1 oz onions, ¼ oz fish, 5 oz peas
[Illegible]

Saturday Bread 2 oz
Fish 12 oz uncooked
Potatoes 16 oz
Tapioca 3 oz
Jam 2 oz

Suppers Bread 6 oz
Cocoa or Tea 1 pint
Margarine ¼ oz
Potatoes 6 oz
Cheese 1 oz

Fish – fresh and salt alternate days.

As the meat ration increases, the vegetable soup on Fridays will contain clods.

Fresh vegetables for part ration potatoes when obtainable.

These men can of course buy at the canteen or elsewhere such things as eggs, fruit, tinned fish &c: in fact anything that can be bought outside, not rationed, as in the past.

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Well and serving in France

Rumours spread fast in wartime, as the people of Bracknell found.

A rumour appears to be widely spread in Bracknell to the effect that Bullbrook Schools are to be turned into a military hospital. We can assure the parents and scholars that there is no sort of foundation for this rumour.

* * *

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.

One of our Bracknell men, Earnest Napper, of the Royal Engineers, has been killed in France and has left a wife and three little children.

Official news has also now reached Mrs. George Fish of the death of her husband last October. He too has left a young family.

Co. Hugh Stanton has been wounded and is in hospital in France.

Oswald Blay, who nine months ago was officially reported missing, has now been heard of. He wrote a post card to his relatives stating that he was well and serving in France, but they have so far had no explanations to account either for the report of his being missing or of his long silence.

We congratulate Mr. Taylor, our Station Master, on the Military Medal which has been awarded to his son Vernon.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/3)

The needs of the Soldiers and Sailors and hospitals continue

Civilians in Bracknell continued to support the war effort.

THE WAR.-

We much regret to report that Lawrence Trodd died in France on December 11th. Much sympathy is felt for his wife and mother.

No official news has come from the War Office respecting George Fish, but there seems to be no doubt that he is missing.

THE SOLDIERS’ AND SAILORS’ CHRISTMAS PRESENTS.-

These were all despatched in good time an acknowledgment of their having been received has come from a good many. We hope none who are on active service have been omitted. The account of the fund will be made public when it has been made up.

THE WAR WORK DEPOT.-

We have been asked to make it known that more workers will be gladly welcomed at the Depot. The needs of the Soldiers and Sailors and hospitals continue, and all workers are urged to maintain their efforts.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, January 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/1)

“Butcher’s meat has to go”

Two more Cranbourne men had fallen in the war, while others had followed them to the front. Meanwhile those left behind were sending eggs for the wounded, and taking the advice of an almost certainly fictional letter in the church magazine to save food and money.

We have to record, with much regret, the deaths of Sergeant Tom Hillyer, and Private James Andrews.

Sergeant Hillyer was killed in action in April. He was well known in the Parish as a Postman and as the winner of several prizes for walking at the Sports of the Windsor Forest Athletic Club. When the war began he at once enlisted in the Canadian contingent and was very soon promoted to be sergeant. He had seen service in the Egyptian campaigns and in the South African War, and held four medals.

James Andrews was gardener at Springhill and being reservist had to join his regiment at once. After eight months fighting he was seriously wounded and died of his wounds early in May. He was a much respected member of our branch of the C.E.M.S. and a regular communicant. Memorial services were held in our Church for both of these soldiers who died for their King and Country.

The following names are to be added to the list (published last month) of those who are serving in His Majesty’s forces.

Charles Goodchild, Suffolk Regiment.
Charles Peters, Lance-Corporal, Mechanical Transport.
Ernest Hawthorne, Royal Engineers.
Arthur Robert Hatcher, Royal Engineers.
Frank Edmonds, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.
Albert John Edmonds, Berkshire Yeomanry.

Several in this Parish are contributing to the egg collection which is being made all over the country for our wounded soldiers. Miss K. Meyer is the local Secretary and takes the gifts each week to Windsor, where they are packed and sent to headquarters in London, from which place they are sent to our hospitals in England and France. Since April 30th, 1485 eggs have been given by residents in Cranbourne and Winkfield, but during the last month the number sent each week has been getting less. The Secretary wishes it to be known that even one egg a week, or one a fortnight will be gratefully received, for “every mickle makes a muckle.” She would be glad to receive the eggs on Thursdays, as she takes them to Windsor every Friday.

We have seen an interesting letter and as it seemed to contain some most valuable information, we have persuaded the writer to let us publish it in our Magazine. It is too long to print the whole of it in this month’s issue and so it will be “continued in our next.”-

MRS. SMITH TO MRS. ROBINSON.

“DEAR MRS. ROBINSON,”

This comes hoping you are well, as it leaves me at present, but terribly worried over this cruel war. It’s hard enough to get on now that work is plenty. What will it be when the war is over and hundreds of thousands of soldiers come back to work and take the situations which are being kept open for them. And the bill there will be to pay. The Parliament is spending 3 millions of pounds every day on the war, and you don’t suppose they are finding the money in their cellars where Guy Faux was hid. No, my husband says they are running up a big debt, and who do you suppose will pay it, he says. Why, he says, it is us the working people will have to pay it, at least it will come hardest on us. So those who are making a little more just now (which is not you or me) should be saving every penny beyond their bare living, and not fancying themselves rich.

It is a mercy I learned to make the most of things, and I may mention some of the things I am doing now. First of all, butcher’s meat has to go. No bits of steak and one-and-five per lb. Even the gentry are not buying such a lot of butcher’s meat just now, so that there may be more to go round for the poorer classes. Any meat I can buy must not be choice parts. If it is nicely stewed any part can be made good, especially just now, with vegetables not so hard to get. Onions one must have. They are most wholesome and they make anything go down. Brown a bit of onion in a saucepan with a bit of dripping and a good dust of flour. When it is all brown, add a little water and stir till it boils, and makes a thin sauce. Drop in the meat and a tea spoon of vinegar, also a little pepper. Cook it slowly till the meat is soft. You can keep putting in any bits of vegetables, also potato. When you dish it up, you get back everything you have put in- no waste. Of course the pot must be filled up with more water if the meat is getting too dry.

As for potatoes, I should feel ashamed of myself if I was to peel them. The Irish, who know what potatoes are, think the skin of a baked potato the best part. Any way, if boiled in their skins you get much more flavour, and can strip off the skins as you eat them. Peeling them in the old way wastes one pound in every four pounds. It is wise to buy what potatoes you can, as they are good food, except for babies, and make other things go further. If I ever run to a rasher, I fry some cold potato with it, as a saving, and as for ‘sausages and mashed,’ the potato is half the battle.

Sausages are a help just now. Put them in a pie dish and over them a batter made with flour, milk, and water, and one egg, and they go a long way as ‘toad in the hole’; or put them in the dish, covered with potatoes and bake like a pie. If only plainly fried they are too dear. Fish, when you can get it, will save the meat. Plaice, haddock, cod or hake can be made quite tasty. Put on a tin, and sprinkle with vinegar, pepper and salt; cover it with a bit of clean paper and put a bit of dripping round. Bake it till it is ready to leave the bone. Baste it through the paper whenever you have time. Serve it with the liquor which runs out, which is quite tasty.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

Payment of back rent by the National Relief Fund not a precedent

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund considered various requests for assistance from individuals who had been disadvantaged by the war:

31 May 1915Applications for relief were considered from:
Gray, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 50/- be made in accordance with the recommendation of the Windsor Committee, but the Executive Committee does not regard the payment of back rent as a desirable expenditure of the National Relief Fund, & instructs the assistant secretary to inform the Windsor Committee that the grant given must not be regarded as a precedent for such payment.
Pike, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 12/- be made.
Winney, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of £2.12.6 be made as representing one half of the sum expended by the Windsor Committee.
Beasley, Windsor. Resolved that the applicant was not suitable for relief from the NRF.
Crow, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 25/- be made.
Waller, Windsor. Resolved that the applicant be not suitable for relief from the NRF.
Ottley, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 10/- be made: though the Committee does not admit that the mere fact of the rise of price in raw material gives a claim on the NR Fund, the special circumstances & advanced age of the applicant affords reasons for relief being given.
Thatcher, Abingdon. The Chairman reported grant of £2.0.0 on behalf of this case.
Winterbourne, Abingdon. Grant of £1.0.0 reported.
Willis, Maidenhead. Grant of 10/6 per week, beginning May 1st, reported.
Forrester, Maidenhead. Grant of 10/6 per week for two months beginning May 17th reported. The Sec: was instructed to communicate with the Sub-committee on Professional Classes at the offices of the Central Committee upon the circumstances of this case.
Pounds, Peasemore, Wantage. Grant of 5/- per week for three months beginning May 17th reported.
Fish, Warfield, Easthampstead. Reported as refused by chairman.
Ross, Clewer. Reported as having been received & refrred to the SSFA for further information.
Rosser, Wokingham. Reported as not recommended by the local Committee.
George, Maidenhead. Reported that the grant authorized on behalf of applicant on March 23rd had not been paid as the local Sec: had not found it necessary to pay the same.

The grants as reported were confirmed by the Committee.

National Relief Fund Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)