“Our children will inherit a war eviller still”

John Maxwell Image’s latest letter to his old friend W F Smith saw hypocrisy among those advocating the growing of vegetables, while he and Florence heard that both Percy and Sydney had been wounded.

29 Barton Road
1 Sept. ‘18
My very dear ancient

We went to the Botanical Garden the other day, and found the great lawn stripped of grass, and from end to end now green with potatoes – that of course, one expected – but I boiled with wrath when great beds, which had been carefully set out with scientifically labelled specimens are now filled with kitchen vegetables – e.g. faded yellow beans rattling in their pods – for not a single one of them, either here or in other beds, had been picked. Woe unto you, S. and P., hypocrites – it is all shabby humbug. At least these might have been brought to utility. But for the publicity to myself, I would fain bring this scandal under the eye of the Local Food Controller, and give a dressing down to the paid Curator…

You object to RC “mummeries” and genuflexions which teach the men at the front to forget the inside of a church. What do you think of this, which I heard the other day from the Medical Officer of an Army Hospital at Cherryhinton? It had happened to the RC Padre only the day previously. A poor Anzac soldier was dying of his wounds, and in very low heart. The RC, who liked the man, was endeavouring to comfort him with the assurance that God is a Merciful God and will pardon the sinner who repents. “Ah, Sir”, said the dying man, “that is not my trouble. I know Him to be merciful: it’s the other chap I’m afraid of.” (The word used wasn’t “chap” but “b—“.)

To me it seems that our best, and only, chance, is for America to crush the High Command and Junkers while she is still hot on the business. If we cool down, the Hun, with our own Pacifists and Defeatists, will be too clever for us – and our children will inherit a war eviller still. It is horrible the slaughter and loss among the families known to us here. Not one seems to have escaped, wounds at least.

Florence has two brothers, Lieutenants in the Norfolks and the Civil Service Rifles respectively. When the push began, we had such a joyous letter from Percy at breakfast, and that same afternoon, as I was sitting in my study, a rap came at the door, and Ann’s voice: “Mistress has had a telegram. Mr Percy is wounded.” Very smart the WO was – “regret to inform you that … admitted 8 General Hospital Rouen August 9th. Gunshot wound left wrist and scalp severe.” Admitted Aug. 9: and news to us at Cambridge the very same day.
Then Sydney, the Norfolks, after fighting Thursday, Friday and Saturday – a shell landed exactly where he stood – with 6 of his men – only 1 of the 7 not killed or wounded.

You would imagine Florrie to be miserable. On the contrary, she is in brighter spirits than she had ever shewn during the English Advance. She feels that they are safe, for a short time – no anxiety: and I heard her giving joy, two days ago, to her Cook Ruth, who has just heard news of her brother being wounded and in hospital and therefore safe (poor Ann’s brother was killed).

We have had such charming letters from Colonels and Generals etc, re both boys, each of whom is a favourite in his Regiment. Sydney (whom his Colonel describes as always working “at Concert pitch”) will, I trust, soon be well enough to return. Poor Percy – they fear he will lose the use of his left hand.

Re the Greben. Admiral Troubridge (so I heard) had her nicely encircled, when suddenly came an Admiralty wire, ordering him to let her alone. He was recalled to England to explain his action – and produced this very telegram. They identified the room in the Admiralty from whence it came: but professed inability to identify the sender. Credit Judaeus Apella – Traitors in high places – who will never be dislodged. It is our own people we have to fear.

Kind love from us both to you both.

Ever yours
Bild

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

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The future calling up of men engaged in food production work

Under the Food Control system, people were required to use their ration cards at specific retailers.

4th July 1918

The Committee decided that all applications by consumers to change their registered retailer might be granted.

The Committee had under consideration certain facts with regard to a sale of bacon at a price exceeding the maximum retail price to a customer outside the district, and having regard to the circumstances, the Divisional Commissioner was requested to initiate a prosecution.

A warning was to be addressed to a retailer of sugar with regard to the deficiency which had occurred to her stock in hand.

The Committee considered it desirable, having regard to the calling up of persons employed in the distribution of food, particularly butchers, that there should be a consultation between the Local Food Control Committee, the National Service representative and a representative of the Divisional Food Ministry with reference to the future calling up of men engaged in this work.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Not much to grumble at

The Governor of Reading Prison was defensive about complaints about the food put forward by one of the Irish internees.

Place of Internment
Reading
29 May 1918

W L Cole

1. The Commissioners’ instructions are – no letters in or out – no visits.

2. When formerly here, the Home Office allowed parcels of food &c. Now food is controlled & parcels mean letters to acknowledge.

3. By Commissioners’ orders these men were on Local Prison diet. This does not carry tea or coffee. Further as tea is rationed in Reading, 1 ½ oz per head per week, they could not buy it without coupons, and they cannot write [for it]. Now the diet has been altered – as for the remainder of the interned aliens – they can have tea for breakfast or coffee.

4. They receive 3 ½ oz a head a week, the same as other interned men – Reading maximum ration is 4 oz per week. They receive 14 oz of bread daily, the same as other men. Cereals are limited to 117 oz a head a week.

5. They receive potatoes daily and on most days of the week a second vegetable – leeks – or something else as well – where procurable.

I will give their food today – not much to grumble at. They can supplement that by purchasing non controlled articles.

Breakfast – 6 oz bread, 1 pint porridge, ¼ oz margarine, 1 pint coffee.

Dinner – 2 oz bread, 1 ½ oz salt pork, 4 oz haricot beans, 16 oz potatoes, 4 oz stewed rhubarb (fresh), 4 oz leeks (from garden).

Supper – 5 oz bread, 1 pint cocoa, ¼ oz margarine, 6 oz potatoes, 1 ½ oz salt pork (alternatively with cheese).

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

The Irish prisoners are to be treated exactly the same as the men already interned

There were instructions for the restrictions to be imposed on the new influx of Irish internees.

24 May 1918

A copy of telegrams received this afternoon from the Commissioners is attached.

My instructions from the Commissioners are that the Irish prisoners when they arrive are to be treated exactly the same as the men already interned here, with the exception that they are not allowed letters or visits.

Consequently they will – unless I receive further instructions – have following treatment:

Cells open 7.10 am to 7.45 pm – unlimited exercise between those hours except at meal times. Smoking – English newspapers (I propose to restrict all Irish ones as I did before – though I still have the list of those formerly approved) – Canteen – purchases from other shops of articles not prohibited by Food Controller – Furnish their cells with comforts &c – Cards – games.

C M Morgan
Gov

Transcription of telegrams received from the Commissioners 24.5.18

No. 1
Handed in at Parliament St
Allow Irish prisoners to smoke.
Commissioners

No. 2
Allow Irish prisoners to purchase unrationed articles of food.
Commissioners

24.5.18
[to] The Governor
Reading P of I

With reference to the recent instructions sent to you to receive certain “Irish” prisoners into your custody, please note that the dietary to be used for such persons will be the Local Prison one, but the prisoners may be permitted to purchase for their use unrationed articles.

A J Ward
Sec:

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

Food control has been in force for many weeks in Reading – but at Henley or Windsor one can buy anything one wants

Workers at Reading Prison were annoyed that the internees got more food than they could get themselves under the new rationing regime.

23rd Feby 1918
Subject Interned Aliens diets

Before issuing instructions as to these diets I think it desirable to point out that they are considerably in excess of those allowed by the Local Food Controller for everyone in the Boro of Reading, and that the Wardens have strongly resented the great excess, especially of meat, which these Aliens and Undesirables have been given in the past over the amount they have been allowed to obtain for themselves and families foe the last four or six weeks. People outside have also expressed their opinion freely – for the present Diet Scale just received the meat ration is:

15 oz meat – presumably cooked
2 ½ oz preserved meat
½ oz bacon (uncooked) – we use pork (salt) in place of bacon

The ration allowed here to be purchased by Wardens and others, is 8 oz uncooked meat with bone per head per week, and this I am today informed is to continue for next three weeks – after that he cannot say. Children half this amount. Bacon – unobtainable.

Tea: ration allowed for the prisoners is 1 1/6 oz per week. Everyone else in Reading, 1 oz per week.

I do not know if the Prison is in the Boro or not, but believe not – at any rate it is the County Coroner who holds inquests and I was informed by Mr Friend who was chaplain here for over 40 years that the Prison was not in the Boro, also non-Parochial – this affected him sometimes, as regarded his preaching in various churches, which he could not otherwise have done – also no officers in quarters have municipal votes. My reason for raising this point is that the butcher states that if he supply excess meat to the Prison, and it is in the Boro, he renders himself liable to prosecution for breaking the local food laws. On the other hand if the Prison is not in the Boro, though he might be called to account for selling meat, he is not supplying it to anyone in the Boro.

Each District appears to make its own laws quite independent of any law issued by the Food Control as managed by Lord Rhondda – & Reading appears to be badly served. I believe the London Scheme begins Monday – here food control has been in force for many weeks. Again, at Henley or Windsor one can buy anything one wants. I think it proper for me to report all this to the Commissioners, who can then give me instructions. If of course the Prison is not in the Boro – it would, I suppose, as a Home Office institution be in the London District, and the Local Food Controls would not apply as regards the Prison receiving – but might and probably would as regards the contractors’ supplying, but it would clear the Prison from legal action.

C M Morgan
Gov
[To] The Commissioners

I would suggest that the Aliens receive the same rations of meat, tea and whatever may be rationed, as the remainder of Reading receives – if it increases this would increase up to the amount of the Rhondda fixed scale. If it decreases this would do so accordingly.

CMM

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

“We want every penny now to enable us to win peace through a final and decisive victory”

Several Reading families had heard the worst news, while sacrifices were being made at home.

In accordance with the directions of the Food Controller, there will be no Sunday School teas this Christmas season, but the usual prize-givings will be held, and though there will be no systematic collection throughout the Parish, any contributions sent to the Rev. W. J. Holloway will be added to the Prizes’ Fund…

I propose, too, to keep Sunday, January 27th, as a day for stimulating self-sacrifice of our people in the manner of War Saving. We want every penny now to enable us to win peace through a final and decisive victory.

Thanksgiving: For the entry of the British into Jerusalem – the Holy City.

Intercessions: For the troops on the Western Front this critical time. For the fallen – especially George Colvill and Edward Adbury, of Soho Street. R.I.P. For Leslie Allen, one of our Servers, ill in hospital of Salonika.

Our truest sympathies go out to Mr. Swain, one of our Sidesmen and the Foreman of our bellringers, and his wife, on the death of their son George, who was killed in action in Palestine on November 29th. George Swain was always the straightest of lads, and one of our most faithful and regular Altar-servers. God rest his soul.

Henry John Coggs has, we regret to hear, been killed in France. Our deep sympathy is with his parents and family. He leaves an orphan child.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

A new price for butter

Newbury implemented price controls to stop retailers cashing in on shortages.

January 1st 1918

Home Defence Corps

A letter was read from Second Lieutenant F A Greet asking for the support of the Council to an effort to increase the number of the Newbury Corps so that it might be continued as a separate unit instead of being merged in the Reading Corps.

Food Control Committee

The report of the meetings of the Food Control Committee was referred to from the chair. The Mayor also mentioned that the steps taken by the Committee with respect to the distribution of margarine.

Report of the Local Food Control Committee (appended)

Meetings of this committee have been held on the 29th October, the 5tyh, 12th, 19th and 26th November, and the 3rd, 10th and 19th December.

In October last the Committee fixed the price of English Farmhouse Butter at 2s 4d per lb. subsequently at the meeting on the 19th December, the Committee having fixed a rate for Blended and Imported Irish Butter at 2s 6d per lb, the Committee decided to raise the price of English Farmhouse Butter to 2s 5d per lb….

Potato Licenses.

The Committee have granted licenses to various applicants as wholesalers and retailers. By agreement with the Butchers, the maximum retail prices have been fixed for the sale of Meat within the Area.

It having become necessary to appoint an Officer whose special duty it would be to see that the Orders of the Food Controller were carried into effect, the Committee appointed Mr G W Stillman as Enforcement Officer at a salary of 30s per week….

Complaints having been received as to the sale of Matches and Bread in contravention of the Orders dealing with these articles, prosecutions were ordered by the Committee, and the cases were subsequently dealt with before the Justices.

Newbury Borough minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial?

Maidenhead gardeners were encouraged to grow food.

READ! IT IS URGENT!! IT CONCERNS YOU!!!

URGENT APPEALS AND WARNINGS BY LORD RHONDDA and MR. PROTHERO

LORD RHONDDA, The Food Controller, gives Notice that unless we Ration ourselves, we shall be rationed!

Mr PROTHERO, President of the Board of Agriculture, says without a vast increase in HOME PRODUCTION OF FOOD we can scarcely hope to hold out!

2,400,000 Acres of new land must be broken up before next April to produce Food for next year!

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial? Are you cultivating all the ground you can? Are you securing the Best Possible Crops? Webster’s Noted Seeds will enable you to do so. But they are scarce, and the demand will be heavy. Moral: Order Extra Early. Catalogues will be ready early in the New Year, and can be had Free, on application to

124, High Street, and Station Front,
MAIDENHEAD.
And at the COOKHAM and BOURNE END BRANCHES.

DO YOUR BIT, AND HELP TO WIN THE WAR

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

The various reasons for the present food shortage, and the urgent for all honorably to keeep well within the Food Controller’s allowance

The League of National Safety encouraged people to cooperate with rationing and food saving schemes.

A public meeting in connection with the Food Economy Campaign was held in the Parish Room on Dec. 19th at 3 o’clock, with Mr C.A. Ferard in the chair.

We wish the attendance had been larger, for a Lady deputation from the Food Controller’s Department gave a most clear and forcible address on the various reasons for the present food shortage, and the urgent for all honorably to keeep well within the Food Controller’s allowance.

The Vicar proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the lady and at the close of the meeting many enrolled themselves as members of the League of National Safety, pledged to follow out the ration instructions and do all in their power to asist the campaign for National Safety.

Winkfield section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, January 1918 (D/P 151/281/10)

“A communal store would have destroyed any idea among the workers that the rich could get supplied at the expense of the poor”

Union members in Reading were vigilant in the cause of rationing.

Reading and District Trade Union Branch News and Notes

General Workers’ Union

The way in which members are subscribing towards the children’s entertainment is extremely gratifying, showing that our members realise that they owe something to the youngsters whose fathers are away doing their duty.

The entertainment will be held in our hall towards the end of January…

At the District Council on December 15 … Bro. J R Clynes, MP, attended to answer an adverse and critical resolution which was on the agenda on the Food Control business. After his speech, which gave a good deal of information which his critics were not possessed of previously, the resolution was lost by a large majority.

No doubt he has a very difficult task to perform, but with our knowledge of his ability and steadfast work in the interest of the workers we do not doubt that his position has and will result in benefitting us all as consumers.

As a Union we are doing all we can locally to tackle the food question here. Bros Knight and Russell have had interviews with the District Food Commissioner and the Mayor, and also have attended a Conference with the Food Control Committee and representatives of the traders, and it is hoped that with the cooperation of the people of Reading there will soon be in operation a scheme which will ensure the equal distribution of available tea, butter, margarine, and lard. It is a pity the idea of a communal store was not accepted for this scheme. It would have been an interesting experiment, and would have destroyed any idea among the workers that the rich could get supplied at the expense of the poor. However, we must all co-operate, and not fail to report any case of departure from the regulations to the Food Control Secretary.


The Reading Worker: The Official Journal of Organised Labour in Reading and District, no. 13, January 1918 (D/EX1485/10/1/1)

“The harvest of the world will not meet the requirements of ourselves and our Allies during the next twelve months”

There was great concern that food shortages would become unmanageable.

ECONOMY OF FOOD.

The Food Controller has sent out an important and serious circular letter urging the greater care and economy in the use of food-stuffs. He says:

“The harvest of the world will not meet the requirements of ourselves and our Allies during the next twelve months unless our present rate of consumption is materially reduced. The need for the strictest economy is intensified by the steps which the Government have taken by reducing the price of essential food-stuffs. Unless these plain facts can be brought home promptly to every household, the coming winter will be a time of great anxiety. I see no alternative between a rigid economy voluntarily effected and a compulsory system of rationing.”

These are grave words, and every householder, and indeed every individual, should consider what he or she can do in the direction of economising in food.


Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, November 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/11)

Women “have proved that they can do many things which did not occur to them before the war”

The Burghfield parish magazine reported on various changes the war had brought to the parish.

Other matters connected with the War

a) The war savings movement has done well in Berkshire, chiefly owing to the efforts of Mr. W.C.F. Anderson, of Hermitts Hill, the Secretary of the County Committee. An Association stared in Burghfield in the spring, now numbers 106 members, and 128 certificates have been sold. It is hoped to combine this with Associations at Mortimer and Theale under a “Local Committee,” on the system adopted elsewhere. Already over 106,000,000 has been raised, and over 35,560 Associations formed, throughout the country: and the National Committee are arranging for a vigorous Autumn campaign.

b) As in other parishes, occupiers of agricultural land have been called upon to consider the possibilities of breaking up pasture into arable. And the County War Agricultural Committee, acting through the Bradfield District sub committee, have found the farmers and owners of land in Burghfield no less ready to answer this call of their country than the King has found the young men ready for the hardships of war.

c) “War Economy” has of course received much attention: and it is hoped that in every house efforts have been made to economize in food, clothing, and expenditure generally. Meetings have been held and literature circulated. The duty of promoting economies, which at first was imposed upon War Savings Associations, has been transferred with other duties to the Food Control Committees appointed by the District Councils. The collection of horse-chestnuts has been entrusted chiefly to the School authorities, and directions given. It appears that every ton of chestnuts, in proper condition, released half-ton of corn which would otherwise be required for the manufacture of propellant explosive.

Women Workers on the Land

We are pleased to see how well the Burghfield women have come forward to work on the land and to endeavour to replace the men who have been called to serve their country. They have proved that they can do many things which did not occur to them before the war; and are now doing good work milking and generally helping to produce food. There are now 21 women working regularly, two of whom have been imported.

Burghfield parish magazine, October 1917 (D/EX725/4)

Patriotic work which may be of great value to the nation

Instructions were issued for organising the collection of horse chestnuts for use in munitions.

Horse Chestnuts

The Board of Education has issued a circular letter conveying a request from the Minister of Munitions and Food Controller that the Schools should assist in the Collection of Horse Chestnuts.

Neither the teachers not the children are to be asked to do this work as part of their School work, and there is no proposal that the Government should pay for the nuts. Whatever is done will be patriotic work which may be of great value to the nation.

It has been found that, for certain processes, horse chestnuts can be used in place of grain and it is stated that for every “ton of hose-chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption.”

The chestnuts must be collected into heaps in convenient places, preferably under cover; exposure to the weather will not, however, damage the nuts provided the interior of the heap does not heat.

Before being deposited at the Collecting Station they should be freed from the outer green husk, the shells of the nuts being left intact, if the husks are not removed heating of the heap will certainly take place.

When the collection is complete information will be sent to the Director of Propellant Supplies, stating the estimated quantity of the collection, and the Ministry of Munitions will arrange to remove the nuts and forward them to the factories in the course of the winter.

The work will not commence til October, but in the meantime if owners of trees are inclined to invite children to collect the nuts it will be of great assistance if they will kindly inform the Vicar or the Schoolmaster, and also if they will state whether they can lend baskets or sacks for the purpose.

Particular trees will probably be assigned to particular children, so that the work may be done as far as possible without any sort of loss or damage.

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

Donations for wounded army horses

Berkshire schools were affected by the war in varying ways.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School
1917, 23rd-27th July

As last year the County Council gave War Time Certificates instead of Prizes.

During the year the girls have sent:

1. To the Jack Cornwall Fund for Memorial Ward – 13/
2. Xmas puddings for soldiers at the Front – one guinea
3. To the RSPCA Fund for sick and wounded army horses – 12/
4. The Overseas Fund on Empire Day – 7/

Broadmoor School
27th July 1917

Miss Haines was allowed to leave school at 2 o’clock on Monday to see a friend from the trenches.

Charlton Infant School
27th July 1917

The usual school treat is not taking place this year, in accordance with the wishes of the Food Controller.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2); Crowthorne: Broadmoor School log book (C/EL100); Charlton Infant School log book (C/EL12)

“I know that the Mothers will take these restrictions in the right spirit”

One Reading parish offered war savings certificates in lieu of food at the Sunday School treat.

The Vicar’s Notes

This year, in accordance with directions of the food controller, there will be no tea in connection with our Sunday School treat; but to make up for this, it is proposed to give every child a 6d. War Stamp. So I hope all parishioners will give a warm welcome to our collectors when they come round for contributions. Wednesdays the 25th (St James’ Day) has been suggested as the probable date for the treat; and the schools in each district of the parish will arrange separately for sports to be held on any grounds that may be conveniently close by. There will be no joint gathering or procession of the children. I am sorry too that the Mother’s Meeting’s teas will have to be suspended this year throughout the Parish; but I know that the Mothers will take these restrictions in the right spirit.

Intercessions

Our wounded especially Roy Russell (now in hospital at Lincoln). Arthur Russell (just wounded in France).
For prisoners, especially Charles Mercott (one of our servers, now a prisoner of war in Germany).
For the fallen, especially John Middleton-Cross (killed instantly in action in Belgium on June 7th)
R.I.P.

Thanksgiving
For the recovery of Ian Dunbar Dickson (wounded near Salonika).

Reading St Mary parish magazine, July1917 (D/P98/28A/15)