A welcome to returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen of the Parish

Church of England Men’s Society

On April 29th, the CEMS decided to arrange a welcome to returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen of the Parish, on the Vicarage Lawn on Saturday, June 14th. It is hoped to have a concert, a band, and light refreshments.

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

Advertisements

Pleasure in seeing the men safe home again and good wishes to them on their return to civilian life

Hundreds of Reading men received a warm welcome home.

April

WELCOME HOME TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS

A list of between 300 and 400 demobilised men resident in the parish or attached to the congregations has now been compiled. To each of these men a letter of welcome from the vicar is being delivered, and also an invitation to a social gathering of welcome for themselves and their wives, which is being held in St John’s Institute on April 9th. Refreshments will be provided and an attractive programme of music and recitations, and the vicar will express in a short speech his own pleasure and that of the parish in seeing the men safe home again and all our good wishes to them on their return to civilian life. Later, a service of thanksgiving for safe return will be held in St John’s Church: the date will be announced at the social meeting. There are still a great many men who have not yet returned to their homes. We shall always be glad to receive notifications of their arrival, and shall hope later on to arrange a second welcome home meant for the men who come later, and for any who may have been left out inadvertently from the present invitation.


May

WELCOME MEETING TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.

The first welcome home to Service men held on April 9th, was voted by all concerned a very great success. A good crowd of men accepted the Vicar’s invitation and duly turned up at the Institute accompanied by their wives, or mothers, or future wives, and there was a full house. The catering, looked after by Miss Simmons, was excellently carried out and full justice was done to the good things provided. After the tea and coffee and sandwiches had been disposed of, cigarettes and tobacco were passed round, and also sweets for the ladies, and the guests settled down to enjoy a programme remarkable for the variety and the excellence of its items. Perhaps the most popular number was that contributed by the infants from S. Stephen’s School. The little people presented ‘Nursery Rhymes’ in costume and with appropriate music. They received a tremendous ovation.

Now the welcome is over we are hearing of several men who were overlooked in the invitations. We can only say that we did our level best to compile a complete list of all returned men, and that no one was left out except by the veriest accident. We shall hope to have another welcome gathering soon for men coming home later; and shall be glad if friends would send in to the Vicarage the names of all men who were overlooked on the last occasion and also of all who have returned since.


Reading St. John parish magazine, April and May 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

178,000 tons food a week for starving people in Germany

Germany’s surrender was complete.

15 March 1919

Germany accepted Allies’ terms – begin giving up merchant ships today, & to receive 178,000 tons food a week for starving people.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

“We were very pleased that we spent those four terrible years in England”

The Van Hoof family, who had spent the war as refugees in Maidenhead, returned home.

OUR BELGIAN REFUGEE FRIENDS.

41, Kapelstraat, Boom,
Prov. (Anvers), Belgie,

March 8th.

Dear Mrs. Lewis,-

I am very sorry I have not been able to write before, but we have been so busy that we have not found time to do anything but arrange things at home. We spent nearly a week travelling before we were home. Before going on the boat we had to stay two days in London, which we spent in sight seeing.

We went on the boat about one o’clock on Friday, 28th, and started to sail about 4 o’clock the same day. The weather was glorious all through the sea journey, so that we arrived in Antwerp on Sunday morning about 12 o’clock. Before we were off the boat nearly an hour had passed. One of my uncles was there to meet us, so that it was quite 5 o’clock before we got home. You can imagine our relatives’ joy at meeting us again. We spent the whole of that day in talking, talking, talking.

Our home was quite alright, but the furniture and many other things that were in it have been stolen or else much damaged. The blankets you gave us have come in very useful, for they are things of the past here. The people have suffered very much, and the clothing has been so dear that they used to have all spare blankets dyed (for garments). The food is now much cheaper, about the same as in England, except the meat and bread. That is nearly twice the price as that in England.

We were very pleased that we spent those four terrible years in England, and by the help of the Committee we suffered nothing to complain of. Thanking you for your goodness towards us, and hoping to receive an answer from you,

I remain, yours faithfully,

J. VAN HOOF

Think of that from a little Belgian girl, who did not know a word of English when she came to Maidenhead!

Maidenhead Congregational magazine, April 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Workhouse food

Workhouses were going back to normal now that the food supply was better.

17th February 1919

The following letters were read and ordered to be filed for future reference viz:-

1. From the Local Government Board (1) with reference to the rationing scheme and stating that it had been decided that Poor Law Authorities might now revert to the issue of the dietary tables in force before the introduction of rationing…


Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/33)

Pigs scattered over Wargrave, Knowl Hill and Crazies Hill

When food was in increasingly short supply, some turned to keeping pigs.

The Wargrave Pig Club

The Annual Meeting was held on the 13th February. The Report and Balance Sheet were presented showing a balance on hand on 31st December last of £31 2s. 4d. The following is a copy of the Report:-

“The Wargrave Pig Club was formed at a meeting held in the Parish Room on 4th April, 1918, when the Officers and Committee for the year were elected. The membership has reached a total of 79, and at one time there were 290 pigs registered on the Club books.

The Parish Council gave permission for two rooms in the old District School buildings to be used as a store, and arrangements were made for members to attend there on Friday evenings to purchase pig food. The food has been procured by certificates issued by the Livestock Commissioner, and although there has sometimes been difficulty in getting the necessary quantity from the millers owing to the general shortage, there was only one week when millers’ offals were unobtainable. That however did not mean that the pigs were without food altogether, for, thanks to Mr. Bond generously advancing money with which to buy other kinds of pig food in large quantities, the Club had a good supply of unrationed pig meal in store, and the Committee were enabled to “carry on”. Altogether over 36 tons of feeding stuffs have been dealt with.

Mr. Bond has had erected at his own expense six capital sites on the Station Road Allotment ground which he has agreed to let to members of the Club at the low rent of 5s. a year. Five of these sites have been occupied. He also advanced money with which to purchase young pigs. 33 pigs have been so bought and resold to members at the actual cost price.

Sir William Cain provided the sum of £6 for prizes for the best bacon hog. Mr. A.B. Booth £3 3s., for porkers, and Mr. Bond £3 as extra prizes. Mr. Rose and Mr. A’Bear acted as judges, all the pigs being viewed in their own sites. The prizes were distributed at a meeting of the Club members on 3rd December.

The competing pigs being scattered over Wargrave, Knowl Hill and Crazies Hill, it occupied the judges the whole of one day for inspection. The Committee offer them their sincerest thanks for undertaking this work.

One of the objects of the Club is the insurance of pigs and although 27 members paid premiums, the Club only had one claim to settle.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

Discontinuing oatmeal

The food supply was now getting back to normal.

11th February 1919
re Dietary

Letter from the Local Government Board that the Guardians might now revert to the use of the dietary tables in use before the introduction of rationing.

Letter from the Matron re dietary suggesting the reverting to the old scale of bread for Breakfast and supper only, discontinuing oatmeal, the present allowance of bread for dinner to remain, and the Guardian approved the suggestion.

Faringdon Board of Guardians minutes (G/F1/44)

Increased Home Production of Food is as necessary and as urgent as ever

Food would still be an issue in the first year of peace.

The Food Controller assures us that Increased Home Production of Food is as necessary and as urgent as ever. More Allotments must be cultivated, larger Crops must be grown, if a shortage in the coming Summer and Autumn is to be avoided. The remedy for such shortage is to

SOW WEBSTER’S NOTED SEEDS.

Their quality this year is unusually high, but stocks of many kinds are limited.

Therefore Order Early.

124 High Street, & Station Front, Maidenhead

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, February and March 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Candles and flour in case of strikes

Phyllis Vansittart Neale recovered from the flu and lived another 40 years. Meanwhile industrial unrest was increasing.

4 February 1919

I off by 9.3 to London. Walked to Hyde Park Corner across park. Found P[hyllis] looking white, but temp. down. Had walked across room. All other patients have “flu” – return of the complaint. Took my lunch & sat with her till ¼ to 2, then bus to EVN….

Still tube strike & others!! Londoners getting in candles against electricians’ strike. Told to have flour if bakers strike!!


Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

“The national health is at a low ebb, on account of war rations, & the influenza epidemic”

Four years of war shortages and the flu had combined to make a feeble nation.

30 January 1919

Notice sent out with regard to regulations for fasting in Lent, which are to be modified, as Mother has had it impressed on her by medical authority that the national health is at a low ebb, on account of war rations, & the influenza epidemic.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Certificate for vegetables

January 23rd 1919

Received certificate signed by Sir David Beatty, from the Fleet, as an appreciation of the vegetables sent by the school children.

Hinton Waldrist C of E School log book (C/EL84/2, p. 168)

A good tea of quite pre-war quality and quantity

Things were beginning to get back to normal.

For four weeks, in common with the other schools in the town, our [Sunday] School was closed in consequence of the so called “Influenza” which has recently raged in our midst….

On the 15th inst. Our usual New Year Treat to the children (and it’s a real treat to the Officers and Teachers also) was held in the Schoolroom. At 5.30 the scholars sat down to a good tea of quite pre-war quality and quantity.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Important changes at the Hospital after an interesting but difficult year

The war’s end meant changes for Newbury District Hospital.

Newbury District Hospital : The Thirty-Fourth Annual Report and Balance Sheet for 1918

For the year ending December 31st, 1918:

There have been important changes at the Hospital during the past year, and in many respects, the period under review has been an interesting but difficult one.

Miss Atkins, whose services as Matron are well known to the Subscribers, left in August last to be married. Having regard to her long arduous and successful work in the Hospital the Committee took upon themselves to present her, on behalf of the Subscribers, with a sum of £25 on leaving. The Subscribers are asked to ratify this grant.

Sister Biddle also left in August to take up another engagement. Miss Atkins was replaced, as Matron, by Miss Phoebe Jones, whose testimonials were of a very high character. She entered on her duties at a time when the work was very heavy, and as the Nursing Staff, for some time afterwards, was very inadequate, the Committee recognise that her position was a difficult one. Every effort was made to replace Sister Biddle, and to put the Staff on a satisfactory footing in other respects, but it was not until October that the situation was somewhat relieved by the engagement of Sister White.

Shortly afterwards the outbreak of Influenza put a further strain on the Hospital, as a large number of cases of pneumonia were received. Practically all the Probationers were laid up by Influenza, and to add to the difficulties the Matron herself was attacked, and after being laid up in the Hospital for some time was obliged to go away to recruit.

During her absence Sister White was in charge and proved herself efficient, but it became obvious that the Staff was over worked, and must be strengthened as soon as the general scarcity of Nurses would allow it.

On the advice of the Matron the Committee, late in the year, authorised advertisements for a third Sister, and some other additions to, and alterations in, the Nursing Staff. As it was not possible to make this addition immediately it became necessary to relieve the Staff by closing one of the Annexes, and reducing the number of Soldiers in the Hospital for some weeks. Throughout this period the domestic Staff was, as it still is, a source of anxiety, it being necessary to depend to a great extent on temporary assistance.

It will be seen from the statistics annexed that notwithstanding these difficulties, an unusually large number of Patients were treated in the Hospital during the year. As compared with 1917 Civilian Patients increased by 104 and Soldier Patients by 38. It would have been impossible for the small staff to cope with this work without the help of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment and some other ladies, all of whom rendered most valuable assistance.

Since the retirement of Dr. Heywood, Dr. Kennedy has been responsible for Soldier Patients, Dr. Adams giving his assistance as regards surgical matters when required.

The Rev. W. S. Edgell undertook the duties of Hon. Secretary on the retirement of Mr. Savill in April.

The Committee has again to acknowledge the general interest in the Hospital evidence by the gifts of vegetables, supplies and other useful articles throughout the year. The Newbury War Hospital Supply Depot has again furnished many requisites, and Miss Wasey again organised a successful Pound Day and also presented fittings for the Anaesthetic room. Mrs. Wombwell, Mrs. Rooke and Menstone House School made very liberal donations for the entertainment of the Soldiers at Christmas. Mr. Wombwell, Mr. R. Beynon, Mr. Hogg, Mr. Cotterell, Mr. Johnson and others shewed their interest by gifts and in other ways.

Hearty thanks are due to all the members of the Medical Staff, upon whose time the Hospital has made large demands.

The Committee also desire to thank Mrs. Sharwood-Smith, the Commandant, and the Officers and ladies of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment, who have done very valuable work.

Miss Cecile Boldero, the Assistant Commandant (latterly Commandant) was most helpful in the difficulty caused by the deficiency in the regular Nursing Staff.

Miss Salway has again given massage and special treatment to Soldiers, for which the Committee are most grateful, and thanks are due to Mr. Alleyne for taking charge of the recreation room.

Thanks are also due to the former and present Matrons, and the Sisters, and Nurses, for their services during a very strenuous year. In addition to their heavy nursing duties they have had to meet difficulties in catering, and the want of a permanent and sufficient domestic Staff. The economic results of their efforts are best shewn by the Statistics annexed as to cost per occupied bed, and cost of food per head. Having regard to the great rise in prices the Committee think these figures very satisfactory.

During the past year, and in fact during the war, few repairs and renewals could be done owing to the pressure of work, and a thorough overhauling of the Hospital is required now that the soldiers have gone. A considerable expense will be involved. A sub-committee has been appointed to report on the necessary repairs and renewals and on certain structural alterations. The most pressing work upstairs has been done, but the sub-committee has not finally reported. An important matter to be considered is central heating, and some other mode of heating the passages, etc. this is most desirable, and perhaps necessary, but the expense would be very large. The question of the disposal of the temporary Annexes is under consideration: one of them is now clearly unnecessary, and it is doubtful whether either of them should be retained.

In this connection it may be mentioned that when the soldiers left, the Chairman received from the Southern Command, Salisbury, a cordial letter thanking the subscribers and the committee for the generous provision made for soldiers during the war, and the care bestowed on them.

W. Walton, Chairman

W. S. Edgell, Hon. Sec.

Newbury District Hospital annual report (D/H4/4/1)

“We hope this most important work of re-construction will appeal to those who have till now given their time up to war work”

Women were invited to join in the work rebuilding the country after the war.

Hare Hatch Women’s Institute

The Women’s Institute was started in August, 1918 and Mrs. Noble agreed to be Hon. Secretary for three months. Twenty-three members have been enrolled, the meetings have been well attended and the members seem to appreciate the advantages offered to them. Lectures have been given by London speakers on Food Production, Children’s Welfare and Fuel Saving. We are asked now to make the land girls living in our midst Honorary Member of the Institute. The Hospitals and Depots will shortly be closed. We hope this most important work of re-construction will appeal to those who have till now given their time up to war work.

More Members are wanted. Will anyone volunteer now, or after their present work is over, and enrol their names as Pioneers in the Re-construction of Village Life.

Will anyone willing to help, kindly send her name to Mrs. Winter, The Vicarage, or to Mrs. Wilson Noble, Hon. Sec., Kingswood, Hare Hatch.

M.C.N.

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

“It is even yet difficult to realize that the war is over”

Bracknell was starting to come to terms with the end of the war.

It is even yet difficult to realize that the war is over, and though, thank God, the fighting is ended we must remember that, for a long time to come, we shall have to keep to the food regulations, and the coupon books, and practice economy and war saving in every possible way.

One more name has been added to the Roll of Honour, Sergt. Gordon Court, who was killed on November 4th, just a week before the Armistice was signed. He had much fighting in the earlier part of the War, and then after some time of service in England he went out again a few weeks ago. It seems likely that his will be the last name to be added from this Parish, to the gallant company of those who have laid down their lives in the great cause. Fifty-seven names are on our list of fallen. We hope that we shall be able to erect some permeant memorial which will worthily preserve their memory.

We congratulate Sergeant Percy Smith, of the R.A.M.C., on the Military Medal which has been awarded to him.

In common with the rest of the country we have been visited with the plague of influenza, and it has caused the death of several persons in Bracknell, and its immediate neighbourhood.

Bracknell section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, December 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/10)