A nice consignment

Possibly a bit late to be of use, but Remenham continued to support the war right up to the end.

RECTOR’S LETTER

In response to the appeal sent by the National Salvage Council to Mrs Barber, Culham Court, for fruit-stones and nut-shells, we were able to send a nice consignment to the Depot at Southend on Sea, and received a kind acknowledgment. Those who sent collections of stones and nut-shells to the Rectory were Mrs Ames, Mrs Barber, Miss Bradford, Miss “Peggy” Simpson, and Messrs Ward, Wallis, Woods and Gibbons.

Remenham parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

Advertisements

Thanksgiving for the uplifting news from the fields of warfare

The Hare Hatch harvest festival handed over many of the gifts to wounded soldiers.

Hare Hatch Notes

Our Harvest Festival was held on Sunday, Oct 6th. The Mission Church looked very pretty. We had good attendances both at the morning and evening services, nearly every seat was filled. We had the pleasure of the help of the Rev. H. M. Wells, who celebrated the Holy Communion at the morning service. The chief thoughts of the day were Praise and Thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest also the uplifting news from the fields of warfare. The gifts, especially the vegetables, were more than we have had before, and the object to which they were devoted made these gifts very acceptable. The children’s contributions at the afternoon service of new laid eggs and vegetables were very pleasing indeed. The offertories throughout the day amounted to £3 8s. 11d. letters of thanks and appreciation have been received as follows: –

Thank you so very much for sending us such a splendid consignment of vegetables and also eggs. The onions are especially valuable and I was delighted to get some apples they will be greatly appreciated by the men. We have 45 patients to feed and I find they thoroughly enjoy the liberal supply of vegetables I am able to give them through the kindness of our friends.
Mabel Young, Quartermaster

The Secretary of the Royal Berks Hospital begs to thank you for your kind present of Harvest Gifts for the use of the patients.
A.E.C.

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

Fruit, vegetables and eggs for wounded soldiers

Once more, harvest gifts were donated to wounded soldiers.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

On Sunday, September 29th, we held our Harvest Thanksgiving Services…. The church was once more tastefully decorated for the occasion, a plentiful supply of vegetables, fruit, flowers, eggs, etc, having been provided…

On the following day the fruit, vegetables and eggs were sent to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for our wounded soldiers, and the secretary of that institution has sent a letter in which he expressed gratitude for the gift.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, November 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

A question of damsons

It was sometimes tricky to establish what should be rationed.

23rd September

The Milk (Winter) Prices Order was considered, and it was decided that for the present, until information was obtained as to maximum retail prices fixed in the adjoining districts, the maximum retail price of milk delivered to purchasers for the month of October should be three shillings per imperial gallon.

The report of the Enforcement Officer with reference to the sale by retailers of damsons was considered, and having regard to the fact that it was doubtful whether the fruit in question were damsons or damson plums within the meaning of the Damsons (Sales) Order 1918 the Committee decided that no action be taken.

A further report of the Enforcement Officer with regard to the slaughter of certain calves in contravention of the provisions of the Calves (Sales) Order 1918 was considered, and the Divisional Ministry was requested to take up the matter. The Enforcement Officer also reported certain facts with regard to the slaughter and disposal of a pig under circumstances which the Committee did not consider warranted further action.

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

Fruit and nuts for gas masks

Wallingford boys were collecting various kinds of fruit.

Wallingford
1918, 18 September

Visited (pm) by Mr J Brown in connection with arrangements for collection of blackberries. We are already collecting nut-shells and plum-stones, for carbon used in gasmasks.

Hurst
18th September 1918

School closed the whole day owing to the Hurst fete at Staines Hill for the providing of funds for the Hurst prisoners of war.

Aldermaston
18th September 1918

Half holiday, 68lbs of blackberries.

Buscot
Sept. 18th

Older children gathered 88 ½ lbs blackberries – sent to Faringdon.

Log books: Wallingford Boys Council School (SCH22/8/3); Aldermaston School (88/SCH/3/3, p. 94); Hurst C of E Boys School (D/P73/28/23, p. 37)Buscot CE School (C/EL73/2);

“The whole situation on the Western front was changed to our advantage”

The Rector of Remenham encouraged parishioners to give what they could.

Rector’s Letter

My Dear People,

With regard to the War, what cause for thankfulness was ours during the month of August: the whole situation on the Western front was changed to our advantage. Very humbly we have ground to hope that the Almighty has made bare his arm. In dark hours we knew that His care was over us; in the day of sunshine and success we acknowledge that “our sufficiency is of God”. We lift our hearts up unto the Lord.

I would call your attention to two appeals that are made to us in this issue of the Magazine. Please save all your fruit stones (plum, cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, date) and hard nut shells; they are urgently needed for making charcoal for anti-gas masks to protect our fighting men. I shall be glad to receive at the Rectory between September 15 and 30 all stones and shells collected.

Then, secondly, urge the children to gather blackberries as soon as they are ripe; the Berkshire Education Committee are asking the head teachers to organise the effort throughout the county, and our headmistress is doing so for Remenham…

George H Williams

ANTI-GAS MASKS

Who will help our soldiers?

Mrs Barber, Culham Court, has received an urgent request from the Director-General of National Salvage asking us to collect fruit stones and nut-shells. They are needed for the production of charcoal for anti-gas masks, for the charcoal thus produced affords far greater protection to our soldiers against poison gas than any other known substance. The need will continue for the next two months. It is important that stones and nut shells should be forwarded in a dry condition; stones should be dried by being placed for a short time in the sun or in an oven. Will any one who is disposed to help, collect their fruit stones and nut shells, and send them, however small the quantity may be, to the Rectory any time between September 15 and 30?

BLACKBERRIES WANTED!

The Berkshire Education Committee has been asked by the Ministry of Food to arrange for the systematic picking and collecting of blackberries for jam making. Miss Mannion, the head mistress, is organising the collection by the school children of Remenham. A payment of 3d per lb will be made to the children for the amount collected, and they will be granted holidays for the picking expeditions. The picking should take place when the berries are ripe and dry. The children will work in organised parties under the supervision of their teachers, and they are warned to do no damage and to close all gates after them. All berries picked under this scheme must be reserved for Government use and none may be sold.

Remenham parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

Fruit and nuts in demand

The country wanted fruits and nuts to be collected.

COLLECTION OF FRUIT STONES AND NUTSHELLS

The National Salvage Council are most anxious to get as many of these as possible for the manufacture of a special charcoal for anti-gas masks.

Miss Edith Keevil, of Coley Park, Reading, has undertaken to receive and forward any amounts, large or small.

Last year’s stones (from jams, preserves, etc) are as good as this year’s. All hard fruit stones, including dates, and all hard nutshells, are good; but not green almonds, beech nuts, or fircones. Fruit stones should be kept separate from nutshells. They need not be washed, but should be well dried. Further particulars can be obtained at either Post Office.

COLLECTION OF BLACKBERRIES

So far as this is not being done by individual owners for their own use, this is being organized through the schools. Managers have power to grant occasional half holidays, and of course Saturdays can be used. Children, however, must not go wandering wherever they like without leave, and school parties are to work in organized gangs under their teachers, taking care to do no damage, and to close gates after them. All berries picked under this scheme must be reserved for Government use, and none may be sold. A payment of 3d per lb will be made to the children; and Head Teachers acting as local agents will be entitled to £3 per ton.

Braywick
10th September

Another attempt was made to-day to gather fruit, but a heavy storm came on, and school went on as usual.

Buscot
Sept. 10th

Older children taken out blackberrying in the afternoon; 44 pounds gathered, packed and sent to central agent.

Burghfield parish magazine, September 1918 (D/EX725/4); Braywick CE School log book (C/EL65/4, p. 204); Buscot CE School log book (C/EL73/2)

“I feel no end of a fellow”

Percy continued to make progress.

Bed 8, Florence Ward
St Thomas Hosp[ital]
SE1
Sep 5, 1918

My dear WF

This morning I strolled upon the balcony and admired the view, and as I got out of bed, clothed and lung myself without assistance. I feel no end of a fellow.

My kit has just arrived, so tonight I shall have all the excitement of going through it and seeing of how much I have been robbed.
Mrs Curtis came to see me yesterday, and dear Mrs Hunt the day before, with gifts of grapes and heather. Marjorie, who is going to Horace in Scotland, is coming to see me on Saturday, after which I must somehow deny myself the pleasure of that family’s society. Really my nerves are not strong enough to stand it.

Will you send me Will’s address when you have time. I want to write to him.

Sister went away on leave today for a month. On Monday she became engaged to one of the doctors here. She half told me as much yesterday, and having observed a slightly more professional attitude to us all these last few days I’m not surprised – only heartbroken. At present it’s a great secret, so don’t do any congratulating when you meet again – Nurse Kirby simply told me so that I might release part of my affections for investment elsewhere.

Did I tell you I have got past the continual thermometer stage – now I only have to hold one on my mouth at breakfast time and watch my porridge grow cold. However as I’m to be operated upon next week I am again a pulse, and once more enjoy the privilege of having my hand held each morning.

A most unsatisfactory letter. Never mind.

With my dear love to you both
Yrs ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/89)

The life of a father or husband, or brother or son – perhaps yours – may depend on what you collect

Wokingham people were urged to save fruit stones.

Fruit Stones & Nut Shells are urgently needed. Converted into charcoal, they apparently possess special properties which are necessary in the manufacture of gas helmets. Ample stocks will be available in the future, but at the moment the need is most urgent. Will all therefore who read this set aside fruit stones and nut shells (don’t let them get mouldy) and the ‘Wolf Cubs’ will collect them. Don’t be afraid that you haven’t got enough to be any good – every little helps, and the life of a father or husband, or brother or son – perhaps yours – may depend on what you collect.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, August 1918 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“A chaffinch is singing impetuously overhead, & it is peace, absolute peace”

Sydney enjoyed a pleasant day off.

Sydney Spencer
Friday 7 June 1918

After a most beautiful night’s sleep I got up at eight o’clock. Took breakfast at my leisure & am now lying under an apple tree in an orchard with the four other men. We are sprawling on the grass in the warm sunshine & a chaffinch is singing impetuously overhead, & it is peace, absolute peace.

We are now going into Hesdin.

Went into Hesdin & bought some gloves. 22 francs. Also some cherries. Afterwards got my hair cut, & had a delicious bath in camp commandant’s enclosure. Returned to mess at 1 pm. After lunch wrote a long letter to Bertha Lamb & also to Florence.

After tea went over churchyard & church with Major Knights & Graham. Then a short walk. Finally we lay in orchard & read. I read more of Tartarin de Tarascon. Have got half way through it.

Now it is dinner time. The army chemical adviser & gas instructor has just rolled in. We start work tomorrow morning. After dinner, went to bed & read more of Tartarin de Tarascon. To sleep by about 10.30 pm. (After dinner a short walk to Barker’s billet.)

Will Spencer
7 June 1918

A letter … for me from Mother, from Florrie’s. …

Mother’s letter contained the news that Percy had received still further promotion, – that he and Horace and Sydney had not yet met in France, but hoped to do so later, – and that Stanley’s name had been suggested to undertake war pictures, & he had “accepted the offer”, & would be leaving his present position.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer in France (D/EZ177/8/15); and Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/29)

Trying to ‘do their bit’

Food shortages were encouraging people to take up growing heir own fruit and veg.

Food Production.

The Committee of the Crowthorne, S. Sebastian, Finchampstead and Sandhurst Horticultural Society has decided to hold a Fruit and Vegetable Show during the month of October, the idea being to encourage the cultivation of food to the greatest extent possible. For this same purpose the Wokingham Horticultural Society has just been formed and proposes to hold a Show on Sept. 25th.

In this connection the ‘Wolf Cubs’ are trying to ‘do their bit’ on a piece of ground kindly lent to them.

Will anyone send them along a few seeds, but more especially seed potatoes.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P154C/28A/1)

“It is easier to imagine Biblical scenes than before we came out to Palestine”

A Reading soldier fighting in Palestine reported to his home church on the Holy Land as it was now.

Feb 22nd

On Xmas Eve, as I lay in my bivouac not very far from Bethlehem, I thought of the first Christmas and what happened then. I should dearly have loved to spend the Xmas-day in the Holy Place, but that was not to be. I hope I shall have the opportunity of visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem and a few other places before I leave Palestine…

I went to a C. of E. service a few Sundays ago in a Greek Church in one of the many mud villages that lie amongst these hills. It was a building of just four bare walls, with a stone floor and no seats. Every man had to sit down on the hard cold stone, and, needless to say, soon felt stiff and cold. There were no lights except two electric ones that our own Res put up. These villages have no semblance of streets at all. One cannot walk two yards without having to step up or down big stones. There is no sign of any furniture in any of the huts – just a little straw packed away in a dark corner, presumably for a bed. The effluvium from these huts is often far from pleasant.

We enjoy at least one good thing out here, and that is the Jaffa oranges at ½ d each. Several times I have bought fifty at a time and polished them all off in about five days….

Flocks of sheep and goats can often be seen on the hills with a shepherd in charge, as of old. It is easier to imagine Biblical scenes than before we came out. The dress of natives is much the same as the Bible pictures represent.

G P Brant (OS)

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, June 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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)

Showing generals how to perform card tricks

Will Spencer was glad to hear how his soldier brothers and family friends from Cookham were getting on. One brother, Horace, was a professional conjurer in peacetime, a skill which entertained his superiors.

13 January 1918

Read a long letter which had come for me by the morning post from Mother, describing their quiet Christmas – none of the boys, & Natalie [wife of Harold Spencer] not able to come, through having an influenza cold. Percy had been with them on the 22nd, leaving on the 23rd. Notwithstanding that the plums Mother had obtained proved to be old ones, the puddings, of which she made two, had been pronounced to be a success. Percy had said they were the best of her making he had ever tasted. She wished I might have been there, & then also have had a piece. The second pudding was still intact, save for the piece cut out which Percy had….

Katie Poskett’s elder boy is in the army, & the younger called up. She finds it difficult to bear. That Percy had passed all his exams I had previously heard. Mother now writes that he is Second Lieutenant & down in Wiltshire. Horace, in France, has been showing generals how he performs his card tricks, & then talks of ‘his friend General — ’ to comrades who “can only boast of corporals’ friendships”.

Diary of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/28)

Beautiful gifts of fruit, vegetables and eggs

Harvest Festival gifts went to local hospitals treating wounded soldiers.

Hare Hatch Notes

The Harvest Festival was held on Sunday, October 7th. The number of communicants and the congregations throughout the day were, in spite of the bad weather, really most encouraging…

The gifts, especially those of fruit and vegetables, were more than we have had before, this in itself was a pleasant sight, but the object to which they were devoted made these gifts more acceptable. Twenty-three new laid eggs were brought by the members of the Sunday School…

Letters of thanks and appreciation have been received as follows…

“The Secretary of the Royal Berks Hospital begs to thank you for your kind present of Harvest gifts for the use of the patients.”

From the Woodclyffe Auxilliary Hospital, Wargrave:

“I need hardly tell you how very much the beautiful gifts of fruit, vegetables etc, from your Harvest Festival are being appreciated, and we send very many thanks to all who sent them. H.R. Marshall, for Commandant.”

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