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)

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Food from Harvest “will be greatly appreciated by the wounded men in hospital”

Worshippers at Broad Street Church sent their Harvest Festival offerings to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for wounded soldiers.

HARVEST FESTIVAL

The Harvest Thanksgiving Services, held on Sunday, September 23rd, afforded joy and inspiration to all who were able to attend. The church was very prettily and effectively decorated for the occasion. A plentiful supply of fruit, vegetables, flowers, etc, had been provided…

On the following day the good things provided were conveyed by Mr Bunce to the Royal Berks Hospital, for the wounded soldiers who are there.

Mr Rawlinson [the minister] has since received the following letter from the secretary of that institution:

“Dear Sir

Many thanks for your letter, and for the eggs, fruit, vegetables, flowers, bread, etc, which arrived yesterday.

These will be greatly appreciated by the wounded men in hospital, and I should be grateful if you would accept for yourself, and kindly convey to all concerned, an expression of our warmest thanks for this generous present.

I am, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully

Herman Burney
Secretary”

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

The annual Harvest Festival in connection with the church was held on Sunday September 23rd, and as usual our brothers contributed very liberally with fruit and vegetables from their allotments.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Squads of schoolboys to bring in the harvest

Shortages of labour due to the vast numbers of men gone to the war combined with restricted imports to lead to fears for a food crisis.

Public School Boys as Harvesters

The Director-General of National Service has appealed for the help of the elder boys from Public and Secondary Schools as a Reserve of Labour.

There has been good response from the Schools on the part of the Masters and Boys.

Free railway warrants are to be provided for volunteers undertaking work for two consecutive weeks in term time or three consecutive weeks in the holidays.

Boys will be organised in squads. Each squad will be in charge of an assistant master.

Squads will not be asked to do any work under this Scheme on Sundays.

Boys will receive the current rate of wages applicable to the locality, i.e. 3d to 4d. per hour. Boys will only be paid for work done. When not employed through wet weather or for other reasons, they will receive no pay.

Squads for fruit picking are included in the Scheme.

The Rev. R. Holmes, White Waltham Vicarage, Maidenhead, is Secretary for this District and he has asked the Vicar, the Rev. S. M. Winter, to act as Local Correspondent for Wargrave. Applications for the services of such volunteer workers for further particulars should be addressed to him.

Potato Spraying

The Food Protection Committee, through the kindness of the President, have taken steps to obtain Sprayers and the necessary Spraying Material.

The Sprayers will be lent by the Committee to all who require them, and the Liquid will be obtainable at cost price.

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

Collect all the blackberries from the hedges

Food shortages were tackled by encouraging people to pick and preserve homegroown and wild fruits.

Fruit Bottling

It is again by the kindness of the President that the Committee are able to announce a large supply, one hundred dozen, of bottles. These have been bought on special terms from the Ministry of Food, and will be obtainable at cost price from the Wargrave Shop.

Notes on Fruit Bottling

1. Clean and dry the bottles thoroughly; and always remember in dealing with glass vessels of any sort not to put them when cold into hot water, or when they are hot not to put them into cold water or even stand them down on a cold surface such as some stone slab, or on bricks, or you will be almost certain to crack them. If you are going to wash a dirty glass bottle put it first into luke warm water and, if necessary, increase the heat gradually. A bottle taken out of very hot water should be stood on a wooden surface or a blanket may be placed over a stone slab to take off the first shock of the cold stone. The very smallest crack in a bottle may make the contents go rotten.

2. Pick your fruit when it is just ripe and no more. Clean it and dry it. Pack it closely in the bottles, which should be quite full. Apples and pears should be cut in quarters; and all other fruit should be put in whole. Then fill the bottles with clean warm water, and put on the rubber ring and the glass lid, and next put the metal rim loosely over them. At present do not screw the metal rim down tight. Stand the bottles up to their necks in cold water in a fish kettle or open boiler, which should have a false bottom so as to prevent the bottles standing on the thin metal of the kettle which gets so hot as to occasionally crack the glass*. Put a little hay round the bottom of the bottles to prevent their hitting one another when the water boils, and so getting cracked. Bring the water in the kettle very slowly to the boil, and let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, with a cloth in your hand to prevent the bottles burning you, take each bottle out one by one, and without a moments delay screw the metal rim down tight upon the glass lip and rubber ring below it, whilst the water in the bottle is at boiling heat. Then take out the next bottle and serve it the same, and so on till all your bottles are tightly screwed down. The neglect to screw the lid down tight IMMEDIATELY the bottle is taken out of the kettle is at the bottom of almost all failures.

The above is a rough and ready method, but it will be found to answer if you will

3. REMEMBER –
To fill your bottles with fruit
To fill each bottle with clean warm water, but do not use any sugar
To leave the metal rim and glass cover just loose while cooking
To have a false bottom in the kettle and to put a little hay round the bottom of the bottles
To fill the kettle with cold water
To boil up the water in the kettle very gradually, and then
To keep it boiling steadily for 15 to 20 minutes
To screw each bottle down quite tight the moment you take it out of the boiling kettle, one minute’s delay may spoil the whole bottle of fruit.

4. Gooseberries Raspberries, Currants, Plums, Damsons, Blackberries, Apples, Pears, and most other fruit may be preserved in this way. Strawberries are not recommended.

5. Do not forget to collect all the Blackberries from the hedges, and remember that for bottling they should not be too ripe. By doing this, even the very young children can help to increase the food supply.

6. How to use bottled fruit:- Unscrew the metal rim and if the glass lid does not come off easily lift it carefully by inserting a blunt screw driver between the bottle and the indiarubber band. The contents of the bottle can be used in any way in which fresh fruit is used, by cooking it in puddings, or pies or by stewing it with a little sugar.

Anyone desiring more detailed information should obtain the R.H.S. Pamphlet (Price 6d.) on Fruit and Vegetable Bottling and Storing R.H.S. Office, Vincent Square, Westminster, SW1.

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

Sugar for jam makers

Jam makers had good news of a relaxation of food restrictions.

HOME-MADE JAM.

One section of the community may derive benefit from an attempt that is being made by the Food Controller to provide sugar for preserving fruit. Those who have fruit bushes, trees, or plants in their gardens, and who desire to convert it into jam for domestic consumption, are informed that an endeavour is being made by the Sugar Commission to supply ‘some sugar for this purpose provided stocks are available.’ It must be understood that the notice is addressed to ‘private growers who wish to preserve their fruit on their own premises.’

The sugar is to be obtained through the local grocer, who will receive supplies according to the advice of the Commission, quantities being specially allotted by name of customer. Application forms should be asked for at once from Mr. C. S. Rewcastle, care of Messrs. J.V. Drake and Co., 10 and 11, Mincing lane, E.C.3. A stamped-addressed envelope must be enclosed, and no correspondence will be entered into. The notice indicates that purchasers of fruit for preserving need not apply.

Reading St. John parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

Cancelling the Sunday School tea is helping their country to some small extent

Food shortages meant that the usual summer tea party for children attending the Sunday School at St John’s Church in east Reading had to be called off. Instead, the children were to be given a war savings certificate.

SUNDAY SCHOOL TREAT.

This has always been a very great event in the lives of our Sunday Schools, but this year it will be deprived of its most attractive feature, for in view of the very clear instructions of the Food Controller we cannot give the children a tea. The Sunday School Committee has gone carefully into the question of the form the Treat should take this year so as to give the children a good time and also to give them some compensation for the loss of their tea.

They have decided that the children shall march out to some field as in former years, and that they shall be refreshed with whatever fruit is in season and available, and also that there shall be given to each child a sixpenny War Savings Stamp. They feel that in this way the children will be given a real and lasting equivalent for their tea; those who already belong, as very many of them do, to a War Savings Association will be encouraged to continue, those who do not will be stimulated to join up.

At the same time contributors to the treat will feel that they are helping their country to some small extent, and the children to a very real extent, and will be relieved of the uncomfortable feeling that owing to the embargo on the tea, they are saving their own pockets at the expense of the children.

Reading St. John parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P172/28A/24)

A marvellous piece of electrical work consisting entirely of lemons

Percy Spencer was having difficulty getting his commission organised. He wrote to Florence with the latest news – and a story from the Somme.

May 1, 1917

My dear WF

Isn’t it perfect weather!

And that’s just about all that’s perfect hereaway.

Thank you for all your frequent letters: they’re so refreshing. Your last about [censored] is too delightful. I sometimes quote extracts from your letters to the Mess, so you see you’re helping to cheer more than one lonely soldier. Your jokes are always hugely appreciated.

Tonight I am going to a town some miles back to drive with the original officers and sergeants of my old Battalion. I thought it was very kind of them to remember me as I have had so little to do with them.

And tomorrow I have to go and see a still greater brass hat about my commission. I have an idea that there is no intention to hurry my affairs, the reason being, of course, that my experience & weight here are difficult to replace. However sooner or later I expect I shall be an officer or an angel – I have had thoughts of becoming the latter quite frequently of late.

Rene Hunt tells me that [Percy’s brother] Horace is going to apply for a commission.

Before I forget it I must tell you a story of the Somme battle last year.

Our Headquarters were in some ruins off a very narrow and deep lane. On one side of the lane was a series of small splinter proof dugouts; on the other side a battery of guns. One of the splinter proofs just opposite a gun was occupied by “Baby” Huish, the Surrey cricketer (a splendid raconteur). “Baby” tells me that one morning, annoyed by a fellow walking about on his roof and throwing off portions of its brick and sandbag cover, he crawled out and asked the man what he thought he was doing. The man, ignoring him, continued to clear material from his roof and then turning towards the gun hailed the gunner in his gun pit. “How’s that, Bill, can you clear ‘er na?” Voice from gun pit – “Yes, that’ll be all right if we don’t ‘ave to drop below eighteen ‘undered”. Exit Baby to safer quarters.

A sad thing has happened to us. The rum issue has ceased, leaving us with a stock of lemons and a supply of all spice, cloves and cinnamon, no more rubbers of bridge and rum punch nightcaps. Jerome K Jerome’s “Told after supper” is nothing to our experiences in punch brewing – we can all make one pretty well, but there are some – well, I’m reckoned an expert.

A short time ago when moving into the line, the Signalling Officer noticed an ammunition box. “What’s that?” he asked. “Oh, that”, replied an innocent telegraphist, “is a test box Sapper Newport is making”. “Is it, I should like to see that”, said the officer, and opening the box all eager to examine the boy’s clever work (and he is clever) discovered a marvellous piece of electrical work consisting entirely of lemons!

But, alas, those days are over – over for good I hope.

Well, dear girl, goodbye.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/6/30-32)

Much pleasure for children and wounded soldiers

Maidenhead children entertained wounded soldiers – possibly those confined to their beds and unable to attend the more elaborate entertainments elsewhere.


21st February 1917

Some of the bigger children were taken to the Red + Hospital at 5 p.m. to give a short entertainment (of work done in school) to the soldiers. Afterwards they distributed fruit, cigarettes & eggs which had been collected in school. This small effort gave much pleasure to children and men.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 388)

Music and chess on leave

Will Spencer heard the details of a family Christmas at Cookham, with Percy and Sydney both on leave.

22 January 1917

Letters for us both, from Mother – a long one for me. When Florrie & Percy & Sydney were all at home, Annie played to them after supper, & they all enjoyed it. Annie practises every day, & plays “very well indeed” now. Percy played chess with Sydney, & afterwards Percy was Mother’s partner & Sydney Father’s in a game of whist. Percy visited “the Hunts & Captain Holliday” while he was over. (Is Captain H. no longer with Percy at the Front?) Mrs Raverat had sent 60 lbs of apples to Mother, & one of the officers’ wives had made an exquisite white wool shawl for her (Sydney paid for the wool). Mrs Philip Wigg had made some white wool bed socks for her.

Diary of Will Spencer, 1917 (D/EX801/27)

Socks and sardines

East Reading women and children continued to support the wounded:

CARE AND COMFORTS COMMITTEE

The vicar has received a letter from this Committee acknowledging with many thanks the receipt of the following:

Cake, eggs, biscuits, sardines, sweets, fruit, potted meat, honey, jam, books and magazines, from the children at St John’s Church. These gifts were presented at the service on October 28th.

The following articles have been sent from the Working Party: 16 shirts, 5 bed jackets, 3 pyjamas, 32 pillow cases, 7 pairs socks, 2 socks (arm), 88 many-tailed bandages, 28 locker cloths, 14 treasure bags. Total, with those already sent, 1,849.

Reading St. John parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Cigarettes and cakes for wounded soldiers

The people of Earley continued to support entertainment for wounded soldiers, complete with food and smoking sessions.

EARLEY WOUNDED SOLDIERS’ ENTERTAINMENT FUND

Since my report of 28th February, two more Entertainments have been given, and as they have been on similar lines, there is no need for me to occupy space regarding same, except to say that they are still very greatly appreciated by our guests. In justice to those who have so generously supported us by contributions in cash and kind, I append a list, made up to date, in continuation of that published in December last, except the Christmas Entertainment which was reported in the March Magazine. In the March Report on the position of the Fund it was subsequently found that payment had not been made, as agreed, for the use of the Hall, or for hire of conveyances; consequently it was necessary to issue a further appeal, which I am glad to report has met with a most generous response, and there will be no difficulty in continuing the Entertainments up to Easter. The Committee desire em to express their gratitude to all.

List of Donors
£ s d
Nov. 29th Cash received to date 32 4 11
Miss George 2 6
Mrs Lily 5 0
Mrs Jordan 5 0
Mr Heelas 1 0 0
Heelas, Ltd 5 0
Anon 2 6
Miss Montizambert 10 0
Mr and Miss Jordan, for prizes 1 6
Miss Maurice 10 0
Collected by Miss Eileen Joel 3 0 0
Mrs Lilly 1 0
Miss Carlsson 10 0
Miss Jordan 2 0
Mr A C Jordan 10 0
Mrs Jordan 2 6
Miss Jordan 2 0
Mr Jas Hissey 10 0
Mr Rogers 1 6
Mrs Lilly 2 6
Mrs Jordan 2 6
Miss Jordan 2 0
Anon 2 6
Mrs Witherington 5 0
Mrs Marshall 5 0
Ms Jordan 2 6
Miss Jordan 2 0

The following since second appeal:

Mr Wooldridge 2 6
Miss Goodwin 5 0
Misses George 5 0
Mr F F Ellis 5 0
Miss Pither 5 0
Mr and Mrs Francis 5 0
Miss Schofield 1 1 0
Mr and Mrs Robb 10 0
Mrs Marshall 2 6
Mrs Evans 2 0 0
Mrs King 5 0
Mrs Lilly 4 0
Mrs and Miss Jordan 5 0

Collected by Miss Eileen Joel as follows:
Mr Watson 1 0 0
Miss Eileen Joel 6 0
Miss Carlsson 10 0
Mlle Weill 10 0
Master Stanhope Joel 5 0
Master Dudley Joel 5 0
Mr Collins 5 0
Miss Dellow 2 6
Miss Goodfellow 2 6
Stud Groom 3 0
Miss Lovegrove 2 6
Miss Eyles 2 0
3 13 6

Mr E Shaw 10 0
Capt. Wheble 2 0 0
Mr Rushbrooke 1 1 0
Mrs Witherington 5 0
The Misses Hannaford 10 0
The Misses Beauchamp 10 0
Mr and Mrs S O Bastow 5 0
Mrs and Miss Jordan 5 0
Mrs Wilkinson 2 6
Miss May 5 0
Anon 2 6
Rev. Canon and Mrs Fowler 1 0 0

Total to date 57 13 11

Loan of motors since last report: Mrs Joel, Mr Barnard, Mr Heelas, Mr Richard Lea, Mr Helps, Mr Bonnett, Mrs Dunlop.

GIFTS IN KIND

Mrs Honey, Mr B Francis, Mr Hedington, Mr Culham, Miss Dellow, Mrs Masser, Miss Carlsson, cigarettes; Mrs Robb, cigarettes and cake; Mlle Weill, prizes and cigars; Miss Lea, cakes; Mrs Bright, cakes; Mr A C Jordan, sweets; Mrs Ballard, cake, bread and butter; Mrs Porter, cakes; Miss Pither, apples; Mr Harris, bread; The Misses Hannaford, cakes, Mrs Friedlander, apples; Mrs Dracup, prizes; Miss Carlsson, sugar and tea; Miss Wain, prizes; Mr and Mrs Masser, oranges.

NB – The Hon. Secretary, Mr Love, 55 Wokingham Road, would be obliged by a note of intended gifts in kind at least one day before an Entertainment, so as to avoid ordering similar provisions. Next Entertainment, Wednesday, April 5th.

Chas J Howlett,
Hon Treasurer
27th March, 1916

Earley St Peter parish magazine, April 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/4)

A very merry tea for the soldier-lads

Those wounded soldiers well enough to move were invited for a day out from temporary war hospitals in east Reading.

On January 22nd another invitation was given to the inmates of Redlands Hospital, and extended to those of St. Luke’s Hospital. Unfortunately, many of the men were confined to bed, so our numbers were rather smaller than we had anticipated.

Games again proved a source of much pleasure, during which Mr. Mobbs, a true friend of “the soldier-lads,” gave much pleasure with his gramophone.

After a very merry tea of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, etc., an entertainment was provided by the “Birds of the Air” Concert party. This clever and novel performance, consisting of songs, dances, etc., was greatly appreciated by the men, and called forth tremendous applause. The performers were the Misses Morris, Mr. Streeter, and Mr. Walford Knowles. Mr. J.A. Brain, home on leave, also delighted the audience with his comic songs, as did Private Scott with his witty stories.

Cigars and cigarettes were generously provided, and before our guests left, one of their number thanked us for the very enjoyable afternoon and started his comrades’ volley of ringing cheers.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, February 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

The children’s gift to the Serbian Relief Fund

Children who attended the Anglican Sunday School in Bracknell did get a Christmas party this year – but no entertainment other than a storyteller.

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEA.

This took place on January 4th, at the Victoria Hall. The tea seemed to be much enjoyed by the party of 220, who found the tables well supplied with cakes and bread and butter, arranged by the kind ladies who had undertaken to help. After tea crackers were handed round and caused much enjoyment. Then, while those helping were having their tea, Mr. Grant stood forth and told the children a capital fairy story which was listened to in quiet. A distribution of presents followed. In the classes of elder children, three or four in each class who had gained the highest number of marks received a small gift, while in the Infant classes each child was presented with a present.

The Vicar explained to the children that there was to be no entertainment, and the money that would otherwise have been spent on this was to be sent as the children’s gift to the Serbian Relief Fund. This announcement was received with applause. When “God Save the King” had been sung the children were dismissed, and as they left the Hall each child received an orange and some sweets, the kind gift of Mr. Western.

Bracknell section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

A real Christmas for wounded soldiers

70 wounded soldiers recovering in Reading were treated to a Christmas dinner no one would ever forget.

EARLEY WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINMENT FUND

Of course the Christmas dinner [on 29 December 1915] has been “the event” – 12 men from each of the five Reading War Hospitals were invited. It consisted of a three-course dinner: soup, meat, puddings, &c. Two large turkeys were sent from our generous friends at Maiden Erlegh, who also sent two huge Christmas puddings and other good things. Mrs Fowler sent a ham and trifle, Mrs Heelas a joint of beef and also cooked for us a third turkey purchased out of the funds, whilst Mrs Wilson cooked for us a second ham also purchased. The Misses Hannaford sent sufficient hot mince pies; Miss Howlett, apples; soup, toast, apples and pears by myself and wife; Mrs Love, floral decorations and serviettes; Miss Goodwin and Mrs Francis, mince pies; Lieut. and Mrs Usmar, Mr W H White, Mr Fred Bright and Mr Watson, cigarettes; Mr Harris, bread; Mr Wooldridge and Mr Wilson, potatoes; Mrs Ballard, tea; Miss Jordan, sugar; Messrs Gregory, Love & Co, Ltd, bon-bons; and last, but not least, we must thank Mr H Allnatt, the well-known caterer, for his great help in providing us with cookers, fuel, cutlery, china, tabling, cruets, etc.

It is needless to say that our guests had a jolly time and very greatly appreciated the efforts which had been made to give them a real Christmas gathering – one of the party rising before the close to voice the feelings of the whole in expressing their gratitude for such an outing. The carvers were the Vicar, Lieut. Usmar, Mr Watson and Mr Ellis from Maiden Erlegh, and the company present included Mrs Joel, Miss Eileen Joel, Masters Stanhope and Dudley Joel, Mrs Honey, Miss Carlsson, Mlle Weill, Miss King, Mrs Helps, Mrs Hart, Mrs A C Jordan, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Francis, Miss Jordan, Miss Goodwin, The Misses Beauchamp, Mrs Culham, Mrs Howlett, Mrs Love, Miss Usmar, The Rev. H Wardley King (who has been of the greatest assistance in arranging the transport on each occasion), Mr Heelas and his sons, and Mr A C Jordan; Messrs White, Love, Howlett, Wooldridge and Wilson assisting in the general arrangements.

The programme on this occasion included two sketches entitled “The Burglar and the Girl”, by Miss Gibbs and Mr Edwin Love, and “My First Client”, by Miss I Hayward and Mr Maurice Love, Mr Walker, the well-known tenor, giving several popular songs, and Mrs Dracup.

Chas J. Howlett
Hon. Treasurer

Earley St Peter parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

Christmas parcels

There was an interdenominational effort in Bracknell to co-ordinate sending Christmas gifts to the men at the front.

Christmas parcels have been sent to all the men who are on active service both in the Navy and the Army. The Chavey Down men received their parcels through the working party on the Down. The members of the Congregational Church and P.S.A. sent to those connected with their organizations, and the remainder, about 70 in number, were provided for by subscriptions contributed by many in Bracknell.

Grateful letters of acknowledgement have come from a large number of the men, who desire the Vicar to thank all the Bracknell friends who contributed; the contents of the parcels seem to have been much appreciated.

The parcels were packed by Mrs. Barnett at the Vicarage, with the kind assistance of Mr. Payne and Miss Hunton. The contents of the parcels were such things as biscuits in tins, cake, Oxo, potted meat, milk and cocoa, chocolate, apples, soap, candles and cigarettes.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, January 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/1)