Much appreciated: soldiers’ recreation in Thatcham

Soliders billeted in Thatcham had the benefit of a special centre providing hot drinks, snacks and entertainment for their off-duty hours.

Soldiers’ Recreation and Reading Room.

The Infant Schoolroom in the Broadway was opened as a Soldiers’ Recreation Room at the end of October last, and from that time to this has been much appreciated, we understand, by all of them. Certainly it has been much resorted to by them. Two ladies, Miss Ida Worthy and Miss Taylor, have most kindly provided tea and coffee and light refreshments at a very small charge, and have also brightened the time spent there by an hour’s music most evenings. In this they have been considerably helped by several other ladies and by Mr. Fyfield and his orchestra. One evening of the week has been devoted to a “concert” or “social” … and on these occasions the room is usually crowded.

It is not of course without some considerable expense that it has been found possible to place this room at the disposal of the soldiers – heating and lighting alone are two expensive items this winter. We are glad to say, however, that many kind friends have come forward to assist, and what was required has been provided up to the present time. It may be some weeks still before the A.S.C. are summoned to leave their winter billets, and however long it may be they are quartered here, we shall endeavour, with the help of kind friends, to continue to them their recreation and reading room. We take this opportunity of thanking those who by their contributions have assisted in maintaining the Room up to the present time.

Thatcham parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P130/28A/1)

A splendid programme

Thatcham parishioners entertained local soldiers with a concert on 18 January 1916.

Soldiers’ Concert.
Much praise is due to the ladies who so kindly rendered such a splendid programme on the 18th inst. There seemed to be an endless source of talent, which made it hard to discriminate between good and very good. Much appreciation was shown of Mr. Fyfield’s merry band of musicians, who are now eagerly looked forward to at concerts. Misses Wyatt and Brooks gave songs from their repertoires, and the choruses were eagerly taken up by the men. Mr. Lane gave two of his delightful character studies, and in one of them made people feel they were back in Ireland about 40 years ago. During the interval light refreshments were handed round, and that which was not eaten then was immediately pocketed for another time. The concert closed with God Save the King. It is to be hoped that this is only one of the series of happy evenings which will be much needed whilst the evenings remain dark.

Thatcham parish magazine, February 1916 (D/P130/28A/1)