Wounded men dig potatoes

Some wounded soldiers helped to feed themselves.

14th September 1917

Payment to wounded men for digging potatoes.

The payment of 3£ divided amongst 8 of the wounded soldiers for assisting in getting up the potatoes for the Hospital was approved.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, p. 345)

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Potatoes for victory

Boys in Datchet were growing potatoes to help feed the country, while children in Cookham and their parents were putting their savings in the care of the government, for use in the war.

Datchet National Mixed School
5 September 1917
The potatoes were set, the weather most favourable & the boys are employed in the half-acre “Victory” Plot until further notice.

Cookham Alwyn Road School
September 5th 1917

The War Savings Association continues to do good work. The takings this week were much above the average, and reached £20-5-5.

Log books of Datchet National Mixed School (SCH30/8/3, p. 400); and Cookham Alwyn Road School (88/SCH/18/1, p. 302)

Mothers, wives and widows take on their men’s allotments

Women were picking up the slack at home when it came to tending soldiers’ allotments.

Burghfield and Sulhamstead Horticultural Society’s Annual Show

On Wednesday 29th August, it was a gratifying sight to the promoters of this Show to see so goodly a supply of produce from the cottage gardens and plots; especially when it is remembered that a large number of the gardens and allotments are being cultivated by the wives and mothers of the men who are away serving their country; and by the widows of those who have fallen in the war. The greatest credit is due to them.

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

Plant food means human food

Local gardeners were encouraged to use chemicals to increase food yields.

PLANT FOOD means HUMAN FOOD!

Plants must have Food if they are to produce all they are capable of.
Much of the Land which has been newly broken up this season is sadly deficient in Plant Food. Farm Yard or Stable Manure has been very difficult – often quite impossible – to obtain. Unless means are adopted for Feeding the Crops, they will be small and disappointing.

The so-called Artifical Manures are really

CONCENTRATED PLANT FOOD

AND

You can Double Your Crops by their proper use.

We stock all the Standard kinds.

Sulphate of Ammonia and Superphosphate FOR POTATOES.

J. P. WEBSTER, FRHS, SEEDSMAN AND HORTICULTURAL SUNDRIESMAN,
124 High Street, & Station Front, Maidenhead
ALSO AT COOKHAM AND BOURNE END.

The Richer Your Land the Heavier Your Crop by the Use of Fertilisers.
Compete for our Handsome Challenge Bowl and Valuable Cash Prizes at Cox Green War Time Food Show, Aug. 16.

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

The treatment and training of disabled soldiers

The Disablements Sub-committee of the County Council’s War Pensions Committee reported with its progress finding training schemes for disabled former soldiers.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that two Schemes for training disabled soldiers have been drafted after careful consideration and in consultation with Colonel Morrison, the authorities at Windsor Castle, the Windsor Institute and the University College, Reading….

These Schemes can only be successfully carried into practice under the Royal Warrant of April 17, 1917, which provides that the man’s pension shall temporarily cease while under treatment or training, and that all expenses and payments to an approved amount shall be made by the War Pensions Committee….

The period of training in the Gardens at Windsor should be at least 12 months, and should not be restricted to the period of 6 months stipulated I the provisional approval already received from the Statutory Committee.

It was also strongly urged that both these Schemes should be approved and put into operation immediately, because the delay which has already occurred has not only prevented several suitable men from receiving the benefits of this training, which they were at one time prepared to accept, but is likely, if continued, to endanger the success of any Schemes that may be introduced for the treatment and training of disabled soldiers….

The following statistics are reported to date:

Cases registered 927

Cases already considered 193

Cases needing no assistance 484

Cases which may need assistance 211

Cases to be re-considered 174

Cases awarded treatment 27

Cases awarded training 16

Approximate number of cases in hands of Sub-committee for investigation 300

Meanwhile, Berkshire County Council’s Higher Education Committee dealt with some financial implications of the war.

Higher Education Committee

In view of the uncertainties due to … the chance of termination of the War and return of teachers whose situations and annual increases have been guaranteed, it is recommended that the present arrangements should be announced as provisional…

Bursars and Student Teachers

Of 12 Bursars [trainee teachers given scholarships] appointed last year, one failed to take up the Bursary as he joined the Army… Of nine Student Teachers whose engagements terminate on 31 July, one is already on Military Service and one joins up in August…

Higher Education Sub-committee report to BCC Education Committee, 14 July 1917; Disablements Sub-committee of the War Pensions Committee report, 14 July 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Sacks of waste paper

Winkfield people collected waste paper and grew potatoes for the nation.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Secretary of the War Savings Association reports that we have now 57 members, and 19 War Savings Certificates have been bought. As the Association was only started in the first week in April we may hope that it will not be long before the membership will increase to three figures.

Several sacks have already been filled with waste paper and we hope soon to hear of the filling of many others.

The holders of the new allotments at Winkfield Row have been working very hard, and with favourable weather should reap a good reward. The Government recommend that this year all potatoes should be sprayed to guard against disease, and the Committee hope to be able to arrange for the hiring of a portable spraying machine for use in the parish.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

20 months at the front

A soldier on leave visited his old school in Datchet.

20 June 1917

Trooper A. Sears, 2SG, an old boy, gave an interesting account of the [illegible word] of his regiment during its 20 months’ work at the front.

Mr Mann, F.R.H.S., called this afternoon, & congratulated the boys on their ‘Victory’ Plot (80 sq. poles).

Datchet National Mixed School log book (SCH30/8/3, p. 399)

Anterhinums instead of vegetables

The head gardener at Bisham Abbey made the mistake of thinking the flower garden should be defended against vegetables. Meanwhile General John Pershing (1860-1948) made a visit.

9 June 1917

Martin had planted anterhinums instead of vegetables! Has to take them up….

American General & staff arrived – General Pershing.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Some disabled ex-soldiers are refusing to work

Berkshire County Council found the war coming close to home when its Deputy Clerk, who had joined the army soon after the start of the war, was reported killed. Meanwhile they had begun to tackle the problem of those men who had returned home from the front with a permanent disability as a result of wounds. How might they be retrained?

DEATH OF THE DEPUTY CLERK

Resolved on the motion of the Chairman [James Herbert Benyon]: That a vote of condolence be forwarded to the widow of Lieut-Col H U H Thorne in her bereavement, and that it be accompanied by an expression of the great loss sustained by the Council in the untimely, though gallant, death in action of their Deputy Clerk.

Report of the Berkshire War Pensions Committee

The War Pensions Committee commenced their work on the 1 October, 1916.

The County, in accordance with the Scheme arranged by the County Council, has been divided into twelve Sub-committees, being, for the main part, one Sub-committee for each petty sessional division; but there have been certain adjustments, for the convenience of working, between the divisions of Wokingham and Easthampstead, while the Lambourn division has been divided between Wantage and Newbury division, with the exception of the parish of Lambourn itself, which is being worked by a Secretary and Treasurer.

Almoners have been appointed for each parish throughout the County, and the Almoners and Sub-committees respectively have had powers given them to deal with all urgent cases of wives and dependants of soldiers and sailors requesting financial assistance, each case being reported to this Committee for approval or revision as the circumstances may require.

During the six months alterations have been made in the amount of the State Separation Allowances and valuable additional powers have been given to the Pensions Committee in the way of making additional grants to meet to some extent the increase in prices, and the work has been now thoroughly organised.

Since the 1 October, 1916, up to the 30 April, 1917, the Finance and General Purposes Sub-committee have dealt with 1326 cases of Advances, Supplementary and Temporary Allowances, Temporary and Emergency Grants, etc. The payments made up to the 30 April, in respect of these Allowances and Grants, amount to a sum of £2299 2s 11d.

In addition to this the Sub-committee have dealt with 33 cases of Supplementary Pensions, which have been recommended to the War Pensions etc Statutory Committee.

The other section of the work of the committee is the very important and constantly increasing work of dealing with discharged and disabled soldiers and sailors. The principle adopted has been that so soon as the notification of the discharge of a man into the county has been received, the particulars are sent down to the Secretary of the Sub-committee in whose district the man proposes to live; enquiries are made in the district as to the man’s physical condition with a view of ascertaining whether he needs further medical treatment or training for some form of employment other than that to which he was accustomed prior to his disablement, and further inquiries to ascertain whether he needs financial assistance of either a temporary or permanent character, other than that provided by his pension, if any.

Considerable difficulty has been found in many cases where men have refused to work for fear of endangering the continuance of their pension, or because they are satisfied to remain as they are for the time being at any rate with the pension that they hold. The new Royal Warrant, however, will considerably strengthen the hands of the committee, as the Ministry of Pensions are entitled to withhold a portion of a pension if a man refuses to undertake treatment which the Pensions Committee, acting on medical advice, consider necessary for him, and the Pensions Committee will be enabled to grant a Separation Allowance for the wife and children where the man is undertaking training, and, further, to pay the man a bonus for each week of a course of training which he has competed to their satisfaction.

The provision of training is a difficult matter, as the necessary organisations are few and far between. In Berkshire the committee have three Schemes in course of formation. (more…)

The harder the work, the greater the service: women are called to the land

There was a call out to women to work on the land during the war.

WOMEN!

Enrol for service on the land. Help to win the Victorious Peace.

Strong healthy Women are wanted for the land. Thousands of acres are ready for cultivation. Thousands of farms want: Field workers, Milkers, Plough Women, Carters, Cow Women, Market Gardeners. If you are healthy and willing, you can be taught, you can wear the uniform, you can earn the wages. We must have milk for the babies, bread for the children, food for the sailors and Soldiers.

These are the terms: Maintenance during instruction, one free outfit (high boots, breeches, two overalls, and hat), wages 18s. per week at least (or the wage rate of the district, whichever is the higher).

The land is calling for you. Your Country needs you. The harder the work, the greater the service. Sign at once. There is a form waiting for you at every Post Office. Don’t Delay – Read this and hand it to the woman who lives next door.

The Vicar’s Notes

Intercessions
For Sidney Reeves, one of our old bible Class Lads, wounded seriously in France.
For Walter George, fallen for his country after just a fortnight at the front.

Thanksgivings
For the entry of the United States of America on the side of right.
For the granting of the Military Medal to Stuart Collison, one of our servers.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, May1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

We are reaching a difficult point in our National struggle

The vicar of Maidenhead St Luke remained reluctant to encourage work on Sundays.

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

We are reaching a difficult point in our National struggle. The test of endurance is being rigorously enforced upon us. We are called upon to cultivate all available land, to put aside what money we can lend through War Savings Associations and in other ways to the State and to be very economical in our use of food, especially of bread, and finally to do it all cheerfully for the sake of our country

Now, all these things can only be done well by God’s help. Anyone can begin well, but to persevere we want grace from God to strengthen our weakness. Now to get that, we want some leisure to think of God.

So I would urge that while necessary Sunday labour, e.g. on the land at present, must be done, do not let us do any work on Sunday that by forethought we could do in the week, for in the long run men and women can only do a definite amount of work, and if they work needlessly on Sunday it usually means slackness during several days of the week, and body and soul alike demand attention…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C.E.M. FRY

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Valuable lectures on the culture of vegetables

Ascot people grew vegetables for the war, while one couple lent their big house for use as a hsopital.

THE MILITARY HOSPITAL is to be re-opened immediately after Easter at “Sandridge.” Mr. and Mrs. Ninian Elliot have, most generously, handed over their delightful house for the purpose.

LECTURES on the Culture of Vegetables (two of them in this parish) have been given in the neighbourhood during the past few weeks. Interesting and valuable in themselves, they have also been very well attended.

ERNEST MERRY, who was some time ago reported missing, has been killed in France. We deeply sympathise with his wife and little children.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, April 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/4)

Are You GROWING all the FOOD you can for YOURSELF and THE NATION?

Entrepreneurial Maidenhead nurseryman J P Webster encouraged people to buy his products to tackle food shortages.

“The U-Boat Problem is not solved, and the real problem threatens the food of the people to an extent that no one could have anticipated.”

First Lord of the Admiralty, 8th March, 1917.

Do You

REALISE THE EXTREME GRAVITY OF THAT STATEMENT?

Are You

GROWING all the FOOD you can for YOURSELF and THE NATION?

The Nation

APPEALS to YOU to cultivate every yard of Land you can in this time of her trial!

OUR SEEDS ARE UNSURPASSED

And will ensure you Good Crops.

And Crops are largely increased by the use of Chemical Fertilisers. We stock all the standard kinds.

J. P. WEBSTER, FRHS, SEEDSMAN AND HORTICULTURAL SUNDRIESMAN,
124 High Street, & Station Front, Maidenhead
ALSO AT COOKHAM AND BOURNE END.

Valuable prizes offered at all Local Shows.

“Unless the nation as a whole shoulders part of the burden of victory it will not profit by the triumph, for it is not what a nation gains, but what a nation gives, that makes it great”

– Prime Minister.

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

Splendid prizes for war-time vegetables

Amateur gardeners in Wargrave were being encouraged to grow vegetables.

The Gardener’s Association

On April 11th the concluding meeting of the spring session was held…

Autumn Show of War-time Vegetables

The Wargrave Food Production Committee in conjunction with the Gardeners’ Association have arranged for a Show of War-time Vegetables in October next. Splendid prizes for the best Cropped Allotments and Gardens, Potatoes, Parsnips, Carrots, Onions, Beet &c., &c. are offered, and it is hoped there will be keen competition in the various divisions. Mr. Coleby is acting as Secretary, from whom the Schedules may be obtained giving all information.’

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

A peer’s potato plan

Berkshire people were being encouraged to grow their own food. A local peer offered his advice.

Below is a short article which will be read with interest by many of our readers who were present at the meeting which was held on “Food Production.” We desire to take this opportunity of thanking Col. Wedderburn and Mr. Crisp for their helpful counsel at that meeting.

Potatoes
From Lord Desborough

Sir – it may be of interest to some of your readers who have gardens, and who are in want of seed potatoes, to hear of a plan which I have practised for some time.

For every potato which comes into the house has one eye cut out. The eye is put in a wooden tray in a leaf mould sufficient to cover it. When it sprouts it can be planted in the usual way, about the beginning of April. As this house has been used for some time as a Home of Rest for War Nurses, there is a large consumption of potatoes, but it is satisfactory to think that each potato consumed has a chance of producing six others. The surplus of sprouting potatoes can be given to those who can grow them.

Taplow Court, Taplow. Bucks. DESBOROUGH.

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