A mysterious peace fell like the dew from heaven upon the hearts of a waiting people

Rector’s Letter

My dear friends

I am sure that you felt, as I did, that when the King called the nation to remembrance of the Glorious Dead on November 11th, the first anniversary of Armistice Day, His Majesty once again, with the sympathy and insight he has so often shown, struck a chord that vibrated in the hearts of his people. It was a beautiful thing thus to bid us pause and think and remember. For the space of two minutes at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month all work ceased on land and sea, and men were solemnized into a great silence, and a mysterious peace fell like the dew from heaven upon the hearts of a waiting people. And countless men and women faced life more bravely for the help vouchsafed in those moments of communion with the Unseen…

George H Williams

Remenham parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

The great silence: the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain

The first Remembrance Day was observed in churches across the county.

Wargrave

Armistice Day

The first anniversary was well observed in the parish. There was a celebration of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. A muffled peal was rung from 10.30 to 10.45 a.m. A service in church was held at 10.45 and ended with the two minutes of silence when 11 o’clock was struck on the tenor bell. A full peal of bells, with firing, was rung in the evening. The services were well attended and ringing was exceptionally good.

Crazies Hill Notes

On November 11th an Intercessory Service was held in memory of those who laid down their lives during the War, and, at the hour of eleven, a silent tribute was paid to the fallen. Those moments of meditation were for many of us, accompanied by grief; but there were also hope and pride and high resolve in the thoughts of all who took part in that Service. Perhaps the uppermost thought was that the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain.

Burghfield

Armistice Day

Rural circumstances do not lend themselves to such striking manifestations as were to be seen in towns and cities during the “great silence”. But there can have been few in the parish who did not act upon the King’s suggestion and desire. Many of us would like this mute solemn commemoration to be repeated annually.


Ascot

On the Anniversary of the Armistice there was a special Celebration of the Holy Communion at 10.40 at which all our parishioners, who gave their lives in the War, were remembered by name.
The service was so timed that, at the moment of silence throughout the Empire, the large congregation was in the act of pleading the Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and the Dead.

In the evening there was a special Service of Thanksgiving , when we prayed for God’s Blessing upon the Ex-Service Men’s Club, the first portion of the Ascot War Memorial, which was declared open by Lady Roberts, and handed over to the Men’s Committee immediately afterwards. During the first week over 150 men joined the club.

Cranbourne

On Armistice Day a large number of our Parishioners came to Church at a few minutes before eleven o’clock and spent the time in silent prayer. After the bell had struck eleven strokes and the two minutes had elapsed, a Celebration of the Holy Communion took place. Instead of a sermon the Vicar read Mr. Arkwright’s no well-known hymn “O Valiant hearts” and before the Church Militant Prayer the names of all our fallen were read at the altar and specially commended to God’s keeping.


Newbury

On Armistice Day, November 11th, we kept the King’s command by holding a Special Service at 10.55, including the two minutes silence at 11 o’clock. There was a large congregation. The sights in the streets of our great cities, when all traffic stopped and men stood with bared heads, must have been most striking. Truly does the whole Empire honour the men who gave their lives in God’s Cause of Righteousness.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31); Ascot and Cranbourne in Winkfield District Magazine, December 1919 (D/P 151/ 28A/11/12); Burghfield parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4); Newbury parish magazine, December1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

(more…)

“The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world”

In the end the League of Nations would fail to prevent an even worse conflict, but in 1919 hopes were high.

School News
Christmas Term, 1919
Nov. 11th

We assembled in the School hall at 10.50 am, Sister read us the King’s proclamation, and at 11 am, when the Curch bell rang, we kept the two minutes’ silence, which was being observed throughout the British Empire. Afterwards, Mrs Everett spoke to us about the League of Nations…

We were all acquainted with the ordinary selfish person, yet perhaps we were less familiar with what is known as “family selfishness”, or people who do not mind what happens as long as their family does not suffer. But there is yet a third kind of selfishness, in thinking too much of one’s own country, a selfishness often disguised under the name of patriotism. A true patriot can never do too much for his own country, but in this great League of Nations, we have to include the greater part of the world – not only England, but Germany, Austria, Russia, Japan, and all the other great powers. We have to see that every nation has her fair and proper share, so that the strong shall not oppress the weak, and, moreover, the children of each country may have a chance of growing to healthy manhood and womanhood. The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world. The Headquarters will be at Geneva, where all disputes and other affairs will be settled.

Concluding, Mrs Everett said that the older people would do their “bit” as long as they could, but it rested with the younger generation whether the small beginnings would prove a success, and the children of another generation would have reason to look back and bless them.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1920 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

The special week’s holiday in honour of ‘peace’

24th October 1919
The school closed at midday (the special week’s holiday in honour of ‘peace’ granted at the request of H. M. the King being taken as a mid-term holiday) and will reopen on Monday Nov 3rd.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School log book (C/EL72/3, p. 216)

The King’s ‘Peace’ holiday

8th September 1919

Re-opened after the Summer Holiday which was extended to 5 weeks instead of the usual 4, the last week being the King’s ‘Peace’ holiday.

St Michael’s CE Mixed School, Sunninghill: log book (88/SCH/32/3, p. 246)

An extra week to commemorate peace

King Street School, Maidenhead
1st August 1919
School closed at 4 p.m. for Summer Vacation – Notice received that in accordance with the King’s desire holiday was to be extended till September 9th – the extra week to commemorate Peace.

Charlton Infant School(C/EL12)
1st August 1919
Summer holidays – five weeks – and one extra week to commemorate peace which has been granted by the desire of His Majesty King George.

Hinton Waldrist School
August 1st 1919

Closed school for Harvest vacation – an extra week by order of the King.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 454); Charlton Infant School, Berkshire (C/EL12, p. 49); Hinton Waldrist C of E School (C/EL84/2, p. 171)

The victory year

Children must have been pleased by an extra week’s summer holiday as a peace dividend.

Chieveley Primary School
July 31st 1919

School closes today for the Summer Holidays. An extra week has been added to commemorate the victory year following The Great War.

Lower Sandhurst School
July 31st 1919

We broke up at mid-day for the usual summer holiday to be extended to five weeks in commemoration of peace.

Combe School
July 31st 1919

School closes Thursday July 31st for 6 weeks. An extra week has been granted as a Peace Holiday.

Hampstead Norreys CE School
31 July
We closed school today for 6 weeks. The extra week’s holiday has been given in response to the King’s request for an extra week in honour of Peace.

Log books of Chieveley Primary School (88/SCH/11/2); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1); Combe School (C/EL15/2); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

Victory in the Great European War

Lower Basildon CE School
30th July 1919

School closed this afternoon for the Summer Holiday. The Education Committee have granted an extra week’s holiday, in accordance with the wish expressed by King George, to commemorate the Victory in the Great European War.

Aldermaston School
30th July 1919.

School closed at noon today for summer holidays, His Majesty King George has expressed a wish that in commemoration of the signing of Peace the children should be granted an extra week’s holiday.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
31st July 1919

Peace Celebration sports were held in playground yesterday afternoon.

Log books of Lower Basildon CE School (C/EL7/2, p. 205); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 108); and Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School (90/SCH/5/5, p. 251)

Preparation for the “Peace” Entertainment

Battle Infants School
25th July 1919

The Head Teacher was again out of school on Monday for about two hours making arrangements for the “Peace” Treat.

The School was closed on Thursday that preparation might be made for the “Peace” Entertainment, to be held for the children in the afternoon.

Notice has been received that the Summer Holidays are to be extended by one week in celebration of Peace.

Christ Church, Reading
25th July 1919

In response to the wish expressed by the King, that in commemoration of the Peace an extension of the summer holidays in all schools might be granted, the Education Committee have decided that an additional week shall be given to all the public elementary schools of the Borough which will therefore close this afternoon and re-assemble on 2nd September.


St Katherine’s, Clewer

July 25th

School was closed this afternoon for the Summer Vacation 5 weeks. An extra week has been granted to signalise the Signing of Peace after the War, 1914-1918.

Coley Street, REading
25/07/1919

School closes this afternoon for Summer vacation in response to the King’s wish of an extra week to celebrate Peace Year.


Log books of Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2); and Christ Church CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6); St Katherine’s School, Clewer (C/EL113/2); Coley Street Primary School Reading (89/SCH/48/4)

Peace Treat

Children continued to celebrate peace.

Reading: All Saints Infant School
23rd July 1919

The school closes this morning (Wed) till Friday; on account of the swimming gala this afternoon; and the children’s Peace Treat tomorrow.

Wallingford Boys Council School
1919, 23 July

Visited, at about 12.10, by the Chairman of Managers, when it was decided that an extra week’s holiday should be given in response to the wish of HM the King (Peace Celebration).

Newbury
23/07/19

There will be a half holiday this afternoon by order of the Ed: Com: as the swimming sports are taking place.

Log books of All Saints Infant School, Reading (89/SCH/19/2); and Wallingford Boys Council School (SCH22/8/3); St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury ( N/ES 7/1)

In memory of ‘our boys’ who have fallen

A war memorial was unveiled in Maidenhead.

King Street School, Maidenhead
22nd July 1919

Mistress left school at 3.10 p.m. to attend the ceremony of the unveiling of the War Memorial at Gordon Rd School, in memory of ‘our boys’ who have fallen.

Maidenhead Gordon Road Boys School
July 22nd 1919

This afternoon a memorial of the Old Boys of this school who have fallen in the war was unveiled by the Mayoress, the Mayor, Councillors Norkett and Chamberlain. The Rev. Mr Wyatt and the town clerk were also present.

Central Continuation School, Reading
22nd July 1919

Received notice today that in response to the King’s wish, an entire week’s holiday has been granted.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1; Maidenhead Gordon Road Boys School (C/EL/107/1); and Central Continuation School, Reading (89/SCH/8/9)

Fireworks and flares

On 19 July 1919 peace celebrations were held across the county following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

St John’s School. Caversham
July 19th 1919

Saturday- to celebrate the conclusion of peace all the children of the town [Reading] were entertained to tea, games etc in either Palmer or Prospect Parks.

King Street School, Maidenhead
19th July 1919

“‘Peace Day’ was kept by a sumptuous tea for the children in school this afternoon. Several people came to help entertain them. An old pupil gave musical selections while children had their tea & the popular airs they were familiar with were much enjoyed.

After tea, cheers were given for the soldiers & the king & concluded with the National Anthem. Children were then taken to Kidwell’s Park to enjoy sports, roundabouts & other amusements.

Aldworth School
July 14th-18th 1919

This week we made 100% attendance!

The Peace celebration was held on Saturday July 19th – Dinner, tea and sports in the old playground, for all parishioners, followed by fireworks and flares in “Battle Field” at Westbridges.

Lower Sandhurst School
July 19th 1919

To day Saturday in common with all parts of the country this Parish held its Peace Festival.

The school children assembled at school and marched to the Wellington Arms where they met the other two schools and headed by a band a procession was formed and a move was made to the Broadway. Here the ceremony of hoisting the flag was performed, prayers and thanksgivings were offered for victory and peace speeches were delivered, Mr. W. J. Joye, Chairman of the Managers, being one of the speakers.

Tea and sports were provided for the children and although the weather was unpropitious the children spent a happy time.

Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School
19th July 1919

‘Peace Celebrations’. During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
19th July 1919

Today was observed as “Peace Celebration Day” for the parish of Earley, & the children of the school, whether living in Earley or in Reading, were included in the invitations. By kind invitation of J Rushbrooke esq, the celebration took place in Bulmershe Park, where, despite showery weather, a most enjoyable afternoon & evening were spent.

Cookham Alwyn Road School log book
July 19th

Saturday: Peace Celebrations. Tea to scholars in School Buildings. March to Kidwells Park at 4.15.

Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn
19th July 1919

Peace celebrations at Eastbury. The school children took part in the procession, sang patriotic songs, and afterwards partook in tea in a lane kindly lent for the occasion. Giving in to the rain, the sports were held on the following Monday.

Charney Bassett
19.7.19

Peace-day was kept up in the village. The children had a tea in a barn kindly lent for the occasion, and the adults a meat tea; owing to the bad weather the sports were postponed until Sat the 26th.

Speenhamland
July 19th

We have been making preparations for the Peace Celebrations tomorrow, and work has to some extent been interrupted.

Bracknell
19th July 1919

Peace Celebrations.

During the day all school children were specially provided with a tea (followed by a tea for the general public). Sports were also provided for school children, preceded by a procession from the Hall through High Stand to the Sports Ground. All who had served in H. M. Forces during the war were entertained to dinner.

Log books of St John’s School. Caversham (89/SCH/14/1); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Aldworth School (C/EL54/3); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); Cookham Alwyn Road School (88/SCH/18/1); Eastbury National Primary, Lambourn (D/P79B/28/2); Bouverie Pusey School, Charney Bassett (C/EL41/2); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3)

10 miles behind the German lines, with no hope of rescue

A small Sulhamstead church would have an organ as a war memorial.

We are very thankful to hear that our two prisoners of war have returned safe. Sergeant George Steel, MM, has been a prisoner of war since May 1918. It will be remembered that it was at first reported that he had been killed. Private Ernest Adams was made prisoner in March 1918. His company was left 10 miles, or so, behind the German front line after their sudden sweeping advance in that month, and defended themselves there for many hours without any hope of rescue.

Lieutenant Colonel Greenley, DSO, Royal Army Service Corps, whose marriage is reported in this number, has been further distinguished by the conferment by His Majesty of the Companionship of St Michael and St George.

Major Gilbert Shepherd, RE, DSO, Chevalier Croix de Guerre, has been promoted to Brevet-Major.

AN ORGAN FOR ST MICHAEL’S CHURCH

Mrs Tyser has most generously promised to give an organ for St Michael’s Church in memory of Major George B Tyser, East Lancashire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Tyser of Oakfield, who was killed almost instantaneously on July 6th, 1916. He was last seen in the act of encouraging his men across to the enemy trenches in one of the brilliant assaults that we were then making.

Mr J Price, Wilts Regiment, has received his commission as Second Lieutenant, on discharge from the Army. We congratulate him and his family on the well-merited promotion. His brother, Mr Stanley Price, has received a similar promotion. He has been gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, and is now engaged in instruction work. He, too, receives our best congratulations.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, February 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Great decorations and interest in American President

President Woodrow Wilson’s visit to France and London was the first official trip to Europe by a US President.

26 December 1918

Temperature still keeping down. Breathing bad. Saw her very little that day. So exhausted.

Took Henry to Paddington to spend night at Bisham. Went 11.20, then saw A & E & back for lunch.

President Wilson arriving – great decorations & interest. Well received. K & Q there too.

Only saw her one moment. Ag here to dine & keep me company.

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