A Committee for “Welcome Home”

A Methodist Church in Reading welcomed home its men who had gone to war. The building is now the Sikh temple.

24 April 1919

Resolved…

That the following form a Committee for “Welcome Home”.

Messrs M Timbrell, A W Reed, F Charlton, H G Butler, W J Hambling, J S Neale, E W Butler, J Kimber.

Mesdames Slyfield, H J Butler, H G Butler, G Peach, H Gill, M Timmbrell, B Charlton, M Wise.

Cumberland Road Primitive Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS55/1A/2)

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“Died through lead poisoning contracted while on Government work in France”

The Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund tried to help people thrown into economic disarray as a direct result of the war.

24 June 1918
Shire Hall

The Secretary reported that he had been successful in obtaining work for Mrs Swain with Messrs Gill & Sons, Tailors, Reading. Mrs Swain had, however, since stated that she wished to go to Holland where it was understood her husband had been transferred. The Secretary stated that he had informed Mrs Swain that he did not think it would be possible for her to obtain a permit to do this, and nothing further had been heard in the matter.

The case of Mrs Coleman, Station Road, Twyford, whose husband was killed in an Air-raid on London was considered, and a letter was read stating that the Lords Commissioners had sanctioned an award of £250 to Mrs Coleman. The Committee were asked to inform the Government Committee of their proposals for the disbursement of the amount in the best interests of the dependents, and in order to do this it was agreed that the Chairman and Mr F Bate should interview Mrs Coleman on the following Monday, 1st July.

The Chairman stated that he had authorised as a case of urgent necessity, two grants of £5 to be expended by the Rev. H Tower of Windsor, on behalf of Mrs Kate Clarke, St Leonards Road, Windsor, whose husband had died through lead poisoning contracted while on Government work in France.

The action of the Chairman was confirmed and a further grant of £5 authorised to be paid if necessary.

An application for assistance received from Miss Lipscombe, Maidenhead, was considered and refused, as it was not considered one of distress directly due to the present war.

The Secretary reported the result of his enquiries of Mr Davies, Maidenhead, in the case of Mrs Willis, to the effect that it would appear that Mrs Willis would not be able to take up employment. It was suggested that the case be referred to the Central Office asking whether a final grant might be given to the woman, and the Secretary was instructed accordingly.

The Treasurer reported that the loan of £3 made in April 1917 to Mrs Lake, Yew Tree Farm, Swallowfield, the period for repayment of which had been extended, was now five months overdue, and asked for instructions as to any necessary action in the matter.

After consideration it was agreed that the promissory note be returned to Mrs Lake and the loan treated as a gift.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Nurses get higher pay

Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing, Reading, was affected by the loss of nurses who volunteered to work with wounded soldiers, and the need to pay their replacements higher salaries.

23 July 1915

Nursing Staff
Miss Moxhay reported that Nurses Gill and Sweetapple had left on the 17th instant, and that Nurse Arnall who came in January last was leaving on August 22nd to take up Military nursing, and she asked the committee to confirm the appointments of the Nurses named below whom she had recently engaged at the salaries named. It appeared on examination of these nurses qualifications that in each case the salary was higher than that which the nurse could have been entitled to under the scale adopted in May 1914, but the committee in view of the difficulty in obtaining nurses during the war authorised the payment of the salaries as ‘special’.

War Loan 4 ½ per cent Stock
The Honorary Treasurer reported that as instructed at the meeting of the General Committee on the 8th instant, he had applied for £100 of this stock which had been allotted to the Trustees and that the cost was £99. 9. 4.

War Anniversary
The chairman as Mayor of Reading briefly outlined the arrangements which were being made for the celebration on Wednesday August 4th of the anniversary of the outbreak of war. It was resolved that a carriage or car should be provided for the Lady Superintendent and 2 or 3 of the Nurses to join in the procession which was being organised.

Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing, Reading: minutes (D/QX23/1/2, pp. 167-168)

Australian nurses fill in

Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing replaced nurses in the community who had left to nurse wounded soldiers with two young women from Australia:

7 January 1915
Nursing Staff

Miss Jones and Miss Linton who left at the end of August for Territorial Service in connection with the War have not yet returned, but during the past quarter the Superintendent has succeeded in getting Miss Gill and Miss Sweetapple (from Australia) to fill their places for the time being and it is hoped that these ladies may be able to stay on until Miss Jones and Miss Linton come back.

Two bicycles have been purchased for the Institute at a cost of £8. 8s. They are primarily for Misses Gill and Sweetapple (who have no home in England) but will be of general use in the Nurses’ work.

Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing, Reading: minutes (D/QX23/1/2, pp. 148, 151)

Death of an oculist

Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing, Reading, provided nursing care for local people in their own homes.  The demand for trained nurses for war work naturally had an impact on its work:

12 November 1914
Temporary Help
The Lady Superintendent had obtained the services of Miss Gill and Miss Sweetapple, the two ladies who had been at the Institute before as temporary helpers, and who it was hoped would be able to stay until the return of Miss Jones and Miss Linton from their territorial duties.

One place which was likely to attract nurses was the small hospital for wounded soldiers, which Florence and Henry Vansittart Neale planned to open at their home Bisham Abbey.

12 November 1914
Henry & I to London… to Red X place about our hospital. Saw nice man & filled up papers for W.O. [War Office].

No special news. The “Niger” sunk off Dover.

Heard shocking story of death of a Windsor oculist who went to the front as an ordinary doctor. While on the field tending some wounded soldiers some Germans came & bayoneted him & the wounded.

I hear from our Terriers at Chelmsford they are all 12 miles nearer the coast & digging miles of trenches.

Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing minutes (D/QX23/1/2, p. 143); diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A privilege to do one’s duty

The parishioners of Warfield felt the church was in danger, presumably from foreign invasion, and rallied round to help, as the church magazine bears witness:

NIGHT WATCH AT THE CHURCH.
“England expects that every man will do his duty” has been exemplified by the noble way in which the men of Warfield have come forth to guard their old Parish Church during this period of anxiety. One feels sure that they need no thanks, being always a privilege to do one’s duty. It is also right that the Parish Magazine should chronicle their names which are taken as they stand on the list before the Editor.

Messrs. J. Street, R. Searle, Fairminer, Goddard, Haines, E.Street, Pearce, Chaney, Peat, Higgs, Lovejoy, B. Bowyer, Brockbank, Johnson, G. Woodwards, C. Dyer, Bowyer, S. Moss, W. Dyer, E. Gale, H. Crocker, W. Bowyer, Crewe, Rickson, Parks, Dixon, R.Crow, J.Crow, G.Lewis, Joe Lewis, Dyer, Vicar, E.Gregory, B. Gregory, Inglefield, Lovejoy, S. White, Gill, Lewis, S. Bowyer, T. Bowyer and Son, Staniford, S. Stacey, Gale, Inskeep, A. Bowyer, Clee, Banham, Jakeman, Thatcher, Campbell, W. Excel, L. Bowyer, Carding, E. Bowyer, Ward and Woodwards.

Ascot, Bracknell, Cranbourne and Winkfield District church magazine, August 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/8)