Many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others

The hard work of women from Newbury and Speen during the war is reviewed.

RED CROSS WORKING PARTY

The Parish Red Cross Working Party, under the superintendence of Mrs L Majendie, was started by her at the Rectory, Newbury, on May 1st, 1915.

The first meeting was hastily summoned for the purpose of making respirators, but as it was found these were not required, being provided by the War Office, work for hospitals and other objects was substituted.

Mrs Majendie carried on the meetings at more or less regular intervals from a fortnight to three weeks, with suspension of these generally during Lent.

She was assisted, first by Miss Boldero (who also held a number of supplementary meetings for mending for Newbury District Hospital), and later by Mrs and Miss Majendie, Speen.

The number of names on the books was between 50 and 60, and of these over 30 attended regularly from the first meeting, May 1st, 1915, to the last, February 18th, 1919. Thanks are due to all the members, but more especially to these last, also to the various hostesses who provided tea, and lent their houses for meetings (many more would have been glad to do this, if lack of space had not forbidden it).

The hostesses were Mrs L Majendie, Miss Boldero, Mrs A Majendie and Miss D Majendie, Miss Godding, Mrs Gould, Mrs Hawker, Mrs Porter, Mrs Camp, Mrs O’Farrell, Mrs Colbourne, amd Miss Bellinger. Some entertained at their own houses, some at the Conservative Club, and a large number of meetings were held at the Parish Room.

Some members have left Newbury, including several Belgian ladies, who worked regularly for a time.

The objects worked for were very numerous, 24 in all, and included the following:

1. Reading War Hospital, twice.
2. Newbury District Hospital, 9 times.
3. Newbury War Depot, 6 times.
4. Miss Power’s Hospital, once.
5. General Hospital No. 18, France (to Miss Hayne), once.
6. The Minesweeper Newbury, 7 times.
7. HMS Conquest (to Lieut. Burgess), once.
8. Submarine F3 (to Lieut. Burgess, once).
9. The Navy League, 3 times.
10. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Malta, once.
11. Malta and Near East Special Red Cross Appeal, once.
12. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Rouen, twice.
13. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Stationary, No. 3, France, 12 times. Extra parcels were often sent to Dr Heywood’s Hospital at other times.
14. Ripon Camp Hospital (Dr Mackay), twice.
15. French Red Cross, twice.
16. French War Emergency Fund, 11 times.
17. National Committee for Relief in Belgium and Northern France, twice.
18. Belgian Red Cross, once.
19. Italian White Cross, twice.
20. Russian Prisoners of War, once.
21. Serbian Relief Fund, 7 times.
22. Syria and Palestine Relief Fund, 5 times.
23. Air Raid victims in London, once.
24. Soldiers’ Children Aid Committee, twice.

Making 73 meetings in all.

The many grateful letters received are too numerous to quote, but each one showed clearly how much the recipients appreciated the parcels of well made clothing despatched from Newbury. Not only were new clothes sent, but many gifts of garments slightly worn, but in good condition were also sent to various Societies. These were received with special thankfulness for the many refugees in France, Belgium, and Serbia, and as the work of repatriation in some of these terribly devastated regions will have to be carried on for months to come, parcels might still be forwarded from time to time if members cared to collect for them.

Thanks are specially due to those members who were kind enough to continually lend their sewing machines for ten meetings, and to several who undertook from time to time cutting-out at home.
The sum of £92 7s 8d was collected in donations and subscriptions, and was expended in flannel, flannelette, linen, twill, sheeting, muslin, gauze, lint, and cotton wool, which were all worked up into about 2,653 different articles, comprising, roughly speaking, the following:

735 treasure bags, 386 bandages, 376 miscellaneous things (such as washers, dusters, hot water bottle covers, table napkins, etc), 253 children’s garments, 210 men’s shirts, 177 knitted articles (socks, helmets, mufflers, operation stockings, etc), 128 collars and ties for hospital wear, 108 men’s vests and other underclothing, 106 women’s underclothing and blouses, 86 towels, 68 pillow cases and sheets, 20 pair steering gloves (leather palms): total 2,653.

The pleasant fellowship in which the members worked so untiringly through many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others, may well have strengthened not only parochial and personal ties, but also many wider ones with those they were privileged to help.

Newbury parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Advertisements

Pray for victory in the great struggle in the west

Reading people continued to support the war effort in various ways.

The Vicar’s Notes

Reading did well during its “Monitor” Week; we were asked to raise £250,000 and we actually raised over £376,000; so that we can well imagine the pleasure with which our Mayor was able to tell His Majesty the King of the real success gained largely through the efforts of the Reading Chamber of Commerce, and of Miss Darker and her workers at 6 Broad Street. We should also like to take this opportunity of congratulating all those connected with S. Mary’s Parish who had the honour of being presented to the King and Queen.

Thanksgiving

For the happy visit of our King and Queen to Reading.

Intercessions

For all our fighting men, especially among the wounded, Charles Gould, one of our Choirmen.

For victory in the great struggle in the west.

For the fallen.
R.I.P.

Mission to Seamen

Help is urgently needed. Subscriptions or donations, however small, will be most gratefully received, or any information as to other ways of helping will be gladly given by the Hon. Secs. For Reading: Miss Fanny Bird, Ivy Bank, Downshire square; Mrs Laing, 80 Crescent Road.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

Help our brave sons and brothers who stand between us and our unscrupulous enemy

Mortimer people were chastised for not contributing enough cash to the war effort.

War Savings Association

I am sorry to say that this deserving work of National importance is not receiving from the parishioners the support which it ought to receive.

Although started nearly eight months ago, the number of members is only about 110 – principally school children – and the total subscriptions are less than £100.

In comparison with other villages with similar populations and occupations these figures are lamentably below the average, and it is to be hoped that Mortimer will yet rise to a sense of its responsibilities, and do all in its power to help, by financial assistance, our brave sons and brothers who stand between us and our unscrupulous enemy.

Deposits however small, will be gladly received by the Treasurer, at Springfield, on any Friday evening between 5.30 and 6.30, or at S. Mary’s and S. John’s National Schools at any time during school hours.

War Distinctions

Mrs. Gould was at Oxford presented, by the Major-General in Command, with the Military Medal won by her husband Samuel Gould at the Battle of the Somme.

We also congratulate most heartily Driver William Milne on having received the Military Cross.


Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P120/28A/14)

“All my clerks have been called up”

A Reading estate agent was struggling to keep up with his work and local government commitments due to the loss of staff to the armed forces.

Jan: 11.17
[to]]
G F Sargeant esq
Solicitor
Wokingham
Dear Sir


All my Clerks have been called up & I have considerable difficulty in getting thro’ my work. I have to take my books home each night, & I am this week relinquishing my appointment as agent to the Corporation in the matter of the Small Holdings Dept, & hope now to have more time to devote to my other duties.

I am
Yours truly
John H Gould

Letter from John H Gould of Reading, estate agent, to G F Sargeant of Wokingham, solicitor (D/EX208/B2/17/59)

A foreign accent betrays escaped German prisoners

The Standing Joint Committee which oversaw the police in Berkshire heard of an exciting incident involving escaped PoWs in Old Windsor. Meanwhile, single policemen were continuing to join the armed forces, while women and the retired were filling civilian jobs.

6 January 1917

The Finance Sub-committee report that at about midnight on 7 December, 1916, PC 177, George Crook, was on duty at Old Windsor when he met two men who were unable to give a satisfactory account of themselves, and, as they spoke with a foreign accent, the Constable telephoned to Superintendent Jannaway at Clewer, who instructed him to detain them and convey them to Clewer Police Station, where it was eventually discovered that they had escaped from the German Officers’ Internment Camp at Holyport that same night. As an appreciation of PC Crook’s prompt action and judgment in the matter, he has been advanced in grade of pay (2d per day) nearly three months earlier than he otherwise would have been.

Police joining the Army

The Chief Constable has written to Lieut-General Sclater, Commanding the Southern District, Salisbury, giving him the number of Constables under the age of 30 years serving in the Force, and a list of those now serving in HM Army, with a view to the possible release of such as can be replaced by men of the Berkshire Police whom it is advisable to release from further military duty, but who are fit for Police duties. (more…)

Men from Reading St Mary

More Reading men were serving.

Roll of Honour
Additional names, S. Mary’s District

Frederick Day, Leonard Day, Frederick George Taylor, Frederick Eggleton, George Critcher, Thomas Critcher, Albert Humphries, William Barnes, Robert Hester, Albert Jennings, Charles Gould, Keith Long, Ernest Dunk, William George Bennett, George Brooks, William Russell Hall (wounded), Arthur Brill, Walter Long, Walter Taylor, Reuben Potter, Hubert Hunt, Peter Barmby (wounded), William Green (rejoined after discharge).

R.I.P.
Harry Brown.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P98/28A/13)

The men of Earley serving their country

An extremely long list of men with connections with Earley St Peter were receiving the support of parishioners’ prayers.

List of Names on the Roll of Honour and Prayer List
Duncan Adams, John Adams, Henry Adams, Frederick Allen, John Allen, Frank Allum, George Allum, George Ansell, Robert Ascroft, Frank Aust, William Ayres, Henry Ayres, Cyril Ayres, Reggie Ayres, John Ayres, James Auger, Samuel Auld, Charles Barton, William Barton, Clarence Burnett, Harry Bosley, Benjamin Bosley, Robert Beeson, Walter Bluring, Gordon Brown, Leonard Brown, Walter Brooker, Charles Baker, Ernest Balding, Albert Ballard, George Breach, Phillip Breach, Ernest Breach, Alfred Breach, Percy Bunday, George Bungay, William Bungay, Charles Bolton, Herbert Blyde, Lewis Blyde, Wilfrid Blyde, Arthur Buskin, Herbert Broadbear, Louis Bunce, Frank Berry, James Bowden, Henry Blathwayt, Harold Bennett, Harry Borroughs, Henry Barney, William Brett, Alfred Broad, Harry Ching, Charles Chesterman, George Chesterman, Ernest Chapman, Edwin Coldman, Edward Cottrell, Percy Cotterell, Hubert Collier, Alfred Cooper, George Comport, Guy Comport, Frank Cook, Ernest Cook, Eric Cook, Fernand Camus, John Cane, Charles Carpenter, Charles Clarke, William Clements, Charles Carpenter, Charles Clarke, William Clements, Charles Capel, Leonard Dann, Frederick Douglas, Reuben Dowsett, Renton Dunlop, Tom Durman, Jack Durman, Hugh Deeds, Ralph Deeds, Sidney Davis, Ralph Durand, Albert Denham, Frederick Dawson, Alfred Dee, Hugh Denton, Sidney Dormer, William Elliott, Charles Elliott, Reginald Elliott, Eric Evans, Alec Evans, Ernest Embery, Cyril Eaton, Eustace Finnes, George Forge, John Forge, Henry Fisher, George Fisher, William Fisher, John Fisher, George Fulford, Bernard Fixsen, Theodore Fixsen, William Farmer, Bert Farmer, Arthur Fulker, Cecil Fowler, William Fowles, Charles Goddard, Guy Goodliffe, Ernest Gowers, George Grey, Cecil Grey, Victor Gaines, Reginald Gatehouse, Herbert Garlick, Charles Phillips Groome, Samual Gould, Wilfrid George, Frank George, Gilbert Green, Frederick Goodger, Richard Goodall, Leslie Grinstead, Albert Howlett, Frederick Hearn, Arthur Hearn, Bert Hearn, Harry Harding, George Harding, Albert Harwood, William Harwood, George Harwood, Charles Haines, George Hitchcock, Albert Hitchcock, Henry Hayward, Percy Hamilton, Frank Hawkins, Albert Hosler, William Hall, Albert Hall, Henry Hall, George Hall, William Hall, Francis Harris, Arthur Harris, Richard Hayden, Fred Hull, Charles Hague, James Hague, Stanley Higgs, Leslie Heelas, Leonard Hedges, Harry Hambleton, Reginald Hawes, William Hope, Jack Howlett, Percy Howlett, Bertie Iles, Edward Iles, Percy Ilott, Thomas Ilott, Albert Ilott, Melville Innes, Walter Jeskins, Albert Jerome, Alfred Jerome, Walter Jerome, Frederick Jerome, George Jerome, Charles Jefferies, Henry Jones, Leopold Jenner, William Jeram, George Jeram, Henry Jeram, Woolf Joel, Alfred Jacobs, (more…)

Policemen joining up

The Chief Constable of Berkshire was anxious to restrict the flow of his men flocking to the Armed Forces, to the younger unmarried men. He wanted to keep the police service going.

5 July 1915
Police (Emergency Provisions) Act of 1915
The following Constables left to join the Army or Navy under the provisions of this Act on the dates mentioned:-

Dependants
PC 143 C. Lindsay 31st Jan Single Nil
PC 200 T. Spratt 22nd Feb Single Nil
PC 24 G. P. Gould 30th April Single Nil
PC 27 J. Bedingfield 31st May Single Father and mother
PC 144 F. B. Hewett 31st May Single Nil
PC 188 Fredk Batten 18th June Single Nil
PC 153 F. Pill 18th June Single Nil
PC 80 E. Pill 19th June Single Nil
PC 219 A. F. W. Davis 19th June Single Nil
PC 11 T. J. Moss 19th June Single Nil
PC 199 J. Green 19th June Single Nil
PC 47 T. J. Dean 30th June Single Nil
PC 40 V. Burt 30th June Single Nil
PC 176 H. Higgs 30th June Single Nil
PC 126 A. P. Durmon 30th June Single Nil
PC 113 H. Robey 30th June Single Mother

In addition to the above, PC 186 Jordan joined the Army (and Life Guards) for a period of 12 years, but is applying to purchase his discharge from the Army at the end of the war when he would be allowed to rejoin the Force and his case taken into consideration; and PC 66 Legg who joined the Berkshire Yeomanry does not wish to rejoin the Force at the termination of the war.

I would ask that the authority granted by you … last year for the grants to the wives and children of married Constables, and to the dependants of single Constables, be extended to PC 27, J. Bedingfield, and to PC 113, H. Robey…

I have had very carefully to consider the Act together with the need for retaining the Police Force in an efficient condition, especially at a time when so many extra duties Police Forces are called upon to perform [sic].

I have, therefore, considered that it is necessary to limit applications to join the Navy or Army at present to those Constables who are single, under 30 years of age, and have less than 10 years service, until I see how many wish to enlist in the Navy or Army. It may be possible to spare other Constables, but I must see that the Force is kept up to an efficient working state.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Pray for our enemies, despite their brutality

The church of St Peter’s in Earley encouraged prayer for the enemy, despite their horror at the reports of brutality. Meanwhile, even the very poor were offering up eggs for the wounded who could eat no solid food.

Prayers for the War.

‘That men ought always to pray and not to faint’ is a divine direction which we greatly need our prayers concerning the war, both public and private. The enemy has been behaving with incredible neglect of accepted international obligations, such as restrain brutality in warfare. We are exasperated and embittered. At home there has been a good deal of complaining and mutual recrimination. Our temper is strained, and our power of holding together. Whatever else the Christian Church can do, it ought to be importunate and urgent in prayer. Prayer is our true weapon, not bitterness nor mutual reviling. We need to pray with all our soul –

1. For our country, and all classes in it, that they may behave worthily and in a spirit of thorough self-sacrifice: and that the spirit of penitence for our common and personal sins may be deepened in our approach to God;
2. For the good hand of our God upon us in the areas of war, guiding our leaders, inspiring the men, protecting them in danger, granting us victory;
3. For the wounded, the prisoners and the bereaved;
4. For our enemies and especially for the German-speaking church, that it may open its heart to the Spirit of Christ.
5. Let us commend to God those who have fallen, that He will so deal with them in the unseen world that ‘they may find mercy of the Lord at the great Day.’

I am sure, increasingly sure, that the best method of public prayer is that of bidding to prayer – with sufficient deliberation of speech – at the Holy Eucharist, and from the pulpit after sermon at Evensong, getting the people to kneel down, and allowing pauses for silent prayer. There is no special prayer for prisoners of war put out by authority. But there is the prayer in the Litany ‘for all prisoners and captives’: and before beginning the Litany we can from time to time call attention to this clause, and make a pause after the response.

Notice as to weekday services.

The celebration of Holy Communion with special Intention for the War will, as usual, be at 7am on Tuesdays, and may we remind our readers that at this Service our list of men serving in His Majesty’s Forces is always read, special prayers offered on their behalf and the collection given to the Prince of Wales Fund.

National Egg Collection.

In connection with the above, a small start has been made in Earley Parish, and during the past two weeks nearly 250 eggs have been sent to the central authority. A notification has been received stating that the first 100 were sent direct to the wounded soldiers in our immediate neighbourhood. The total number of donors last week was 25, a noticeable feature being the single eggs received from quite poor people living in Reading, and who keep but a few fowls. The eggs are collected and sent away every Thursday. Anyone who would care to help in this most useful work please communicate with Mr. H. J. Wooldridge, Earley Schools, who has very kindly undertaken the work of receiving and despatching the eggs.

List of Men Serving in His Majesty’s Forces.

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:- Charles Chesterman, Alfread Broad, Frederick Mears, Thomas Mears, Arthur Lailey, Reginald Hawes, Elliot King, Thomas Ilott, Reginald Waite, James Auger, William Barton, William May, Hubert Shorter, Samuel Gould, Charles Phillips Groome, Harry Ching, Frank Aust and Eric Cook.

In addition to those already mentioned we especially commend the following to your prayers:-
Killed – Arthur Robb and Ernest Nickes; Wounded – Alfred Broad; Sick – Walter Jerome and Benjamin Bosley (gas poisoning).

Earley St Peter parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P191/28A/22)