A heavy loss from an experiment of the Government

The County Council’s Finance Committee feared the purchase of land for smallholdings for demobilised soldiers would be a burden for years to come.

Finance Committee, 25 October 1919

It is known that there will be a heavy loss on the working of these schemes, which for the time being is estimated at about £800 per annum, but it is uncertain whether, as time goes on, these losses will tend to increase or diminish. The purchases are being made to carry out an experiment of the Government – intended primarily for the benefit of ex-Service men on the footing of the loss for the first seven years being borne by the State, i.e. the Taxpayers, instead of the Ratepayers, bearing the burden for this period. The question is who will bear it afterwards? The land is at present being bought at high prices, but with the prior approval and consent of the Board of Agriculture.

In 1926 there is to be a Valuation of all the lands held by the County for Small Holdings purposes, including those bought at the commencement of the movement when prices were much lower. If the balance of the loans raised to provide the total purchase price should then exceed the Valuation the Government will assume responsibility for the excess and provide the annual Sinking Fund charges in respect of it. If, however, the land should be valued at more than the outstanding loans the County would get nothing; and in either event, after 1926, the County would be left with the land on their hands and with the obligation of clearing off the remainder of the loans as well as with the prospect of bearing any annual losses on the working that there then might be….

The Council, in considering whether or not to increase their commitments in regard to Small Holdings on the above lines, may wish to bear in mind that the projects now being pushed by a Government Department are not entirely for the benefit of ex-Service men, but are open to civilians as well. The extent to which the County should embark on unprofitable schemes, which may ultimately result in a subsidy out of the rates to civilian Small Holders as well as to ex-Service men is for the Council to consider and determine.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

An experiment of the Government – intended primarily for the benefit of ex-Service men

The Government was strongly encouraging local authorities to provide land for ex-servicemen to take up farming. Berkshire County Council was sceptical.

25 October 1919

[Referring to the purchase of land for smallholdings] It is known that there will be a heavy loss on the working of these schemes, which for the time being is estimated at about £800 per annum, but it is uncertain whether, as time goes on, these losses will tend to increase or diminish. The purchases are being made to carry out an experiment of the Government – intended primarily for the benefit of ex-Service men on the footing of the loss for the first seven years being borne by the State, i.e. the Taxpayers, instead of the Ratepayers, bearing the burden for this period. The question is who will bear it afterwards?

The land is at present being bought at high prices, but with the prior approval and consent of the Board of Agriculture.

In 1926 there is to be a Valuation of all the lands held by the County for Small Holdings purposes, including those bought at the commencement of the movement when prices were much lower. If the balance of the loans raised to provide the total purchase price should then exceed the Valuation, the Government will assume responsibility for the excess and provide the annual Sinking Fund charges in respect of it. If, however, the land should be valued at more than the outstanding loans the County would get nothing; and in either event, after 1926, the County would be left with the land on their hands and with the obligation of clearing off the remainder of the loans as well as with the prospect of bearing any annual losses on the working that there then might be….

The Council, in considering whether or not to increase their commitments in regard to Small Holdings on the above lines, may wish to bear in mind that the projects now being pushed by a Government Department are not entirely for the benefit of ex-Service men, but are open to civilians as well. The extent to which the County should embark on unprofitable schemes, which may ultimately result in a subsidy out of the rates to civilian Small Holders as well as to ex-Service men is for the Council to consider and determine.

Berkshire County Council Finance Committee minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

“Our Government’s policy renders it absolutely necessary to come in every morning to the food shops, your cycle bearing a basket, which you bring home crammed!”

Several years’ worth of university intakes were crammed into one as demobilised young men flocked to Oxford and Cambridge.

29 Barton Road
19 Oct. 19

My very dear old man

Cambridge overflows just like Oxford. Miss Allen speaks of 5000 u.g.s at the latter, I have heard of 7000 here, and it’s possible that 7000 applied – but this is a small town, and though artisans’ cottages are turned into lodging houses, and at incredible distance from St Mary’s, we certainly cannot overtop the Oxford entry.

You should see the streets at midday, when lectures are over and even the sidewalks become mob. Every u.g. seems to own a motorcycle, and not know how to ride it with safety…

You will understand that our Government’s policy renders it absolutely necessary to come in every morning to the food shops, your cycle bearing a basket, which you bring home crammed!

Ever affectionately yours
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

The War Savings Organisation throughout the country should be continued as a permanent part of our national machinery

It was hoped that savers would continue in the habit adopted to help the war effort.

War Savings Certificates

It is the earnest desire of the Government that the War Savings Organisation throughout the country should be continued as a permanent part of our national machinery.

The War Savings’ Organisation now comprises 1,830 Local War Savings’ Committees, which, for propaganda and organizing purposes, cover practically the whole country; 41,500 War Savings Associations for the co-operative purchase of War Savings’ Certificates; and 14,000 Official agencies for the sale of Certificates and War Savings’ Stamps. Altogether there are to-day nearly 200,000 voluntary workers engaged in administrative work connected with the movement. The figures do not include units working under the Scottish Committees.

The development of the habit of saving has been one of the most marked features of War Conditions in this country, as is evidenced by the fact that the number of holdings of Government Securities has increased from 345,100 on the opening of hostilities to over 17,000,000 to-day. In order still further to encourage this habit, it has been decided that, subject to the necessary legislation being obtained, holders of War Savings’ Certificates shall, on the maturity of those Certificates, have the right to extend their term for a further period of five years, in which case they will increase in value at the rate of 1d. per month until the end of this second period of five years, when a bonus of 1/- will be added. The value of the Certificate purchased for 15/6 becomes £1 at the end of five years and 26/- at the end of ten years, and during the whole period of ten years the Certificates can at any time be cashed. This right of extension attaches to all Certificates already issued and, until notice of its withdrawal is given, to those issued in the future.

Wargrave parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

The agony and sorrow and sacrifice through which we have passed

The Rector of Remenham had strong views about our defeated enemy, and about domestic politics.

Rector’s letter

Since I wrote last month events connected with the War have moved with startling, dramatic rapidity. Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, had collapsed, and then on November 11 Germany, the last of our enemies and the worst, whose conduct has been stained with iniquity and brutality and loathsome disregard of the obligations of honourable warfare, was overwhelmed. And now hostilities have ceased, and we breathe freely once again. We trust that, when the actual terms of Peace are settled, the wrongdoers will be adequately and justly punished; and that the foundations of righteousness may be firmly laid among the nations of Europe. On Sunday November 17, we held our Thanksgiving Services to acknowledge the good hand of God upon us, and, while our hearts were lifted up to him in profound gratitude, the agony and sorrow and sacrifice through which we have passed solemnised and, I believe, hallowed our worship.

The country on December 14 will be faced with the responsibility of a general election, and for the first time women will have the parliamentary vote. Let us pray that they may exercise it wisely, and I believe they will. The present Coalition Government, composed of Unionists and Liberals, will appeal to the nation for a fresh mandate to empower them if returned to office, to negotiate the terms of Peace, and, after Peace, to grapple with the grave problems of reconstruction that await solution. Old party divisions will for this election be put aside, and the Government will ask the country to support the united Coalition. The forces opposed to them, as far as I can judge, will be independent Labour and Socialism, and as their interests are confessedly sectional, they are not likely to safeguard the well-being of the nation, at this critical juncture.


Remenham parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

Those who go short will only have themselves to thank

Fuel for household heating was in ever shorter supply.

Fuel

Everybody who can do so is strongly advised to lay in as much wood as possible against the winter. The supply of coal will probably run short. Many people have already fetched a good deal of “top and lop” from the tree-felling on the common. But there must still be some which it is permitted to take, although so much has been actually burnt on the spot. This has seemed to be shocking waste at this time, when we are told to economise fuel in every way. But we understand that the ground has to be cleared for re-planting; and the Government (who are responsible – not the landowners, who have nothing to do with it) having allowed a certain time for removal of the best stuff, gave orders for the destruction of the remainder. Those who go short will only have themselves to thank.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Government too slack on foreign PoWs

Outrage at the enemy’s mistreatment of British prisoners of war could lead to disapproval of British treatement of Germans as too lenient.

30 October 1918
Great prisoner debate. Government too slack.

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

Wise dealing with the Liquor question

The Bishop asked Berkshire churchgoers to pray for Russia, our ally in the throes of revolution, and for the question of alcohol restrictions at home.

THE BISHOP’S MESSAGE

The following extracts are from the Bishop’s message in the May Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked

For the Russian people and Government and Church

For the Chaplains to the troops, especially those who have gone from this diocese.

For parishes whence clergy have gone on National service, that their spiritual interests may not suffer.

For wise dealing by the Government with the Liquor question…


Earley St Peter parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

“The nation generally has not yet realised the gravity of the situation”

Cranbourne people were encouraged to invest their savings in the war effort.

The Sunday School was crowded on Thursday, March 8th, when Mrs. Boyce gave a very vigorous address on “Food Saving.” She said that the nation generally had not yet realised the gravity of the situation, and the necessity for the control of food. We had suffered from want of foresight on the part of the Government, not merely during the early months of the War, but during the work and self-sacrifice of us who remain in the safety of our homes.

Our Sailors and Soldiers are doing their bit. We also have to do our bit by using as sparingly as possible all commodities that are sea-borne.

Mr. Creasy after spoke on the subject of war-savings.

It may interest residents of Cranbourne to know that a National War Savings Association has been started, and up to date 134 people have joined. Anyone may join, and a card is supplied. The subscriptions are paid by buying sixpenny coupons and affixing them to the cards. When a member has 31 sixpenny coupons on his card a War Savings Certificate will then be given in exchange for the completed card.

War Savings Certificates for 15/6 may, if desired, be purchased outright. The money paid by each person is sent at once to the Treasury, London, it is in fact money lent to the Government, who in return give generous terms. For 15/6 the Government agree in five years to give one pound sterling.

All the money collected is spent on the Army and Navy to provide men, ships, guns and munitions to terminate this great war.

The more money each individual leads the Government the sooner relations and friends will return to their homes and settle down to a peaceful life once more.

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

We shall never regret complying with the new restrictions

The new food restrictions were a worry in Cookham Dean, especially for the poorer who were already struggling.

The Vicar’s Letter

I expect we are all, more or less, feeling worried about the Food Regulations, not that we do not wish to do all we can do to support the Government’s arrangements at such a crisis, but the difficulty is, how to do it. In households where, as is the case with so many of you, there is never too great a supply of food, it must be most anxious work to know how best to carry out the regulations.

Let us try loyally and conscientiously to do our best: after all what is the inconvenience that we have to put up with compared with what our Allies in Belgium, France, Serbia and Roumania [sic] have had to suffer. If, as we are assured over and over again by those in authority, it is one of the ways that we can each one do our best to assure ourselves and our Allies of Victory, for which we long and pray, let us do our part as cheerfully and uncomplainingly as our brave men in their trenches and in the North Sea are doing theirs. We shall never, never regret it.

Notices

The week-day collections during Lent (apart from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) will be given to the National Institute for the Blind, which is doing so much at the present time for those of our wounded soldiers who have alas lost their sight.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, February 1917 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Our enemies are hard pressed and there are definite prospects of peace

Churchgoers in Clewer looked forwards to prospects of peace.

There is another War-Shrine of precisely similar pattern (each is surmounted by a crucifix) to be erected in Clewer New Town in a spot to be chosen by the inhabitants of that District. The Shrines are beautifully made and are much appreciated.

The New Year.

We enter upon the New Year with brighter hopes and more definite prospects of Peace, than in the year that is just closed. The new Government, with Mr. Lloyd-George as Prime Minister, has already proclaimed its determination to be satisfied with no Peace but that which will secure adequate reparation for the past, and adequate security for the future, and this has been emphatically endorsed by all our Allies.

On the other hand our enemies are evidently hard pressed and have shown that Peace is becoming an urgent matter for them, and that they have nothing to hope from a further continuance of the War. Let us redouble our Prayers and readily submit to whatever sacrifices we may be called upon to make in order to bring the War to a successful conclusion. Let us labour for Peace by the earnestness of our Prayers, and the application of self-discipline to our home-life. Then we may be sure that God’s Blessing will rest upon our efforts, and will fulfil our heart’s desire for a ‘Happy New Year.’

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, January 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

“Everyone can help to win the war by lending money to the Government”

The people of Wargrave were impressed by the call to help the war effort by placing their personal savings in a Government scheme.

War Savings Association

The Wargrave War Savings Association was very successfully started at a well attended Public Meeting on Tuesday, January 9th, 1917.

Mr. Henry Bond presided, and was supported by Mr. W. C. F. Anderson, Hon. Secretary for Berks, Mr. G. G. Phillimore, who is Secretary for a local branch, and the Vicar.

The Speakers explained that everyone can help to win the war by lending money to the Government. The Government gives 5 per cent, interest, so everyone can help himself at the same time as he helps the country. The man who saves now is helping our soldiers by going without something himself. The less we consume from over the seas, the more room we leave in the ships to carry necessities and comforts for our soldiers.

A resolution to form a Wargrave War Savings Association was unanimously passed.

Mr. Henry Bond was unanimously elected Chairman and Hon. Treasurer. The Vicar was elected Hon. Secretary.

The following were elected to the Committee of Management, with power to add to their number.

Wargrave: Mrs. Groves, Messrs. H. Butcher, W.H. Easterling, F.W. Headington, and E. Stokes.
Hare Hatch: Mrs. Oliver Young, Messrs. A. E. Chenery and A.E. Huggins.
Crazies Hill: Messrs. J.T. Griffin and T. Moore, the Rev. W.G. Smylie.

The Office of the Association is at the Vicarage. The Certificate if affiliation to the National War Savings Committee, the Rules and Statements of Accounts will be exhibited in the Parish Room.

Office Hours at Vicarage, SATURDAYS 9.30- 10.30 a.m. and 5.30-6.30 p.m.

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

“A fine example of courage and coolness”

The vicar of Wargrave was optimistic that the war would end soon, as the parish celebrated the heroism of some of its men, and mourned the loss of others.

1917:

Another year opens under the cloud of War, but the very length of the shadows behind us should give new vigour to our hopes for the future. The War cannot last forever. The original plan of the enemy has certainly failed. The strength of the Allies grows greater. There is every promise that the Government will express the mind of the nation and that the people will gladly respond to the demands which may be made upon them. The conviction that our cause is righteous has possessed the soul of the nation and given character to our manner of fighting. The appeal to God for Victory is based upon submission to His Will; sobered by the realization that Victory must be used to the praise of His Holy Name; and inspired by the certainty that He, who ordereth all things in heaven and earth, is working His purpose out, and will over-rule the conflict of the nations to the advancement of His Kingdom and the greater happiness of mankind.

So with renewed hope let us take heart to utter the familiar words, and wish one and all a Happy New Year.

The Military Cross

Lieut. F. Kenneth Headington, 1st London Brigade, R.F.A. has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the field. We offer him out heartiest congratulations. It is indeed a happy thing when from the midst of the sorrows of war there comes occasion for the sympathy of joy. Their many friends will rejoice with Mr. and Mrs. Headington, and with all the family, in this good news of well deserved recognition.

We would like to mention the following commendation which Sergt. James Iles has received:-

“This N.C.O. has shown a high standard of efficiency throughout the campaign. He has been under direct observation of his squadron leader during two engagements. At Nevy, on September 1st, 1914, where he was wounded in the wrist, he continued to endeavour to use his rifle after being wounded, and when compelled to desist owing to hand becoming numb, he helped to bandage several more severely wounded men. At Potize, near Ypres, May 12th, 1915, he had all the men of his troop except himself and one other become casualties owing to shell fire. He still remained in his portion of the trench and showed a fine example of courage and coolness to the remainder of the squadron.”

We would like to mention that the Military Medal has been granted to the Sergeant.

Hare Hatch Notes

We deeply sympathise with Mrs. Pugh in her second sad bereavement. Her son Charles has given his life for his country, he was seriously wounded whilst mine sweeping and had a relapse after being admitted into the hospital at Shotley, near Harwich, which proved fatal. His body was brought home and laid to rest in our Churchyard. The service which commenced with the hymn “Eternal Father strong to save” was most impressive. As the Naval Authorities were unable to send representatives, the soldiers at the Wargrave V.A.D. Hospital attended and some acted as bearers; “Honour to whom honour is due.” This loss coming so soon upon the death of Mrs. Pugh’s beloved husband, who was greatly respected and highly esteemed, must be hard to bear. We trust that our expressions of sympathy and our prayers may afford the family great comfort.

The deepest sympathy is also felt for Mr and Mrs Hunt, Tag Lane, whose son Arthur was killed in France on November 19th. As a member of the Sunday School and the Mission Choir he was most regular and attentive, he attained very high honours when a member of the Wargrave Scouts. He worked for several years with his father at The Lodge. We greatly regret his loss, the remembrance of him will not quickly pass away. He gave his life for a noble cause.

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

Belgians want peace at any price – and no wonder

Florence Vansittart Neale was depressed by the war news, while Lockinge-born railway worker William Hallam was making weapons for the war in Swindon.

Florence Vansittart Neale
8 December 1916

Lloyd George forming a ministry. Things in bad way. Greece blockaded. Fear for troops in Salonika….

Met Gustav Kupor. Feel very sorry for Belgian soldiers. No wonder they want peace at any price.

William Hallam
8th December 1916

In to work at 6 to night and by the morning I had finished this war work. Howitzer gun arches.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

Joy as Prime Minister resigns

Florence Vansittart Neale had not been a fan of PM Herbert Asquith, so she was delighted when he resigned. Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law, who was in coalition with the Liberals in the interests of national unity during the war, let Liberal rival David Lloyd George take over.

6 December 1916
Asquith resigned! Joy!! Bonar Law sent for, he cannot do it. Lloyd George gone to King. Firmer war policy.

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