What the Treaty of Versailles meant to the world & what children could do to help in the world’s peace

Some schools incorporated the Treaty of Versailles immediately into lessons.

King Street School, Maidenhead
30th June 1919

The signing of the Peace Treaty was made the subject of the day’s lessons. Mistress explained to the school what it meant to the world & what the children could do to help in the world’s peace. Patriotic marches & national anthems of other countries were used throughout the day & children correlated lessons wherever possible.

Peasemore
June 30th

The Time Table was not kept today. Extra games were played, a Gramaphone [sic] “played” patriotic marches and pieces, and “Peace” was heartily celebrated. Mrs Blea, Miss Weil and Miss Podbury helped to entertain.

Sonning Boys’ School
30th June 1919
Closed this afternoon by order of the Managers. Procession and tea in connection with Peace Rejoicings.

Sonning CE Girls and Infants’ School
30th June 1919

School closed in the afternoon by order of the Managers. The children had a treat to celebrate the signing of the Peace.

East Ilsley
30th June 1919
School closed in afternoon as a recognition of the signing of the peace Saturday.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Peasemore School (C/EL49/2); Sonning Boys School (89/SCH/1/2); Sonning CE Girls and Infants (89/SCH/1/4); East Ilsley CE School (C/EL39/1)

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Slush, real Flanders slush everywhere

It was a gloomy day, but a more cheerful evening, for Sydney Spencer and his fellow officers.

Thursday 18 April 1918

Got up at 7.30. A miserable day, wet & slush, real Flanders slush everywhere. Parades up on the high ground at the range, not of the most cheerful with a biting wind & drizzle, but we got through alright. We had some gas stunts very like what we had in England, except that the Div officer had not the stuff I could use.

After lunch went down to billets & gave two lectures on gas to the company, & there was a kit inspection. After tea wrote a few cards & a letter to Florence. Also packed some spare kit to send home. Washed & changed & bad dinner.

The other chaps are now playing vingt et un, & I am going to be OC gramophone, & then to bed to read Tennyson.

8.45 pm. A fine moonlight night.

Diary of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15)

“There are 10 of us in a hut called a Nisson Hut”

Sydney Spencer had previously written to his sister Florence b(in an undated letter not included on the blog) asking her to send some items from home. Now he learned that he would not be able to take even what he already had when they moved to the trenches.

18 April 1918
7th Norfolk Regiment
BEF France

My Dearest Florence

Here’s a pretty kettle of fish! Just as I have written to you about my flea bag etc I learn today that we have got to reduce our kit! So the flea bag must not be sent! So if it has been sent I suppose I must send it back! The other stuff I have asked for I simply can’t do without.

It is Thursday night & there are 10 of us in a hut called a Nisson [sic] Hut. It is in form like a boiler cut in half but we are quite comfortable comparatively speaking….

I am having to send you my bath & my spare tunic & mess tin, as I must reduce my kit. I have two blankets & a spare pair of breeches & a suit of Tommy’s clothing so I am alright. The gramophone is playing & we have just had the 1812 Symphony. I hope you won’t object to the packing of the parcel. I could only get hold of a sandbag!

All love my Darling Sister

Your ever affectionate Brer
Sydney
18.4.18
6.45

Letter from Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EZ177/8/3/19)

A very hostile reception

Percy continues yesterday’s letter.

Tomorrow’s come and with it your letter (and another Garwood has discovered in his pockets dated May 22).

Well, I know now you did get my telegram, and feel all the more keenly our mutual disappointment; WF, my darling sister, I could cry when I read your loving preparation for my visit. But luckily I’ve been too busy today to do that for we’ve moved bag and baggage to another and largerer [sic] place, and for the first time in our experience have met with a very hostile reception. However, we’re friends again with a very handsome hot tempered maid, in fact – don’t tell mother, but she’s winked at me. Not knowing the correct repartee, I referred to higher authority (the Staff Captain), who solemnly winked back, and now we’re awfully friendly. We’ve been invited to take coffee, allowed to store our bicycles under the eaves of a stinking sty and graciously directed to the “usual offices” by every member of the family, though nothing could be further from an Englishman’s thoughts than to explore the mysteries of French sanitation.

However, here we are: for how long I don’t know, but I don’t suppose we shall be doing much for a while. Did you see today’s tosh in the Chronicle? Thank goodness our fellows only laugh and “carry on” as usual in spite of such hysterical stuff. Our Division don’t want that kind of nonsense: our reputation on facts is good enough without frothy journalism.

[Censored section]

This is terrible news about K of K. Thank goodness his great work is well under weigh [sic].

Unfortunately such an event, the first report of the naval battle, and the local attacks on our front all tend to buck up the Hun & will tend to prolonging the war, the latter I imagine are solely to keep up the morale of the troops, as they have no real significance.
And too, K of K was a name to compare with – there were never two opinions about who should be at the War Office.

His greatness is hard luck on his successor, even if he should happen to be a Welshman. I hope a soldier of worth & experience will get the post, though, and an Engineer for preference – lawyers are becoming a curse.

And so am I, you’ll be saying, if I keep on scribbling.

But before I close I must tell you about Nini. Nini is a duck of a child at our mess, very interested in all branches of mischief. Thin, lithe & lovely, she dances round our mess, evading our fellows’ longing arms, and clamouring for “music”. We’ve all wound our gramophone till we’re sick of every time it plays. It’s rough luck on us and on the gramophone, but the imp’s worth it…

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to Florence Image (D/EZ177/7/5/18-19)

A very merry tea for the soldier-lads

Those wounded soldiers well enough to move were invited for a day out from temporary war hospitals in east Reading.

On January 22nd another invitation was given to the inmates of Redlands Hospital, and extended to those of St. Luke’s Hospital. Unfortunately, many of the men were confined to bed, so our numbers were rather smaller than we had anticipated.

Games again proved a source of much pleasure, during which Mr. Mobbs, a true friend of “the soldier-lads,” gave much pleasure with his gramophone.

After a very merry tea of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, etc., an entertainment was provided by the “Birds of the Air” Concert party. This clever and novel performance, consisting of songs, dances, etc., was greatly appreciated by the men, and called forth tremendous applause. The performers were the Misses Morris, Mr. Streeter, and Mr. Walford Knowles. Mr. J.A. Brain, home on leave, also delighted the audience with his comic songs, as did Private Scott with his witty stories.

Cigars and cigarettes were generously provided, and before our guests left, one of their number thanked us for the very enjoyable afternoon and started his comrades’ volley of ringing cheers.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, February 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)