Children’s eyes glistened when they heard that chocolate cake was more wholesome and more nutritious than bread

Food shortages led to attempts to teach working class somen new methods of food preparation. Hayboxes acted as a combination of slow-cooker and thermos flask, to allow a cooked dinner to stay hot all day, and also saved on fuel.

A meeting was held on November 5th, at the Old Schoolroom at which were present Mrs. Bennett, Vice-President; Mrs. Noble, Hon. Sec.; Mrs. Wedderburn; Mrs. Chenery, Hon. Treasurer; and a large attendance, to bear a lecture given by Mrs. Hallam on Children’s Diet and Pocket Lunches. The relative values of various foods were fully explained, and the mothers were strongly urged to alter their methods of prearing food and to adopt the advice of London Food Committee whose President, Mrs. Peel, supplied practical instructions.

Several children came early and heard the lecture and their eyes glistened when they heard that chocolate cake (made with cocoa) and madeira cake, were more wholesome and more nutritious than bread – and that hot potatoes and cheese formed a nourishing meal, without meat.

The wives were advised to send out their husbands provided with small portable hayboxes, that they might have a hot dinner in the middle of the day during the cold winter months.

The Lecture was received with warm approbation.

A generous tea followed, given by Mrs. Bennett – assisted by Mrs. Chenery and other helpers.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

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Aeroplanes advertising Tank Week

Airborne propaganda was not quite as successful as planned, thanks to the British weather.

William Hallam
28th April 1918

Another cold day and it rained hard as I went to Church at XI.

Aeroplanes came over this afternoon dropping leaflets advertising Tank Week this coming week. Unfortunately just as the aeroplanes came over the town from the W. a heavy storm of wind and rain came on and as the 5 planes showered down the leaflets the largest quantity went away like a flock of birds towards Wootton Bassett, which I should imagine some of them reached.

It cleared afterwards and wife, Marj. & I went out for a walk along Victoria road and the Bath Rd. Met Lieut Girling down by the Public Offices where they were getting ready for the Tank and he came home to tea and supper with us.

Florence Vansittart Neale
28 April 1918

News about the same. Still holding – we not gone further back.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8) and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

“Mother, mother, save me”

William Hallam relates a spooky story about a fallen soldier from Wantage, while Florence Vansittart Neale has more spy rumours.

William Hallam, 14th September 1915
Mrs Hallam came down from Wantage. She told us a strange thing. Young Bobby Lovegrove was killed in the Dardanelles the other Sunday. His mother was in Wantage Church and was seen to look ill and get up and leave the church, and when her friends asked her what was the matter she said she had heard her boy’s voice say quite distinctly – “Mother, Mother, save me”. This happened the same Sunday he was killed before she knew even he was in Gallipoli. Young Eady too was killed the same time.

Florence Vansittart Neale, 14 September 1915
Heard 2 submarines (Germans) sunk in Bristol Channel & one beached. Shaw also saw one being chased near Lundy, & was caught.

Hear submarine catch nets made at Appledore.

Hear now they have guns at Woolwich which can go 10 miles. Also that the man [who was?] head of our aeroplanes is a spy! All changed now!!!

Diaries of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24) and Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The cold makes one think of the soldiers

William Hallam spared a thought for soldiers as the winter advances:

18th November 1914
Colder than ever to-day. It makes one think of our poor soldiers out in the trenches at the front.

Florence Vansittart Neale, meanwhile, saw a friend off to nurse at the Front, and was shocked by new tax increases to finance the war. Supertax was a relatively recent innovation brought in by Lloyd George’s controversial Finance Act of 1909 as a supplement to income tax on annual incomes over £5000 (roughly equivalent to half a million today).

Ag off to France on Saturday…

No particular news. Super tax & income tax doubled!

Bubs was told 60,000 troops were sent to the east coast yesterday.

Diaries of William Hallam (D/EX1415/22) and Florence Vasnsittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

More life in Wantage than since the Civil War

William Hallam, originally from Lockinge but now residing in Swindon, kept in close contact with family and friends back home. His diary reports:

29 October 1914

Had a letter from Wantage to-day. Troops are now billeted all around Wantage. Never so much life in that district since the Parliamentarian War.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/22)