Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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An extra week to commemorate peace

King Street School, Maidenhead
1st August 1919
School closed at 4 p.m. for Summer Vacation – Notice received that in accordance with the King’s desire holiday was to be extended till September 9th – the extra week to commemorate Peace.

Charlton Infant School(C/EL12)
1st August 1919
Summer holidays – five weeks – and one extra week to commemorate peace which has been granted by the desire of His Majesty King George.

Hinton Waldrist School
August 1st 1919

Closed school for Harvest vacation – an extra week by order of the King.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 454); Charlton Infant School, Berkshire (C/EL12, p. 49); Hinton Waldrist C of E School (C/EL84/2, p. 171)

Certificate for vegetables

January 23rd 1919

Received certificate signed by Sir David Beatty, from the Fleet, as an appreciation of the vegetables sent by the school children.

Hinton Waldrist C of E School log book (C/EL84/2, p. 168)

Our hearty good-will and our deep sense of all that France has and is suffering for the cause of freedom and the Allies

Bastille Day, the French national day, is actually on 14 July, commemorating the fall of the Bastille and start of the French Revolution. Berkshire schools clearly had a rather vague grasp of French history, but cannot be faulted for their admiration for our ally.

Aldworth
July 12th 1918

On Friday afternoon, being France’s National Day, the children were addressed by the Vicar, the French Flag saluted and the Marseillaise sung – the following letter was also sent to the President of the French Republic:

Aldworth Vicarage
Reading
England

July 12th 1918

Dear Mr President,

The inhabitants of Aldworth wish to take the opportunity, which France’s National Day affords, to express to you our hearty good-will and our deep sense of all that France has and is suffering for the cause of freedom and the Allies.

We also take this opportunity to assure you that we are determined that the war shall at length, at whatever cost, be waged to a victorious issue.

Believe us to be, dear Mr President, your most devoted Allies.

(signed) A. L Watson, Vicar of Aldworth, Chairman of the Parish Council

Coleshill
12th July 1918

At noon to-day the children first saluted ‘The French Flag’ and then our ‘Union Jack’ in the playground. After this they sang ‘the Marseillaise’ and our own National Anthem, this being ‘France’s Day’.

Aldermaston
12th July 1918.

Pamphlets have been sent by the local War Aims committee to be given to the children today to commemorate France’s Day July 14th. The Head Teacher will give a short explanation of the subject to the school.

Hinton Waldrist
July 12th 1918

France’s Day. Children assembled in playground at 1.30. An address given by Capt: J. Loder Symonds. The French Flag and Union Jack saluted. The Marseillaise and God Save the King sung.


Log books: Aldworth School (C/EL54/3); Coleshill CE School (D/P40/28/5); Aldermaston School (88/SCH/3/3); Hinton Waldrist C of E Schoolk (C/EL84/2)

School closed for RAF funeral

William Loder Symonds, in the RAF, was son of the lord of Hinton manor. He had only recently escaped from a German PoW camp when he was killed in a plane crash. The story is told in detail in his fellow-escaper J L Hardy’s memoir ‘I Escape’, which is an entertaining read.

June 3rd 1918
School closed for the day for funeral of Captain W. Loder Symonds.

Hinton Waldrist C of E School log book (C/EL84/2, p. 165)

The absolute necessity for food production

Children contributed to the food supply.

Hinton Waldrist
April 26th 1918

Received letters signed Beresford thanking boys for their work in sending vegetables to the sailors.

Ascot Heath
April 26th 1918

Occasional extra time in the Garden will be taken, in view of the absolute necessity for food production.

Sandhurst
April 26th 1918

The recently formed War Savings Association has made an excellent start with about 60 members.

Hinton Waldrist C of E School log book (C/EL84/2, p. 165); Ascot Heath Boys’ School log book (C/EL110/4, p. 94); Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 436)