Mr Snow’s steam-trolley

The railways might not be co-operating, but they had an ingenious solution in Wallingford.

Wallingford
1918, 5 March

Mr Snow’s steam-trolley took away 24 sacks of Horse-Chestnuts.

Aldermaston
5th March 1918

A war savings association was started this morning. 11 children became members.

Wallingford Boys Council School log book (SCH22/8/3); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 83)

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Helping the villagers to fill in forms for rationing

Two more schools were helping with the implementation of rationing, while Warfield children’s gathering of horse chestnuts had resulted in a bumper crop to turn into munitions. But not everyone was pulling together.

Sandhurst Methodist School
March 4th 1918

I (the master) was at the New hall, Sandhurst, this morning from 10-12, giving advice and help to villagers to fill in forms for rationing.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
8th March 1918

School closed for teachers to assist with Food forms.

Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3)
4th March 1918

The chestnuts collected by the scholars have been sent to the munitions works.


Wallingford
1918, 4 March

Sacks for chestnuts received this morning with letter from Minister of Propellants explaining that delay is due to Railway [?] neglect!


Log books of Sandhurst Methodist School Log Book (C/EL42/2, p. 161); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3, p. 41); Warfield CE School (C/EL26/3, p. 390); Wallingford Boys Council School (SCH22/8/3)

Credit is due to the children for often denying themselves some little treat for the benefit of the men who have done so much for us

Many schools sent “comforts” (food, clothing, books, even cigarettes) to soldiers and sailors. Children at Sandhurst also collected for comforts for those serving at home, while those in Burghfield provided various things for wounded soldiers, ranging from eggs to splints made in their handicraft classes.

Mrs Bland’s School, Burghfield
The Managers regret that they are shortly to lose the services of the Head Teacher, Miss M F Jackson, who in the time that she has been here has won their regard and esteem, and has made many good friends. She is engaged to be married to Sergeant Major Edward Mobbs of the Canadian Forestry Corps, who not content with depriving the neighbourhood of so many beautiful trees, is to carry off our good teacher. He only went to Canada about 13 years ago, after 12 years in the Coldstream Guards, and his family live at Tunbridge Wells.

School Efforts

The chestnut campaign has resulted in the collection of 1 ton 3 cwt of “nuts”, and application for their removal has been sent in.

During the period January 1916 to 31st July 1917, no less than 1660 splints and surgical appliances have been made by the boys in Mr Staveley Bulford’s classes in the Handicraft Room, and have been sent in for use in the war Hospitals or abroad.
The children of the CE Schools have up to date sent 1957 eggs and £1.9s.1d in cash for the use of the wounded soldiers, and have been awarded a “War Badge” as a recognition of their efforts. Credit is due to the children (and in many cases their parents) for often denying themselves some little treat for the benefit of the men who have done so much for us.

Lower Sandhurst
December 13th 1917

Sold flags at School on behalf of the Home Defence Comforts Fund. Amount realised in the one day £2. 4. 9 which was sent to Mrs Russell, the Organising Secretary.

Burghfield parish magazine, December 1917 (D/EX725/4); Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 418)

A useless horse

28 November 1917

Man came to fetch chestnuts. Horse from Government useless….

Wire from Boy [their son in law Leo Paget] to say Paris leave on from 10th to 16th.

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

Filling sacks with chestnuts for munitions

Short of gardening staff thanks to the war, the Vansittart Neales collected chestnuts like Berkshire’s children.

26 November 1917
Henry & I cut down ivy on wall by dining room & under staircase. All filled sacks with chestnuts for munitions. 29 sacks!

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

16 sacks of chestnuts

More Berkshire children had been collecting horse chestnuts.

November 21st 1917

16 sacks of chestnuts have been sent to the Minister of Munitions.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 180)

A rather large influx of “raid” children

More families fled London, while local children collected chestnuts for munitions.

Crowthorne
October 26th 1917

There has been a rather large influx of “raid” children from East London.

Yattendon
Octr 26th

Half holiday given this afternoon for chestnut picking.

Crowthorne C.E. School log book (D/P102B/28/2); Yattendon CE School log book (SCH37/8/2)

Women “have proved that they can do many things which did not occur to them before the war”

The Burghfield parish magazine reported on various changes the war had brought to the parish.

Other matters connected with the War

a) The war savings movement has done well in Berkshire, chiefly owing to the efforts of Mr. W.C.F. Anderson, of Hermitts Hill, the Secretary of the County Committee. An Association stared in Burghfield in the spring, now numbers 106 members, and 128 certificates have been sold. It is hoped to combine this with Associations at Mortimer and Theale under a “Local Committee,” on the system adopted elsewhere. Already over 106,000,000 has been raised, and over 35,560 Associations formed, throughout the country: and the National Committee are arranging for a vigorous Autumn campaign.

b) As in other parishes, occupiers of agricultural land have been called upon to consider the possibilities of breaking up pasture into arable. And the County War Agricultural Committee, acting through the Bradfield District sub committee, have found the farmers and owners of land in Burghfield no less ready to answer this call of their country than the King has found the young men ready for the hardships of war.

c) “War Economy” has of course received much attention: and it is hoped that in every house efforts have been made to economize in food, clothing, and expenditure generally. Meetings have been held and literature circulated. The duty of promoting economies, which at first was imposed upon War Savings Associations, has been transferred with other duties to the Food Control Committees appointed by the District Councils. The collection of horse-chestnuts has been entrusted chiefly to the School authorities, and directions given. It appears that every ton of chestnuts, in proper condition, released half-ton of corn which would otherwise be required for the manufacture of propellant explosive.

Women Workers on the Land

We are pleased to see how well the Burghfield women have come forward to work on the land and to endeavour to replace the men who have been called to serve their country. They have proved that they can do many things which did not occur to them before the war; and are now doing good work milking and generally helping to produce food. There are now 21 women working regularly, two of whom have been imported.

Burghfield parish magazine, October 1917 (D/EX725/4)

Flags and horse chestnuts

The patriotic children of Lower Sandhurst were still keen to contribute to the war effort.

October 18th 1917

‘Our Day.’

The children made Red Cross flags for sale for the fund.

Our collection box was opened and was found to contain £1 – 14 – 0 which sum was forwarded to the Secretary of the local Red Cross Committee.

One cwt. of horse-chestnuts was forwarded for the manufacture of munitions.

Lower Sandhurst School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 414)

A refugee from the air raids

Yattendon children were sent out to pick horse chestnuts (for munitions) and blackberries (for jam to send to the troops).

Yattendon CE School
Octr 10th

Holiday given this afternoon to enable the children to gather horse chestnuts, which are asked for by the Ministry of Munitions.

Received circular re “Picking Blackberries” from Education Committee.

Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School
10th October 1917

Re-opened school after fair holiday, admitted one boy (from London – a refugee from the air raids).

Log books of Yattendon CE School (SCH37/8/3) and Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School (C/EL4/2)

Arrived from the front

A Pangbourne teacher welcomed a brother home on leave, while the Datchet children’s collections from the hedgerows for the troops diversified.

Pangbourne
9th October, 1917

Miss Drury, at her own request, given a day’s leave of absence to see her brother who has arrived from the front.

Datchet
9 October 1917

I have sent several boys for horse chestnuts while the weather is dry.

The children went a blackberrying.

Datchet National Mixed School log book (SCH30/8/3, p. 401)

Pangbourne Primary School log book (C/EL78/2, p. 62)

Horse chestnuts for munitions

Horse chestnuts (or conkers) contain a chemical called acetone which can be used in the manufacture of explosives. The Government asked Britain’s children to help collect them for the war effort.

26th September 1917
The girls of this school are collecting horse chestnuts for the Ministry of Munitions.

Ascot Heath Girls School log book (C/EL109/2, p. 278)

In a nervous state due to air raids

Air raids were traumatic for children, prompting some families to move out of targetted areas.

King Street School, Maidenhead
10th September 1917

Twelve children have been admitted from raid areas in London & elsewhere & in most cases parents stated children were in a nervous state or asked for special care & treatment while at school.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1917, 10th to 14th September

Ten girls came too late to be marked on Monday afternoon. They had been to see an aeroplane which had come down in a field near Culham.

Wallingford Boys Council School
1917, 10 September

Re-assembled after 5 weeks’ holiday. Commenced collection of Horse-Chestnuts for Ministry of Munitions of War.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, pp. 399-400); Abingdon Girls CE School (C/EL 2/2, p. 147); Wallingford Boys Council School log book (SCH22/8/3, p. 63)

Patriotic work which may be of great value to the nation

Instructions were issued for organising the collection of horse chestnuts for use in munitions.

Horse Chestnuts

The Board of Education has issued a circular letter conveying a request from the Minister of Munitions and Food Controller that the Schools should assist in the Collection of Horse Chestnuts.

Neither the teachers not the children are to be asked to do this work as part of their School work, and there is no proposal that the Government should pay for the nuts. Whatever is done will be patriotic work which may be of great value to the nation.

It has been found that, for certain processes, horse chestnuts can be used in place of grain and it is stated that for every “ton of hose-chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption.”

The chestnuts must be collected into heaps in convenient places, preferably under cover; exposure to the weather will not, however, damage the nuts provided the interior of the heap does not heat.

Before being deposited at the Collecting Station they should be freed from the outer green husk, the shells of the nuts being left intact, if the husks are not removed heating of the heap will certainly take place.

When the collection is complete information will be sent to the Director of Propellant Supplies, stating the estimated quantity of the collection, and the Ministry of Munitions will arrange to remove the nuts and forward them to the factories in the course of the winter.

The work will not commence til October, but in the meantime if owners of trees are inclined to invite children to collect the nuts it will be of great assistance if they will kindly inform the Vicar or the Schoolmaster, and also if they will state whether they can lend baskets or sacks for the purpose.

Particular trees will probably be assigned to particular children, so that the work may be done as far as possible without any sort of loss or damage.

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

A substitute for certain industrial processes connected with the war

Newbury children were recruited to collect horse chestnuts for use in munitions – which would in turn release more food.

Friday, August 31st, 1917

Teacher on Military Service

The Sub-committee recommend that Mr G F Pyke, a Certificated Assistant Master on the staff at the Newbury CE Boys’ School, who has been on military service since March 31st last, be granted an allowance at the rate of £13 per annum whilst he is holding his present rank in the Army; such allowance to take effect as from April 1st, 1917.


Collection of Horse Chestnuts

A circular letter was received from the Board of Education intimating that the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Munitions had asked for the assistance of Local Education Authorities in collecting this year’s crop of horse-chestnuts.

It appears that a considerable quantity of grain is at present being used in certain industrial processes connected with the war, and that in order to set this grain free for food, experiments have been made to discover a substitute. This substitute has been found in the horse-chestnut, and it is stated that for every ton of chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption.

The secretary was asked to make the necessary arrangements with the schools for the older boys and girls to assist in collecting the horse-chestnuts in the borough and neighbourhood, and to communicate with owners of property with the view to permission being granted to parties of children to collect the nuts on their premises.

The Sub-committee have made the following arrangements for the temporary storage of the chestnuts:

(a) for children collecting north of Newbury Water Bridge: at Mr J Stradling’s premises (The Newbury Coach and Motor Works), London Road.

(b) for children collecting south of Newbury Water Bridge: the playshed of the Council Boys’ School, Station Road.

Minutes of Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Education Committee, Newbury Borough Council (N/AC1/2/8)