“The War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you”

The Superintendent at Broadmoor felt unappreciated for his organisation’s contribution to the care of insane PoWs. This complaint elicited a hasty letter of gratitude on 16 November.

3rd November 1919

Dear Major Wells

With regard to the enclosed I don’t know exactly what manner of report may be required, but I have neither the time nor inclination to go further in the matter.

In 1916 I undertook to relieve Netley Hospital of the care & treatment of their German Insane Patients, a job that was not at all congenial & which apparently nobody else would look at.

Later on the War Office, without consulting me on the subject, by telegram gave orders that I should undertake the duty & responsibility of repatriating the German Insane via Boston, not only from this Hospital but from others, the patients being sent on here for review and dispersal. I made no demur but carried on all this extra gratuitous work in addition to my own heavy civil duties which had to be performed with all my very able-bodied staff on active service.

Result, I am gazetted out of the army without remark & the War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you.

Under the circumstances I feel I am under no obligation whatever to render further gratuitous service to the War Office, altho’ the material might be forthcoming.

These remarks refer entirely to the War Office; the DMS Staff at Aldershot were always kindly, helpful & courteous, & Major General Browne was complimentary in acknowledgement of the work performed.

Yours faithfully

[Dr Baker
file copy not signed.]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

An act of gallantry and devotion to duty

A teacher who had served with distinction in the Royal Engineers was rewarded by a promotion when he got home.

Higher Education Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

MAIDENHEAD COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL

With regard to the Manual Room, a sectional part of one of the Hospital Wards at the Canadian Hospital at Cliveden was purchased for £100, and an estimate of Messrs Partlo of £108 for taking down, carting and re-erecting has been accepted….

WINDSOR COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL

There were 136 applicants for the post of Headmaster… The Governors selected Mr F Morrow, BA (NUI), the Second Master at the School. Mr Morrow was educated at Pocock College, Kilkenny, and has had 16 years’ experience as an Assistant Master, 10 years of which have been at the Windsor County Boys’ School. He has published a text book of practical geography. His war service was with the RE, in which corps he attained the rank of captain, and was awarded the MC for an act of gallantry and devotion to duty.

School Management Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

TEMPORARY WAR BUILDINGS FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES

The Board of Education have notified that HM Government have decided that huts required by Local Education Authorities for Educational purposes shall be sold to them at a discount of 33 % on the valuation.

The Secretary has been asked to make enquiries and report cases where these huts might be useful.

By-laws and Attendance Sub-committee report
18 October 1919

MEDICAL INSPECTION

Dr Napier, Assistant School Medical Officer, has returned from Military Service and resumed work on 29 September. Dr G R Lake, who has helped the Committee part time during the last four years, will cease work at the end of the present month. The Sub-committee have placed on record their appreciation of Dr Lake’s work which enabled them to carry on a curtailed scheme of Medical Inspection during the War.

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

A fair charge upon the Army Council

Reading Workhouse Infirmary was one of the many buildings taken over as a war hospital.

11th September 1919

Claim against the War Office

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that they had received the claims made by the Guardians upon the Army Council in respect of the occupation of their premises as a War Hospital for the periods ended 31st March and 30th September, 1918, and the 31st March last, and that they had forwarded such claims to the Army Council for payment. The clerk stated that, with regard to the two first mentioned claims, the Ministry of Health considered that they were excessive, and that he had received from the Ministry of Health, copy of a letter which had been addressed to the Secretary of the War Office as follows:

“I am to add that these claims have been the subject of an interview between the Clerk to the Guardians and this Department, and that this Department are of opinion that the claims constitute a fair charge upon the Army Council.”

Discharged Soldiers & Sailors

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Hemsworth Union asking the Guardians to support the following Resolution passed by them with regard to relief to discharged soldiers.

“That this Board of Guardians expresses its indignation and disgust in Discharged Soldiers and Sailors being compelled to apply for relief to this Board, and protests against the delay of the Ministry of Pensions in dealing with Soldiers’ and Sailors’ pensions which should be paid on production of the Local Medical Officer’s Certificate, and that a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Prime Minister and other Boards of Guardians for their support.”

Recommending that the Board support the principle of the Resolution.

Report of Finance & General Purposes Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Reopening of a school after its use as Hospital

Schools returned to their proper purpose.

Redlands Boys’ School
September 2nd 1919

On this date I, F. W. Holmes-Walker commenced duty as Head Master, on the reopening of the school after its use as Hospital.

Alfred Sutton Primary School
2nd September 1919

School re-opened today. The scholars are working on full time today, Redlands having re-opened and relieved the building of Wokingham Road Intermediate School. The school is working on a trial time table.

Log books of Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30, p. 356); Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading (89/SCH/37/1, p. 254)

Love for those who have defended us, especially those who have given freely of their lives that we might live

Important – War Memorial Chapel at St Luke’s

At last, after much preliminary work, we are launching this scheme of ours, by which we are trying by beautifying our Church to mark our gratitude to God for his protection and care, and our love for those who have defended us, more especially for those who have given freely of their lives that we might live. Briefly, we hope to build (where the Vestries now stand) a Chapel panelled in oak with the names of the fallen on each panel, in which we may hold quiet services, and where, overshadowed by the sense of the presence of those we love that have passed beyond the veil, we may meditate without bitterness on the wonderful mystery of suffering and sacrifice, as made more clear to our finite minds, by the Cross of the Son of God, in whose House we shall be at prayer.

All our generosity and the help of our friends will be needed, if we are to do this worthily. At a meeting held on August 21st, Miss Apthorp – well-known to us as Commandant of the VAD Hospital – was unanimously elected as Hon, Sec. of the Fund. Reluctantly, as a mere clergyman, I accepted the office of Hon. Treasurer. An account has been opened at the London, County, Westminster and Parr’s Bank in High Street, called the “St Luke’s War Memorial Fund”.

A circular letter, we hope, will shortly be distributed to every house in the Parish, except in Furze Platt, which has its own scheme. If any are left by accident outside the Parish, it will be by mistake. Of course, any friend may obtain one personally by asking for a copy. Then collectors will call. I hope every house will give something. The names of all the fallen from the Parish (whatever their religious views) will have the first claim to a place on a panel, unless anyone’s relatives do not wish them to be remembered there. After that we will place the names of all worshippers at St Luke’s. Any doubtful case will be decided after taking full advice.

The scheme adopted is to try and raise the money in twelve months, beginning this September.

I hope very much that all who can, will give a monthly subscription, even if they cannot give a large donation. Personally, I have given a donation, and I intend to give each month as well. So far, the biggest donation has been £25, but I hope that will soon be surpassed; and a shilling a month, please remember, means 12/- by next year. Some good collectors have already volunteered, but we want many more. Each collector will be given a card with 25 houses on, and will bring the card to Miss Apthorp to be initialled on the Monday after the first Sunday of each month, either between 10 am or 1 pm in the morning, or between 6 pm and 8 pm in the evening, giving her any money they have collected during the previous month. From October 1st Miss Apthorp will be at Stanlow, High Town Road; till then her address is Ray Court. The first paying-I day will be Monday, October 6th. Miss Apthorp will take the money, initial the card, and return it to the collector. If any collector is ill, if Miss Apthorp is notified, she will call for the money. Further volunteers are asked to inform Miss Apthorp at Ray Court or the Vicar at the Vicarage of their readiness to undertake a district.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Only married for nine weeks

The after-effects of being gassed in the trenches could last for years.

A Soldier’s Death

On Sunday, Aug. 10th, there died in the Royal Berks Hospital, Reading, at the age of 30, Lance-Corpl. Frederick Thomas King. For some time he had been suffering from pneumonia, the complaint being aggravated by gas-poisoning contracted whilst serving in France. Deceased had only been married about nine weeks. We take this opportunity of expressing our sympathy with his widow and family.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

Hospital will undertake the treatment of all such cases as before the War

Maidenhead Hospital was getting back to normal.

8th August 1919

It was proposed by Dr. Moore, seconded by Revd T. Lewis and resolved that

As this Hospital is now again in a position to attend to throat, ear, nose and nervous cases, which, owing to the exigencies of the War were temporarily undertaken elsewhere, the Secretary to the Education Committee be informed that this Hospital will undertake the treatment of all such cases as before the War.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2)

Peace seems to bring with it as many activities as war

Wounded soldiers made a generous gift to a Maidenhead church.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

This July we have had a busy month of Parish work and Festivities. Indeed, I never remember to have passed a summer month so lacking in leisure. Peace seems to bring with it as many activities as war. Still, with its arrival, it is a great joy to welcome old friends on their safe return. Among others, the return from the wilds of the Danube, even if fleeting, of Mr Sellors, our old colleague, has been a great pleasure to us all.

In connection with the War, St Luke’s Church has received an almost unique gift. Together with, I believe, St Paul’s Cathedral alone, the wounded soldiers at the VAD Hospital have worked us a strikingly beautiful red silk Altar Frontal and Antependium for the fald-stool [sic?]. It was done for us as a surprise, and was finished just before the Hospital, the mounting being completed by July 26th. The idea was formulated, I believe, by the Commandant, but all details and material were got for the men by Mrs Salmonson; and, I know, that the active sympathy of many other workers contributed to its final success. The names of the men who worked on it are written on the back of the Frontlet or Super-Frontal. By lifting the fringe we shall see thus an enduring record of the names of the skilled and kindly men who did the work. It is to be used and dedicated on Sunday, August 3rd, the Eve of the Anniversary of the War. The Special Prayer of Dedication will be said at the 11 am Service, when some front seats will be kept for VAD workers…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Laundry machinery at the Cliveden Red Cross Hospital

The Maidenhead Board of Guardians decided to check out the laundry machinery previously used to wash soldiers’ sheets. [In the event, it turned out to be unsuitable.]

30th July, 1919
Laundry

Resolved that the Master inspect the laundry machinery at the Cliveden Red Cross Hospital with Mr F Rogers, managing Director of the Maidenhead and District Laundry Company Ltd and that Mr Rogers be asked to inspect the laundry at the Institution and to give a quotation for placing certain necessary machinery therein.

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

Shell shock and mania

Shell shock could have lasting effects.

Tuesday, the 3oth day of September, 1919

REPORT OF HOUSE COMMITTEE

The Master reported that a man named West had been admitted to the Workhouse under the following circumstances:

West, a soldier suffering from shell-shock, had been discharged from Ashurst Military Hospital to proceed to his home at Exeter, but, whilst in the train, his conduct brought him under the notice of the Railway Authorities, and he was removed from the train at Cholsey Station and subsequently brought to the Workhouse by the Police, suffering from acute Mania. The Master applied to the authorities at Ashurst Hospital to re-admit him, but they refused to do so. The Master had then applied to No. 1 War Hospital at Reading, and they had received the man and stated that they would return him at once to Ashurst.

Your Committee recommend that a full statement of these facts be laid before the War Office.

Minutes of Wallingford Board of Guardians (G/W1/36)

Public auction at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden

Maidenhead Board of Guardians thought they might be able to profit from equipment from one of the now-closed war hospitals.

30th July, 1919

The following report was received from the House Committee.

Your Committee met on the 23rd instant and beg to report … they resolved that the Master inspect certain laundry machinery to be offered for sale by public auction at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Cliveden, accompanied by a local laundry proprietor if possible.

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

Useful articles

Hospitals benefitted from the end of the need to treat wounded soldiers.

11th July 1919
It was proposed by Col Muir, seconded by Rev. T. Lewis, & resolved, that a letter be written to thank the Commandant of the V.A.D Red Cross Hospital at Maidenhead for Convalescent Soldiers for a large number of useful articles of furniture, material etc. sent to this hospital on the closing of the Convalescent Hospital.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2)

Wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said

St Augustine’s was the only children’s home for boys run by the Community of St John Baptist. Many of its inmates went on to serve in the Armed Forces, and they shared their experiences with the Sisters.

June, 1919
Dear Friends of St Augustine’s Home

The health of the boys has been excellent this winter, for which we are most thankful. We had a bad epidemic of influenza a year ago, and when the disease made its re-appearance in Windsor in the beginning of winter, we trembled, but schools were closed, and we resorted to gargling and house-spraying, and had not more than half a dozen cases at most.

Our always kind doctor and dentist have returned home from war work, and again look after our boys…

We ended our financial year with bills amounting to more than £200 unpaid. We are printing not merely our last balance sheet, but a pre-war one, by way of an interesting and instructive comparison. One thing that may strike you is that not merely are our expenses heavier, but our subscriptions are considerably less. There have been so many claims on everyone, but we hope that as these lessen, the claims of a Home like ours, which has sent many sons to the front and is helping to train others to take the place of those who have fallen, may appeal not merely to former subscribers but to those who will become new friends…

Our household linen cupboard, and our clothes cupboard, were almost empty this spring… Then … came a large package of garments, cutlery and other things from a war hospital… during the last two weeks of March.

A number of kind friends at Eton and other places made a special Lent effort and sent us a nice contribution of stockings… If other friends would follow this example (perhaps some of those who have knitted so assiduously for soldiers) and ask their friends to do the same, the stocking basket would wear a more cheerful aspect…

August will soon be here, and we hope to see some of our old boys down for the holidays, though Peace celebrations may very naturally take them elsewhere. They have come and gone from time to time as leave allowed, and many thrilling things some of them have to tell – though told always in the simplest, most matter-of-fact way. Some have been in ships torpedoed, one received and transmitted wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said. And some of our boys will of course never return, but have won the “great promotion” of which the Home is so proud.

Yours very gratefully
The Sister-in-Charge

Letter to Friends of St Augustine’s Home, Clewer (D/EX1675/23/4/6)

A sale of effects at the Military Hospital

War hospitals were closing.

Tuesday, the 10th day of June, 1919

HOUSE COMMITTEE

SALE AT BASINGSTOKE MILITARY HOSPITAL

The Master reported that there would shortly be a sale of effects at the Military Hospital at Basingstoke, and on the proposition of the Rev. A H Caldicott, seconded by the Rev. Sir J Key it was resolved:

That the Master and Matron be authorised to attend the sale and purchase any articles which they might deem expedient.

JUNIOR ASSISTANT NURSE

The Master reported that he had received a personal application for the post of Junior Assistant Nurse from Gertrude Roff of Sandford, Oxon. The Master explained that Mrs Roff desired a post in this district, so as to be near her husband, who was a patient in the Ashurst Military Hospital, and on the proposition of the Rev. A H Caldicott, seconded by Mr Hunt it was resolved:

That it be a recommendation to the Board:

That Mrs G Roff be appointed Junior Assistant Nurse at a salary of £20 per annum, plus an allowance of £4 per annum for uniform, with War Bonus at current rates, and that the appointment be for one month on probation.

REPORT OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE

On the proposition of the Rev. A H Caldicott, seconded by Mr A D Wells it was resolved:

That the appointment of Gertrude Roff to the post of Junior Assistant Nurse for one month on probation be confirmed.

Minutes of Wallingford Board of Guardians (G/W1/36)

“The influenza epidemic put a great strain on the hospital”

A Newbury hospital reflected on the challenges of the last year of the war.

Annual General Meeting held at The Newbury District Hospital on Wednesday May 24th 1919

The Committee’s Report

The Managing Committee reported that the year had been an interesting and difficult one, there having been many changes in the staff. The influenza epidemic put a great strain on the hospital, as a large number of pneumonia cases were received, and the staff were laid up. Notwithstanding these difficulties, an unusually large number of patients were treated during the year. As compared with 1917 civilian patients increased by 104 and soldier patients by 38. It would have been impossible for the small staff to have coped with this work without the help of the Newbury Voluntary Aid Detachment and some other ladies, all of whom rendered most valuable assistance. The committee acknowledged the general interest in the hospital evidenced by the gifts of vegetables, supplies and other useful articles throughout the years.

Newbury District Hospital minute book (D/H4/3/2)