“We could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again”

Teenage boys from Earley had the fun of a camp dispelled by sad news of old friends who had gone to the Front.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE AND SCOUTS

We had a most enjoyable time on the School journey in spite of the weather. A very full account is being published in the “Reading Observer”, and we are hoping that Mr Albert Smith will be able to spare the time to come and give us a Lantern Lecture describing our travels, so we shall not enter into details now. Several of the Cadets and two more Scouts joined us at Hungerford when we spent a most delightful four days, everyone showing us the greatest kindness.

The news of the death of our late Staff-Sergeant George Maskell came as a great shock to us on our return, and we could hardly realise that our popular Big Drummer would never return to help us again. We had a Memorial Service after Matins on Sunday, August 12th, some of our friends from St Giles’ and St John’s Companies joining us for the Parade Service and staying to the Memorial Service. We offer our deep sympathy to the relations and friends of one whom we all loved – RIP.

On going to press we have just heard of the death of another of our CLB Staff Sergeants, John Parker. Jack was one of our very keenest and best CLB workers and we shall miss him terribly. We offer our deepest sympathy to his mother and other relations and friends. RIP.


Earley St Peter parish magazine, September 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Promoting the economical use of foods

The Education Committee was at the forefront of war savings schemes locally. School were also to be used to promote changes in people’s habits with regards to food and cookery given the food shortages resulting from the war.

Report of Berks War Savings Committee

The War Savings Committee submit the following report of their work since the report to the July meeting of the Education Committee:

In accordance with the powers given to them on appointment, the following additional members have been co-opted:

Mr G F Slade
Mr T Skurray

During July and August last… Local Committees for War Savings came into being at Abingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead. Since that date, as a result of public meetings addressed by Miss Fraser of the National War Savings Committee and the Education Secretary, Local Committees have been started at Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, Wallingford, Bracknell, Hungerford and Wokingham. Up to the 31 March, War Savings Associations have been established under the control of these Local Committees as follows:

Abingdon, with 6 Associations

Wallingford, 15 Associations

Pangbourne, 4 Associations

Hungerford, 7 Associations

Newbury, 15 Associations

Thatcham, 5 Associations

Wokingham, 13 Associations

Windsor

Maidenhead, 32 Associations

Bracknell, 13 Associations

As a general rule, these local committees deal only with their immediate areas, but efforts are being made by the National War Savings Committee to secure the extension of their activities to the surrounding parishes; e.g. the Associations of Marcham and Moulsford are affiliated to the Abingdon and Wallingford Local Committees respectively, and the War Savings Associations at the Cookham, Alwyn Road Council School, and Clewer S. Stephen’s School are affiliated to the Maidenhead and Windsor Local Committees respectively, whilst the Earley CE School War Savings Association is affiliated to the Reading Central Committee.

The Associations in connexion with Windsor Castle and the Broadmoor Asylum are affiliated directly with the National Committee.

The number of War Savings Associations (in addition to the above) in the Rural Parishes formed up to the 31 March, is 56; at least one half of these are in connexion with the schools….

The average amount saved by each Association during the quarter January to March, 1917, is £217. These figures do not include the grouped Associations, and relate only to the smaller Rural Associations, where the opportunities to save are less than in the larger centres of population.

The Berks Teachers’ Association officials in January consented to help in the work, and have been successful in arousing and maintaining interest in the movement. Messrs Camburn, James and Fryer, in particular, have done most valuable service.

The National War Savings Committee have been invited by the Ministry of Food to assist in the Food Economy Campaign, and the Berks War Savings Committee have had before them the Central Committee’s suggestions for Local Authorities and War Savings Committees, and in conjunction with the School Management Sub-committee, they have approved the arrangements embodied in the following memorandum:

FOOD CAMPAIGN

The Food Controller, in conjunction with the National War Savings Committee, has suggested that “Under the auspices of the Education Authorities a Conference might be called in every area with a view to enlisting the enthusiastic support and active help of teachers. In the case of ordinary schools, the children will form a means of securing the interest of the parents, and invitations to meetings and special classes can be issued through them. The Domestic Science teachers will be wanted to take charge of such classes.

After consultation with HM Inspector, the following preliminary Scheme has been drafted:

That the Instructresses be instructed to modify their syllabus with a view:

To promote the economical use of foods of which there is an available supply in the locality.

To prepare specimen menus for family use based on the above, with notes on the quantities required to give a proper diet.

To arrange to have the cooked meals on view after the lessons, so that the mothers can see them and ask questions.

To confer with the Head Teachers of the neighbouring schools as to the best way of spreading useful information among the parents of children not in attendance at the Centres, either by inviting visits which could be regarded as object lessons or by co-operating in drawing up a scheme for simple instruction in the schools.

It is to be noted that:

While it is important to keep the full record of all meals and their cost, it is not to be expected that the employment of substitutes will effect any substantial saving in cost, as the price of substitutes must rise as the standard foods become scarce.

It is most important to give guidance as to the feeding of children, as in some families there may be a tendency to reduce the food value of their meals.

Where milk is obtainable, it will be very useful to emphasise its uses in cookery.

It is hoped to hold a conference as soon as the Instructresses have drawn up their Scheme, and it is most important that the scheme should be prepared as soon as possible.

This Conference was held on the 20th April and the preliminary steps have been already taken to start work.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee

The Sub-committee have arranged with certain employees on Military Service, who were receiving allowances from the Committee, to invest on their behalf part of their allowances in War Savings Certificates.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee, 28 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

A scholarship resumed

Various teachers were serving their countries. The Education Committee had to deal with their absence.

Report of Higher Education Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

SCHOLARSHIPS

Mr E H Austin, whose County Scholarship at University College, Reading, was held over during his service in the Army, has not been passed for general service and has obtained postponement of embodiment to enable him to continue his College course. He has therefore returned to his studies.

Report of School Management Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

STAFFING

The Sub-committee record with regret that Mr Dowell, Assistant Master of Cranborne [sic] Ranelagh School, has been killed in action; and that Mr Glastonbury, Head Master of Thatcham CE School, and Mr R V Weaving, Assistant Master at Hungerford Council School, have been officially reported as “missing”.

LOWER BASILDON

The Managers have notifed their willingness to release their Head master for service in a larger School. The Managers have also agreed to allow the character of their School to be altered for the period of the war, the elder children being conveyed to Upper Basildon School; and Infants and Standard I only being taken at Lower Basildon School in charge of a Supplementary Teacher. The change takes effect from the beginning of the present term.

Report of By-Laws and Attendance Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

LOWER BASILDON CE

The Sub-committee have agreed to convey the elder children from Lower Basildon to Upper Basildon School, and on wet days back to their homes in the evening.

ATTENDANCE OFFICERS

The Sub-committee have appointed Mr E I R Walter as temporary Attendance Officer in place of Mr G H Edwards on Military Service.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee, 13 January 1917

Mr J S James, first class clerk in the Secretary’s department, has been called up for military service and the Sub-committee have approved the appointment of a substitute to fill the vacancy.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee, 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

The War Department should contribute to road repairs

Berkshire County Council’s Highways and Bridges Committee tackled the thorny question of who was to pay for damage to local roads caused by heavy army traffic.

MILITARY TRAFFIC

In connection with the claim against the War Department for damage to main roads by military traffic, the following estimates were, at their request, submitted to the Road Board:

Ascot to Wokingham Road: Resurfacing sides with tarmac in place of granite, £1541
Wokingham to Reading Road: Ditto, £2394
Bath Road, Reading to Hungerford: Ditto, £3544
Bath Road, Hungerford to Wilts county boundary: Strengthening foundations and resurfacing with tarmac, £4578
Total £12,057

After consideration the Board came to the conclusion that it would be reasonable for the War Department to make some contribution to the proposed expenditure, but pointed out that the works, if carried out, would not only provide the Council with better roads than those at present existing, but would also anticipate, for a number of years, works of renewal which, in the ordinary course, would have to be provided for in maintenance account.

The Road Board state that if the Council will undertake to carry out the works … the War Department will make a contribution of £2800 in settlement of the Council’s claim. In addition to this contribution the Board will be prepared – subject to the approval of the Treasury – to make a grant to the Council, out of the Road Improvement Fund, of £4050, and to advance the balance of £5207 by way of loan, free of interest, repayable by five annual instalments.

As the matter was urgent the Road Board were informed on 24 June, 1916, that the Council would be prepared to carry out the works mentioned in the estimates upon the terms offered…

Reading and Eversley road.
Owing to the heavy military traffic, the main road from Reading through Shinfield and Arborfield has suffered considerable damage. The road has been inspected by the Engineering Inspector of the Road Board; and an estimate of the necessary repairs is being prepared with a view to a claim being made on the Military Authorities.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

A further requisition has been received from the Military Authorities for the improvement of a private road at Ascot for military purposes at a cost of £92, and the works re being carried out by the committee in accordance with the general authority given to them by the Council. The estimate has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

Payments to Sub-surveyors.
As these military requisitions throw a considerable amount of extra work on the Sub-surveyors, the committee have asked the Finance Committee to consider whether a proportion of the 10 per cent allowance to the County Council by the Road Board for administrative expenses should be paid to the Sub-surveyors….

WORKMEN’S WAGES

In consequence of the higher wages which are now being paid to workmen generally throughout the county, the committee have considered it advisable to recommend that an advance of wages be made to lengthmen and men employed with the tarring and roller gangs, for the period of the war….

C A Ferard, Chairman
8 July, 1916

BCC Highways and Bridges Committee report (C/CL/C1/1/19)

15 women placed on farms in Berkshire

The numbers of men who had joined the armed forces created vacancies it was hard to fill in schools and on farms. Vocational training for schoolchildren was almost wiped out. Meanwhile Reading University was at the forefront of training women to take the pace of absent men on local farms.

Report of Education Committee, 29 April 1916

CADET TRAINING

The Chairman has attended a meeting called by the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House on 19 April for the purpose of considering a Scheme for systematic naval and military training of boys on voluntary lines.

On the suggestion of the Chairman, a small Sub-committee has been appointed to go into the matter and report to the Committee thereon and on any suggestions made by the Lord Mayor.

The Sub-committee appointed are as follows:
The Chairman of the Committee
The Vice-Chairman
The Principal of the Reading University College
with power to add to their number.

Higher Education Sub-committee report, 29 April 1916

PUPIL TEACHERS

H Humphries, a Pupil Teacher at the Roysse’s School, Abingdon, has enlisted although not yet 18 years of age, and the Sub-committee are in communication with the parent as to the payment of the fine under the terms of his agreement.

School Management Sub-committee report, 29 April 1916

TEACHING STAFF

The Sub-committee have decided that all members of the teaching staff on Military Service, including those enlisting after 6 November, shall be retained on the nominal teaching staff of their respective schools during the period of the war…

AMALGAMATION OF SCHOOLS DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WAR

The Managers of Earley Schools have agreed to amalgamate their Infants’ Department with the Mixed School for he period of the war; and this was carried into effect on 1 April.

SPECIAL SUBJECTS

The Sub-committee have decided not to take steps to fill vacancies caused by the enlistment of manual instructors. The following Centres are now closed: Bourton, Faringdon, Hungerford, Crowthorne, and Wokingham. Those at Abingdon, Wallingford and Didcot will be closed when the Instructor is called up.

The Sub-committee have approved a class in gardening at Wokingham St Sebastian’s School. The proposed class at Holyport has been postponed owing to the depletion of the staff through enlistment.

Report of Agricultural Instruction Committee, 29 April 1916

TRAINING OF WOMEN

The Berkshire Committee on Women and Farm Labour, to whom a grant has been made in aid of the training of women for farm work, has submitted a report for the quarter ended 31 March, 1916. The financial statement which accompanies the report shows that there is a balance in hand of £9.13s.0d out of the grant of £50 already made by the Council.

The Committee have, up to the present, placed 15 women on farms in Berkshire. Of this number, 8 were trained at the Reading College farm, and 3 received their instruction from the farmers by whom they are now employed. Four other women, whose services are already bespoken, are receiving instruction from farmers and will shortly be ready to commence work.

Reports of and to Berkshire Education Committee (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Berkshire roads damaged by military traffic

Berkshire’s roads were being badly damaged by heavy military traffic.

15 April 1916

MILITARY TRAFFIC

Bath Road

Estimates for re-surfacing a portion of the sides of the Bath Road between Reading and Hungerford and reconstructing the whole width of the road for a length of 1 ¼ miles between Hungerford and the county boundary have been forwarded to the Road Board. Both of these sections of the Bath Road have been considerably damaged by military traffic.

Reading and Ascot Road

The granite sides of the main road between Reading and Ascot have suffered considerable damage by the military transport traffic….

£1,760 claim. A sum of £1,753 6s 0d has been received from the Road Board, in full settlement of the claim of the Council for making good the damage to main roads up to November, 1914. This sum represents the actual cost of the work as certified by an Officer of the Board on examination of the accounts.

Report of Highways & Bridges Committee to Berkshire County Council (C/CL/C1/1/19)

Thousands of police reservists and Special Constables sign up

The Chief Constable and the Clerk of the Peace informed the Standing Joint Committee of the County Council and Quarter Sessions of the effects of the war on the police force and the Clerk’s department.

10 October 1914
CHIEF CONSTABLE’S REPORT

On the outbreak of the war the two boarded-out horses from the 11th Hussars were, at the request of the Military Authorities, returned to Aldershot….

The allowances to the wives of Police Constables recalled to Army service are, I now understand, to be altered from the 1st October, 1914, by an increased allowance from Army funds…

As regards the single Constables, I would ask that some consideration may be made them… I would, therefore recommend that the following three unmarried Constables (Army Reservists) who were recalled to the Army for service on 5th and 6th August, 1914, and who have been regularly contributing for their mothers’ support should be granted the allowance of 7/- per week:-
PC 36, George A. Eales
PC 163, Philip Hubbard
PC 214, Harry Easton
and that the money be paid monthly to the mother in each case.

Since the date of your last meeting in August, I have called up one more Police Reservist to take the place of a Police Constable called upon to resign. The total of First Police Reservists now serving is therefore 44.

Formation of a Police Special Reserve.
I beg to report that on the outbreak of war the duties of the Police were increased out of all proportion to the strength of the Force. It was necessary to recall all those away on annual leave and to suspend the weekly rest day. Forty-four 1st Police Reservists have since then been called up for duty. The demands on the time of the Officers and Constables have been very great, consequent on the necessity for continuous watching of the main bridges over the Thames, the railway lines, the requisition of Police by the Military Authorities for mobilization, purchase of horses, vehicles, and billeting, and the posting and distribution of many Orders. The registration and watching of alien enemies under the Aliens Act, 1914, further added important duties for the Police to carry out.
In order that the Police might get some assistance at such a time I issued a Special Constables appeal, a copy of which is attached.
Consequent on this appeal I received the very greatest help and assistance throughout the County, and especially as regards the guarding and watching of the bridges (railway and main road), the railways, waterworks, lighting works and other vulnerable points; and as a result of this splendid and patriotic response to my appeal, I have now a Berks Police Special Reserve Force of nearly four thousand (4,000) under the following organization:-
Chief Organizing Officer Colonel F. C. Ricardo, CVO
Assistant Chief Organising Officer Colonel W. Thornton
Divisional Officer, Abingdon and Wallingford Police Division
Colonel A. M. Carthew-Yorstoun, CB
Divisional Officer, Faringdon Division Francis M. Butler, esq.
Divisional Officer, Maidenhead Division Heatley Noble, esq.
Divisional Officer, Newbury Division (vacant)
Divisional Officer, Hungerford Sub-division Colonel Willes
Divisional Officer, Reading Division (vacant)
Divisional Officer, Wantage Division E. Stevens, esq.
Divisional Officer, Windsor Division Colonel F. Mackenzie, CB
Divisional Officer, Wokingham Division Admiral Eustace, RN

To all these Officers I am very much indebted for their valuable help and voluntary service in this organization. The efficiency of our organization is entirely due to their energetic work.

This Force has for several weeks been drilling and doing patrol work in conjunction with the Police in many parts of the county. Classes of instruction in first aid to the injured are being formed, and miniature rifle ranges are being used by the kind permission of the owners, and new ones about to be given for such use.

We have been careful to exclude from the Reserve all those who are eligible for and whose circumstances permit of them joining the Army.

I have further received great help from the Berkshire Automobile Club, and owners of motor cars generally throughout the county, in placing motor cars at the disposal of the Police when required.

I would ask your authority to swear in a total number of Special Constables not exceeding 2,000, and to provide the necessary batons, whistles and chains, armlets and other necessary articles of equipment…. Under these conditions of appointment of Special Constables, the service is a voluntary and unpaid one.

A report by the Clerk of the Peace with regard to his staff was presented as follows:-

Gentlemen
I have to report that in consequence of the War, the following members of my staff are absent on service:-
H. U. H. Thorne, Deputy Clerk of the Peace Captain, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
E. S. Holcroft, Assistant Solicitor Captain, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
R. G. Attride, Assistant Solictor (Mental Deficiency Act)
Lieutenant, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
H. P. Tate, Senior Clerk, Taxation Department Private, Honorable Artillery Company
F. J. Ford, Clerk, Taxation Department Gunner, Berks Royal Horse Artillery
J. A. Earley, Clerk Private, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
J. A. Callow, Clerk Private, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment

Mr Tate is actually abroad on active service and the remainder have all volunteered for foreign service.

In consequence of the great depletion of my staff, I have, after consultation with the Staff Purposes Committee, arranged with Mr C. G. Chambers, of the firm of Blandy & Chambers, Solicitors, Reading, to assist me in the legal work during the absence of the Deputy Clerk and the Assistant Solicitors…
It has also been necessary for me to make temporary arrangements for the clerical work and I have engaged the following:-

Miss M. A. Burgess, Shorthand-Typist, at 12/6 per week from 7th September, 1914
Miss Norah Scrivener, Shorthand-Typist, at 10/- per week from 14th September, 1914
Stanley A. Bidmead, Office Boy, at 5/- per week from 1st September, 1914.

Standing Joint Committee minutes, 10 October 1914 (C/CL/C2/1/5)

The National Relief Fund tackles the abnormal conditions caused by the war

The local authorities of Berkshire all responded to the likely economic impact of the war in a pre-Welfare State society. The government had sent out a circular urging councils to consider the distress likely to be caused by the war, and Berkshire was not slow to respond. A meeting convened by Sir Robert G C Mowbray, Chairman of BCC, was held at the Assize Courts, Reading, on Saturday August 15, 1914, at 11 am. The official minutes of the meeting record:

The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
I. Moved by the Chairman, seconded by the Lord Lieutenant [J Herbert Benyon], That it is expedient to form, in accordance with the circular from the Local Government Board dated 8th August 1914, a Committee to deal with the abnormal conditions arising out of the war, and that the Committee be called “The National Relief Fund – Berkshire Committee”.
II. Moved by the Chairman, seconded by Mr H G Willink. That the National Relief Fund – Berkshire Committee consist of
The Lord Lieutenant
The Member of Parliament for the three County divisions and for the Borough of Windsor
The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the County Council

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Quarter Sessions

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Berkshire Education Committee

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the following County Council Committees:
Finance Committee
Highways Committee
Public Health Committee

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman and one other representative appointed by the Berkshire Insurance Committee

The Mayors of Abingdon, Maidenhead, Newbury, Wallingford, Windsor and Wokingham

The Chairman of the following Rural District Councils:
Abingdon RDC
Bradfield RDC
Easthampstead RDC
Faringdon RDC
Hungerford RDC
Cookham RDC
Newbury RDC
Wallingford RDC
Wantage RDC
Windsor RDC
Wokingham RDC

The Chairmen of Boards of Guardians who are not Chairmen of District Councils, but who are resident in the County, viz Abingdon, Bradfield, Hungerford and Maidenhead

Two representatives of the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association together with not exceeding five women to be selected by the Committee

The Chief Constable of Hungerford

III. Moved by the Chairman, seconded by Sir R B D Acland, KC. That the Mayors of the Boroughs in the County and the Chairman of the Urban District Council of Wantage and the Chairmen of the Rural District Councils in the Countty, be requested to form local Committee to act in conjunction with the National Relief Fund – Berkshire Committee.

IV. Moved by the chairman, seconded by the Lord Lieutenant. That Mr Francis H Wright, Registrar of University College, Reading, be asked to act temporarily as Honorary Secretary of this Committee.

More detail is to be found in a report printed by the Reading Mercury. The local committees were charged with investigating economic conditions, and which businesses were likely to close.

National Relief Fund – Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)