“What we have sunk to makes me sad”

John Maxwell Image had some interesting view on the effects of the war (some unfortunately anti-semitic).

29 Barton Road
7 April ‘19

My very dear old man

We have the American influx on us in full swing – u.g.s as plentiful as before the War: Navy blue and gold by the hundred: and now suddenly the Yanks. Where can all be accommodated?…

Ye take too much upon ye, ye sons of Zeruiah – that is the natural feeling as to the American air. They came in at the last hour – to receive every man a penny, and claim to boss the show.
Britain, bled to the white in men and money, cannot stand up against them. Grousing is no good. Our fighting class are killed off. Those now alive, want only panem et circences [bread and circuses]. They can‘t look beyond the day. Those who can make money, squander it: the unhappy ones with fixed incomes, and with a little saving, to tax for the proletariat’s advantage, won’t find England a fair country to live in, except for the Bolshevik. What claim to his own property will be regarded by Parliament.

Half an hour ago I was shewn Punches Almanack for 1915 – i.e. in the first 6 months of the War. It made me sad! What we expected then; and what we have sunk to. The retreat from Mons had but convinced us that we should thrash von Klack, and certainly – ; that, driven back to Germany, the Kaiser’s Army will be met by Cossacks in occupation of Berlin. No mention could I see of submarines! None of air-raids of any kind! What is more striking still, there was no hint of brutality by German soldiers, anywhere. There seemed in the country a contemptuous disdain for our German opponents. We should stamp them down, as did our fathers, and then Russia would mop them up. Poor Russia! And her German Tsaritsa – the cause of it all!

There was a curdling leader in the paper a few days ago on the Bolshevist Chiefs. Lenin, the writer who knows him [says], has brains and energy: and he is of noble birth. But Trotsky and the others – their names were all given – are one and all of them JEWS – and with the Jew characteristic of making a good thing for themselves, while others do the fighting.

It was a leader in the Times on April 1st (Tuesday). Read it. Trotsky, Zinovieff, Svendloff, Kameneff, Uritsky, Yoffe, Rodek, Litvinoff, many others – Jews one and all.

The Hon. Russell’s new book was reviewed in the Observer, did you see it? The Russell has the impertinence to pretend that Bolshevik ruthlessness is the offspring of Love! Is the man sane? or merely dishonest?

Your dear friend

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

In war time we dissipate and destroy national wealth

A Reading vicar observed the increase in public spending due to the costs of the war.

Notes from the Vicar

Financial Brevities

Our pre-War expenditure averaged 200 millions per annum.

Our present expenditure averages 2,500 millions per annum.

This great increase produces artificial prosperity. Why Artificial?
In peace time we accumulate and add to national wealth. In War time we dissipate and destroy national wealth.

When we save and lend to the state (i.e. ourselves), we benefit our soldiers, sailors, airmen, shipping, and ease every industrial problem. When we spend unnecessarily exactly the reverse happens. The National Debt before hostilities begun averaged roughly £40 per head of population. It now averages roughly £100 per head.

During Reading’s “Monitor” Week, March 4th to 9th, it is desired to raise at least £250,000 (£2 10s. per head of greater Reading population) by the sale of War Bonds and War Saving Certificates.

Therefore: Buy bonds; or if you have bought some, buy some more, and remember S. Giles’ Parish Hall Fund is hungry for them if you will make the gift through Col. Poulton, the Hon. Treasurer, of the Vicar.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P96/28A/35)

Payment of back rent by the National Relief Fund not a precedent

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund considered various requests for assistance from individuals who had been disadvantaged by the war:

31 May 1915Applications for relief were considered from:
Gray, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 50/- be made in accordance with the recommendation of the Windsor Committee, but the Executive Committee does not regard the payment of back rent as a desirable expenditure of the National Relief Fund, & instructs the assistant secretary to inform the Windsor Committee that the grant given must not be regarded as a precedent for such payment.
Pike, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 12/- be made.
Winney, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of £2.12.6 be made as representing one half of the sum expended by the Windsor Committee.
Beasley, Windsor. Resolved that the applicant was not suitable for relief from the NRF.
Crow, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 25/- be made.
Waller, Windsor. Resolved that the applicant be not suitable for relief from the NRF.
Ottley, Windsor. Resolved that a grant of 10/- be made: though the Committee does not admit that the mere fact of the rise of price in raw material gives a claim on the NR Fund, the special circumstances & advanced age of the applicant affords reasons for relief being given.
Thatcher, Abingdon. The Chairman reported grant of £2.0.0 on behalf of this case.
Winterbourne, Abingdon. Grant of £1.0.0 reported.
Willis, Maidenhead. Grant of 10/6 per week, beginning May 1st, reported.
Forrester, Maidenhead. Grant of 10/6 per week for two months beginning May 17th reported. The Sec: was instructed to communicate with the Sub-committee on Professional Classes at the offices of the Central Committee upon the circumstances of this case.
Pounds, Peasemore, Wantage. Grant of 5/- per week for three months beginning May 17th reported.
Fish, Warfield, Easthampstead. Reported as refused by chairman.
Ross, Clewer. Reported as having been received & refrred to the SSFA for further information.
Rosser, Wokingham. Reported as not recommended by the local Committee.
George, Maidenhead. Reported that the grant authorized on behalf of applicant on March 23rd had not been paid as the local Sec: had not found it necessary to pay the same.

The grants as reported were confirmed by the Committee.

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

“What terrible weather for our soldiers”

William Hallam gets a pay rise thanks to inflation – and has a thought to spare for the troops:

19th February 1915
Showery again. What terrible weather for our soldiers. To-day we begin to receive 2/. extra a week on account of high prices.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/23)

Wages are up, but prices even more so

William Hallam reflects on price rises resulting from the war:

15th February 1915
A notice posted up that we are to have a bonus of 2/. per week while the war lasts. This will help but prices have gone up much more in proportion….

I have now started going to the G.W.R coffee house to breakfast. After going nearly 18 years to Mrs Ponting in Milton Rd [Swindon], she has now given up her business as baker. She told me she had so many debts now flour was so high, she could not afford to keep on any longer since it’s owed over £200.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/23)

A dismal death wail calls up the reserves

William Hallam in Swindon was depressed rather than excited with patriotism as the war started to get underway:

5 August 1914

A pouring wet day and the placards all out with Declaration of War. Any amount of Terriers [sic] about all day. All food gone up. Butter 1s 4d a lb, and sugar 3½, bread ½d a loaf. Neighbours advise us to buy in a stock but we haven’t the money. Hooter blew again to-night at ¼ to 9 to call up the National Reserves. It seemed to give any one the creeps to hear this dismal death wail.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/22)