“It was 60 to 100 at Lloyd’s yesterday there would be peace before Xmas”

Everyone could see the war coming to an end – even the German PoWs.

St Marys, Oct 31 [1918] Hallows Eve

My own darling own

Yesterday… a man called Savage with his wife quite intend on taking this place and if possible buying it. Evidently a very rich man in war profits having to do with all insurance societies, Lloyd’s included, & he told me it was 60 to 100 at Lloyd’s yesterday there would be peace before Xmas….

Meantime the papers are an hourly unrolling of great scrolls of prophecy fulfilled, and to be having a part in it must be a wonderful feeling, and how I long to talk to you, and how I long for the evening papers with news, if any, from Paris. I dread Bolshevik risings, and spread of that disease with Prussianism a fallen God? It is a tremendous thing to think what is in the hands of those few brains at Paris, and I cling to the knowledge that two at least there are with belief in the Eternal Righteousness revealed as Divine Love to those who follow Christ and company with him in sacrifice for the sake of that Righteousness? It must be hard to go on fighting with the world all crumbling that has opposed that righteousness, and it seems as if it – the victory – was already decided.

The news from Italy is glorious, and then Hungary & Austria & Turkey, and with the little bits of news coming in from the Danube – these waterways and tributaries in silence or in spate determining the way of victory. Well – here I watch our little road and the village passers by, and the trees getting bare, but still some golden glow slimes in at the window, and the only thing in touch with the war are the German prisoners no longer bursting with spirits & laughter and talk, but they look grim….

There is a great deal of mild flu about, and some measles, but I have heard of no bad cases so far. I have no sign of flu, only a very little cold of which I take quite abnormal care, & eat formamint lozenges without end….

Archdeacon Moore has resigned – and I am sorry – one of the few gentlemen left in that changing diocese where everything is going on socialistic lines, and I am so unhappy about poor dear Norman Lang, & cannot imagine what his future is to be when the 6 months at the front are over – & will he be needed there 6 months.

Do take care of yourself – send for formamint lozenges & have eucalyptus & a good tonic?

I suppose John will be all right. Maysie is moving to 6 Hill Street, Knightsbridge…

All my love, darling
Own Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)

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Renewal of air raid insurance

Despute the promising news, Twyford charity trustees thought it prudent to keep insuring their almshouses against air raid damage.

1st October 1918

Aircraft Insurance

The Clerk having asked for instructions as to the renewal, or otherwise, of the Insurance of the Trustees properties against damage from air raids;

It was resolved that he be instructed to renew the Insurance for a further period of one year.

Polehampton Charities, Twyford: trustees’ minutes (D/QX42/1/5)

German PoW on the run “is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding”

Three Germans PoWs on the run were foiled by the brave actions of a Berkshire policeman and three Special Constables.

6 July 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE

Lt-Col Poulton attended the Committee and stated that he had been absent from his Police work for three years, and he thought it was time he returned to such work; that his Army work was now so organized that it could be easily carried on by some other officer; and that he had now reached the age of 60; and suggested that the Secretary of State be asked to apply to the War Office for his relase from Army Service to enable him to resume his duties as Chief Constable of the County, as from 31 August, 1918.

Resolved:
That the Secretary of State be asked to make the application to the war Office as suggested.

Resolved also on the motion of the Chairman [J. Herbert Benyon] and seconded by Sir R. B. D. Acland, knight: That the very best thanks of the Committee be accorded to Col. Ricardo for services rendered as Acting Chief Constable.

Capture of three escaped German prisoners

The Acting Chief Constable has brought to the notice of the Sub-committee the action of PC 105 Reginald Jordan, stationed at Burghfield, and of Special Constables Webb, Holland and Hill, in effecting the capture of three Prisoners of War who had escaped from Bramley Camp on 24 April 1918.

PC Jordan challenged these men whom he met at Burghfield at midnight, and, finding they were foreigners, attempted to arrest them. After a struggle in which one of them is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding), the Germans succeeded in escaping, but were discovered and recaptured the following evening by PC Jordan – with the assistance of the Special Constables above-named, who had been working indefatigably all day in search of them.

The Military authorities sent £4.10s.0d as a reward, which was apportioned as follows: PC 105 Jordan, £2; Sergeant Taylor (who had also assisted) and the three Special Constables, 12s.6d each.

MOTOR CARS

The two motor cars which were so kindly placed at the disposal of the Superintendent at Maidenhead and Wokingham at the commencement of the war by the late Mr Erskine have now been returned to the present owner, Mrs Luard of Binfield Grove, and I beg to recommend that a letter expressing the gratitude of this Committee for the use of the cars, which have been of very great value to the Police, be sent to that lady.

I should also like to take this opportunity of referring to the loss sustained to the Force by the death of the late Marquis of Downshire, who, as a Special Constable from the commencement of the war, had kindly placed his valuable time and the use of his two cars (free of any charge) at the disposal of the Superintendent of the Wokingham Division, and by this means saved the County a great deal of expense.

I recommend that a letter be written to the present Marquis from this Committee, expressing regret at the death of his father, and its appreciation of his generous services.

The present Marquis of Downshire has very kindly placed his car at the disposal of the Superintendent at Wokingham on condition that the County keeps the car insured, [and] pays the licence duty and cost of running.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Insured against aircraft

Hurst almshouses were insured against the risk of being bombed.

11th April 1918

Aircraft policies.

The clerk having asked for instructions with regard to the renewal or otherwise of the Insurance under the aircraft policies.

It was unanimously resolved: that the above Insurances be renewed for the current year.

Hurst Parochial Charities trustees’ minutes (D/QX30/1/4)

Fallen in German East Africa

This tablet included Mrs Collins’s son, fallen in German East Africa in 1916.

5 February 1918

The Chairman informed the meeting that the Memorial Tablet to be erected to the memory of the late Mrs Collins had arrived from S Africa & was in his custody…

It was decided not to renew the insurance against hostile aircraft.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

Increasing air raid insurance

A Twyford charity decided to increase its insurance against air raids on its property, to safeguard the charity’s funds.

3rd July 1917

Insurances. Fire + Aircraft.

In accordance with the minute of the last meeting hereon the question of increasing the premiums on the Insurance policies on the Trustees’ properties at Hampton and Twyford was bought up for consideration.

Resolved: That the Clerk be instructed to increase the Insurances on the above mentioned properties by 33 1/3 %, and that the Insurances under the Aircraft Raid policy be similarly increased.

Polehampton Charities, Twyford: trustees’ minutes (D/QX42/1/5)

Subscriptions to insure all Church buildings against Aircraft risk

The fear of air raids had clearly lessened, as insurance premiums were significantly lower.

Anti-Zeppelin Insurance

The Churchwardens and Vicar again ask for Subscriptions to insure all Church buildings against Aircraft risk.

Owing to the reduction of premiums, it will probably cost about £12 this year instead of about £20. We have already received £2 from Mrs. Cope, and a Collection was taken on Low Sunday, April 15th, for that purpose.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Aircraft insurance in Hurst and Twyford

A Hurst charity decided to insure its premises against damage from air raids.

12th January 1917

Air-craft Insurance.

It was resolved that the Air Craft Insurance on Shaftesbury Avenue property, Hurst Almshouses, and Twyford Almshouses be renewed for a further period of twelve months; and the clerk was instructed to apply to the Trustees of the Brockenborough Estate for payment of the premium on Twyford Almshouses.

Hurst Parochial Charities trustees’ minutes (D/QX30/1/4)

An expense which has to be faced and met without murmuring

Bracknell church goers were asked to chip in to help insure Holy Trinity Church against potential air raid damage.

The cost of darkening the Church windows, and insurance against damage by air raids, is being met by special donations. The cost has been £37, and towards this £22 4s. 0d. has been contributed.

We are therefore short of the required amount by £14 16s. 0d., and the Churchwardens appeal to any of the parishioners who have not already contributed to send them a donation. This expense has been incurred in consequence of the war and has to be faced and met without murmuring.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6)

The Church Lads’ Brigade dons khaki

The April issue of the Reading St John parish magazine touched on various war related matters: insurance against air raids, news from army chaplain T Guy Rogers, and the Church Lads’ Brigade which got teenage boys training in preparation for joining up when they were old enough.

INSURANCE OF THE PARISH PROPERTIES AGAINST DAMAGE BY AIRCRAFT

The vicar and churchwardens have thought it right in the interest of the parish to insure the churches and other parochial buildings against the above risks.

The cost of insurance is £26 12s 6d, and it is an expense which the ordinary funds are unable to meet.

An appeal is therefore made to the members of the congregations for donations to meet this special expenditure. These may be sent either to the vicar or churchwardens, or placed in the church boxes.

THE REV. T. GUY ROGERS

Friends are asked to note that Mr Rogers’ address is now 2nd Guards Brigade, BEF. By the time this issue of the magazine is in print the men Mr Rogers is ministering to will be back in the trenches, and their Chaplain living once more in a dug-out, somewhere in the second or third line. We were rejoiced to hear that twenty-three of the men had been confirmed, and we must remember these brave fellows continually in our prayers, asking that they may be given grace to witness a good confession for Christ, and to stand firm against all temptations which may beset them. Nor shall we forget to pray that our friend himself may be preserved amid all the dangers of his work, and may have the great joy of seeing many more men coming forward to confess Christ in Confirmation.

CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE

The CLB has just reached a great epoch in its history, in that its members have donned khaki. It may not be generally known that the local CLB Battalion, of which our Company forms part, is recognized by the War Office as a Cadet Battalion under the Territorial Association.

In the Battalion Drill Competition, St John’s Company came out second with 186 marks out of a possible 200.

Just at present our numbers are small as many have left us to join the Colours, and we shall be glad to welcome prospective recruits if they will turn up at the Institute at 8.15 p.m. on any Monday evening. There must be many boys in the parish of 13 years and upward who ought to join, and do their best to maintain the traditions of St John’s Company.

Reading St John parish magazine, April 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

Nursing Institute insured against air raids

The Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing was one Reading institution to be concerned about the risk of air raids.

6 April 1916
Aircraft Insurance
It was resolved that the Honorary Treasurer should take the necessary steps to insure the buildings and furniture against damage by aircraft.

Minutes of Queen Victoria Institute for District Nursing, Reading (D/QX23/1/2, p. 187)

Difficulties for the Lunatic Asylum due to this terrible war

The annual report of Berkshire Lunatic Asylum (later Fair Mile Hospital, Cholsey) for 1915/16 shows the impact of the war in that institution. The hospital was the home, temporary or permanent, of the mentally ill in Berkshire.

The number of patients in the Asylum on March 31st, 1915, was 402 males, 467 females, total 860. These numbers include 60 patients received from the West Sussex Asylum, at Chichester, on this Asylum being vacated for uses as a Military Hospital… During the year … 30 patients [were] received on February 21st from the Middlesex County Asylum, at Napsbury, on its being taken over by the War Office….

Dr S E Holder, the Second Assistant Medical Officer, left on April 28th, 1915, to take up military medical duties. The vacancy has not been filled…. There has been a marked shortage amongst the male staff in all departments, the result of enlistments for active service. Every eligible man for military service attested under the Derby Scheme. The Committee appreciate with what willingness those remaining have successfully overtaken the extra duties imposed upon them.

In view of the risks incurred the Committee deemed it advisable to insure the buildings and furnishings against damage from aircraft….
The Committee desire to state their appreciation of the energetic and ables services of Dr Murdoch, the Medical Superintendent, who, in common with the other officers of the Asylum, has had additional duties thrust upon him during this war time. Dr Murdoch has coped with the difficulties which have arisen owing to this terrible war in a very satisfactory way, and has cheerfully carried out the wishes of the committee.

Annual report of Committee of Visitor of Berkshire Lunatic Asylum, 31 March 1916, in BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/19)

“The precautions now being taken at Newbury are doubtless spreading consternation among our enemies”

St Nicolas’ Church in Newbury was insured against potential air raid damage.

Unusual darkness having been imposed upon us, on account of the danger of Zeppelins, the time of evensong at the Parish Church has been altered to 5.30, but we hope that this will make no difference to the attendance at the Service: the parishioners will also have the opportunity of spending a longer Sunday evening at home, an opportunity not to be despised. Our readers will be glad to know that the Churchwardens, with their usual forethought, have specially insured the Church against the danger of aerial attack, this insurance involving the additional expenditure of £34. Dark blinds are being made for the Parish Room, so that the usual evening meetings, etc, may be held there, and we hope to be spared the attention of the Police. The precautions now being taken at Newbury are doubtless spreading consternation among our enemies.

We desire to offer our sincerest sympathy to the Rev. H C Roberts, who has lost a brother at the War, and also to Mrs Walter Lawrence on the death of her husband, and to his mother and relations. Sergeant Major Lawrence had done a great deal in Newbury for the Volunteer movement, and letters received by his widow from officers with whom he had served bring out his splendid soldierly qualities, keen patriotism, and unfailing cheerfulness: greatly though we regret his loss, we are truly thankful for examples such as his.

The Rev. F Streatfeild is returning home from the Front for a well-earned week’s rest.

Newbury parish magazine, March 1916 (D/P89/28A/13)

Is God really sitting on the fence?

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her son Ralph. The Bishop was planning to retire in the near future, as he felt out of pace in the changing Church of England. The increased numbers of men being called up had led to a shortage of people willing to work in domestic service.

Sunday evening, March 5th 1916
My own darling blessing and own son and Scrappits

The Mission will bring the Bishop of London here on April 4th. He is made in his own words “Chief of Staff” and more & more I feel how trying these modern methods are for men of Dad’s age and experience – and “Chelmsford” has actually talked of “God, if I may say it with reverence(!) is sitting on the fence! – isn’t it inconceivable that a man can say such a thing as this with regard to the Almighty, & the victors in this war! If that is to be the tone of our leaders, Dad will be quite out of it!…

We have kept on Tuke, the chauffeur, after a month’s trial & have had to allow him to have wife (& 2 children) at the Lodge. She is very young & had a Zepp scare, & could not bear to be alone in London. We are not doing up the house, & she is only there till Easter; we find the furniture from here. she will then probably move into rooms – but as the married groups are being called up, it is most probable so young a man will have to go & we do not want to be involved in his family here. The whole question of servants will be very difficult, and we must do with as few as possible, and they must be able-bodied and “willing” to work, not watertight compartments refusing “menial” work one for another. A soldier man and his wife are my idea, but we must try to run at first with those who will stick to us….

I hear Aunt Syb has heard from the captain and chaplain [about her late son Ivar] as I think I told you, but I did not see her this time in London & get most of my news from Aunt Eve. Aunt Far tells me Frank sent for his sword which she mercifully insured before sending it in the Maloja….

Oswald is on some General’s Staff at Alexandria, but Meg does not know whose staff it is, & you must by this time know. Aunt Alice was full of talk about [illegible] and his work, of Harry busy in Soudan [sic] getting together 25,000 camels and provisioning Salonika from the Soudan, and she thinks Gordon must be singing Te Deums in Heaven over it. She was also full of information as to the gear of Belgians being bought and open to bribery by the Huns & need for much taking over.

And by the time you get this Verdun will be decided and how much else. It is wonderful to know France has won her soul and is able for such a crisis in calm fortitude to bear this tremendous shock and to await events with confidence. And I think the rumours everywhere of naval “liveliness” are reflected in Meg, as I think she is tremendously anxious & prepared to hear of some engagement.

Mr James said London was full of rumours yesterday & stories of prisoners brought to Leith, and they had anxious days with no letters last week and it was such a relief when one did come on Friday 3rd… Your dear letter of the 24th reached me in the morning and was under my pillow that night… I know you must have many blue moments in the strange sad searching of that desert world of departed aeons and of sunshine that is all too brazen! But yet I am thankful after Gallipoli you have this climate, and conditions in which “recuperation” after that time is made possible, but I do long for you unbearably…

France is a nightmare just now, & news has come to us through Maysie of Desmond FitzGerald’s death, an accident with a bomb which he was showing to the Colonel. One has to believe it was somehow to be, and he is saved from a suffering in some way by this tragic way of dying.

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

Insuring against air raids

William Hallam decided to buy air raid insurance.

21st February 1916
Up at 8.15. After breakfast I went down town and paid bread bill, then up to the Bldg. Soc. and paid 4/. for insurance against air-craft, then up to Post Office to get a withdrawal notice for wife’s father’s money from the Sav. Bank. After filling this in I took it to post and also put 15/6 in War Savings. After dinner to bed for a hour or two then up to tea and work.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)