A memorial commemorative of those who have served in the war as well as those who have lost their lives in it

The great and good of Berkshire gathered to consider a county war memorial. They decided ordinary soldiers should be involved too.

30 July 1919
Meeting of the War Memorial General Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Reading, on the 30th July 1919.

Present
J H Benyon esquire, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Chairman
Stanley Hayward esquire, Mayor of Reading, Vice Chairman
Mrs L Hayward, Mayoress of Reading
Col T J Bowles
Louis H Beard esquire, Constable of Hungerford
Councillor W E Collier
F J K Cross esquire
W Dockar Drysdale esquire
Ernest Gardner esquire, MP
Rev F J C Gillmor
S H Hodgkin esquire
Councillor W R Howell
Dr J B Blay
Councillor Edward Jackson
A J Mackay esquire
Councillor Frank E Moring
H C Mylne esquire, Mayor of Wokingham
Councillor Thomas Norris
W Howard Palmer esquire
Major M L Porter
Councillor L E Quelch
F A Sargeant esquire, Deputy Mayor of Reading
Councillor Wm Sparks
Edmund Stevens esquire
E M Sturges esquire
G A Watson esquire
Col George S Willes

The Deputy Clerk of the Berkshire County Council submitted the resolutions adopted at the Public Meeting held on the 22nd July appointing and defining the duties of the Committee.

This being the first meeting of the Committee since their appointment the Committee proceeded to elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman, when J H Benyon esquire, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, was elected to be Chairman and Stanley Hayward esquire, Mayor of Reading, was elected to be Vice Chairman.

The Deputy Clerk of the Berkshire County Council read apologies for absence from the following:

Lady Wantage
Col F W Foley
Brigadier General J E Wigan
Alderman F A Cox
Lt Col Leslie Wilson MP
P E Crutchley esquire
W Crosland esquire
Col J C Carter
W Carter esquire, Mayor of Windsor
Sir Geo Young, bart
Major C W Darby-Griffith
C Adrian Hawker esquire
Rev W M Rawlinson
F A Simonds esquire
Mrs G S Abram

The Committee then considered the appointment of a secretary and
Resolved: That, if he be willing to act, Mr E W J Arman, late Postmaster of Reading, be appointed Honorary Secretary to the Committee.

The Deputy Clerk of the Berkshire County Council submitted a letter, dated 28th July, which the Town Clerk of Reading had received from Col F W Foley, expressing the opinion that more members of the rank and file of the many battalions of the Royal Berkshire Regiment should serve on the Committee, and, upon consideration thereof,

It was Resolved: That three nominations of NCOs or men for representation on the Committee be invited from each of the following:

1. The regular battalions of the Royal Berkshire Regiment.
2. The Berkshire Territorial Force Association.
3. The Comrades of the Great War.
4. The Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers.


[An Executive Committee was appointed]

It was decided that it be a recommendation to the Executive Committee to frame their scheme and inscription as commemorative of those who have served in the war as well as those who have lost their lives in it.

It was decided that the suggestions received from Lady Wantage, Brigadier General J T Wigan, Alderman Cox, Lt Col Walsh and others as to the form which the memorial should take be referred to the Executive Commmittee for their consideration.

The question of the desirability of limiting the amount of individual subscriptions was considered but no resolution upon the subject was passed.

Berkshire War Memorial Committee minutes (R/D134/3/1)

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Separate memorials or a harmonious whole?

Newbury Borough councillors debated the kind of war memorial the twon should choose. Civic offices might not be everyone’s choice, but whatever they chose, the councillors didn’t fancy putting it to a public vote.

February 25, 1919

Finance etc and Selection Joint Committee: War Memorial

The report of this Committee of the 20th February instant was taken as read and the adoption moved by Alderman Stradling who stated that the Committee had considered various suggestions with respect to a War Memorial, and recommending that a War Memorial do consist of a Town Hall, further than that the Committee had not at present gone, but they had also considered some special memorial to those who had fallen in the War. Seconded by Alderman Jackson.

Councillor Carter offered the suggestion that a Recreation Ground for the Borough should be provided.

Alderman Lucas thought that the opinion of the Burgesses should be taken as to the position in the Borough of a Town Hall. He also thought that there should be a separate Memorial to those who had fallen. Alderman Gould was of the same opinion.

Councillor Parfitt thought that early steps should be taken for the provision of a separate Memorial to the fallen.

Councillor Shaw thought that the Memorial to the fallen should not be divorced from the Town Hall Scheme but should form part of a harmonious whole. This was supported by Councillor Davies.

Alderman Stradling replied on the discussion; he was not favourable to a general referendum.

The Committee’s report was carried….

Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

“Councillor Camp deprecated any extravagant Peace Celebration but thought that it should be of a subdued character”

Newbury Borough Councillors had mixed views on remembering the war.

January 28 1919

Finance Watch and General Purposes Committee – the reports of the 31st December last and 24th January instant were taken as read … also to a conference to be held with a Representative of the Local Government Board on the inception and execution of works during demobilisation and reconstruction, and to the recommendation of the Committee with regard to the reinstatement on his discharge from the Army of the Borough Surveyor [Mr Vincent], the salary to be paid, and the discharge of his duties. Seconded by Alderman Rankin, Councillor Hopson then enquired whether any communication had been made to the Borough Surveyor on the limitation of his professional work. Alderman Stradling stated that he understood that the Surveyor assented to the proposed terms.

The Mayor referred to the proposed War Memorial, and desired the Council’s opinion upon the subject.

Councillor Carter suggested the calling of a Public Town’s Meeting with reference to any Peace Celebration. Councillor Geater also referred to the same subject. Councillor Camp deprecated any extravagant Peace Celebration but thought that it should be of a subdued character.

Alderman Lucas suggested that the matter of the War memorial should be referred to a Special Committee. Councillor Hopson moved that the matter be referred to the Finance Committee and the Chairmen of the other Committees of the Council. Seconded by Alderman Rankin and moved. The report was then put and carried…

Museum and Free Public Library Committee

The report of the 13th January instant was taken as read and its adoption moved by Councillor Hopson who referred particularly to a proposed War Collection for the Museum. Seconded by Alderman Jackson, and the report was put and carried.

Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Reading School’s contribution to the war

A complete listing of Reading School’s alumni who had served in the war.

OLD BOYS SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES.

This list has been compiled from information received up to December 14th, 1918; corrections and additions will be welcomed and should be addressed to: – R. Newport, Esq., Reading School, Reading.

Allnatt, Rifleman N.R. — London Rifle Brigade.
(killed in Action).
Ambrose, 2nd Lieut. L.C. — S.L.I.
Anderson, Pte. L.G. — Can. Exp. Force
Appelbee, 2nd Lieut. T. — 13TH West Yorks.
(Killed in Action).
Atkinson, Lieut. E.G. — Indian Army
Atkinson, Capt. G.P. — 6TH Royal North Lancs.
Atkinson, 2nd Lieut. J.C. — R.A.F.
Aust, 2nd Lieut. H.E. — Yorkshire Regt.
(Twice Wounded).
(Killed in Action).
Aveline, Lieut. A.P. — Royal Berks Regt,
(Wounded).
(Military Cross).
Baker, 2nd Lieut. A.C.S. — R.G.A.
Baker, Rifleman A.E. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Rifleman R.S. — London Irish Rifles.
(Wounded).
Baker, Lieut. T.H. — 8TH Royal Berks Regt.
(Wounded)
Balding, Capt. C.D. — Indian Army.
Banks, Pte. W.R. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Bardsley, Capt. R.C — Manchester Regt.
(Wounded).
Barnard, F.P. —
Barroby, Trooper. F. — Strathcona Horse.
Barry, Capt. L.E. — R.A.F.
Baseden, Lieut. E. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Baseden, 2nd Lieut. M.W. — R.A.F.
Batchelor, Lieut. A.S. — Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.
Bateman, Capt. W.V. — Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Bayley, 2nd Lieut. F. — Chinese Labour Battalion.
Beckingsale, Pte. R.S. — Canadian Contingent.
Beckingsale, Capt. R.T. — Tank Corps (Military Cross).
(Wounded).

Belsten, E.K. — R.A.F.
Biddulph, 2nd Lieut. R.H.H. — Royal Berks Regt.
(Died of Wounds).
Bidmead, Pte. — Wilts regt.
Black, Pte. F. — Public School Corps.
(Killed in Action).
Blazey, A.E.H. — R.A.F.
Blazey, 2nd Lieut. J.W. — Royal Berks Regt
(killed in Action).
Bleck, Lieut. W.E. — R.F.A.
Bliss, 2nd Lieut. A.J. — Leinster Regt.
(Killed in Action).
Bliss, Pte. W. — 2ND Batt.Hon.Art.Coy. (more…)

The Aliens, having been interned in some cases for four years, have practically worn out all their original clothing

The provision of clothing for internees was a thorny matter. Jackson’s, the store mentioned, was something of a Reading institution, remining in business until 2013.

16th Sepr: 1918

Re letter 18902/35HF d/d 14.9.18

1. The Interned civilians have not been allowed ordinary liberty clothing. When theirs was worn out they had to wear blue dress by the Commissioners’ orders – but protested strongly against it.
2. Those who have ordinary clothing have purchased it out of their earnings. The Irish refuse to work.
3. It is now noted that they will receive ordinary liberty clothing.
4. How should this clothing be obtained please?
5. There is a local firm Messrs Jackson & Sons who supply ready-made outfits of all kinds, & also make cheap quality clothing &c to order. I am informed that at the present time the cost of clothing would be about £3.10.0 for the cheapest quality, boots about 35/- a pair, under-clothing is of course much above the normal rate.
6. The anticipated cost will be about £6.10.0 per man for the 14 Irish internees, Alien side 38 men at the same rate. It is quite likely that some of the Irish may not require a complete outfit at the present time, as they have only been interned a few months. The Aliens, having been interned in some cases for four years, have practically worn out all their original clothing.
7. As soon as it becomes known that the liberty clothing is allowed free, these men will buy no more.
8. The clothing of some who earn no money, and who refuse to wear the blue dress, is in a bad way.

[C M Morgan]
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

16th Sepr: 1918
H. Schraplowsky
22.6.15 S of S Order, Aliens Act, Deportation

The above named Alien prisoner was visited on Saturday the 14th inst: by his wife and Miss Chronig (friend) of 66 Station Rd, Church End, Finchley, N.

The conversation was on business affairs, chiefly about Mrs Schraplowsky leaving this country, and the disposal of her belongings.

[C M Morgan]
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

The Mayor of Newbury has been called up under the Military Service Acts

The Mayor of Newbury was likely to be called up, which caused consternation in the council. Obviously being a politician was more important than fighting.

12 July 1918

Present
C A Hawker, esq, Mayor…

The Mayor having left the Council [meeting], Alderman Lucas was elected to the Chair.

Alderman Lucas drew attention to the Mayor, Councillor C A Hawker, having been called up under the Military Service Acts to present himself for Medical Examination and stated that he had been graded 1 and was therefore liable to be called upon for Military Service.

The Council, in view of the manifold public duties in which he was and had been engaged, considered that it was in the public interest that he should continue to be so engaged and it was proposed from the Chair, seconded by Alderman Jackson, and carried unanimously,

“It having come to the knowledge of the Council that the Mayor of the Borough, Councillor Charles Adrian Hawker, has been medically graded, and is now liable to be called upon for Military Service:

Resolved that this Council, having regard to the manifold public duties in which he is, and has been for the past three years engaged as Mayor of this Borough, desire that the Mayor make application for exemption from military service, and that the Minister of National Service be requested to consent to his exemption.”

Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Lectures to the interned

A local JP wanted to enliven the lives of the internees stuck in Reading Prison. Sadly, this request was destined to be turned down by the Prison Commission.

11th April 1918

About a month ago Mr Jackson, one of the Borough Visiting magistrates, asked if a friend of his, Mr H M Wallis, Ashton Lodge, Christchurch Road, Reading – also a Borough magistrate, could give a lecture to the interned men here.

I told Mr Jackson his best procedure would be to request Mr Wallis to write to me, and to submit a syllabus of the proposed lecture, and that I would then refer the matter to the Prison Commissioners.

Mr Wallis called on me today, and asked if such a lecture would be allowed, and also left me the attached syllabus of three lectures to select from [not actually attached].

I am informed that Mr Wallis is an able lecturer, but have not met him before. Should the Commissioners approve, the lecture would be held on a weekday in the chapel.

I informed Mr Wallis that I would submit his proposal to the Commissioners. The lecture would of course be voluntary attendance.

C M Morgan

Gov.
[to]
The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

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 kind and valued teacher finds love

A popular teacher found love with one of the Canadians supplying timber for the Front from Berkshire forests.

On Saturday December 8th, Miss Marian F Jackson was married to Sergeant Major Mobbs of the Canadian Forestry Corps. We offer them both our hearty congratulations. Miss Jackson has endeared herself to the children of Burghfield Common where she has worked for 2 ½ years, and they will miss a kind and valued teacher.

Burghfield parish magazine, January 1918 (D/EX725/4)

“Do they really think it economical and saving?”

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image was not impressed by the way his college was implementing food restrictions. His colleagues were, he felt, likely to have extra helpings of the main course if they felt short changed.

29 Barton Road
8 Dec. ‘16
My very dear old man,

Yesterday (Thursday 7th) was our Commemoration – not Feast, that’s been abolished during the War – dinner…

But only listen! This is a notice sent round by the Council on Dec. 6 (Wednesday).

“In accordance with an Order made under the Defence of the Realm Regulations (see “the Times” Dec 6, 1916) the High Table Dinner on and after Friday December 8th, and until further notice, will consist of three courses and cheese. On Wednesdays and Fridays, soup, fish and the choice of a sweet or savoury will be provided. On other days the dinner will consist of soup, meat and the choice of a sweet or savoury. A vegetarian dish will continue to be provided daily as an alternative to the fish or meat course.
Henry Jackson
Vice Master.”

Do they really think it economical and saving to have 2, or possibly 3, helpings of sirloin or Saddle? Instead of one help of joint and one of some cheap entrée, made up out of scraps and leavings?

Gwatkin’s letter is to be published separately. I hear that the Foreign Office will use it to state our case. I read it in the Camb. Review and admire and respect it even as you do.

Love to you both from us,
Bild.


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

A prominent wayside cross

Cookham Dean had already started to think about an appropriate memorial for those villagers who had lost their lives in the war.

War Memorial

A meeting was held at the Vicarage on Saturday, Oct.21st, to consider the advisability of making some preparation for a War Memorial in some prominent place in the Village. There were present: The Vicar (in the chair), Messrs. Saxon Snell and W. Baldwin (Churchwardens), Sir Melvill Beachcroft, Messrs. R.T. Jackson, T. Stretch, Gordon Hills and J.W. Stone. The subject was introduced by Sir Melvill Beachcroft, who eventually proposed that a Wayside Cross be the form of Memorial chosen, to be erected on some prominent site to be selected later. The proposal met with the unanimous approval of all present, and Messrs. Snell and Gordon Hills were asked to prepare designs to be submitted later to all whom it may concern. The proposal seems likely to meet with good support. Mr J. W. Stone, on behalf of Mrs. Stone and himself, promised a subscription of £100.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Don’t imagine tanks mean the end of the war

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence to describe his current quarters (a cowhouse in a devastated village), and the impact of our newest weapon: tanks.

3.10.16
My dear WF

It sounds paradoxical, but the nearer to the enemy we get, the more peace we get. In other words, action replaces preparation.

It’s 9 am and I’ve just had brekker after a fairly good night – turned in at 10 pm, called at 1 am, up till 4 am, put Garwood in then, and turned in till 7.30 am. Turning in consists of rolling myself up in my blankets on the bench where I am sitting, and falling straight off to sleep in spite of constant traffic and telephoning within a few feet of me. I’m writing from a spacious cellar in which there is a telephone exchange, officers’ mess and sleeping accommodation, our office, officers’ kitchen and men’s sleeping accommodation. In peace times it was an underground cowhouse. The whole system of accommodation here is most interesting and I should love to show you over it – after the war. The village where it is is a complete ruin – scarcely a vestige of the place remains and none at all of the church – a couple of crosses of before the war-date stand in the little churchyard, and standing there before brekker this morning I saw the bodies of a couple of Huns who had been buried there and been concealed by a shell.

[Censored section]

Outside at this moment is a very pale Hun – you could only tell he was a Hun by his tin hat (a very useful and artistic design), for he’s been in a shell hole for 3 days and is thickly muddied khaki from head to foot. He like all the others we get is very thankful to be cotched [sic].

The “tanks” are of course very funny, but the boundless faith of the folk at home in them is even funnier. Our native concert in our ideas is apt to run away with us. With enough of them they may go a long way to winning the war for us. But don’t imagine “tanks” mean the end of the war. (more…)

“The Huns threw a lot of shells about” – and gassed one of their own men

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence with his latest news. This letter, which is, unusually for Percy, typed, is badly torn and parts are missing. He had been gassed, and met an old friend.

30/9/16

Life is such a harassing affair nowadays that I [never see]m to have both the time and the humour to write you … lines, but if I don’t soon send you a letter I [shall for]get altogether how to write one, so here we are, and … excuse the type.

This pushing business is business, but it’s very […] I can assure you. However, the Huns are absolutely […] and very much on the wobble, and I still hope for [the s]udden collapse I feel sure will be the end of this …

Since writing to you last I have added the experience of being lachrymatory [tear] gassed. It was jolly. [Every]one scrambling for helmets and goggles and crying […], the gas seeming to have caused an inflammation which [was] very much aggravated when one closed one’s eyes. At […] the enemy, and I had the pleasure of getting out […]ration orders wearing a gas helmet and goggles. We [wer]e a remarkable assembly – you couldn’t tell t’other from [whi]ch, and when I had finished at my typewriter I was surprised to find that the man at my elbow crowded on the dug-out steps was a German officer prisoner we had captured. It was rather a joke for this fellow to be brought in and suddenly hoist by his own petard, so to speak.

Since then we have had a “rest” – quite an eventful one, for on one occasion I spent a few thrilling minutes watching parachute descents from kite balloons and on another, after tea, lying out in the sunshine, suddenly I espied a splendid fox wending its way amongst some […] trenches and taking cover in the wire entanglement […] rank grass. We chivvied it out and had a small fox [hole?] all on our own.

The night we came out and went into rest we had […] welcome – the Huns threw a lot of shells about and […] knocked down the house opposite us. That’s the second time they’ve done that – it’s most inconsiderate.

By the way I’ve been looking out for Jack Jackson for a long time. He was wounded at LOOS and I imagine he […] long come out again. Anyway a short time ago toward the end of a pretty big do, I was going up in a Staff car [and] just as I was stepping in, who should go by but Jack. [We] only had time for a handshake, and then on he went up […] the line and I to the comparative safety of a dug-out. I hope he came through all right as the main part of that […] bump so far as his Brigade was concerned was then over.

If you could send me some gloves I should be glad.

I am now transferred to the A.S.C. but have no number at present. My pay is 3/6d per day as from Mar. 9th. You might make a note of this. I was sorry to transfer, but had to….

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/5/30)

We can see the beginning of the end – far off

The parish of Clewer was encouraged by news of the Battle of the Somme, but their optimism was rather premature.

The “Great Offensive”, which began in this month [July], has been so far wonderfully successful, and gives promise of further and greater successes in the near future. In fact, we are able to see in it the beginning of the end, though the end must necessarily be far off. The great sacrifice of human life fills our hearts with sadness, and at the same time with pride as we think of the [sic] magnificient heroism of our soldiers of all ranks. Two of our own residents, Frederick Ash and —— Horsgood are amongst those who in the past month have laid down their lives for their country, and in addition to George Buckell and Ernest Jackson who were lost in the Great Naval Battle off Jutland. Our deepest sympathy goes out to their sorrowing relatives, whose one consolation must be that their dear ones died doing their duty. We humbly commend their souls to Him who has told us that, “Greater love hath no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P39/28A/9)

“He worked his own passage home to enable him to serve his King and country”

Large numbers of young men had gone out from Cookham Dean on active service. Sadly, more had fallen in action.

The Vicar’s Letter

The May issue of the Magazine brings with it the publication of the various Parish Accounts for the twelve months ended on March 31st. It will be seen that on the Church Expenses (Churchwardens’) Account there is a balance due to treasurer of £4 18s 6d. Owing to the number of young men on Active Service, the Congregations have been smaller and the Collections less than in former years, and this doubtless to a great extent accounts for the deficit.

Roll of Honour.

Sincere sympathy will be felt with the parents and gallant brothers of Private R. Piercey (Australian Contingent), who was killed at the Front on April 23rd. Private Piercey went out to Australia some years ago. It is with sincere regret also that we record the death of Capt. Jackson, whose name has for months past been on our Supplementary List. Capt. Jackson was a nephew of our friend Mr R. T. Jackson, of ‘Lynwood’, Cookham Dean. The following, taken from The Church Times, will interest our readers:-

Capt. Dudley Jackson, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who died on April 13th from wounds received on March 31st, was the eldest son of the Rev. Gerald H. Jackson, of Hasfield Rectory, Gloucester. Obtaining a commission in the Manchester Militia, he served in the Boer War, after which he served in the Johannesburg Mounted Police, then took mining in S. Rhodesia. At the outbreak of war in 1914, sending his wife and child before him to England, he worked his own passage home, under great hardships to one in his position, as a coal trimmer in a steamship, to enable him to serve his King and country. He was at once appointed to a company in his old regiment (3rd Manchesters), with which he went to France in May 1915. Later he was transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Capt. Jackson married, in 1912, Ethel Grace, elder daughter of Mr Medcalf, of Capetown, and leaves one son.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, May 1916 (D/P43B/28A/11)