“Although we always anticipated the ultimate success of the Allies, we hardly dared to hope for the great and glorious result which has been achieved”

Reading Board of Guardians reflected on the war and its impact.

28th November 1918

Report by the Chairman

As this is the first meeting of the Board since the Armistice was signed, I should like to say a word or two on the triumphant termination of the terrible war which has raged for over four years and has ended in the complete downfall of German domination. Although we always anticipated the ultimate success of the Allies, we hardly dared to hope for the great and glorious result which has been achieved.

Our thanks for victory, however, are tinged with regret by the losses which have been sustained. The War has been brought home to nearly every household in the land, and there is hardly a family in which some beloved relative or friend has not fallen or been disabled. The members of this Board have had to mourn the loss of many dear ones. I am sure that we should all like to express our sympathy with Mr Guardian Waters whose stepson was killed on the very last day of the War.

It has been my privilege to preside over the Board during the whole period of the Warm, and I am very glad to be the “Peace” Chairman as well as the “War” Chairman. We have had many serious difficulties to contend with, but with the able guidance of Mr Oliver we have been able to surmount them all. Our Institution was one of the first to be taken over as a Military Hospital & it has been found to be so splendidly adapted for the purpose that I expect it will be one of the last to be given up. The Master, Matron, Superintendent Nurse, Nursing Staff, & Officers generally have shown splendid devotion to duty under the most trying and arduous conditions, and we thank them one and all for the self denying services they have rendered. Many of the members of the Board have been engaged in War Work in various capacities, those taking part being: Mr W G Cook, Mr F E Moring, Mr A E Deadman, Col Kensington, Mr Hall-Mansey.

Staff:
Office: J R Beresford, K L Jones, G H Turnbull, A Dawson, K Garrett, K Ayling, K Hawkes
Relief: Mr F H Herrington, Mr G M Munday
Institutional: H Challis, A Sanders, G Smith, W Bibby

Out of this number Challis has been killed & Dawson has lost a leg.

Mr Guardian Waters
Mr Waters thanked the Guardians for their expression of sympathy in the sad bereavement he and his wife had sustained.

Election of Mayor

As the Guardians and Officers had not received the usual invitation to attend the election of Mayor, to accompany him at the Thanksgiving Service held at St Mary’s Church on the 13th November last, strong criticism was adversely expressed ad the Press asked to make a note thereof.

Minutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/58)

Advertisements

Eggs are invaluable when wounded men are not able to take any substantial food

Eggs were a welcome gift for wounded soldiers.

Children’s Egg Service

The following letter has been received from the Secretary of the Care and Comforts Committee:

Dear Mr Britton

I am writing for the Care and Comforts Committee to ask you to thank the children for the quantity of beautiful eggs they sent us for the wounded men in our hospitals. A number of men have just come from France, and I know they will greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the children. There are many cases in which eggs are invaluable when men are not able to take any substantial food.

Yours sincerely

H Kensington
Hon. Secretary

62 Minster Street, Reading

Reading St. John parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

The bravest man in the trenches

Many of the former pupils of Reading School were serving with distinction.

O.R. NEWS.

Military Cross

Temp. 2nd Lieut. F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berks Regiment.- For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy twice attacked under cover of liquid fire, 2nd Lieut. Edwards showed great pluck under most trying circumstances and held off the enemy. He was badly wounded in the head while constructing a barricade within twenty-five yards of the enemy.

2nd Lieut. (Temp. Lieut.) W/C. Costin, Gloucester Regiment. – For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When the enemy penetrated our front line he pushed forward to a point where he was much exposed, and directed an accurate fire on the trench with his trench guns. It was largely due to his skill and courage that we recaptured the trench. An Old Boy of Reading School, he won a scholarship at St. John’s College. Oxford.

2nd Lieut. D.F.Cowan.

Killed in Action.

Lieut. Hubert Charles Loder Minchin, Indian Infantry, was the eldest of three sons of the late Lieut-Col. Hugh Minchin, Indian Army, who followed their father into that branch of the service, and of whom the youngest was wounded in France in May, 1915. Lieutenant Minchin, who was 23 years old, was educated at Bath College, Reading School, and Sandhurst. After a probationary year with the Royal Sussex Regiment, he was posted to the 125th (Napier’s) Rifles, then at Mhow, with whom he served in the trenches.

After the engagement at Givenchy on December 20th, 1914, he was reported missing. Sometime later an Indian Officer, on returning to duty from hospital, reported that he had seen Lieut. Minchin struck in the neck, and killed instantly, when in the act of personally discharging a machine-gun against the enemy. The Indian officer has now notified that he must be believed to have fallen on that day.
2nd lieut.

F.A.L. Edwards, Royal Berkshire Regiment, awarded the military cross, died of wounds on August 10th. He was 23 years of age, and the youngest son of the late Capt. H.H. Edwards, Royal Navy, and Mrs. Edwards, of Broadlands, Cholsey. He was educated at Reading School and the City and Guilds College, Kensington. He had been on active service 10 months. His Adjutant wrote:

“He was the bravest man in the trenches. All the men say he was simply wonderful on the morning of August 8th. We lost a very gallant soldier and a very lovable man.”

(more…)

A dramatic scene in Parliament

Irish Secretary Augustine Birrell resigned for his mishandling of Irish nationalism and the Easter Rising.

32 Addison Road
Kensington, W
May 4/16

My dear M

I have been harried from pillar to post since my return on the 29th. Heavy foreign mails in & out, the excitements of the House, & the sitting of our Synod in London. This last is rather absurd as half our small body are away as chaplains or combatants, but it has involved services which must be attended by the elect few…

On the 2nd I went to the Palace, & found the attention was appreciated. Together we went to the Intercession service at noon, & Kensington Church seemed more than ever alive with the history of your family…

Today Joan was to have gone to Woking with Louise, but her Captain is home (today), & I replace her, a poor substitute in L’s eyes! I was only engaged to lunch with the Asquiths & of course could put it off. I saw the dramatic scene in the House yesterday. The 2nd Irish Secretary I have seen resign! It was a fine manly speech & received as such by the House. I don’t know who is to go in his stead. No one well known, I think….

Tell Meg, A J says one submarine a week since Jan: 1 (at least). An interesting account of the action off Lowestoft, but with borrowed caution I had better wait to see her…

Ever
[illegible signature – Sybil Campbell?]

Letter to Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/4)

A haven of rest and good nursing

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, wrote once more to Ralph Glyn, her late husband’s nephew, with some kind thoughts about a fellow soldier of Ralph’s (possibly his batman?). Her Royal Highness was Colonel in Chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and had news of a high ranking prisoner of war.

Rosneath House
Rosneath
Dumbartonshire, NB

23d Sept 1915

Darling Ralph

I hope Coxon is in a good hospital. If you want anything done, I can get or try to get him to real good Hospital, he is such a devoted little man & all my people are devoted to him, he must get every care. Instead of going home had you only sent him to our War Hospital Balham Red X, Kensington Barracks, he wd have found a haven of rest & good nursing. All the men are extra well cared for there, it is clean, bright, cheerful & – as private as you like. The matron a most kind, clever little woman…

Your table in Library always ready, & dear Uncle Lorne’s chair empty, it’s very dreadful hear [sic] without him & I feel so lost…

Ardgowan is moved to near Berlin, & is much more comfortable now, & is with Colonel Stewart of the Gordons & another A & S officer…

Ever yours affectionately

Louise

Letter from Princess Louise to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C15/3)

“One muddle and waste of life after another” – a royal voice on the Dardanelles

HRH Princess Louise (1848-1949), one of the daughters of Queen Victoria, and aunt of both King George V of England and the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, was also aunt by marriage of Ralph Glyn and his sisters, as she had married the Duke of Argyll, eldest brother of Lady Mary Glyn. She wrote to Ralph with some frank comments on the Dardanelles.

Sept 2nd [1915]

Kensington Palace

Dearest Ralph

I was delighted to get a letter from you, & to know how you are getting[on]. The Dardanelle business has indeed been one muddle & waste of life after another. Young Morse has been well spoken of & was in that first landing business, he has a DSO & poor old Mrs Morse at home, you must remember her as a boy, is[really?] delighted & he is one in command of a small cruiser I believe, so he is very proud.

Letter from Princess Louise to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C15/2)