“I do not mind the occasional attacks from a few troublesome men”

Internee Bernard Rohls had made a complaint about his treatment, which he thought unfair compared to that of others allowed to exercise their trades. The Governor’s response gives an insight into the activities undertaken by internees.

20 April 1918
B H Rohls

I have little to add to my report of 28.3.18.

The majority of Rohls’s statements are utterly untrue – or at any rate their inference is.

To take the men he mentions –

Rhodes was allowed by the Commissioners to do fretwork, the tools being kept by the Chief Warder, issued daily and locked up at night. The reason he was allowed this work was that he had been in an asylum, was highly excitable, and it was done to keep him occupied. He left here 21.9.16.

Propper worked as a tailor – tools a sewing machine.

Mullinger as a knitter – tools a knitting machine.

Le Corty as a painter – tools brush & palette.

Shacken in Engineer’s party – tools pocket knife.

Delfosse as cleaner – tools pocket knife.

If there are any other tools they are successfully concealed. Many men made trinket boxes &c with their knives, and Rohls can do the same if he wishes. No man has been allowed to sell any outside – though they do to one another.

At present there are 6 chairs & about 20 stools broken. The Amateur repairing them is the Engineer of the Prison. Rhodes asked to be allowed to make artificial limbs for Red Cross, but it was disallowed by the Commissioners. I have no record of Rohls asking the same thing, but if he did, he would receive the same reply.

The statement regarding “Pack of Aliens” I need hardly say is untrue. I do not express all my thoughts to these men.

With the exception of the work and conditions stated in my last report, Rohls has never done or tried to do any work.

Personally I do not mind the occasional attacks from a few troublesome men the least – but I think from a discipline point of view some notice should be taken of utterly untrue, and known to be untrue, statements made against the head of an Establishment.

C M Morgan
Governor

[to]
The Commissioners

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

Advertisements

160 face cloths for the wounded

Reading women continued their efforts.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

During the month 11 white shirts, 8 pairs of pants, 2 hot water bottle covers, 11 bags, 2 pyjama suits, 4 operating sheets, 1 pair of knitted gloves, 1 muffler, 160 face cloths, have been completed and sent to the Depot. Total already sent, 2,772.

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

“The woollen balaclava helmet was just about the only thing I wanted”

Men in the armed forces associated with Broad Street Congregational Church were grateful for their Christmas gifts, which really helped to boost morale.

EXPRESSIONS OF APPRECIATION

We have pleasure in giving below a number of extracts from the any letters from our men on service, in acknowledgement of the parcels sent out at Christmas. These are just a sample. We should have been glad, had space permitted, to give many more. The letters OS after the initials mean “on active service”.

My very best thanks to you and the kind folk at Broad St for again thinking of me this Christmas season, thoughts which I know are extended to us out here not only at Christmas time, but all the year round. The parcel arrived quite safely and in good condition. The woollen balaclava helmet was just about the only thing I wanted in the way of woollen stuff. I still have a lovely woollen scarf which was sent me last year. The rest of the contents were also quite “O.K.” I must also thank you for all the kind wishes, and also for the cheering, strengthening and encouraging Xmas message.
A. S. (OS)

Thank you and all at Broad St for your kind wishes and parcel which reached me on Christmas Eve, the latter in excellent condition and very welcome. One is greatly encouraged to know that one is always in the thoughts of the church at Broad St. it is the knowledge that one is constantly remembered in the prayers of those at home which makes us feel that in spite of occasional discomfort and discouragement, the job is worth doing after all.
C.Q. (OS)

It is very good of the Broad St Friends to think of us out here, and I know I am not only speaking for myself when I say that I am exceedingly grateful, not only for the parcel, but also for the good wishes. I am writing this from the bottom of a “dug-out” where the accommodation is not the best for writing in.
O. F. (OS)

I do indeed think it exceedingly kind of the members of Broad St and yourself to send us such useful things for Xmas. I think you must have secured expert advice as to “Tommy’s” need. Thank you very much indeed… My thoughts frequently wing their way to you, and on Sundays when things out here continue as on other days, there some strong yearnings to be present with you in our service at Broad St. still I am conscious that you think of us all, and pray that our true and deepest needs may be met.
J. H. P. (OS)

I wish to thank the friends at Broad St, who so kindly sent me the most useful parcel at Christmas. It reminded me of old friends and the happy hours spent both in Sunday School and Church…. Here I am bivouaced on the plain of Sharon near the Judean Hills, with nothing but eucalyptus, lemon and orange groves in sight, and practically speaking, within a stone’s throw of the Holy City, Jerusalem. It is a grand experience of which I have no doubt you envy me, and all the lads out here, but nevertheless let us all hope it will not be long before we are able to return home and get once more into the traces.
W. T. B. (OS)

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1918 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Doing our bit to help the Boys

People in Wargrave were contributing to the production of medical supplies for the wounded, as well as food for the local hospital.

Woodclyffe Auxiliary Hospital

Eggs are greatly needed for the wounded soldiers. Will everyone please give one a week to the Hospital during the winter months?

Vegetables of all kinds are also always wanted and will be welcome in large or small quantities.

[To the] Surgical Dressing Society
Wargrave, Berks

A. A. Cable Section B. E. F.

Dear Madam,

I am writing to thank your Society for the kind gift of a parcel of socks, which reached us at a peculiarly timely moment. We were all bemoaning the fact that we wanted socks, and then along came the parcel like magic – thanking you for myself and the men in my section.

I beg to remain,
yours very gratefully

……………………..

Miss G……. Wishes to convey her thanks for the most useful parcel of pneumonia jackets.

Dear Madam,

I have very much pleasure in acknowledging your welcome gift of pants, dressing gowns, handkerchiefs and pyjamas – I beg to assure you they will be most useful. The warm dressing gowns I am especially pleased with, but all articles will be invaluable.

Yours ever truly,
I. H.
Matron.

The Director General of Voluntary Organizations asks all to remember the needs of the men in the trenches and Hospitals.

Regular Requisitions sent out – 4 each month – since we last published the list.

120 Hankerchiefs
120 Limb Pillows
200 Pillow Cases
60 Towels
185 Slippers (Pairs)
1500 Abdominal Bandages
500 Hospital Bags
1250 Capuline Bandages
3500 Roll Bandages
600 Triangular Bandages
60 Dressing Gowns (Warm)
125 Bed Jackets
60 Pairs Pyjamas
1000 Slings
13000 Gauze Dressings
3500 Medical Swabs
3500 Operation Swabs
250 Knee Bandages
500 Shoulder Bandages
500 T Bandages
100 Pairs of thick long Operation Stockings

Extra requisitions
66 Pyjamas (Flannel)
576 Roll Bandages
200 Operation Swabs
167 Pairs of knitted Socks
150 Pneumonia Jackets
800 Abdominal Bandages
65 Slippers Pairs
20 Helpless Jackets
25 Limb Pillows
50 Capuline Bandages
50 T Bandages
150 Gauze Dressings
425 Slings
50 Fracture Pillows
119 Flannel Shirts
24 Pairs of long operation Stockings
98 Pairs Knitted Mittens
99 Helmets
42 Knitted Mufflers
2 Cardigans

Dressings have also been sent to the Cancer Free Hospital Fulham Road.

Mended nightshirts and dressings to the district Nurse.

Hospitals Supplied.

25th, 30th, 2nd, 11th, 54th, 3rd, 34th, 12th, 21st.
General Hospital B.E.F.
1st Australian
3rd London
2nd New Zealand
King Edward VII Hospital
Stoke-on-Trent General Hospital
Military F.O. Havre
A.D.M.A. Ambulance

Trains Supply
Boulogne B.E.F.
4th Casualty Clearing Station B.E.F>
A.A. Cable Section – B.E.F.

The Surgical Dressings Emergency Society wish to express their great appreciation of the help given them by Mr. Henry Butcher who, at no small sacrifice of valuable time, has packed all Bales of Dressings and Comforts for the Front – doing his bit to help the Boys. It is with much regret we say Good-bye to him. We shall miss him very much, but wish him good luck in his new home.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

“There are now only 15 regular workers for the Red X work”

A small but industrious group of women in Burghfield were still knitting and sewing clothing and bandages for wounded soldiers.

The Holiday House Working Party

There are now only 15 regular workers for the Red X work (all have the WW badge), but we manage to send in a good share of work. The list of articles completed for the year ending November 30th, 1917, is:

Pyjamas 166, Pants 105, Bed Jackets 88, Cingelts [sic] 33, A V Vests 21, Triangular Bandages 36, Slings 13, Treasure Bags, 35, Swabs 15, Cloths 9, Pillow Linings 4, Jug Covers etc 6, Operation Stockings 45 pairs, Mitten 46 pairs, Socks 17 pairs, Mufflers 8, Squares 6.

Mrs Harry Smith has cut out all our work. The material for the garments has been provided by the Depot in Reading, also a little wool; but cotton, tape, buttons, needles, and the greater part of the wool have been bought from the proceeds of a Social, 5-; a Rummage Sale, £2 8s 0d; a Concert, £2 17s 6d, held at Holiday House; and a few small donations given by friends.

Mr Foley (carrier) kindly takes our work to the Depot and brings the material out.

We should be glad of any help in providing wool for comforts, as at present our stock is exhausted.

Millicent M Higgs

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

Tanks break the Hindenburg Line

Personal tragedy was alleviated by the success of the British forces.

21 November 1917

Henry at committees all day Maidenhead, so motor brought back Dottie & took her to the station. She spent the day with me. We talked & worked.

I have undertaken 2 pr socks & 2 mufflers a week for France.

Heard Willie Parker missing, fear killed. It’s awful!

Brilliant success of our Western Front. “Byng”, tanks & cavalry – broken Hindenburg line. Great surprise to enemy – nearly to Cambrai.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Mufflers for the African troops

Men from the British colonies in Africa and elsewhere fought on the Western Front. Reading women thought they might suffer in an unaccustomed climate.

WOMEN’S MISSIONARY AUXILIARY

A number of the Broad Street members of the Auxiliary kindly undertook to knit mufflers for the African Troops now serving at the Front. These ladies are asked to be good enough to forward the mufflers to Mrs McDonald Reid, Hollybush, Grosvenor Road, Caversham, not later than August 28th.

Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, August 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Voluntary workers get badges

Ladies from Crazies Hill were honoured for their hard work sewing and knitting for the wounded.

Crazies Hill Notes

With reference to the Working Party, Miss Rhodes has kindly forwarded the following:-

The Director General of Voluntary Organizations has issued Voluntary Workers’ Badges to the following members of the Crazies Hill Working Party who are entitled to a Badge, under the rules of the Association:-

Mrs. French Miss Kate Willis
Mrs. Whiting Miss Fleming
Mrs. Light Miss A. Fleming
Mrs. Waldron Mrs. Barfoot
Mrs. Habbits Mrs. Norris
Mrs. Stephens Miss Goodall
Mrs. King Mrs. Huckle
Miss Rose Mrs. Rhodes
Miss Mary Rose Miss Rhodes
Miss Beck

A letter received from the Secretary of the Hon. Lady Monro’s Hospital Depot says:

“Will you congratulate your workers for the splendid way in which they have worked and for the quality and quantity of their work and that we shall expect and hope for their help next winter. The following is a list of the things made:-

Pyjamas 132
Slippers 28
Mufflers 24
Slings 18
Socks 7 pairs
Mittens 13 pairs
Bed Socks 3 pairs
Helmets 112
Swabs 11
Bed Jackets 11
Treasure Bags 30

Sent to Bartholomews Hospital:-
4 Bed Jackets
13 Bed Gowns.”

Wargrave parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

May the memorial may be worthy of those commemorated

Future US President Herbert Hoover led efforts to help starving civilians in wartorn Belgium, allowing the people of Mortimer to concentrate on their war memorial.

War Working Party

It is hoped to start work again at S. John’s Hall on Thursday, September 6th. In the meantime all kinds of woollies are wanted to be ready for August delivery. Pyjamas are wanted, also sun shields and mosquito nets. If workers will kindly send a post card to Mrs. Alfred Palmer, to say what they will undertake to do, materials shall be sent to Mrs. Thorp, The Street, where they can be called for.

Belgian Relief Fund

Now that the United States have made themselves responsible for the relief of the people in Belgium our local fund is closed. In the nineteen months that we have been collecting we have raised £90 3s. 3d. It was decided at our last parish meeting that the monthly collection should continue and that the proceeds in future should be devoted to our parish War Memorial. It is hoped that those who have given so liberally in the past will continue their generosity in order that the Memorial may be worthy of those commemorated.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Not only a duty, but a privilege

Knitters were applauded by the dignitary in charge of co-ordinating support for the troops.

Winter Comforts for the Troops: Sir E. Ward’s Appeal

Colonel Sir Edward Ward, Director-General of Voluntary Organizations, has sent the following letter to all voluntary associations affiliated under the Army Council’s scheme for the co-ordination of voluntary work. It is published for general information and as an appeal to all outside workers to assist in providing comforts for the troops.

Office of the Director-General of Voluntary Organizations, Scotland House, New Scotland Yard, S.W.1, July 7, 1917.

Dear Sir

When I appealed to the women of Great Britain just a year ago to make winter comforts for our Armies at the various battle fronts, we all hoped it might be our last winter campaign, but whatever may happen before next winter it is clear that vast forces will in any event occupy the field, and it is therefore incumbent upon us to make full and adequate provision to ensure a sufficient supply of warm comforts for our men, no matter where they may be serving.

All the workers affiliated under my department have worked so loyally and so well that I have no hesitation in making a personal appeal to every one of them to look upon it not only as a duty, but as a privilege to provide as many knitted mufflers, mittens, helmets, sweaters or cardigans and hand knitted socks as they possibly can, between now and Christmas, and to send them, as and when they are made, to the local voluntary organization’s depot, in order that they may be sorted, packed, and dispatched overseas for general distribution to the troops.

I feel sure all workers who have the welfare of the soldiers at heart – which I know your workers have – will appreciate the great importance of ‘pooling’ all gifts. The machinery for distribution, through the medium of the comforts pool at the various battle fronts has been gradually perfected, with the result that Officers have only to make their wants known to the special officer-in-charge of the comforts pool, in any theatre of war, where they are quartered, to ensure the immediate delivery of the comforts required for their men.

As the war has progressed numerous new units have been formed and we now have hundreds of thousands of men in labour companies, machine gun units, trench mortar batteries, and many other arms of Service who have no particular association looking after them; again there are countless service battalions of men who rely entirely upon the comforts pools for those comforts they so greatly need.

I ask you individually and collectively to spare no effort to keep the pool well filled in order that no soldier shall be without his comforts, and you can rest assured that any little sacrifice which you make will be repaid a hundred times by the satisfaction of knowing that you have at elast done your share in helping the fighting men to endure hardships.

Individual workers who cannot conveniently send their gifts to a local centre may forward them by post to the Comforts Depot, 45, Horseferry Road, Westminster S.W.

Yours truly E.W.D. Ward.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Furze Platt has no lack of War Workers

The women of Furze Platt were hard at work.

Furze Platt War Working Party

The following work has been completed during the last six months:- Mosquito Nets 59, Anti-Vermin Vests 44, Sun Shields 85, Bandages 46, Shirts 21, Bags 133, Bed Socks 80 pairs, Slippers 21 pairs, Nightingales 18, Bed jackets 41, Swabs 300, Mufflers 35, Mittens 61, Socks 7 pairs, Helmet 1.

The subscriptions have fallen by about 15/- a month, as against the amount subscribed at this time last year, and the cost of wool and material has greatly risen. Thanks to having some material in stock at the end of last year, the Working Party has been able to furnish almost the same amount of goods for hospitals and troops at the front; but I should like to call people’s attention to the position of affairs, and to beg them, as far as is in their power, to keep up their subscriptions.

The fact that so much work has been done shows that Furze Platt has no lack of War Workers, and we may be proud of the fact that no work has been returned to us by the Depot as incorrectly done.

G.M. Skrine, Hon. Sec. and Treasurer

June 26th 1917

Furze Platt War Working Party

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

A splendid address on Duty and Patriotism that even the tiniest could understand

Empire Day was the focus for patriotic expressions in schools across the county.

Piggott Schools, Wargrave
Empire Day

The children of the Piggott Schools celebrated Empire Day (May 24th) in right loyal fashion. They assembled at the School, and with flags flying, marched down to Church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an appropriate address. Re-assembling on the Church Green they proceeded to the Schools and took their places round the flag pole from which the Union Jack was flying. A good number of parents and friends of the children with many of the soldiers from the hospital were waiting their return. As the boys passed the soldiers they gave them a salute in recognition of what they had done for their country.

The National Anthem was sung, and the flag saluted, and Miss. E. Sinclair gave a splendid address on Duty and Patriotism in such a way that even the tiniest could understand it. Capt. Bird proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Sinclair and hearty cheers were given in which the soldiers joined. Three Patriotic and Empire Songs were sung by the children, the Vicar called for cheers for the Teachers, and Mr. Coleby announced that Mrs. Cain had most kindly provided buns and sweets for all as they left the grounds. Hearty cheers were given her for her thoughtfulness. Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1917

Empire Day was celebrated today. The Headmaster addressed the children assembled in the Hall, and the National Anthem was sung. The children then went to their classrooms and ordinary lessons proceeded till 11 o’clock. Each class teacher then gave a lesson on “Empire” and kindred subjects till 11.30. This was followed by a Writing Lesson when some of the important facts were taken down.

The school assembled in the Hall again at 11.55 and after a few more remarks by the Headmaster the national Anthem was again sung and the children dismissed.

Opportunity was taken of this morning’s addresses to instil into the children’s minds the necessity of economising in the use of all food stuffs, and more especially of bread and flour.

A holiday was granted in the afternoon. (more…)

Fine clothes for wounded officers

Wargrave Surgical Dressings Emergency Society had been very productive, sending masses of bandages, clothing and bedding for the uses of the wounded. Note the class-related distinctions, with officers given better quality items.

Wargrave Surgical Dressings Emergency Society
Feb 22nd, 1917.

Fifteen Bales have left the Wargrave workrooms since January 5th, 1917, in answer to the requisitions of the Director General of Voluntary Organisations.

Six Bales have gone direct for the use of the troops at the Front containing:
564 pairs of Knitted Mittens
277 Knitted Mufflers
148 Knitted Helmets
226 pairs of Socks (heavy hand-knitted)
12 heavy long sleeved Cardigans
12 pair of knitted Gloves
5 dozen pieces of Soap.
And oddments of knitted Comforts.

These all went addressed to the A.M.F.O., Le Havre, France, for immediate distribution.

The other Nine Bales contained:

228 Pneumonia Jackets
308 treasure Bags
156 Long heavy operation Stockings
58 pairs of fine pyjamas for Officers
16 fine Flannel Shirts for Officers
156 Surgical Boots and Slippers
13 Pillows
24 Pillow Cases
36 Handkerchiefs
108 Knitted Washcloths
6 double-lined fine twill Flannel Dressing Gowns for Officers
8 fine flannel dressing jackets for Officers
6 pairs of soft grey flannel ward suits for Officers

Hospitals sent to:

C.O 11 General Hospital, B.E.F., France
Sister-in-Charge, 8 Ambulance Train, B.E.F., France
Military Orthopaedic Hospital, Duncane Road, Shepherd’s Bush
The Stewart Norfolk War Hospital for Officers, Thorpe, Norwich
The Matron 17 Park Lane, London (for Officers)
The Highland Casualty Clearing Station, B.E.F., France
Military Hospital, Park Hall Camp, Owestry (Urgent).

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

Muffler making in Cranbourne

Cranbourne children were knitting for the troops.

Mrs Asher has most kindly provided wool for the Day School children who are working for her weekly working party. The children since November have made 119 mufflers, 10 pairs of socks, and 2 pairs of mittens.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

Music and chess on leave

Will Spencer heard the details of a family Christmas at Cookham, with Percy and Sydney both on leave.

22 January 1917

Letters for us both, from Mother – a long one for me. When Florrie & Percy & Sydney were all at home, Annie played to them after supper, & they all enjoyed it. Annie practises every day, & plays “very well indeed” now. Percy played chess with Sydney, & afterwards Percy was Mother’s partner & Sydney Father’s in a game of whist. Percy visited “the Hunts & Captain Holliday” while he was over. (Is Captain H. no longer with Percy at the Front?) Mrs Raverat had sent 60 lbs of apples to Mother, & one of the officers’ wives had made an exquisite white wool shawl for her (Sydney paid for the wool). Mrs Philip Wigg had made some white wool bed socks for her.

Diary of Will Spencer, 1917 (D/EX801/27)