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)

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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)

Mittens from Wokingham

Wokingham girls were helping chilly soldiers.

December 21st 1916
Goods to the value of 18/- have been sent by Class 5 to the War Hospital Committee, Reading. During the past two months 93 pairs of mittens have been worked by the girls of classes 5-7. The same have been sent to the Working Party under the management of the Magistrates.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 170)

Reported wounded and missing long ago in Gallipoli

Children and adults in Bracknell contributed what they could to the war.

EGGS FOR THE WOUNDED.

During the last seven months from January, 1916, 1,106 eggs have been sent to Reading for the National Egg collection.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank on behalf of the Soldiers all those who have sent eggs, and also Mr. Barnard, who has most kindly conveyed them to Reading free of charge. I hope that everyone will continue to send as many eggs as possible each week either direct to the Vicarage or to Mr. May, High Street.

A.M. BARNETT.

WAR WORK.

Names of some of the Bracknell Children who have lately sent knitting to the War Work Depot:- Ethel Brant, Alice Cheney, Phoebe White, Amelia Quick, Phyllis Gough, Dorothy Gale, Mary Wera, May Rance, Grace Fowler, Evelyn Townshend, Margery Metson, Ethel Morley, D. Townshend.

We regret the news has now come through that Jack Franks, who was reported wounded and missing long ago in Gallipoli, is dead. He was one of our choir boys, and though it is now some years since the family left Bracknell, many of us remember him very well, and much sympathy is felt for his mother.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/8)

No prizes this year – feed starving Belgian children instead

As the school year drew to a close, an Abingdon school reflected on the impact of the war.

1916, 24th-28th July

No prizes were given this year. In order to practice the public duty of economy, the County Council gave none, but in order to preserve the efficiency of the school, a number of War Time Certificates were awarded to girls for completing with credit a year’s work in their respective classes. These were presented on Thursday morning by the Mayoress (Mrs H Clarke) who was accompanied by the Vicar and Mrs Kennedy, Mrs Reynolds, Miss Morland and Miss Clarke. Mr Tatham, Mr Gadd and the Revs Barker and Thomas were also present. Maggie Money, Standard 7, received the Bishop’s Prayer Book, and 8 other girls Certificates from the Diocesan Inspector, 20 others were commended. The Medals, Bars and Clasps had not arrived.

Some things done by the children in War Time:

Xmas puddings to Soldiers to value £1
Overseas Fund Xmas 9/
Wool for socks made £1
Blind Soldiers and Sailors Fund 16/6
Empire Day Overseas Fund 12/6
Cottage Hospital 74lbs weight
Oxford Cot Fund 10/0

They voted that the Prize Money usually given by the Managers, together with 10/6 which they brought themselves should be given to the Fund for starving Belgian children. This amounted to £2.10.6.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 120)

“The true English spirit of duty to God and country”

The involvement of women in the National Mission was regarded by some opponents at the time as the first step on the road to women priests in the Church of England.

Ascot Heath Girls School
14th July 1916
One of the ‘pilgrims of prayer’ on a short visit to the neighbourhood visited the school and gave the girls a short address on ‘our soldiers’.

Warfield CE School log book
14th July 1916
The scholars and teachers much enjoyed a visit from Miss Peace, a pilgrim sent out by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her address on the importance of upholding the true English spirit of duty to God and country was indeed splendid and her practical advice will form an essay for Monday and Tuesday of next week. I am only sorry I did not allot more time for her address.

Stanford Dingley National School
July 14th 1916
Mrs Gun kindly brought 11b of wool. I started 4 girls knitting men’s socks.

Log books of Ascot Heath Girls School (C/EL109/2); Warfield CE School (C/EL26/3); Stanford Dingley National School (D/P117/28/2)

Pneumonia jackets and helpless shirts

Earley women and girls were knitting and sewing for the troops.

War Working Party

The War Workers have met regularly for eight months and have sent the following contributions to the war depot:- 4 pneumonia jackets, 36 handkerchiefs, 39 surgical boots, 19 sleeveless vests, 30 hot water bottle covers, 7 pairs of drawers, 14 traycloths, 27 pillowcases, 9 milk jug covers, 25 bed jackets, 25 slippers, 2 helpless shirts, 4 scarves, 2 pairs bed socks, 2 pairs socks, 2 helmets, 1 pair mittens.

The following private presents for our own soldiers and sailors have been made by the Girls Club:- 13 scarves, 12 pairs socks, 2 pairs cuffs, 6 pairs mittens, 2 helmets, 1 jersey, 14 swobs.

Earley parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P192/28A/14)