A wonderful day – full of thankfulness

The lights came on again as the armstice was celebrated at home.

Florence Vansittart Neale
11 November 1918

Armistice signed 5 a.m. Hurrah. War 4 years, 3months & a week.
A wonderful day – full of thankfulness. Fighting stopped at 11 a.m. Peace. Peace. We heard it on the golf links. I, the girls & Boy. Shaw heard the church bells, & we the sirens & guns!! London I hear a marvellous sight – crowds & all happy & orderly. Own overseas went up.


William Hallam
11th November 1918

We heard Germany had accepted the armistice about 20 past 11. We all left off work at 12 and came home. I washed and changed and after dinner we all went round the town which was soon decorated up and everybody visiting. Heard the first fireworks for 4 years. People letting them off even down at the Tram Centre. After tea along to Bath Rd reading room. Quite a crowd there waiting for evening papers to see the terms but there were not pub liked- the terms I mean. We all went down to St Paul’s to a thanksgiving service at 8. The most noticeable thing I suppose on going out was to see the street lamps lit. At the conclusion of the service we had a solemn Te Deum with incense.

CSJB
11 November 1918

The Armistice signed at 4 a.m. ‘Te Deum’.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

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We may say without doubt, “this is the last winter of the war”

The hope of the war ending soon did not mean an immediate relaxation of efforts.

We are entering upon a winter which will be one of anxiety and some discomfort. We shall have to be careful about food and still more careful over fuel and lighting, and it may be necessary to suspend some of our parochial organisations in consequence. But we have one great consolation. We may say without doubt, “this is the last winter of the war.” A few more months of steady united effort and we shall have climbed this long and difficult hill of the war and by God’s help find ourselves at the top. So we must pull together for this last great effort.

Our best thanks to Mr W P Routh for the oak war shrine which he has made and presented to the church. The design is simple and good provision is made for extra space by means of folding side wings which will probably be necessary when the names are painted in.

Reading Christ Church parish magazine, November 1918 (D/P170/28A/24)

There is no British heart that will not swell with gratitude

Maidenhead Congregational Church anticipated the end of the war.

THE WAR.

Since the last issue of our Magazine things have moved on with astonishing rapidity, and at the moment of writing it looks as though the end were fast approaching, and that it will prove a complete victory for the Allies. There is no British heart that will not swell with gratitude. Looking back across the past four years it has been a perilous and tragic time. And now there will be the almost equally important future of reconstruction to face. Did any body of men, since the world began, ever have entrusted to them a graver and grander task than that which is now, in the providence of God, being allotted to the Peace Conference?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed a letter to the “Times,” in which he says,

“Upon all whom my words may reach I would urge the duty of being instant in prayer. Remember before God the statesmen on either side the sea, upon whom rests a burden of responsibility greater perhaps than ever before. The issues may speedily become critical beyond all words. On their firm handling of these issues may depend under God the future of the world. Pray, then, that they may be endued with a large vision of what is just and right, and may act worthily to the trust, we hold for the generations yet unborn.”

There is surely no fitter subject upon which Christians of every name should concentrate just now in prayer.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We regret to say that the wife of T. W. Mulford has applied for leave to return from Egypt to make arrangements about his children, and is probably on the way home at the present time. Ernest Bristow has had another slight operation to his leg, and is again at Cliveden Hospital. Hugh Lewis is at home on leave, in excellent health. Herbert Brand has been wounded, and is in hospital in England.

THE CHURCHES AND COAL ECONOMY.

The Fuel Controller does not seem to have taken counsel with wisdom in asking Churches to abandon evening services to save coal and light. He did not pause to reflect that if a building is heated for morning and afternoon services, it does not require any further fuel for the evening, and that considerably less light is consumed in Church than would be used by the people if they all remained in their own homes. In the interests of national economy, perhaps it would be well to issue an order that everyone should attend public worship every Sunday evening during the winter!


Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, November 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

“We are particularly wishful to carry on the good work being done for our soldiers and sailors”

Fuel shortages were hitting home.

MINISTER’S JOTTINGS

We are likely to have considerable difficulty this winter with regard to our heating and lighting. We are not yet informed as to what our ration of coal, gas and electricity will be, but we are most anxious to prevent, by the strictest economy, any curtailment of our work, and we are particularly wishful to carry on the good work being done for our soldiers and sailors if it can possibly be managed. When we know what our allowance for heating and lighting is to be, we shall have to go more thoroughly into the matter. In the meantime will those responsible for the various meetings please see that no more gas or electricity is used than is absolutely necessary.

We are hoping to resume the Khaki Socials after worship on Sunday evenings at an early date. It is not easy to ensure a sufficient number of artistes to carry on this much appreciated work, but we trust it may be successfully accomplished once more this winter. We are indebted to Mrs Dracup and Miss Green for the splendid service they have rendered in this connection in past years.

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

We will cheerfully accommodate themselves to the situation

Shortages ontinued to intensify.

The new Coal and Lighting order may possibly interfere to some extent with our heat and light at the Church during the winter. If such be the case, we trust that the congregation will cheerfully accommodate themselves to the situation.

Newbury parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P89/28A/13)

“Irish prisoners have been offered the blue dress & prison boots but decline both, and expect to be allowed to have ordinary clothing selected by themselves and paid for by the Commissioners”

Irish internees demanded special treatment – but the prison authorities were scared of setting precedents.

13 Aug 1918
W L Cole

Lights are extinguished at 9 pm.

Instructions have been received that gas consumption is to be reduced by one sixth. If lights are continued beyond 9 pm, which is the same as last year, the gas consumption will be increased as compared to last year and not reduced – and other men will expect the same.

Irish prisoners have been offered the blue dress & prison boots but decline both, and expect to be allowed to have ordinary clothing selected by themselves and paid for by the Commissioners. They have every opportunity of obtaining clothing from their homes, but want to make what they can. Cole is the leader of all this.

I have already reported on the subject of letters and parcels. There is no delay here.

C M Morgan
Gov.

[to] The Commissioners


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

Lonely and sad

Putting the clocks forward or back by an hour is one of the ongoing legacies of the First World War. First introduced in 1916, 1917 saw the experiment repeated.

Soldiers’ Club

The lighter evenings, with their out-door attractions, and the Daylight Saving Bill, caused the committee to decide on closing the rooms to the soldiers, and this was done on Wednesday, April 4th. The evening was marked by a most enjoyable concert, after which our Pastor made a short speech assuring the men of the welcome they would still find at Trinity. Second A.M. Rose then voiced the thanks of the men. Until they knew Trinity they had been lonely and sad, but the hand-shake and kindly welcome had done much to dissipate the loneliness. Second A.M. Morgan then spoke of the men’s great appreciation of all our Pastor had done for them, causing amusement by his remark that Mr Harrison was unlike many ministers of his acquaintance, who were invisible all the week and incomprehensible on Sunday!

The evening closed by singing! Auld Lang Syne, after which our guests sadly and reluctantly dispersed.

The committee gladly recorded that all expenses, including the gas and coal, have been met, and a complete balance sheet is printed elsewhere.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, May 1917 (D/EX1237/1/12)

“Many empty lorries driven by the men of the Flying Corps pass daily through the village”

Cranbourne people were invited to grow vegetables, while church services were disrupted.

For the purpose of saving fuel and light in Lent week, Evening Services will be held in the Sunday School on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., and Evensong will be said on Sundays in Church at 3 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., until we can do without the gas. It seems to be almost impossible for the Coal Merchants to deliver fuel just now, there is coke and coal at the stations, but no carts are to be had. Many empty lorries driven by the men of the Flying Corps pass daily through the village, how helpful it would be if they could “dump” a few sacks of coal for us at some central place.

Two lectures on “Vegetable cultivation in War time” have been given in the Reading Room by Mr. F. W. Custin, F.R.H.S. Unfortunately there was not the large attendance that might have been expected when all of us are being urged to add to the food supply of the nation. The lectures were most practical and helpful. Great stress was laid on the need of spraying not only potatoes, but the young vegetable plants. The lecturer gave the following recipe for a spray of paraffin emulsion:- ¼ pint of paraffin, ¼ -lb. of soft soap, 3½ -gallons of water. Mix the soft soap with a little hot water, whisk it up and then add the paraffin slowly, beating it up as it is poured in, then add the remainder of the water. This should be used for onions and celery in May and June. Potatoes should be sprayed with Bordeaux mixture at the beginning of July and also early in August. We expect the delivery of the seed potatoes at an early date.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/3)

Impossible to go round carol-singing as in happier years

An unexpected casualty of the war was carol singing.

The Vicar’s Letter

The War affects us in so many ways, and this year, owing to the darkness and the prohibition of the use of lanterns giving anything more than a modicum of light, the Choir regret that it will be impossible for them to go round carol-singing as in happier years. I suppose this is the first time for fifty years or more that the carol-singing out of doors will have been given up.

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

Darken the windows on account of Zeppelin raids

St Peter’s Church in Caversham decided to have curtains made rather than actually painting the windows with black paint, as had been done previously.

Parochial Church Council
We must have our church windows darkened before the end of September, on account of Zeppelin raids. The windows are in too bad a condition to endure being painted again. Perhaps some of the ladies might help us by making curtains of some cheap dark material.

Caversham parish magazine, October 1916 (D/P162/28A/7)

A ghastly pantomime

John Maxwell Image wrote to his friend W F Smith with news of a visit from a distinguished former pupil; reactions to a threatened air raid; and a book he had read by ‘Ian Hay’ (the pseudonym of a serving officer).

29 Barton Road, [Cambridge]
3 April ‘16
My most dear old man

That was a tumultuous week just passed. Tuesday’s blizzard came on in an undreamed of fury. We were delightedly entertaining an old pupil – now CE and General Commanding a Brigade of Cavalry, who passing thro’ C[ambridge] on the day previous, had learnt my marriage, and came off at once with his congratulations and the remembrances he was charged with by his brother – another pupil and now Colonel of an Infantry Battalion and DSO. It was a happy meeting. Florence apologised for having to put his teacup in a writing table in our tiny drawing room, because we had not yet set up one of those cunning nests of teatables. Next day arrived a beauty from him, begging we would accept it as a belated wedding present. A day later, and he was ordered away again: but the flying call was such a delicious whiff out of the early past.

I never saw such blinding snow before, and oh the prostrate treeboles next day – like spillikins on the grass. I counted 50 khakis labouring on their trunks in our paddocks, and at least as many in St John’s…

On Friday evening I was finishing a letter when suddenly the electric light went down, then rose, then sank – three times altogether, and left us with the faintest glimmer, just shewing enough that someone else was in the room. The official C. warning of Zepps. We packed the servants in snug armchairs by the kitchen fire: and ourselves went out into Barton Rd, where were sundry residents, chattering under the stars, – and a Trinity friend of mine in khaki, stopping all cyclists and compelling them to put out their lights. The sharp military “Halt” in the dark made at least one fellow tumble off his bike in terror! People said they heard bombs. I heard nothing, not even the drone of a Zeppelin – though one or more did pass over C – but innocuous. The Berlin news claims, I see, C among its victims.

Yesterday, at 11 pm, I was pulling off my trousers for bed, when down once more went the ghastly pantomime of the lowered lights and I had to rouse those integuments and go forth to see what was to be seen. On both nights the lights were kept down till 4 am. This morning the sudden raised flash woke me up from the sweetest slumber.

I hear from our carpenter that much damage has been done at Woolwich, where he has a couple of sons. Not a hint of this is suffered to appear in the Press….

“In Germany the devil’s forge at Essen was roaring night and day: in Great Britain Trades Union bosses were carefully adjusting the respective claims of patriotism and personal dignity before taking their coats off.

Out here we are reasonable men, and we realise that it requires some time to devise a system for supplying munitions which shall hurt the feelings of no pacifist, which shall interfere with no man’s holiday or glass of beer, which shall insult no honest toiler by compelling him to work side by side with those who are not of his industrial tabernacle, and which shall imperil no statesman’s seat in parliament.”

Read “The First Hundred Thousand” by Ian Hay (of Joh.[St John’s College]. I Hay (I forget his patronymic) is at the Front and describes the training and subsequent war experiences of a Kitchener’s Battalion so graphically that I have never seen it better done.

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

No April fooling in the shadow of air raids

Air raids were a worrying experience for people at home – even if they were not directly affected.

Florence Vansittart Neale
1 April 1916

Papers & letters very late owing to Zepps – big raid over east coast. 5 Zepp: altogether. One brought down in Thames – crew captured….

Wire saying Bubs safe at Boulogne. Also letter from her from Folkestone.

Community of St John Baptist
1 April 1916

Air raid during past night in some parts of the country. Stricter orders as to lights.

William Hallam
1st April 1916

I had just gone up to bed at 10 last night when the hooter blew a Zepp warning but still, I was not at all anxious but got into bed and went to sleep although the rest were nervous. No April fooling here now to-day.

To night I put 4£ in P. B. bank and 15/6 in War Saving Certif.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5);
Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

A single cabbage helps the war

Sulhamstead people were supporting the war effort in their vegetable gardens, while rejoicing in good news of local soldiers.

THE WAR
Lieutenant H. A. Grimshaw has been mentioned in Sir John French’s despatches. This makes the second time that he has been so honoured. He has also been awarded the additional honour of the Military Cross.

It is with great thankfulness that the news has been received that Lieutenant Albert Marsh, RNR, of the “Tera”, sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, is safe, although held a prisoner.

ROLL OF HONOUR
George Derring, second footman at Folley [sic] Farm when the war broke out, was killed by the bursting of a shell at the Front in France.

VEGETABLES FOR THE SOLDIERS’ HOSPITALS
It is a bad time of the year for vegetables, but the Boy Scouts are trying to send a hamper to Reading every week. If any have got vegetables they would like to give to the hospitals, and would send them to the School on Mondays, or leave word at the School in the previous week, a Scout would fetch them. The hamper goes on Tuesdays. A single cabbage, half a dozen potatoes, etc, soon swell the contents.

THE LIGHTING ORDER
This order will not affect our Lower End Service as the room is furnished with dark green curtains, but it will prevent services being held on week days in Lent in the Church or School, and accordingly special meetings will be held in the large room at the Rectory on Thursdays at 7 pm.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1916 (D/EX725/3)

Cadets in training “lie on the floor, don’t need beds”

John Maxwell Image, the elderly Cambridge don who had married Florence Spencer from Cookham, wrote to a friend to express his frustrations with the lack of progress in the war, and to talk about wartime life in Cambridge.

29 Barton Road
12 March ‘16

I think I must copy you in reading the M[orning] Post. The rags we take in are D. Mail for me, and Times for la Signora, who won’t stoop to the Mail, tho’ aware that the letterpress in each is identical.
Jackson has once or twice indicated to me that his paper is now your MP. I used to value the Times for the letters written to it. But there are no good letter-writers now-a-days.

Perhaps the new man in East Hertford may wake up Independent Members next Tuesday, if there are any such in Parliament. The Air attacks, and the Naval attacks, which we must with certainty expect will involve novelties that our drones have never dreamt of.

We have more men, and better men, and more money. Yet there we stick, just to be attacked when and where Germany chooses. A fixed figure for the hand of scorn – yes, what scorn! All the trumps: but the player, Asquith! “What War needs is not men, but a Man”, said Nap.

The Zeps (or possibly a Zep) was over Camb[ridge] the other night. We slumbered peacefully and knew nothing till next day. One Airship was seen by the crew of the antiaircraft guns by Story’s Way on the Huntingdon Road. And the electric lighting was shut off at the works: so we heard from one or two people who tried in vain to turn on theirs that night. I don’t think that last precaution had been taken before, but I walked back to Trinity on the night of the Book Club Sale without a glimmer. I had ordered a taxi, and they phoned at the last minute that the fog (it was a sudden fog) was so blind that they dared not send a carriage out. I had in my pocket a flash torch – rapidly expiring – but it just lasted.

We are to have 400 Cadets (i.e. candidates for Commissions) in Trinity. I sat next Major Reddy, the Commanding Officer, who has most healthy ideas of taut discipline – e.g. 4 men to a set of rooms: “they lie on the floor, you know” said he: “don’t need beds”. They will begin in the New Court. How will you keep them quiet at night? I asked. They must be in College at 9.30, for they have to be up early, usw.

Our next door neighbours, the Comptons – he a young son of a Fellow of Caius, she, one of the most beautiful girls ever seen – are on very friendly terms. Alas, he goes off on War Work in May – and the home will be broken up. Yesterday the Signora [Florence] devoted herself to cutting out and sticking War clippings in our scrapbook, whilst I looked on….

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

Possible and probable Zeppelin raids

The vicar of Cookham Dean was concerned about the latest air raid precautions.

The district round us has been placed under ‘Lighting Orders’ in view of possible and probable Zeppelin Raids. So far as the church is concerned, owing to the fact that most of the windows are of stained glass, very little alteration will be required; there are really only two windows that are affected, and it will not be difficult to darken these sufficiently to comply with the regulations.

Personally, I think the continuous ringing of the bell so long before Service is a matter which might possibly be objected to by the Authorities: and in these days when almost everyone has a watch, it is scarcely necessary that the tinkle of a single bell should make itself heard for half an hour at a time, so that probably there will be an alteration so far as this is concerned. The bell is used as a summons to worship but also to remind people that time is fleeting! I should think that a hundred strokes at the half hour, another hundred at the quarter, and another at five minutes to the hour, would give the summons and utter the warning with sufficient precision. I feel sure that invalids in the vicinity of the church will be grateful to be relieved from the monotonous sound of a not too musical bell for the prolonged period of half an hour twice on Sundays.

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