School closed for RAF funeral

William Loder Symonds, in the RAF, was son of the lord of Hinton manor. He had only recently escaped from a German PoW camp when he was killed in a plane crash. The story is told in detail in his fellow-escaper J L Hardy’s memoir ‘I Escape’, which is an entertaining read.

June 3rd 1918
School closed for the day for funeral of Captain W. Loder Symonds.

Hinton Waldrist C of E School log book (C/EL84/2, p. 165)

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Setting up a War Agricultural Committee for the county

Food shortages were a real concern during the war, as German attacks on neutral ships impeded imports. At its meeting on 16 October 1915, Berkshire County Council decided to set up a War Agricultural Committee.

FOOD PRODUCTION
WAR AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE
A letter, dated 18 September, 1915, addressed to the Chairman of the Council by the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, forwarding a Scheme for the appointment of a War Agricultural Committee and district sub-committees, was considered.
The principal functions of the Committees will be to organise the supply of agricultural labour; to consider the maintenance of, and if possible, the increase in, the production of food; to obtain information as to the requirements and supply available of agricultural implements and fertilisers and feeding stuffs; and generally to assist and advise landowners, farmers, and labourers.

Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Lord G M Pratt, and resolved: That the following, being representative of landowners, farmers, agricultural societies and institutions, labour and other persons, be appointed a War Agricultural Committee for the County of Berks in accordance with, and for the purposes enumerated in, the circular dated 18 September, 1915, from the Board of Agriculture; with power to add to their number:

F Anstey
F Bate
J H Benyon
W Brewer
William Cordell
F J K Cross
R Crow
P E Crutchley
Miss G Elliot
C A Ferard
J A Fereman
Aaron Frogley
E Gardner, MP
H Goddard
B C Heath
W J Henman
T Latham
A W Lawrence
Local Manager, Labour Exchange
Capt. F C Loder Symonds
Job Lousley
W A Mount, MP
W Pennington
Miss G Pott
A Robinson
T Rose
Frank Saunders
W Anker Simmons
T Skurray
G F Slade
F A Smith
Harry Wilson Sowdon
E M Sturges
T S Tayler
Rev F W Thoyts
W Weall
H W Weaving
H G Willink

Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Mr Bate, and resolved:

That the Clerk of the Council be nominated, and authorised to act, as Clerk to the War Agricultural Committee for the County of Berks; and that such other members of the administrative staff of the Council, as may be available and required, be allowed to assist such Committee.

That the War Agricultural Committee be allowed the use of County Buildings and equipment free of cost.

Provided that the above authorisations are given on condition that the arrangements do not interfere with the ordinary work of the Council or their Committees.

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/18)

‘Out of five sons, three have been killed and one is a prisoner’

The June issue of the Longworth parish magazine reported on the latest news of local soldiers.


Walter Carter, Fred Carter and our morning postman, Albert W. Walker, have joined the Army during the last month. Several more did their best to join, but were rejected on the score of health or age.

George Painton was serving on H.M.S. Goliath, and his name is not among the list of survivors. There was not a more popular lad in the village than George, or a nicer one. We do most sincerely hope that even yet it may be found that he was rescued. His home is now in Cornwall, and we are deeply grieved for his wife and family in their anxiety. And every heart in the village, we have cause to know, goes out in sympathy to our neighbours, Captain and Mrs Loder-Symonds and their family. Out of five sons three have been killed in this war and one is a prisoner. We give below some words of great comfort, and hope from our Bishop’s paper on “Patriotism in the Bible” (Mowbray, 2d).

The courage and self-sacrifice of the soldiers is a magnificent and inspiring virtue, and we are thrilled with a kind of holy exultation in the quality of our soldiers and sailors. A great many of us who cannot be soldiers find ourselves envying them a road so direct and simple into the divine kingdom. They are ordinary Englishmen, most of them by no means saints. But we cherish the words, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ And we trust that, whatever their faults or vices, Christ can find in those who, so simply and unostentatiously, give their life for their country, that of which He can avail Himself, even in the world which lies beyond death, so that all that is inconsistent with the divine kingdom may be purged away, with the help of the prayers of all the Church, and those brave sons who have fallen in battle or died of their wounds may be fitted for an eternal fellowship with ‘the spirits of the just men made perfect.’

Longworth parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P83/28A/10/6)

An earnest appeal to young men in Charney

On 10 December 1914, an illustrated lecture on the war was delivered in the north Berkshire village of Charney Bassett, followed by an impromptu recruitment drive.

A very interesting and instructive Lecture on the War, illustrated with lantern pictures, was given in the Schoolroom on Thursday, December 10, at 8pm by Captain F. C. Loder Symonds. The pictures were shown by Dr Woodward. There was a large audience. The lecturer made an earnest appeal to Charney young men to come forward and join Lord Kitchener’s Army.

Longworth parish magazine, January 1915 (D/P83/28A/10)