Responsibility – Duty – Sympathy – Self Sacrifice: the watchwords of Empire Day

The war affected schoolchildren in different ways. The Empire Day celebrations at Warfield School involved discussion of the war, while at Aldermaston and Burghfield some teachers and children could not get to work due to the numbers of soldiers in the area. Children at a Cookham school got the afternoon off.

Warfield, 11th June 1915
Empire Day celebrations.

Assembly and prayers including daily prayer for the war.

O God our help in ages past.

March and salute.

God save the King.

Instead of the usual scripture lesson we talked about the four watchwords of Empire Day. Responsibility. Duty. Sympathy. Self Sacrifice.

A postal order of 11/- was sent this afternoon to the Earl of Meath the proceeds of the sale of Empire Certificates for the overseas comforts for brave soldiers and sailors.

Aldermaston, 11th June 1915
Miss Leake resumed duty this morning, and stated she was unable to get from Sulhampstead [yesterday] owing to the great number of troops in the district.

Mrs Bland’s School, Burghfield, June 11th 1915
Attendance fairly good this week but several children were absent yesterday as the soldiers were carrying out manoeuvres near the school.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham, June 11th 1915
The Headmaster gave an address to the children assembled in Hall at 9 o’clock and the National Anthem was sung. A holiday was granted this afternoon in celebration of Empire Day.

Abingdon Girls CE School, 17th to 21st [May 1915]
Empire Day was kept on Friday, the breaking up day. Lessons on the Empire were given, Patriotic Songs were sung, and an Appeal from Lord Meath to British Boys and Girls was read. The National Anthem was sung afternoon before closing school for the Whitsun Holidays.

Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3, p. 316); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH3/3, p. 39); Mrs Bland’s Infant School, Burghfield: log book (86/SCH/1/1, p. 189); Alwyn Road School, Cookham (88/SCH/18/1, p. 253); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL2/2)

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The greatness of an Empire depends on the moral greatness of its people

Empire Day was an opportunity for schoolchildren across the county to be instructed in patriotic matters.

Wargave: Empire Day at the Piggott Schools

Empire Day was celebrated at the Piggott Schools, on Friday, May 21st. Although rain fell heavily during the early part of the morning, it fortunately cleared off in time for the children, who numbered over 200, with flags flying, to start for Church where a short service was conducted by the Vicar. He delivered an inspiring address founded on the words “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might,” Eccles. ix, 10, pointing out that God’s help is wanted if our daily life is to be successful and prosperous. On returning to the school play-ground the flag was saluted; the National Anthem and several patriotic songs were sung. In the unavoidable absence of Mr. H. C. Bond who had promised to speak to the children, the Vicar kindly addressed them on “Patriotism and the Empire,” Mr. Coleby proposed a vote of thanks to the Vicar and explained why this year’s celebrations was so much different from that of other years. In the first place the War naturally caused a difference, and, secondly by the vote of the children themselves, the proceeds of their concerts last month were given to the Reading War Hospital Care and Comforts Committee.

The following letter had been received from the Secretary:-

“My dear Children,

I write on behalf of my Committee to thank you very much for the lovely gift which I have received from your Headmaster, and which I understand is really your Empire Day “Tea.” I am quite sure that when Empire Day comes, without the Tea, that you will be even more happy than on other Empire Days; because you will remember that by your action, some of our soldiers who have been wounded while fighting for us, are made more cheerful and comfortable. It is fine to be allowed to do one’s bit, isn’t it?

Gifts of this kind are so great an encouragement to those who are working to obtain comfort for our soldiers.

With best wishes for a happy Empire Day.
I remain,
Yours faithfully,
Stanley H. Hodgkin,
Hon. Secretary.”

Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

A bag containing a bun and an orange was given to each child as he left the Schools. (more…)