We must still wait patiently for this terrible war to end

Maidenhead Congregational Church kept in close touch with the young men it had sent to the war.

OUR SOLDIERS.

We are very sorry indeed to record that Ernest Bristow, whose wounding we reported in November, was more seriously injured than we knew, and that his leg has been amputated above the knee. His arm, too, was badly hurt, though there seems every hope of a recovery for that. He is now at the Ontario, Canadian Red Cross, Hospital, Orpington, Kent. Mr. and Mrs. Bristow spent their Christmas holiday in that neighbourhood.

Reginald Hillis still awaiting his final operation, and we shall all rejoice with him when he is successfully past the last of the wearisome series.

Robert Bolton is in Hospital at Newcastle-on-Tyne, suffering from skin trouble.

Ben Gibbons and David Dalgliesh have been home on leave.

The Christmas letters and parcels sent out in the name of the Church were evidently keenly appreciated by our boys, and many letters of gratitude have already been received. Here are a few extracts.

“Just a few lines to thank you for that glorious parcel which the Church so kindly sent me, and which I enjoyed immensely. At the time of receiving it we were in the line, and were having a warm time, and I could not have it then, but when the trouble was all over, I set to and enjoyed it all the more.”

“Thank you very much indeed! And we boys do not forget to be thankful, too, for all the lessons we have learned at our Church.”

“It was with a good deal of pleasure that I received your letter. I am sure we derive immense help from our prayers and thoughts of those at home.”

“Thank you for the Christmas greeting! It is very nice to feel that we are still in your thoughts, especially those who are farthest away.”

“Please thank the Church for the very welcome parcel. Last year I expressed a hope that this terrible war would be over before now, but we must still wait patiently. Meanwhile, it is a great comfort to know that the Church is thinking of us and praying for us.”

“Will you be good enough to tender my heartiest thanks to all those good people responsible for the sending of the package I received yesterday? It is exceedingly kind, and I am sure I will be appreciated by us all.”

“Will you please convey my best thanks to the Church for the most acceptable parcel and message received. My thoughts are often with you all.”

And one of the boys sends us a rhyme, with which we may conclude this short series of extracts:-

“Though I’m only one of millions
Doing bots for Freedom’s fame,
You, I know, will keep a corner,
In your heart to hold my name;
And amid this world-wide welter,
With its terrors, blood and shame,
All my thoughts this Christmas centre
Back to you, and mem’ries frame;
Memories that from our war’s darkness,
Peace and happiness proclaim.”

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

Advertisements

A seat for the wounded

Soldiers were convalescing at Furze Platt.

Notices

Could anyone give or lend a Seat for the use of the Wounded at Furze Platt?

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

Demonstrations of War Time Cookery

The Education Committee was facing challenged with fewer teachers and more children (the latter due to the arrival of voluntary evacuees). They also encouraged cookery teachers to learn how to cope with food restrictions.

Report of the Higher Education Committee, 12 January 1918

Secondary Schools

MAIDENHEAD COUNTY BOYS’ SCHOOL
In consequence of the increased number of pupils and the difficulties caused by a further member of the staff leaving for military service, the Sub-committee have approved of the vacant place being filled by a whole-time Mistress and a part-time Master.

WALLINGFORD COUNTRY GRAMMAR SCHOOL

Mr Preece, one of the Assistants, has returned from military service, and in view of the increased numbers in attendance, the Sub-committee have authorised the retention of the substitute Mistress on the staff for the present.

Report of the School Management Sub-committee, 12 January 1918

WAR TIME COOKERY

The Domestic Subject Instructresses of the County attended on December 13 and 14 a series of demonstrations on War Time Cookery arranged by the Ministry of Food, who paid their expenses.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/21)

A 10% bonus for nurses

Nurses at a hospital in Maidenhead got a big bump in pay in tribute to their work with wounded soldiers.

11th January 1918

War Bonus for past year to Matron, Nurses & Servants.

It was proposed by Mr. F. C. Webster and seconded by Captain Pretyman that in consideration of the extra work laid on the Matron, Nurses, & Servants of the Hospital during the past year through the admission of wounded soldiers as patients that as a War Donation for last year an increase of 10% on their respective salaries be awarded them. This proposition on being put to the meeting was carried unanimously.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, p. 352)

The work that is being done for the soldiers blinded in the war

Children in Maidenhead were touched by the plight of men who had lost their sight due to injury.

10th January 1918

The children have been very interested in the work that is being done for the soldiers blinded in the war. They expressed a wish to help in this work with the result that they saved their pennies & collected from their friends in the Xmas holidays. So good was their effort that the sum of £5 was forwarded to St Dunstan’s for this purpose.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 408)

Punch and Judy and wartime fare

Controversial today, the Punch and Judy puppet show was very popular in the early 20th century, and its broad comedy entertained soldiers on leave.

St. Luke’s and North Town Sunday School Treats

St. Luke’s Sunday School Treat was held on Thursday, February 7th, in the Town Hall…

One of the best “Punch and Judy” shows that I, personally, have ever seen, kept us amused for quite an hour. One could only wonder at the impunity with which “Punch” threw the baby repeatedly out of the window, while one constable, at least, not to count returned soldiers from the Front, were to be seen in the hall…

Miss Chambers and the North Town Mothers again produced, as if by magic, a sufficient, if war-time fare…

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P181/28A/27)

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial?

Maidenhead gardeners were encouraged to grow food.

READ! IT IS URGENT!! IT CONCERNS YOU!!!

URGENT APPEALS AND WARNINGS BY LORD RHONDDA and MR. PROTHERO

LORD RHONDDA, The Food Controller, gives Notice that unless we Ration ourselves, we shall be rationed!

Mr PROTHERO, President of the Board of Agriculture, says without a vast increase in HOME PRODUCTION OF FOOD we can scarcely hope to hold out!

2,400,000 Acres of new land must be broken up before next April to produce Food for next year!

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial? Are you cultivating all the ground you can? Are you securing the Best Possible Crops? Webster’s Noted Seeds will enable you to do so. But they are scarce, and the demand will be heavy. Moral: Order Extra Early. Catalogues will be ready early in the New Year, and can be had Free, on application to

124, High Street, and Station Front,
MAIDENHEAD.
And at the COOKHAM and BOURNE END BRANCHES.

DO YOUR BIT, AND HELP TO WIN THE WAR

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“Our Belgian friends can now stand upon their own feet”

Belgian refugees in Maidenhead were doing well and optimistic that the end was in sight.

THE BELGIAN REFUGEES.

The Committee’s fund is now nearly exhausted, and our Belgian friends, whom we have helped for more than three years, can now stand upon their own feet, although in case of some unforeseen emergency we would all be willing to lend them a hand again.

The Secretary, Mrs. Hews, has received this letter:-

“14, Fairford Road, Dec. 24th, 1917.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Once more I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May this be the last year of this terrible war, and we sincerely hope that next Christmas will find you bright, merry, and happy as in years gone by. As for ourselves, we hope to be back in Belgium before then.

I remain, yours faithfully, J. Van Hoof.”

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

Soldiers on leave from France see their little ones at work

Maidenhead men on leave were able to see their children’s school, while a school in Bracknell had to go without heating due to fuel shortages.

Maidenhead
20th December 1917

We had an “open day” for parents of Standard I children this afternoon. Thirty eight parents, including soldiers on leave from France, took advantage of this opportunity to see their little ones at work.

Bracknell
20th December 1917

Coal supply has lately been short. This morning no fires could be lit owing to being without coal.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 407); and Bracknell Church of England Mixed Primary School (C/EL45/3, p. 410)

Excellent work, chiefly in making crutch heads

Not all work supporting the war hospitals was done by women. Maidenhead draper Alfred Neve offered a base for men to make wooden crutches.

War Hospital Supplies

I have been asked to mention the existence of still another workshop doing excellent work, chiefly in making crutch heads. Mr. Staveley Bulford is organizing it. The rooms are over Mr. Neve’s shop, 74, High Street. Some more workers are needed, and support.

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

Christmas joy – when the thunder of the guns drowns the song of the angels

The war’s fourth Christmas posed a challenge to believers. (The Mark Tapley referred to is a character in Charles Dickens’ novel Martin Chuzzlewit.

CHRISTMAS JOY IN WAR-TIME.

Shall we be able to wish one another “A Happy Christmas” this year? Ought we to try to be happy? When so much of the soil of Europe is stained red, when there are so many vacant chairs, when our own lads are living in mud and exposure, sheltering from the hail of bullets, when the thunder of the guns drowns the song of the angels? Yes, if we remember what Christian joy is. It is something special and peculiar. It is not mere Mark Tapleyism, heroically trying to be merry in the midst of misery. It is not mere rollicking, the surface froth of high spirits. It is deeper than these things. Joy is not the opposite to sorrow, the one does not exclude the other. In Christian thought joy is something which is beneath all life, an undertone of optimism, resting upon the assurance that God is God, and that Christ is in all human life. As the hymn says, “I’ve found a joy in sorrow.” Both may be in the heart at the same time. When Jesus spoke of His joy, and His desire that it should remain in His disciple, He was passing through what seemed the darkest hours of His life. He appeared to have been beaten finally, He was to be killed on the morrow, and well He knew it! But even “that dark betrayal night” could not stop the flow of His joy.

So we shall not be traitorous to those who are suffering so much for us if we hold out our hearts to catch the Christmas joy this year. War without the Christmas message of hope would be dreadful indeed, unrelieved horror. What if Christ had not come! But He did come, and the world is under His care, and therefore we must look at everything in the light of that fact. Christ who was born at Bethlehem is in the world still, He is here as a regenerating power, as a saving and healing presence. Wherefore let us lift up our heads, and though our Christmas may be calmer, let it be none the less joyful, for did not He say “that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full?”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Urgent need for extra beds for wounded soldiers

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital patriotically decided to abandon serving private patients in order to accommodate the wounded.

14th December 1917

Letter to War Office.

The Hon Secretary stated that he had written to the War Office as decided at the last meeting re cot cases being sent to the Hospital & suggesting that the Hospital be re-attached to Cliveden, and further that a communication had been received stating that the Hospital had been so re-attached.

Discontinue Entry of Private Patients. Additional beds for Soldiers.

During the meeting an officer having called and stated that there was urgent need for extra beds for wounded soldiers, the Board decided on the proposition of the Rev. T. Lewis, seconded by Mr. Waldron, that for the time being, while the need lasts, that the entry of Private-Patients into the Hospital shall be discontinued, and that an extra bed be put up in the new Men’s Ward giving 4 beds available, further that if the out patient department be required, nine beds could be placed there, but that at present the Hospital had not sufficient beds or furniture for the purpose.

It was proposed by Mr. Fry & seconded by Capt. Metcalfe, & carried, that the Hon Secretary be asked to write to the Adjutant at Cliveden to the above effect.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, pp. 350-351)

Farms willing to have women workers

Florence Vansittart Neale and Miss Dane continued to work on the initiative to get more women in farmwork.

5 December 1917

Miss Dane & I dropped Henry at Maidenhead, then on to Holyport. Miss Coatt saw nice old farmer – no good. Then visited our farms about women on the land – all willing to have them. Home for lunch. Sent Miss D. to Hurley farmers after lunch.

America declares war on Austria.

Russian terms for Armistice!!

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

Sympathy for the loss of a young man of great promise and amiability

Worshippers at Maidenhead Congregational Church sent Christmas gifts out to their young men at the front.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Those who knew George Whitmill will be able to sympathise the more keenly with his parents in their sorrow. He was a young man of great promise and amiability, and a keen student. He was a member of Mr. Heywood’s Bible Class in the Institute. He was killed at the front on October 30th. We offer our tenderest Christian sympathies to his friends.

Victor Anderson is in hospital at Sheffield suffering from “trench fever.” Reginald Hill is back at Shheffield, and is to undergo another, and we trust the last, of a weary series of operations. Donald Lindsay and Percy Lewis have been home on leave.

Christmas parcels have already been sent out to our lads in the Mediterranean Forces, and the others will be forwarded very shortly. Miss Hearman and Miss Nicholls have been good enough to undertake the considerable task of the purchase and packing of these parcels.

Letters also of greeting from the Church will be sent to all our men. The minister will be grateful for addresses corrected up to date. Boxes are to be placed at the doors on Sundays, December 2nd and 9th, to receive contributions towards the cost, which amounts to about £6.

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1917 (D/N33/12/1/5)

Hoping “the streets of Jerusalem may be at peace, under the guard of Christian soldiers drawn mainly from our British race”

The assistant clergyman who was the minister at St Peter’s, Furze Platt, in the parish of Maidenhead St Luke, became an army chaplain in 1916.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

Alas, we lose Mr. Sellors on November 29th. He goes to Aldershot and thence to Salonica. Our prayers and good wishes go with him. I know that in the difficult interregnum that will follow his departure, I can count upon your loyal support, and that the St. Peter’s Church Committee will do all that is possible to keep things up in Furze Platt. Your loyal support has, I know, never failed me in similar (all too frequent) difficulties, which are much magnified by the War.

Lastly, may I hope that we all may have a happy and peaceful Christmas; and that when we meet, very many of us round the Altar on that day, Bethlehem, still a little Christian City, may be again in Christian hands; and the streets of Jerusalem may be at peace, under the guard of Christian soldiers drawn mainly from our British race.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar
C.E.M. FRY

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