Alas! glorious victories cost precious lives!

There was news of several Maidenhead men, one of whom had paid the ultimate price while taking part in an important operation.

OUR SOLDEIRS.

Reginald Hill is at a Convalescent Home, but he has not quite done with the Hospital yet. However, he hopes to say farewell to his friends at Sheffield in a month or so. Ernest Bristow has not yet been able to make the promised move to Cliveden, apparently because there has been a slight set-back in the healing process. But he is in excellent spirits. Harold Islip is in Hospital in France, suffering from a slight attack of trench fever. He expects shortly to return to England to be trained for a Commission. Wilfrid Collins has returned to Canada. Cecil Meade has been invalided home from Salonika, with a touch of malaria. He is reporting himself immediately, but does not expect to return to the East. Benjamin Gibbons is out of hospital again, and has been sent to Ireland. Herbert Brand has been gazetted 2nd Lieut. in the Staffordshires. Alfred Vardy went over to France at the beginning of April. Harry Baldwin has been home on leave, and anticipates being sent on active service (naval) very shortly. Wallace Mattingley, after a year’s training at Sandhurt, has received a Commission in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

We deeply regret to record the death of Arthur Ada, who was killed in the attack upon Zeebrugge on the night of Monday, April 22nd. Alas! glorious victories cost precious lives! We sympathise deeply with his sorrowing friends and relatives. There will be a touch of pride and admiration in the recollection of him when the manner of his death is recalled. It is said that before the operation actually took place everyone was informed quite clearly of the risk, but that no one backed out. The body was brought to Maidenhead for burial, and after a service in the Baptist Chapel (where Mr. Ada was organist), conducted by Revs. T. W. Way and T. F. Lewis, the interment was made at the Cemetery. Mr. Ada at one time contemplated offering himself for Missionary service.

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

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“If soldiers at the front began to lose heart, they could no longer stand up amid the discomfort and the nerve-racking horrors”

The arrival of spring was hoped to raise morale.

THE PROMISE OF MAY.

There seems a peculiar and special joy this year in the return of May, and some of us wish the old May-day customs were still alive, that we might have gone and danced around a Maypole. Some of our depressing conditions may remain, but winter has gone at last, the dark and bleak winter, and the wind is in a warmer quarter, the glints of sunshine fall upon the grass, and the imprisoned leaves have burst out. And all this ought to help us to keep up heart.Few things are more important.

If soldiers at the front began to lose heart, they could no longer stand up amid the discomfort and the nerve-racking horrors, to face their great task. There is therefore no more important news which war correspondents bring to us than that which concerns the spirits of the men, the morale, as the term is.

The people at home, too, must take pains to keep up heart. We need to re-inforce our spirits, to maintain the mood of confident expectation, to consider again and again what great reasons we have for certainty that God is upon our side. And we ought to take full advantage of the glory of nature which God has sent for our healing and delight, the tender beauty of the spring, the pageant of summer. Let these things be a parable to us of God’s never-failing mercies. Let us hear them say to us that with such a God despondency is folly. If we are depressed, He rebukes us with His May.

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

“The increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced”

The County Council was affected by several war-related matters.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

PRISONERS OF WAR

An application has been received from the Committee of the Rifle Brigade Prisoners of War Help Fund, asking if the Council would consent to regularly contribute to the Fund for the benefit of the men belonging to the County who are prisoners of war.

The Finance Committee make no recommendation.

Report of Highways and Bridges Committee to Finance and General Purposes Committee, 30 April 1918

TYLE MILL BRIDGE

At the request of the Road Board, the Committee have undertaken the work of strengthening Tyle Mill Bridge sufficiently to take the loads of timber from the Canadian Forestry Corps Camp at Ufton to Tyle Mill Siding. Skilled labour is being supplied by Messrs J K Cooper & Sons of Maidenhead, who are carrying out the work with the approval of the Road Board, payment to be made on a percentage basis. The Canadian Forestry Corps is providing the reminder of the labour and other facilities. The cost of the work will be refunded to the Council by the Road Board.

Report of Public Health and Housing Committee to F&GP, 30 April 1918

ABINGDON HOSPITAL

The Committee have had under consideration as scheme for the provision of additional accommodation at the Tuberculosis Hospital, Abingdon, which is urgently required, mainly for the treatment of discharged soldiers and sailors belonging to Berkshire….

It is pointed out that the cost of the scheme would be considerably in excess of the £150 per head which the Local Government Board fixed in pre-war times as the maximum to which their grant would then apply, but the increase is of course due entirely to the greatly enhanced cost of labour and materials since the war commenced.

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

Both scout and cadet training should form part of the ordinary curriculum

Berkshire teenagers, whether they were still at school or had left to start work at 14, were encouraged to undertake semi-military training in cadet corps.

The following letters have been referred to us for consideration, viz:

9/3/18, from the Secretary of the County Territorial Association to the Secretary of the Berks Education Committee.
23/3/18, from General Sir R Scallon (Director General’s Department, War Office) to the said Association.
2/4/18, from General Sir H Sclater (GOC in C Southern Command) to the same.

The general effect of these letters is as follows, viz: The
Education Committee are specifically asked:

To give official recognition to the Cadet Companies already raised in the County Boys’ Schools of Windsor and Maidenhead, both of which units are recognised by the War Office and are affiliated to the 4th Royal Berks Regiment.

(Note – It is to be noted that the only other cadet units so recognised by the War Office as operating in the county are The Douai Cadet Company, affiliated to the 4th Royal Berks, and the 2nd and 4th Oxford Cadet CLB Battalions, both affiliated to the KRR. The Reading Cadet Company, affiliated to the 4th Royal Berks, is also mentioned as recognised, but this unit draws its recruits from the Borough rather than the County area.)

To urge upon other school masters the importance of raising cadet companies “in the schools throughout the County”.

It is, further, strongly recommended that a Committee should be formed in the County (Sir Robert Scallon suggesting that the Education Committee should undertake the formation of it) with a view to the development of the cadet movement. This Committee would be composed of the Director of Education (i.e. the Education Secretary), of leading gentlemen in the County who are interested in the movement, of employers of boy labour, of the secretary and representative of the Territorial Association, and of representatives of the volunteers and of labour interests. The functions of the Committee would be the encouragement and co-ordination of cadet corps, boy scouts, wolf cubs, and similar organisations, and would also have regard to boys outside any existing organisation. The Committee would not interfere with existing units. Sir H Sclater remarks that a Committee of this kind has been formed for Worcestershire and that it is doing excellent work.

It is pointed out that “the cadet movement is not a military one”, the aim being “the improvement both in character and physique of the boys”. Organised games should form a large part of the training.
Boys, it is considered by the War Office, should be encouraged to be scouts until aged 14 or 15; they should be cadets until 17, when “they might join Section C or the Volunteers if they are so willing”. Scouts wishing to be cadets need not cease to be scouts.
With regard to secondary schools, the writers suggest that both scout and cadet training should form part of the ordinary curriculum; also that school units should as a rule be grouped together, and not form part of either an adult unit nor of a cadet corps composed of boys who have ceased to attend school.
Corps composed of several school units should come together for the yearly Battalion camp, and be under the command of a suitably qualified man, whether a military officer or not.

We are not clear what “official recognition” of existing cadet companies would imply, or what expenditure by the Local Authority would be involved, or how far this could be legally incurred. Moreover, we are disposed to think that any recognition afforded to cadets should be available for scouts…

The Local Education Authority have no authority over secondary schools not maintained by them. Of boys’ schools so maintained, Wallingford School is the only one without a cadet unit. We recommend that the question of the formation of a cadet company at that school be brought to the notice of the governors with a view to their favourable consideration.

We think that such a Committee as is suggested might do good spade-work locally… Whether the Education Committee should take the lead in this matter, or whether it should be left to the Territorial Association is a matter for consideration. On the whole, having regard to the facts that the cadet movement is definitely non-military and that the Local Education Authority is likely to have increasing opportunities of keeping in touch with the lads, the advantages of the former course seems to us to be greater. On the other hand, the work, if taken over by the Education Committee, must eventually throw greater burdens on a depleted and overworked staff, and the suggested constitution of the proposed committee hardly seems to secure to the Local Education Authority such a voice in the proceedings as would be necessary if public money, assigned for educational purposes, is to be expended.

Report of Cadet Training Sub-committee to Berkshire Education Committee, 27 April 1918 (C/CL/C1/1/21)

The best results are obtained only by getting into touch with the men personally

Thousands of wounded or sick troops had now returned home. the nation owed them support for their service. Some needed medical help, others re-training for new occupations, or help finding jobs.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that they have been notified of approximately 2,524 disabled soldiers and sailors discharged into the county. Of the cases now entered upon the Register, which exclude those being investigated, the numbers specifying disabilities are as follows:

Amputation of leg or foot 51
Amputation of arm or hand 34
Other wounds or injuries to leg or foot 353
Other wounds or injuries to arm or hand 147
Other wounds or injuries to head 69
Other wounds or injuries 192
Blindness and other eye affections 77
Heart diseases 217
Chest complaints 93
Tuberculosis 101
Deafness and affections of the ear 72
Rheumatism 151
Epilepsy 37
Neurasthenia 47
Other mental affections 31
Other disabilities 532

Of this number all have been provided with a Medical Attendant [i.e. a doctor] under the National Health Insurance Act, and special treatment, including the supply or repair of artificial limbs and surgical appliances, has been provided in accordance with the recommendations of Military Authorities, Medical Boards or ordinary medical Attendants.

From the 1 April 1917, 280 cases have received Institutional treatment – both in and out-patient – at Military Hospitals, Civil Hospitals, Sanatoria, Cottage Hospitals or Convalescent Homes.
The total number of tuberculous soldiers and sailors to date is 101, and of these 72 have received Institutional treatment within the County under the County Scheme and three have received Institutional treatment outside the County Scheme. This treatment is provided through the County Insurance Committee.

The Committee has assisted with Buckinghamshire War Pensions Committee in the provision of a new wing for Orthopaedic Treatment at the King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor. This, which was urgently needed, and will be of the greatest benefit to men in that part of the county, will be opened in the course of two or three weeks. The Committee has also been instrumental with the Buckinghamshire Committee in obtaining the approval of the Minister of Pensions to a proposed Scheme for the provision, equipment, and establishment of a special hospital for totally disabled soldiers and sailors at Slough and an assurance from the Ministry of adequate fees for maintenance thereof. Her Royal Highness Princess Alice is forming a provisional Committee, and we have every hope that the proposed arrangements will e speedily carried into effect.
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All day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation

St. Peter’s Day of Intercession

St. Peter’s kept Wednesday, April 17th, as a Day of Intercession for the War. There were 47 Communicants at the 7 a.m. celebration, and a great gathering of residents and workers of Furze Platt for the Intercessions at 1.45, and again at 7 p.m., and all day without a break people were in Church praying that God would guide and strengthen our nation and our men, and grant us a righteous and lasting peace.

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

Ordered to France at once

A young Maidenhead soldier would have his leave extended as he managed to catch an infectious disease while home on leave.

King Street School, Maidenhead
16th April 1918

Mrs Trace had leave of absence for the afternoon as her husband is ordered to France at once.

Mrs Bland’s Infant School, Burghfield
April 16th 1918.

Bertie West absent owing to the fact that his brother who is a soldier is home on leave and has contracted German measles.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 418); and Mrs Bland’s Infant School, Burghfield (86/SCH/1/1, p. 235)

The cost of attendance on soldiers in hospital

A Maidenhead hospital needed government funds to help pay for the additional staff needed to help wounded soldiers.

12th April 1918

Extra Probationer & Maid.
The action of the Hon Secy. & Matron in engaging a Probationer and an Extra maid for attendance on the additional soldiers in the hospital was confirmed.”

Medical allowances for soldiers. The draft of a letter regarding the allowances made by Government to medical men for attendance on soldiers in hospital was read, and it was agreed it should be written & sent.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2, pp. 358-359)

Progressing as favourably as possible

There was news of some Maidenhead men.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Ernest Bristow is progressing as favourably as possible, and is hoping shortly to be moved nearer Maidenhead, or even to be allowed to come home. Benjamin Gibbons is much better, and has been moved to a Convalescent Home. Harold Islip is in training, in France, for a Commission. Fred Hearman has suffered a flesh wound in the arm, and is in Hospital at Bradford.

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

“The War Cloud looms still larger before our eyes”

The vicar of Maidenhead saw people being spurred by the war to religious commitment.

The Vicar’s letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

… The War Cloud looms still larger before our eyes, but, please God, this may be the crisis of the struggle. We all need to pray for steadfastness, both for our men abroad and ourselves. We must try to be growingly thoughtful one for another, the young as well as the old; and at home we ought to lend the Country all we can save, whether through War Saving Certificates or in some other way.

The Lent Services have been well attended; I hope Easter will have been the same. More and more those who have any character of their own, whether men or women, are being led to feel the need of God’s aid to quit them bravely in the trials and temptations of life.…

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

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

“Some of them still send letters from the fields of war to those who served them”

Maidenhead Congregational Church closed down the chome from home it had offered to soldiers in training.

THE CLUB ROOM.

The Schoolroom is a Soldiers’ Club Room no longer. For about 3½ years, with a brief interval, it has been the resting place, the writing room, the free library of the men in training. We may feel proud to have been able to render such a useful piece of service to those who felt keenly the lack of anything resembling the comforts of home life in a strange town.

When our ladies were present nightly to talk with them and bring them coffee, the men would frequently say that the Club Room did indeed seem like home, but with the abandonment of the refreshment tables, and the loss of its attendants, the atmosphere of the place inevitably became colder, and we did not know the men personally and by name as we did at first. But the habitués never stinted in the expression of their gratitude, and some of them still send letters from the fields of war to those who served them and made friends with them in the Club Room.

The premises look a little worn after their experiences, though we must not put down all dilapidations to the soldiers’ account. A little cleaning may be possible now, but anything like a thorough renovation must wait, like many other scheme, until après la guerre.

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

Such days as England never experienced before

The spring of 1918 saw a new onslaught at the front.

THE GERMAN FURY.

We have been passing through such days as England never experienced before. Defeat and disaster has seemed to be within measurable distance. If the British lines had been broken through, and the enemy had gained the coast; it is hard to see how we could have avoided surrender.

But through all our terrors and alarms we have never really believed that surrender was possible, not only because we trusted in the unconquerable British Army, but because we trusted in God. As the struggle lengthens out, and privations increase, our hope of endurance and final victory depends even more upon this flaming certainty, that this is the sacred cause of righteousness and God. We shall be traitors to heaven and earth if we allow war-weariness to abate our fixed resolve to continue to the end. Let us be quite sure that the end will be as we desire. It must be, because there is a justice immanent in things, and because God has bidden us defend the right. To leave our task half done would be to leave the world so shadowed by a great evil, that life would be monstrously burdened and spoiled, and happiness and rest for the nations would be impossible.

The nation is being called to still greater sacrifices, and every one of us must give his answer with a whole heart. Already there has been a wealth of sacrifice on all hands greater than we could have dreamed possible. Even we who thought best of our countrymen never guessed of the magnificent capacity for self-denial and service. And if more is demanded, shall we not all be ready? Whatever it is, economy in food or dress, or the rendering of such services in any form as may be in our power, or the brave bearing of the long strain, we must realise that our little counts, and that we shall never respect ourselves again if we do not play our part well now.

Almost every preacher during this Eastertide seems to have likened the anguish of the nation to Christ’s Gethsemane and sacrifice. Surely the resemblance is a real one. If we take it aright, the whole strife and agony of the nation to-day is of a piece with the cross of Christ. Christ’s cross was a voluntary suffering for the advantage of the race. And if we will consciously take it so, our suffering is a willing burden and anguish for the sake of the world and its peace. All those who have willingly risen up and taken arms against the monstrous scourge that threatens us, though some of them had perhaps little thought of religion, are really fighting in Christ’s cause against Antichrist.

And let those who believe in prayer pray. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world knows of.” Shall not the need of to-day teach us to pray with new faith and insistency? So let us pass through these days of pain as Christians should, in the trust that God is, that God sees, that God works, that right is right, and that right is might.

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

“He was looking worn and depressed at his last leave”

There was news of a number of Maidenhead men, many wounded or ill. One had suffered a nervous breakdown.

OUR SOLDIERS.

Reginald Hill was able to pay a surprise visit of four days to his home, in the midst of his long and weary hospital experiences. He was looking well, considering all that he has borne, but he has one or two more operations yet to undergo. He spoke of a hope that he might be home shortly after Easter.

Ernest Bristow is progressing favourably, but the latest report that reached us spoke of another operation. He seems to be in excellent spirits.

Ben Gibbons is in hospital at Southall, suffering from debility. He was looking worn and depressed at his last leave, from which he had only got back to duty about a fortnight when he broke down and was sent to England, or rather (as we ought to say) Blighty.

Sydney Eastman is in hospital at Chatham, sent home for bronchitis. We may hope to see him shortly. The Medical Board decided that he could not stand the climate at the place where he was stationed.

W. Cleal is in hospital. No particulars known.

David Dalgliesh has received an appointment as Instructor at the Flying School at Winchester.

Hugh Lewis has been at home for a fortnight’s leave in excellent health.

Charles Catliff, too, has been home for his first leave; most of his time he spent at Bucklebury with his mother, who has been seriously ill.

Cyril Laker has had the thrilling experience of being torpedoed in the Mediterranean.

Herbert Brand has received a Commission, and when we last saw him was hoping to be attached to the 4th Berks.

Since the above was in type, a letter has been received from P.A. Eastman. He says:

“The mails where I came from have been very erratic, and some have been lost, including unfortunately the Christmas parcels. Davy Jones is now richer than all the other members of the great family of that name put together, to their and some other people’s impoverishment! ……

The medical authorities have thought it best to send me back after the first year out in the East; doubtless they have a reason. But I am glad to say I am now fairly fit, and hope to improve rapidly under the less trying conditions of English life. Very kind greetings to all West Street friends.”

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

No seating room

The influx of families fleeing air raids in London had reached the point at which BerKshire schools couldn’t cope any more:

18th March 1918
Four children from London sought admission this morning. As we cannot find seating room for the children in attendance, Mistress decided that these children must wait until after Easter, as there will then be a little more room when Standard I has been transferred to Gordon Rd. School.

Log book of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 417)

Our sorely-tried ally Serbia, unlike the new Republic of Russia, has remained faithful at great cost

Our ally Serbia was suffering in the fighting.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,-

This month I commend to your support all our Lenten Services, asking you specially to try to pay honour to our sorely-tried ally Serbia, a kingdom which, unlike the new Republic of Russia, has remained faithful at great cost to her old friend; by coming to hear the Rev. Father Nicolai Velimirovic at Evensong on March 17th, and giving generously to his appeal for the Serbian local Relief Fund…

Lastly, let us all pray for grace to persevere; the gift of perseverance is what we most need as a Church and a People in the present time.

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

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