“The imperfect supervision of the weak-minded, which has been one of the consequences of the War, may lead to a great national disaster”

Attitudes towards people with learning difficulties 100 years ago may seem uncomfortable today.

Report of Mental Deficiency Act Committee, 12 April 1919

The committee have received an important circular from the Board of Control, dated 8th March 1919, from which the following paragraphs are extracted:
“…
The Mental Deficiency Act had only been in operation for a few months when the outbreak of War and the concentration of the national energies and resources on War activities seriously hampered its administration. It is now of the first importance that full effect shall be given to its provisions….

The demobilisation of the Army and the return of industry to its normal course will bring serious dangers to light. So far as males are concerned, the majority of the mentally unfit have, during the War, been left amongst the general population, or have been discharged to civil life after a brief Army experience, as unfit to stand the strains of War. A fair percentage of these are congenital defectives whose potentialities for reproduction are unimpaired, and whose inability to perform the duties of parenthood properly is admitted. For this reason, and also as a precaution against the possible risk of transmission to their progeny of the parental defect, every effort should be made to deal promptly with such of them as become liable to be dealt with under the Mental Deficiency Act. The necessity for the existence of adequate measures for the protection of young defective women, on demobilisation, is obvious. Many such, owing to the present scarcity of labour, are now employed, but they will be the first to receive discharge, and the first to be thrown on their own resources, when more efficient labour is available, and the demand for female employment is reduced.

There is unfortunately no doubt that the imperfect supervision of the weak-minded, which has been one of the consequences of the War, has resulted in a substantial increase of venereal disease among the population, and that the provision of effective control is an essential and urgent step needed to avert a great national disaster…

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

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Poignant news

The tragic news had not yet stopped.

TILEHURST

Mr and Mrs Cane have lost their boy Norman, who after only 2 days at home following on his discharge entered on his last illness. Mrs Warner has received the news of her husband’s passing away at one of the hospitals in Cologne, news which has much poignancy in view of the expectancy of early release.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, March 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

The employment on light duty – wherever reasonably possible – of men discharged from the colours on medical grounds

Policemen returning from the armed forces were not to suffer for their service.

11 January 1919

REINSTATEMENT OF POLICE

A circular from the Secretary of State, Home Office, dated 21 November 1918, was read as to the employment on light duty – wherever reasonably possible – of men discharged from the colours on medical grounds who are below the standard of health required of candidates for appointment to the Police. In such cases where men who are drawing army pensions are so employed, they should be given the full pay appropriate to the work. Any reduction of pay on account of pension is inadmissible.

Chief Constable’s report…

PC 58, Giles, has been re-examined by the Police Surgeon after three months’ trial on light police duty, who certifies that he is fit for indoor work or to act as a chauffeur of motor car. As this Constable was wounded in the wrist by a gunshot wound when on military service, I propose, subject to your approval, to allow him to remain in the Force to carry out duties as recommended by the Police Surgeon, so long as he continues medically fit for such duties.
Approved.

The following Constables have been released from military service, and commenced, or will commence, Police duty as follows:

PC 180 Plumb 16 December 1918
PC 186 Newman 1 January 1919
PC 55 Sellwood 1 January 1919
PC 187 Hankins 1 January 1919
PC 4 Green 1 January 1919
PC 26 Rogers 1 January 1919
PC 29 Simmons 6 January 1919
PC 67 West 6 January 1919
PC 163 Hubbard 20 January 1919
PC 86 Tubb 20 January 1919

Steps will be taken for the re-attestment of all men who rejoin the Force after being employed on military or naval service.

I also recommend that men who rejoin this Force should be allowed to reckon their military or naval service not only towards approved service for purposes of Police Pension (as provided in the Police Emergency Acts) but also for promotion and allowances in the scale of pay, etc.

Approved.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

“The Buffs were smashed but our own line was intact”

Another of Sydney Spencer’s comrades made contact.

Hope Cottage
Baguley
Cheshire

23rd Decr 1918

Dear Mrs Image

I received your letter some days ago. As regards Sydney’s narrative I can add only a few particulars as I was hit the day the Boche attacked. I remember the strafe we got; Sydney had just relieved me and was in the front line when Johnny’s 27th Division attacked the Buffs on our right. The Buffs were smashed but our own line was intact. That evening (it was 6th Aug) we were told of the attack due on 8th, shortly afterwards I was hit and saw my last of Sydney and the others.

At present I am enjoying twelve days Xmas leave, and I hope that it will be my last leave. I expect to be discharged soon.

Thank you very much for your kind invitation. If ever I am in Cambridge I shall look you up.

You may rely on my doing my best to get any further information re Sydney that I can.

With best wishes for a Happy Xmas and New Year

I am
Yours sincerely

W I Dilworth

Letter of sympathy to Florence Image on the death of Sydney (D/EX801/81)

“Nothing that the war has brought me is anything to compare with your suffering, and no courage I have shewn, can compare with your superhuman endurance”

Florence Image reveals the strain it took to stay strong for her family in the face of Sydney’s death.

29, Boston Road
Cambridge

Oct. 29 1918

My own dear Stan

John says, “Are you writing to dear old Stanley? Then tell him his letters give me the greatest pleasure to read.” Well my darling, I do pray you will get some of our letters soon. I am getting yours so quickly – less than 3 weeks! I was dreadfully bothered about you. Do ask for leave. The infantry won’t know you have been 2 ¼ years without any. When you get back to your unit, beg the Colonel to grant you either (a) your overdue leave – or (b) sick leave with a view to discharge. Tell him how many times you have had malaria. Lloyd George promised you all leave in the spring. Last week the WO said they were granting leave as fast as possible – and again they assured the House of Commons that something like 1500 had had leave recently from Salonika – I enclose a cutting. But I hope the Min. of Inform. Affair will come off soon, if the war isn’t over first. I do long to hear the story of what you did for your Captain darling.

I feel your letters acutely darling. If my letters seem prosaic and material it’s because I have had a tremendous strain on my emotions, and I hardly dare take out my thoughts and look at them at all – because I’ve got to keep well, & be strong for all your sakes. I’ve written reams on your account – and it’s for you & Gil, and to keep Mother & Father going, for your sake, and for Perce [sic] – as well as my beloved John – I’ve got to keep going – or rather keep the ship going – See? But of course nothing that the war has brought me is anything to compare with your suffering, and no courage I have shewn, can compare with your superhuman endurance. My only struggle is not just to keep myself going – but to keep the ship going – do you understand? And so I am the most extraordinary creature apparently. I haven’t cried about Syd – and every time dear John attempts to be even sad about it – I am quite firm & cross. In fact it’s carry on – carry on – carry on – all the while – and snub every gust of longing or regret, love & hatred (like you I get awful fits of hatred as well as love) and save up all your energy for the end of the war and the radiant return to the old order – for you the front bedroom of a sunny warm day – with [Tobit?] – when the war is over. I’ll burst – and then you’ll be astonished at all I say. I get madder & amdder & madder with those who have not been wrenched up by the roots in this war. “Why cumbereth it the ground?”

Well, this is an ugly letter. It’s all imported rage with those who don’t dream what you in Salonika endure – and if they did wouldn’t dream what you in particular endure. But I do – and meanwhile I am trying to get you some light books to carry. I have ordered Andrew Marvell, and hope to get it in a week. His poems. Do you want his Satires too? And have you got a Bible? And do express any other longing you have. What you tell me of Heine & Goethe is so interesting. I’d no idea they had the taint. Tell me one or two nice things you would like to beautify your dust-bins out there. I do hope you will get the parcel with biscuits I sent you.

I heard yesterday that Syd has been awarded the Military Cross for what he did on Aug. 8th, and am vain-glorious enough to be glad, because he told me before he was killed, he was recommended for it, and was very pleased, because of the pleasure he knew it would confer on us…

Your own loving
Flongy

Have you plenty of shirts etc?

Letter from Florence Image to her brother Stanley Spencer (D/EX801/110)

Think seriously about praying for our country

All Saints’ District

We feel sure all our readers would wish to join us in offering our deepest sympathy to Admiral and Mrs. Fleet in the loss of their only child, Major Aylmer Louis Fleet; and also to Mr. Burnham in the loss of his only son Geo. Burnham. Both killed in action in France. – R.I.P.

S. Saviours District
R.I.P.

Amongst those who have lately laid down their lives for their country is Tom Downey, who lived with Mr. and Mrs. W. Wells, 77 Field Road, to whom we tender our sincere sympathy.

Alfred Frances Holder, who died on the 16th, was a discharged soldier and had been fighting against his sickness for a long time. His family have many who sympathize with them in their bereavement.

S. Marks District
War Intercessions

Is it not possible for some, who for various reasons have not made the effort to come and plead before the Throne of Grace, the needs of our Country and people, at the week-day War Intercession Wednesdays, 8 p.m., Fridays 3 p.m., to think seriously about this matter and come to at least one of these short services.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

The special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services

The Government wanted ex-servicemen to get first choice of jobs where possible.

EMPLOYENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS

The Local Government Board have forwarded a communication from the Ministry of Pensions, in which the special claims of officers and men, disabled by war service, to employment in the Local Public Services when suitable vacancies arise, are urged. The Ministry suggest that preference should be accorded to disabled men (subject to reinstatement of former employees) when vacancies occur on the clerical, technical, or manual staffs of Local Authorities, and also call attention to the claims of young men between 18 and 21 returning from military service in connection with the recruitment of juniors for the administrative and clerical staffs.

WAR CHARITIES

The Sub-committee appointed for the purpose have dealt with the following applications for certificates of registration and exemption under the War Charities Act, 1916:

No of certificate Name of charity Applicants
58 Hungerford and District Red Cross Agricultural Relief of Allies Fund John C Adnams, Hungerford

Exemption to 8 June, 1918
7 Lance-Corporal Pounds, Prisoner of War Mrs K G Hanley, Forbury, Kintbury

Report of Berkshire County Council Finance Committee, 15 October 1918 (C/CL/1/21)

Mentioned in the Gazette again

News of Burghfield men.

THE WAR

Honour
Lt-Col. H A Anderson, CMG, RAMC, again mentioned (Gazette of 3rd Sept.)

Casualties

W H Lay (Sapper RE), killed in action, August, 1918; Sidney Keep (1st Royal Berks), wounded, August, 1918.

Discharge
J S Rance (Royal Navy, HMS Rocket), 11th July, 1918, neurasthenia.

Burghfield parish magazine, October 1918 (D/EX725/4)

Victory over our brutal enemy is within sight

October

We purpose [sic] holding our Harvest Thanksgiving Services on the first Sunday in October [6 October]. Owing to War conditions we shall not be able to make our decorations as elaborate as in normal years; but if we do what we can in the right spirit to the glory of God, our efforts will be acceptable in His sight. This year we have especial reason to acknowledge His mercies, for we have practically passed out of the peril of a food crisis, although it is still incumbent upon us to be as careful and provident as possible. And while we thank Him for the Harvest we shall also be thanking Him with fervent hearts for the successes He has vouchsafed us and our Allies on the Western and Eastern Fronts. …

November

Our Harvest Thanksgiving on October 6 was a very happy festival …

This year our thanksgiving for the harvest was deepened by the thankfulness for the many and great successes recently vouchsafed to our forces and those of our Allies in the different theatres of war. At length it would certainly seem that we are getting to the end of the long lane, and that victory over our brutal enemy is within sight; we have no wish to be vindictive in the punishment of Germany, but we and the Allies must see to it that her punishment shall be adequate to her guilt. An American statesman put the case very well the other day when he said that, while justice without mercy is unChristian, so is mercy that forgets justice also unChristian….

The decoration of the church was less elaborate this year than on former occasions, but in the opinion of everyone it was very beautiful… For the general decoration of the church our Squire, Mr Heatley Noble, granted us the help of that estimable ex-soldier Mr William Charlton, and it is enough for us to say that his injuries received in war in no way hindered him from carrying the whole work through with real skill and taste.

Remenham parish magazine, October and November 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

Arrest of escaped German Prisoners of War

The Standing Joint Committee heard how Berkshire policemen had helped to recapture escaped PoWs.

5 October 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE’S REPORT

Arrest of Escaped German Prisoners of War

Two German Prisoners of War, who escaped from Bramley Camp on 4 September, were arrested at Woolhampton by PC 117, Brooks, assisted by Special Constable Charles Taplin and two civilians.

Another, who escaped from the same Camp on 5 September, was captured by PC 64, Holloway, at Maidenhead Thicket.

The War Office Authorities, to mark their appreciation of the services rendered, sent a reward of £5, viz £1 for each of the Constables and civilians who assisted, and I have, under the circumstances, allowed them to receive the same.
Approved.

PC 158 Giles Rejoining Force

PC 158, Giles, who joined the Army on 6 December 1915, under the terms of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, has been discharged from the Army as medically unfit for further military service in consequence of his left wrist being injured by a gunshot wound.

He rejoined the Force on 1 September, 1918, and has been given indoor work for the present, on the understanding that he will be medically re-examined in three months’ time by the Police Surgeon to see of there is any probability of his being fit for further Police duty.
Approved.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

At home awaiting discharge after severe wounds

There was news of Ascot men.

Since our last issue news has been received that both Victor Ednie and Arthur Francis are prisoners and unwounded, while Percy Mortimer has been reported missing, and Ernest Collet severely wounded. Fred Talbot is at home awaiting discharge after his severe wounds.

Congratulations to J. Ferns on his promotion to a Commission in the Royal Navy.

Ascot section of Winkfield and Warfield Magazine, September 1918 (D/P 151/28A/10/8)

“Surely he has earned his discharge!”

oMaidenhead men had mixed fortunes, but some had returned home after severe wounds.

At the time of writing, Reginald Hill is in Ireland, waiting for decision of his medical board concerning his future. Surely he has earned his discharge! John Bolton, Percy Lewis, Harry Baldwin, Ernest Mead, and George Frampton, have been home on leave, all in sound health and good spirits. Ernest Bristow is at the Red Cross Hospital, Marlow Road, suffering from a slight set-back in the healing process. David Dalgliesh is expecting to return any day to active service in France. Ernest Saunders has been discharged. He received an injury to his skull in some blasting operations in Italy. Alex Edwards is out of hospital, and is back to his old post.

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

Ordinary men and boys who have paid the extraordinary personal price

A new London hospital helped badly injured soldiers.

Wounded Soldiers

Miss Sinclair sends the following description of the Manor Orthopaedic Hospital, North End Road, Hampstead, which is the scene of her new work:-

“This Hospital is for the after treatment of discharged men from the army. Any man who has been a soldier and who in the opinion of his own doctor, would benefit by special expert treatment, can come to it, recommended by his own doctor, through the Pension Board. Everything in the Hospital is done for the patients but no one is accepted whose case is hopeless.

The Hospital is just starting and is growing at a wonderful rate, but it cannot grow quickly enough and there is a long waiting list.

These men are in their own clothes, many of them shabby and poor. But they stand for England’s Liberty, for the Liberty of the world, if they had not come out at the first call where would we be today? Where would all our homes be? They are ordinary men and boys. But they have paid the extraordinary personal price, which we have not paid, and can only pay by looking after them, and teaching the children to remember what they owe to the wounded men.

We have to thank the Surgical Dressings Society for coming quickly to our aid and for sending us promptly many beautiful gifts, to help meet the growing necessities of the Hospital wards, where we have so little, the help is enormously appreciated, and most of the articles sent are already in use.

Wargrave men can be sent here for treatment, our patients come from everywhere”.

Wargrave parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Efficiency and gallantry

A Burghfield doctor was commended for his contributions.

Honours and promotions

2nd Lieut. F Wheeler (King’s Liverpool Regiment), before being taken prisoner (see last month’s magazine) won 1st Prize Bayonet Fighting (Officers) in the First Army Corps; Sergeant E Cooke (Royal West Surrey Regiment) to be Sergeant Instructor, April 1918.

Casualties

2nd Lieut. T Warner (RAF), flying accident, Salisbury Plain; Private Stretcher-bearer Albert Painter (Royal Berks Regiment), missing since 21st March, now reported died. Company Sergeant Major Albert Manners (17th Lancers) died 10th July in hospital (gastric complaint). Sergeant Manners served through the South African War, and through the present war. Private T Searies (Royal Berks Regiment), wounded (doing well).

Discharge

Private Frank J Cooke (Worcester Regiment), 24th July (heart).

Lt-Col. Anderson

Lt-Col. H S Anderson, RAMC, who is the brother of Mr W C F Anderson of Hermit’s Hill, and who is himself on the Burghfield Electoral Register, was in the New Year’s list of honours, and received the CMG. His name also appeared in the Gazette of February 8th among those who had been “brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War by the Army Council, for very valuable services rendered in connection with the war, up to 31st December 1917”.

HRH the Duke of Connaught, on his visit to the Citadel, Cairo, invested him with the Order at the Hospital which is under his charge. Among such services may particularly be mentioned those in connection with the “Britannic”. Col. Anderson was in command of all the medical staff and hospital arrangement of the huge vessel during several voyages out and home, with marked efficiency, and was on board when she was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Greece. For his gallantry and conduct on this occasion he received especial thanks and mention.

Burghfield parish magazine, August 1918 (D/EX725/4)

On a football field in France

Old Boys from St Bartholomew’s Grammar School in Newbury shared their news.

Several letters have come our way from O.N.’s, among them being one J. Allee, who wants to know if there are any other O.N.’s in Palestine, where he is serving as a Captain in the A.S.C., as he has seen no one but Brooks since he has been there, for nearly three years. He seems rather disappointed with Jerusalem, but says that the country around the Dead Sea and the Jordan was well worth seeing, the hills being ablaze with flowers.

H. Pappin, in another letter, tells how he met Newman on the football field in France, where they both had been picked for the same team, the latter recognising Pappin’s name in the list. There seems a favourite place of recognition, for it was in Egypt that Pappin met Hobbs and Beard under similar circumstances. He has been running his battery team, “The Lily Whites,” all the winter, a combination in which what is lacking in science is made up with enthusiasm.

Two most interesting letters have come to us from F. W. Taylor and W. H. Bradfield. The former, who is serving with the Nigeria Regiment at Zungeru, has met our plea for an article by saying that he is writing a Grammar of the Fulani Language, but promises to do his best; while Bradfield, who is with the R.F.A. in France, is in the thick of the present heavy fighting.

J. J. Hurrell, who left the N.G.S. for Bradfield College, in 1913, has just passed through Sandhurst and goes into the Indian Army in September.

A double good fortune is the lot of D. W. Rosling, who is serving at Salonica; for simultaneously with his majority comes the following announcement: May 28th, at Cambray House, Carmarthen, to Florence, wife of Major D. W. Rosling, The King’s Liverpool Regiment, the gift of a son. – Congratulations.

We also have to congratulate two O.N.’s on their marriages; Lieut. E. J. Widle, T.M.B., to Miss Daphne Collette, at St John’s Church, Oxford; and Henry Hoskings, 1st Life Guards, to Miss Phyllis Richens, at St Anne’s, Westminster.

Our casualties are again heavy, though the proportion of wounded is, as last term, small. A. B. V. Brown and I. C. Davidson are both in hospital in England, after having been gassed, while A.L. Sandbach has been discharged through his wounds, after an exciting career. Volunteering for service on the outbreak of hostilities in Africa, he served against German West Africa, under Botha, in Greyling’s Commando, where he was one of the sole two white men serving. German West having been quelled, he returned to his civil duties, but soon after answered the call for men for German East. This time he joined the 2nd South African Horse, with whom he saw some hard fighting, on one occasion having his horse shot from under him. He was promoted to Sergeant and served for about three months longer, after which time he was hit in the thigh by shrapnel at Germinston, with the result as stated that he has been invalided out, returning to his work at Johannesburg. By a curious coincidence, each of these in this branch of the list is an old Victor Ludorum, Sachbach having also tied with Evers for a second year, while the dates of Brown and Davidson respectively, are those immediately preceding the War.

I. K. Fraser, whom we reported as having been wounded, in our last number, has so far recovered as to be able to pay us a visit towards half term. He is looking remarkably fit in spite of all.
Congratulations to G. W. Hall on his Mention in Sir Douglas Haig’s last despatch, and also to J. Allee on his mention in General Allenby’s.

John Cannon has been transferred from the A.S.C. to the 1st Somerset Light Infantry, and is now in the trenches.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), July 1918 (N/D161/1/8)