Strike menace stopped

Unrest eased at home, while the situation in defeated Hungary continued to worry the allies.

28 March 1919

Strike menace stopped. Railway & miners accept terms, also transport. Coal scarce in London.

Allied troops to go to Hungary.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

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Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war

THE COAL CRISIS

In view of the serious coal shortage, Sir Guy Calthrop, the Coal Controller, makes the following urgent appeal:

“The country is faced with a serious shortage, and I appeal to clergymen of all denominations to do their utmost to bring the facts to the notice of their parishioners and congregations, with the view to enlisting the services of every man, woman and child in this country in one united effort to save coal.

Coal is the key industry of Great Britain and the Allies, and the outlook today is very much more serious than is generally realised. The causes of the shortage are:

1. The call to the Colours of 75,000 miners to meet the peril of the German offensive in March; and
2. The almost complete stoppage of the mines in Northern France as a result of the German advance in the West.

Coal is the source of power; it makes gas, electricity and steam. It drives the ships and it drives the trains.

The coal of England must be shared with our Allies – France, Italy and America. It helps to carry the American Army to France. It helps them to move their army while in France, and it keeps their soldiers warm.

It is sold to neutrals to buy shipping to bring American troops over and is exchanged for food which would otherwise go to Germany.

Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war. Coal burned in a house in excess of absolute need is power wasted. It is, therefore, the duty of every one to save coal, because to save coal is to save lives.”


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

To save coal is to save lives

The patriotic were urged to make every effort to save fuel.

THE COAL CRISIS.

At the request of the Controller of Coal Mines we bring the following facts to the notice of our readers in the confidence that we shall all do our best to help our country in this particular need:-

Coal is the very key industry of Great Britain and the Allies, and the outlook to-day is very much more serious than is generally realised. The causes of the shortage are:-

1. The call to the Colours of 75,000 miners to meet the peril of the German offensive in March; and
2. The almost complete stoppage of the mines in Northern France as a direct result of the German advance in the West.

Coal is the source of power; it makes gas, electricity and steam. It drives the ships and it drives the trains.

The coal of England must be shared with our Allies – France, Italy, and America. It helps them to move their army while in France and it keeps their soldiers warm.

It is sold to neutrals to buy shipping to bring American troops over and is exchanged for food which would otherwise go to Germany.

Coal is the source of power wanted to end of the war. Coal burned in a house in excess of absolute need is power wasted. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone to save coal, because to save coal is to save lives.

HOW TO SAVE COAL.

Mix coke with it; a third of coke will have no bad effect upon the fire.

Use fire bricks to reduce the size of the grate, or have a false bottom fitted.

Put the poker out of the way. Never let a fire burn fiercely. Use the small coal to damp down the large.

Keep your pans and kettles clean outside as well as inside. Dirt and soot absorb and waste heat.

Never use gas for cooking when the kitchen fire is alight. Do not light the kitchen fire for cooking when you can use gas instead.

Take out the electric light bulbs that are only a temptation. Put in smaller bulbs and smaller gas burners where less light will serve.

Never mend a fire late at night Take the coal off when you go to bed. Save the cinders.

Burn all your rubbish. Remember the dustbin often contains a supply of fuel of sorts. The kitchen fire will burn all sorts of fuel.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

Donations received: Miss Bowyer 10/-, Miss Gilmore 3/6, Miss Bradley 2/6.

Things made: 4 white shirts, 12 pairs pants, 11 cushion covers, 14 treasure bags, 11 face cloths, 1 muffler, 1 pair gloves.

Reading St. John parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

A race with winter

Coal shortages were a major challenge to the nation.

The Vicar’s Notes

The Coal Crisis (Appeal to Clergymen)

In view of the serious coal shortage, Sir Guy Calthorp, the Coal Controller, makes the following urgent appeal to clergymen of all denominations.

“ The country is faced with a serious coal shortage, and I appeal to clergymen of all denominations to do their utmost to bring the facts to the notice of their parishioners and congregations, with the view to enlisting the services of every man, woman and child in this country in one united effort to save coal.

“Coal is the key industry in Great Britain and the allies, and the outlook today is very much more serious than is generally realized. The Causes of the shortage are:-

1. The call to the Colours of 75,000 miners to meet the peril of the German offensive in March; and

2. The almost complete stoppage of the mines in Northern France as a direct result of the German advances in the west.

“Coal is the source of power; it makes gas, electricity and steam. It
drives the ships and drives the trains.

“The coal of England must be shared with our Allies – France, Italy and America. It helps to carry the American Army to France. It helps them to move their army while in France and it keeps their Soldiers warm.

“It is sold to neutrals to buy shipping to bring American troops over in exchange for food which would otherwise go to Germany.

“Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war. Coal burnt in a house is excess of absolute need is power wasted. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone to save coal, because to save coal is to save lives.

“Except among the poorest houses, there will not be a dwelling in Great Britain this winter with as much coal as it would like to burn. Self-denial is called for.

“England to-day is short of 36,000,000 tons of coal. By the system of household rationing we hope to save 9,000,000 tons of coal.

“Twenty-seven million tons, therefore, remain still to be found. This deficit can be reduced not made good only if miners get more coal and if householders use less than their ration. Even then the supplies of coal to industrial works will be short.

“This will mean that the woollen manufacturers, pottery manufacturer’s fabric dyers, bleachers, and others may have their business seriously curtailed, and their workpeople consequently must suffer.

“Notwithstanding economies already made in these directions, we are still on the danger line, and the facts cannot be too insistently and too often brought to the notice of the people of this country.

“The stocks of our munition works are being eaten into, gas and electric companies are crying for coal to build up their stocks against the winter months. These stocks are not being accumulated at the present time; they are being drawn upon, and we have not been able to fulfil our coal obligations to our Allies.

“The miners’ leaders have promised to do their utmost to induce the men to increase the output, and the public are being asked to do their part in reducing the consumption of coal, coke, gas and electricity to a minimum.

“It is a race with winter. The miners and mine managers and owners can help the country to win through.

“Every consumer should try to manage on three-quarters of his ration. The quarter saved will help to keep our brave soldiers warm.”

(Signed) Guy Calthrop,
10th September,1918. Controller of Coal Mines.

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

Food rations begin

Our diarists had a variety of interests. In Switzerland, Will Spencer saw the US was coming closer to war; in training, his brother Sydney was learning to shoot; and in Bisham, Florence Vansittart Neale was worried by food rationing and strikes.

Will Spencer in Switzerland
5 February 1917

News in the paper that diplomatic relations between Germany & the United States have been broken off by the latter.

Sydney Spencer in army training
Feb 5th

General Musketry course results (extract). Lt S Spencer, A company, Marksman 130. This was fired at Totley with 2 feet snow & hard ports!

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey
5 February 1917

Expected men from Cliveden – arrived late as motor broken down. Came in 2 ambulances.

Wild argument from miners!…

Food rations begin. 2 ½ lb meat – 4 lbs bread or flour – ¾ lb sugar per week.

Diaries of Will Spencer, 1917 (D/EX801/27); Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/12); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“Why is the atmosphere of life more cheerful nearer to all the horrors and ugliness of modern war than it is behind?”

Ralph Glyn had political ambitions, and the College constituency in Glasgow was being nursed for him. He had narrowly lost the 1910 election to a Liberal (he was a Conservative/Unionist). While serving in the army he delivered a lengthy statement to those he viewed as future constituents. Unfortunately for him and all his work, the constituency was abolished before the 1918 election. The paper itself, however, is an interesting insight into the views of an intelligent officer into attitudes at home and at the front.

GHQ
MEF
November 1915

I have been asked by one or two friends in the College Division to write a letter that may be a link between so many old friends of those former days, when Peace was not understood, and myself. To do this as I would wish by personal letter my work here will not allow. I must ask everyone who reads these lines to believe how sincere are my wishes for as happy a New Year as these days permits to be theirs.

I write these lines because I have always been open with my friends in Glasgow, and I believe you will all understand how it is impossible to write “news”.

There are many who have been all the time in France, or in Gallipoli, whilst some have been in both theatres of operations; but there are few officers now who have not spent some time at home, either wounded, or on leave or duty, and so it is possible to take a comprehensive survey of men, matters and means.

The newspapers are the only medium between the Public and events that happen behind the veil of the censor. Letters from friends and relations pass from the Front to those at home producing for a period a clear gleam of light – sometimes too vivid – of what is fact and reality at one small point of that vague term “The Front”. The days are shortening, the winter with all its horrors is close upon us and we are all well aware that if only something could be lifted the Future would be brighter and more easy to face. To arrive at any satisfactory conclusion we must try and see things as they are – undisguised but very possibly naked and ashamed. No time should be lost in establishing both at “the front” and at “the back” a “New Feeling” based upon the firm belief that at last true bearings have been taken, the clouds have lifted and the sun seen long enough to enable the exact position of the ship to be located, and that each and all having but the one port open to them are determined, in spite of all stress of weather, to reach their destination without undue delay.

Why is the atmosphere of life more cheerful nearer to all the horrors and ugliness of modern war than it is behind? There is nothing in any trench in France or Gallipoli to equal the gloom of many a house at home. The individual man is happy when he knows he is doing “his bit” and has that feeling down his back of something worthy of accomplishment being well done. But this same feeling should animate those miners, munition-workers, ship-builders and all that other host at home, whose work is as vital to the war’s success as any gallant action in the trenches. Why is there this feeling of unrest and mistrust in so many quarters? “Out here”, be it in France or Gallipoli, this war acts in one way all the time and without variation. The Regular Army has almost ceased to exist as it was before the war. Officers and men have fallen and others have taken their place. The tradition of a great regiment holds all the new comers in its sway and the magic mantle of “esprit de corps” stirs through the new blood of the recruit, officer and man, tempering and making him part of the original stock. The Reserve ceased to exist when war began; because by our system the fighting force of the country, Regular and Reserve, were and are one and indivisible. Any gunner will tell you that had it not been for the “dug out” the new armies could not have been born. The “dug out” has much to bear from the gibes of younger men who too often assume that all “dug outs” must be musty and old, stupid and out of date, but he can console himself with the knowledge that without him the Regular serving soldiers could not have kept the machine running.
(more…)

Three teeth lost to a hostile aircraft

The Standing Joint Committee which oversaw the Berkshire Constabulary met on 9 October 1915 to consider various war-related matters, including an unfortunate accident resulting from the shock of an air raid, whetehr the Chief Constable should abandon his job to take up a role with the army.

A circular having been received from the Board of Trade (Railway Department) dated 6th September, 1915, addressed to Council Authorities, recommending that every effort should be made to accumulate stocks of coal in consequence of the probability that, owing to the number of miners who have joined the colours, the supply for home consumption next winter will be less than usual, instructions were issued to Superintendents to purchase sufficient coal to last the winter (or partly so) if it could be properly stored.

Accident to Special Constable G. E. Loader
The Divisional Officer, Berks Special Reserve, Wokingham Division, has reported that Special Constable G. E. Loader met with a serious accident on 13th September, 1915, while proceeding to his post on an alarm being given as to the approach of hostile aircraft. He ran into a post in the dark and injured his jaw, three teeth being knocked out, which he is having replaced by new ones. I beg to recommend that as the accident happened when on duty, the cost of the new teeth should be paid for out of the Police Fund. The amount would be £1. 19s. 4d.
Recommended for approval. (more…)

Strike ended

Florence Vansittart Neale was relieved but cautious that the miners’ strike had been called off.

2 September 1915
Strike ended for the present.

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

A Battalion sports day

Sydney Spencer, who was committing himself to army life, took part in a sports competition. (He may not have done very well.)

Sept 1st
Took part in Battalion sports.

Florence Vansittart Neale was outraged by the Government’s decision to agree to strikers’ demands.

1 September 1915
Hope Welsh strike is ended. Given way entirely to men! So why fuss[first]!!!

Diaries of Sydney Spencer (D/EX801/12) and Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Welsh strike on again – thousands out!

Florence Vansittart Neale reports the latest news. Mass industrial action was a relatively new phenomenon, and the upper classes saw it as unpatriotic in wartime. Dennis Theodore Smith was the teenage officer son of friends from Maidenhead.

30 August 1915

Welsh strike on again! 1000s out! (coal)

Still persistent rumours. Observer rather pessimistic – must have big armies. Germans at Boulogne.

Dennis Theodore Smith killed.

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

Miners get all they want

You can read between the lines and see how displeased Florence Vansittart Neale was that the miners’ strike had been a success.

21 July 1915
Strike ended. Miners get all they want. Work beginning again.

Russians retreating. Fear Warsaw will be taken. Kaiser & Kaiserin to enter in triumph!!

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

Croquet with wounded soldiers

Elizabeth “Bubbles” Vansittart Neale brought some of the soldiers she was nursing over to Bisham Abbey for an afternoon out.

20 July 1915
2.45 Bubs came over with 4 soldiers. I talked to one & she played croquet with others. Had tea. They left 5.15…

Lloyd George goes down to Cardiff to address the strikers.

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

Germany guilty of murder over the Lusitania

Lord Mersey (1840-1925) had presided over the official inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic a few years before the war. He was appointed to look at the German torpedoing of the Lusitania, concluding that the enemy was solely to blame, completely absolving the captain, the Navy and Cunard.

17 July 1915

Strike all over South Wales – still continuing.

Judgment on Lusitania by Lord Mersey – case of murder! v Germany.

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

“Miners horrid!”

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey continued to be angered by the miners’ strike.

15 July 1915

Crown Prince intends to get to Paris! So far not quite successful. We fighting in Ypres & Gallipoli.

Miners horrid!!

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

No one knows what to do

Florence Vansittart Neale was horrified by the striking miners.

13 July 1915
Horrible miners’ strike in Wales! No one knows what to do.

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