Furze Platt has no lack of War Workers

The women of Furze Platt were hard at work.

Furze Platt War Working Party

The following work has been completed during the last six months:- Mosquito Nets 59, Anti-Vermin Vests 44, Sun Shields 85, Bandages 46, Shirts 21, Bags 133, Bed Socks 80 pairs, Slippers 21 pairs, Nightingales 18, Bed jackets 41, Swabs 300, Mufflers 35, Mittens 61, Socks 7 pairs, Helmet 1.

The subscriptions have fallen by about 15/- a month, as against the amount subscribed at this time last year, and the cost of wool and material has greatly risen. Thanks to having some material in stock at the end of last year, the Working Party has been able to furnish almost the same amount of goods for hospitals and troops at the front; but I should like to call people’s attention to the position of affairs, and to beg them, as far as is in their power, to keep up their subscriptions.

The fact that so much work has been done shows that Furze Platt has no lack of War Workers, and we may be proud of the fact that no work has been returned to us by the Depot as incorrectly done.

G.M. Skrine, Hon. Sec. and Treasurer

June 26th 1917

Furze Platt War Working Party

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

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Fallen on the field of war

Warfield’s women had contributed large amounts of clothing and bandages for wounded soldiers, while two more of the parish’s men had lost their lives.

Since our last issue we have to record the deaths of Major Alexander Wood and Walter Parsons who have fallen on the field of war. We desire to express our sincere sympathy with their respective widows and families.

It will be of some interest to the parish to hear some account of the Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild in Warfield. Since its institution, in 1914 no less than 430 articles (including vests, sandbags, housewifes, treasure-bags, bed-jackets, gloves, pillows, hot water bottle-covers, shirts, operation stockings, sun shields, surgeon’s coats, slippers, jug-covers, quilts and pyjamas) have been sent to Head-Quarters; also 79 pairs of mittens to Colonel Burgess, and 407 bandages with 156 face-swabs to the Mayoress of Reading for the War Hospitals of that town.

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)

Pray and pray again yet more earnestly for the triumph of right over wrong

Warfield men were grateful for their Christmas gifts. Those serving in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) were treated to plum puddings, while those in France got tobacco.

VICAR’S LETTER

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

I have received most grateful letters from nearly all our Warfield Soldiers and Sailors for the Christmas presents sent them by the parishioners, most of them reflecting great credit on the packers, as the cake appears to have arrived in a perfect condition, although no tins or boxes were used. I am giving you this issue a statement of accounts given to me by our treasurer, Miss Hardcastle. Only one parcel seems to have missed its destination and found its way back to me. They all seem to be looking forward to spending their next Christmas at home.

This makes me think of the national mission, and is result on the nation. What are its results on each of us personally? How far may each one of us be hindering its great accomplishment by lack of self consecration? How far is each one wilfully tying the hands of a loving God? Think of this, and pray and pray again yet more earnestly for the triumph of right over wrong, but let us all see to it that our hearts are right with God.

Yours affectionately in Christ,

WALTER THACKERAY

CHRISTMAS FUND FOR OUR SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.

At a public meeting on November 13th the following Committee was elected to make arrangements for the above: the Vicar, Messrs. H. Crocker, H. Lawrence, Mrs. Crailsham, Mrs. Dyer, Mrs. Thackeray and Miss Hardcastle (Treasurer). The total sum subscribed amounted to £25 3s. 7d., made up as follows:-

Balance from 1915 £3 2 0
Whist Drive 2 7 3
Dance 1 1 2
Subscriptions 17 4 8
Balance from Sir C. Brownlow’s
Testimonial 0 8 6

The total number of parcels sent was 107; Mesopotamia, Salonika, Egypt and India, 21; France, 42; Home Camps, 33; Navy, 11.

Contents of parcels for Mesopotamia etc: Socks and plum pudding and Warfield picture card.

For France and Navy: socks, cake, cocoa, chocolate, handkerchief, Warfield picture card and tobacco.

For Home camps: same as for France, except mittens instead of socks.

Total spent on parcels £19 5 5½
Postage 4 6 1½
Balance in hand 1 10 0
───────────
£25 3 7

Warfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, February 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/2)

A picture postcard of Warfield for Christmas

Soldiers from Bracknell, Chavey Down and Warfield were among those to get Christmas gifts from home.

Bracknell

A scheme has been arranged under which a Christmas present will be sent to all our men from Bracknell parish who are on active service, either in Navy or Army.

A Committee has been formed to collect the necessary funds, and very many people have gladly contributed. There are now about 200 men on active service, so that it is no light task to do up and despatch the parcels. The Chavey Down parcels are packed by Miss Lang with others to help, and the Bracknell parcels are done up by a number of kind people who meet at the Vicarage Parish Room. A letter is sent in each parcel to explain that it is a small gift sent from friends at home, as a token that our husbands, sons and brothers, who are fighting for us, are never forgotten.

Warfield

Warfield Sailors and Soldiers Christmas Presents Fund seems a long title. Last year we had two funds running, one in connection with the Brownlow Hall Club, the other for non-members of the same. This year there has been an amalgamation, and through liberal donations from one and all, the sum has nearly reached £20. May I state here, in the event of this coming for the first time to the notice of any of our friends, that the Secretary and Treasurer to the Fund is Miss Hardcastle, Rectory House, Warfield, by whom further donations will be thankfully received. We are chiefly sending socks, mittens, cocoa, chocolate and cake, and a picture postcard of Warfield containing 8 views.

Winkfield District Magazine, December 1916 (D/P151/28A/12)

Hard bread, but making Christmas as cheerful as possible in internment

The four Cusden brothers, originally from Reading, had been teaching languages in Germany before the war. Together with thousands of other expatriate Britons, they were interned in a camp at Ruhleben, near Berlin. They were allowed to keep in contact with family back home, and in fact food parcels were an essential supplement to the meagre supplies doled out by the Germans. Here Albert Cusden writes to another brother, Len.

Jan 5th 1916
Dear Len

Since my letter to Mother many thanks for parcels N & O & one from Edie to Arch, leaf from Sawyer’s received Dec. 28th, parcel from Aunt Mary to Dick received Dec. 31st. If anyone sees Aunt Mary, please thank her very much. We do not much care for the bread batons, they are very hard when received. Would much prefer the toasted bread.

Christmas went off here much better than the previous one, and we are very thankful to all who helped to make it so. I don’t think anyone here was left out in the cold, arrangements being made by those who received plenty of parcels that others not so fortunate should have a share. On Christmas Day we were allowed to go to bed at 9.45 instead of 8.45. We also had our Xmas “parties”. Had Harris up on one day, and Arch’s chum Pinder on another. So you see, we made Christmas as cheerful as we could, and although we cannot ourselves thank all those who helped, we know you will do so for us.

Father asks whether we can manage with parcels we receive from various quarters. We are quite all right in this respect at present. I daresay the parcels we receive from other quarters will continue. The parcel Father mentions as being sent from your office we will distribute as desired. Thanks for information re ABC School of Drawing. Am very pleased to hear how you are getting on with your drawing, and am, looking forward to seeing some of your work. In letter to Vic you mention picture of Ruhleben in the Daily Mirror and think you recognise Vic there. Have seen the picture, but none of us are there, unless we are somewhere in crowd behind.

Father mentions Miss Pietz in letter. She has been a brick all along. Had not been here three days when she wrote Dick [she] was sending him a parcel, and has sent periodically since and always requests Dick to write stating his desires. In a recent letter (have not same before me) believe Father says Miss Shrimpton had said some parcels had been sent Dick which he had not acknowledged. The Aldershot News, through agency of Shrimpton, sent parcels to Dick for a time, each one was acknowledged to the firm, and Shrimptons written to several times. Dick wrote them again after the above, so daresay the matter is now right. Vic says will you tell Sawyers Reni is suffering from peritonitis, but she is getting better. They asked how she was. As we received more mittens and socks than needed ourselves, found others who needed them.

Love to all.
Albert.

Letter from Albert Cusden in Ruhleben to L W Cusden, 57 Castle Street, Reading (D/EX1485/4/4/1)

‘I can ride a horse all right so long as it goes straight’

Percy Spencer continued to practice his riding while training with the Territorials:

Silverdale
Belmont Hill
St Albans
Decr 10.14

Dera Florrie

Thank you very much indeed for the mittens. The day they arrived I wore them out riding. It was a soaking wet afternoon, and I got them wet through, but they have quite recovered, and will be doing duty again tomorrow when I am to go out on a Divisional affair.

That was an unlucky day – the day I wore your silk lined mittens. I was riding with another sergeant and a corporal of the police, when in a side road, in a soaking rain, the corporal’s pony let him down badly. He was in a pickle, but being of an amorous nature, and there being a charming daughter in the house we carried him into, he soon bucked up and was sorry to be taken back to his billet where he now is nursing a bad ankle.

Yesterday I rode another (a big horse) with a police patrol, and pleased the police sergeant very much.

I think now I can ride a horse all right so long as it goes straight, doesn’t stumble, swerve, back or rear…

The Brigadier General went shooting on his estate last week and some of us (including myself) have been presented with a brace of pheasant apiece as a result…

Yours ever

Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/29)

No room for extra socks

Percy Spencer was promoted to Corporal on 16 November 1916, and he was now permanently attached to the London Territorial unit. He wrote cheerfully to sister Florence to thank her and her friend John Maxwell Image for various gifts:

Silverdale
Belmont Hill
St Albans
Nov. 20.14

Dear Florrie
Thank you for the mittens – they are splendid; and thank you too for the bed socks, but these latter, my dear, I can hardly keep, besides I have the grey stockings, and I must limit my baggage.

So tomorrow I’ll return the socks to you, as I expect you can find good use for them, and I think, so far as my personal needs are concerned, you may reckon I’m suited, except for the last pair of mittens.

Mr Image has sent me a fine money belt and now a fountain pen. He is kind; too kind – you both suffer from the complaint, and I am beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Today I received my first pay, all in silver, and I feel quite rich.

We may be moving from here, or practising moving, in a day or two, but I do not think we are for the front yet.

Unfortunately though, all leave is stopped for this weekend, and I shall be unable to come home just yet.

Give my love to all at home.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to his sister Florence (D/EZ177/7/3/24)

Refugees at school

The children of Ashbury School had already contributed to Belgian relief (see 16 October). Now they got to know some of them as schoolmates:

13th November 1914
Four Belgian children (refugees living in the village) admitted to the school in Class I.

Abingdon girls, meanwhile, were busy knitting for the troops.

November 9th to 13th
Another parcel of Mittens for the Troops finished and sent to Mrs Martin.

Ashbury School log book (C/EL5, p. 154); Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL2/2)

Mittens for the troops

Abingdon girls provided warm mittens for the troops as winter draws near.

9th-13th November 1914
Another parcel of mittens for the troops furnished and sent to Mrs Martin.

Abingdon CE Girls School log book (C/EL2/2, p. 81)