The great silence: the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain

The first Remembrance Day was observed in churches across the county.

Wargrave

Armistice Day

The first anniversary was well observed in the parish. There was a celebration of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. A muffled peal was rung from 10.30 to 10.45 a.m. A service in church was held at 10.45 and ended with the two minutes of silence when 11 o’clock was struck on the tenor bell. A full peal of bells, with firing, was rung in the evening. The services were well attended and ringing was exceptionally good.

Crazies Hill Notes

On November 11th an Intercessory Service was held in memory of those who laid down their lives during the War, and, at the hour of eleven, a silent tribute was paid to the fallen. Those moments of meditation were for many of us, accompanied by grief; but there were also hope and pride and high resolve in the thoughts of all who took part in that Service. Perhaps the uppermost thought was that the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain.

Burghfield

Armistice Day

Rural circumstances do not lend themselves to such striking manifestations as were to be seen in towns and cities during the “great silence”. But there can have been few in the parish who did not act upon the King’s suggestion and desire. Many of us would like this mute solemn commemoration to be repeated annually.


Ascot

On the Anniversary of the Armistice there was a special Celebration of the Holy Communion at 10.40 at which all our parishioners, who gave their lives in the War, were remembered by name.
The service was so timed that, at the moment of silence throughout the Empire, the large congregation was in the act of pleading the Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and the Dead.

In the evening there was a special Service of Thanksgiving , when we prayed for God’s Blessing upon the Ex-Service Men’s Club, the first portion of the Ascot War Memorial, which was declared open by Lady Roberts, and handed over to the Men’s Committee immediately afterwards. During the first week over 150 men joined the club.

Cranbourne

On Armistice Day a large number of our Parishioners came to Church at a few minutes before eleven o’clock and spent the time in silent prayer. After the bell had struck eleven strokes and the two minutes had elapsed, a Celebration of the Holy Communion took place. Instead of a sermon the Vicar read Mr. Arkwright’s no well-known hymn “O Valiant hearts” and before the Church Militant Prayer the names of all our fallen were read at the altar and specially commended to God’s keeping.


Newbury

On Armistice Day, November 11th, we kept the King’s command by holding a Special Service at 10.55, including the two minutes silence at 11 o’clock. There was a large congregation. The sights in the streets of our great cities, when all traffic stopped and men stood with bared heads, must have been most striking. Truly does the whole Empire honour the men who gave their lives in God’s Cause of Righteousness.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31); Ascot and Cranbourne in Winkfield District Magazine, December 1919 (D/P 151/ 28A/11/12); Burghfield parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4); Newbury parish magazine, December1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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A curate for Christmas

The demobilised soldier planning to be the next curate at Newbury was in training.

Mr C T Lord has now been demobilised and has returned to Lichfield Training College. He hopes to be ordained in Sunday, December 21st, probably by the Bishop of Oxford, and will be able to come to this parish as a Deacon for Christmas…

Newbury parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Two million men in all theatres of war

The wartime work of the Church army was spotlighted.

The Meeting in support of the local Church Army Hostel was held in the Council Chamber on November 5th, the Mayor being in the chair. The speaker, the Rev. W H G Shapcott, from Church Army Headquarters, gave an interesting account of the work of the Church Army for the soldiers during the war, describing how they had had to deal with two million men in all theatres of war, for whom 17 to 18 hundred huts had been in use. Thirty centres had now been started at home, the Newbury Hostel being one of these. He strongly appealed for local support for the Hostel and the Captain-in-charge stated what had already been done there. About £2409 has been spent on the Hostel, and £100 has to be spent, and it is earnestly hoped that the money will be forthcoming, both for this and for the maintenance of the Hostel.

Newbury parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

“Willing to come here as curate as soon as he can leave the Army and be ordained Deacon”

A soldier wanted to become a Church of England clergyman.

It was given out in Church that Mr C T Lord is willing to come here as curate as soon as he can leave the Army and be ordained Deacon, if the congregation are willing to have another curate. That means, I suppose, are the congregation ready to guarantee his stipend? As a member of the congregation I should like to say that I think if the Rector will trust us and engage Mr Lord that we will not fall short in doing our part to support him. We badly need another curate.

From a Parishioner.

Newbury parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Newbury District Hospital has once more resumed its pre-war appearance

Newbury District Hospital was almost back to normal, but struggling with post-war economic conditions.

The past year has been a period of reconstruction. The last soldier patients left in March; the two annexes erected for their reception were sold in June; one was removed in August, and the other in October, when the Hospital once more resumed its pre-war appearance.

Several improvements have been made, viz: A new duty room, and improved bathroom and lavatory accommodation for the Thurlow ward; the old duty-room near the kitchen has been converted into a store room, and the old store-room which was very inadequate is now made use of as a splint cupboard.

The Matron’s rooms have been done up and re-furbished; the waiting-room, Nurses sitting and dining-rooms, and the bed-rooms of the Staff have all been re-decorated, and other necessary repairs and renovations, which had to be neglected during the war, have been carried out.

After much deliberation and consultation with Mr. Mervyn Macartney, as architect, a scheme for Central Heating and Domestic Hot Water Supply was decided on, and tenders invited for the work. The tender of Messrs. Toomer & Co., of Northbrook Street, was finally accepted. The Domestic Supply is now installed and working, and the Central Heating will be proceeded with in the Spring, as it was found impossible to obtain the necessary materials from the makers before the onset of Winter.

To meet the expenditure on improvements, renovations and repairs, a sum of £400 has had to be taken from “Reserve”; and a Special General Meeting held in October, sanctioned the withdrawal from Capital of a further sum up to £1,000 to meet the outlay on Central Heating.

In February, Miss Gough succeeded Miss Phoebe Jones as Matron, and after considerable difficulty has managed to get together an efficient staff.
….
The Financial position of the Hospital is causing the Managing Committee grave concern. A circular was sent out to subscribers in July, explaining that owing to high wages and high prices, the Hospital cannot now be maintained for less than about £2,500 a year, while its present income does not exceed on an average of years £1,400 all told.

The Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Managing Committee of the Newbury District Hospital For the year ending December 31st, 1919 (D/H4/4/1)

“They have served their country in the Army”

Two soldiers returned to their home church.

We were very pleased to welcome back into the choir, on October 9th, two of our old boys – Walter Pemberton and Arthur Light, both of whom have served their country in the Army.

Newbury parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Children’s peace festival

Newbury
16/9/19

12 boys and 13 girls will attend Palmer Park this morning at 10 to take part in sports in preparation for the Peace Festival Sports in Wednesday (Sept 24th).

Emmer Green
16th September 1919

Three boys and six girls were taken to Palmer Park today to take part in the preliminary contests for the Children’s Peace Festival Sports.

Log books of Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); Emmer Green CE School (R/ES8/3)

Not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations

Those who had not returned from the war were remembered in the midst of rejoicing.


The Sunday School

The Peace-time Picnic was greatly enjoyed at Beacon Hill, on Wednesday, 13th August. The day was very fine – the sun’s rays being tempered with a delightful breeze, and the sylvan beauties of the park with the glorious views from the downs were never before seen in such perfection by the majority of those present.

The last School Picnic at Highclere was held in July 1914 – almost on the eve of the great world tragedy of August 4th of that year – and not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations. We bow our heads in reverent remembrance of them, and thank God for those who have been spared and have been enabled to take up their work again.

The work on this occasion was indeed joyous, as load after load of happy people of all ages, but mostly young, were discharged on the soft turf from the motor lorries provided by Messrs. Pass & Co. Three journeys were made each way, the first company starting at 1 o’clock and the last at 3.45 from the Lecture Hall and the return journeys were made, the first at 6.30 and the last at 9.15, thus giving all a fair average of time at the Hill.

The all important function of tea was celebrated on the slopes near the Lodge at 4.30. Mrs. F.C. Hopson and a willing band of helpers catered for the hungry throng, 300 strong, while Mr Henry Marshall eclipsed all his past efforts by the splendid brew he produced. All were unanimous in saying that the tea was an unqualified success. After the tea, sports and games, under the direction of Mr. H. Allen and Mr. Spalding, held in the field, and the first hoot of the lorry’s siren sounded all too soon.

The whole of the arrangements worked perfectly under the direction of the Superintendents of the School, and the result was a day of pure and unalloyed enjoyment. Mention must be made of the kind assistance rendered by Mr. Harris, who in the absence of our newly elected Minister, officiated at the tea, also of the numerous friends in the congregation who contributed so liberally towards the expenses, and are hereby tendered the grateful thanks of the Officers and Teachers.

It may be interesting to shew by way of contrast the cost of a pre-war picnic at Beacon Hill with that of a post-war expenditure for practically the same number.

1914
£ S d
Total expenditure 16 15 1

Less Tea and Rail Fares 3 4 6
Paid for by 43 friends at
1s 6d each
Net Cost £13 11s 7d

1919
£ S d
Total expenditure 17 17 8 ½

RECEIPTS

Balance previous treats 17 0
Contributions 11 3 9 ½
Provisions sold 1 9 2 ½ 13 10 0

Balance Due to Treas. £4 7s 8 ½ d

The cost of transit was the most expensive item this year owing to 50% increase of railway fares and the unsuitable times of the trains an expenditure of £9 had to be incurred for motor lorries. Leaving this item out of the account the other expenses work out to even less than the pre-war picnic.

The cost of tea, including the boiling of water and hire of crockery, was about 5⅓d. per head, inclusive of teachers and helpers – a wonderful result, which, in these days of high prices, reflects great credit on Mrs. F. C. Hopson and those helping her.

The Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, September 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

Any selfishness of any class must stand in the way of real peace and happiness at home

The vicar of Newbury urged a generous spirit in rebuilding national life, and thought servicemen should have first call on all jobs.

The long hoped for signing of the Peace Treaty has taken place, and the Nation has joined together in humble and hearty thanksgiving to Almighty God for His great and undeserved mercies. It is impossible to imagine from what horrors we have been saved by His goodness, and through the willing sacrifice of so many of our splendid men, and the courage and energy of millions, both men and women. If the terms imposed by the Allies on Germany seem hard they would have been nothing to the terms they would have imposed on us if they had won, and for generations our Country would not have recovered, if ever it did recover. Thanks be to God for His mercy to us.

And now we have to reconstruct our National Life. That is no easy task, and it calls for the spirit of willing co-operation and sacrifice from all classes. Any selfishness of any class must stand in the way of real peace and happiness at home. It is the duty surely of employers to give returned soldiers and sailors the first chance of employment, even if it means displacing someone else, and those who have fought and endured should have no just cause for grievances. The Government will have to put down profiteering with a strong hand, and should also severely punish the professional agitator and “him that stirreth up strife among brethren”. While all of us should do our best to spread the spirit of love and service. God has been gracious to us and now it is for us to prove ourselves worthy of His favour.

Sunday, July 6th, was observed as a day of Thanksgiving for Peace, and the services were well attended. The Municipal and National rejoicings took place on July 19th. There was unfortunately a lot of rain, and the children’s tea had to take place in different buildings instead of all together on the Cricket Field. The Procession in London must have been a magnificent sight.

The War Memorial Committee have had two meetings lately, the first with Mr C O Skilbeck to advise them, and the second with Mr Cogswell for the same purpose. They hope soon to have a design from the latter to put before the congregation and parishioners.

Newbury parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

Victory in the Great European War

Lower Basildon CE School
30th July 1919

School closed this afternoon for the Summer Holiday. The Education Committee have granted an extra week’s holiday, in accordance with the wish expressed by King George, to commemorate the Victory in the Great European War.

Aldermaston School
30th July 1919.

School closed at noon today for summer holidays, His Majesty King George has expressed a wish that in commemoration of the signing of Peace the children should be granted an extra week’s holiday.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
31st July 1919

Peace Celebration sports were held in playground yesterday afternoon.

Log books of Lower Basildon CE School (C/EL7/2, p. 205); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 108); and Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School (90/SCH/5/5, p. 251)

The children must not be disappointed in this, their first outing after the war

Life was returning to normal for Berkshire’s children.

Sunday School Treat

The teachers are hoping to give the children a special treat this year, the first since 1914. The deacons were approached with reference to a special collection being taken up for this purpose, but it was eventually decided to place envelopes in the pews on the last Sunday in July, thus giving all who would like an opportunity of contributing towards the cost.
It is hoped a good amount will be raised so that the children may not be disappointed in this, their first outing after the war.

The Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1)

Children’s grand parade to celebrate peace

Many of the schools in Berkshire celebrated the peace today.

Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School
24th July 1919

School closes today (Thursday) for summer holidays-six weeks – one week extra being given at King George’s command – to celebrate the signing of Peace.

Grey Friars Infants’ School, Reading
July 24th 1919

School closed today on account of Peace Celebration Treat for the Infants. Treat took place 2.30 to 5pm on Vicarage Lawn.

Central Continuation School, Reading (89/SCH/8/9)
24th July 1919

Schools closed this afternoon on the occasion of the children’s peace procession.

Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School
24th July 1919

School was closed today for the Children’s Treat in commemoration of the Peace.

George Palmer Boys’ School, Reading
24th July 1919

Closed (pm) to permit of (Peace) Children’s Parade.

Coley Street Primary School, Reading
24/07/1919

The competitors in the ‘fancy costume parade’ of the Peace Day celebrations (Sat 19th) are forming a grand parade through a portion of the town this afternoon.

Boyne Hill
July 24th

In accordance with a desire expressed by His Majesty the King, the Education Committee have decided to extend the summer holidays by one week.

Newbury
24/07/19

Children left at 3:15 today for the purpose of finishing their Peace Day sports.

Log books of Abingdon Conduit Rd Infants School C/EL4/2); Grey Friars Infants’ School, Reading (R/ES4/2); Central Continuation School, Reading (89/SCH/8/9); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School log book (89/SCH/7/6); George Palmer Boys’ School, Reading (89/SCH/8/1); Coley Street Primary School Reading (89/SCH/48/4); Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3); St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury ( N/ES 7/1))

Peace Treat

Children continued to celebrate peace.

Reading: All Saints Infant School
23rd July 1919

The school closes this morning (Wed) till Friday; on account of the swimming gala this afternoon; and the children’s Peace Treat tomorrow.

Wallingford Boys Council School
1919, 23 July

Visited, at about 12.10, by the Chairman of Managers, when it was decided that an extra week’s holiday should be given in response to the wish of HM the King (Peace Celebration).

Newbury
23/07/19

There will be a half holiday this afternoon by order of the Ed: Com: as the swimming sports are taking place.

Log books of All Saints Infant School, Reading (89/SCH/19/2); and Wallingford Boys Council School (SCH22/8/3); St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury ( N/ES 7/1)

Listless and tired after the Peace Celebrations

There was a bit of a reaction after the excitement was over.

Speenhamland
July 21st

Children appear listless and tired after the Peace Celebrations, but good number present.

Boyne Hill
July 21st

A whole holiday was given today. Peace Day celebrations were held on July 19th.

Newbury
21/07/19

Mrs Petty was absent today – permission being given that she might attend the local Peace festivities.

Log books of SSt Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3); Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3); St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury ( N/ES 7/1)