The King offers congratulations and sympathy

A bereaved Newbury mother received a medal on her son’s behalf from King George V himself.

Mrs George, of The Wharf, has been honoured by receiving personally from His Majesty the King, on March 12th, at Reading, the Military Medal for bravery awarded posthumously to her son, Albert Jacob. The King shook hands with her, and spoke words of congratulation on her son’s bravery and sympathy with her in her loss, and we feel proud to think that one of our old National School and CLB boys should have done so splendidly. The account of Pte George’s act may be read in the Newbury Weekly News of March 14th.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine (D/P89/28A/13)


The duties of children during these strenuous times

Bradfield children were subjected to a lecture on the war.

Bradfield CE School
March 8th 1918

Mr E Forster of Newbury addressed the children on the War, its causes, progress etc. and the duties of children during these strenuous times. He also spoke upon the subject of War Savings Certificates.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
8th March 1918

School closed for teachers to assist with Food forms.

St Peter’s CE School, Earley
8th March 1918

Owing to her husband being home on leave from the Front, Mrs Webb, Assistant in the Infants’ Room, has been absent since Tuesday – Miss Hatch has been in entire charge of the Infants.

Log books of Bradfield CE School (D/P22/28/2, p. 196); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3, p. 41); St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3)

The work in connection with the food application forms is not yet finished

Food rationing work continued to occupy local teachers – some in school hours, some in their own time.

King Street School, Maidenhead
7th March 1918

The Clerk of the local Food Control Committee has asked for assistance from teachers with the issue of Food Cards. Three members of the staff here are willing to assist in spare time.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
7th March 1918

School reopened Wednesday morning, but closed again after today because the work in connection with the food application forms is not yet finished.

King Street School log book (C/EL77/1, p. 414); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School log look(90/SCH/5/5, p. 232)

Helping the villagers to fill in forms for rationing

Two more schools were helping with the implementation of rationing, while Warfield children’s gathering of horse chestnuts had resulted in a bumper crop to turn into munitions. But not everyone was pulling together.

Sandhurst Methodist School
March 4th 1918

I (the master) was at the New hall, Sandhurst, this morning from 10-12, giving advice and help to villagers to fill in forms for rationing.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
8th March 1918

School closed for teachers to assist with Food forms.

Warfield CE School log book (C/EL26/3)
4th March 1918

The chestnuts collected by the scholars have been sent to the munitions works.

1918, 4 March

Sacks for chestnuts received this morning with letter from Minister of Propellants explaining that delay is due to Railway [?] neglect!

Log books of Sandhurst Methodist School Log Book (C/EL42/2, p. 161); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3, p. 41); Warfield CE School (C/EL26/3, p. 390); Wallingford Boys Council School (SCH22/8/3)

Food registration forms

Newbury teachers were working on the introduction of rationing.

1st March 1918

School closed today + on March 4 for teachers to assist in Registration of Food forms.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 41)

A Rationing Scheme for Newbury

Newbury teachers helped out with the implementation of rationing.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
28th February 1918

School to be closed tomorrow & Monday (March 4th) so that teaching staff can do work in connection with food application forms.

Newbury Council Infants School Log Book
28th February 1918

We close school this afternoon until Tuesday morning March 5th in order that the teachers may help the local Food Council Committee in connection with the forthcoming Rationing Scheme for the Borough.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School log look(90/SCH/5/5, p. 232); Newbury Council Infants School log book (N/ES6/1, p. 78)

The necessity of an equal distribution of all foodstuffs

Newbury was preparing to implement food rationing.

Meetings of the [Food Control] Committee and Sub-Committee were held on the 22nd December 1917, the 7th, 16th, 23rd, 25th, 28th and 31st of January last, and the 11th, 15th and 19th of February inst.

A meeting of Representatives of the Food Control Committee for the Borough of Newbury and the adjoining Rural Districts was held on the 21st of December, 1917, at which meeting a resolution was passed that it was desirable that a general rationing scheme for the Areas should be prepared, which was accordingly done, and approved by the Food Control Committee. At a further meeting of the Representative bodies on the 31st January last, it was resolved that steps be taken to obtain immediate official sanction of the scheme, which it was proposed should be brought into operation on the 25th March next.

Subsequently, the Divisional Commissioner having declined to approve the scheme on the ground that it was now proposed to bring in a general scheme for the whole of the South West Division, based on the London and Home Counties Food Scheme, to come into operation on the 25th March next, the Committee decided not to press forward the local scheme, but to make the necessary arrangements for bringing into operation the Divisional Scheme on the above mentioned date, and appointed a sub-committee consisting of the Mayor, Alderman Lucas, Councillor Geater, Mr Godding, and Mr Draper, with power to add to their number, to consider and take such steps as might be necessary with regard to the matter. The Committee at their meetings had also under their consideration the following matters:

1. The distribution of margarine based on the sugar card system, and the arrangement made by the sub-committee in charge of the distribution have now been effectual in preventing the assembly of any queues.

2. A fair and equal distribution of the meat supply, which presented very considerable difficulties, having regard to the quantity which the retail butchers were permitted to sell per week, and to the large numbers of people from areas outside the Borough, but who now come into Newbury for their meat supply. The difficulty has been more or less overcome by the retail butchers being permitted to supply only 3/4 lbs of meat per person per week, and on production of sugar cards, which were to be marked; it is apparent, however, that a satisfactory distribution can only be obtained by means of the introduction of rationing cards.

A Deputation of the National Union of Railwaymen, on behalf of their Society and the general working men, attended the meeting of the Committee on the 11th February last and urged upon them the necessity of an equal distribution of all foodstuffs, including cheese, and other kindred matters, which were fully discussed with the deputation, who were informed as to the exact position of the meat and margarine supplies, and assured that everything was being done by the Committee to bring about the desired end, and they expressed themselves satisfied with their interview.

The Enforcement Officer of the Committee reported from time to time upon the work undertaken by him, and prosecutions were ordered for breaches of the Orders issued by the Ministry of Food.

The Sub-committee appointed to take charge of the arrangements in connection with the rationing scheme, decided as follows:

Application forms to be delivered to every householder in the Borough, by a sufficient staff of volunteer helpers, who will at the same time bring away the application forms completed, and where necessary, assist the applicant to fill up the forms.

This to be done by the 5th March.

Each Volunteer will then apply to the Local Food Office for ration cards, for the applicants in his district, and after filling up the same, will deliver same to the Food Office for stamping.

After the ration cards are stamped, the same will be distributed to the applicants, on production of their sugar cards, at the Corn Exchange, at a date to be publicly announced: –

And have issued a public notice to the above effect; they propose to follow the same course as was adopted in 1915 for the distribution of the National Registration papers, and have approached the Education Committee for the enlistment of the services of the teaching staffs in the schools, with whose co-operation they have no doubt of being able to carry through the necessary arrangements to a successful conclusion.

Report of Food Control Committee to Newbury Borough Council meeting, 26 February 1918 (N/AC1/2/9)

“He displayed the greatest bravery and utmost coolness”

There was bad news for several Newbury families.


The deepest sympathy has been felt with Mr and Mrs Liddle in the death of their son, Lieut. Morton Robert Bridges Liddle, RN, at sea. Formerly a boy in the Choir, we had seen him grow up and develop into a smart young Naval Officer, respected and liked by all. Engaged in most dangerous work on a British Destroyer, he has now given his life for his country in the performance of his duty and has left an honourable name behind him. We trust that there may be given to his parents all the Divine help which they need in this time of grievous sorrow. We should like also to express our deep sympathy with Mrs Thomas on the death of her son, and with Mrs Perring on the death of her husband.

2nd Lieut. Ernest Henry Church has had to have his right foot amputated, after being severely wounded while flying in France in an unequal fight against enemy aeroplanes, in which he displayed the greatest bravery and utmost coolness. We are glad to know that he is progressing favourably.

We have been pleased to see Lieut. Richard Wickens at home on leave, though we were sorry for the occasion of it, namely the death of his mother, Eliza Wickens… He was not in time to see her alive, but got back in time for the funeral.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine (D/P89/28A/13)

“The teachers might be trusted to give all necessary instruction”

On 4 January the Newbury Borough Education Committee had agreed to let the government’s new propaganda body talk to Newbury schoolchildren. But it proved to be controversial.

January 29 1918

Food Control Meat Ration

The Mayor mentioned the work of the Local Food Control Committee and the necessity which had arisen for restricting the supply of meat to 1 lb per head per week for all persons over 9 years of age, and ½ lb for those under that age, to be supplied on the production of the sugar tickets.

Education Committee

Alderman Rankin moved the adoption of the report of the 4th January, but expressed his disagreement with the clause in the report with reference to the sending by the South Berks Committee of the National War Aims Committee of a speaker to address the children of the Newbury Elementary Schools on the subject of National War Aims, seconded by Councillor Parfitt.

Alderman Rankin withdrew his motion for the adoption of the report, which was then moved by Councillor Stradling. Seconded by Councillor Parfitt.

Alderman Rankin then moved as an amendment,

“That the paragraph in the Education Committee’s report re War Aims Committee’s request be altered to read as follows: That when the proposed leaflet has been approved by the Education Committee, the Education Committee empowers them to recommend the teachers to explain to the Senior boys the War Aims as lately defined by the Prime Minister and President Wilson.

Seconded by Councillor Pratt.

Alderman Lucas supported the motion, and considered that the teachers might be trusted to give all necessary instruction to the children attending the schools. Councillors Geater and Parfitt opposed the amendment, which on being put, was carried, and the report as amended was then put and carried.

Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

All costs to be paid by the Ministry of Munitions

Newbury Borough Council was prepared to sell a supply of iron girders intended for use rebuilding the Corn Exchange.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 1918
Corn Exchange Girders

An inquiry from the Ministry of Munitions whether the Council would be willing to dispose of the iron girders procured for the Corn Exchange roof, was considered. The particulars required are to be furnished. In the event of the Ministry of Munitions desiring to purchase the girders, the terms to be the same as those suggested in July last to the War Office, namely:

1. All costs and expenses incurred by the Council to the date of sale in respect of the purchase and storage of the same, and all interest on and payments in respect of the loan of £1000 to be paid by the Ministry of Munitions on the delivery of the goods.
2. All costs of converting the present roof trusses into Belfast trusses, and erecting same, to be paid by the Ministry of Munitions.
3. The cost of labour necessary for removing the girders to be borne by the Ministry of Munitions.
4. All damage arising out of the removal of the girders to be made good by the Ministry of Munitions.

Newbury Borough Council Estate, Markets, and Bye-laws Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Home from the front

A Newbury teacher welcomed her husband home on leave.

8th January 1918
Mrs Winter absent to meet her husband from front.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 40)

National war aims

The National War Aims Committee was a government PR operation which had recently been set up to encourage patriotism.

Friday, January 4th, 1918

National War Aims
A letter was received from the South Berks Committee of the National War Aims Committee, asking for permission to send a speaker from headquarters to address the children on the Newbury Elementary Schools on the subject of National War Aims. The Committee recommend that the application be granted and that the address be given to the older children attending school.

Newbury Borough Council Education Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

A new price for butter

Newbury implemented price controls to stop retailers cashing in on shortages.

January 1st 1918

Home Defence Corps

A letter was read from Second Lieutenant F A Greet asking for the support of the Council to an effort to increase the number of the Newbury Corps so that it might be continued as a separate unit instead of being merged in the Reading Corps.

Food Control Committee

The report of the meetings of the Food Control Committee was referred to from the chair. The Mayor also mentioned that the steps taken by the Committee with respect to the distribution of margarine.

Report of the Local Food Control Committee (appended)

Meetings of this committee have been held on the 29th October, the 5tyh, 12th, 19th and 26th November, and the 3rd, 10th and 19th December.

In October last the Committee fixed the price of English Farmhouse Butter at 2s 4d per lb. subsequently at the meeting on the 19th December, the Committee having fixed a rate for Blended and Imported Irish Butter at 2s 6d per lb, the Committee decided to raise the price of English Farmhouse Butter to 2s 5d per lb….

Potato Licenses.

The Committee have granted licenses to various applicants as wholesalers and retailers. By agreement with the Butchers, the maximum retail prices have been fixed for the sale of Meat within the Area.

It having become necessary to appoint an Officer whose special duty it would be to see that the Orders of the Food Controller were carried into effect, the Committee appointed Mr G W Stillman as Enforcement Officer at a salary of 30s per week….

Complaints having been received as to the sale of Matches and Bread in contravention of the Orders dealing with these articles, prosecutions were ordered by the Committee, and the cases were subsequently dealt with before the Justices.

Newbury Borough minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

“Now the beds are always kept full”

Many wounded soldiers were treated at Newbury District Hospital, with much help from local people.

The Thirty Third Annual Report of the Managing Committee of the Newbury District Hospital For the year ending December 31st, 1917.

The Past Year has been a very important one for the Hospital.

The figures, giving the number of Civilian Patients admitted, shew a decline compared to the previous year by 34, whilst there is an increase of 27 in the number of Soldiers admitted: this is due to the extra accommodation of 24 beds in the New Annexe constructed during the early spring.

There was a certain amount of delay before these beds were filled, and but for that fact, there would have been a very much larger increase in the number of Soldier Patients for the year.
The Benham Annexe was erected, at the very urgent request of the War Office, at a cost of £386. The Buildings, though similar to the previous one, cost rather more owing to the higher price of material and labour. It is situated on the West Side of the Main Buildings, and adjoins the Thurlow Ward.

Many very useful gifts have been received during the past year. The Local Branch of the British Red Cross Society have provided useful articles for the new ward, amounting to over £50, as well as defraying the cost of entertainments got up for the soldiers. Mr. Fairhurst and the late Mr. Vollar presented a large circulating electric fan for the Benham Ward. Mr. Porter, of Bartholomew Street, did the entire wiring gratuitously, and Miss Wasey gave the sun blinds, which were much needed.

Sir R. V. Sutton kindly lent all the beds, bedding and furniture for the same ward.

The Newbury War Hospital Supply Depot have again supplied a large quantity of bandages of various kinds, also swabs, shirts, and dressing gowns, all of which were much appreciated. Miss Wasey again came forward to organize Pound Day, which took place in June, and was most successful. Many Entertainments were got up by various ladies in the town and district, which were much enjoyed by the soldiers.

Special Donations towards the Benham Ward were received from Mrs. Caine, Sir. W. Walton, Mr. Fairhurst, and the Hon. Sec. Mr. Tufnail sent the proceeds of a week’s Cinema performance which amounted to £67 17s. 0d., and Mrs. C. Ward’s Garden Fete at Burghclere, realised £30 18s. 0d.

During August the War Office transferred the distribution of soldiers from Tidworth to Reading; this was done for the purpose of economising transport; the result has been quite satisfactory to the hospital, for now the beds are always kept full. Whilst the change was being carried out, we were able to close the Wards for a month for the purpose of painting and cleaning, which was thoroughly done.

The Berkshire Branch of the British Red Cross Society asked us to receive paralysed soldiers for special treatment in the hospital; this was willingly agreed to, and also the promise of two beds to be allotted for that purpose.

A very important service that the Hospital is doing just now, is the treatment of discharged soldiers sent to them by the Military War Pensions Committee, who have appointed Dr. Heywood as their Medical referee; these men come to the Hospital either as in-patients, or out-patients, for special treatment, and arrangements have been made that they come at fixed times on certain days for their treatment.

The Financial position of the Hospital is quite satisfactory; it has been well supported with liberal Subscriptions and Donations. The Hospital Saturday Fund amounted to £160; this is a record, and well to be proud of. The success of this fund is entirely due to the energetic Secretary, Mr. W. H. Paine, and his many willing workers. The League of Mercy kindly sent a grant of £15.
The Committee wish to thank, very heartily, all the Medical Staff, in Drs. Adams, Hemsted, Coplestone and Simmons, for all their useful work to the Hospital during a very strenuous year. The Committee’s thanks are due to Dr. Heywood, who returned from abroad in the autumn, and resumed his work at the Hospital; he has been appointed Medical Officer to the soldiers, thus releasing the other Medical Staff.

The thanks of the committee are offered to Mrs. Sharwood-Smith (Commandant), Miss. Cecile Boldero (Assistant-Commandant), Mrs. Adrian Hawker (Quartermaster), and the Ladies of Newbury Volunteer Aid Detachment for the great work that they are doing; to Miss Cecile Boldero, who has been a most consistent worker during the year, and has been a great help to the Staff; to Miss. Salway, who has given her services by providing special treatments to the soldiers; to Mr. Graham Robertson, for his useful help in the clerical work connected with the soldiers; and to Mr. Alleyne for kindly looking after the recreation room.

The best thanks are due to the Matron and her assistant Nurses during a very strenuous year, the increased number of soldiers naturally added very much to their work, and high praise is due to the efficient way in which they have performed their various duties. The difficulties in catering during the latter part of the year increased the work of the Matron considerably, who deserves praise and thanks of the Committee for her excellent management.

Newbury District Hospital Annual Report, 1917 (D/H4/4/1)

“Of course, men are just now scarce”

The shortage of men at home was changing church life.

We wish to appeal to the men of the congregation to ask them if some could not volunteer to help in the Boys’ Sunday School. Besides the original men teachers who remain, we have now the assistance of several ladies, but the numbers have lately grown, and there is room for more helpers. In the old days of this parish there was a large company of men Sunday School teachers. Of course, men are just now scarce, but even so, those who remain at home might try and take their share in the work of the Church equally with the women.

Assistant Curates just now are very scarce. Efforts are being made to obtain one, and we shall probably have to be content with only one during the War.

The attendance at the Friday Women’s Service has slightly increased, and we hope will increase still further. More and more is there need of our prayers about the War, for all who are engaged in it, and for all who suffer through it, and it is by prayer that we can maintain our own faith in these days of strain and trouble.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)