“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)

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“Men are just now scarce” at home

The shortage of men at home was being felt in churches as well as in the secular world.

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)

“Hearing of the death of her husband”

A married teacher had the news she would have dreaded since her husband joined up.

26th November 1917
Mrs Concannon excused this afternoon, on account of hearing of the death of her husband, killed at the front.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p.39)

Impossible to repair the roof during the war

War conditions meant a church went unrepaired.

The Rural Dean formally visited the Church on Nov. 13th, and was met there by the Rector and Mr Churchwarden Davis… Mr Davis told Mr Edwards [the Rural Dean] of the Architect’s examination of the church roof, etc, with his recommendations on the same, but during the War it is impossible to carry these out.

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

The provision of light employment for discharged partially disabled men incapable of doing a full day’s work

The Disablements Sub-committee of the Berkshire War Pensions Committee reported on training programmes for disabled ex-soldiers, who faced an uncertain future.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that the two schemes for training at Basildon and Windsor have now been approved by the Pensions Minister, with the exception of boot-making at Basildon, which is only provisionally sanctioned. The gardening course at Windsor has been extended from six to twelve months for suitable cases. Both schemes are now in full operation. Since the last meeting the Royal Warrant of April 1917 for treatment and training has come into force, payments being made under it as from 23 July 1917.

A list of hospitals throughout the county where treatment can be obtained for discharged men has been sent forward for approval to the Pensions Minister, also a special application for further necessary accommodation for out-patient treatment at King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor, to enable the authorities of that hospital to provide orthopaedic treatment for discharged disabled men within a radius of ten miles of that hospital. A special request was also put forward as regards the lack of hospital facilities in parts of North Berkshire, especially in the Wallingford District. It is proposed to formulate a scheme to include all facilities and arrangements for medical treatment and submit it as a whole for the approval of the Pensions Minister.

The National Health Insurance Commissioners have made new arrangements in respect of medical benefit for all discharged soldiers and sailors invalided from the Service, and have included those whose incomes do not exceed £160 per annum. Medical Practitioners are required to report to the Insurance Committee as to any special treatment to be provided by the Disablements Committee under the arrangements above alluded to. The scheme will also provide for any treatment recommended by a medical board for a man after his discharge, or for any man for whom treatment is recommended at the time of his discharge from the service by his invaliding board.

Instructions having been received from the Pensions Minister that discharged men who are not in receipt of a pension owing to the disability for which they were discharged not being considered attributable or aggravated by war service have now been afforded facilities for appealing against this decision. Instructions have been issued to all Sub-committees that such cases should be referred to this Committee. Three cases for appeal are coming up shortly for consideration.

The provision of light employment for discharged partially disabled men who are incapable of doing a full day’s work has been considered. A joint public appeal with the County Borough of Reading Committee has been issued through the Press to employers throughout the county for help in this important matter…

During the last three months 643 cases have been entered on the Register, making a total of 1,513 cases. In addition 325 cases (approximately) are being investigated. 512 new cases have been sent out to the various Sub-committees as follows:

Abingdon 34
Easthampstead 20
Faringdon 20
Hungerford 13
Lambourn 5
Maidenhead 72
Newbury 84
Reading Rural 43
Wallingford 27
Wantage 27
Windsor 95
Wokingham 52

220 cases have been considered by the Disablements Committee, treatment in hospital has been arranged for 62 cases, Sanatorium treatment for 7 cases, special training for 23 cases, and a number of men have been placed in employment.

12 November 1917

Berkshire County Council minutes, 1917 (C/CL1/1/21)

No soldiers coming to Newbury after all

Hospitable Newbury people were disappointed to no longer be able to entertain the troops.

The Committee of the Soldiers’ Club decided on Nov. 5th, though with much regret, to give up their tenancy of the former “King’s Arms”. There seemed to be no soldiers coming to Newbury after all, and they did not feel justified under the circumstances in continuing the rent, though Mr Tufnell had been very kindly taking only a small sum for the premises.

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

“The War still continues, would that it were not so”

Several Newbury men had been reported killed, but those left behind were still keen to support the troops.

The War still continues, would that it were not so. We have suffered several losses lately among the young men in the parish: William James Quinton, of the Gloucester Regiment; Albert James Geater, Royal Berks Regiment; Arthur William Stevens, 1st Devons; Albert Corderoy, Hants Regiment, all killed in France; and William Aldridge, 1st class petty officer, RN, who went down in HMS mine-sweeper Begonia. We offer our sincerest sympathy to the relatives of these brave young men, whom we can ill afford to lose, and we thank God for the example which they have set us.

Harold Hughes, youngest son of Mrs Hughes, of 6, Berkeley Road, has lost a leg in France, and we trust that he will make a good recovery.
We are glad to see Dr Heywood back again in Newbury, after the valuable work which he has been doing at the seat of War.

The Soldiers’ Club at the old “King’s Arms” in the Market Place, has only been used lately very occasionally, because there have been no troops billeted in the town, but we hear that there is the likelihood of 1000 men of the Royal Flying Corps coming to Newbury, and if this does take place we hope to open the Club again, and shall be glad of offers of personal assistance and of subscriptions. The Club, when it was held in other premises, proved a great boon to the men, who thoroughly appreciated the kindness and attention of the ladies who managed it, and gave up so much of their time to it.

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

“The War is a terrible thing, but it has brought out many splendid qualities in those serving their King and Country”

The parish of Newbury was proud of its young men.

THE WAR

We are very sorry to hear that two of our young men are reported missing – Ernest Edward Cooper, of 17, Waterloo Place, and Albert James Geater, of 2, Wellington Terrace. We trust that their friends may yet hear better news about them. Also Walter John Pocock, of Waterloo Place, is said to be suffering badly from shell shock in hospital in France.

Sergeant E Sivier, formerly of Newbury, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the field, and Harry, son of Mr and Mrs Bright, of West Mills, has received a like honour. These things make us very proud of our young men, and should lead us to be all the more earnest in our prayers for them. The War is a terrible thing, but it has brought out many splendid qualities in those serving their King and Country, and our Nation will be all the richer for these things in the years to come.

The Rector has been hoping to obtain another colleague in the person of Mr C T Lord, son of the Vicar of Chaddleworth, who was to have been ordained by the Bishop of Oxford this September: but those hopes have now been disappointed, as Mr Lord has been claimed by the Military, and so will not be ordained at present.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

Glove making for Mine Sweepers

A teacher faced the loss of her brother, while a Sonning school got its boys to do leatherwork for the Navy.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
19th October 1917

Miss Kemp excused to-day, her brother killed at front.

Sonning Boys school
19th October 1917
Started glove making for Mine Sweepers in Upper Group. This work will be taken instead of gardening during the winter months.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p.38); Sonning Boys school log book (89/SCH/1/2, p. 53)

“Some excess in food has been going on” – but families should get more sugar

Food restrictions were well under way in Newbury.

October 18th, 1917.

Maximum Prices

The Committee have fixed the maximum retail price of milk (delivered) as follows:

For the month of October, 2s per gallon, and 6d per quart, and from November to March inclusive, 2s 4d per gallon, and 7d per quart, prices for all other measures to be in proportion.

The Committee have under consideration the question of Meat prices and Butter.

Sugar Distribution Scheme (Manufacturers, Caterers, Institutions)

Very valuable assistance has been given by a member of the Committee, not a member of the Council, in dealing with these applications. Many more applications have been received from Manufacturers than estimated, and a great deal of delay has been caused in issuing the vouchers, owing to the difficulty of getting further supplies from the supplying department.

The rationing under the scheme, of Manufacturers and Caterers, should mean a very appreciable increase in the amount of sugar available for private consumption. The Committee would put on record that such rationing has been carried out strictly under the rules of the Food Control Department, that is for Manufacturers, 11 ½ per cent of their 1915 supply, for the period covered by the immediate authorities, and for Caterers and Institutions, on the basis of 2-7ths of an oz. per meal, with certain modifications to meet special restrictions such as those against afternoon teas for people who live out in Institutions, and allowances against the sugar used in cakes in certain classes of catering business.

Householders Applications

These applications on the whole are not very incorrectly [sic] filled in, a good many being traced who had omitted the address, by names of schools being inserted on the forms. Voluntary assistance has been given in filing applications, writing envelopes, etc, and all sugar cards should be out early this week.

Hotels, Restaurants

We regret to say that the registers required to be kept under the “Public Meals Order” have not been very well kept in many cases, and that some excess in food has been going on. We hope that this is now stopped.

Food Economy Campaign

The Committee have received a communication from the Ministry of Food asking them to set up a special committee for this purpose, but they have decided to deal with such a campaign, as the question arises, at meetings of the full committee.

We received 48 applications for licences to sell sugar, from retailers, 47 licences have been granted, one application being refused by the Committee on the grounds that no legitimate retail business was in existence.

Flour Compensation

The Committee and their staff were given a good deal of work in connection with this matter.

Potato Licences

The Committee received a large number of applications for dealing in potatoes, the majority of which have been dealt with. They have some late applications which have just come in.

Members of the Committee for the Sugar Distribution Scheme had to meet on an average twice a week, to deal with the above, and also in regard to Flour Compensation, and other details of their work.

Newbury Borough: Report of the Food Control Committee (N/AC1/2/8)

People ask “Why does the War go on?” – “Is there a God?” and other equally futile questions

The Newbury parish magazine was critical of social change.

One of the most disquieting signs of today is the widespread neglect of Public Worship and indifference to spiritual things…

It is for instance a very melancholy thing to see women drinking in public as they do today quite shamelessly, and as they would never have thought of doing a few years ago, and neglecting their children and their homes; while there are some wives and mothers who are leading vile and disgraceful lives.

And then people ask “Why does the War go on?” – “Is there a God?” and other equally futile questions. Yes, there is a God, and He is the same God as He has always been, and He will punish wickedness and vice, and careless indifference as He has always punished them; nor is it reasonable to suppose that God will give the victory where victory is not deserved.

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

A substitute for certain industrial processes connected with the war

Newbury children were recruited to collect horse chestnuts for use in munitions – which would in turn release more food.

Friday, August 31st, 1917

Teacher on Military Service

The Sub-committee recommend that Mr G F Pyke, a Certificated Assistant Master on the staff at the Newbury CE Boys’ School, who has been on military service since March 31st last, be granted an allowance at the rate of £13 per annum whilst he is holding his present rank in the Army; such allowance to take effect as from April 1st, 1917.


Collection of Horse Chestnuts

A circular letter was received from the Board of Education intimating that the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Munitions had asked for the assistance of Local Education Authorities in collecting this year’s crop of horse-chestnuts.

It appears that a considerable quantity of grain is at present being used in certain industrial processes connected with the war, and that in order to set this grain free for food, experiments have been made to discover a substitute. This substitute has been found in the horse-chestnut, and it is stated that for every ton of chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption.

The secretary was asked to make the necessary arrangements with the schools for the older boys and girls to assist in collecting the horse-chestnuts in the borough and neighbourhood, and to communicate with owners of property with the view to permission being granted to parties of children to collect the nuts on their premises.

The Sub-committee have made the following arrangements for the temporary storage of the chestnuts:

(a) for children collecting north of Newbury Water Bridge: at Mr J Stradling’s premises (The Newbury Coach and Motor Works), London Road.

(b) for children collecting south of Newbury Water Bridge: the playshed of the Council Boys’ School, Station Road.

Minutes of Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Education Committee, Newbury Borough Council (N/AC1/2/8)

A real work of loving service for our brave soldiers and sailors

Newbury women were hard at work sewing for various deserving war causes, while even the mayor (a local solicitor) had joined up.

The members of the Red Cross Work Party continue their labours with undiminished energy. They have up till now held 40 meetings, and have sent work to the British Red Cross Society, the French Red Cross, the Belgian, Italian and Serbian ditto, the Russian Prisoners of War Fund, the Navy League, HMS Conquest (Lieut. Gordon Burgess’s ship), the mine-sweeper Newbury, the War Depot at Wickham House, the Newbury Hospital, Park House Hospital, the Ripon War Hospital, and Hospitals in France and Malta. The Work Party may well be proud of such a record, but we know that it is with all the members a real work of loving service for our brave soldiers and sailors…

We were pleased the other day to see the late Mayor of Newbury, Councillor Bazett, back in the town, looking particularly well. We wish him all success in the Army, and hope that he will come back safe and sound.

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

“Our prayers are needed for the people of Russia, that they may be united in their new liberty”

The parish of Newbury feared the Russian Revolution would make the war longer.

The War still drags on, and the Revolution in Russia has not tended towards making it shorter: our prayers are needed for the people of Russia, that they may be united in their new liberty, and may stand firm against the enemy.

The War has lately claimed two more of our men, and we offer our sincere sympathy to Mrs Cox, of 6, Rosemary Terrace, and Mrs Preston, of 3, Rosemary Terrace, on the loss of their husbands. Several of our CLB lads have lately had to join up. There is still urgent need for economy in the matter of our food, and a food economy exhibition has lately been held in the Corn Exchange.

It is most unfortunate that, just as new and most suitable premises had been secured for the Soldiers’ Club, all the soldiers should disappear from Newbury: and the committee are accordingly left in a difficulty as to what to do. At this moment the club is furnished, but is not open, and we cannot hear of any more soldiers coming. The Secretary and Treasurer of the Club is Miss Godding, and the Committee are Mrs S A Hawker, Mrs O’Farrell, Mrs H Hollands, Mrs Palmer, and Miss A Boyer. These ladies have made the Club a great success by their hard work, and with the assistance of other helpers.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)

A soliderly and workmanlike experience of camp life

Many men from west and north Berkshire had volunteered to serve in a Home Defence unit.

The Newbury Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Berkshire Volunteer Regiment went into Camp at Churn from Friday, July 13th, to Sunday the 15th, and had a very good time. This Battalion comprises men from Wallingford, Newbury, Abingdon and Wantage, and formerly went under the title of “The Home Defence Corps”. In order that we may not convey valuable information to the enemy, it would be as well not to mention the particular duties upon which the men of Newbury were on this occasion engaged. Suffice it to say that they set about them in a soldierly and workmanlike manner, and gained the approval of the Major, and Adjutant, and Captain, and other Officers.

The experience of camp life was new to a large number of those present, but there were also some seasoned veterans, who could speak of a similar experience of 20 or 30 years ago. The air of Churn is most invigorating, so much so indeed that some of the company appeared to spend a large portion of the first night in animated conversation, but were quieter the second night, though even then there were those who found sleep difficult, owing partly to the unaccustomed hardness of their bed. A religious Service was held on Sunday morning, at 9.30, by the Chaplain. The catering was done by Mr Tombs, and earned well merited praise. There are many more men in Newbury who ought to join the Battalion.

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