Especial commendation

Speenhamland children were apparently especially interested in the Navy.

Ap 16

The Mayor, accompanied by Mr E J Forster, came at 3.15 and a very pleasing little function took place. The Prize-winners were five in number in order as follows:

Boys: 1 George Bourne aged 11, 2 Fred Bogg aged 13
Girls: 1 Evelyn Herbert aged 13, 2 Rose Watling aged 12, 3 Hilda Curtis aged 10.

The Mayor mentioned that this was the only school in the Borough that had gained 5 prizes, and George Bourne was singled out for especial commendation.

St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

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War was always unspeakably dreadful

A pupil at St Barthomolomew’s School imagined a future where war was unknown. It may be a creative writing exercise, but it shows the effect the war had on young people’s views of the world.

WAR.

Scene ——————– A room in a house
Time ——————— 2000 A.D.
Dramatis Personae — One sister, one small brother.

Small brother. Sissy, what does war mean? I read it in a book, something about the termination of war or something.

Sister. War, dear child, is the settlement of national quarrels by fighting.

When two or more nations had a quarrel, they used to fight each other till so many people on one side got killed or driven back, that they had to give in.

Sometimes nations just made war for greed because they thought they were stronger than their opponents, indeed this was nearly always the case.

Small brother. Please, what’s reponents?

Sister. Opponents, I said, it means enemies.

Small brother. O yes, I understand enemies; please sissy, why didn’t you say enemies if you meant enemies?

Sister. When you’re a little older, you’ll understand perhaps, but don’t fidget or I shall have to send you upstairs.

Small brother. Go on about war, sissy.

Sister. In the beginning war wasn’t quite so bad, although morally, of course, it was always unspeakably dreadful.

People used to fight hand to hand, and kill each other from quite near, with spears, long steel spikes and other weapons, then later, they shot with bows and arrows, you’ve heard of bows and arrows.

Well, everybody regarded it as a sort of game, with definite rules, particularly we English, who were always slow and stupid.

Small brother. Sissy!!

Sister.
Now don’t interrupt.

Well, people liked fighting very much really, or at any rate some did, they used to put on expensive armour and ride about on beautiful horses, and when there wasn’t a war, they went about saving fair maidens out of enchanted castles, and it was all very nice.

Everything went well, because all the countries used the same weapons, and fought in the same way, but gradually men began to invent more deadly weapons, and some of the countries invented the before their enemies knew anything about it, so of course they said it wasn’t fair and were very cross, and lots of them got killed.

Guns were invented, and other dreadful things, and people fought from a long way off. Nearly everybody fought, and they still had rules like in a game.

Things got worse and worse till the last war, that was about 1914, and then thousands of people got killed, and it was all like a very bad nightmare, men, women and children got killed and aeroplanes dropped bombs about in the town and no one was safe anywhere. After everybody had spent most of their money on the war and lost most of their sons, and had some of their houses knocked down, they got very tired of it, but it had to be finished, because a very wicked country called Germany was threatening the peace of the whole world, not that the whole world really wanted peace, mind you, because they didn’t, but they liked to think they did, and anyhow, they hated the Germans very much, and not without cause.

However, the people who were running the war for England began to see that it wasn’t a game any longer, because they didn’t get enough to each and their sons being killed; so when Germany invented clever things to kill people quicker, which weren’t allowed by the rules, they invented cleverer ones back and said nothing about it, and in the papers the people read all about the wicked things Germany was doing and thought Germany dishonourable for disobeying the rules, and some people say that the English people who were working the war for the English broke the rules first, but this isn’t certain, and anyway, the Germans were a greedy and unscrupulous people, much worse than us, though we were far from perfect, and they were beaten.

And people began to sit down and think a bit, which wasn’t often done in those days, and they came to the conclusion that war wasn’t a game any longer, and that they had better prevent its happening again, so they got together a kind of jury and they called it the League of Nations.

They talked for over a year; some said there must be no more fighting of any kind, and others said that the nature of man couldn’t exist without fighting, so they talked and talked until at last they came to a decision.

They decided to go back to the bow and arrow method, because it looked so nice and wasn’t as dangerous as the other methods, only bows, arrows and armour, were to be used, and directly anybody was wounded he would count as dead, and directly a quarter of the fighters on one side were dead, the other side would have won, and in case of any contravention of the rules, the whole world would punish the offender very severely, and since no country could ever be stronger than all the rest put together, the idea seemed practical and sound.

Well the next fight after the real war was between France and America, it was brought about by a difference of opinion as to whether Paris or New York should lead the fashions in ladies’ hats. It was, of course, a difficult problem, and the League of Nations discussed it for three months, at the end of this time there was a terrible hat strike, and women had to go about bare headed and many of them caught colds and died.

At last the League decided that France and America must figure it out.

The battle was arranged in Hyde Park, London, 100 men from Paris and 100 men from New York were chosen, the battlefield was railed around and people had to pay £20 to watch. The proceeds went to the society for stray cats.

Just before the battle began an Englishman invented an impregnable armour, so he sold the secret for a million pounds to the Paris men, and then got another million from the New York men for telling them, too.

So the first day’s fighting killed no one, and broke a lot of arrows, also it rained hard and the people who had paid £20 to come and watch were very sick about it.

On the second day someone invented an arrow which could pierce the armour, and both sides got hold of the secret, but everyone got to know of it before the battle, so they all wore double armour and again no one got killed, and still it rained, and the fighters sank up to their ankles in mud, because their armour was so heavy, and at the end of the day their friends had to pull them out with ropes.

Now this sort of thing went on for six days; each day better arrows were invented and thicker armour was worn to shield off the arrows, and as a result no one was killed and hundreds of arrows were broken, and still it rained very hard, and all the people who watched got wet and angry, and many died of chills.

And each day, the fighters sank deeper in the mud, because the ground got softer and their armour got heavier.

At last, on the seventh day, which was a Sunday, the situation seemed impossible, because the armed men knew that they couldn’t even get within range of each other; directly they stepped into Hyde Park they would get stuck, and since the rule was that each side should start at opposite ends of the park, it seemed hopeless.

However, a clever Englishman came to the rescue; he constructed two great rafts, and on these the fighters were to row out to the selected spot.

On a given signal they were to step off their rafts and fight as usual.

It cleared up a bit that day and the sun came out, so that heaps of people came to watch in boats and the stray cat’s shares went up seventy-two points.

The Lord Mayor came specially to give the signal for fighting to start.

Directly he blew the whistle the fighters stepped off the rafts, it was calculated by an American that each man weighed seven hundred pounds, anyhow they were never seen again, they sank right down through the each till they reached the centre of gravity and there they presumably remained.

So the question was never settled and everybody bought their hats in London.

Since then there have been no wars.

K.P.L.

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

The cloud which was hanging over us for the last four years has passed away

St Bartholomew’s School planned to remember the war.

Editorial.

We look back upon a time in many respects unique in the annals of the School. The cloud which was hanging over us for the last four years has passed away, and no longer are we in constant dread lest news should come of the death of one of those who went forth from among us. We have welcomed the return of many from the posts to which they were called by War, and wish that good luck may attend them in their journeyings on the paths of Peace. Those who will never return live in the memory of the School, and it is the duty of those who remain to enshrine that glorious memory in a worthy memorial which shall keep it fresh for the future generations of Newburians. Details of that Memorial Find are published elsewhere in this issue, and we would direct the special attention of our readers to this matter, which is of the highest importance to the future of the School. It would be indeed deplorable if the example of self-sacrifice set by those O.N.’s who laid down their lives were, for lack of a fitting monument, lost to those who come after them.

We are ever at the mercy of the weather in the Spring Term, and this year the football season, spoiled last term by influenza, has been rendered a complete fiasco by the inclemency of the elements, which permitted but two practice games and a single match. On the other hand, the skaters have had their fill of that weather which comes all too rarely for their wishes, and the devotees of Terpichore have been able to give themselves up more completely than ever the cult of their Muse, which is sweeping over the land as irresistibly as did the worship of Dionysus over the world of antiquity. As we write, the Fives Tournaments are in full swing, and training for the Sports is being carried on with enthusiasm; but enough of these things: shall not the results there of be chronicled in our next number?

The Newburian (magazine of St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury), April 1919 (N/D161/1/9)

On leave from France

Would this soldier have to return now?

4/04/19

Mrs Smith has been absent from school – her husband on leave from France.

Log book of Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1)

“Our War Savings Association has held its last meeting”

A War Savngs Association closed.

Our War Savings Association at the Parish Room held its last meeting on March 31st, 1919. We commenced on February 26th, 1917. The membership was not so large as it might have been, owing no doubt to being late in the field, as several institutions in the town had been started. Those members who took advantage of it, however, saved consistently, and the final account, passed by the auditors, showed at that date that there were 25 members still actually saving. During the period the Association was in existence nearly 7000 6d coupons were affixed to Savings Cards for members; 206 15/6 War Savings Certificates were exchanged for members’ completed cards, and 218 Certificates were purchased outright by single payments, making a total amount saved of £328 12s 0d. only £4 14s 6d was withdrawn during the whole period. Any of the members who still wish to save can do so by means of special 6d stamps, to be obtained at the Post Office, who will also supply a card for the same. When 15/6 has been saved in this way, it will be exchanged for a Certificate at any Post Office.

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

The evils of Impurity

The Alliance of Honour was a men’s organisation founded in 1904, aimed at moral improvement. The founders were Lord Baden Powell and William Booth.

The Alliance of Honour held a very successful meeting in the Corn Exchange on March 13th, when the two founders of the movement made strong speeches about the duty of Purity among men and the evils of Impurity. There must have been quite 500 or more men present, and the proceedings were enlivened by the Silver Band, which made its appearance for the first time after the War, and included several men who had been serving in the Forces.

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

The return to Windsor, from the war, of the Coldstream Guards

Aston Tirrold
28th February 1919

There is much sickness (colds and influenza) in the school and for the week our percentage of attendance is only 60.

Windsor
1919
Feb: 28th

The Mayor visited on Thursday morning and gave the girls a holiday in the afternoon, because of the return to Windsor, from the war, of the Coldstream Guards.

East Hagbourne
Feby 28th

Mrs Marshall (S), whose husband is home on leave from France, is still absent.

Newbury
28/2/19

Student teacher Whitehorn has been absent from school this week owing to influenza

Earley
28 February 1919

Mrs Plumer, whose husband has just returned from India, & who is now in a Military Hospital in London, has been absent from her duties all this week.

Log books of Aston Tirrold CE School (C/EL105/1); Holy Trinity Infants School, Windsor (C/EL58/2); East Hagbourne School (C/EL35/2); Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1);
St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3)

Separate memorials or a harmonious whole?

Newbury Borough councillors debated the kind of war memorial the twon should choose. Civic offices might not be everyone’s choice, but whatever they chose, the councillors didn’t fancy putting it to a public vote.

February 25, 1919

Finance etc and Selection Joint Committee: War Memorial

The report of this Committee of the 20th February instant was taken as read and the adoption moved by Alderman Stradling who stated that the Committee had considered various suggestions with respect to a War Memorial, and recommending that a War Memorial do consist of a Town Hall, further than that the Committee had not at present gone, but they had also considered some special memorial to those who had fallen in the War. Seconded by Alderman Jackson.

Councillor Carter offered the suggestion that a Recreation Ground for the Borough should be provided.

Alderman Lucas thought that the opinion of the Burgesses should be taken as to the position in the Borough of a Town Hall. He also thought that there should be a separate Memorial to those who had fallen. Alderman Gould was of the same opinion.

Councillor Parfitt thought that early steps should be taken for the provision of a separate Memorial to the fallen.

Councillor Shaw thought that the Memorial to the fallen should not be divorced from the Town Hall Scheme but should form part of a harmonious whole. This was supported by Councillor Davies.

Alderman Stradling replied on the discussion; he was not favourable to a general referendum.

The Committee’s report was carried….

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

Several cases of influenza

Influenza continued its toll.

Newbury
21/2/19

Student teacher Whitehorn has been absent from school this week owing to influenza.

Hampstead Norreys
1919
21 Feb.

The attendance has been only 72.5% for the week, owing to a great amount of sickness, including several cases of influenza.

Log books of Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

Pray for co-operation and the spirit of unity among all classes

There were still problems to face.

YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED –

For the Peace Conference and all its members.

For all our men serving at home and abroad.

For the Chaplains to the Forces.

For a peaceful solution to all Industrial Problems.

For co-operation and the spirit of unity among all classes.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

The work of the Navy in the Great War

Newbury children attended a lecture on the Navy.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
19th February 1919

A party of boys was taken, at the suggestion of the Education Committee, to a lecture at the Picture Palace on ‘The work of the Navy in the Great War’.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
28th February 1919

On the afternoon of Feb. 19th the upper classes attended an illustrated lecture on ‘The Navy’, at the Picture Palace.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 48); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School log look(90/SCH/5/5, p. 244)

Many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others

The hard work of women from Newbury and Speen during the war is reviewed.

RED CROSS WORKING PARTY

The Parish Red Cross Working Party, under the superintendence of Mrs L Majendie, was started by her at the Rectory, Newbury, on May 1st, 1915.

The first meeting was hastily summoned for the purpose of making respirators, but as it was found these were not required, being provided by the War Office, work for hospitals and other objects was substituted.

Mrs Majendie carried on the meetings at more or less regular intervals from a fortnight to three weeks, with suspension of these generally during Lent.

She was assisted, first by Miss Boldero (who also held a number of supplementary meetings for mending for Newbury District Hospital), and later by Mrs and Miss Majendie, Speen.

The number of names on the books was between 50 and 60, and of these over 30 attended regularly from the first meeting, May 1st, 1915, to the last, February 18th, 1919. Thanks are due to all the members, but more especially to these last, also to the various hostesses who provided tea, and lent their houses for meetings (many more would have been glad to do this, if lack of space had not forbidden it).

The hostesses were Mrs L Majendie, Miss Boldero, Mrs A Majendie and Miss D Majendie, Miss Godding, Mrs Gould, Mrs Hawker, Mrs Porter, Mrs Camp, Mrs O’Farrell, Mrs Colbourne, amd Miss Bellinger. Some entertained at their own houses, some at the Conservative Club, and a large number of meetings were held at the Parish Room.

Some members have left Newbury, including several Belgian ladies, who worked regularly for a time.

The objects worked for were very numerous, 24 in all, and included the following:

1. Reading War Hospital, twice.
2. Newbury District Hospital, 9 times.
3. Newbury War Depot, 6 times.
4. Miss Power’s Hospital, once.
5. General Hospital No. 18, France (to Miss Hayne), once.
6. The Minesweeper Newbury, 7 times.
7. HMS Conquest (to Lieut. Burgess), once.
8. Submarine F3 (to Lieut. Burgess, once).
9. The Navy League, 3 times.
10. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Malta, once.
11. Malta and Near East Special Red Cross Appeal, once.
12. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Rouen, twice.
13. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Stationary, No. 3, France, 12 times. Extra parcels were often sent to Dr Heywood’s Hospital at other times.
14. Ripon Camp Hospital (Dr Mackay), twice.
15. French Red Cross, twice.
16. French War Emergency Fund, 11 times.
17. National Committee for Relief in Belgium and Northern France, twice.
18. Belgian Red Cross, once.
19. Italian White Cross, twice.
20. Russian Prisoners of War, once.
21. Serbian Relief Fund, 7 times.
22. Syria and Palestine Relief Fund, 5 times.
23. Air Raid victims in London, once.
24. Soldiers’ Children Aid Committee, twice.

Making 73 meetings in all.

The many grateful letters received are too numerous to quote, but each one showed clearly how much the recipients appreciated the parcels of well made clothing despatched from Newbury. Not only were new clothes sent, but many gifts of garments slightly worn, but in good condition were also sent to various Societies. These were received with special thankfulness for the many refugees in France, Belgium, and Serbia, and as the work of repatriation in some of these terribly devastated regions will have to be carried on for months to come, parcels might still be forwarded from time to time if members cared to collect for them.

Thanks are specially due to those members who were kind enough to continually lend their sewing machines for ten meetings, and to several who undertook from time to time cutting-out at home.
The sum of £92 7s 8d was collected in donations and subscriptions, and was expended in flannel, flannelette, linen, twill, sheeting, muslin, gauze, lint, and cotton wool, which were all worked up into about 2,653 different articles, comprising, roughly speaking, the following:

735 treasure bags, 386 bandages, 376 miscellaneous things (such as washers, dusters, hot water bottle covers, table napkins, etc), 253 children’s garments, 210 men’s shirts, 177 knitted articles (socks, helmets, mufflers, operation stockings, etc), 128 collars and ties for hospital wear, 108 men’s vests and other underclothing, 106 women’s underclothing and blouses, 86 towels, 68 pillow cases and sheets, 20 pair steering gloves (leather palms): total 2,653.

The pleasant fellowship in which the members worked so untiringly through many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others, may well have strengthened not only parochial and personal ties, but also many wider ones with those they were privileged to help.

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

We must now let the men whose names have been held in honour realise that we are just as keenly interested in them in peace as we were in war

Churches were asked to welcome home soldiers.

THE CHURCH AND THE ARMY

RETURN OF MEN FROM THE FRONT

The Archbishop of Canterbury earnestly commends to the clergy and laity of his diocese some suggestions adapted from a like paper issued in another diocese.

The Roll of Honour, which has, as I hope and believe, has been placed practically in every church in the diocese, was meant to be an outward and visible sign of the interest of the Church as a whole in each man whose name was found upon it. Prayers, contant prayers, were to be offered for him. This obligation the Church has fulfilled, and numbers of men are returning for whom we have prayed. We must now let the men whose names have been thus held in honour realise that we are just as keenly interested in them in peace as we were in war. We can do this in various ways.

1. A “Welcome Home Committee” should be formed at once in every parish, consisting of the clergy together with a number of communicants, both men and women.
2. The Committee should undertake the work of according a warm welcome to all the men living in the parish on their return from the Front, whether they are Churchmen or not.
3. As far as is possible someone should be appointed in every street (or district) in any large parish to act as “Watcher” on behalf of the committee in that street, who should notify its secretary immediately on the return of any man living within it.
4. On notification of the return home of any man the Committee should appoint someone to visit him at once and extend in the name of the Church a warm welcome home.

The man concerned should be treated as circumstances and common sense may dictate. Different methods would naturally be adopted with regard to communicants and those who are not, but the welcome to each would be equally warm. The incumbent might arrange for a Celebration to which the communicant, his family and any friends could be invited, and at which they could unitedly offer their thanksgiving for his safe return and also rededicate their lived to the service of God, the Church and the Country. Regarding the non-communicants, special attention should be paid to the men who signed the War Roll Pledge issued at the front, and whose names have been sent already to the incumbents. This privilege might appropriately be placed in the hands of the local branch of the CEMS, if its membership is sufficient to deal with the situation. The problem will be treated differently in a small country parish and in a town parish; but in both alike:

1. No man should return without the Church making some effort to give him a welcome.
2. The whole body of communicants should be encouraged to take an interest in the men for whom they have prayed for four years.
3. The scheme should be put into operation at once.
4. Special Services for the returned men might appropriately be held at suitable intervals.

Newbury St Nicolas parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

“We are all anxious to have a Memorial which will be entirely worthy of the occasion”

Newbury made moves towards getting a war memorial designed.

At the first committee meeting [appointed by the meeting of parishioners on 22 January to consider a war memorial] on Feb. 4th, the names of Mr R Martin, junior, and Mr F H Stillman were added to the above. At the same meeting the Rector was asked to write and enquire about an architect, who would give the necessary advice as to a suitable memorial. He has been referred by the Archdeacon of Berks to the Vicar of Burford, and is waiting to hear from him. The final decision of the committee will be reported to another Meeting of Parishioners. We are all anxious to have a Memorial which will be entirely worthy of the Church and of the occasion.

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

“Councillor Camp deprecated any extravagant Peace Celebration but thought that it should be of a subdued character”

Newbury Borough Councillors had mixed views on remembering the war.

January 28 1919

Finance Watch and General Purposes Committee – the reports of the 31st December last and 24th January instant were taken as read … also to a conference to be held with a Representative of the Local Government Board on the inception and execution of works during demobilisation and reconstruction, and to the recommendation of the Committee with regard to the reinstatement on his discharge from the Army of the Borough Surveyor [Mr Vincent], the salary to be paid, and the discharge of his duties. Seconded by Alderman Rankin, Councillor Hopson then enquired whether any communication had been made to the Borough Surveyor on the limitation of his professional work. Alderman Stradling stated that he understood that the Surveyor assented to the proposed terms.

The Mayor referred to the proposed War Memorial, and desired the Council’s opinion upon the subject.

Councillor Carter suggested the calling of a Public Town’s Meeting with reference to any Peace Celebration. Councillor Geater also referred to the same subject. Councillor Camp deprecated any extravagant Peace Celebration but thought that it should be of a subdued character.

Alderman Lucas suggested that the matter of the War memorial should be referred to a Special Committee. Councillor Hopson moved that the matter be referred to the Finance Committee and the Chairmen of the other Committees of the Council. Seconded by Alderman Rankin and moved. The report was then put and carried…

Museum and Free Public Library Committee

The report of the 13th January instant was taken as read and its adoption moved by Councillor Hopson who referred particularly to a proposed War Collection for the Museum. Seconded by Alderman Jackson, and the report was put and carried.

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