Not money enough to pay the wages the strikers expect

The Vansittart Neales’ baby grandson was invited down to Bisham. He came down with his Nannie the next day. The strike ended on 5 October.

27 September 1919

Awful strike begun. All trains stopped. Hear Jo. Kelly to send destroyers to Ireland for [illegible].

They have made preparations, but expect petrol & perhaps [Shaw?] to be commandeered. Hear milk supply in London may be irregular so settled with P[aget]s to send for baby Sunday by car…

Expect strike to last some weeks. The country have not money enough to pay the wages they expect.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

All uncertain & unrestful!

There were mixed emotions at Bisham Abbey.

21 March 1919

Miners’ meeting today – all uncertain & unrestful!

Farewell visit of Belgians. Mme Maester, De Witte & Bernard Van de Werve. They go home April 16th… Baby [grandson Berkeley Paget] very sweet to Belgians…

Johnson to be married!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War

A final list of the Wargrave men who served in the war. NB: where this symbol † appears in the list, an entry for this soldier exists in the corresponding supplement to follow.

ROLL OF HONOUR.

These served their King by land or sea from the Parish of Wargrave during the Great War.

Additions and Corrections for this Roll should be sent to the Vicar as soon as possible.

Adby, L.
Adby, C.
Adby, W.
Adby, O.
Alderton, F. J.
Allen, C. W.
Allum, H.
Amos, G.
Andrew, H.
Arnold, A. E.
Arnold, W.
Attlesey, H. F.
(more…)

Excitement almost as tense as that Bank Holiday Monday 4 years ago

It was clear that the Germans were almost ready to surrender.

Florence Vansittart Neale
9 November 1918

German peace delegates arrived at Capelle. Met by Foch & Admiral Wemyss. Say the terms are hard. Excited at having butter again!!!

Pagets & Mr Davidson & dogs on river…

Charlie Tuck had flu, so Lizzie our only housemaid.

William Hallam
9th November 1918

Everyone anxiously awaiting the decision of the German gov. Excitement almost as tense as that Bank Holiday Monday 4 years ago.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

A war bride’s banns

While nursing the troops, Elizabeth “Bubble” Vansittart Neale had fallen in love with Leo Paget (1889-1951), a Captain in the Rifle Brigade, whose father was a General in the Royal Artillery. The couple’s wedding would take place at Bisham Church in October 1917.

16 September 1917

Bubs’ banns read for 1st time.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“More brains than bowels”

Ralph Glyn’s mentor General Charles Callwell, just off to Russia, let him know what was going on at the War Office and internationally. For Czar Nicholas II’s impressions of Callwell, see his letters.

Central Station Hotel
Newcastle-on-Tyne

4th March 1916

My dear Glyn

I got your letter just when leaving. It looks as if things were going to be very dull in Egypt and, with the reduction of garrison, I suppose that there will be reduction of staff. Perhaps you will find yourself nearer decisive events before long. Latest news from Verdun seems quite satisfactory and Joffre two days ago was quite satisfied. Robertson had gone over to see him and Haig.

Wigram and I are for the Grand Duke’s HQ but go to Magily first to see the Emperor & Alexieff. I have a GCMG for Yudenich, who commanded the army that took Erzerum, which should make us popular & will justify our getting pretty well up to the front. Whe we get back to Moscow we may go on to Japan – I have a sack of decorations concealed at Christiania to serve as an excuse – so as to see how things are on the Siberian railway & at Vladivostok, but I could not get Robertson to make up his mind. The King told me that AP [Arthur Paget] put in from Petrograd for a trip to the Caucasus, suggesting a decoration for Yudenich as justification; but he was too late, our trip having already been arranged. We may meet him at Stockholm or some such place. Mac[law?] is going with us as far as Petrograd, he has managed to put in about three months at home on an irregular sort of sick leave and strikes me as having more brains than bowels; he is coming down here later and we start tonight. The passage across is no citch [sic] as it is bitterly cold, it is always rough, & the steamers are small & asphyxiating, proving altogether too much for Wigram and our recruit-servant.

The War Office has quite settled down on its new lines and the breaking up of the MO into MO and to MI seems to work very well and to be a decided improvement. Most of the old gang remain on and some of them look rather tired.

Wishing you the best of luck

Yours sincerely
Chas E Callwell

Letter from General Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

We should have a soldier, a sailor and George Curzon to run the country

Walter Erskine, Earl of Mar and Kellie, was Colonel of the Sutherland Highlanders. His wife Violet (1868-1938) wrote to Ralph Glyn with her views on Gallipoli, and the political situation at home. She was not impressed by the appointment of Queen Mary’s brother Adolphus, Duke of Teck, to a senior army role.

44 Grosvenor Square
Monday 10th Feb [1916]

Ralph dear

I loved getting a letter from you, & I have been a long time answering it, as I was laid low at Alloa for three weeks in January with Flu…

We are here till the first days of March. I wonder if you will be home before that? If so, I would so like to see you.

Yes, that evacuation of Gallipoli must have been too wonderful, & one was relieved to know that that Army was safely away from that crassly stupid Expedition. I have seen Eddy Dudly, who is all right again, & I hear Scatters [Wilson] may be getting a [illegible] leave, as he has a bad foot.

London is depressed & gloomy, & the PM looks as if he hadn’t a care in the world!! I would like to sweep them all away, & have a soldier (which?? Robertson I suppose) or sailor (Jellicoe) & a civilian – George Curzon I think, as a Triumvirate to see this war through. The latter is strong in mind & action. Great administrative abilities, keeping India, Persia & Mesopotamia like his pocket, which none of the other 22 do, & a grasp of detail in every subject, & a glutton of work. Perhaps you may not agree.

Dolly Teck’s appointment is “pour rire”. We are evidently not at war!!

Am going to tea at Buc. Pal. this evening…

Rumour has it that the German Fleet is coming out. Let us pray for a successful issue for us – as there must always be a great deal of luck at sea!…

[Her son] Jock is on Lord Erroll’s Staff. Lowland 65th Div. at Bridge of Allan, which is nice for us…

I envy you being in Egypt. I don’t believe there will be much doing there after all….

Arthur Paget goes off to Russia almost at once to present Czar with Field Marshal’s Baton! Pity you are not here to go with him again!

Yours ever
Violet M.

Letter from Violet, Countess of Mar and Kellie (1868-1938) to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C21)

The only one worth a damn

We don’t know the identity of this letter writer as his signature is illegible, but it may well be General Sir Arthur Paget. He wrote to Ralph Glyn from Warren House in Surrey, the home of Sir Arthur and Lady Paget (but coincidentally previously owned by the Glyns’ cousin Lord Wolverton). He was evidently unimpressed by most of the British commanders, with kind words only for General Archibald Murray and Major-General Robert Wanless O’Gowan.

23 Jan 16
Warren House
Coombe Wood
Kingston Hill

My dear Glyn

Robertson is now in full service at WO & I trust that he may prove the right man. His predecessor was an old friend of mine & proved himself, as I expected, the best CIGS we have ever had at the WO. If the present man is better he must be a wonder. Meanwhile you have got Archie Murray, who I am certain will prove the best Army Commander that has ever left these shores. In fact in my opinion, based on the knowledge of years, that unless some changes are made, he will be the only one worth a d…. I feel certain no attempt on a large scale will be made on Egypt. They will try & persuade the Turks to threaten, so as to keep the troops locked up. It is possible that AM will try an offensive on Nish & rescue my daughter en route as usual, for which I shall be delighted.

I will write again in a day or two in re our mission – one point I now ask, Do you remember the wording of the message we sent from GJHQR through the RMA at home to K advising him of the precarious state the R. [Russian?] Army was in? They have been trying to make out that I was too optimistic & gave them no hint that R. might go back, the same applies to the French G. Pau. Good luck, remember me to Archie Murray – & look up the 31 Div, a fine lot under a good man Wanless O’Gowan.

Ever yours
[A?]

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/3)

Irish are “traitors all”

Florence and Henry Vansittart Neale paid a visit to Henry’s former brother in law Henry Dickinson and nephew Harry.

16 August 1915
Words about “Per Shaw”. Shaw says he physically unfit….

To the Dickinsons. Found Harry home. Had tea. Expecting news of Lionel’s arrival in England – he severely wounded in shoulder.
Heard that we cannot have conscription because of the Irish. They are full of rebellion. Traitors all.

Heard General Paget came back from the Front to beg our government would agree to France making us “trench mortars”, very deadly. They agree to see after them but we cannot afford them! So Kitchener refuses!!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Make the Wargrave Roll of Honour perfect

Many parishes regularly published a Roll of Honour of those serving. One of these was Wargrave, and July saw the publication of Part 2 of their list:

The Roll of Honour for The Parish of Wargrave

Luker, Ernest, VIII Hussars
F Mance, Robert. Army Services Corps.
F Milford, John. R.F.A.
F Morse, George. Royal Berks Regt.
F Nicholl, Charles. Major. Oxfordshire Hussars.
Nicholl, Kenneth. Capt. Welsh Fusiliers
F Nicholls, Albert. Royal Berks Regt
Noble, Eric Heatley. 2nd Lieut. Grenadier Guards
Noble, Norris Heatley. 2nd Lieut. Kings Royal Rifles
F Ogbourne, Harry. 1st Life Guards.
F Over, Reginald. Lce-Corp. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Parritt, William John. Lce-Corp R.E.
Paget, Colin. Wiltshire Territorials
F Perry, George Edwin. Scotch Greys
Piggott, George. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Pithers, James. VIII Royal Berks Regt
Plested, Herbert. Royal Berks Regt
Plested, Albert. Royal Berks Regt
Plowman, Thomas Austen. Berks Yeomanry
Porter, Albert E. Army Service Corps
F Pugh, Ernest. Royal Berks Regt
Rhodes, John Edward. Lt-Col. Princess Beatrice’s Isle of Wight Rifles
Rhodes, Wilfred. Major. Provost Marshal on Staff
F Rhodes, Victor. Capt. Late Sherwood Foresters
Remnant, John. Lieut. Royal Berks Regt
Rayner, John. 2nd Lieut. Royal Berks Regt
Reid, George William. Royal Berks Regt
Richardson, Fred. Berks Yeomanry
Rideout, Henry Randall. Expeditionary Force’s Canteen
Rixon, Charles. Royal Berks Regt
F Rixon, Walter. Royal Berks Regt
Rufey, William. Royal Berks Regt
F Shepherd, Henry. Capt. IX C of London Regt
F Schuster, Leonard Francis. Lieut. 3rd County of London Yeomanry
Sinclair, Gerald John. 2nd Lieut. Black Watch
Sanson, Gordon Ralph. Hon. Artillery Co.
F Sharp, Ernest Gladstine. VIII Dragoon Guards
Sharp, Samuel. Lee-Corp. Welsh Fusiliers
F Sharp, William. Army Service Corps
Shaw, George. Royal Berks Regt
F Shersby, Edward. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Sherwood, Fred. Royal Berks Regt
Silver, Frank. Army Services Corps
Silver, Harry. R.F.A.
F Silvey, Stephen. R.A.M.C.
Slatter, T. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Slattery, Udolph Wolfe. 2nd Lieut. IX West Kent Regt
Smith, George Frederick. Veterinary Corps
Stanbridge, Albert. Irish Fusiliers
F Stone, Samuel Philip. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
F Swanborough, Alfred. Army Services Corps
F Symons-Jeune, Bertram. Lieut. Army Service Corps
Talbot, Arthur. Corpl. IInd Royal Berks Regt
F Talbot, Anthony George. XCIIth Lancers
F Talbot, Albert. Army Services Corps
Tigwell, Monty. Royal Berks Regt
F Watson, Burton. Major. 107th Pioneers, Indian Army
F Watson, Cyril. Captain. Middlesex Husaars
Walsh, Gordon Herbert. Lieut. Royal Sussex Regt
Wakefield, Caleb. Ox and Bucks Light Infy
Wakefield, Cecil. Royal Berks Regt
F Warby, Albert H. XIIth Lancers
F Webb, George. Rifle Brigade
Weller, David. R.F.A.
Woodruff, Charles Herbert. Xth Regt Cavelry

Warren Row In the Parish of Knowl Hill

(more…)

“The Russians are good stage managers. They are also very efficient liars.”

Major-General Alfred Knox (1870-1964) was the British Military Attache in Petrograd (as St Petersburg had been renamed since the start of the war – the Russians thought it sounded too German). He wrote to Ralph Glyn, a young officer currently attached to the War Office, in some dudgeon when he felt less informed views were being taken more seriously than his own.

British Embassy
Petrograd
10th June 1915

Dear Glyn,

Many thanks for your letter. Of course it is quite right that everyone who spends even ten minutes in Russia should send in a report for the more independent views that are brought to bear on any problem the better. What I think is quite wrong is that such reports should be printed and issued by the War Office without a word of editorial comment. There is a danger in this for many people will read your Report who have never seen the Handbook of the Russian Army nor the peace reports of my predecessors and myself before the war nor the reports I have sent in since.

It is true as you say that the Russians are good stage managers. They are also very efficient liars.

You say you are sorry that I could not have been with Sir Arthur Paget to tell him what was truth and what was fiction in all that you were shown. Well in the absence of any instructions from home on the subject I regarded Sir Arthur’s object as the merely courtly one of distributing honours. If I had known that Sir Arthur came out with the additional object of studying the military situation I would have been delighted to have submitted my brains for picking, though MO3 has got all I know in its pigeon holes and since the war owing to the special arrangements made my chances of getting information have been narrowed down to generally a small section of the front.

Yours sincerely
Alfred Knox

Letter from Alfred Knox to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/6)

An experiment training women in light farmwork

Reading University pioneered the recruitment of women to work on farms, as the County Council’s Agricultural Organiser reported. However, he was unconvinced by proposals to settle Belgian refugees on a lavishly stocked smallholding.


ANALYSES MADE BY THE COLLEGE
On account of the members of the staff of the analytical department of the Faculty being absent on military duty, the College had had unfortunately to temporarily close this branch of the work….

WOMEN AND FARM WORK
The members of the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee will be pleased to hear that an effort is being made by University College to assist the farmer in the difficulty of the scarcity of labour by training women in milking and other light farm work, and drafting them out to different farms. This work was started purely from an experimental standpoint. So far the venture has been justified, and to such an extent that the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries are taking a lively interest in it. Should the demand for the services of women for farm work increase it might become necessary to extend the facilities for training them, and it would appear that it is at this stage that the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee could co-operate in the scheme, should such necessity arise…

BELGIAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE
I interviewed Sir Richard Paget, the Chairman of the above Committee, together with Monsieur de Meyer, the Belgian Agronome, in regard to the utilisation of families of refugees for the purpose of demonstrating Belgian intensive methods in this country. In brief I was informed that there were very few agricultural refugees in England, and the Committee desired to place no less than 15 families in one colony. This of course, apart from other considerations, is impossible on account of the necessary housing accommodation not being available. To satisfy the conditions laid down by the Refugee Committee in regard to even one family would seem to be too big an undertaking financially for the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee. Should such a demonstration holding be attempted, it would be necessary to set aside approximately 8 acres of land equipped with suitable buildings for family and stock, livestock and implements. Manure and seed, and a subsistence allowance for the holder’s family would need to provided during the first year. Moreover, a portion of the land would be set aside for market garden purposes and would need to be equipped with suitable frames and steam pipes. In so far as one can judge at the present stage, heavy expenditure would appear to be necessary, and even supposing that such expenditure would rank for Government grant on the usual basis, it is doubtful whether the finances of the Berkshire Agricultural Instruction Committee alone, without other assistance, would permit of the suggestions as set out in Sir Richard Paget’s circular letter being adopted…

G S Bedford
Agricultural Organiser for Berkshire
University College, Reading
1st April 1915

Report of the Agricultural Organiser to BCC’s Agricultural Instruction Committee (C/CL/C1/1/18)

“It is rather absurd the way we are expected to produce every darned thing for for other countries”

Ralph Glyn’s mission to Serbia had gone well, as we can see from this letter from a colleague in the War Office, who shares the latest information and his candid views on some of our allies. The port of Cattaro (now Kotor and in Montenegro) was one of the main bases of the Austrian Navy. MO4 was the topographical section of British Intelligence. Colonel George Fraser Phillips (1863-1921) was a former Governor of Scutari.

March 6 [1915]

War Office
Whitehall
SW

My dear Glyn

Your letters have been most interesting. The last one received was from Petrograd dated 18th February. I gave WGO a copy. I daresay I shall get another from you in a few days. The plan of Cattaro has been copied by MO4 and given to the Admiralty. The original is being taken back to Nisch by Phillips who takes this letter. Phillips you know was in Albania – commandant at Scutari – & was rather a big bug there. Lord K wished him to go out in some capacity to the Balkans so he has been fixed up as MA [Military Attache] – Serbia & Montenegro. He is going to make his HQ at Cettinje [Cetinje]. We have made it quite clear to Harrison that Phillips in no way supersedes him. Harrison will still remain as Attache with Serbian Forces in the field. We had to give in to K in the matter as we particularly wanted C B Thomson to go to Bucharest & Tom Cunninghame to Athens. The latter got to work very quick and the Greeks seem to be scratching their heads a bit as to what they are going to do. I wish they were not in such a funk of the Bulgars. None of the Balkans except perhaps Serbia quite like the idea of a Russian occupation of Constantinople.

You will be interested to hear that Deedes has gone off to be on the spot in case we meet with success in the Dardanelles. He left Toulon for Malta on the 27th February & was hoping to get a ship from there on to what we call “Lundy” Island. He says that if ever he sets foot in Constantinople he will make a “B” line for his old hotel in the hopes of finding all his kit. When you come back, I suppose about 30th March, you are to take over Deedes’ job in MO etc. You will find Ingram a most excellent assistant. He has quite got hold of the “ins & outs” of the German corps &c & has everything at his finger ends. Thank you for your postcard from Bucharest which fetched up all right. Serbia are now “asking” us for anti-aircraft guns. We couldn’t supply them with oats and horses as our own imported supply is only enough to meet our own requirements and in these days of submarines with long sea capacity one never knows when we may run short. Russia surely ought to be able to supply forage & horses to Serbia. It is rather absurd the way we are expected to produce every darned thing for for other countries – but it always was so in the old days of European wars.

I am very sorry to lose Deedes – but I am glad for his sake that he has got his nose turned towards the Turks once more. Fitzmaurice you will find in Sofia I suppose. You will have a rather “delicate” time I expect in the land of the Bulgars, but it will be a smack in the eye for the French if the King receives Paget after refusing to see General Pau. I hope the fact of delaying you a few days to wait for Phillips will not be very inconvenient to you. The other alternative was to send out another mission with fresh trinkets – & this would have cost a great deal. So they are going to wire to you today to stop you leaving the Balkans till you can dole out a few more trinkets or rather hand them to old man Peter for distribution. This general strewing of orders is absolutely against our British ideas & we want to nip it in the bud or it will become intolerable. I hear Russia has sent a box of 850 “orders” as a first instalment!

I lost my sister very sadly last week after a few days’ illness. She was nursing in the Red Cross Hosp. at Winchester… She caught cerebro-spinal fever & died after being unconscious 36 hours….

Yrs sincerely
B E Bulkley

Letter from B Bulkley to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/3)

Belgian refugees to demonstrate farming skills – but will they get their children educated in exile?

Two Berkshire County Council committees considered the effects of the war in their own special areas. The School Management Sub-committee issued guidance on whether Belgian refugee children should be admitted to local schools

BELGIAN REFUGEE CHILDREN
In answer to applications from Managers of a number of Schools with regard to the admission of Belgian Refugee children, the Sub-committee have replied that Managers can refuse to admit children who are not likely to benefit by the instruction given, and that they are not under any obligation to provide any other instruction than that specified in the code. If the Managers of any School consider that the work of the School would not suffer by the admission of children who could not speak English, it is open to them to admit these children if application is made in the proper manner. The Committee would raise no objection so long as the ordinary work of the School went on without interruption.

About 50 Belgian children have been admitted into the County Elementary Schools.

The Agricultural Instruction Committee considered various aspects of the war. Farms were hard pressed in some areas as agricultural labourers flocked to the colours.

AGRICULTURAL ORGANISERS’S REPORT
The Committee present the following report of the Agricultural Organiser on his work for the quarter ended 31st December 1914.

ADVISORY WORK
In several branches of agricultural work the war has been somewhat detrimental towards the desired progress, but in this part of the work in particular the effect of the present crisis has been in the reverse direction. During the past three months the number of requests for advice on various matters has appreciably increased, and information has been given by visits to the farm, by correspondence, and by appointment in the local market and at the College…

MANUAL PROCESSES
The application of the Vale of White Horse Agricultural Society for the services of a hedging instructor has, unfortunately, had to be held over for the present, on account of the young men for whom the class was intended having enlisted….

BELGIAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE
Arrangements are being made for an interview with Sir Richard Paget, the Chairman of the Committee, and an expert of the Belgian Government, for the purpose of discussing the aims of the Committee as contained in the circular letter to the Chairman of the Agricultural Instruction Committee in reference to the utilisation of selected Belgian families for the purpose of demonstrating the Belgian methods of intensive agriculture, horticulture and chicken rearing, and the reclamation of waste land.…

DEARTH OF MILKERS
Letters have been received from the Board of Agriculture suggesting that, in districts where a dearth of milkers has arisen due to the war, classes of instruction in milking be started. Berkshire does not as yet appear to have suffered to the same extent as some other counties, although several cases have been brought to my notice.…

FARM LABOUR
The attention of the Committee having been called to the fact that the scarcity of agricultural farm labour, due to the enlistment of men in HM Forces, is becoming a serious matter, the Committee have passed a Resolution asking the Education Committee to give facilities for boys of 12 years of age and upwards to work on farms during the war.

W A Mount, Chairman
16th January 1915.

Reports to Berkshire County Council (C/CL/C1/1/18)