A welcome home gathering

Reading Methodists welcomed home the troops.

19 June 1919

Mr Phipps proposed, Miss Beecroft seconded, That the meeting to celebrate Peace, decided to be held by the June Quarterly Meeting, be held if possible in Wesley Church.

The following were elected to form a Committee to make arrangements for the Welcome Home Gathering of Demobilized men & others who have served in the Forces: Messrs Willis, Everitt, Goss, Turner, Hinton, & Ralph Clifford, with power to add.

Wesley Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS60/1A/1)

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The war will not, strictly speaking, have “terminated”, until the peace terms have been duly ratified

The war had still not technically ended, as the treaties had not been signed. But peace celebrations were in full swing.

Peace Celebrations

At a second General Meeting, on 17th June, the recommendation of the Committee that these celebrations should take the form of a Tea, with games, etc, for the children of the parish, was approved. “Children” to include all ages up to 14, and any still attending school over that age. By the time this magazine appears it is hoped that the German Representatives will have signed the Peace Terms. But Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria remain to be dealt with, and moreover the war will not, strictly speaking, have “terminated”, until the terms have been duly ratified by the proper representative assemblies. No doubt, however, an official Peace Celebration Day will be proclaimed before this has taken place in all the countries concerned.

Meanwhile, as announced at the Meeting, the Military Authorities are arranging central functions for those who have served overseas, and there will be a gathering and entertainment in Reading.

War Memorial

At the same Meeting, further recommendations of the Committee were adopted, viz:

(a) The erection of a Cross in the Churchyard in memory of those who have fallen;

(b) The improvement of the Parish Recreation Grounds, in connection with a Sports Club to be formed.

It was referred to the Committee to raise two separate funds for these two objects (Peace Celebrations and War Memorial), the latter fund to be applied first to the Cross, and secondly to Recreation Grounds, etc.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said

St Augustine’s was the only children’s home for boys run by the Community of St John Baptist. Many of its inmates went on to serve in the Armed Forces, and they shared their experiences with the Sisters.

June, 1919
Dear Friends of St Augustine’s Home

The health of the boys has been excellent this winter, for which we are most thankful. We had a bad epidemic of influenza a year ago, and when the disease made its re-appearance in Windsor in the beginning of winter, we trembled, but schools were closed, and we resorted to gargling and house-spraying, and had not more than half a dozen cases at most.

Our always kind doctor and dentist have returned home from war work, and again look after our boys…

We ended our financial year with bills amounting to more than £200 unpaid. We are printing not merely our last balance sheet, but a pre-war one, by way of an interesting and instructive comparison. One thing that may strike you is that not merely are our expenses heavier, but our subscriptions are considerably less. There have been so many claims on everyone, but we hope that as these lessen, the claims of a Home like ours, which has sent many sons to the front and is helping to train others to take the place of those who have fallen, may appeal not merely to former subscribers but to those who will become new friends…

Our household linen cupboard, and our clothes cupboard, were almost empty this spring… Then … came a large package of garments, cutlery and other things from a war hospital… during the last two weeks of March.

A number of kind friends at Eton and other places made a special Lent effort and sent us a nice contribution of stockings… If other friends would follow this example (perhaps some of those who have knitted so assiduously for soldiers) and ask their friends to do the same, the stocking basket would wear a more cheerful aspect…

August will soon be here, and we hope to see some of our old boys down for the holidays, though Peace celebrations may very naturally take them elsewhere. They have come and gone from time to time as leave allowed, and many thrilling things some of them have to tell – though told always in the simplest, most matter-of-fact way. Some have been in ships torpedoed, one received and transmitted wireless messages concerning the armistice coming from an agitated operator at the Eiffel Tower, before many in authority knew what was being said. And some of our boys will of course never return, but have won the “great promotion” of which the Home is so proud.

Yours very gratefully
The Sister-in-Charge

Letter to Friends of St Augustine’s Home, Clewer (D/EX1675/23/4/6)

Going out to witness the sports and other festivities in the Town

Workhouse residents in Reading were allowed to take part in the town festivities.

10th June 1919
Peace Celebrations

The Committee had before them the following recommendations of the Peace Celebrations Committee, and decided to recommend to the Board that the same be approved, viz:

1. That the days set apart for the Celebration be observed as general holidays.

2. That the inmates during one of such days be given extra fare similar to that provided on Christmas day.

3. That discipline be relaxed, and that such of the inmates as are able and desirous of going out to witness the sports and other festivities in the Town, be allowed to do so, and to return at a reasonable hour at the discretion of the Master.

4. That Concerts be arranged at the Infirmary and the Mansion House, Prospect Park.

5. That the officers on duty during the days set apart for Peace Celebrations, be granted equal time off, as and when they can be spared.

Report of House Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

“War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”

An army doctor was a leader in the temperance movement.

An Open-Air Meeting in connection with the St Luke’s Branch of the CETS was held in the Vicarage Garden, on Tuesday evening, June 10th, under the Presidency of the Rev. T H Thurland, the Vicar being away on holiday. The Chief Speaker was Dr Harford, General Secretary of the CETS, who first distributed the certificates, etc, won by the Band of Hope members, the handsome Challenge Banner for the Maidenhead Band of Hope competition having been won by North Town.

Dr Harford, in his address, spoke chiefly to interest the large number of juveniles present. He told them of his service for nearly four years as an eye specialist in France, and related many incidents and told of the scenes of destruction and military activities. He next quoted the remark of M. Clemenceau, French Prime Minister, that “War is dreadful, but Peace is terrible”. This meant that when at war we had got but one thing to do – to see we got it through; but in Peace everybody began to fight everybody else we had first to make a good Peace, not only in Paris, but also at home. He urged the young people to do all they could to fight against the evils caused by drink, one of the greatest curses of our land. The Doctor related an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury relative to the coming big campaign of the CETS, the “Merrie England” Movement, in which the Society would send cinemas and lecturers around the country to give an impetus to better housing and or enlightened action as to food, health and thrift. The Society was anxious that everybody should have happy homes – not only good, decent houses, but real happy homes. As to cooking, the Doctor had a severe shock when, on asking a little boy if he liked nice puddings, and taking for granted the inevitable “Yes”, the little boy frankly replied “No, sir!” The Doctor’s point was that if the wives would only give their husbands plenty of sweet puddings, the men would not care for so much beer, in which they found the sugary element. In the new homes of Merrie England the children must be taught to play games.

Dr Harford later told some experiences as a missionary for many years in West Africa, where he was nearly eaten by cannibals. An effort was being made to suppress the use of gin out there, this spirit being the buying and selling “coinage” of the country. – (Laughter). As part of the “Merrie England” Movement, every parish was being asked to arrange a little pageant play already published as part of the local Peace celebrations; and he hoped the Maidenhead CETS would carry this out.

Reprinted from The Maidenhead Advertiser.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, July 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

The main Military Celebrations for the County of Berks shall take place in Reading

Preparations were underway for official Berkshire celebrations of the peace.

County Peace Celebrations

The Peace Celebrations Committee have decided that the main Military Celebrations for the County of Berks shall take place in Reading.

It is to be understood that this day is not intended to prevent Boroughs or Parishes from organizing local celebrations on another day, though it is hoped that the celebrations in Reading may be looked upon by all as being representative of the County.

The Reading programme is to include a parade and March Past, at which the Lord Lieutenant will take the Salute. The troops will then be entertained to dinner and Sports will be arranged for them in the afternoon. An invitation will be extended to all Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men who have served overseas.

The Hon. Secretary for the Peace Celebrations Committee is Major A.S. Turner, The Barracks, Reading.

Wargrave parish magazine, June 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

Victory Loan Procession

11 July

A number of scholars were absent yesterday [10 July] having gone to Newbury to see the Victory Loan Procession.

Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

Reasonable expenditure on peace celebrations

10 May 1919

PEACE CELEBRATIONS

The Local Government Board are prepared to sanction reasonable expenditure by Local Authorities in connection with the celebration of Peace.

Report of Finance Committee in Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Arrangements to be made for the inmates of the Institutions for the celebration of Peace

6th May 1919
Peace Celebrations

The Chairman of the Board, the Chairman and Vice-chairman of this Committee, with the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the Infant Poor Committee, were appointed a sub-committee to consider the arrangements to be made for the inmates of the Institutions for the celebration of Peace.

Report of House Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Ready for Peace or Empire Day, whichever comes first

Flagstaff

Mr Rogers of Furze Platt has kindly given the National School (Boys’ Department) a flagstaff. The boys, out of the profits of the School garden, have paid for its fixing and purchased a flag. So they are ready for Peace or Empire Day, whichever comes first.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, April 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

“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)

A new flag for Peace Day

Braywick
17th January 1919

As the school flag is worn out, we the teachers and scholars, determined to purchase a new one for ‘Peace Day’. So with the managers’ consent a half holiday was granted to-day that we might give a concert, the proceeds of which to buy a flag. Children worked very heartily with their teachers to become proficient in their plays, dances and songs and good results are hoped for.

Speenhamland
Jan 17

Visit of Francis C E Lewis of the RFA, an old boy.


Log books of Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4)
; St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

Gay with flags and laurel leaves

There was a still a need to support the troops.

St Peter’s Notices

The Furze Platt Working Party meets at Furze Croft on Tuesday, 7th and 21st. The Secretary wishes to thank all workers and subscribers for their steady support through these years of war. No further funds will be collected for this society, but workers are asked to continue their efforts a little longer, as we have a certain amount of material in hand for making the garments which are still being asked for by the hospitals; also, Government has given us wool, as knitted garments are very much needed for the army abroad. A full account of the work of this branch of the Society will appear in the February or March number of the Magazine. I believe it will be found that more work has been done this year than ever before, and I am sure people will be glad to know that as the Society asked that games should be supplied for the troops, our December subscriptions provided some footballs and games for 2/4th and 5th Battalions of the Royal Berks and the 187 Light Trench Mortar Battery.

The Bazaar has realised £171 13s 3d. great credit is due to the workers. The Town Hall looked gay with flags, and the stall were most effective, draped with white, with a flag of one of the Colonies or of an Allied Power as a centre piece, and festooned with garlands of laurel leaves made by the boys of Furze Platt…

Now that there are fewer Collections for War Charities, will Church people consider the possibility of becoming supporters of the Free-Will Offering Fund? We, most of us, profess to believe in everybody getting a living wage, and yet this Fund has very few supporters.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

Let us play our part manfully for God in the new conditions we all have to face

Maidenhead continued to celebrate peace and look to the future.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners …

Alas, we have to raise the price of the Magazine to 2d, when bought from a District Visitor, or over the counter at Mr Marsh’s shop. The price for a year, delivered separately, is 2/6 instead of 1/6. We are, I believe, the last Magazine in Berkshire to raise our price, but last year has been run at a loss, and the cost of paper and printing has enormously increased…

Then may I wish you all a very Happy New Year, the safe return of all friends from the Forces, and a final Peace on just lines in the world…

As regards the future, the Band of Hope Tea is to be held on January 7th at Brock Lane Room, St Luke’s Sunday School Treat on January 23rd, and North Town later on. For these treats I will gladly receive (and even request) donations. Let us make our Armistice Tea a success.

Then as regards the further future, I hope to call a Meeting to discuss a War Memorial for the Parish of St Luke, Maidenhead, in February, as, doubtless, the Mayor will call upon all citizens to do something for the Borough at the Town Meeting in January. I think we ought, as Church people, to plan something definite for the Church or its work. Let us put our heads together in the meantime…

In the meantime, let us try and back up our existing work, so as to play our part manfully for God in the new conditions we all have to face.

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar

C E M Fry.
Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

The American Battle Hymn will be sung both morning and evening

The fighting was over, but peace was not completely secured, with negotiations ongoing.

Sunday, Jan. 5th will be observed as a day of special thanksgiving for victory, and a prayer for the statesmen of the world assembled at the Peace Conference. There will be celebrations of the Holy Communion at 7 and 8, and the American Battle Hymn will be sung both morning and evening. The collections will be given to the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John Jerusalem, which urgently need help. It will be remembered, of course, that the great services of thanksgiving for peace will follow when the peace is signed.

Speenhamland parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P116B/28A/2)