Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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Pray daily for an honourable settlement

Peace had brought industrial unrest, as lower paid sections of the population protested against high prices and the threat of reduced wages.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners, …

I write this letter while the country is under the shadow of a great strike. I feel that honest men will differ as to the rights and wrongs of this struggle, and we must respect honest differences of opinion. But the strike is of a magnitude that forces men to take up one side or the other.

Personally, I feel that with three months in which to bargain with the Government before any reduction of pay could in any case take place, a strike now is unjustifiable.

And so, while I expect there are many minor grievances against the Government now that the strike has been started, many of us after careful reflection feel that we must support the Government, not only in keeping order, but in carrying out the transport of food and necessaries. For nothing but very serious grievances justify a powerful section of the people – I think there are sometimes grievances so great as to do this – in holding up so far as they can the ordinary life of the whole community.

But whatever view each one of us takes, I hope we shall all remain friends as befits fellow countrymen and fellow Christians, and avoid all needless bitterness of word or deed.

Finally, as Vicar, I would ask every parishioner to pray daily for an honourable settlement, so that in peace at home we may produce food, coal, clothing, houses and manufactured articles, and not merely print more paper money, that will neither warm nor feed us…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

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

Peace mugs distributed

Souvenir mugs to celebrate peace were in high demand in Hampstead Norreys.

24th Oct.

Yesterday (Thurs) the Peace Mugs were distributed to all the scholars by Mrs Coper of Eling. A number of parents also attended to receive mugs for those children above or below school age.
The 1st Class children sang two songs before the presentation, and afterwards, on the proposition of the Head master, thanked Mrs Cooper for coming to distribute the mugs.

They were bought with money collected by the Peace Celebrations Committee.

Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

There should be some sort of Peace Memorial

There were mixed views in Wargrave as to how to commemorate the war.

October
Peace Memorial

The Parish has summoned a Parish Meeting for Friday, October 10th, which will be held 7.15 p.m. in the Woodclyffe Hall.

It is felt that this would be a suitable occasion for raising the question of a Peace Memorial in the Parish.

I. – There is a very general feeling that there should be some memorial in the Parish Church, in memory of those who fell and to record the names of those whose lives were freely jeopardised for the glory of God. Such a memorial has been already dedicated in the East Window, as a tribute from an individual donor, and it will be completed by a Chancel Screen with the names carved on the panels. But there are those who would like to have a share in raising a General Memorial, which would remain as a tribute from the parish as a whole. With this view the East End of the South Aisle was specially reserved by a Resolution of the Vestry. Sir Charles Nicholson has prepared a scheme of decoration, for this which will be submitted to the meeting on Friday, Oct. 10th. It provides for a screen, in continuation of the proposed Chancery Screen, and for the panelling of the walls. A lectern might be added with a large volume, after the fashion of an old chained bible, in which the names might be engrossed and biographical particulars added. We should thus have a Place of Memorial.

No scheme of embellishment can give to any part of the church the least dignity and sanctity without making it a place of Communion, because the whole plan in the building and decorating of our churches is to lead the worshippers to the altar, as that to which everything else is subordinated. In our Peace Memorial there is unfortunately no space for an altar. But the East Window of the chancel itself is a memorial to the fallen and all who approach the choir to enter the sanctuary will see the names on the chancel screen.

II. – there are also those who feel that there should be some sort of Peace Memorial outside the church. If so it would seem that this should be either a monument to commemorate the services rendered or an institution to benefit the families of those who served and their children after them.

There may be many suggestions made when the opportunity of the public meeting gives occasion and, if so, the widest possible range is to be encouraged. We want all the suggestions which commend themselves to the different views and tastes of parishioners. It will be easy to refer such proposals to a committee, who shall report to a subsequent meeting, if such a course is thought to be advisable.

It is therefore to be hoped that the meeting will be very largely attended.

The actual purpose for which the meeting is summoned is to decide about a German Gun.

The War Office has sent a 77 m/m Field Gun and Carriage to the Parish Council to be kept in the parish as a public trophy of the great victory and as an acknowledgement of the V.C. which adorns the Wargrave Roll of Honour.

It has been presented to the Parish Council that there is some difference of opinion as to how the gift should be dealt with. The Parish Council has therefore summoned a Public Meeting of the Parishioners to decide the matter.

November
The Parish Meeting

Three matters were brought before the Parish Meeting, which was summoned by the Parish Council on Friday, October 10th, at the Woodclyffe Hall. The Peace Memorial, a German Gun presented by the Trophies Committee of the War Office, and a new Burial Ground.

There were very diverse subjects, but in each case it was felt that the matter should be put to the widest possible vote, and when the prospect arose of a largely attended meeting it seemed best to take the opportunity of bringing them all forward on the same night.

The Peace Memorial

The Vicar, as chairman of the Parish Council, presided. He introduced the subject by explaining that there was no notice of any particular Resolution before the meeting, but it would seem that a Peace Memorial should either take the form of some sort of monument to commemorate the fallen, or some sort of institution to benefit those who had served in the Great War or their dependents.

A memorial to the fallen might be either inside the Church or outside. A memorial was already secured inside the Church in the East Window and Chancel Screen given by Sir William and Lady Cain. The names of the fallen would be carved on the panels of the screen. But this was an individual gift and several people had expressed a wish to add something more, as a memorial by public subscription. Any such proposal having to do with the fabric of the Parish Church must be submitted to a “Vestry Meeting”.

A Vestry Meeting had decided that the East End of the South Aisle should be reserved as a Place of Memorial and the walls had therefore been left free from individual tablets. The consulting architect, Sir Charles Nicholson, had considered that if this proposal was eventually adopted the best [plan would be to erect a screen, in harmony with the Chancel Screen, and to panel the walls in oak. It would be possible to preserve a record of the names of all who had served, together with biographical particulars of the fallen, in a book, after the fashion of a chained bible, on a Lectern inside the screen. Sir Charles Nicholson’s sketch design was exhibited in the Hall.

After some discussion it was proposed that a Committee be appointed to consider the best form of Peace Memorial outside the Church and to report. The following gentlemen were elected on the Committee with power to add to their number:- Messrs. R. Sharp, H. A. Hunt, T. H. Barley, F. Headington, A. B. Booth, W. Sansom, J. Richardson, J. Hodge, Major Howard Jones, Col. C. Nicholl, Major K. Nicholl, and Dr. McCrea.

Another Parish Meeting will be summoned in due course to receive the report of this Committee.

It is no doubt a good thing to leave the question of any Memorial inside the Church to a Vestry Meeting. A Vestry is an equally public Meeting, but it is summoned by the Vicar and Churchwardens and is technically qualified to apply to the Chancellor of the Diocese for het legal ‘faculty,’ which gives permission to proceed with the work. A Parish Meeting summoned by the Parish Council is not thus qualified and could only make a recommendation to a Vestry.

The German Gun

The next question was that of the German Gun. A resolution asking the Parish Council to accept the trophy was lost by a considerable majority.


Wargrave parish magazine, October and November 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

God has led us into the paths of peace after a very dark and terrible period

A religious response to the new postwar world.

God has led us into the paths of peace after a very dark and terrible period, and it occurs to us that the best form our thanksgiving can take is to give Him our best service in the Church where He has placed us. And, secondly, the peace that has come must be made firm and deep by the Christianising yet more of the heart of man…

Tilehurst Congregational Church section of Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, October 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Medals commemorating ‘peace’ and a portrait of Nurse Cavell

Edith Cavell was a British nurse based in Belgium, who heled a number of British and other soldiers to escape and was shot dead by the German occupying force. She is remembered for her words, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

Wallingford Boys Council School
1919, 15 September

A portrait of Nurse Cavell, purchased by the boys, hung in the hall today.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School
15th September 1919

The whole of the boys attended the Town Hall this morning to receive medals commemorating ‘peace’.

Log books of Wallingford Boys Council School log book (SCH22/8/3, p. 76); and Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School (C/EL72/3, p. 214)

The King’s ‘Peace’ holiday

8th September 1919

Re-opened after the Summer Holiday which was extended to 5 weeks instead of the usual 4, the last week being the King’s ‘Peace’ holiday.

St Michael’s CE Mixed School, Sunninghill: log book (88/SCH/32/3, p. 246)

Not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations

Those who had not returned from the war were remembered in the midst of rejoicing.


The Sunday School

The Peace-time Picnic was greatly enjoyed at Beacon Hill, on Wednesday, 13th August. The day was very fine – the sun’s rays being tempered with a delightful breeze, and the sylvan beauties of the park with the glorious views from the downs were never before seen in such perfection by the majority of those present.

The last School Picnic at Highclere was held in July 1914 – almost on the eve of the great world tragedy of August 4th of that year – and not a few of our brave lads have made the great sacrifice which helped to bring Peace to the Nations. We bow our heads in reverent remembrance of them, and thank God for those who have been spared and have been enabled to take up their work again.

The work on this occasion was indeed joyous, as load after load of happy people of all ages, but mostly young, were discharged on the soft turf from the motor lorries provided by Messrs. Pass & Co. Three journeys were made each way, the first company starting at 1 o’clock and the last at 3.45 from the Lecture Hall and the return journeys were made, the first at 6.30 and the last at 9.15, thus giving all a fair average of time at the Hill.

The all important function of tea was celebrated on the slopes near the Lodge at 4.30. Mrs. F.C. Hopson and a willing band of helpers catered for the hungry throng, 300 strong, while Mr Henry Marshall eclipsed all his past efforts by the splendid brew he produced. All were unanimous in saying that the tea was an unqualified success. After the tea, sports and games, under the direction of Mr. H. Allen and Mr. Spalding, held in the field, and the first hoot of the lorry’s siren sounded all too soon.

The whole of the arrangements worked perfectly under the direction of the Superintendents of the School, and the result was a day of pure and unalloyed enjoyment. Mention must be made of the kind assistance rendered by Mr. Harris, who in the absence of our newly elected Minister, officiated at the tea, also of the numerous friends in the congregation who contributed so liberally towards the expenses, and are hereby tendered the grateful thanks of the Officers and Teachers.

It may be interesting to shew by way of contrast the cost of a pre-war picnic at Beacon Hill with that of a post-war expenditure for practically the same number.

1914
£ S d
Total expenditure 16 15 1

Less Tea and Rail Fares 3 4 6
Paid for by 43 friends at
1s 6d each
Net Cost £13 11s 7d

1919
£ S d
Total expenditure 17 17 8 ½

RECEIPTS

Balance previous treats 17 0
Contributions 11 3 9 ½
Provisions sold 1 9 2 ½ 13 10 0

Balance Due to Treas. £4 7s 8 ½ d

The cost of transit was the most expensive item this year owing to 50% increase of railway fares and the unsuitable times of the trains an expenditure of £9 had to be incurred for motor lorries. Leaving this item out of the account the other expenses work out to even less than the pre-war picnic.

The cost of tea, including the boiling of water and hire of crockery, was about 5⅓d. per head, inclusive of teachers and helpers – a wonderful result, which, in these days of high prices, reflects great credit on Mrs. F. C. Hopson and those helping her.

The Newbury and Thatcham Congregational Magazine, September 1919 (D/N32/12/1/1/1)

The dawn of peace is a time when high ideals are needed more than ever

By the summer of 1919 some were unhappy with the way the country was going in peacetime.

Editorial

The dawn of peace is a time when high ideals are needed more than ever. A well known cartoonist in Punch has recently represented John Bull lying lazily in a hammock with a pipe in his mouth and refreshments at his side, sighing, “Funny thing how slack this victory feeling makes you. I’ve done nothing since last November. Wonder if a spell of work would cure me.” Where restraint and self-sacrifice were merely enforced during the war, there has been a sharp re-action in favour of license and self-indulgence. The strike epidemic is one form of it. The voluntary sacrifice that is recorded by war memorials up and down the country – memorials which sometimes bear the names of 10,000 men of one regiment – leaves a very different heritage; courage, endurance, vision: vision, not the fading illusion of the unpractical dreamer of dreams, but the inquiring ideal which the prophet had in mind when he said, “Where there is no vision the people perish”.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1919 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

One week’s extra “peace” holiday

8th August 1919

Closed this afternoon at 4pm for summer holidays – 5 weeks – plus one week “peace” holiday. The school will re-open on Monday Sept 22nd.

Sonning Boys school log book (89/SCH/1/2, p. 86)

Any selfishness of any class must stand in the way of real peace and happiness at home

The vicar of Newbury urged a generous spirit in rebuilding national life, and thought servicemen should have first call on all jobs.

The long hoped for signing of the Peace Treaty has taken place, and the Nation has joined together in humble and hearty thanksgiving to Almighty God for His great and undeserved mercies. It is impossible to imagine from what horrors we have been saved by His goodness, and through the willing sacrifice of so many of our splendid men, and the courage and energy of millions, both men and women. If the terms imposed by the Allies on Germany seem hard they would have been nothing to the terms they would have imposed on us if they had won, and for generations our Country would not have recovered, if ever it did recover. Thanks be to God for His mercy to us.

And now we have to reconstruct our National Life. That is no easy task, and it calls for the spirit of willing co-operation and sacrifice from all classes. Any selfishness of any class must stand in the way of real peace and happiness at home. It is the duty surely of employers to give returned soldiers and sailors the first chance of employment, even if it means displacing someone else, and those who have fought and endured should have no just cause for grievances. The Government will have to put down profiteering with a strong hand, and should also severely punish the professional agitator and “him that stirreth up strife among brethren”. While all of us should do our best to spread the spirit of love and service. God has been gracious to us and now it is for us to prove ourselves worthy of His favour.

Sunday, July 6th, was observed as a day of Thanksgiving for Peace, and the services were well attended. The Municipal and National rejoicings took place on July 19th. There was unfortunately a lot of rain, and the children’s tea had to take place in different buildings instead of all together on the Cricket Field. The Procession in London must have been a magnificent sight.

The War Memorial Committee have had two meetings lately, the first with Mr C O Skilbeck to advise them, and the second with Mr Cogswell for the same purpose. They hope soon to have a design from the latter to put before the congregation and parishioners.

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

Peace seems to bring with it as many activities as war

Wounded soldiers made a generous gift to a Maidenhead church.

The Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

This July we have had a busy month of Parish work and Festivities. Indeed, I never remember to have passed a summer month so lacking in leisure. Peace seems to bring with it as many activities as war. Still, with its arrival, it is a great joy to welcome old friends on their safe return. Among others, the return from the wilds of the Danube, even if fleeting, of Mr Sellors, our old colleague, has been a great pleasure to us all.

In connection with the War, St Luke’s Church has received an almost unique gift. Together with, I believe, St Paul’s Cathedral alone, the wounded soldiers at the VAD Hospital have worked us a strikingly beautiful red silk Altar Frontal and Antependium for the fald-stool [sic?]. It was done for us as a surprise, and was finished just before the Hospital, the mounting being completed by July 26th. The idea was formulated, I believe, by the Commandant, but all details and material were got for the men by Mrs Salmonson; and, I know, that the active sympathy of many other workers contributed to its final success. The names of the men who worked on it are written on the back of the Frontlet or Super-Frontal. By lifting the fringe we shall see thus an enduring record of the names of the skilled and kindly men who did the work. It is to be used and dedicated on Sunday, August 3rd, the Eve of the Anniversary of the War. The Special Prayer of Dedication will be said at the 11 am Service, when some front seats will be kept for VAD workers…

I remain, Your faithful friend and Vicar, C E M Fry.

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

An extra week to commemorate peace

King Street School, Maidenhead
1st August 1919
School closed at 4 p.m. for Summer Vacation – Notice received that in accordance with the King’s desire holiday was to be extended till September 9th – the extra week to commemorate Peace.

Charlton Infant School(C/EL12)
1st August 1919
Summer holidays – five weeks – and one extra week to commemorate peace which has been granted by the desire of His Majesty King George.

Hinton Waldrist School
August 1st 1919

Closed school for Harvest vacation – an extra week by order of the King.

Log books of King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1, p. 454); Charlton Infant School, Berkshire (C/EL12, p. 49); Hinton Waldrist C of E School (C/EL84/2, p. 171)

The victory year

Children must have been pleased by an extra week’s summer holiday as a peace dividend.

Chieveley Primary School
July 31st 1919

School closes today for the Summer Holidays. An extra week has been added to commemorate the victory year following The Great War.

Lower Sandhurst School
July 31st 1919

We broke up at mid-day for the usual summer holiday to be extended to five weeks in commemoration of peace.

Combe School
July 31st 1919

School closes Thursday July 31st for 6 weeks. An extra week has been granted as a Peace Holiday.

Hampstead Norreys CE School
31 July
We closed school today for 6 weeks. The extra week’s holiday has been given in response to the King’s request for an extra week in honour of Peace.

Log books of Chieveley Primary School (88/SCH/11/2); Lower Sandhurst School (C/EL66/1); Combe School (C/EL15/2); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)

Victory in the Great European War

Lower Basildon CE School
30th July 1919

School closed this afternoon for the Summer Holiday. The Education Committee have granted an extra week’s holiday, in accordance with the wish expressed by King George, to commemorate the Victory in the Great European War.

Aldermaston School
30th July 1919.

School closed at noon today for summer holidays, His Majesty King George has expressed a wish that in commemoration of the signing of Peace the children should be granted an extra week’s holiday.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School
31st July 1919

Peace Celebration sports were held in playground yesterday afternoon.

Log books of Lower Basildon CE School (C/EL7/2, p. 205); Aldermaston School log book (88/SCH/3/3, p. 108); and Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School (90/SCH/5/5, p. 251)