Still several ill with Influenza

A teacher took some time off to be with her soldier husband. She returned on 21 March, but resigned on 2 May to follow her husband to Aldershot.

Earley
14th March 1919

Mrs Plumer has been away the past two days, as her husband is returning to his military duties next week.

Speenhamland
Mar 14th

This week the attendance has much improved, reaching 92.8%. There are still several ill with Influenza.

Log books of St Peter’s CE School, Earley (SCH36/8/3); St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

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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)

Marching on Ghent

Geneeral Herbert Plumer (1857-1932) was one of the most successful British generals in the war.

27 October 1918

Still good news. Plumer marching on Ghent.

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

Soldiers dig allotments

The drive to maximise food production continued, while there was a change in leadership of the British Expeditionary Force in Italy.

24 November 1917

Soldiers came to dig allotments….

Herbert Plumer in command in Italy.

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

Germans “too downtrodden to rise”

Florence Vansittart Neale was glued to every wild rumour about the war, while Will Spencer’s love for his German wife had only grown stronger through their difficult years of exile in Switzerland.

Florence Vansittart Neale
November 1917
[inserted before 23 November]

Hear P. Innes says state of Germany awful. People too weak to rise, able bodied men only able to work half time, too downtrodden to rise.
Hear the Pope instigated the Italians to give up. He encouraged Austrian spies everywhere!

23 November 1917

Hear Boy cannot get Paris leave. Hope for January…. Hear most domestic servants to be requisitioned for work – only allowed 1 servant each person! Counting the gardeners!!!

Hear General Plumer & staff have been in Italy 3 weeks to see how many necessary to keep Italy. Our troops must go over Mt Cenes pass.

Hear through Marga that a Florentine Regiment who deserted was sent back to Florence with “traitors to their country” on their brassades.

Hear many battalions would willingly shoot 1 in 10 of strikers [illegible].

Will Spencer
23 November 1917

During the afternoon I called & had an interview with Herrn Fursprech Engeloch. Father need take no further steps to obtain attestation of my residence in Cookham before Jan. 19/15, as it may not be needed. As soon as the matter comes before the Gemeinde (I told him we had chosen Oberburg [as their official home town in Switzerland]. Herr E. will let Oberst Reichel know, in order that he can then write on our behalf, stating that we are friends of his, as he has kindly offered to do. Probably the best means of letting the German authorities know that I had become a Swiss subject would be to apply to have Johanna’s money sent here, mentioning thereby that I am a Swiss subject, & if that is questioned, to then place the matter in the hands of the Swiss Political Department. My naturalization cannot finally be ratified until the Grosser Rat has met again. It only meets twice a year, & will meet next, Herr E. said, in Feb. or March, or at the latest in April….

I was sorry to have to tell Johanna how long we might have to wait for the ratification of our naturalization. After we had had coffee in Johanna’s room, something moved me to tell her that I had learned to know her better & that she had become more to me than ever during these last years – in some ways years of trial – in Switzerland. Johanna had afterwards to go into the town, but she would not let me go with her, as I was not quite up to the mark, & she thought it better for me to rest. When she returned, she thanked me again for what I had said. I said that I was sorry that they were only words that I had spoken, that I felt such things were better expressed in deeds, but she comforted me with the assurance that what I had said had not been merely words.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and of Will Spencer in Switzerland (D/EX801/26)

A necessary bit of war work

There was a call for men to join the Police Reservists and help maintain law and order at home.

EARLEY SUB-DIVISION BERKS POLICE SPECIAL RESERVE

Owing to removals and army munition work our numbers are becoming very much reduced, and we would earnestly ask any men in the parish of Earley, whether living in the Borough [of Reading] or not, who are not already acting as Specials or Reservists to come and give us a hand in this necessary bit of war work. After all, to patrol for 3 hours once a month from 9-12 pm is not a very great thing to ask, and there must be many men who could if they would come forward and thus ease the strain on those who have been quietly and steadily doing this work for over 3 years.

The Rev. H Wardley King, 1, Green Road, who is undertaking the duties of Sub-Divisional Officer pro tem, will be very grateful to receive names of any willing to help.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

Cecil Webb, Herbert Plumer, Walter Smithers, Ernest Thompson, John Edwards, Eric Burchell.

In addition to those already mentioned, we especially commend the following to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED: Duncan Simson, Levi Rackley, Charles Barton, George Bungay, Samuel Dee, George Embery, Ernest Embery, Benjamin Rickards, Albert Gray, Herbert Harper, Herbert Oliver, Clifford Holliday, Thomas Ilott, Arthur O’Dell, Owen Lewington, John Phillips.

KILLED: Charles Bowden, William Murphy, William Wynn, John Hitchcock, Albert Hosler.

MISSING: Arthur Langmead.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

“Miserable, fearing his arm must come off”

The small hospital for Belgian soldiers at Bisham Abbey was attracting visitors – friends of Florence Vansittart Neale anxious to see how it was doing. Florence’s nephew Paul Eddis was involved in a daring raid on the German naval base at Curhaven.

31 December 1914
Mary Hime & Eardley Wilmots to see hospital. Poor Gustave Kupne miserable, fearing his arm must come off…

Heard through Mary Hime Paul was in the Curhaven raid with his submarine. Also John Stainton wounded in lung, ball in stomach.
Parents gone to Boulogne.

General Plumer in command of [7th?] Army Corps [illegible] Indian regulars & Terriers. Charlie Jackson his ADC.

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

A club for soldiers’ wives

St John’s Church in Reading provided a place for local soldiers’ wives to meet up:

Soldiers and Sailors’ Families Association
Our new club for soldiers’ wives made an excellent start on Friday, November 20th at the Institute [Fatherson Road]. Mrs Benyon very kindly gave the opening tea and came herself to welcome her guests. It is intended to open the club two afternoons each week – Tuesdays and Fridays. The Hall is arranged so as to provide opportunities for conversation, writing, reading illustrated papers, and music, and other entertainments are provided at intervals. The club is open to all women living in Victoria Ward whose names are on the list of the Soldiers and Sailors Family Association. The Hall has been beautifully decorated with flags through the kindness of Messrs Plumer, Pearce and Allum.

Reading St John, November 1914 (D/P172/28A/23)