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.

(more…)

Seriously, if not dangerously, ill

Influenza affected schools across the county.

Riseley Common
Nov. 25th

At 9.10 am there were 25 children present, so the Head Teacher sought the advice of the Correspondent, which was that school should close on his authority, until further notice.
Some of the children have been, and are, seriously, if not dangerously, ill.

Christ Church, Reading
25th November 1918

Owing to the severity of the Influenza epidemic, by order of the Sanitary Authority, the re-opening of the school was postponed until this morning when all the staff were present.

Alfred Sutton Primary School
25th November 1918

School re-opened after closure for epidemic (Influenza).

Purley CE School – C/EL85/2
25th November 1918

School re-opened, only five in attendance, parents evidently did not know that the children were to return today.

South Moreton Board School
1918, November 25

The school has been closed for four weeks for influenza by the order of the School Medical Officer, and re-opened this morning.

Yattendon CE School log book
1918
Nov: 25

The school is closed owing to the children being ill with influenza.

Beedon
Nov 25th

School attendance very poor. Several children away with influenza and other illnesses.

Newbury: St Joseph’s
25/11/18

School re-opened this morning. The attendance is better – 29 being present this morning and 33 this afternoon.

Newbury: Wilson
25/11/18

School reopened this morning owing to the constrained prevalence of the epidemic of influenza the schools have been closed until this morning.

Coley Street Primary School Reading
25/11/1918

Miss Dean has been absent suffering with influenza

Log books of Riseley Common CE School, Swallowfield (C/EL99/3); Reading ChristChurch CE Infants School (89/SCH/7/6); Reading: Alfred Sutton Primary School log book (89/SCH/37/1); Purley CE School (C/EL85/2); South Moreton Board School (C/EL104/2); Yattendon CE School (SCH37/8/3); Beedon CE School (C/EL55/1); St Joseph’s Infant School, Newbury ( N/ES 7/1); Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); Coley Street Primary School Reading (89/SCH/48/4)

A telegram from the Education Secretary

Purley CE School was affected by the influenza epidemic.

13th November 1918

Closed school at 11 o’clock, having received a telegram from the Education Secretary.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 113)

Cheers for the allies and the old boys fighting

Schools celebrated the end of the war.

Riseley Common
Nov. 11th

Acting on the assumption that peace has been declared (or rather an armistice arranged), as we could hear sirens sounding and church bells ringing, we have sung the National Anthem, “Praise God” etc.

St Stephen’s Boys’ School, Windsor
November 11th 1918

Armistice day.

Stoke Road School, Slough
November 11th 1918

School was re-opened this morning – 63% (194/308). The M.O.H ordered the school to be closed until November 18th.

During the morning I received the news that Germany had accepted the Allies’ terms and signed the Armistice.

The children formed a hollow square in front of the flag-staff, to which a new rope had been attached in readiness. The flag was hoisted by the youngest boy in the school to the singing of the National Anthem. The flag was then saluted and cheers were given for the allies and the old boys fighting. Edw. J Baldwin “shinned” up the pole to attach the rope. John Cross hoisted the Flag.

Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School
11th November 1918

Beginning of Armistice. On the occasion of this I addressed the children, & hoisted the Union Jack. The National Anthem was then sung.

Stanford Dingley National School
November 11th 1918

Today, news was received that the Armistice was signed at 11 o’clock AM between Germany and the allies, this concluding the Great European War. After signing several National Songs concluding with the National Anthem. The children dispersed at 3 o’clock this afternoon.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1918

There were 107 children present this morning. The news of the signing of the armistice made a difference to the attendance this afternoon. 73 children present.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School log book
11th November 1918

News of Germany’s signing of the armistice reached the school at 11.10 am. At midday the whole school assembled and cheered the news after singing “God Save the King”. A half holiday was given by the mayor in honour of the great event.

Abingdon Girls CE School
1918, 11th-15th November

Children were dismissed at 3 o’clock on Armistice Day at the Vicar’s request.

Coleshill CE School
15th November 1918

On Monday (11th) when news of ‘The Armistice’ arrived the children sang ‘The King’ and saluted the ‘flag’ with cheers for our Army and Navy; they were then sent home.

Sonning CE Girls and Infants
11th November 1918

School closed in the afternoon to celebrate the signing of the Armistice.

Littlewick CE School
November 11th 1918

At 11.30 AM we heard bells and hooters going and knew that the Armistice was signed and that the war was over. The children cheered and sang “God Save the King” and Rule Britannia, and put up the Union Jack.

Buscot CE School
Nov. 11th

News that the armistice had been signed reached Buscot in the afternoon. The Flag was hoisted, cheers given, National Anthem sung and the hymn “Now thank we all our God”. The children were dismissed at 3 pm, and a holiday given next day Nov 12th.

Aston Tirrold
11th November 1918

We re-opened this morning after a closure of nearly a fortnight on account of influenza. Only 42 children are present out on 75 on roll. Just before noon the rector brought in the news that the Armistice had been signed. Secular work was suspended, and we humble fell upon our knees and heartedly thanked God for His great mercy vouchsafed unto us. A holiday to commemorate the Victory was given in the afternoon.

Braywick
11th November 1918

School opened again this morning [following closure for influenza] with a very fair amount of scholars and after consulting the doctor it was decided to mark register and proceed with usual work which was done accordingly. Peace however was declared in the morning and great excitement presided, many scholars remaining at home in the afternoon. School was resumed on Tuesday, the national anthem was sung, patriotic songs, flag waving etc and children kept quite excited.

Great Coxwell
11th November 1918

War Ended. Holiday in the afternoon to celebrate the great event.

Milton
Nov 11th

Re-opened again this morning [after closure for influenza] with 28 children, several still being ill. Heard in the dinner hour of the Armistice being signed, & gave the children the half holiday.

Log books of Riseley Common CE School, Swallowfield (C/EL99/3); St Stephen’s Boys’ School, Windsor (88/SCH/23/7, p. 167); Stoke Road School, Slough (89/SCH/28/1); Sunninghill: St Michael’s CE Mixed School (88/SCH/32/3); Stanford Dingley National School (C/EL21); King Street School, Maidenhead (C/EL77/1); Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School (C/EL72/3); Abingdon Girls CE School (C/EL 2/2); Coleshill CE School (D/P40/28/5); Sonning CE Girls and Infants (89/SCH/1/4);Littlewick C.E. School(85/SCH/5/2, p. 197); Buscot CE School (C/EL73/2); Aston Tirrold CE School log book (C/EL105/1, p. 169); Braywick CE School (C/EL65/4, p. 208); Milton CE School (D/P85/25/25); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2)Great Coxwell CE School (C/EL81/2, p. 83); Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School (90/SCH/5/3); Purley CE School (C/EL85/2)

One death has been reported

Some schools were unable to celebrate the Armistice as the influenza epidemic was too taxing. It was fatal in many cases.

Boyne Hill
Nov: 11th

School reopened this morning. The attendance is very poor. One death has been reported.

Hampstead Norreys
11th Nov.

The school was closed for the whole of last week as the influenza was no better. This morning the children were assembled, but it was found that about 30 boys were absent and about 30 to 40 of them had colds, and as there were more cases of influenza in the parish than when we closed before, the Managers decided to close the school for another week.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School
11th November 1918

School not opened. Opening postponed until the 18th inst.

Purley CE School
11th November 1918

There are only 18 children in attendance this morning. Miss Ruffell is also away, owing to an attack of influenza.

Charney Bassett
11.11.18

Only 23 present, have wired the Council.

School closed by order of the Medical officer until Nov. 18.

Log books of Boyne Hill Girls’ CE School (C/EL121/3); Bouverie Pusey School, Charney Bassett (C/EL41/2); etc

A supreme death and an imperishable name

The Earley parish magazine reports on the parishioners who had answered the call of their country – and one tragic death.

We regret to learn from a letter dated Oct 5th that Mr F C Goodson who recently joined the 19th Labour Company ASC has met with a serious accident. It appears from his own written account that he was engaged with some Frenchmen and others from his own company in unloading bar iron by means of a steam crane. An unexpected movement of the crane found the men unprepared, and the swing of the bars of metal caught Mr Goodson on the arm and threw him violently against the ship, thereby severly injuring his head. We need hardly say how sorry we are to have this news, and express very real sympathy with him in his suffering.

We were glad to see Mr Thomas Fullbrook home on a few days leave. Lance-Corporal in the Marines, he is one of many who keep watch on the seas in the Grand Fleet. Mr Fullbrook has earned his gun-laying badge, a distinction which may be appreciated by those who reflect what it means to secure eight hits out of ten shots at a floating target of about 900 feet long by 300 feet high at a distance of 18 miles! Mr Fullbrook has been in the Service for some years.

Another of our servers, Mr George Turnbull, has joined the Army Ordnance Corps. Mr Turnbull’s duties at the Guardians’ Office were of so pressing a kind that it was difficult for him to be released. He was formerly an officer in our old CLB [Church Lads Brigade] corps.

Mr Arthur Leslie Edwards – the last remaining tenor in our choir – has joined His Majesty’s Navy, following the example of his two brothers. We shall miss his help, but he is right to go, and carries with him all the good wishes of St Bartholomew’s.

We regret to learn that three soldiers on our special list have been wounded in recent engagements, Sergt. Charles James Bird, Corpl. Samuel Iles, and Pte. Joshua Digweed. Trooper Herbert Long is progressing well at home and is able to report to his regiment.

In Memoriam

It is not easy to put into words the thoughts that come into mind when we have to record the death of Clifford Salman. (more…)

Children watch soldiers practise building pontoons

The children of Purley had an outing to watch soldiers based in the area practise building pontoons across the River Thames. There was some doubt about the educational value of this trip, as the school log book records:

19th April 1915The children, forty in number, were taken along the river bank, nearly to Pangbourne, at 1.45pm to watch the soldiers build rival pontoons.

Copy of letter received from the Education Secretary [not actually received until 23 April]:

“I have seen HM Inspector and have talked over the proposed school visit to the Pontooning Ground. He agrees with me that it is difficult to lay down any rule as to the educational value of such visits, as this must depend on the way in which the teacher deals with the subject. In this case he would not with-hold consent, but would expect the teacher to take the whole of the upper school according to their class or classes and to give a lesson beforehand to teach them what they had to observe and a lesson after the visit during which they would record what they had seen. The teacher’s notes should be presented to show the character of the instruction. If Miss Reed is prepared to conduct her visit in this way, HM Inspector will not raise any objection to is being counted as a school meeting”.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 74)

Rides in an observation balloon

Purley schoolchildren had an exciting experience in January 1915. Hydrogen-filled observation balloons were used for reconnaissance during the war.

26th January 1915

At 3pm a balloon was sighted, and the airman, Lieutenant G H Scott, most kindly descended in a neighbouring field on purpose to give the children rides and an object lesson in packing it up, so the remaining hour of the afternoon session was spent out of doors.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 71)

Helping wounded animals

The Blue Cross Fund was established in 1912 by Our Dumb Friends League, an anti-cruelty animal charity, to assist animals affected by war (originally in the Balkans).  During the First World War it provided care for wounded British army horses and dogs.  The parent charity later adopted the Blue Cross name, and still exists.  A school in Purley got involved with raising funds for this work:

5th November 1914 

The head-teacher was absent from school from 3.15pm to 4pm, to attend meeting re Blue Cross Day.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 69)

Favours for wounded animals

The Blue Cross Fund was established in 1912 by Our Dumb Friends League, an anti-cruelty animal charity, to assist animals affected by war (originally in the Balkans).  During the First World War it provided care for wounded British army horses and dogs.  The parent charity later adopted the Blue Cross name, and still exists.  A school in Purley got involved with raising funds for this work, as the log book reveals:

2nd November 1914 

The timetable has not been strictly kept throughout this week after 11am, as badges and favours for Blue Cross, Nov 9th, have been made.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 69)

Telling children about the war

Children at Purley Church of England School received a special lesson about the war on 17 September. The school log book records:

17th September 1914

The head-teacher was excused from duty by the Correspondent [the vicar] from 3pm to 4pm. The latter took the first class in history and talked to the children about the present war.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 68)