Many anti-submarine proposals have been received

An internee’s proposals for trapping enemy submarines were greeted with a signal lack of enthusiasm, while the imposition of rationing meant the Place of Internment (aka Reading Prison) had to revamp menus.


Board of Invention & Research
Victory House
Cockspur St
SW1

21-2-18

Sir

I am directed by the Board of Invention & Research to thank you for your letter of the 14th inst: transmitting particulars of anti-submarine proposals put forward by alien C. Slingeneyer, interned at Reading.

In reply, I beg to inform you that many similar proposals have already been received from various sources. If however the Inventor will be good enough to furnish a full description of the device to which he calls attention, the matter will receive careful consideration; and I am to ask that, if no objection be seen, alien C. Slingeneyer may be informed accordingly.

I am, sir,
Your obedient servant
Walter J. James

21-2-18
The Gov. P of I Reading

With ref: to the system of rationing which will shortly come into operation, the enclosed scale of dietary will be taken into use at your Establishment – as soon as you can make the necessary arrangements. The Commission desire to leave you a free hand as to the manner in which the ingredients shall be prepared and the Con: Pn: dietary is enclosed for your information. This, together with the present dietary for interned prisoners will be a guide as to the distribution of the various articles.

Fresh fish will be issued alternately with salt fish. The Commission are arranging for the supply of fresh fish to all Establishments and instructions will shortly reach you on this point.

The dietary cards at present in use will be withdrawn when the new dietary is introduced. On the introduction of the new dietary, no prisoner will be permitted to purchase rationed articles, or articles containing ingredients which are rationed. The rationed articles are bread, cereals (including flour, oatmeal, rice, tapioca, barley, beans, peas etc), meat, sugar, margarine or butter, fats, oils etc.

Signed Alfred Wall, Sec:

Breakfast Bread 6 oz
Porridge 1 pint
Margarine 1 oz
Tea or Coffee

Dinners

Sunday Bread 2 oz
[Illegible] Meat 2 ½ oz
Potatoes 16 oz
Rice 3 oz (uncooked)
Jam 2 oz

Monday Bread 2 oz
Soup 1 pint (containing 3 oz clods, 4 oz peas, 2 oz vegetables, 2 oz onions)
Potatoes 16 oz

Tuesday Bread 2 oz
Fish 12 oz uncooked
Potatoes 16 oz
Rice 3 oz uncooked made into puddings

Wednesdays Bread 2 oz
Salt Pork 13 oz
Haricot Beans [1 ½ oz?]
Potatoes 16 oz
Apple rings or fresh fruit

Thursday Bread 2 oz
Beef 6 oz uncooked
Potatoes 16 oz

Friday Bread 2 oz
Vegetable soup 1 pint consisting of 2 oz vegetables, 1 oz onions, ¼ oz fish, 5 oz peas
[Illegible]

Saturday Bread 2 oz
Fish 12 oz uncooked
Potatoes 16 oz
Tapioca 3 oz
Jam 2 oz

Suppers Bread 6 oz
Cocoa or Tea 1 pint
Margarine ¼ oz
Potatoes 6 oz
Cheese 1 oz

Fish – fresh and salt alternate days.

As the meat ration increases, the vegetable soup on Fridays will contain clods.

Fresh vegetables for part ration potatoes when obtainable.

These men can of course buy at the canteen or elsewhere such things as eggs, fruit, tinned fish &c: in fact anything that can be bought outside, not rationed, as in the past.

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

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Our own duties seem commonplace in contrast with other war-work

The vicar of Wargrave acknowledged the montonous nature of many wartime jobs, and urged parishioners not to slacken their efforts.

Lent

It may well seem in these critical days of the War that all seasons are reduced to a National Lent. People who are loyally doing their best to keep to the voluntary rations are living frugally, even if they are able to procure all that the scale allows. Yet it may be that we still retain some little indulgence not absolutely necessary to health and efficiency, of which we can make voluntary sacrifice during this solemn season. If so we may be sure the effort will not be fruitless if it is made in the right spirit.

The right spirit for Lenten self-denial is the spirit of Love and Penitence. Love for God, in that He first loved us, and we desire to train ourselves as good soldiers of Christ to endure hardness that we may be more efficient in His service. Love for man, in that we want to reduce our own consumption of every kind in order that we may impart the more for others. Penitence in that we think in this holy season of what the Master suffered for us and we know that all those sufferings were brought about by human sin. We are sinners; and if there is anything we can do to show our sorrow for sin we may welcome the opportunity.

But there is one direction in which the call of this season may hearten us to renewed efforts. In our intercessions we pray not only for the soldiers, sailors and air-men, but also for the nation at home: –

“Give us grace to fulfil our daily duties with a sober diligence. Keep us from all uncharitableness in word or in deed; and enable us by patient continuance in well-doing to glorify Thy Name: Through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We need to use that prayer for many reasons. Our own duties seem commonplace in contrast with other war-work and we are apt to forget that for the individual soldier the most important task in the world is the particular duty assigned to him. Our daily duties have become more arduous and monotonous now that the war has been so prolonged, and we are tempted to grow slack. The temptation approaches us insidiously under the suggestion that someone else might take a turn now at this particular job, or that if we were set free in one or two directions we might take up something else, or under some other well-sounding plea. But when the time really comes for any one of us to give up any task or change his place or employment, the call to do so will certainly come from outside. When those who know us and can view our capabilities without prejudice suggest any sort of change of work, then will be the time to consider it with all loyalty to those over us and all consideration for those beside us. But until such call comes the best service we can render is patient continuance in well doing. May this be the purpose of our resolutions and the outcome of our efforts this Lent.

Wargrave parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

No more school dinners

Food restrictions affected Reading schools in different ways.

George Palmer Boys’ School
15th February 1918

Terminate to-day course of dinners supplied at the school thro’ the School Cookery Centre.

Battle Infants School
15th February 1918

The school was closed again on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday owing to the work required for the Ration Cards.

Logs books of George Palmer Boys’ School log book (89/SCH/8/1, p. 148); and Battle Infants School (SCH20/8/2, p. 310)

Help with ration cards

Feb 14th and 15th 1918

Miss Birch was granted permission to go and help with Ration Cards at Town Hall.

Redlands Boys’ School log book (86/SCH/3/30, p. 333)

Women tip the Tommies to shop for them as they can get ham & cheese where the women can’t

Still training in Wiltshire, Percy Spencer wanted a special lamp to take back to the Front. He had also had a surprise reunion with younger brother Sydney – and was unimpressed with their other brother Harold’s attempts to sponge on good-natured Sydney.

21st Res Battalion London Regiment
G Lines
Chiseldon Camp
Nr Swindon

Feb 11, 1918

My dear WF

I’ve just returned from 48 hours leave, a frightful scramble, but the break is worth it.

Luckily I was able to catch Dot in town and we went together to “General Pat” at the Haymarket, after trying without success to get into the Albert Hall to hear Carrie Tubb, Ivor Foster & Harry Dearth. She is very much better I’m glad to say.

As I was seeing her off at Paddington, Sydney turned up, and I persuaded him to take his luggage out of the train and stay with me the night in my digs. We hadn’t met for over a year so I was very glad to see him again. He doesn’t seem to have altered a scrap.

We had a talk about Harold, and Sydney is sending me a letter about him. Apparently Harold looks on Sydney as an investment from which he is entitled to expect an income. It’s too preposterous.

I expect my embarkation leave pretty soon now – probably about the time Sydney will be with you. I suppose I may come too if I have a ration card, but please let me know dear, as I don’t wish to crowd you, or add to your food expenditure. In London though the women tip the Tommies to shop for them as they can get ham & cheese where the women can’t.

All last week I was upon battalion duties and lost touch with my boys, and it was very disheartening this morning to find that they had started off badly. However I’ll soon get them going again I hope.

With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Percy to Florence
Feb 11, 1918
My dear WF

The lamp is an ORILUX, made by J. H. STEWARD Ltd, 406, STRAND, LONDON. The price including spare bulb 25/- (probably more now).

It is a first rate long life lamp, well protected from weather, most suited for wearing on a belt, military fashion, but quite suitable for carrying by hand. I think, however, Stewards could show more suitable hand lamps.

Yours ever
Percy

Letters from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/11-13)

The general condition of strain consequent on the war

The Anglican Community of St John Baptist, whose headquarters was at Clewer, always fasted during Lent. But the food shortages meant they had to impose a different regime this year.

10 February 1918

The following directions were sent to all the Houses of the Community with reference to the rule of fasting to be observed during the coming Lent this year.

“In consequence of the general condition of strain consequent on the war, the Warden & Mother feel that the usual Lenten rule cannot be kept this year.

There will be dry bread for breakfast only on Wednesdays & Fridays for the first 4 weeks.

The second meatless day will be observed according to the rules of the Government (i.e. according to the days on which the Government prohibits meat to be sold in different places.)

There will be some kind of plain pudding every day.

The regulation as to no pastry being used must be in abeyance (because it has been found necessary sometimes to use pastry to make the meat allowance sufficient).

At breakfast and tea whatever can be most easily obtained should be provided, such as porridge, marmalade, jam, margarine, etc.

On Ash Wednesday there should be dry bread for breakfast & tea as usual, the rest of the food as on meatless days.”

The mitigation of the usual Lenten Rule has been sanctioned by the Bishop, whom the Warden consulted on the subject.

Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Teachers help preparing ration cards

Teachers from Reading schools were recruited to help with implementing the new food rationing system.

Christ Church CE Infants School
8th February 1918

School will be closed today, also Monday & Tuesday the 11th & 12th in order that the services of the teachers may be utilised in the preparation of the Ration Cards for the Town.

Lower Whitley School
8th, 11th and 12th February 1918

School closed for 3 days in order that the staff may assist with preparing the ration cards.

George Palmer Boys’ School
8th-12th February 1918

School closed. Teachers assisting Local Food Cookery Centre in issue of Ration Cards.

Greyfriars
February 7th 1918

School closed tomorrow Friday 8th Feb to Tuesday 12th Feb to enable teachers to give services for preparation of Ration Cards.

Battle
7th February 1918

The school will be closed tomorrow that the staff may help with the preparation of Ration Cards for the town.

Emmer Green
7th February 1918

School closed today till Wednesday Feb. 13th, as the services of staff were required by the Local Food Control Committee for preparing Ration Forms & Cards.

Redlands Boys’ School
Feb 8, 11, 12 1918

School closed by order of the Committee as teachers are required to assist at Clerical Work with “Ration Cards”.

Log books of Christ Church CE Infants School (89/SCH/7/6); Lower Whitley School (R/ES5/3); George Palmer Boys’ School (89/SCH/8/1); Grey Friars Infants’ School log book (R/ES4/2, p. 349); Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 310); Emmer Green CE School log book (R/ES8/3, p. 140); Redlands Boys’ School log book (86/SCH/3/30, p. 333)

Growls and Curses at food restrictions and profiteering

The Welsh Liberal politician David Thomas, newly created Viscount Rhondda (1856-1918), was in charge of the food rationing programme. Shortages were beginning to hit home, even at the lavish tables of Oxbridge colleges, while the government was encouraging communal feeding at National Kitchens.

29 Barton Road
6 Feb. ‘18
Right dear old man

Rhondda does his best to increase our discomfort. (Is he a Caius man, by the by?) There is a patriotic Mrs Goodchild, now at your Pepper’s Farm, who has taken a fancy to the Signora, and has permitted her to register for Butter. Mrs G is something of an authority in butter, and her uxorious spouse has just bought her a couple of £70 milch cows, for the better carrying out of her hobby: and great has been the press of University ladies to register with her – far more than she can accept. And so all was well. We confronted the future with peace – Then came a Rhondda ukase that all farmers must sell their butter to grocers, and the Public buy it nowhere except at a shop. More Profiteering! I had hitherto bought mine from an old lady, who sells vegetables from a cart, and possesses one cow – which by this time should be dry.

Growls and Curses. Perhaps they reached his lordship’s ears. For now we learn (so the Signora informs me) that He sanctions direct dealing with farmers and d— the Middleman.

But you should see the straits for Meat. One Sunday was Jointless. Warrington sent it on Monday instead. At the Trinity High Table there are two meatless days in the week: but they have choice fish then, turbot, larges soles, etc. 2 more, they have game and poultry – and 3, meat. But always they have as much in quantity, as many helps as you desire. Prof. Levis is my authority. I haven’t dined yet.

A communal kitchen has been started at Gresham College with cells in various parts of the town – one is near us, and Florence was appealed to, twice, to serve. The first time she refused: but on the second effort she offered to go each Monday, or, if herself prevented, to send Ann. (You remember Ann, who is a capital parlour maid.) “You won’t hear any more of that, Mrs Image”: said Mabel Lassetter. And she didn’t. This apparently is NOT the view of Rhondda, who deprecates any hint of charity or patronage, and wishes the kitchen to be called National, instead of Communal. And we hear that all ranks, Maids and Mistresses, are serving them in London. Florrie holds the like views, and she rubbed them in well, before she left.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

Belgians to luncheon

Henry Vansittart Neale invited some Belgian refugees to lunch.

27 February 1918

H to District Council, brought back Belgians to luncheon – 3.

H back for meeting at 3 o’clock & took them back, Noble & I to Marlow about his sugar ration paper.

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

“The teachers might be trusted to give all necessary instruction”

On 4 January the Newbury Borough Education Committee had agreed to let the government’s new propaganda body talk to Newbury schoolchildren. But it proved to be controversial.

January 29 1918

Food Control Meat Ration

The Mayor mentioned the work of the Local Food Control Committee and the necessity which had arisen for restricting the supply of meat to 1 lb per head per week for all persons over 9 years of age, and ½ lb for those under that age, to be supplied on the production of the sugar tickets.

Education Committee

Alderman Rankin moved the adoption of the report of the 4th January, but expressed his disagreement with the clause in the report with reference to the sending by the South Berks Committee of the National War Aims Committee of a speaker to address the children of the Newbury Elementary Schools on the subject of National War Aims, seconded by Councillor Parfitt.

Alderman Rankin withdrew his motion for the adoption of the report, which was then moved by Councillor Stradling. Seconded by Councillor Parfitt.

Alderman Rankin then moved as an amendment,

“That the paragraph in the Education Committee’s report re War Aims Committee’s request be altered to read as follows: That when the proposed leaflet has been approved by the Education Committee, the Education Committee empowers them to recommend the teachers to explain to the Senior boys the War Aims as lately defined by the Prime Minister and President Wilson.

Seconded by Councillor Pratt.

Alderman Lucas supported the motion, and considered that the teachers might be trusted to give all necessary instruction to the children attending the schools. Councillors Geater and Parfitt opposed the amendment, which on being put, was carried, and the report as amended was then put and carried.

Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

“Stopping members flitting from branch to branch to obtain more than their share of supplies”

Co-ops in the Reading area instituted their own ratinong scheme.

Co-operative Notes
Co-operators and Food Rationing

To enable a more equitable distribution of foodstuffs which have become difficult to obtain owing to shortage, it has been decided to issue a Ration Card to members covering butter, margarine, lard, bacon, tea, jam, marmalade, and condensed milk. These cards can be obtained from branch managers, and members will select the branch from which they intend dealing, thus stopping members flitting from branch to branch to obtain more than their share of supplies.

The Reading Worker: The Official Journal of Organised Labour in Reading and District, no. 13, January 1918 (D/EX1485/10/1/1)

Servants annoying about eating less butter

The staff at Bisham Abbbey were not on board with the idea of rationed food.

3 January 1918
Domestic affairs – spoke to servants about eating less butter. Some very annoying.

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

“2 Divisions ran away & so caused Cambrai defeat”

Florence Vansittart Neale was puzzled as how to manage Bisham Abbey with less food available, while the news – and rumours – continued to fascinate her.

1 January 1918
Worried morning over rations. Very difficult but must do it. Edith arranging next Sunday’s “chain of prayer”.

January 1918 [inserted at front, no date]

Hear Haig in London, very sick about things. He had refused to send Divisions to Italy, but had to. Wanted to resign. He said a great deal too much fuss made about Sir J Byng’s push & also a great deal about the subsequent retreat!

Hear we send up stuff against [balloons?] which make the men so deadly seasick they have to come down. On return Irish leave this Xmas, 1000s stuck at Holyhead 5 days. Too many submarines there. At last escorted over by American destroyer & gun boats.

Hear 2 Divisions ran away & so caused Cambrai defeat. Hear General [illegible] sent back after it., then returned by Army Council & again sent back after St Quentin retreat! Hunter-Weston “honouring heroic deed” (drunken Tommie). Foch becoming Generalissimo (March 1918).

Meat & butter rations begin.

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

Disturbed about further rationing

News was bad both at home and at sea.

29 December 1917

Disturbed about further rationing!!

Heard 3 destroyers sunk or mined off Dutch coast Dec 22-23.

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

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial?

Maidenhead gardeners were encouraged to grow food.

READ! IT IS URGENT!! IT CONCERNS YOU!!!

URGENT APPEALS AND WARNINGS BY LORD RHONDDA and MR. PROTHERO

LORD RHONDDA, The Food Controller, gives Notice that unless we Ration ourselves, we shall be rationed!

Mr PROTHERO, President of the Board of Agriculture, says without a vast increase in HOME PRODUCTION OF FOOD we can scarcely hope to hold out!

2,400,000 Acres of new land must be broken up before next April to produce Food for next year!

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial? Are you cultivating all the ground you can? Are you securing the Best Possible Crops? Webster’s Noted Seeds will enable you to do so. But they are scarce, and the demand will be heavy. Moral: Order Extra Early. Catalogues will be ready early in the New Year, and can be had Free, on application to

124, High Street, and Station Front,
MAIDENHEAD.
And at the COOKHAM and BOURNE END BRANCHES.

DO YOUR BIT, AND HELP TO WIN THE WAR

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)