Many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others

The hard work of women from Newbury and Speen during the war is reviewed.

RED CROSS WORKING PARTY

The Parish Red Cross Working Party, under the superintendence of Mrs L Majendie, was started by her at the Rectory, Newbury, on May 1st, 1915.

The first meeting was hastily summoned for the purpose of making respirators, but as it was found these were not required, being provided by the War Office, work for hospitals and other objects was substituted.

Mrs Majendie carried on the meetings at more or less regular intervals from a fortnight to three weeks, with suspension of these generally during Lent.

She was assisted, first by Miss Boldero (who also held a number of supplementary meetings for mending for Newbury District Hospital), and later by Mrs and Miss Majendie, Speen.

The number of names on the books was between 50 and 60, and of these over 30 attended regularly from the first meeting, May 1st, 1915, to the last, February 18th, 1919. Thanks are due to all the members, but more especially to these last, also to the various hostesses who provided tea, and lent their houses for meetings (many more would have been glad to do this, if lack of space had not forbidden it).

The hostesses were Mrs L Majendie, Miss Boldero, Mrs A Majendie and Miss D Majendie, Miss Godding, Mrs Gould, Mrs Hawker, Mrs Porter, Mrs Camp, Mrs O’Farrell, Mrs Colbourne, amd Miss Bellinger. Some entertained at their own houses, some at the Conservative Club, and a large number of meetings were held at the Parish Room.

Some members have left Newbury, including several Belgian ladies, who worked regularly for a time.

The objects worked for were very numerous, 24 in all, and included the following:

1. Reading War Hospital, twice.
2. Newbury District Hospital, 9 times.
3. Newbury War Depot, 6 times.
4. Miss Power’s Hospital, once.
5. General Hospital No. 18, France (to Miss Hayne), once.
6. The Minesweeper Newbury, 7 times.
7. HMS Conquest (to Lieut. Burgess), once.
8. Submarine F3 (to Lieut. Burgess, once).
9. The Navy League, 3 times.
10. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Malta, once.
11. Malta and Near East Special Red Cross Appeal, once.
12. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Rouen, twice.
13. Dr Heywood’s Hospital, Stationary, No. 3, France, 12 times. Extra parcels were often sent to Dr Heywood’s Hospital at other times.
14. Ripon Camp Hospital (Dr Mackay), twice.
15. French Red Cross, twice.
16. French War Emergency Fund, 11 times.
17. National Committee for Relief in Belgium and Northern France, twice.
18. Belgian Red Cross, once.
19. Italian White Cross, twice.
20. Russian Prisoners of War, once.
21. Serbian Relief Fund, 7 times.
22. Syria and Palestine Relief Fund, 5 times.
23. Air Raid victims in London, once.
24. Soldiers’ Children Aid Committee, twice.

Making 73 meetings in all.

The many grateful letters received are too numerous to quote, but each one showed clearly how much the recipients appreciated the parcels of well made clothing despatched from Newbury. Not only were new clothes sent, but many gifts of garments slightly worn, but in good condition were also sent to various Societies. These were received with special thankfulness for the many refugees in France, Belgium, and Serbia, and as the work of repatriation in some of these terribly devastated regions will have to be carried on for months to come, parcels might still be forwarded from time to time if members cared to collect for them.

Thanks are specially due to those members who were kind enough to continually lend their sewing machines for ten meetings, and to several who undertook from time to time cutting-out at home.
The sum of £92 7s 8d was collected in donations and subscriptions, and was expended in flannel, flannelette, linen, twill, sheeting, muslin, gauze, lint, and cotton wool, which were all worked up into about 2,653 different articles, comprising, roughly speaking, the following:

735 treasure bags, 386 bandages, 376 miscellaneous things (such as washers, dusters, hot water bottle covers, table napkins, etc), 253 children’s garments, 210 men’s shirts, 177 knitted articles (socks, helmets, mufflers, operation stockings, etc), 128 collars and ties for hospital wear, 108 men’s vests and other underclothing, 106 women’s underclothing and blouses, 86 towels, 68 pillow cases and sheets, 20 pair steering gloves (leather palms): total 2,653.

The pleasant fellowship in which the members worked so untiringly through many months of anxiety and trouble for the alleviation of the sufferings of others, may well have strengthened not only parochial and personal ties, but also many wider ones with those they were privileged to help.

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

Advertisements

Happy in spite of all the anxieties of the moment

In the Newtown area of Reading, the Revd T. Guy Rogers was pleased with his parish’s support for the war hospitals.

My dear friends,

We had a very happy Easter in spite of all the anxieties of the moment. Our congregations were inspiring, and the presence of the Signalling Corps at the 11 a.m. service at St John’s was much appreciated. The number of Communicants in the parish (830) was, though, smaller than in recent years, rather larger than we expected on account of the number of young men now in training or at the front.

I am glad to say that as a parish, we have been able to take up an important piece of work for the Care and Comforts Committee in connection with the Reading Military Hospitals. A large parochial working party, under the charge of Miss Homan and Mrs Morley, has commenced work in the Big Hall of the Institute on Wednesday afternoons. The work will be carried out in close touch with the Care and Comforts Committee, so that such garments as are really needed and only such, will be made. I trust that the General Fund of the Committee may be so adequately supported that it may be enabled to give us a considerable grant in aid towards purchase of materials. At the same time, we shall require a good deal of money for local expenses and for the equipment of the working party, and I shall be most grateful if subscriptions may be sent to me for this purpose….

Your sincere Friend and Vicar
T Guy Rogers

Reading St John parish magazine, May 1915 (D/P172/28A/)

The greatness of an Empire depends on the moral greatness of its people

Empire Day was an opportunity for schoolchildren across the county to be instructed in patriotic matters.

Wargave: Empire Day at the Piggott Schools

Empire Day was celebrated at the Piggott Schools, on Friday, May 21st. Although rain fell heavily during the early part of the morning, it fortunately cleared off in time for the children, who numbered over 200, with flags flying, to start for Church where a short service was conducted by the Vicar. He delivered an inspiring address founded on the words “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might,” Eccles. ix, 10, pointing out that God’s help is wanted if our daily life is to be successful and prosperous. On returning to the school play-ground the flag was saluted; the National Anthem and several patriotic songs were sung. In the unavoidable absence of Mr. H. C. Bond who had promised to speak to the children, the Vicar kindly addressed them on “Patriotism and the Empire,” Mr. Coleby proposed a vote of thanks to the Vicar and explained why this year’s celebrations was so much different from that of other years. In the first place the War naturally caused a difference, and, secondly by the vote of the children themselves, the proceeds of their concerts last month were given to the Reading War Hospital Care and Comforts Committee.

The following letter had been received from the Secretary:-

“My dear Children,

I write on behalf of my Committee to thank you very much for the lovely gift which I have received from your Headmaster, and which I understand is really your Empire Day “Tea.” I am quite sure that when Empire Day comes, without the Tea, that you will be even more happy than on other Empire Days; because you will remember that by your action, some of our soldiers who have been wounded while fighting for us, are made more cheerful and comfortable. It is fine to be allowed to do one’s bit, isn’t it?

Gifts of this kind are so great an encouragement to those who are working to obtain comfort for our soldiers.

With best wishes for a happy Empire Day.
I remain,
Yours faithfully,
Stanley H. Hodgkin,
Hon. Secretary.”

Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

A bag containing a bun and an orange was given to each child as he left the Schools. (more…)

May Day celebrations in Earley

Earley schoolchildren did not forgo their idyllic spring festivities on May Day, but they supplemented the maypole, country dances and crowning a May Queen with a collection for Reading War Hospital.

30th April 1915

As May 1st comes on a Saturday this year, the May Day celebration took place today. The usual lessons were discontinued at 3 pm, & the children adjourned to the playground, where, in the presence of 300 parents & friends, May Marshall (previously chosen by lot) was crowned May Queen by Miss King. The following programme was the gone through:

Programme
Song “Welcome, welcome lovely May”
Country dance “Gathering Peascods”
Country dance “Hey Boys”
Song “Come Lassies & Lads”
Plating of maypole
Morris dance “Laudnum Bunches”
Country dance “Hyde Park”
Infants’ Game “Looby Loo”
Country dance “None such”
Song “Come ye young men”
Morris dance “Rigs o’ Marlow”
Country dance “Lord of Caernarvon’s Jig”
Country dance “Newcastle”
Infants’ dance “Corkscrew”
Song “Now is the month of Maying”
Country dance “If all the world were Paper”
Country dance “Old Mole”
Infants’ dance “Sir Roger de Coverley”
Country dance “Sellenger’s Round”
God save the King

A collection among the spectators at the end of the performance amounted to [blank], which was given to the funds of the Reading War Hospital.

Earley CE School logbook (SCH36/8/3)