A special word to say to the men whom we are all so glad to see back

Reading servicemen were welcomed back to church.

SERVICE of thanksgiving for safe return from war

All Service men and their friends are invited to a service of thanksgiving for safe return, which will be held in St John’s Church on Sunday evening, May 18th, at 6.30. Notices of the service will be sent out throughout the parish, but it will be a great help if readers of the magazine will also make it known… The service will be of a simple hearty character. Special hymns will be sung and special prayers and thanksgivings offered, and the vicar will have a special word to say to the men whom we are all so glad to see back.

Reading St. John parish magazine, May 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

Advertisements

“The case was not one in which the distress was due to the war”

The Berkshire branch of the National Relief Fund was still accepting applications for assistance from people whose lives had been disrupted by the war.

17 May 1919

The Chairman read the following report on cases dealt with since the last meeting [on 24 June 1918].

Mrs Coleman

Mrs Coleman was interviewed by the Chairman and Mr Bate as requested by the Committee at their last meeting and it was ultimately decided that Mrs Coleman should take a course of Business Training with Mr Taylor, Station Road, Reading. A sum of £30 was paid to Mrs Coleman in September, to cover the cost of the preliminary training and maintenance during such time, and in October a further sum of £37 was paid over. In January 1919, Mrs Coleman asked that a further £20 might be remitted to her and this was agreed to and paid over by the Government Committee. Mrs Coleman has now completed the training and is finding some difficulty in securing a situation, and on the 26th April asked for a further sum of £30 out of the balance of £163 now remaining. This application has been forwarded to the Government Committee before sanctioning any further payment of the grant.

Mrs Willis

In accordance with the instructions of the Committee at the last meeting, the case of Mrs Willis was referred to the Government Committee with a suggestion that a grant of a capital sum might be made in place of the monthly payment. The Government Committee were of opinion that the monthly grants should continue and Mrs Willis has continued to receive £2.2.0 per month. Whilst this grant continues it is doubtful if Mrs Willis will make any effort to render herself self-supporting.

Mrs Keefe

An application for assistance was received in January, 1919, from Mrs Keefe, 44 London Road, Newbury. Particulars were obtained and it appeared that the applicant was a widow who had had a small General Shop, but owing to heart trouble and difficulties due to the various rationing orders (mainly the former), she had given up the shop and taken lodgers. Subsequently the heart trouble increased and in consequence she was unable to work. These particulars were forwarded to the Government Committee who were of opinion that the case was not one in which the distress was due to the war and therefore not one which could properly be dealt with by this Committee.

Mr E E Bishton

Mr E E Bishton, Florence Cottage, New Road, Ascot, on the recommendation of the Repatriated British Civilian Help Committee, applied to this Committee for a grant towards the purchase of necessary clothing, which he required before he could commence work. Mr Bishton was interviewed by the Chairman and the Secretary, who authorised the supply of clothing to the value of £10.10.6, and also a temporary grant of £4.

In the case of Mrs Coleman it was resolved:

To recommend to the Government Committee that an immediate payment of £30 be made as asked for and that the balance of £133 with interest be retained for the present.

On the suggestion of Mr Slade it was agreed that the allowance to Mrs Willis should be continued for a further period of 3 months to give her the opportunity of finding suitable work.

If at the end of this period it was found that she would require a certain capital sum to enable her to set up in business, the Committee would consider the advisability of recommending the case to the Government Committee for a capital grant.

The action of the Chairman in the case of Mr Bishton was confirmed.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Returned to Belgium

A refugee family returned home, abandoning the foster child they were caring for.

15th May 1919

Children Act 1908

The Inspector, under the Children Act, reported that … One child had been removed from a house where he had been placed out to nurse with a Belgian family, and upon visiting the house on the 29th April last, it was found to be empty, but it been ascertained that the nurse child had been given over to the care of the father, and that the family had returned to Belgium. Upon further enquiries, the Inspector had communicated with the child’s father, but up to the present time had received no answer…

Recommending that the Henley Guardians, to whose district the father of the Belgian child mentioned had removed, be notified.

Matron’s Report

The Matron reported as follows:

Nurses’ Home

That, after advertising widely, she had been able to secure the services of Mrs Hustler, a soldier’s widow, aged 43, who would take up her duties on the 10th instant at a salary of £45 per annum, with indoor uniform and all washing, board and lodging.

Minutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Roll of Honour names to be verified

The final design of the war memorials at London Street Primitive Methodist Church were decided.

12 May 1919
Resolved

1. That the Wesleyan Book Room design for Roll of Honour be accepted.

2. That the work of entering the names on the scroll be given to Mr Morley.

3. That the design of text be left in Mr Morley’s hands entirely.

4. That Mr Pierce & Mr Smith take the lists & verify all the names before particulars are given to Mr Morley.

5. That the names on the roll be alphabetically arranged.

6. That the design and revised estimate of £12.12.0 for Brass memorial Tablet be accepted.

7. That failing completion of the Rolls of Honour before Mr Alderson leaves the Circuit, it be understood that he be invited to attend the Ceremony.

London Street Primitive Methodist Church trustees’ minutes (D/MS59/1A/2)

Appointment, for the period of the War

8th May 1919

Miss Lewin, Casepaper Clerk

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Local Government Board, stating that they offered no objection to the appointment, for the period of the War, of Miss M L Lewin as Casepaper Clerk, at a Salary at the rate of £62 per annum.

Exchequer Grants

Reporting the receipt of a letter from Lt Col. Wilson stating that he had been in communication with the Local Government Board on the subject of the proposal put forward by the Guardians that Exchequer Grants towards salaries should be increased proportionately to the advances which had been made during the last 14 years, and that he had now received a letter from Mr Waldorf Astor, Parliamentary Secretary to the Board, stating that any additional grant, such as the Guardians suggest, would require legislation, and he was afraid that there was no prospect of this at present. Also, that apart from other considerations, the Government were pledged to some alteration of the Poor Law system, and could not very well in the meantime attempt to deal with a point which must be considered in connection with much wider issues.

Report of Finance & General Purposes Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Arrangements to be made for the inmates of the Institutions for the celebration of Peace

6th May 1919
Peace Celebrations

The Chairman of the Board, the Chairman and Vice-chairman of this Committee, with the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the Infant Poor Committee, were appointed a sub-committee to consider the arrangements to be made for the inmates of the Institutions for the celebration of Peace.

Report of House Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Furlough from duty in Italy

5th May 1919

Mrs Hewitt is absent, leave for some days being applied for during her husband’s furlough from duty in Italy.

George Palmer Boys’ School log book (89/SCH/8/1, p. 158)

The Roll of Honour is to include the names of all who have served and not only those who have fallen

There was more debate over the war memorials at London Street Church in Reading.

5 May 1919
Special Trustees Meeting

Resolved that the… Roll of Honour is to include the names of all who have served and not only those who have fallen….

Rev Alderson reported that he had accepted Mr Gilke’s estimate, also that he had seen Mr Horace Smith, who stated that he was providing a Roll of Honour for members of the Institute only. Mr H C Smith kindly offered to provide one to include all members of the Church & congregation. Mr Alderson to obtain a blank illuminated scroll from the Wesleyan Book Room.

Resolved that Mr Gilkes be asked to supply a drawing of proposed tablet showing letters, bordering & colours.

London Street Primitive Methodist Church trustees’ minutes (D/MS59/1A/2)

VADs to Reading for a meeting

26 April 1919

Took my VADs to Reading for meeting – Mary, Phyllis, Lottie, Mrs Mead & Katie Paine. Had tea at Heelas.

Found 3 Canadians arrived on our return! 2 brothers Erb & one Williams.

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

A Committee for “Welcome Home”

A Methodist Church in Reading welcomed home its men who had gone to war. The building is now the Sikh temple.

24 April 1919

Resolved…

That the following form a Committee for “Welcome Home”.

Messrs M Timbrell, A W Reed, F Charlton, H G Butler, W J Hambling, J S Neale, E W Butler, J Kimber.

Mesdames Slyfield, H J Butler, H G Butler, G Peach, H Gill, M Timmbrell, B Charlton, M Wise.

Cumberland Road Primitive Methodist Church, Reading: trustees’ minutes (D/MS55/1A/2)

“These men had fought for truth and justice, they had fought that England might live”

The little parish of Remenham wanted to provide medical care as the best form of war memorial.

April 1919

The new Parish Council will come into office on Tuesday, April 15, and they intend to hold a public meeting that evening in the Parish hall at 6.30 pm, when all householders are asked to attend, so that we may decide on the best War memorial for the Parish. So will every-one, please, make a note of Tuesday, April 15, at the Hall at 6.30 pm?

May 1919

We have had our public meeting about the Parish war memorial, and you will see by the report that feeling was practically unanimous that it will take the form of a “Remenham Bed” in the proposed Memorial Cottage Hospital in Henley. When information has been obtained as to te sum required by the Henley Committee to guarantee that a bed shall always be available, when required, for a patient from Remenham, an appeal will be issued for subscriptions.

REMENHAM WAR MEMORIAL

There was quite a large gathering of parishioners in the Parish hall on Tuesday evening, April 15, for the purpose of considering the question of a war memorial. Amongst those present were Viscount Hambleden, Mr Heatley Noble, Captain E H Noble, Rev. G H Williams, Mrs Ames, Miss Ames, Mrs Burnell, Mr E C Eveleigh, Mr C T Holloway, Mr H V Caldicott, Mrs Lovegrove, Mr R Ansell, Mr Frank Butler, Mr Tunbridge, Mr Drummond, Mr W Baker, Messrs F Fassnidge, W Ebsworth, J Dixon, W Sears, B Moring, C Langford, G Challis, J Challis, D Marcham, and many others.

At the commencement of the meeting Mr Holloway occupied the chair, and in the course of a few remarks expressed his pleasure at seeing such a large number present to consider the question of a war memorial to those brave fellows who fought, suffered, and laid down their lives for them and their country. He would like to propose that Mr Heatley Noble be the Chairman of the War Memorial, for they who had been associated with him well knew his business qualities – (applause).

Mr Tunbridge seconded and the proposition was agreed to with acclamation.

Mr Heatley Noble on taking the chair said he would rather that Viscount Hambleden accepted the position of chairman, but his lordship said he would prefer not to. Continuing, Mr Noble said whatever they did he trusted it would be unanimous. He was aware that there were differences of opinion, but he hoped the minority would give way to the majority – (applause).

The Rev, G H Williams, at the request of the Chairman, forst addressed the meeting. He said he would like those present to feel that what he was going to say was as an individual parishioner, and whatever the meeting decided on he should loyally fall in with. They were there to do their best in a moment of sacred and solemn responsibility. He had kept an open mind on the subject from start to finish, but after considering all the schemes he had heard propounded, he certainly leaned towards a bed to be called “The Remenham Bed” in the proposed Henley Memorial Cottage Hospital. A meeting was recently held in Henley at which he was present. It was a very representative gathering, the room being practically full, and the meeting unanimously decided upon a hospital as a suitable memorial. In fact, the proposal swept the board, no other proposition being made. He asked, if Remenham joined in the Henley Scheme, could a bed be provided to be named the “Remenham Bed”, and he received an unequivocal “Yes” from both the Mayor (who presided) and the Town Clerk. Therefore if they co-operated with Henley they would do so with a direct Remenham touch. That cleared the ground to some extent. The first question they had to consider was as to the need. So far as Henley was concerned it did not touch them. was there a need in Remenham? (Mrs Ames: Most strongly.) He agreed with Mrs Ames. Reading was most awkward to get to and it would be a great boon to have a hospital close at hand. There had been cases in the parish which had had to wait weeks before getting a bed in the Royal Berks Hospital, and if they had their own bed in Henley the difficulty would be overcome. He would like to say that the proposed hospital in Henley was to be an entirely new one, built on the most modern lines, and to contain as a start eight beds. Round the institution it was suggested should centre all the activities of the new health ministry. As regards the cost, it was intimated that from fifteen to twenty thousand pounds would be required. If he looked into the hearts of some of those present, he knew they would be saying that such a large sum could never be raised. He thought otherwise. There were many substantial people amongst the audience at the meeting he attended, and letters were read from others promising their support. They would find that the rich people would do their duty, and if the rich people in Henley did theirs, he was sure the parishes which were invited to co-operate would not be lacking in their financial assistance. What would be required from them he did not know. It might be £500 or £800, but it would be nice if they could reach £1,000. Some of them might ask why they should do Henley’s work for Henley, but there was another side, and that was, did they want Henley to do for Remenham what they should do for themselves. How did they meet these two questions. Would the idea of a “Remenham Bed” be a sufficiently personal memorial. He thought it would. They would have their inscription over the bed, and could they not add to it a small scroll containing the names of their fallen? That would supply the personal touch. As to the men who had died, they had the personal touch in the parish through the kind provision of the late Mr Wilson Noble, by whose will his executors were enjoined to expend a sum of money for a memorial to be placed in the Church, containing the names of their fallen heroes. In order that all might have an opportunity of participating in the cost of that tablet, it had been agreed that any subscription the relatives and friends liked to give would be handed to the executors. That further secured the personal touch. Then, wpuld the form of memorial he had suggested be worthy of the men whom they wanted to honour. As he had said at the outset, they were at a moment of solemn responsibility and wanted to do their best, and he thought such a memorial would be a worthy one. These men had fought for truth and justice, they had fought that England might live. What about the proposed “Remenham Bed”? Patients would receive attention at the hands of skilful doctors, have careful nursing, the latest appliances would be used, and they would receive good food at a critical time. It might be a child, or a mother, or probably one who had been a soldier or a sailor who was stricken down. No matter who it was, they would be well cared for. So he thought in caring for the sick and suffering, they would be carrying out the spirit of the men who fought for them; it might mean a life saved for England.

The Chairman said that personally he was in favour of what Mr Williams had said, but he would like to hear opinions expressed by others in the room.

Mr Ansell said he had not a scheme of his own as he favoured the hospital idea himself, but one or two who were unable to be present had expressed themselves to him. One favoured the placing of what was contributed to the parish towards putting discharged soldiers on the land. Another suggestion was that they should provide a cottage for a blinded soldier. He would like to ask whether if they endowed a bed they could have the immediate call of it in case of necessity. To name a bed did not necessarily mean that they could always have the call of it.

The Rector said that was a detail which would have to be considered later. The impression he gained at the meeting at Henley was that they would have first claim on the bed, and if there was room they could send more than one patient to the hospital.

Mr Ansell thought if there was going to be only eight beds, Henley could do with that number itself.

The Rector said the doctors at the meeting thought eight beds would suffice, but of course there might be occasions when there was a pressure, which would be provided for. If they went into double figures by way of beds the expense would be greatly increased.

The Chairman thought if they had a “Remenham Bed” it should be reserved for Remenham when required. He would like to say that the comrades of one man who died subscribed together and sent home about £18 to be used in memory of him, and hid friends favoured giving it to the Henley Hospital scheme if Remenham joined it. He had spoken to many of the labouring men and others and they all favoured the hospital scheme.

Mr Caldicott thought if they had a “Remenham Bed” in the Henley Hospital it would be lost sight of after a time. He favoured a memorial in their own parish, and begged to propose that a permanent memorial be erected in the churchyard containing the names of the fallen, and that if the subscriptions more than sufficed the balance be given to the Cottage Hospital at Henley.

This found no seconder, and it fell to the ground.

The Rector submitted the following resolution: “That a War memorial for Remenham should be the endowment of a bed, to be named the ‘Remenham Bed’, in the proposed Cottage Hospital in Henley-on-Thames.”

Viscount Hambleden said if that resolution was passed they ought to give the Committee instructions, before agreeing to join in the scheme, to ascertain if the bed would always be available for Remenham patients. He was afraid from his knowledge of things, there would be a little difficulty over the matter. It would prove unpopular to keep a bed vacant for one particular parish, and he was afraid the Henley people would say they could not give a guarantee. He would also like to know what sum was required for the endowment, and further it should be made clear whether any annual payment was expected from them for its upkeep.

The Rector said he would be happy to embody what his lordship had said in the resolution he had drafted.

Viscount Hambleden thought they might pass the resolution as it stood and pass on to the committee instructions to deal with what he had suggested, and if they failed to come to an agreement to call another general meeting. He would move the resolution.

The Rector seconded and it was carried almost unanimously.

The Committee was then elected and constituted as follows: Mr Heatley Noble (chairman), Mr Ansell (hon. sec.), Viscount Hambleden, Miss Ames, the Rev. G H Williams, Mr Eveleigh, Mr Holloway, Mr Tugwood, Mr Caldicott and Mr Stephens. The Chairman and the Rector were appointed to represent the parish on the Henley Committee.

On the initiative of Viscount Hambleden the Chairman was heartily thanked for presiding.

Remenham parish magazine, April-May 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

The men of the Berkshire Regiments are welcomed home

It was an exciting day.

11th April 1919

There were a good few children absent on Tuesday because they had gone into the town to see the men of the Berkshire Regiments welcomed home.

Reading: Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 332)

The expected return of Royal Berks’ men from the Front

Surviving soldiers from the Royal Berkshire Regiment returned home in triumph. Local children skipped school to see them. Some of them may have been expecting to see fathers and brothers.

10th April 1919

The expected return of Royal Berks’ men from the Front led to a fall in attendance on Monday and Tuesday.

George Palmer Boys’ School log book (89/SCH/8/1, p, 157)

Pleasure in seeing the men safe home again and good wishes to them on their return to civilian life

Hundreds of Reading men received a warm welcome home.

April

WELCOME HOME TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS

A list of between 300 and 400 demobilised men resident in the parish or attached to the congregations has now been compiled. To each of these men a letter of welcome from the vicar is being delivered, and also an invitation to a social gathering of welcome for themselves and their wives, which is being held in St John’s Institute on April 9th. Refreshments will be provided and an attractive programme of music and recitations, and the vicar will express in a short speech his own pleasure and that of the parish in seeing the men safe home again and all our good wishes to them on their return to civilian life. Later, a service of thanksgiving for safe return will be held in St John’s Church: the date will be announced at the social meeting. There are still a great many men who have not yet returned to their homes. We shall always be glad to receive notifications of their arrival, and shall hope later on to arrange a second welcome home meant for the men who come later, and for any who may have been left out inadvertently from the present invitation.


May

WELCOME MEETING TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS.

The first welcome home to Service men held on April 9th, was voted by all concerned a very great success. A good crowd of men accepted the Vicar’s invitation and duly turned up at the Institute accompanied by their wives, or mothers, or future wives, and there was a full house. The catering, looked after by Miss Simmons, was excellently carried out and full justice was done to the good things provided. After the tea and coffee and sandwiches had been disposed of, cigarettes and tobacco were passed round, and also sweets for the ladies, and the guests settled down to enjoy a programme remarkable for the variety and the excellence of its items. Perhaps the most popular number was that contributed by the infants from S. Stephen’s School. The little people presented ‘Nursery Rhymes’ in costume and with appropriate music. They received a tremendous ovation.

Now the welcome is over we are hearing of several men who were overlooked in the invitations. We can only say that we did our level best to compile a complete list of all returned men, and that no one was left out except by the veriest accident. We shall hope to have another welcome gathering soon for men coming home later; and shall be glad if friends would send in to the Vicarage the names of all men who were overlooked on the last occasion and also of all who have returned since.


Reading St. John parish magazine, April and May 1919 (D/P172/28A/24)

Red hot with enthusiasm and ideas for reconstruction

Soldiers wanted to change life at home.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Reconstruction is the word in everybody’s mouth today, and it is most essential that we of the Brotherhood should reconstruct our society.

To reconstruct is to rebuild. The foundation of our society is sound; it is the superstructure that requires rebuilding.

We have a large number of our members back from the front, red hot with enthusiasm and ideas, and we hope to harness and put into working order the lessons they have learnt “over there” – such as fellowship and mutual help.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, April 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)