Children’s peace festival

Newbury
16/9/19

12 boys and 13 girls will attend Palmer Park this morning at 10 to take part in sports in preparation for the Peace Festival Sports in Wednesday (Sept 24th).

Emmer Green
16th September 1919

Three boys and six girls were taken to Palmer Park today to take part in the preliminary contests for the Children’s Peace Festival Sports.

Log books of Joseph Henry Wilson School, Newbury (N/ES7/1); Emmer Green CE School (R/ES8/3)

Advertisements

So ends another piece of the war-work

The YMCA Hut supported by a Reading church closed down as men returned home.

The “Trinity” Hut

Since publishing the interesting details in last month’s issue, information has been received that, owing to the rapidity of demobilization, the removal of out Hut to Zeebrugge as intended, will be advisable. It is proposed, therefore to dispose of it by auction sale as is being done with all other such huts. Removal to England is impossible on account of the high cost of freight and the unavoidable damage sustained in transit.

So ends another piece of the war-work, but no such bounds can be set to the good resulting from it. How far-reaching was that influence, Eternity alone will reveal!

Trinity Congregational Magazine, Sept 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12)

Four years and seven months

Children whose Reading school had been requisitioned got it back almost a year after the war.

12th September 1919
The school was removed from Elm Park Hall to its own premises, on Wednesday, after being carried on there, for four years and seven months. The children attended at Elm Park Hall on Wednesday, but at Battle on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Full time will be commenced on Monday.

Reading: Battle Infants School log book (SCH20/8/2, p. 338)

A fair charge upon the Army Council

Reading Workhouse Infirmary was one of the many buildings taken over as a war hospital.

11th September 1919

Claim against the War Office

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that they had received the claims made by the Guardians upon the Army Council in respect of the occupation of their premises as a War Hospital for the periods ended 31st March and 30th September, 1918, and the 31st March last, and that they had forwarded such claims to the Army Council for payment. The clerk stated that, with regard to the two first mentioned claims, the Ministry of Health considered that they were excessive, and that he had received from the Ministry of Health, copy of a letter which had been addressed to the Secretary of the War Office as follows:

“I am to add that these claims have been the subject of an interview between the Clerk to the Guardians and this Department, and that this Department are of opinion that the claims constitute a fair charge upon the Army Council.”

Discharged Soldiers & Sailors

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Hemsworth Union asking the Guardians to support the following Resolution passed by them with regard to relief to discharged soldiers.

“That this Board of Guardians expresses its indignation and disgust in Discharged Soldiers and Sailors being compelled to apply for relief to this Board, and protests against the delay of the Ministry of Pensions in dealing with Soldiers’ and Sailors’ pensions which should be paid on production of the Local Medical Officer’s Certificate, and that a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Prime Minister and other Boards of Guardians for their support.”

Recommending that the Board support the principle of the Resolution.

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

Experiences In France

War time experiences would continue to inform lives in peace time.

Circuit Quarterly Meeting held at Tilehurst, September 10th 1919

Rev. W. A. Parrott related some of his experiences in France, & told of how he had – at the urgent request of many men – baptized & administered the sacrament.

Minutes of Reading Wesleyan Methodist Circuit Quarterly Meeting (D/MC1/1A/1)

It is very important that the list of names of those who died should be accurate

Plans were well advanced for the memorial at St Bartholomew’s Church.

The War Memorial

The committee met on Sept 4 at 7.30pm. There was a good attendance. Present: The Chairman, Mr Churchwarden Brown and Mr FB East (hon. Treasurers), the Rev. H B Mead, Messrs. W Lawrence, A H Salman, H Masters, J A Murray, G C Sturgess, T R Stevens, E Clayton Jones, A J H Wright, E Long; Ladies – Mrs Newbery, Miss Goose, Miss Stevens, Miss Lawrence, Miss Driscoll, Miss Type.

The minutes of the last meeting were confirmed. The chairman read a letter from the architect saying that the drawings for the builder were on the point of completion. It was suggested that the names be cut into the oak panelling to avoid difficulty in adding names sent in late and to avoid expense. It was agreed that the porch be lined with stone and the two shields carved with emblems. Mrs Newbery kindly consented to include the lower part of Cumberland Road in her district. Subscriptions received to date were paid in, with one new promise. The treasurers reported at the close of the proceedings as follows:-

Subscriptions paid or promised, as already announced £455 10s 0d
New subscriptions Sept 4 £21 10s 2d
New promises £5 0s 0d

The date of the next committee meeting was fixed for Thurs Oct 16 at 7.30pm.

Since the above meeting, a letter has been received from Mr Comper suggesting that the shields should bear “the three knives ascribed to S Bartholomew on one and Reading (emblem) on the other.” He is glad that the committee consents to stone lining of the porch, and adds “You must have the names cut on a stone or slate (and not oak) slab which will form part of the stone lining of the walls recessed within a simple shallow moulding. This, I believe, will cost no more, and be durable, and part of the fabric as it ought to be. The slab need not be fixed till the walls are built…. I dare say that you will be content with the surnames and initials …. Prefixed by some inscription.

Upon this we would say that it is very important that the list of names of those who died should be accurate, and any known name, not at present posted up in the church under the flag, should be given to the Vicar without delay.

Mr F N A Garry has presented a stone beautifully carved with old Christian emblems, which Mr Comper desires to be placed 5 feet from the floor within the porch on the west wall south of the entrance. We have also to thank Mr S Newbery for making a copy of the drawing of the porch which is hung on the church door.


Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

Reopening of a school after its use as Hospital

Schools returned to their proper purpose.

Redlands Boys’ School
September 2nd 1919

On this date I, F. W. Holmes-Walker commenced duty as Head Master, on the reopening of the school after its use as Hospital.

Alfred Sutton Primary School
2nd September 1919

School re-opened today. The scholars are working on full time today, Redlands having re-opened and relieved the building of Wokingham Road Intermediate School. The school is working on a trial time table.

Log books of Redlands Boys’ School, Reading (86/SCH/3/30, p. 356); Alfred Sutton Primary School, Reading (89/SCH/37/1, p. 254)

Called up at the beginning of the War

A young man needed help to retrieve the tools of his trade from a pre-war employer.

2nd September 1919
A V Hazell

Reporting that this lad, formerly apprenticed to Messrs Wake & Dean, was called up at the beginning of the War to the Territorials; that on applying on his demobilisation to his former employers for his tools, was unable to get them. The Clerk stated that he had taken the matter up with Messrs Wake & Dean, and after some trouble had been able to obtain and return tools to the lad.

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

An Institution in which disabled sailors and soldiers could be taught crafts and trades and thus become able to do useful work would be the best form of memorial

What form should a county-wide memorial take?

1 September 1919

The suggestions as to the form of the memorial put forward by Lady Wantage, Alderman Cox, Brigadier General Wigan, Mr Bartholomew of the Oxford Street Social Club and Lt Col Walsh were considered. None of the suggestions were regarded favourably and the meeting discussed generally what kind of memorial would seem most suitable having regard to the fact that a County Memorial was wanted.

Schemes of a utilitarian nature were favoured by Alderman Martin and also by Councillor Quelch, but each referred to the question of a scheme of the kind having a limited radius of usefulness and could not benefit the whole county. Mr F G Belcher suggested that an Institution in which disabled sailors and soldiers could be taught crafts and trades and thus become able to do useful work would be the best form of memorial. He alluded to the monotony of the lives of these poor men, and the need to do everything possible to provide them with interests in life. As an alternative he suggested the establishment of an Orphanage to benefit the children of the men who had fallen in the war. The Chairman pointed out that in any such Institution the question of endowments to provide an income for its maintenance must be met and also that the need of either kind of Institution would pass away within a limited number of years.

It was proposed by Councillor Quelch and seconded by Alderman Martin, “that in all the circumstances and having regard to the fact that no scheme of a utilitarian nature would be likely to benefit the whole county, this Committee is compelled to fall back on the proposal to erect a suitable monument as a permanent memorial in commemoration of the sailors and soldiers of Berkshire who had lost their lives in the war”. Passed unanimously.

Councillor Quelch proposed and Alderman Martin seconded “that the architects of Berkshire be invited to assist the Committee by submitting, voluntarily, sketch plans of such designs as would in their opinion be suitable for the purpose required.” Passed unanimously.

It was mentioned that some 8000 to 10000 names would require to be inscribed.

The question of site was spoken of, and Councillor Quelch undertook to bring the subject forward at the next meeting of the Markets and Estates Committee of the [Reading] Town Council who would no doubt consider the possibility of assisting the project by offering sites which might be suitable for the building of the monument.

The Secretary was requested to ascertain the terms upon which the triangular piece of land at the junction of Caversham Road and Friar Street could be acquired in the event of its being a fitting position for the memorial.

Berkshire War Memorial Committee minutes (R/D134/3/1)

A reception for the Boys returning from the war

The men who had served from London Street Primitive Methodist Church were honoured.

26 August 1919

Resolved…

That as regards the unveiling ceremony,

(a) It be held on Wednesday 1st October at 7.30 pm
(b) That Rev E J T Bagnall preside.
(c) That Mr Waite be asked to receive memorial on behalf of Trustees.
(d) That Mr Smith be asked to present his roll of honour to the church.
(e) That Mr Smith speak first & Mr Alderson to follow.
(f) That Mr Drew be asked to arrange for suitable music.

That reception be held for the Boys returning from the war on following night, viz Oct 2/19.

That committee consisting of Mr Cheyney, Mr Pierce, & Ferguson arrange for the supper.

That Mr Cheyney, I Godden, A Chilton, arrange concert etc.

That reception be limited to Boys & one friend each. Trustees & Leaders to act as Waiters.

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

Released from internment

Children of interned aliens were generally cared for in the workhouses if their mothers were not alive. Once the war was over, they hoped to return home.

26th August, 1919

A letter was read from Mr John Geiger, of 15, Brighton Road, Reading, of the 17th instant, stating he had been released from Internment, and should be thankful to know what steps to take on behalf of his three sons now under the care of the Guardians.

The Chairman stated that the man was written to, to attend before the House Committee at 10.30 that morning, but he had only just arrived, and he suggested that the man should come before the Board.

Geiger appeared before the Board and explained his position as regarded the providing of a home so that he might take his three sons out, and asked that they might be allowed to remain in the Institution until he could provide a home.

After some discussion, on the suggestion of the Chairman, it was resolved that the Children should remain in the Institution for three weeks and that Geiger should pay 10/- weekly in respect of each child, and at the end of that period it was hoped the man would be able to remove the children.

Wokingham Board of Guardians minutes (G/WO1/26)

Public Drumhead Service in memory of those fallen in the war

A military-style drumhead service in Reading commemorated the fallen.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

All brothers will agree the best course was taken to abandon our meeting of the 24th [August] in favour of the Public Drumhead Service, in memory of those fallen in the war; it proved a most impressive meeting.

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

Cards of welcome to all sailors and soldiers who have been demobilised

Earley men were welcomed home.

Short Notes

The men’s association has been active in sending out about 100 cards of welcome to all sailors and soldiers who have been demobilised. This involved a good deal of inquiry and care. Now they are following up this by a proposal to entertain such as are able and willing to come to tea and sports on the vicarage lawn on Aug 30th or the first week of September. To do this, a committee of ladies is being appointed, also for the sports a committee of men themselves. An appeal for the provision of the tea and gifts in kind will be made later, and there is little doubt of a generous response to this. Any immediate promises of help in this way will be welcomed by the Vicar or Mr T R Stevens.

We offer a welcome home to Mr William Long after four years and three months absence in Egypt. Mr Long served in the Army Service Corps, and is now set free. His return to Reading gives us the pleasure of having him back in the choir, where with alto Mr Leslie Grinstead his presence will be much valued.


Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

A bright spot in a time of need

A Reading church received news about the YMCA hut they had supported for soldiers behind the lines.

The “Trinity” Hut

Owing to the departure of many of the Y.M.C.A. Secretaries from the war area, it has been very difficult to get any definite information about our second Hut in France. Until just lately we believed this was erected at St. Omer, but now find that to be incorrect, as the following prove:
2nd July, 1919.

My Dear Mr. Harrison,

I went up this week to see Mr. McCowen as he was coming back from Germany on his way to London, and immediately took up the question of the allocation of your Hut with him. He well remembers the situation and says that your Hut was not actually in the St. Omer area, but it was at St. Malo-les-Bains, near Dunkirk, which after all is not so far away from St. Omer. He says this is the second Reading Hut. I have asked Mr. Sitters to send me a report as to the work of this Hut during the last few months, and also to see that the board saying it is the Reading Hut is still up in it. This Hut has served, during the past few months, thousands of men, who have been using Dunkirk as a demobilisation centre. Further particulars will be coming through, which I will send along. There is a possibility that the Navy may move the Hut to the mole at Zeebrugge, as there is a great need for an extension of our work at that place, but I will see that you are advised if this is done.

I am enclosing herewith the official receipt for the fifteen pounds which you so kindly sent. It was used in the Hut for Christmas festivities.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed) H.N.HOLMES.
Chief Secretary for France.

The report referred to is as follows:-

“The Reading (Malo) Hut was first erected in the Ypres centres, where it provided rest and recreation for countless numbers of men going in and coming out of the trenches. In it provision was made for reading, writing and games. Concerts and lectures were given from time to time, and services were held on Sundays. A refreshment counter where tea, cocoa and coffee, biscuits, cigarettes, etc., could be obtained, was greatly appreciated by those frequenting the Hut.

Later on, owing to the movement of troops, the sector was occupied by Belgian troops, who made considerable use of the Hut. One feature of their occupation was the excellent concerts given by officers and men of the Belgian army. On account of the Germans shelling the place very heavily it was found necessary to move the Hut to a more sheltered spot. It was dismantled, moved south two miles, near to the famous St. Sixthe Convent, re-erected, re-painted, and re-opened within seven days.

On the signing of the armistice the Hut was moved to Dunkirk, where it has provided accommodation for various units, including re-mounts, men being demobilised, and men returning from leave and going to Egypt. On its removal to Dunkirk it was beautifully re-decorated and fitted with electric light, and may now be considered one of the most attractive huts in France.

The subscribers, through whose generosity it has been possible for the Y.M.C.A. to meet the needs of so many men, will be happy to know that the Hut has been a bright spot in a time of need to thousands of the brave men who have been defending our country.”

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )

“Our village is still like a battlefield”

The August issue of a Reading church magazine had news from a family of Belgian refugees who had now returned home.

Our Belgian Guests

Though we have now bidden good-bye to our Belgian family, they are not forgotten, and we gladly avail ourselves of Miss Hammond’s kind permission to print the following letter, (long held over through lack of space) telling of the return home.

Kelfs-Herent,
29TH March, 1919.
Dear Miss Hammond,

We reached home a fortnight ago, on the 15th of March, at half-past four in the afternoon. We found our house quite empty, for the Germans had stolen most of our things, and what they left others took. The doors and windows are broken, the walls both inside and out are damaged, and there is a large hole in the roof. The Germans did their cooking everywhere, leaving the house so dirty that it has taken me ten days to get it even a little clean! We must wait till next year for fresh wall-paper, it is still too dear.

Food is very scarce; there is hardly anything in the shops and everything is much dearer than in England. Meat costs 9-10 francs the Kilo, butter 15 franks, margarine 8.5 franks. A sack of flour costs 110 franks, and one cannot even then always get it. Every day we say that war for existence is now beginning, and happy are the people who live in the promised land of England or France. Our village is still like a battlefield; some of the houses have been re-built but not all. The people living next to us have so aged during these four years that we did not recognise them. We have no cow or horse, and they are so dear that we must wait a while before buying.

I hope that you will give our compliments to all the kind friends at your church, and thank them again for all they did for us during the four years of war.

Please accept the sincere respects of your grateful family.”

M. Van De Venne.
Elise De Kruster.

We are very grieved to hear that, since reaching home, our friends have sustained a very heavy loss in the death of their dear little girl, Elisa, on June 3rd, after an illness of three weeks. We shall all join in sympathetic remembrance of the sorrowing father and mother.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, August 1919 (D/EX1237/1/12 )