Laundry machinery at the Cliveden Red Cross Hospital

The Maidenhead Board of Guardians decided to check out the laundry machinery previously used to wash soldiers’ sheets. [In the event, it turned out to be unsuitable.]

30th July, 1919
Laundry

Resolved that the Master inspect the laundry machinery at the Cliveden Red Cross Hospital with Mr F Rogers, managing Director of the Maidenhead and District Laundry Company Ltd and that Mr Rogers be asked to inspect the laundry at the Institution and to give a quotation for placing certain necessary machinery therein.

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

Useful articles

Hospitals benefitted from the end of the need to treat wounded soldiers.

11th July 1919
It was proposed by Col Muir, seconded by Rev. T. Lewis, & resolved, that a letter be written to thank the Commandant of the V.A.D Red Cross Hospital at Maidenhead for Convalescent Soldiers for a large number of useful articles of furniture, material etc. sent to this hospital on the closing of the Convalescent Hospital.

Maidenhead Cottage Hospital governors’ minutes (D/H1/1/2)

“Everyone seems to be doing war work but myself”

Old Girls and teachers of St Stephen’s High School in Clewer had done war work of various kinds.

News of Old Girls

E. Truman is abroad, Army nursing.

St Stephen’s High School Building Fund

For some time the need of new premises for the High School has been urgent, and now that the war is over it is proposed to carry out the plans…

It is felt that the Old Girls and former members of staff would like to contribute a substantial sum towards the Building Fund in commemoration of the Declaration of Peace, and we, the undersigned, urge upon all the necessity of making a special effort to support it as liberally as possible.

Extract from letter from Mrs Salmon

Miss Gedge has stopped writing. Do you know anything of her? She was doing war work when last I heard. Everyone seems to be doing that but myself. I had the chance of doing a little last year in Zemba, and was glad of it. I was elected Chairwoman of “Our Day” Fund, and in six months we collected over £3,700, which we were quite proud of, as, apart from the troops, there are under 600 whites in Nyasaland! We got up dances, concerts, a play, etc, and ended with a Fancy fair, at which latter we made £1,200. It was a great success. We held it in the Zemba Gardens, and the stalls were so pretty-arranged among the trees, and tea tables dotted about in the shade. The Governor performed the opening ceremony, and then liberally patronised each stall. Patricia, as a Red Cross Nurse, collected £12 as a 1/- dip.

We left a few days later as Hugh has retired from the service, and we are now waiting for an opportunity to get over to Australia.

Mollie Salmon.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1919 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

Special classes for soldiers

Students were getting back to normal on leaving the army.

MAIDENHEAD TECHNICAL INSTITUTE

The Sub-committee understand that the Technical Institute will probably be evacuated by the Red Cross Hospital authorities shortly…

EVENING CLASSES

In a circular letter, the Board of Education urge the importance of the resumption of the part of this work which was curtailed owing to the war and of its further development at the earliest possible date.

The Sub-committee have not found it possible to resuscitate any of the closed classes this session but have made provision in the estimates for increasing the number of classes next session.

ARMY EDUCATION

In connexion with the scheme for Army Education, the Sub-committee have been asked to arrange special classes for soldiers at Windsor and these have been duly held. The whole of the cost is payable by the War Office.

COUNTY SCHOLARSHIPS

The Sub-committee have allowed B L James (3rd year Senior Scholar), who was released from the Army in January to resume his Senior Scholarship at the Newbury Grammar School for the remainder of its period.

M G Hyder, who was granted a Supplementary County Scholarship in 1916, has been released from the Army, and took up his Scholarship at Keble College, Oxford, as from the commencement of the Lent Term.

The Sub-committee have renewed the Scholarship of E H Austin (who has also been released from the Army) at the University College, Reading, until the end of the Summer Term.

Report of Higher Education Sub-committee to Berkshire Education Committee, 3 May 1919, in Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Energetic and continuous work for the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance during the war

One Sulhamstead woman was central to the parish’s efforts to assist the wounded.

RED CROSS SOCIETY

Mrs Grimshaw has relinquished the tenancy of the Abbots House, to the great regret of all in the parish who knew her and Mrs Greenley. We hope that her five years’ tenancy has sufficiently endeared her to the neighbourhood to bring her repeatedly back on visits.

Mrs Grimshaw’s work for the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance during the war has been energetic and continuous. Since she was first appointed as Village Representative, her small group of workers were kept steadily employed, and produced a good number of garments. During the last year upwards of 120 garments were dispatched to the Depot. Mrs Sheringham, Mile House, has undertaken the work as the Village Representative.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, March 1919 (D/EX725/4)

A splendid total

Tribute was paid to the work of Burghfield women through the war.

Village Red Cross Working Party

With the closing of the Reading War Hospitals Supplies Depot on Wednesday afternoon, March 12th, the Village Red Cross Working Party has ceased its useful work; the number of articles made by between 20 and 30 members during the last 3 ½ years has reached a splendid total. Many thanks to Mrs Butler for the indefatigable way in which she has throughout given her labour and time in purchasing, cutting, and in various ways preparing the materials each week for the busy workers, who soon turned them into the much needed comforts for our troops both at home and abroad.

Burghfield parish magazine, April 1919 (D/EX725/4)

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)

The American Battle Hymn will be sung both morning and evening

The fighting was over, but peace was not completely secured, with negotiations ongoing.

Sunday, Jan. 5th will be observed as a day of special thanksgiving for victory, and a prayer for the statesmen of the world assembled at the Peace Conference. There will be celebrations of the Holy Communion at 7 and 8, and the American Battle Hymn will be sung both morning and evening. The collections will be given to the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John Jerusalem, which urgently need help. It will be remembered, of course, that the great services of thanksgiving for peace will follow when the peace is signed.

Speenhamland parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P116B/28A/2)

The devoted, unselfish and loyal work of the V.A.D.s, both men and women

The work of the Red Cross was recognised.

All Saints’ District
Red Cross Society

It was a great pleasure to welcome the members of the local V.A.D. Hospitals and others who attended the Church parade held at ALL Saints’ on Sunday January the 5th, at 11 a.m. The devoted, unselfish and loyal work of the V.A.D.s, both men and women, has been beyond all praise, and it has been a constant source of joy throughout the war to make the efficiency, economy and adaptability of this invaluable British Red Cross Society.

All Saints section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, February 1919 (D/P98/28A/16)

It is hoped that the attendances at the Intercession Services will be as large and the progress as real as during the last four anxious years

The war might be over, but there was still plenty to pray for.

JANUARY 5TH, 1919

For four years the first Sunday in the year has been observed as a Day of Intercession for our cause in the Great War. This year the Archbishops have requested the Church to observe the day as one of Prayer for the Nation and our Allies, and to devote the offertories at all services to the Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. It is hoped that the attendances at the Intercession Services will be as large and the progress as real as during the last four anxious years.

11.0 a.m St Mary’s Church, Morning Service.
11.45 a.m. St Mary’s Church, Holy Communion.
3.30 p.m. St Michael’s Church, Evening Service.
6.0 p.m. Rector’s Room, Evening Service.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

A Peace which we have every reason to believe will shape the destiny of the world for many generations to come

Clewer Church looked forward with optimism.

Our first duty and privilege is to wish all our Readers a Happy New Year – and we do so with more confidence in the future than we have felt for some years past. This year will be known as ‘The Peace Year’, for in it is to be laid the foundation of a Peace which we have every reason to believe will, with the Blessing of God, shape the destiny of the world for many generations to come. How earnestly we ought to pray for the guidance of those who are now taking part in the Peace conference at Paris, that by their endeavours, ‘Peace and Happiness, Truth and Justice, Religion and Piety,’ may be established amongst the Nations of the World for all generations – The great Victory which Almighty God vouchsafed to us in 1918, has opened out to us such glorious prospects of better things to come, if only we prove ourselves worthy of them, that we realize that the present year is the most critical period in the history of mankind.

On the first Sunday in the New Year Special Prayer and Thanksgiving will be offered in all Churches that we may dedicate ourselves to afresh to Him who alone is “the Giver of Victory and the Author of Peace.”

Our alms on Sunday, Jan. 5th, will be for the Red Cross Society as in the years during the War.

Clewer parish magazine, January 1919 (D/P39/28A/9)

“We shudder to think how thin seemed the partition between us and destruction!”

Maidenhead Congregational Church rejoiced.

PEACE!

The war is over! How difficult it was to believe at first! We could only slowly get our eyes accustomed to the sudden light. It seemed like passing out of a dark prison into the light of freedom again. Timidity was changed into a feeling of triumph. We can scarcely recognise the altered world, the change has been so sudden and startling. Everything seems new. The glow of victory and expectation is everywhere. As the enemy’s records slowly come to light, it is ever more plain how deliberate and wanton was Germany’s onslaught upon a world at peace, how deep her plots to get the nations under her heel, how tremendous her preparations, yes, and how nearly she succeeded! And now her huge strength has been destroyed. We open our daily newspapers now without a tremor. Nothing in the Peace celebrations seems more wonderful than the restraint and dignified calm of the people as a whole. There was no “mafficking” in the streets, there was no bombast anywhere. Perhaps it was because we had all suffered too deeply. Exultation of course there was, and it was abundantly justified. Dr. McLaren in one of his books asks the question, “Does Christianity forbid us to rejoice when some mighty system of wrong and oppression with its tools and accomplices, is cleared off from the face of the earth?” And the great preacher answers his own question with a text of scripture: “When the wicked perish there is shouting.”

It will be good for us to strive to make our gratitude to God more conscious and eager. We have been in tremendous peril! The Prime Minister said some year or two ago, “We shall win, but we shall only just win.” And it has been “only just.” We may well shudder to think how thin seemed the partition between us and destruction! Can we hope that a new sense of God will fall upon the nation? We need divine guidance and help as certainly in the reconstruction problems as in the peril of the war. Britain’s future depends upon the settlements of the coming year. The nation and the Churches too are at the cross roads! None of us, none of our sires or grandsires, have known a time when the call for earnest thinking and devoted service was to be compared with what it is to-day. Everyone of us must give answer unswervingly if we are not to let the hour pass and the opportunity slip away.

And now, among other things, we want our boys back again. We have felt their absence keenly, not only in our homes, but in the Church. There are nine of our own who will not return, and we will not forget them. But the others, may they come back firmer in fibre, more ready to serve Christ in His Church and in His Kingdom, more determined by His help to “build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.” And may the lessons of our great trial and triumph make us all wise and strong while life lasts.”

CHRISTMAS.

We ought to be able to fill our Christmas this year with real and unaffected joy. The great shadow is taken off merry making. Not that all the problems of the world have been solved, but they are nearer solution, and there is a grand hope in our hearts. And the coming of the world’s great King may remind us that the first of all conditions of real peace and content is a child-like heart, a spirit of gentleness and meekness, and of trust in the guidance of the good Father above. Rivalries and frettings eat out our peace, as a moth a garment, as acid soft metal. When man is right with God, all the earth will be right with men. If we are to gain true peace and happiness in the future, either for ourselves or for the nations, it must be by utter submission to Him who was born a child at Bethlehem.

OUR SOLDIERS.

F. W. Harmer is in hospital in London, suffering from some internal trouble, and may have to undergo an operation. Ernest Bristow is much better, and will soon be ready for his artificial leg. He is back at the Maidenhead Red Cross Hospital. Hugh Lewis has been down with a severe and serious attack of “flu,” and is in hospital at Boulogne.”

Maidenhead Congregational Church magazine, December 1918 (D/N33/12/1/5)

What a feeling to wake up to the weight lifted

Henry and Florence Vansittart Neale were honoured by the Belgian government for having opened up Bisham Abbey as a hospital for Belgian soldiers earlier in the war.

12 November 1918

What a feeling to wake up to the weight lifted. Germany in revolt all over. Rumour Crown Prince shot. Ex Kaiser escaped to Holland. Armistice 6 weeks. meanwhile we must feed Germany. I went to Reading for Red X meeting. Hear King Albert giving us medal! for taking Belgian wounded.

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

“A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed”

Ralph Glyn’s sister and mother wrote to him. Meg’s circle of acquaintances in London included many army officers, and she reported some disappointment that talks of peace had not yet come to anything. Lady Mary was engaging in a private battle with the vicar of Bamber, where she and the Bishop were living, who thought the National Anthem inappropriately jingoistic for church.

Hardwicke House
Ham Common
Richmond
Surrey

27.10.18

My darling Ralph

Thank you so much for you letter & I am so sorry to hear you have got this beastly flu, it is sickening for you but by the time this letter reaches you I hope you will be quite fit again. No – flying doesn’t sound the best cure certainly, but I suppose you had to do it.

I was much interested to see the photographs you enclosed. They are copies of negatives taken by Addie of Royalist up with the Grand Fleet. If you have got the negatives it would be good of you to send them here to me, tho I cannot imagine how they got among your negatives, as I keep those ship photographs most carefully. But do send me all 3 negatives if you have them.

Jim & I stayed last night at Belgrave Square & dined with the Connaughts, a small dinner which was great fun. The Arthur Connaughts were there, she is a stick; Mr Spring Rice who was in Washington with Eustace & Ivar, & Mrs Ward who was Muriel Wilson. An A1 dinner too! The old Duke was in great form & full of funny stories of soldiers’ remarks in Palestine:

One soldier asked another, “Which is the way to the Mount of Olives?” & the other replied, “If that’s a public house I’ve never heard of it.” An Arab writing to the Governor concluded his letter with, “I write in the name of J. Christ, esq, who is well known to you & who your Excellency so much resembles”. An Australian wantonly killed a Jew & was remonstrated with, “Why did you do it?” “Well”, he said, “they are the people who killed Christ”. “Yes, but a long time ago”. “Well”, said the Australian, “I only heard of it yesterday”….

John went off to GHQ on Wednesday, & on Friday Maysie & I went over 2 houses she had the offer of in London. The larger one (both being tiny) was in Regents Park, & had lovely Chinese furniture, & nicely done up, the second in Hill Street, Knightsbridge, & very nicely done, but tiny. I strongly advised her to plump on the 2nd & she’s got it for 6 months, & I think it will do for her very wel indeed. Billy is home on leave & I saw him yesterday too. He looks v. fit, a Majr, & 2nd in command of his battalion!

A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed, but everyone feels thankful & the end must be in sight. But there’s some sickness with the Americans not getting on, it would have been splendid to cut the Huns off in that retreat, but you always said they have no staff to handle the men, and it does seem 10,000 pities that thro sheer silly pride they won’t brigade their men with ours & the French, doesn’t it….

Meg

(more…)

We have now finished blackberry picking

The terrible flu epidemic hit Hurst.

Hurst
25th October 1918

Some of the boys in the lower class are away with influenza. School closed for a fortnight owing to influenza.

Hampstead Norreys
25th Oct.

We have now finished blackberry picking & altogether this school has picked 2001 lbs. With Filsham (177 ½ lbs) and Yattendon (163 ½ lbs) we have sent away 2,342 lbs.

On “Our Day”, 24th Oct., we collected £6 7s 0 ½ d for the Red Cross Funds.

Reading
1918
Oct 25

School closed till the 5th Nov. because of the prevalence of Influenza. Three teachers – Miss Tilley, Miss Godwin, and Mrs Page, away through influenza.

25th October 1918
A Lantern lecture was given in the schoolroom this evening by Dr Smith – the proceeds going to the Red Cross Fund.


Log books of Hurst C of E Boys School log book (D/P73/28/23, p. 39); Hampstead Norreys CE School (C/EL40/2); St John’s School, Reading (D/P172/28A/23); Aston Tirrold CE School log book (C/EL105/1, p. 168)