Donkeys and drums

Some clergy had reservations about the unbridled nature of the peace celebrations.

July 1919

Vicar’s Letter

The Signing of the Peace will naturally turn the thoughts of many towards the ‘Peace Celebrations,’ proposed to be held on Saturday, July 19th. I do not think I can do better than quote a few sentences from a letter written by the Bishop of Norwich, which was published in The Times on Saturday, June 28th. With regard to organised festivities in connection with the Celebration of Peace, the Bishop fears lest these should bring out the poorer and not the nobler side of a natural outburst of high spirits, and he says:

‘We do not wish to substitute mere excitement for that quiet sense of fellowship with the living and the dead and that sober thanks-giving which ought to be the real notes of such a day. At this time we have to think not only of peace abroad, but also of true peace and good will at home, and no stimulated and unrestrained merrymaking helps to give us these. The expression of our joy should not be inappropriate to the tender and solemn remembrance of those who have fallen in the war, nor regardless of those who are mourning for the desolation of their homes. This is, indeed, an occasion for joy, but elaborated celebrations are costly, and the country is in no financial position, and many chastened people in no frame of mind, to spend large sums on extravagant exhibitions of rejoicing. Much sacrifice has gone before the day of thanks giving, and much sacrifice must follow it if the Peace is to be as great as the war. I venture to suggest that we should concentrate our efforts on giving the children a happy day, as many of us do at Christmas time when we commemorate the birth of the Prince of Peace. This, I believe, while shielding us from the risks of orgies protracted into the night, would evoke what is best in the hearts of all classes, and would make a memorable occasion for the boys and girls upon whom will eventually rest the task of fully working out the problems of the new age which the Peace has brought with it.’

No words could I think express better my own feelings with regard to the ‘Peace Celebrations,’ and I hope they will equally commend themselves to you all.

August 1919

The Vicar’s Letter

I feel that my first duty is to thank most heartily the Members of the Committee, and all others, who rendered such very efficient help in collecting funds, arranging and cutting up for the tea, and in superintending and devising the capital Sports, etc., which gave so much pleasure to our young guests on the occasion of the Peace Celebration. If only it had been a really fine day! The dampness of the unpleasant drizzle had no apparent effect on the spirits and excellent conduct of the children, yet we all felt it would have been so much brighter had the sun shone out. Provision for the tea was ample and much appreciated. The donkeys were quite up-to-date, and behaved as donkeys have ever done at a Children’s Fête! Most grateful were we to Mrs. Young, Mr Reynolds and Mr. Stretch for the loan of them; they were quite a feature in the programme. And what shall be told of the glory of the bonfire, which apparently surpassed in brilliance any other that could be seen far or near! As soon as the gentleman with the drum was satisfied that he had done enough in celebrating Peace, one was able to get to bed about 1.30 a.m.! thankful that all concerned had had a happy day, and may God grant that the occasion for keeping such a day shall never occur again during the life-time of the youngest of those who were present with us!

Cookham Dean parish magazine, July and August 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

Advertisements

Members of Parliament stripped naked?

Even the Irish internees were being allowed short periods out on parole. The Governor of Reading Prison, not exactly a sympathiser, still refised to have them strip-searched on their return.

29 Nov 1918

F M Reynolds, Irish interned prisoner, was released on parole on 17 Nov 1918 and returned today.

No – these men on parole are not searched and the same procedure was [observed?] in [illegible] except a “special search” was made [illegible] was stripped. It would be of no use, and if this course was adopted there would be [illegible] of Members of Parliament stripped naked & c &c. Besides, these men can carry any mental messages they wish.

If the Commissioners wish it, of course I will specially search the men, but as they are on parole, I do not recommend it. At the same time, I have no doubt that many [do pass] messages & apparently written ones go [illegible].

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

29th Nov 1918
Frank Reynolds

This Irish prisoner, who was released on parole on the 17th instant, returned to my custody today.

[C M Morgan]
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

29 Nov 1918
J. MacDonagh

Prisoner applied to me this morning for a petition to be released on parole on account of the illness of his brother.

He was given permission and I told him I would mark it “urgent” if the petition was sent in & he wished it.

He thanked me & left.

About 10 minutes afterwards he sent in a slip of paper requesting me to telephone to the Secretary of State and ask for him to be released on parole. I told the Warder I could not telephone to the Secretary of State, but would mark his petition urgent, and besides I had no knowledge of the case.

As no petition came from him this evening, I sent over to inquire. The reply was that as I had refused to telephone he would do nothing. I told him he could telegraph himself, but he refused.
I attach the telegram he has sent in.

C M Morgan
Gov

[to] The Commissioners

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

A splendid address on Duty and Patriotism that even the tiniest could understand

Empire Day was the focus for patriotic expressions in schools across the county.

Piggott Schools, Wargrave
Empire Day

The children of the Piggott Schools celebrated Empire Day (May 24th) in right loyal fashion. They assembled at the School, and with flags flying, marched down to Church where a short service was held. The Vicar gave an appropriate address. Re-assembling on the Church Green they proceeded to the Schools and took their places round the flag pole from which the Union Jack was flying. A good number of parents and friends of the children with many of the soldiers from the hospital were waiting their return. As the boys passed the soldiers they gave them a salute in recognition of what they had done for their country.

The National Anthem was sung, and the flag saluted, and Miss. E. Sinclair gave a splendid address on Duty and Patriotism in such a way that even the tiniest could understand it. Capt. Bird proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Sinclair and hearty cheers were given in which the soldiers joined. Three Patriotic and Empire Songs were sung by the children, the Vicar called for cheers for the Teachers, and Mr. Coleby announced that Mrs. Cain had most kindly provided buns and sweets for all as they left the grounds. Hearty cheers were given her for her thoughtfulness. Cheers for the King concluded the proceedings.

Alwyn Road School, Cookham
May 24th 1917

Empire Day was celebrated today. The Headmaster addressed the children assembled in the Hall, and the National Anthem was sung. The children then went to their classrooms and ordinary lessons proceeded till 11 o’clock. Each class teacher then gave a lesson on “Empire” and kindred subjects till 11.30. This was followed by a Writing Lesson when some of the important facts were taken down.

The school assembled in the Hall again at 11.55 and after a few more remarks by the Headmaster the national Anthem was again sung and the children dismissed.

Opportunity was taken of this morning’s addresses to instil into the children’s minds the necessity of economising in the use of all food stuffs, and more especially of bread and flour.

A holiday was granted in the afternoon. (more…)

No prizes this year – feed starving Belgian children instead

As the school year drew to a close, an Abingdon school reflected on the impact of the war.

1916, 24th-28th July

No prizes were given this year. In order to practice the public duty of economy, the County Council gave none, but in order to preserve the efficiency of the school, a number of War Time Certificates were awarded to girls for completing with credit a year’s work in their respective classes. These were presented on Thursday morning by the Mayoress (Mrs H Clarke) who was accompanied by the Vicar and Mrs Kennedy, Mrs Reynolds, Miss Morland and Miss Clarke. Mr Tatham, Mr Gadd and the Revs Barker and Thomas were also present. Maggie Money, Standard 7, received the Bishop’s Prayer Book, and 8 other girls Certificates from the Diocesan Inspector, 20 others were commended. The Medals, Bars and Clasps had not arrived.

Some things done by the children in War Time:

Xmas puddings to Soldiers to value £1
Overseas Fund Xmas 9/
Wool for socks made £1
Blind Soldiers and Sailors Fund 16/6
Empire Day Overseas Fund 12/6
Cottage Hospital 74lbs weight
Oxford Cot Fund 10/0

They voted that the Prize Money usually given by the Managers, together with 10/6 which they brought themselves should be given to the Fund for starving Belgian children. This amounted to £2.10.6.

Abingdon Girls’ CE School log book (C/EL 2/2, p. 120)

From wounded soldiers to a royal childbed

More men had joined up from Reading. The wonderfully named Frank Neon Reynolds (1895-1952) was a trainee doctor. He spent the war working on hospital ships. He later became a leading obstetrician, and helped at the delivery of the late Princess Margaret in 1930.

All Saint’s District

Roll of Honour
Charles Worrell Carrington, Reginald Thomas Dredge, John Graham Fraser, Frederick William Slade, Albert Emmanuel Slade, Cecil Stephenson Louth, Harold Robert Reynolds, Frank Neon Reynolds, Sidney Arthur Slade, George Victor Randall.

All Saints section of Reading St Mary parish magazine, June 1916 (D/P98/28A/13)

Scarves for sailors

Girls at an Abingdon school were supporting the war effort both by voluntarily collecting their pocket money and knitting in class.

8th to 12th [November 1915]
Children have sent £1 to the War Fund for Soldiers and Sailors. Their next subscriptions are for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors.

The 7th Standard girls have made 7 scarves for Sailors, per Mrs Reynolds.


Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL2/2)

The impact of the war on schools was becoming a national concern.

12th November 1915
On Thursday afternoon Mr Dean, H.M.I., came for about an hour. He wanted information as to how we were being affected by the War.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Girls) School Log Book(90/SCH/5/5, p. 197)

Supporting Serbia

Girls at an Abingdon School sewed for the benefit of our Serbian allies, while children in Sandhurst CE School collected money for the Red Cross.

Abingdon Girls CE School
28th [June] to July 2nd

The girls have made 3 doz Vessel coverings for Mrs Reynolds to be sent to Serbia.


Lower Sandhurst CE School
July 2nd 1915

The collection for the Red Cross undertaken by the children in the Student Class realised £2. 0. 3(including 10/6 from the box in School. Forwarded this amount to Mrs. Harvey, the organiser of the Fund for this parish.

Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL2/2); Lower Sandhurst CE School log book (C/EL66/1, p. 327)

Darning socks for the Navy

This week, Abingdon girls were busy mending sailors’ holey socks.

15th to 19th [February 1915]
The Upper girls have darned 3 doz pairs of socks for the Navy through Mrs Reynolds.


Abingdon Girls CE School log book (C/EL2/2)

Knitting for the troops

By December the schoolchildren of Thatcham (at least, the girls) were busy knitting warm clothing for the troops as winter approached, as the parish magazine reports:

The National School Children’s Work for Soldiers
The children’s hands have been very busy making useful articles for our soldiers at the front, under the direction of their teachers, during their spare time. Socks and belts have been knitted by Edith Absolom, May Arnold, Beatrice Aldridge, Bessie Broughton, Nellie Browning, Edith Goodman, Elizabeth Herbert, Jeannie Hacker, May Lyford, Emily Schubert; and scarves by Hilda Hazell and Alice Maynard. Mrs Turner, of the “Crown,” kindly gave wool for one pair of socks, and the rest of the materials was most kindly provided by Mrs Glastonbury, Head Mistress, Miss Reynolds, and Miss Boulter, her assistants. The parcel containing a number of these articles was recently forwarded to the Lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and the following letter of thanks was received in reply:-

Devonshire House, Piccadilly.

“The Lady-in-waiting is commanded by the Queen to thank the teachers and children of the Thatcham School most heartily for their very kind gift of comforts for the use of the troops at the front. Her Majesty highly appreciates this contribution.”

We may be quite sure that the soldiers’ need of such useful articles as these will be very great during the coming winter months, and that they will be extremely grateful to all kind workers who give their skill, their time, and materials to provide them. Moreover, we must not wait until the want of them is seriously felt, for then it will be too late to set about providing them.

Thatcham parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P130/28A/1)