Helping sufferers in the countries devastated by the enemy

Members of the Broad Street Brotherhood at Reading’s Broad Street Chapel promised to help out our allies in the countries invaded by the enemy.

BROTHERHOOD NOTES

Our Society intends to make a special effort in connection with the Continental Relief Fund for the help of sufferers in the countries devastated by the enemy.

To give us information on the Fund, Brother TJF Robinson of Staines visited us on Tuesday the 14th August, and met a number of our members and discussed the best ways and means of raising money.
At this meeting a strong committee was formed, and various suggestions were made which will be considered at an early date and acted upon.

Stamps, price one penny each, are on sale each Sunday afternoon, the proceeds of which sale will go direct to the Fund and they also help to make the fund known.

We in Reading cannot expect to raise a very large sum, but it is hoped that a sum of not less than £50 will be obtained for this most deserving cause.

Broad Street Congregational Church magazine, September 1917 (D/N11/12/1/14)

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A record of which we may well be proud

Ascot churchgoers sent care parcels to their friends in the forces, and entertained strangers in the Royal Flying Corps.

ASCOT SAILORS AND SOLDIERS COMMITTEE.

In January a parcel was sent to Ascot men in the Navy or Army serving abroad “with every good wish for a happy New Year from your friends in Ascot.” The parcel contained a fitting writing case, a pair of thick socks, and some candles for the men in the trenches, and was sent to 12 men in the Navy, 75 men in France, and 13 in Egypt, Salonica and Mesopotamia.

Many letters have since been received from the men thanking Ascot for their kind thoughts of them, and giving good accounts of themselves. The cost of the parcels with the postages has more than exhausted the funds at the disposal of the Committee, and we must hope of means of replenishing the fund before long.

We are very pleased to hear that Sergeant Grimmett has been recommended for a commission, and we cordially congratulate him. This will make the sixth commission specially earned by Ascot, and is surely a record of which we may well be proud. The names of the gallant six are- 2nd Lieuts. Baker, Grimmett, Robinson, Stuart, Taylor and Watson, and we wish them “Good Luck.”

We regret to have to add the name of William J. Tidy (Gun Section H. A. C.) to our Prisoners of War.

CLUB ROOM for the men of the Royal Flying Corps.

Through the earnestness and energy of several ladies of All Saints congregation a Club Room has been opened at the Fire Brigade Station in High Street, the Committee of the Brigade having most kindly lent their premises for the purpose.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, March 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/3)

Shot in cold blood, and now “beyond the reach of human injustice and incompetence”

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image was excited by the new tanks rolling into action; philosophical about air raids – and horrified by first-hand stories of the executions of young men for cowardice or desertion.

29 Barton Road
[Cambridge]

23 Sept. ‘16

Mon Ami!

I share your views about the ghastly War. With its slaughters and its expenditure, where shall we be left after it is over. Any peace that leaves Germany still united – united for evil – is a fool madness that deserves the new War it will render a certainty.

I am in a fever to see the photograph of a Tank in action. I can’t imagine its appearance. I don’t believe them lengthy like caterpillars – but more like mammoths, Behemoths – “painted in venomous reptilian colours” for invisibility – and “waddling on” over trenches.

Today’s paper speaks of a seaplane over Dover yesterday. This is the very general prelude to a Zepp raid: and we expect one accordingly tonight, if their courage hasn’t oozed out. There is a Flying Camp near here – at Thetford, I believe. Daily, Planes soar over us – a sight I view every time with fresh pleasure. Twice we have had an Airship – huge, but not like the pictures of the German Zepps. I may as well tell you of our own experience on Saturday 3 weeks ago. Peaceful and unsuspecting, we were sitting in the drawing room at 10.30 when suddenly the electric lights went down and left the house in darkness. This is the official warning of Zepps. So we went out into Barton Rd. Not a glimmer, nor a sound. Quite unimpressive.

We turned in to bed – all standing (in Navy language) – and I into the deepest slumber, from which I was eventually shaken to hear an agitated voice, “they’re here”. I bundled out, lit a match and read on my watch 2.50. There was no mistaking – a thunderous drone, such as I had never heard before – and, seemingly, exactly overhead. We hurried down into the road. The roar grew fainter, and then began – deep and dignified – the guns. I guessed them to be on the Gogmagogs – then sharp explosions, which we took for bombs, thrown haphazard by the Zepp which was undoubtedly fleeing for the coast.

Robinson’s Zepp had come to earth at 2.30. Possibly ours was the wounded bird, which dropped a gondola or something in Norfolk when making its escape?

At 4.5 our electric lights went up again, and we to bed. Decorous night-rails, this time.

The Signora has a wee aluminium fragment from the Zepp that was brought down at Salonica. It was picked up by a young soldier who had been in her Sunday School Class. We had a sudden visit from her youngest brother, Gilbert, home on 6 days leave from Salonica. You have heard me speak of him as the rising artist who at 20 years of age sold a picture for £100, and is now a Tommy at 1/- a day. I fell in love with him on the spot. So simple, so lovable, – above all, such a child – going about the world unprotected!

By the way Gilbert saw the Zepp come down in flames at Salonica.
He had many yarns. The one that most made me shudder was of the announcement at a morning parade, “Sergeant So-and-so of the Connaught Rangers was shot this morning by sentence of a Court Martial for refusing to obey an order”. Just that! I have heard of these shootings in cold blood, several times, at the Front in France. Always they made me feel sick. A boy (on one occasion) of 17 ½, who had fought magnificently at Hill 60: and then lost his nerve, when his 2 brothers were killed in the trench at his side. Pym (our TCC [Trinity College, Cambridge] chaplain) sat with him all night and gave him the Sacrament. He

“could only feel what a real comfort it was to know that the boy was now beyond the reach of human injustice and incompetence”.

Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

A Zeppelin is brought down in flames

The First World War was the first air war, and raids terrified the civilian population. So the first Zeppelin to be downed was a cause of celebration.

3 September 1916
Zeppelin brought down in flames at Cuffley by Com. Robinson, a Canadian – he given VC.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Leaving to take up munitions work

Two female teachers come into the spotlight today. One woman was leaving teaching to work in a munitions factory, the other had lost her soldier brother.

July 28th 1916.
Miss Robinson finished duties here today, she is

1916, July 28
Miss Lock has been absent all this week – owing to brother’s death (War)

Mrs Bland’s School log book (86/SCH/1/1, p. 209); Katesgrove Girls’ School log book (SCH/6/8/2, p. 420)

“I am doing my bit for them, as I know there is a lot that can’t”

Soldiers from Ascot appreciated gifts from the schoolchildren, while one man with a local connection had been awarded a French medal.

ASCOT SAILORS’ AND SOLDIERS’ COMMITTEE.

The Boys’ Entertainment was highly successful and produced £12 9s. 0d., after deducting all expenses, and enabled the Committee to send a parcel “With best wishes from the Boys of Ascot Heath School,” to every Ascot man serving at sea or abroad. To every man a pip, a khaki handkerchief, and some cigarettes were sent, and to those in France in addition a couple of candles, and to others either another handkerchief or a packet of sweets. A good many letters have been received saying that the parcels had arrives safely and were much appreciated, and the following from one man is a sample of others:

“I thank all the boys of Ascot Heath Schools for their kindness in sending me a parcel which I received safe and sound. It was what I wanted as I am an old smoker of a pipe, and please tell them that I am doing my bit for them, as I know there is a lot that can’t.”

The number of Ascot men now on our list is 97, and we are glad to say that we continue to receive good reports of all of them. The two prisoners seem to be fairly well treated; and the four men still suffering from wounds are still going on well.

It is a satisfaction to be able to report that Grenade-Sergeant Robinson of the 2nd Wilts, whose father was formerly in the Rifle Brigade and has lately come to live in Ascot, has been mentioned in despatches and been awarded the D.C.M. and the “Medaille Militaire.”

ANOTHER ACCOUNT of the Boy’s Entertainment.

The Boys of the Ascot Heath Schools gave a concert on Wednesday, 23rd February, in All Saints parish Room at 2.45 p.m. in the afternoon and repeated the entertainment in the evening at 7.30 p.m. The object of the concert was one well calculated to appeal to the hearts and so the pockets of Ascot people: it was to raise enough money to enable a parcel to be sent to every man on active service in the Navy or the Army with the best wishes of the boys as a token of their affectionate remembrance. The attendance at the afternoon performance was most gratifying, and at once ensured the success of the scheme from a financial point of view; while in the evening the room was packed to the doors.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Monthly Magazine, April 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/4)

A new world of justice and truth after the war

Missionary supporters in Earley had food for thought about life after the war.

SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL

On Sunday, December 6th, the annual sermon on behalf of the Propagation of the Gospel was preached by the Rev. F. Welch from British Guiana…

The following extracts from an article by Canon C. H. Robinson give us helpful thoughts in this “time of war”:

“The terrible price which we are paying as the cost of victory in this war urges us to find an answer to a further question – How may we use aright for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom that victory which we believe that He will give us? One thing only can compensate us for the misery and suffering which this war is bringing to millions of homes: and that is that the close of the war shall usher in a new world of justice and truth at home and a new era in the history of Christian Missions abroad.

But, if this is to be so, we must not wait till the end of the war before taking action. At the moment the whole of the non-Christian world is watching the present strife, and it behoves the supporters of Missions to redouble their efforts to interpret to them the teachings of Jesus Christ…

It is impossible to forecast what the future has in store, or predict the effects which the war will have upon the prospects of Christianity at home and abroad … but one thing in the future is certain. Earth’s greatest kingdoms may have their day and cease to be, but the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven is drawing nigh.”

Earley St Peter parish magazine, January 1916 (D/P191/28A/23/1)

Setting up a War Agricultural Committee for the county

Food shortages were a real concern during the war, as German attacks on neutral ships impeded imports. At its meeting on 16 October 1915, Berkshire County Council decided to set up a War Agricultural Committee.

FOOD PRODUCTION
WAR AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE
A letter, dated 18 September, 1915, addressed to the Chairman of the Council by the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, forwarding a Scheme for the appointment of a War Agricultural Committee and district sub-committees, was considered.
The principal functions of the Committees will be to organise the supply of agricultural labour; to consider the maintenance of, and if possible, the increase in, the production of food; to obtain information as to the requirements and supply available of agricultural implements and fertilisers and feeding stuffs; and generally to assist and advise landowners, farmers, and labourers.

Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Lord G M Pratt, and resolved: That the following, being representative of landowners, farmers, agricultural societies and institutions, labour and other persons, be appointed a War Agricultural Committee for the County of Berks in accordance with, and for the purposes enumerated in, the circular dated 18 September, 1915, from the Board of Agriculture; with power to add to their number:

F Anstey
F Bate
J H Benyon
W Brewer
William Cordell
F J K Cross
R Crow
P E Crutchley
Miss G Elliot
C A Ferard
J A Fereman
Aaron Frogley
E Gardner, MP
H Goddard
B C Heath
W J Henman
T Latham
A W Lawrence
Local Manager, Labour Exchange
Capt. F C Loder Symonds
Job Lousley
W A Mount, MP
W Pennington
Miss G Pott
A Robinson
T Rose
Frank Saunders
W Anker Simmons
T Skurray
G F Slade
F A Smith
Harry Wilson Sowdon
E M Sturges
T S Tayler
Rev F W Thoyts
W Weall
H W Weaving
H G Willink

Proposed by the Chairman, seconded by Mr Bate, and resolved:

That the Clerk of the Council be nominated, and authorised to act, as Clerk to the War Agricultural Committee for the County of Berks; and that such other members of the administrative staff of the Council, as may be available and required, be allowed to assist such Committee.

That the War Agricultural Committee be allowed the use of County Buildings and equipment free of cost.

Provided that the above authorisations are given on condition that the arrangements do not interfere with the ordinary work of the Council or their Committees.

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/18)

“Butcher’s meat has to go”

Two more Cranbourne men had fallen in the war, while others had followed them to the front. Meanwhile those left behind were sending eggs for the wounded, and taking the advice of an almost certainly fictional letter in the church magazine to save food and money.

We have to record, with much regret, the deaths of Sergeant Tom Hillyer, and Private James Andrews.

Sergeant Hillyer was killed in action in April. He was well known in the Parish as a Postman and as the winner of several prizes for walking at the Sports of the Windsor Forest Athletic Club. When the war began he at once enlisted in the Canadian contingent and was very soon promoted to be sergeant. He had seen service in the Egyptian campaigns and in the South African War, and held four medals.

James Andrews was gardener at Springhill and being reservist had to join his regiment at once. After eight months fighting he was seriously wounded and died of his wounds early in May. He was a much respected member of our branch of the C.E.M.S. and a regular communicant. Memorial services were held in our Church for both of these soldiers who died for their King and Country.

The following names are to be added to the list (published last month) of those who are serving in His Majesty’s forces.

Charles Goodchild, Suffolk Regiment.
Charles Peters, Lance-Corporal, Mechanical Transport.
Ernest Hawthorne, Royal Engineers.
Arthur Robert Hatcher, Royal Engineers.
Frank Edmonds, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.
Albert John Edmonds, Berkshire Yeomanry.

Several in this Parish are contributing to the egg collection which is being made all over the country for our wounded soldiers. Miss K. Meyer is the local Secretary and takes the gifts each week to Windsor, where they are packed and sent to headquarters in London, from which place they are sent to our hospitals in England and France. Since April 30th, 1485 eggs have been given by residents in Cranbourne and Winkfield, but during the last month the number sent each week has been getting less. The Secretary wishes it to be known that even one egg a week, or one a fortnight will be gratefully received, for “every mickle makes a muckle.” She would be glad to receive the eggs on Thursdays, as she takes them to Windsor every Friday.

We have seen an interesting letter and as it seemed to contain some most valuable information, we have persuaded the writer to let us publish it in our Magazine. It is too long to print the whole of it in this month’s issue and so it will be “continued in our next.”-

MRS. SMITH TO MRS. ROBINSON.

“DEAR MRS. ROBINSON,”

This comes hoping you are well, as it leaves me at present, but terribly worried over this cruel war. It’s hard enough to get on now that work is plenty. What will it be when the war is over and hundreds of thousands of soldiers come back to work and take the situations which are being kept open for them. And the bill there will be to pay. The Parliament is spending 3 millions of pounds every day on the war, and you don’t suppose they are finding the money in their cellars where Guy Faux was hid. No, my husband says they are running up a big debt, and who do you suppose will pay it, he says. Why, he says, it is us the working people will have to pay it, at least it will come hardest on us. So those who are making a little more just now (which is not you or me) should be saving every penny beyond their bare living, and not fancying themselves rich.

It is a mercy I learned to make the most of things, and I may mention some of the things I am doing now. First of all, butcher’s meat has to go. No bits of steak and one-and-five per lb. Even the gentry are not buying such a lot of butcher’s meat just now, so that there may be more to go round for the poorer classes. Any meat I can buy must not be choice parts. If it is nicely stewed any part can be made good, especially just now, with vegetables not so hard to get. Onions one must have. They are most wholesome and they make anything go down. Brown a bit of onion in a saucepan with a bit of dripping and a good dust of flour. When it is all brown, add a little water and stir till it boils, and makes a thin sauce. Drop in the meat and a tea spoon of vinegar, also a little pepper. Cook it slowly till the meat is soft. You can keep putting in any bits of vegetables, also potato. When you dish it up, you get back everything you have put in- no waste. Of course the pot must be filled up with more water if the meat is getting too dry.

As for potatoes, I should feel ashamed of myself if I was to peel them. The Irish, who know what potatoes are, think the skin of a baked potato the best part. Any way, if boiled in their skins you get much more flavour, and can strip off the skins as you eat them. Peeling them in the old way wastes one pound in every four pounds. It is wise to buy what potatoes you can, as they are good food, except for babies, and make other things go further. If I ever run to a rasher, I fry some cold potato with it, as a saving, and as for ‘sausages and mashed,’ the potato is half the battle.

Sausages are a help just now. Put them in a pie dish and over them a batter made with flour, milk, and water, and one egg, and they go a long way as ‘toad in the hole’; or put them in the dish, covered with potatoes and bake like a pie. If only plainly fried they are too dear. Fish, when you can get it, will save the meat. Plaice, haddock, cod or hake can be made quite tasty. Put on a tin, and sprinkle with vinegar, pepper and salt; cover it with a bit of clean paper and put a bit of dripping round. Bake it till it is ready to leave the bone. Baste it through the paper whenever you have time. Serve it with the liquor which runs out, which is quite tasty.”

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/5)

Clewer Bandage Society supplies war hospitals

The ladies of Clewer were very organised in their work supporting the needs of the wounded across the country.  They reported in the parish magazine:

The Clewer Bandage Society has supplied 2,000 bandages to the 4th Dragoon Guards and boxes of bandages, old linen and lint to the London Hospital, St. Bartholomew’s, the Lonsdale Hospital, Barrow-in-Furness, which receives the accident cases from Vickers’ ship building yard, amounting to 50 daily, and since the war began has wounded soldiers also; and the Connaught Hospital, where a new consignment of wounded soldiers has just been received.
The lint has been made by the Candidates of the G.F.S. [Girls’ Friendly Society], who are pleased to render this small service to the noble defenders of out country and homes.
A blanket and some knitting has also been sent to Miss Anson for Chatham.
Contributions towards the purchase of bandage material and knitting wool are now much needed by the Secretary.
MRS. RIBBANS, Bexley Lodge, Clewer.

The Connaught Hospital,
Aldershot, 12/11/14.
Dear Madam,
The officer in charge has asked me to thank you for the most useful gifts which are so acceptable, as we are using such a tremendous amount of dressings.
The old linen does to make “many tailed” bandages for septic cases which can be used and burnt.
I will distribute the leaflets and ask some of the officers’ wives to help.
Again thanking you for your kindness,
Yours very truly,
E. M. ROBINSON, Matron.

In addition to the collection made for the Belgian refugees in Church, Mrs. Cowie and Mrs. Buttress are receiving small weekly sums for the same purpose, which are paid in to the Windsor Fund on the first day of each month.

Clewer parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P39/28A/9)

Making the soldiers happy

Broad Street Congregational Church in the centre of Reading offered entertainment to soldiers stationed in the town.  Those members of the church’s Brotherhood organisation for men who were not themselves in service took a major role in this work:
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