Working at the RAF

A teenager’s first job was working at the Royal Aircraft Factory in Hampshire.

December 7th 1917

Joseph Scott has left – being 14 – and obtained work in R.A.F. at Fanbaro.

Ascot Heath Boys’ School log book (C/EL110/4, p. 90)

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Manual work classes stopped

Boys at a Slough school had practical lessons stopped due to the war.

May 7th 1917
Mr Scott of the Woodwork Centre having ‘joined up’, no manual work classes are being held for the boys.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1, p. 395)

One of Scott’s best men killed

Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a veteran of Scott’s Antarctic expedition, was now definitely declared unfit for further service. One of his companions in the Antarctic was naval officer Harry Pennell, a casualty of the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.

June 12, 1916

Lamer Park
Wheathampstead
Herts

Dear Farrer

I saw a specialist on Wed. He says he feels sure there is no alteration now inside me – but inflammation etc etc & that this will go on a very long time.

I am very gradually to get on my legs a bit & under a year I ought to be able to lead a fairly normal life, but the process will cause an increase of pain & sickness. That the Admiralty will not, & should not vex me again.

One of Scott’s best men, Pennell, went down with the Queen Mary.

Yours ever
ACG

Letter from Apsley Cherry-Garrard (D/EHR/Z9/61)

“There are not nearly enough girls to go round”

A friend of Ralph Glyn’s who was posted at Salonika was enjoying the countryside.

Salonica
24 April 1916

My dear Glyn

Many thanks for yours of the 4th and for the book which you sent me. It’s about time they had a new one altogether of the German army. I was very glad to have your news, and I got more of it from Scott who returned today, but I have very little to give you in revanche. This is a very nice place and on the whole compares most favourably with Egypt, especially now that it must be getting hot with you. One gets the most delightful rides and the fine country & magnificent views make it a fresh pleasure every time one goes out. Last week I had a delightful trip with Sarrail in the Triad to visit Stavros, the extreme sight of our time. The country there is perfectly charming & we envied the people who live there in tents & dug outs in rocky & leafy glades, full of old Roman remains, for the Via Ignatia ran there, as it does through this town, and is still the main line of communication & the only road, bar the ones made by our troops, in that part of our line. It’s lucky you aren’t here, or you’d be at the Odeon or the White Tower every night. Still in case this should inflame your ardour I must state that there are not nearly enough girls to go round & what with British, French & Servian [sic] officers, all bent on Liaision work, to say nothing of the local nats of the great Greek Army, you’d have to take your turn in the ruck! However AHQ, like GHQ, has as much work as it can manage & little time for these enjoyments. I am not insinuating that I am overworked. Hope you are very fit and that “I” is going strong.

Yours ever
[Illegible …]well

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/30)

Hospital closed for cleaning

The hospital at Ascot Racecourse closed down for a deep clean. Meanwhile, various young locals were off to face danger. One, John Durban Smith, was the elder son of a distinguished retired admiral who advised the government on naval gunnery. Young John was only 16 and was to be killed in battle within a few months.

THE WAR

William Longhurst, who was wounded, has returned to the Front.

Oliver Jones and Charles Todd have gone to the Front.

John Durban Scott (Sir Percy Scott’s son) has joined H.M.S. Defence.

We hope to give extracts from letters from the Front in the March number of the magazine.

ASCOT MILITARY HOSPITAL will be closed for one month from February 10th for purposes of cleaning, &c.

Ascot section of the Winkfield District Magazine, February 1916 D/P151/28A/8/2

A very merry tea for the soldier-lads

Those wounded soldiers well enough to move were invited for a day out from temporary war hospitals in east Reading.

On January 22nd another invitation was given to the inmates of Redlands Hospital, and extended to those of St. Luke’s Hospital. Unfortunately, many of the men were confined to bed, so our numbers were rather smaller than we had anticipated.

Games again proved a source of much pleasure, during which Mr. Mobbs, a true friend of “the soldier-lads,” gave much pleasure with his gramophone.

After a very merry tea of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, etc., an entertainment was provided by the “Birds of the Air” Concert party. This clever and novel performance, consisting of songs, dances, etc., was greatly appreciated by the men, and called forth tremendous applause. The performers were the Misses Morris, Mr. Streeter, and Mr. Walford Knowles. Mr. J.A. Brain, home on leave, also delighted the audience with his comic songs, as did Private Scott with his witty stories.

Cigars and cigarettes were generously provided, and before our guests left, one of their number thanked us for the very enjoyable afternoon and started his comrades’ volley of ringing cheers.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, February 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

Wounded in the retreat from Mons

There was bad news of several men associated with Bracknell.

THE ROLL OF HONOUR.

It is feared that the name of Henry Hollingsworth, of the Royal Berks, must be added to the list of those who have fallen in the war. He was reported as missing as long ago as September last, and since then diligent enquiry has been made concerning him. Some time ago some of his comrades reported that he had been wounded in the retreat from Mons, and now definite information from one who saw him after he was wounded has come in with the further information that he has died of his wounds. Hollingsworth was formerly one of our Choir boys, but his family removed to Newbury, and it was only about a year ago that his mother returned to Bracknell. He was a widower and has left some little children in his mother’s care.

SIDNEY HARVEY, one of our postmen, Corporal in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, has been wounded in the head. He has been moved to England and is in a hospital in Rochester. We are thankful to think that he is going on well.

ALBERT REEVE, another Corporal in the same Regiment, has also been wounded in the arm, which is broken. He is at Woolwich, but we shall hope soon to see him in Bracknell.

JOHN SCOTT, who has many friends in Bracknell, has also been wounded, but is reported to be doing well.

LEONARD TAYLOR, of the Canadian Contingent, was engaged in the battle in which these troops so greatly distinguished themselves, after the enemy had driven back the French soldiers on their right by the use of poisonous gas. Thank God he was unhurt.

We continue to offer daily Intercessions in the Church for the War at 12 noon when the bell rings. On Monday, May 10th, one of the Rogation days, a Special Intercession Service was held at *p.m. This was well attended.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1915 (D/P151/28A/17/6)

Rides in an observation balloon

Purley schoolchildren had an exciting experience in January 1915. Hydrogen-filled observation balloons were used for reconnaissance during the war.

26th January 1915

At 3pm a balloon was sighted, and the airman, Lieutenant G H Scott, most kindly descended in a neighbouring field on purpose to give the children rides and an object lesson in packing it up, so the remaining hour of the afternoon session was spent out of doors.

Purley CE School log book (C/EL85/2, p. 71)

Friends and relatives of the troops praying for those they love

The parish of Reading St John remembered its young men who had joined up:

The War

 The following names should be added to the list already published of young men connected with our parish who are now in training or at the front:-

A.G. Wing, Douglas George Pugh, M P Pugh, George Murley, Stephen Neate, Albert Neate, Walter Edward Scott, Giles Ayres, Albert Higgs, Murray Slade, Fred Wheeler, George Thompson, Fred Wiggins, Wm Bushnell, W Heath, S Higgs, W Martin, B Rolfe, Wm Shepherd.

Special Intercession will be made by name for all connected with our parish after the Evening Service on the Sunday before Christmas at both Churches.

Our week-day Advent Services will still keep their special character of Intercession Services, and the special subject to be thought of and prayed for will be announced each week. It is encouraging to see more relatives and friends of our soldiers coming to these Services to pray for those they love.

Reading St John parish magazine, December 1914 (D/P172/28A/23, p. 2)

A very real judgment

The Advent period is not just the weeks leading up to Christmas: it is the period when Christians contemplate the Second Coming of Jesus. The vicar of Warfield thought the war and its sorrows made it more real than ever before:

VICAR’S LETTER.

MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PARISHIONERS,

Advent is here and with it a new Christian year, and let us hope a greater prospect of success in our defence of what is true and honourable in the field of battle as well as in our own individual lives. The past few months have been a period of much heart-searching for most of us, and with the coming of Advent, which always strikes a solemn note, we shall all feel its peculiar appeal this year when many a loyal and true life has been willingly laid down for King and Country in a foreign land. In the midst of life’s sorrows we look with greater realization at the eternal life. In this year there has been a very real coming of Jesus Christ in temporary judgement, teaching us to prepare for the last Judgment. Advent also comes with the hope to the great second coming of Christ, the last Christmas of majesty, by endeavouring to make real in our individual lives what we are standing for before the word as a nation.

Yours affectionately in Christ.

WALTER THACKERAY.

* * *

We wish to convey our sympathy to the mother and father of George Scott, who is the first Warfield man to be placed on the Roll of Honour.

Warfield section of Winkfield District magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12)

A nice Highland Colonel shows the Vansittart Neales around Aldershot

The Vansittart Neale ladies of Bisham Abbey had an outing to see an army camp, at Aldershot.

27 October 1914
I, Edith & Bubs went to Aldershot. Found 33 camp at Rushmoor after some difficulty. Very nice Colonel Scott & Captain Macgregor, Gordon Highlanders, showed us all. Pipe Major exhibited the pipes & drums.

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

An exciting journey home

Neighbours of the Vansittart Neales had an exciting story to report of a voyage home from India hampered by the fears of attack from enemy shipping.

25 October 1914

Harry & Bob Paine came here. Both returned from India. Exciting voyage home. Large convoy destroyers. German boat signalled to them, but was caught. Took 39 days to come.

Added from end: German submarine sunk by a Fremantle. Four destroyers sunk. We lost 2 men & 4 wounded.

Somebody asked Kitchener “Should we end up top dog?” He said No – Person, much disturbed, asked why! “There won’t be any other dogs!!”

Told by Colonel Scott our government had given order for Army khaki to Austrian firm a few years ago. So that is why we can’t get it. We are now trying to get the dyes.

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