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)

Advertisements

Splendid news

THere was excellent news from the various fronts.

29 September 1918
Splendid news this last fortnight. All fronts pursuing. Allenby in Palestine. Turkish armies destroyed. Servians [sic] advance in Bulgaria & all along the Western Front. Thousands of prisoners taken.

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

The retreat of the helpless women and children of a whole people across interminable mountains, under inconceivable hardships

A Berkshire audience heard first-hand details of the horrors endured by civilians in the Balkans.

Serbian Relief Fund

In spite of unpropitious weather the meeting at Mortimer Lodge on July 22nd was a great success, a large number of people being present. Miss Parkinson’s able speech was brimful of pathos, as well as thrilling interest. Her account of the retreat of the helpless women and children of a whole people across interminable mountains, under inconceivable hardships, stirred her audience deeply; while her sketch of the conditions of life in Berlin and Vienna, even 18 months ago, made people appreciate how fortunate this country still is. £9 6s. 3d. was given for the Serbian Relief Fund.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P120/28A/14)

Our manifold necessities in the Great War

The Bishop’s Message

The following extracts are from the bishop’s message in the July Diocesan Magazine:

Your prayers are specially asked

For the supply of our manifold necessities in the Great War.

For all the great sufferers in body, mind and estate.

For Russia and the Russian Church.

For Serbia and the Serbian Students among us.

For Ireland.

Earley St Peter parish magazine (D/P191/28A/25)

A war experience of singular and thrilling interest

A Reading woman bore witness to the war in Serbia.

The Work for Serbian Boys.

A lecture will be given in S. John’s Institute on Monday, May 6, at 8 p.m. on behalf of this work by Miss A. F. Parkinson, who has been acting as Superintendent of the hostel for Serbian Boys in the Bulmershe Rd.

Miss Parkinson has had a war experience of singular and thrilling interest. She was the only English person in Nish when the invading army of Germans and Bulgarians entered and after being kept prisoner for some months, was finally released, given her passport and sent home to this country via Austria and Germany. She stayed a short time in Vienna and a fortnight in Berlin and had unique opportunities of seeing both these capitals of enemy countries under war conditions. She is also very well acquainted with the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula and also knows the full story of the terrible Serbian retreat in which the boys now in our town took part.

No charge will be made for admission to Miss Parkinson’s lecture, but there will be a collection in aid of the work in which she is interested.

Reading St. John parish magazine, May 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

Re-kindling our interest in Serbia

There were Serbian child refugees in Reading.

Miss Parkinson’s lecture on Serbia should go far towards re-kindling our interest in Serbia, and especially in the Serbian boys living amongst us here in Reading. There will be special collections for the local work of the Serbian Relief Fund at S. Mary’s on Sunday, March 10th.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P116B/28A/2)

He went up the trenches and 48 hours later had died of wounds

Reading churchgoers were encouraged to pray for our oppressed allies.

S. Mary’s (Lent 1918)
SUGGESTED INTERCESSIONS

In connection with the war

Sundays The gaining of a permanent peace.
Mondays Our own sailors, soldiers and Airmen.
Tuesdays All war workers, men and women at home and abroad.
Wednesdays The sick, wounded and prisoners, and anxious and bereaved on both sides.
Thursdays Our allies, and more particularly the oppressed nationalities of Belgium, Serbia, Roumania, Montenegro, Poland, Armenia and the populations of occupied territories of France and Italy.
Fridays Our enemies.
Saturdays The fallen.

Congratulations
Our heartiest congratulations to Lady Carrington, whose second son Lieut. C. W. Carrington of the Grenadier Guards has recently been awarded the Distinguished Service Order. It will be remembered that her eldest son also gained the D.S.O. and the youngest son the Military Cross.

R.I.P.
Our deepest sympathy has been given to Mrs Montague Brown, on the death of her husband. He went up the trenches on a certain date, and news came forty eight hours later that he had died of wounds. May the God of all comfort console those who are mourning his loss!

S. Saviours District
Our hearty congratulations to Lieut. Fred White on gaining the Military Cross and to Corporal Will Taylor on gaining the D.C.M., and being now out of Hospital.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, February 1918 (D/P98/28A/13)

The Serbian boys living amongst us here in Reading

Some of the refugees living in Reading came from Serbia, first battleground of the war.

The Vicar’s Notes

Miss Parkinson’s lecture on Serbia should go far towards re-kindling our interest in Serbia, and especially in the Serbian boys living amongst us here in Reading. There will be special collections for the local work of the Serbian Relief Fund at S. Mary’s on Sunday, March 10th.

Probably all our readers have heard of “Monitor” week, which is to be held in Reading from March 4th to 9th. We are all going to do our best by means of our savings to get together £250,000, which is roughly, the price of a “Monitor” ship. Sir Robert Kindersley, chairman of the National War Savings Committee, gave us a splendid lead at the Town Hall on February 22nd.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P98/28A/16)

Excellent work in Serbia

A Mortimer woman turned from nursing soldiers in the Balkans to caring for war orphans.

A Distinction for a Nurse

Miss Joyce Fremlin has been awarded the Red Cross Samaritan (Serbian) Order for her excellent work: first at Monastir for the Serbian army and afterwards at Salonika, where she was in charge of a Serbian Babies’ Orphanage. Her friends, and especially the Scouts who were under her command, will congratulate her heartily.

Miss Fremlin has now been transferred to Cyprus, and is nursing in a hospital at Famagusta.

She wishes to express her thanks to those Mortimer folk who kindly sent out toys for her Orphanage. These toys arrived safely and were gratefully appreciated.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P120/28A/14)

Restore oppressed nations to their rightful heritage

A new sympathy and interest were felt in our more obscure allies. It seemed appropriate at the time to look back at our Serbian allies’ historic fight for freedom from Turkey, now our mutual enemy.

The Vicar’s Notes

What is “KOSSOVO” day? It is the day on which, after fierce fighting, the Serbians came under the domination of the Turk (June 28th, 1389), and it is observed solemnly each year by the Serbian people. I hope to have a special memorial service at S. Mary’s on June 28th, at 12.15, very much on the lines of the service held at S. Pauls Cathedral last year. We ought to do all we can to shew our interest in those oppressed nations (at present under the heel of the German) which we are pledged to restore to their rightful heritage.

Intercessions
For the wounded, especially Fred Nunn.
For the missing, especially Charles Mercott, one of our servers.
For the fallen, especially William Stevens (killed in action in France on April 22nd); Tom Gray (died at the front from spotted fever); Edgar Bland and Ernest Lawrence (killed in action); Frederick Welford (Drowned in action)
R.I.P.

For God’s blessing on the efforts being made to save our country’s food.

Thanksgivings
For the progress of the Allied Arms.
For the gift of reasonable weather to help the Crops.

All Saints District
The War

We again have to mourn losses owing to the war and our sympathies will go out in abundant measure to those who are sorrowing. In Frederick Sales we have lost a former choir boy and we shall feel with his father who still has four sons in the Army, three of whom are in the fighting line.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, June 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

A follow up appeared in a later issue:

“Kossovo” Day, June 28th, was largely spoilt by the bad weather, But we were glad to see the Serbian lads once more at S.Mary’s, and we had the support of our Mayor, and of the Principal and Registrar of the University College. The Russian “Kontakion” for the departed was well sung by the Choir; and the service ended with the Serbian Royal Anthem and our own National Anthem. Our earnest prayer is that by next “Kossovo” Day our Serbian friends may be restored to their rightful heritage once more.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

Serbians now living in our midst

Reading people offered prayers for the Russian Revolution and for Serbian refugees who had come to Reading.

The Vicar’s Notes
Intercessions

For Russia in her time of crisis.
For Serbia and the Serbians now living in our midst in Reading.
For all the operations of the allies this spring.
For all those lately confirmed.
For the Dedication Festival at S. Saviour’s that the War-shrine may be a real spiritual help to the Parish.

Thanksgiving

For Successes granted to our arms in Mesopotamia and France.

Reading St Mary parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P98/28A/15)

Parcels for prisoners

New restrictions made it harder to support PoWs in Germany.

ASCOT PARISH Prisoners of War Fund

On account of the new regulations in regard to the despatch of parcels to British Prisoners of War, it has become necessary to close this Fund. Happily, up to the present only two Ascot men have been taken prisoners, both of whom belong to the Berkshire Regiment. This Regiment has entirely adopted them, though arrangements have been also made whereby the parents in each case are still able to send parcels to their sons in their own name, through the Regimental Fund. With the consent of the subscribers to our fund, the balance in hand, £3 2s. 4d., has been sent to the Berkshire Regiment Prisoners of War Relief Fund, in acknowledgement of their generous treatment of our two Ascot lads. Our thanks are due to the kind donors and subscribers to this Fund during the past year.

THE CHRISTMAS SALE, in aid of the two “Ascot Beds” (French and Serbian Womens’ Hospitals) will be held at the South Ascot Parish Hall on Wednesday, December 6th. The Sale will be opened at 2.30p.m. by Countess Roberts.

Christmas Tree. Bran Pies. Admission, 2.30-5.30p.m., 6d. After 5.30, admission free. Tea, 6d.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1916 (D/P151/28A/12)

Unjustly punished

The Visiting Committee of justices of the peace who regularly inspected Reading Prison found that they had a more challenging role with the prison now occupied by interned enemy aliens – some of whom would have preferred to be treated as PoWs, even though they were from friendly nations. Milan Christitch or Kristitch was a Serbian tailor, and Rene Stassen a Belgian cornbroker.

2nd December 1916

Rene Stassen, Alien, asked for a reply to his application on various subjects made to the committee at their last meeting [though not minuted then].

Milan Christitch complained that he had been unjustly punished by the Governor, also about his work, and also could he be transferred to a Camp.

Was informed he must petition to the Secretary of State.

Reading Prison Visiting Committee minutes (P/RP1/6/1)

Blinded soldiers turn to chicken rearing

Berkshire County Council and its committees dealt with several war related matters. One was the registration of the multitude of independent war charities which had sprung up.

Report of School Management Sub-committee, 14 October 1916

HEAD TEACHERS AND MILITARY SERVICE

The following Head Teachers have rejoined the Army since the last meeting: Mr Mills (Childrey), Mr Hunt (Cold Ash), Mr Bird (Priestwood), Mr Andrews (Mortimer St Mary’s) and Mr Verrall (Brimpton). Their places have been filled temporarily by the appointment of the Certificated Assistant (Woman) of their respective schools, or by the transfer of a teacher from another school.

Report of Smallholdings and Allotments Committee, 14 October 1916

COTTAGES AND LAND FOR BLINDED SOLDIERS, &C, FOR POULTRY FARMING

Enquiries were made on behalf of the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Hostel, St Dunstan’s, as to whether any assistance could be given in finding locations near Reading for Blinded Soldiers who have been taught chicken rearing. They require a cottage and about an acre of ground at a rent not exceeding £30 per annum.

The agents in the Reading district were asked if they had any suitable properties available, but from the replies received it appeared that no suitable places were available for renting, and only three or four were put forward for sale.

It was stated by St Dunstan’s that at present only leasing could be considered.

Report of the War Charities Committee, 14 October 1916

The following applications for registration under the War Charities Act, 1916, have not been approved, and the Clerk instructed to issue certificates and to notify the Charity Commissioners: (more…)

“Bits for the war”

Ascot people were active supporting some of our Allies undergoing the hardships of war.

ASCOT “LEAGUE OF PRAYER” (during the war.)

We very earnestly invite our people generally to join this League, and thus help bring down special blessing from GOD upon the Parish. Hitherto, except on Sundays, very few have been accustomed to enter GOD’S House at all. Some never enter it even on Sundays. HIS Sanctuary has been “put in coventry” during the week. Shall we, as one fruit of the National Mission,” change all this?

The Rule of the League is extremely simple, and is as follows.-
“I promise to go into the Church at least once a week between the hours of 7.30 a.m. and 7.30 p.m., and to spend at least 10 minutes in prayer or silent meditation before GOD.”

SERBIAN FLAG DAY.

Our readers, (so many of whom contributed, by their help and generosity towards the great success of the Serbian Flag Day on July 1st) will be delighted to hear that £150 was realized, after paying expenses. Of this the sum of £100 has been given to the Serbian Relief Fund and £50 to the continued upkeep of the “Ascot” Bed in the Hospital belonging to the Serbian Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital.

A remarkable feature of this day (due to the liberality and energy of the organisers) is the fact that expenses amounted to only a few shillings over £2. Kosobo [sic] Day, June 28th (the Serbian National Day), was kept in our Parish by special instructions in Serbia in our schools. On Sunday, July 2nd (Serbian Sunday), our gallant and suffering Allies were specially remembered at God’s Altar, and at all the other services, with addresses at Matins and at the Catechism Service. The Serbian National Anthem was sung at the conclusion of Matins and Evensong.

A COLLECTING BOX in aid of the Ascot Military Hospital is kept at the “Foresters’ Arms” Hotel by the kindness of Mr. Pendell. This was opened for the first time a short time ago, and its contents – £1 1s. 3½d. – forwarded to the institution named.

THE BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ SALE, in aid of the starving Belgian children (in Belgium itself) came off at the Ascot Schools on Saturday afternoon, July 22nd, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

It was an enormous success, and is of exceptional value as bearing witness to the unselfish and very hard work of the boys and girls of our Schools, led by their teachers, and representing the most ambitious among many “bits for the war” that represent our “children’s war offerings” since the war itself began.

We will give a list of some of these “bits” in the September Magazine, as also a full account of the sale. For the present, it must suffice to state that the approximate profits of the sale amount to over £40, represented as follows:

Boys’ department … £13 0 0
Girls’ “ … 16 10 0
Infants’ “ … 11 7 0

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