Comforts for Road Construction and Quarrying Companies in France

Berkshire County Council was unwilling to spend ratepayers’ money on gifts for roadworkers helping with the war effort.

Report of Finance and General Purposes Committee, 19 January 1918

ROADMEN IN FRANCE

An appeal for a subscription out of County Funds has been made by a Committee formed to organise and collect money for providing extra necessaries and comforts for Road Construction and Quarrying Companies in France. It is pointed out that these men are not provided for in the organisation controlled by Sir Edward Ward for the distribution of comforts for troops overseas. The appeal states that the Local Government Board is prepared to sanction a subscription by any Local Authority up to £100.

The Committee feel that no case has been made out for subscribing to this object out of the Rates, and they are unable to recommend it, but think that the appeal should be left to be dealt with by individual effort.

WAR ALLOWANCES

The following recommendation of the War Allowances Section are submitted for approval:

That the allowance granted to A W F Myatt, killed in action on 3 December, 1917, be continued to his dependants for six months from the date of his death.

The Section have considered the effect of the increased payments under Royal Warrant of the 4 December, 1917, in connection with both married and unmarried persons serving with the colours, and recommend that in calculating allowances the following principles be adopted:

Single Men: The full increased pay to be deducted.
Married Men: The full increased pay to be deducted.

The allotment previously paid by the man but now paid by the Government not to be deducted.

Owing to the fact that it will now be difficult to separate Merit Pay from Ordinary Pay and to ascertain in most cases the actual pay receivable as “War Pay” under Clause 3 of the Royal Warrant, the Section recommend that the pay to be deducted shall be the minimum rates set forth in Clause 3 of the royal Warrant, viz:

Private 1s 6d per day
Lance-Corporal 1s 9d per day
Corporal 2s 0d per day

On the receipt of the Quarterly Return, if any persons serving is [sic] found to be in receipt of more than the above rates of pay the excess shall be deducted whenever such excess brings the total Army pay and allowances above the civil pay as at August 1914, plus 25 per cent, but not otherwise.

Berkshire County Council minutes C/CL/C1/1/21

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Not only a duty, but a privilege

Knitters were applauded by the dignitary in charge of co-ordinating support for the troops.

Winter Comforts for the Troops: Sir E. Ward’s Appeal

Colonel Sir Edward Ward, Director-General of Voluntary Organizations, has sent the following letter to all voluntary associations affiliated under the Army Council’s scheme for the co-ordination of voluntary work. It is published for general information and as an appeal to all outside workers to assist in providing comforts for the troops.

Office of the Director-General of Voluntary Organizations, Scotland House, New Scotland Yard, S.W.1, July 7, 1917.

Dear Sir

When I appealed to the women of Great Britain just a year ago to make winter comforts for our Armies at the various battle fronts, we all hoped it might be our last winter campaign, but whatever may happen before next winter it is clear that vast forces will in any event occupy the field, and it is therefore incumbent upon us to make full and adequate provision to ensure a sufficient supply of warm comforts for our men, no matter where they may be serving.

All the workers affiliated under my department have worked so loyally and so well that I have no hesitation in making a personal appeal to every one of them to look upon it not only as a duty, but as a privilege to provide as many knitted mufflers, mittens, helmets, sweaters or cardigans and hand knitted socks as they possibly can, between now and Christmas, and to send them, as and when they are made, to the local voluntary organization’s depot, in order that they may be sorted, packed, and dispatched overseas for general distribution to the troops.

I feel sure all workers who have the welfare of the soldiers at heart – which I know your workers have – will appreciate the great importance of ‘pooling’ all gifts. The machinery for distribution, through the medium of the comforts pool at the various battle fronts has been gradually perfected, with the result that Officers have only to make their wants known to the special officer-in-charge of the comforts pool, in any theatre of war, where they are quartered, to ensure the immediate delivery of the comforts required for their men.

As the war has progressed numerous new units have been formed and we now have hundreds of thousands of men in labour companies, machine gun units, trench mortar batteries, and many other arms of Service who have no particular association looking after them; again there are countless service battalions of men who rely entirely upon the comforts pools for those comforts they so greatly need.

I ask you individually and collectively to spare no effort to keep the pool well filled in order that no soldier shall be without his comforts, and you can rest assured that any little sacrifice which you make will be repaid a hundred times by the satisfaction of knowing that you have at elast done your share in helping the fighting men to endure hardships.

Individual workers who cannot conveniently send their gifts to a local centre may forward them by post to the Comforts Depot, 45, Horseferry Road, Westminster S.W.

Yours truly E.W.D. Ward.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

The war will bring about theocracy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote a long letter to Ralph. She had strong, if eccentric, views about politics, and was almost as shocked by Australian soldiers’ democratic nature as she was by the Easter Rising.

April 26 1916
Peter[borough]

My darling own blessed Scraps

Easter Day makes me long for you, but all days make me long for you….

I distinguished myself at Windsor by getting bad with indigestion, but it was good to be with John & Maysie, & see them so happy in another Windsor spell of work, and yet being together. He heard when we were there that another operation will not be necessary, but as his Medical Board gave him 3 months they have taken a very good house, “Essex Lodge”, the present house being required by the owner, and this is a much better one with a garden & tennis ground. John is of course very busy, and up early, & at work till late. He looks well, and is in good spirits, evidently liking his work. We saw Cecily Hardy & her Giant, and Tony & Sylvia, & a new Coldstream acquisition – a very Highland McGregor who till lately was engineering in India – quite a new type in the Brigade!

The Political Crisis made those days full of excitement, but none of these soldier people seemed to care, or to look at the papers, and were sure the King would come whatever happened. And he did, but the Crisis was supposed to be over, and the Cabinet once more firmly (?) in the saddle of Compromise. Now the Secret Session, and the result whatever it may be of that settlement is to be made known to so many talkers & plotters and schemers that it will be impossible for all the cats to be in the bag long. Meantime there is a shaken confidence, a longing for a leader other than we have, for this strange growth of freedom to know its limitation, and to recognise its own dependence on laws not made by man, but inflexible because “just and true”, and belonging to the Kingdom that will endure throughout all ages. When we really will, that will come, and its obedience, and we shall learn what freedom is. It does not lie with Democracy, or in Kaiser rule, or in a Republic, but it does in a Theocracy – and my belief is that it is to be restored through this War and “tumult of the nations”….

France is surely ahead of us in the spirit of a new vision, & Russia is invincible because of that vision long accepted – and we wait for it, and you all are bringing it nearer.

(more…)

A fine body of young women

The Revd E C Glyn, Bishop and Peterborough, and his wife Lady Mary both wrote to their soldier son Ralph. The Bishop was anxious that his letters were not reaching Ralph:

The Palace
Peterborough
15 March [1916]

My darling Ralph

Thanks for your letters – & your news – but we long to hear what & where your next move will be.

I have written by each “bag” every week, & I can’t understand if & why you have not had a letter from me each time! Unless it is that Captain Kellet does send every letter as well as General Callwell used to do! I wonder what is to be done with General Callwell & if he will want to get you for his work somewhere?…

Lady Mary was busy with her own war work, not to mention a feud with a rival Red Cross branch.

March 15, 1916
The Palace
Peterborough

My own darling and blessing

This has been a bad week for me and there has been nothing but futile fuss, perhaps – but fuss! And I have had no leisure. Meg went to London on Thursday, and was away one night in London, and all Friday I was at the Rest Room seeing to Canteen worries…

I went to see Colonel Collingwood who has seen your reappointment as GSO General Staff vice [under] Captain Loyd, & he was much excited and wanted to know what it meant. I could only say I supposed some redistribution of work at the end of your previous work of all this winter. But it set me thinking and this week with the news of Verdun always in one’s head, with the rumours always in every paper of German naval activity, and of the mines everywhere, one knows that one needs to have a stout heart for a stae brae….
The Rest Room is crowded out some days with the troops moving about, and we had over 1100 last month. We have a splendid hand of workers night and day.

Any my Red Cross Room is such a joy – it was quite full last night and I have enough money to go on, but must soon get more; the material is very expensive, & the County Association (now definitely under Sir Edward Ward) gives no grants to these private Rooms. The Town depot now “under the War Office” and having a pompous Board announcing its connection with the British Red Cross & the “Northampton Red Cross (??)” has collected 680 pounds, and intends to get 1000£ in order to sit upon all BRC work. Not sent to the War Office – to be distributed by them, & not by our Headquarters, 83 Pall Mall. It is from here quite incomprehensible when one knows how these people have behaved, & the lies they have told to cover up the defects of their organization, but I suppose Sir Edward had to level up all sorts of abuses & get the whole into his hand before any order could be restored. And the BRC did not organize its work in time. Now the Central Work Rooms have had to move from Burlington House to 48 Gros: Square & they have taken that big corner house for six months.

Sir George Pragnell’s death has been a blow, as I felt safe behind him from further attack – but the Stores Manager at 83 is so delighted with the work we have now sent up that our position will be assured. Another enemy – not me – quashed!

It is a complication that the Lady Doctor who is our splendid and most efficient Superintendent is expecting to add to the population! (more…)

The disappearance of a very gallant friend

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her son Ralph with her latest news. She and her daughter Meg had been worried about Meg’s naval officer husband after another ship in his flotilla was lost to enemy action.

16th Feb

It was dreadful to come home & know of the Arethusa disaster, & to hear they had had no letter from Jim & still no letter yesterday. But today it has come. They have evidently all been out and it is indeed good to know that he is safe. 13th his letter is dated. Bless him….

I have made acquaintance with a Mrs Evans, wife of Captain Evans, Signal Officer with you at Ismailia. Do, if possible, write to me something good to pass on to her about him. She is Welsh – such a very cheery pleasant helper in the Red Cross Work Room and so proud of him on the Staff Headquarters with the MEF, and I told her, I would be able to hear all the evil things that could be said someday, & chaffed her well. He was a Post Office official here – wireless and telegraph engineer, at least so I gather….

Sir George Pragnell’s death will probably make another difficulty re Red Cross Workers. As far as I can make out he was the only man who could stand up to Sir Edward Ward and his levellings up – or down – of all voluntary work into one more abysmal organisation. And to add to Red X sorrows, they are to give up Burlington House for a spring exhibition in about a fortnight & truly we have hundreds of workers & do not know where they are to migrate.

Own Mur

Meg herself, who was staying with their parents, wrote to her brother the same day. (more…)

Irregular VADs a spy risk

Lady Mary Glyn had another rant about her difficulties with rival Red Cross work in Peterborough.

New Years Day [1916]

I don’t know what has happened about the town committee but Madame Page won’t speak to me! & looked away with determination when I had hoped to wish them the Good New Year. The VAD which was a sham has somehow also got them into trouble & the trains for the wounded are not allowed to stop here. I had warned them over & over again! As it was no VAD and now Sir Edward Ward has put all irregular VADs to the rightabout & only genuine ones can serve & they must be in uniform. It is self-evident how dangerous they might be & useful for spy knowledge if managed as they were.


Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/3)

Will the government have enough pluck to shoot those who oppose conscription?

Ralph Glyn’s parents both wrote to him on New Year’s Eve. The good bishop was quite gung ho (and one might think not very Christian) about deporting Germans and even shooting conscientious objectors! Lady Mary was still fussing about her quarrels with a rival Red Cross workroom.

The Palace
Peterborough
Dec 31 [1915]

My darling Ralph

Here is my New Year letter to you…

Things at Salonica [sic] seem doing well – & our forces must be growing there – as we see daily accounts in the papers of “more troops arriving” – and I am glad that the French General has taken the enemy consuls & staff & put them on board of a French man-of-war – so they have got rid of them as spies – & it is good. Tonight’s paper tells of an English cruiser blown up in harbour – “HMS Natal, captain Eric Back, RN armoured cruiser sank yesterday in harbour as the result of an internal explosion”. This seems to me only another reason why we should ship away every German in England & send them to their own country, as it is no use keeping the enemy here to do such mischief as blowing up our ships in harbour – as I should say it must have been done by some bomb put on board by a German.

We have got our conscription so far, & shall hear all about it on Thursday. It is high time the “Government” (so-called) made up their minds to the inevitable – & the “country” will back them up certainly – & now we shall “wait & see” if the Government will have pluck enough to shoot those that oppose them.

Much love – & take care of your dear self.

Your loving father
E C Peterborough

Dec 31 1915
My own darling own Ralph

The news of the loss of the “Natal” has come this evening to us here – and one dreads to think it may be another treachery or labour trouble – but the news is good of the full Cabinet meeting and one feels sure that the country will be sound on the question of these men who have held back…

I hear of Edith Wolverton coming here but not to see us. I think the war makes these women quite queer. They are so anxious to be petite maitresse & do not understand how it is all lost in provincial towns where everyone on the spot wishes to emulate any “star” that wishes to “shoot”. We are very happy with our canteen and it will give us plenty to do and I shall hear I suppose soon about the other crazy emulation over Red Cross. They are all quite sick with anger I have my private workroom and the Sham Committee find they are quite powerless to stop it but I am quite willing to co-operate it when they become real. I am in close touch with Headquarters. Oh! me, when will these silly little fusses be read over by you and where! And it will all seem so silly and so paltry and hard to believe that men and women can be so mean and self seeking over work for the sick and wounded at the Front.

We keep quite quiet and say nothing, but they are spluttering into the papers with their silly complainings. It may have to end in a private official enquiry but Winfrey has managed to save his face by registering one committee under all three – Queen Mary’s Needlework, Sir Edward Ward’s Voluntary Association & the Red Cross! All this with one Fund and the same little creature as accountant that went against affiliation to centre at the beginning & start of all the fuss. I am afraid the expenses are enormous, and that I shall have difficulty in getting the money unless we can get the whole thing put under one authority & one Fund….

Letters from E C and Lady Mary Glyn to their son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/3)

The press is evil and needs to be slayed like a dragon

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her soldier son Ralph Glyn with news of a contretemps over Red Cross work in their home town. She was also scathing about the press, particularly the empire of press baron Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, which included the Times, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

Peter[borough]
Dec 2, 1915
My own darling Scrappits

Like Jim [her son in law, naval officer Jim Meade] I can scarcely bear to read the papers, and I read the Harmondsworth [sic] Press, & believe they are part of the Evil Thing which we have to slay like the Dragon. One has to think of that patron saint St George very often, for we are now to fight in the country of the dragon, and we have a host of St Georges and if only we women could be worthier, and help to keep England what it may be, waiting and ready for the regeneration that must surely come for your reward, when you all come back! But there is something strange the matter as one reads society paper paragraphs, even in the good old Observer, and find the same “vanity” and the same obsession of dress and extravagance, even when they talk Economy and Thrift, and “Mince” like women of old. Punch is good this week. I want to send Punch out to you…

Long ago we sent the things from Fortnum & Mason, trusting more to Expert Packers, but I long to send you a home packed, and now Jim is going away – going to sea again today, and I shall get Meg to make enquiries for me….

Lady Exeter writes “that they are within sound of the guns”. I think this was meant to tell her that the Battery is being moved up….
A real burlesque is going on over the registration of this “Red Cross” business here, and at last the town knows, and the town talks, and the remarks to me are amusing! They, however (the Committee) have no idea of climbing down, and I have got Sir Edward Ward to register them as they are, & they are to have two committees, but have not even yet decided if they will have a “Hospital Depot”, so I am moving at once, & so has Lilah Buller, and so has Miss Cartwright, & so has Lady Knightley, & when we are in full swing they will not be able to avoid our getting grants of money from them, or direct from Headquarters. And it is the finance part that has kept me waiting. Northampton refuses to help Miss Cartwright, though there at Brackley she is the only Depot for sick & wounded at the front, & Lilah Buller says they “approve” her but I gather she too can get no funds. This is all so monstrous. And when the truth is known support will come. We are not yet in possession of a house – I wish we were – but it will come at the right moment, & in the right way. The great thing is done and it is all miracle of mercy, for Dad is looking forward now too…

Today is so lovely. I have to run round soldiers & sailors’ wives & mothers, and shall have the lift of the motor today….

I long to know more of what you are going through. All accounts differ in the papers of the climate. Poor Meg. I am glad Jim goes in fair weather. Maysie hopes that at Captain “D” there may be more chances of their meeting,, but the goodbye must be hard, hard work….

Own own own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/2)