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)

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Soldiers saved from paupers’ funerals

The Comrades of the Great War Society was established to help discharged soldiers and the families of those killed.

5 June 1918

Monthly Meeting

The meeting opened with an excellent address by Major Vaughan Williams on the objects of the “Comrades of the War” Association for the after-care & comfort of our fighting men. He showed how they look up all claims for pensions & give all legal advice required, & help in every way to assist widows & children.

They had already in Berkshire saved soldiers from paupers’ funerals. Major Vaughan Williams spoke most strongly on what we owe to the devotion of our soldiers.

Hurst WI minutes (D/EX1925/33/1/1)

Reading has lost one of the most distinguished of its young men

Old Redigensians – Old Boys of Reading School – were among the many on active service.

O.R. NEWS.

Deaths.

D.W. Carter

The funeral took on Monday at Caversham Cemetery, of Mr. Donovan Carter, only son of Mr and Mrs. A.W. Carter, Of “Maubeuge,” Church Road, Caversham, who was drowned while, bathing last week at Peterborough, where he was stationed with the R.N.A.S.

Carter was educated at Reading School, and spent three years in the O.T.C., passing the School Leaving Certificate in 1913. He passed the London Matriculation in 1914, and was studying for B.Sc., with a view to taking research work in a Belgian chemical works in which his father is interested. He was passed for a commission in the A.S.C. in Jan., 1915 but, eager to serve his country at the earliest possible moment, he would not wait for the commission and enlisted in the R.N.A.S. as a driver in June of that year. Most of his time he spent at an R.N.A.S. station at Felixstowe, afterwards training at the Crystal Palace as an engineer. All the naval ratings and officers turned out to do him honour when he was brought home from Peterborough.

2nd-Lieut. D.J. Davies.

-By the death of second-lieutenant D.J. Davies, the only of Mr. and Mrs, of the Market Place, Reading, Reading has lost one of the most distinguished of its young men and Reading School one of the most brilliant of its old boys.

Davies’ record at Reading School was a remarkable one. When he left in the summer of 1915 he was the Captain of the School, the highest honour which a school can confer on any boy, and the holder of a Drapers’ Scholarship and an Open Classical Scholarship at Trinity College, Oxford. He Joined the O.T.C. on the outbreak of the war in 1914, and in the Spring Term of 1915 he was in Rugby XV.; and won his 1st XV. Colours. He was a prominent member of the Literary and Debating Societies. On the occasion of the school holding a debate in French, Davies opened the debate.

He never failed in a public examination and passed the Higher Certificate Examination of the Oxford and Cambridge Board in 1913 with one distinction, in 1914 with four distinctions and in 1915 with five distinctions, coming out at the head of over 1,700 candidates. He competed regularly in the school sports and won several prizes in the under 15 events. Latterly, however, intellectual pursuits were more to his inclination, though he always took a very keen interest in all the school activities. He combined great ability with a real capacity for thoroughness and hard work, and had he lived would have gone far. He died, his tank being struck by a shell, on July 31st, the day before his 20th birthday. His loss is greatly to be regretted.

His Commanding Officer, writing to his father, says:-

The death of your son is a great loss to us all; he was very popular and was an exceedingly gallant officer. Up to the time of his death his tank did exceedingly good work.


Death of Mr. Sydney Lowsley.

Mr. Sydney Lowsley, Deputy Borough Engineer of Harrogate, son of the late Dr. Lowsley, of Reading, died in a London naval hospital last week. Mr, Lowsley, who joined the R.N.A.S. Last July as draughtsman, contracted double pneumonia while training and succumbed after three weeks’ illness. He served his articles with the Borough Engineer at Wolverhampton, and from there went to Westminster, Lewisham, and finally to Harrogate. He leaves a widow and two children.

Gallant Deeds.

Military Cross.

Lieut. Oswald Francis, Royal Berks Regt., has been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the recent fighting in Belgium, and also had the honour of being personally congratulated by Sir Douglas Haig. He left Sandhurst in September, 1915, and has served for the last 15 months in France and Belgium, for the greater part of the time on the Somme Front.

Wounded.

Bardsley, Capt. R.C., Manchester Regt., elder son of Mrs. Bardsley, of 72, Addington Road, Reading. Severely in the right arm and hand, on Oct.8th. Capt. Bardsley was educated at Reading School, where he distinguished himself in all athletic pursuits.

Reading School Magazine, December 1917 (SCH3/14/34)

An envelope to pass around the Christmas dinner table

Men blinded in the war might have dependants.

Sir Arthur Pearson makes a Christmas appeal for the Children of Blinded Soldiers. He asks that on Christmas Day an envelope will be passed round the Christmas dinner table for contributions. He hopes to collect £250,000 so as to provide a sum of five shillings per week for each child up to the age of sixteen years. These envelopes will be placed in church both on Christmas Day and the Sunday previous [23 December 1917]. They may be returned to the Vicar, or sent direct to Sir Arthur.

South Ascot Parochial Magazine, December 1917 (D/P186/28A/17)

We can hardly grudge the stretching out a hand to soldiers’ little ones

The Waifs and Strays Society (now the Children’s Society) was there to help children orphaned by the war.

Waifs and Strays Society

May I commend to the attention of the Parishioners the following letter from this Society. We owe a good deal in this Parish to their work, and they have several children in their charge who belong to this town. May I also ask you to note that Mrs. Chisman (in the absence of Miss Roe, who is Nursing abroad) is Acting Hon. Sec. for St. Luke’s District. She would be very grateful if collecting boxes could be returned to her at Northfield during November.

Dear Vicar, –

We are still “carrying on,” but the demands are always increasing, and so is the difficulty of meeting them. “Munitions” and “more and more munitions” is our cry. Will you help us with the following scheme? We hope to hold, as for the past seven years, a Central Gathering and Sale of Work in London; date, November 21st and 22nd; place, Caxton Hall, Westminster; object, to raise £1,000, the sum which we have for some years come to reckon on as the result of this particular effort. Please help it in one or more of the following ways.

(a) Commend the attention of your Parishioners to this appeal in every direction you can.
(b) Ask them to come on one or both days and join our gathering, even if they have no money to spend.
(c) Tell them we shall be most grateful for any contributions beforehand, in money, or work, or provisions, to be sent to our Bazaar Organising Secretary at this office.

Our work for soldiers’ children is overwhelming; do join us in special effort to carry it through. So many of us have cheerfully though sadly given up our own nearest and dearest, that we can hardly grudge the stretching out a hand to those little ones whose own protectors are powerless to see to their welfare.

Believe me, yours faithfully,

E. de M. RUDOLPH

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Killed by a shell on his way back to the trenches

A Cranbourne was killed in unfortunate circumstances.

We have to record, with much regret, the death of Private Ernest Lunn. He had been in the Hospital and was killed by a shell on his way back to the trenches. A memorial service was held on Sunday afternoon, May 13th. He leaves a widow and two young children with whom much sympathy has been expressed.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/6)

Valuable lectures on the culture of vegetables

Ascot people grew vegetables for the war, while one couple lent their big house for use as a hsopital.

THE MILITARY HOSPITAL is to be re-opened immediately after Easter at “Sandridge.” Mr. and Mrs. Ninian Elliot have, most generously, handed over their delightful house for the purpose.

LECTURES on the Culture of Vegetables (two of them in this parish) have been given in the neighbourhood during the past few weeks. Interesting and valuable in themselves, they have also been very well attended.

ERNEST MERRY, who was some time ago reported missing, has been killed in France. We deeply sympathise with his wife and little children.

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, April 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/4)

It cannot be as other Christmases have been

It was clear that Christmas 1914 was not going to be the usual happy season.  Here are the thoughts of the vicar of Cookham Dean:

In thinking over what I am to say in my letter to you this month, it is very forcibly brought home to me how vastly different our circumstances are this December from any we have known. One has generally arranged one’s plans, in outline at least, for the Children’s Christmas Treat, and for the collection of the Choir Bonus, &c., &c., but I know I must not confidently rely, as in former years, on the help that has always so generously been given for these and other objects…

I shall quite understand if people feel that this year they cannot, or do not feel inclined to, contribute, but I do ask for a fairly prompt reply, so as to be saved the worry of uncertainty… I believe that the Choir intend to set apart a fair sum out of the amount given to them at the Carol Singing to send to one or other of the Christmas Funds that are being raised for the Royal Berkshire Regiment – our Regiment which, according to The Times of Nov. 27th, has so distinguished itself…

May our Christmas Festival in the village, if it cannot be as other Christmases have been, be holy, so that you may, in spite of sorrow and anxiety, be really happy. It may be that several of our brave lads will be allowed home on short leave; may I most earnestly beg of you not to tempt them – out of a false sense of good fellowship and wishing them luck – to drink? It is one of the cruellest things to do in such cases. They are enrolled in the Army or Navy to uphold their country’s honour, may I in all seriousness say for God’s sake never tempt them to dishonour themselves. Remember the words of Sir Owen Seamon that each of these men and lads, in their soldierly character and bearing, has ‘something dear to lose’- don’t let anyone of them have to feel ‘that they have lost it – thanks to you.’

The Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund met at Shire Hall on 1 December 1914, and also had thoughts about Christmas for soldiers’ families.

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