“The war is likely to be the most striking event of the 20th century”

Newbury Museum planned to remember the war and its impact.

Museum and Free Library Committee
Monday, January 19th, 1919


The Hon. Curator laid before the Committee the following report for the past quarter:

Borough of Newbury Museum

Typical Collection.

The war is likely to be the most striking event of the 20th century, and we shall probably not be wrong in devoting the 1 foot 6 inches of wall space allotted to the century almost, if not entirely, to war exhibits. In the table-case there should be nine small but choice objects illustrating the following regions: Britain; North Europe; the campaign in the Murmansk Region; Central Europe; Germany or Austria; Italy; The Balkan Peninsula; Gallipoli; Serbia or Salonika; Egypt; Western Asia; Palestine or Mesopotamia; India; Japan. These objects must be small, as the space at our disposal is very limited, but should be choice. An instructional sectional Mill’s No 5 hand-grenade, an iron cross, and a Turkish cannon-ball, and such-like objects, would be most suitable. Besides these we might exhibit a German shrapnel-helmet, a British gas mask, and a French 75 mm shell-case.

Local Collections

These might be placed in a special case to illustrate the effect of the war on Newbury, and the share in it taken by the Borough and neighbourhood. It would be interesting to collect a complete series of posters, circulars and notices issued by the Police, the County Council, the Borough Council, and the Rural District Council, and by officials and committees acting under their authority; also a complete set of the issue of the “Newbury Weekly News” from the declaration of war to the conclusion of the peace celebrations. These cannot be displayed upon the walls of the Museum owing to lack of space, and the Museum possesses no accommodation for storing them in such a way as to be accessible to students. Perhaps this part of the record could be undertaken by the Free Library.

The special Museum case might, however, contain: Badges of officers and men of the Berkshire regiments; badges and insignia of Newbury Special Constables; badges and arms of the Newbury Volunteers; shell-cases made by Newbury munition firms. These seem to be all that we shall find room for, and ought to be sufficient to show posterity how the war affected Newbury and its neighbourhood.

War Collection – the following special report by the Hon. Curator on a war collection was held before the Committee.:-

Report on War Collections

Now that hostilities have ceased, it is time that the Committee decided what steps should be taken by the Museum to put on record the chief features of the war. In considering this question it will be well to give the matter careful thought, and to make sure that it is approached with due regard to proportion. On the one hand we must avoid concluding that, as the war is an affair of yesterday, it should not be represented in our Historical Collections, still more is it well to remember that, though at the present moment it seems to overshadow in importance all other events, yet it must not occupy an undue amount of space in our cases, but must take its place with other events of a perhaps less dramatic nature. There are two ways in which the war may be considered part of the Museum: one as part of the general history of the Old World, as exhibited on our typical collection; and the other as part of the history of Newbury, as exemplified by our Local Collections.

The Hon. Curator’s report was adopted and efforts were to be made to secure suitable exhibits.


Newbury Borough Council minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

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Arrest of escaped German Prisoners of War

The Standing Joint Committee heard how Berkshire policemen had helped to recapture escaped PoWs.

5 October 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE’S REPORT

Arrest of Escaped German Prisoners of War

Two German Prisoners of War, who escaped from Bramley Camp on 4 September, were arrested at Woolhampton by PC 117, Brooks, assisted by Special Constable Charles Taplin and two civilians.

Another, who escaped from the same Camp on 5 September, was captured by PC 64, Holloway, at Maidenhead Thicket.

The War Office Authorities, to mark their appreciation of the services rendered, sent a reward of £5, viz £1 for each of the Constables and civilians who assisted, and I have, under the circumstances, allowed them to receive the same.
Approved.

PC 158 Giles Rejoining Force

PC 158, Giles, who joined the Army on 6 December 1915, under the terms of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915, has been discharged from the Army as medically unfit for further military service in consequence of his left wrist being injured by a gunshot wound.

He rejoined the Force on 1 September, 1918, and has been given indoor work for the present, on the understanding that he will be medically re-examined in three months’ time by the Police Surgeon to see of there is any probability of his being fit for further Police duty.
Approved.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

German PoW on the run “is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding”

Three Germans PoWs on the run were foiled by the brave actions of a Berkshire policeman and three Special Constables.

6 July 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE

Lt-Col Poulton attended the Committee and stated that he had been absent from his Police work for three years, and he thought it was time he returned to such work; that his Army work was now so organized that it could be easily carried on by some other officer; and that he had now reached the age of 60; and suggested that the Secretary of State be asked to apply to the War Office for his relase from Army Service to enable him to resume his duties as Chief Constable of the County, as from 31 August, 1918.

Resolved:
That the Secretary of State be asked to make the application to the war Office as suggested.

Resolved also on the motion of the Chairman [J. Herbert Benyon] and seconded by Sir R. B. D. Acland, knight: That the very best thanks of the Committee be accorded to Col. Ricardo for services rendered as Acting Chief Constable.

Capture of three escaped German prisoners

The Acting Chief Constable has brought to the notice of the Sub-committee the action of PC 105 Reginald Jordan, stationed at Burghfield, and of Special Constables Webb, Holland and Hill, in effecting the capture of three Prisoners of War who had escaped from Bramley Camp on 24 April 1918.

PC Jordan challenged these men whom he met at Burghfield at midnight, and, finding they were foreigners, attempted to arrest them. After a struggle in which one of them is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding), the Germans succeeded in escaping, but were discovered and recaptured the following evening by PC Jordan – with the assistance of the Special Constables above-named, who had been working indefatigably all day in search of them.

The Military authorities sent £4.10s.0d as a reward, which was apportioned as follows: PC 105 Jordan, £2; Sergeant Taylor (who had also assisted) and the three Special Constables, 12s.6d each.

MOTOR CARS

The two motor cars which were so kindly placed at the disposal of the Superintendent at Maidenhead and Wokingham at the commencement of the war by the late Mr Erskine have now been returned to the present owner, Mrs Luard of Binfield Grove, and I beg to recommend that a letter expressing the gratitude of this Committee for the use of the cars, which have been of very great value to the Police, be sent to that lady.

I should also like to take this opportunity of referring to the loss sustained to the Force by the death of the late Marquis of Downshire, who, as a Special Constable from the commencement of the war, had kindly placed his valuable time and the use of his two cars (free of any charge) at the disposal of the Superintendent of the Wokingham Division, and by this means saved the County a great deal of expense.

I recommend that a letter be written to the present Marquis from this Committee, expressing regret at the death of his father, and its appreciation of his generous services.

The present Marquis of Downshire has very kindly placed his car at the disposal of the Superintendent at Wokingham on condition that the County keeps the car insured, [and] pays the licence duty and cost of running.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

“Exceptional zeal in the performance of his duties”

Burghfield’s postmaster was commended for his work as a Special Constable.

Special Constable George Cooper

It will be learnt with pleasure that attention having been called to the good services of our old friend Mr G Cooper, Postmaster of Burghfield, who was one of the first to be sworn in, Colonel F C Ricardo, the Acting Chief Constable of the County Police, issued on 13th December a memo expressing his great gratification, and stating

“It is evident that Special Constable Cooper has displayed exceptional zeal in the performance of his duties; and taking into consideration his age and his business requirements, I can only record my high appreciation and commendation.”

Burghfield parish magazine, March 1918 (D/EX725/4)

A necessary bit of war work

There was a call for men to join the Police Reservists and help maintain law and order at home.

EARLEY SUB-DIVISION BERKS POLICE SPECIAL RESERVE

Owing to removals and army munition work our numbers are becoming very much reduced, and we would earnestly ask any men in the parish of Earley, whether living in the Borough [of Reading] or not, who are not already acting as Specials or Reservists to come and give us a hand in this necessary bit of war work. After all, to patrol for 3 hours once a month from 9-12 pm is not a very great thing to ask, and there must be many men who could if they would come forward and thus ease the strain on those who have been quietly and steadily doing this work for over 3 years.

The Rev. H Wardley King, 1, Green Road, who is undertaking the duties of Sub-Divisional Officer pro tem, will be very grateful to receive names of any willing to help.

LIST OF MEN SERVING IN HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES

The following additional names have been added to our prayer list:

Cecil Webb, Herbert Plumer, Walter Smithers, Ernest Thompson, John Edwards, Eric Burchell.

In addition to those already mentioned, we especially commend the following to your prayers:

SICK OR WOUNDED: Duncan Simson, Levi Rackley, Charles Barton, George Bungay, Samuel Dee, George Embery, Ernest Embery, Benjamin Rickards, Albert Gray, Herbert Harper, Herbert Oliver, Clifford Holliday, Thomas Ilott, Arthur O’Dell, Owen Lewington, John Phillips.

KILLED: Charles Bowden, William Murphy, William Wynn, John Hitchcock, Albert Hosler.

MISSING: Arthur Langmead.

Earley St Peter parish magazine, October 1917 (D/P191/28A/24)

Police uniforms will have to be lower quality

The war continued to have an impact on the local police service.

7 July 1917

On 8 May last the Acting Chief Constable was informed by the Home Office that the War Cabinet had decided that further members of Police Forces should be released for military service; and that the minimum number to be supplied by Berkshire was 20. he accordingly released that number of the youngest Constables on 1 June, as follows:

PC 44, James H. Benson Married
PC 193, Wilfred Thomas Ditto
PC 192, Henry J. Boshier Ditto
PC 59, James Strange Ditto
PC 29, Charles J. Simmonds Single
PC 187, Harry Hankins Married
PC 180, George W. G. Plumb Ditto
PC 152, Bertie W. Smith Ditto
PC 4, Charles W. Green Ditto
PC 220, Bertram G. Sherwood Ditto
PC 207, Albert J. Harvey Ditto
PC 160, Allan Miles Single
PC 76, Kenneth Chapman Married
PC 157, James A. Butler Ditto
PC 191, Ernest Culley Ditto
PC 67, Ernest West Ditto
PC 53, Francis G. E. Bailey Single
PC 118, Frederick Bailey Ditto
PC 8, Charles V. Foster Married
PC 121, Thomas H. Fletcher Ditto

In accordance with the Committee’s decision on 5 July, 1915, the allowance to the wives of married Constables during the latter’s absence on military service will be the amount the Constables were receiving from Police Funds for pay and war bonus – less the amount received from Army Funds … and the wives will be allowed to remain in their houses on payment of half the usual deduction for house rent.

As regards the single Constables, PC 29 Simmonds alone has been contributing regularly, 6/- per week to the support of his relatives, and the Sub-committee recommend that an allowance of 6d per day be granted in this case.

No further First Police Reservists have been called up for active Police duty, and endeavours will be made to manage with the assistance of the Special Constables whenever practicable.

Three of the Constables who have now joined the Army formed part of the number furnished under agreement to Newbury Borough, and have not yet been replaced pending the reconsideration of the agreement.

Clothing and Helmets for 1918

A tender was obtained from Messrs Titley, Son & Price for the supply of Police clothing for 1918, but the prices being so much in excess of the previous contract, they were communicated with, with a view to the prices being reduced; and they subsequently offered to supply the clothing at the same prices as in 1917, but stipulated that, while the material would be serviceable, it would be of a lower quality. The overcoats, capes and undress trousers would be of the same weight and appearance as, but would not be, all wool. At the same time they strongly recommended the retention of the Sergeants’ and Constables’ winter trouser material at the price quoted, viz £1.1s.0d, instead of 16s 0d as last year. It is recommended that this offer be accepted.

The garments required for the 1918 issue will be Great Coats, Serges, Dress Trousers, Undress Trousers, and Summer Helmets.

Messrs Christy & Co are at present unable to tender for the Caps and Helmets, owing to the Government having commandeered their stock and, as the Committee understand other firms are in like position, it is recommended that tenders be not invited this year.

Adopted.

Class “B” First Police Reserve

The position and pay of Class “B” men on the First Police Reserve – some of whom have been on duty since the beginning of the war – have been brought to the notice of the Sub-committee. In view of the present high prices of food, etc, the Sub-committee recommend that their rate of pay be increased from 5/- to 5/6 per day as from 1 April, 1917…

Carried: That Class “B” First Police Reserve be granted a bonus of 3/6 per week as from 1 April, 19817, instead of the increased rate of pay as recommended by the Finance Sub-committee.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Insuring the Assize Courts against air raids

The Standing Joint Committee of the County Council and Quarter Sessions met on 6 November 1915. They had to face the loss of more policemen to the Forces, and fears for courts and police buildings in the face o air raids.

A circular from the Home Office, dated 29 October, 1915, was read in which it was stated that every constable who wished to enlist should be allowed to do so if possible, and that every effort should be made by Police Authorities to facilitate enlistments by cutting down any police work which might not be essential, and by replacing regular police by the employment as Special Constables of men disqualified, by age or otherwise, from joining H M Forces….

Mr Preston moved, and Mr Walker seconded: That permission be given for a reduction of the Police Force, by enlistment, of ten unmarried constables; and that such vacancies be not filled up….

Carried. It was further resolved, on the motion of Mr Mount, MP, seconded by Mr Watson: That in addition to the ten unmarried constables mentioned in the above resolution, permission be given to a further ten unmarried constables to enlist; and that the vacancies thus caused be filled by first class reservists.

The Committee had brought to their notice the question of insuring the Assize Courts against damage by air-raids, and it was stated that the Assize Courts, County Police Station and adjoining buildings in which the Committee were concerned were insured against fire in the Atlas Insurance Co for £25,600…

Resolved: that the above mentioned properties be insured against damage by aircraft with the Atlas Insurance Co.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

A plane over Bisham

It was an exciting moment for Florence Vansittart Neale when she saw a British aeroplane practicing in the skies above Bisham.

26 June 1915
Belgians & Lady Innes came. Stayed till 4 – rather enchanting…. Special Constables to tea. F & I saw aeroplane flying over house.

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

Firing on our own people

Florence Vansittart Neale had some unexpected – and not entirely welcome – Belgian guests at Bisham Abbey. She was also dismayed by (accurate) rumours of a friendly fire incident at the Front.

26 March 1915
Jean Baptiste turned up from London hospital. Not expected & at 6.30 heard his father & mother had come!! Really not mother but fiancée. Had to put them up.

Hear victory not so complete at Neuve Chapelle as we thought. Meant to have taken Lille. Hear some generals sent back. Not much good – also horrible idea our artillery fired on our own people – mist & telephone wrong!!

Mr Arlea said he had given our telephone in case Special Constables called out!

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

Special Constables in Sulhamstead become efficient

Sulhamstead was among the Berkshire villages to respond to the appeal for Special Constables. The parish magazine reports:

SPECIAL POLICE
In consequence of the appeal made by the Chief Constable of Berkshire (Major Poulton), Sulhamstead has, like most of the other towns and villages in the county, organized a body of Special Police. About 25 men came forward as the result of the appeal.

Drills have taken place for several weeks, and the men are now rapidly becoming efficient. Captain Waring is the Divisional Officer, and the Sulhamstead Section is in charge of Mr Norton.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, December 1914 (D/EX725/3)

Every young man should know his duty

The Winkfield parish magazine was proud that many of its young men had joined up (and one female nurse), but urged others to follow them. They also shared a poem more notable for its keen patriotism than its literary merits.

Our Choir has been denuded of about half its senior members, five of them having volunteered for Foreign Services in answer to their country’s call.

We may perhaps feel rather proud of the number of men from this parish who are now serving their Country in this great National crisis, but it may well be that there are still some holding back who ought to come forward in response to the stirring appeal “Your King and Country need you.” As the Bishop of Chelmsford has truly said, “In this war or right against wrong every young man should seek to know his duty, and when he knows it face it even unto death.”

Besides a large number who have enrolled themselves as Special Constables, 45 young men of the parish are now either serving at the Front or undergoing training to take their part in this great war. We print a copy of the list posted on the Church door, and hope that more names will soon be added to this list of honour which perhaps at the end of the war may take more permanent form of a board or tablet so as to hand down to future generations the names of those who fought in the brave days of old.

NOW AT THE FRONT

Blunden, Horace Frank Ottaway, Ernest (Navy)
Brant, George Ottaway, Harry
Carter, Albert Reed, Charles
Harris, Herbert Rixon, Fred
Hayes-Sadler, Cecil Simmonds, John S. (Navy)
Lunn, Charles Streamer, Charles
Mitchell, George (Navy) Taylor, William (Navy)
Mitchell, Henry Thurmer, Ernest
Ottaway, Albert Woodage, Walter

Sister Constance Druce.

UNDERGOING TRAINING

Banstead, George Hoptroff, Henry
Berney, Thomas Reedham Jenden, Cecil
Chaney, George Kimble, Archibald
Chaney, John Maynard, Forster H.M.
Diaper, Arthur Nickless, Reginald
Fisher, William Nickless, Wallace
Gray, Edwin Parrott, William
Greatham, Charles Reed, Walter
Harris, Ernest Rixon, Henry
Hayes-Sadler, Ralph Spears, William
Hipple, George Thurmer, William
Holloway, William Thurmer, Robert
Holmes, Arthur Webb, Albert
Holmes, Fred

(more…)

Thousands of police reservists and Special Constables sign up

The Chief Constable and the Clerk of the Peace informed the Standing Joint Committee of the County Council and Quarter Sessions of the effects of the war on the police force and the Clerk’s department.

10 October 1914
CHIEF CONSTABLE’S REPORT

On the outbreak of the war the two boarded-out horses from the 11th Hussars were, at the request of the Military Authorities, returned to Aldershot….

The allowances to the wives of Police Constables recalled to Army service are, I now understand, to be altered from the 1st October, 1914, by an increased allowance from Army funds…

As regards the single Constables, I would ask that some consideration may be made them… I would, therefore recommend that the following three unmarried Constables (Army Reservists) who were recalled to the Army for service on 5th and 6th August, 1914, and who have been regularly contributing for their mothers’ support should be granted the allowance of 7/- per week:-
PC 36, George A. Eales
PC 163, Philip Hubbard
PC 214, Harry Easton
and that the money be paid monthly to the mother in each case.

Since the date of your last meeting in August, I have called up one more Police Reservist to take the place of a Police Constable called upon to resign. The total of First Police Reservists now serving is therefore 44.

Formation of a Police Special Reserve.
I beg to report that on the outbreak of war the duties of the Police were increased out of all proportion to the strength of the Force. It was necessary to recall all those away on annual leave and to suspend the weekly rest day. Forty-four 1st Police Reservists have since then been called up for duty. The demands on the time of the Officers and Constables have been very great, consequent on the necessity for continuous watching of the main bridges over the Thames, the railway lines, the requisition of Police by the Military Authorities for mobilization, purchase of horses, vehicles, and billeting, and the posting and distribution of many Orders. The registration and watching of alien enemies under the Aliens Act, 1914, further added important duties for the Police to carry out.
In order that the Police might get some assistance at such a time I issued a Special Constables appeal, a copy of which is attached.
Consequent on this appeal I received the very greatest help and assistance throughout the County, and especially as regards the guarding and watching of the bridges (railway and main road), the railways, waterworks, lighting works and other vulnerable points; and as a result of this splendid and patriotic response to my appeal, I have now a Berks Police Special Reserve Force of nearly four thousand (4,000) under the following organization:-
Chief Organizing Officer Colonel F. C. Ricardo, CVO
Assistant Chief Organising Officer Colonel W. Thornton
Divisional Officer, Abingdon and Wallingford Police Division
Colonel A. M. Carthew-Yorstoun, CB
Divisional Officer, Faringdon Division Francis M. Butler, esq.
Divisional Officer, Maidenhead Division Heatley Noble, esq.
Divisional Officer, Newbury Division (vacant)
Divisional Officer, Hungerford Sub-division Colonel Willes
Divisional Officer, Reading Division (vacant)
Divisional Officer, Wantage Division E. Stevens, esq.
Divisional Officer, Windsor Division Colonel F. Mackenzie, CB
Divisional Officer, Wokingham Division Admiral Eustace, RN

To all these Officers I am very much indebted for their valuable help and voluntary service in this organization. The efficiency of our organization is entirely due to their energetic work.

This Force has for several weeks been drilling and doing patrol work in conjunction with the Police in many parts of the county. Classes of instruction in first aid to the injured are being formed, and miniature rifle ranges are being used by the kind permission of the owners, and new ones about to be given for such use.

We have been careful to exclude from the Reserve all those who are eligible for and whose circumstances permit of them joining the Army.

I have further received great help from the Berkshire Automobile Club, and owners of motor cars generally throughout the county, in placing motor cars at the disposal of the Police when required.

I would ask your authority to swear in a total number of Special Constables not exceeding 2,000, and to provide the necessary batons, whistles and chains, armlets and other necessary articles of equipment…. Under these conditions of appointment of Special Constables, the service is a voluntary and unpaid one.

A report by the Clerk of the Peace with regard to his staff was presented as follows:-

Gentlemen
I have to report that in consequence of the War, the following members of my staff are absent on service:-
H. U. H. Thorne, Deputy Clerk of the Peace Captain, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
E. S. Holcroft, Assistant Solicitor Captain, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
R. G. Attride, Assistant Solictor (Mental Deficiency Act)
Lieutenant, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
H. P. Tate, Senior Clerk, Taxation Department Private, Honorable Artillery Company
F. J. Ford, Clerk, Taxation Department Gunner, Berks Royal Horse Artillery
J. A. Earley, Clerk Private, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment
J. A. Callow, Clerk Private, 4th Battalion Royal Berks Regiment

Mr Tate is actually abroad on active service and the remainder have all volunteered for foreign service.

In consequence of the great depletion of my staff, I have, after consultation with the Staff Purposes Committee, arranged with Mr C. G. Chambers, of the firm of Blandy & Chambers, Solicitors, Reading, to assist me in the legal work during the absence of the Deputy Clerk and the Assistant Solicitors…
It has also been necessary for me to make temporary arrangements for the clerical work and I have engaged the following:-

Miss M. A. Burgess, Shorthand-Typist, at 12/6 per week from 7th September, 1914
Miss Norah Scrivener, Shorthand-Typist, at 10/- per week from 14th September, 1914
Stanley A. Bidmead, Office Boy, at 5/- per week from 1st September, 1914.

Standing Joint Committee minutes, 10 October 1914 (C/CL/C2/1/5)

A fine response from Ascot

The Ascot parish magazine shows how that village was adapting to war conditions. Some of the entries are typical of other parishes; more unusual is the use of Ascot Racecourse for a hospital, and the encouragement of the working classes to take responsibility for care of refugees.

THE WAR.
No less than 95 names of parishioners, or men connected with the parish, are mentioned in All Saints Church at the Special Service of Intercession on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. All these have, in some capacity or other, joined the Navy, or Army. It is a fine response, on the part of Ascot, to the call of the Country upon her sons to take up arms in her defence, and in the great struggle for justice and righteousness. May GOD watch over all our lads, and keep them from harm, both moral and bodily.

THOSE AT THE FRONT.- The names of those at the front are mentioned at the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and Thursdays ay 8 a.m. : also at Matins and Evensong on Sundays. We ask the help of our people to ensure an accurate list, for it would grieve us to leave nay names out. A box, with pencil and paper, is placed on the table at the west end of the Church for the reception of the full names (of those at the Front).These names shall be inserted in the Parish Magazine month by month. We append the first list, which we trust is complete as far as it goes –

NAVY. – Eric Welman, Herbert Edward Cook, Archibald James Ewart, John Nobbs, William Luke Havell, Frederick George Barton, Oliver Frank Tindall, William Percy Siggins, Joseph Wilfred Ferns, Thomas William Hawthorn, Herbert William Wilderspin, George Parker, Albert Arthur Barton.

ARMY.- Eric Harold Tottie, Herbert Lane Poole, Reginald Poole, Vernon Charles, Tapscott Cole, Maurice Wingfield.

RED CROSS HOSPITAL, &c.

We extract the following from the Windsor Express –

Mention has already been made in these columns of the valuable uses to which the racecourse buildings and enclosures at Ascot are now being put. The five-shilling stand, as previously announced, has been arranged in wards for the accommodation of wounded soldiers, and to make things as comfortable as possible, a heating apparatus costing between £400 and £500 is being installed.
But this is not all. Series after series of ambulance lectures have been given here by Dr. Gordon Paterson to prepare men and women for the duty of attending to the sick and wounded, while the grounds adjoining have been occupied considerably by special constables and others at drill – this being another kind of preparation of which the importance cannot be overlooked.

The latest development is that every suitable building is to become a dwelling for wives and children of soldiers at the front. It means that these families will leave barracks, thus making room for recruits, and will come to comfortable quarters at Ascot, where everything will be provided – furniture, firing, light, etc. – but food, and the latter they will provide for themselves from their separate allowances. The number of those who will swell Ascot’s normal population is at present unknown, but it is expected that full advantage will be taken of the preparations now in progress.

(more…)

Early enthusiasm for joining up in Cookham Dean

The Cookham Dean parish magazines show hows the first recruits from the village after the war started were encouraged to join up following a  large public meeting.  No doubt the example of the first brave volunteer encouraged his friends to follow him.  We also see the need for supplementary policing; Special Constables were used during the war partly to replace officers who had joined the armed forces, and also as an additional line of home defence, ready to protect vulnerable resources such as water supplies in the event of an invasion. They were appointed under the terms of the Special Constables Act 1914.

A meeting was summoned at the instance of Mr J. W. Stone, and was held in the Drill Hall on Tuesday evening August 28th, for the purpose of inviting young men to join the Colours [the army] and to secure the assistance, in case of need, of older men from the village who would be willing to be sworn in as Special Constables…

The meeting was opened by the singing of the National Anthem. There was a large attendance and the serious tone of all present testified to the fact that the gravity of the situation was making itself felt in Cookham Dean. The result of the meeting was most satisfactory, some fourteen young men came forward to be Special Constables. The recruits were medically examined on Monday, Aug. 31st, and all but two were accepted; five of them joined the Royal Engineers and the rest enlisted in the Royal Berks Regiment, and left for their regiments on Sept. 1st.

 

But enthusiasm was, though widespread, not universal, as the October issue of the magazine was to confirm:

The annual meeting of the Cookham Dean Young Men’s Club was held on the opening night of the session, Sept 16th at 8.30.  The numbers in the club are smaller than in previous years owing to many of the members having joined the army, and it is of course possible that others may see their way to doing the same later on.

 

Source: Cookham Dean parish magazine, September and October 1914 (D/P43B/28A/11)

More from Mrs Vansittart Neale

Just a brief note from Florence Vansittart Neale today as she continued to busy herself getting Bisham Abbey ready for hospital use:

27 August 1914
Painted bedsteads & worked….

Special Constables – George Trent volunteering.

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