“An incalculable amount of pain, many limbs, and indeed many lives must have been saved by the timely arrival of the bales”

Wargrave had been at the heart of work providing surgical supplies during the war.

Wargrave Surgical Dressing Society

This Society, which has just brought its work to a close owed its existence to the energies of Miss Choate.

At Millward’s, generously lent by the late Mr. Henry Nicholl and recently by Major C.R.I. Nicholl, was started by her in March 1915, a work which grew to such an extent that during the four years some 500,000 dressings and comforts were dispatched to the wounded from Wargrave. These were not, of course, all made in the village. Under Miss Choate’s organisation, branches were started at Dartmouth, Ledbury, Loughton, Pangbourne, Peppard, Shiplake and Wimbledon, while welcome and regular parcels were received from Twyford, Kidmore and Hoylake. But all were packed for shipment and consigned from Wargrave.

The parcels went to Hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations at almost every fighting area – to Mesopotamia, to Gallipoli, to Egypt, to Serbia and to American and Colonial Hospitals in England and in France.

It is impossible to ever estimate the value of the work. An incalculable amount of pain, many limbs, and indeed many lives must have been saved by the timely arrival of the bales. As a lame man said to the writer “Only we who are still suffering the effects of the shortage of medical comforts at the beginning of the war can appreciate fully the work these people have done.”

In the early days, consignments were sent in response to urgent appeals from Commandants and Matrons of Hospitals, but since 1916 the Society, in common with other of the larger Societies in England, has worked under the direction of the Department of the Director General of Voluntary Organisations at the War Office.


A meeting of the Society and the subscribers was held on Wednesday, Feb. 5th, at Millwards to decide upon the disposal of the Balance in hand. Every provision had been made for carrying on the work through the winter if the war had continued, and the funds amounted to over £200.

In the absence of Capt. Bird, the Vicar was asked to take the chair. After a full discussion it was unanimously resolved that £200 be given to the Ward Fund and Recreation Fund of the Manor Hospital, Hampstead.

It was a great happiness to all concerned to feel that the money should benefit a work with which Miss Sinclair was so closely associated.

It was resolved that the remaining balance be given to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, for a Care and Comforts Fund for the Soldier Patients.

The accounts have not yet been audited but it is expected that the amount to be given to Reading Hospital will be about £20.

These resolutions, together with the audited accounts, must be submitted to the Charity Commissioners for approval, but there is every reason to think that they will be endorsed by them.

The men in the Manor House Orthopedic Hospital, Hampstead, for discharged Soldiers and Sailors, wish to send their grateful thanks to the Members of the Surgical Dressing Emergency Society, Wargrave, for their splendid gift (£200) to be used for their Care and Comfort. As many Wargrave ladies have consented to be god-mothers in the wards, it is the wish of the men that some of them should be on the new Committee, called the Care and Comforts Committee, who from time to time will decide how the money shall be spent. The appreciation of the men is very touching in its sincerity and sense of sympathy.

Wargrave parish magazine, March 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)

Renewal of air raid insurance

Despute the promising news, Twyford charity trustees thought it prudent to keep insuring their almshouses against air raid damage.

1st October 1918

Aircraft Insurance

The Clerk having asked for instructions as to the renewal, or otherwise, of the Insurance of the Trustees properties against damage from air raids;

It was resolved that he be instructed to renew the Insurance for a further period of one year.

Polehampton Charities, Twyford: trustees’ minutes (D/QX42/1/5)

“Died through lead poisoning contracted while on Government work in France”

The Berkshire Committee of the National Relief Fund tried to help people thrown into economic disarray as a direct result of the war.

24 June 1918
Shire Hall

The Secretary reported that he had been successful in obtaining work for Mrs Swain with Messrs Gill & Sons, Tailors, Reading. Mrs Swain had, however, since stated that she wished to go to Holland where it was understood her husband had been transferred. The Secretary stated that he had informed Mrs Swain that he did not think it would be possible for her to obtain a permit to do this, and nothing further had been heard in the matter.

The case of Mrs Coleman, Station Road, Twyford, whose husband was killed in an Air-raid on London was considered, and a letter was read stating that the Lords Commissioners had sanctioned an award of £250 to Mrs Coleman. The Committee were asked to inform the Government Committee of their proposals for the disbursement of the amount in the best interests of the dependents, and in order to do this it was agreed that the Chairman and Mr F Bate should interview Mrs Coleman on the following Monday, 1st July.

The Chairman stated that he had authorised as a case of urgent necessity, two grants of £5 to be expended by the Rev. H Tower of Windsor, on behalf of Mrs Kate Clarke, St Leonards Road, Windsor, whose husband had died through lead poisoning contracted while on Government work in France.

The action of the Chairman was confirmed and a further grant of £5 authorised to be paid if necessary.

An application for assistance received from Miss Lipscombe, Maidenhead, was considered and refused, as it was not considered one of distress directly due to the present war.

The Secretary reported the result of his enquiries of Mr Davies, Maidenhead, in the case of Mrs Willis, to the effect that it would appear that Mrs Willis would not be able to take up employment. It was suggested that the case be referred to the Central Office asking whether a final grant might be given to the woman, and the Secretary was instructed accordingly.

The Treasurer reported that the loan of £3 made in April 1917 to Mrs Lake, Yew Tree Farm, Swallowfield, the period for repayment of which had been extended, was now five months overdue, and asked for instructions as to any necessary action in the matter.

After consideration it was agreed that the promissory note be returned to Mrs Lake and the loan treated as a gift.

National Relief Fund: Berkshire Committee minutes (C/CL/C6/4/1)

Increasing air raid insurance

A Twyford charity decided to increase its insurance against air raids on its property, to safeguard the charity’s funds.

3rd July 1917

Insurances. Fire + Aircraft.

In accordance with the minute of the last meeting hereon the question of increasing the premiums on the Insurance policies on the Trustees’ properties at Hampton and Twyford was bought up for consideration.

Resolved: That the Clerk be instructed to increase the Insurances on the above mentioned properties by 33 1/3 %, and that the Insurances under the Aircraft Raid policy be similarly increased.

Polehampton Charities, Twyford: trustees’ minutes (D/QX42/1/5)

War charities registered

The County Council’s War Charities Sub-committee had been busy registering local war charities, ranging from bandage making to Christmas gifts for the armed forces.


Since the last report to the Council the following applications for registration under the War Charities Act, 1916, have been approved, and the Clerk has been instructed to issue certificates and to notify the Charity Commissioners:

No of Cert. Name of Charity Applicant

21 Bracknell War Work Depot (Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild) Mrs Littlewood, Hillside, Bracknell

22 Hanney Xmas Tree Fund for men serving HM Forces H. Leslie Edwards, schoolmaster, Hanney

23 Bracknell Xmas Parcels Fund Canon H. Barnett, Bracknell Vicarage

24 Bradfield District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society C J Haviland, Mead House, Bradfield

25 Bracknell Oaklea Auxiliary Hospital Mrs L A Berwick, Sunny Rise, Bracknell

26 Crowthorne Waste Paper Collection of War Charities Miss H M M Moody, Ferndene, Crowthorne

27 Wargrave Woodclyffe Auxiliary Hospital W. Ryder, The Little House, Wargrave

28 Wokingham Work Guild Mrs H M Lomax, Frog Hall, Wokingham

29 South Easthampstead District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Miss E Monck, Aldworth, Crowthorne

30 Heatherside Auxiliary Military Hospital Miss E Monck, Aldworth, Crowthorne

31 Finchampstead Belgian Refugees S F Smithson, The Old Rectory, Finchampstead

32 Maidenhead Rural North Branch of British Red Cross Society Mrs Carpendale, Pinkneys Green

33 Hungerford Sailors and Soldiers Xmas Parcel Fund E C Townshend, Willows Close, Hungerford

34 Finchampstead Hospital Supply Depot Miss L M Hopkinson, Wyse Hill, Finchampstead

35 Bourton War Hospital Supply Depot Mrs W H Ames, Church Farm House, Bourton

36 Hungerford District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

37 The VAD Red Cross Hospital, Hungerford A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

38 The VAD Red Cross Hospital, Barton Court, Kintbury A S Gladstone, JP, Wallingtons, Hungerford

39 Twyford and Ruscombe War Committee Rev. R W H Acworth, Twyford Vicarage

40 Sonning and Woodley Surgical Requisites Association Mrs C Christie Miller, The Deanery, Sonning

41 Mortimer VAD Hospital Miss F M Wyld, Highbury, Mortimer

42 Waltham St Lawrence Prisoners of War Fund Claude M Warren, Old School House, Shurlock Row

43 Wokingham South Rural District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Mrs A M Western, The Coppice, Finchamapstead

44 Registered in error – subsequently cancelled

45 Ascot Military Hospital Miss Nora Collie, Ascot Military Hospital

46 Wantage District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Miss Gertrude Elliott, Ginge Manor, Wantage

47 Binfield Popeswood Auxiliary Hospital Henry E A Wiggett, White Lodge, Binfield

48 Spencers Wood Local Red Cross Fund Rev. F T Lewarne, Spencers Wood, Reading

49 Faringdon District of Berkshire Branch of British Red Cross Society Henry Procter, Gravel Walk, Faringdon

EXEMPTION CERTIFICATES (to 7 January, 1917, only)

2 Burghfield Sailors and Soldiers Xmas Parcel Fund H G Willink, JP, Hillfields, Burghfield

3 East Challow Xmas Presents Concert Fund Miss E B Vince, Manor Farm, East Challow

4 Kintbury Xmas Presents Fund Mrs Alice G Mahon, Barton Holt, Kintbury

Report of War Charities Sub-committee of BCC, 20 January 1917 C/CL/C1/1/20)

Aircraft insurance in Hurst and Twyford

A Hurst charity decided to insure its premises against damage from air raids.

12th January 1917

Air-craft Insurance.

It was resolved that the Air Craft Insurance on Shaftesbury Avenue property, Hurst Almshouses, and Twyford Almshouses be renewed for a further period of twelve months; and the clerk was instructed to apply to the Trustees of the Brockenborough Estate for payment of the premium on Twyford Almshouses.

Hurst Parochial Charities trustees’ minutes (D/QX30/1/4)

A charity invests in war loans

A Twyford charity agreed to invest some of its funds in government war loans.

9th January 1917

Deposit a/c and War Loan

Resolved on the motion of Mr Godfrey Boulton seconded by Mr H.W. Verey:

That the sum of £200 now on deposit at the L.C.&W. [London County and Westminster] Bank be withdrawn, and that from the current balance thereat, there be withdrawn such amount as will with the above mentioned sum amount to £300 & that the whole be invested in £5 % war stock 1929-1947.

It was further resolved that the Clerk and Receiver be authorised and instructed to act accordingly.

Polehampton Charities, Twyford: trustees’ minutes (D/QX42/1/5)

Sending dressings right out to the firing line

People in the villages of Wokingham Rural District gave their money generously, while those in Wargrave were proud to know that their handmade surgical dressings were being put to use at the front where they were most urgently needed.

Our Day

Very hearty congratulations and our best thanks are due to Mrs. Oliver Young and all her collectors, for the splendid contribution sent this year from the district to the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The Cheque sent to the County Secretary from the Wokingham North District was for £168. 10s. 1d. and was made up as follows:-

£. s. d.
Wargrave per Mrs. Victor Rhodes: 19 3 2
Wargrave per Mrs Vickerman 36 0 0
Hare Hatch per Mrs. A. W. Young 20 7 2
Twyford per Mrs. F. C. Young 23 4 0
Remenham and Crazies Hill per Mrs. Noble 21 1 7
Mr. Noble per Mrs. Noble 20 0 0
Sonning per Miss Williams 13 0 0
Woodley per Miss Pantin 3 6 2
Hurst per Mrs. Roupell 12 8 0

£168 10 1

Wargrave Surgical Dressing Emergency Society

Since March 23rd, 1915 over 300 Bales of dressings and comforts have been sent to Casualty Clearing Stations in France, Malta, Egypt, Alexandria and Port Said. The Society is now approved by the War Office, and properly licensed under the New War Charity Act. In future it is intended to print the hospitals where dressings are sent every month, in the Parish Magazine, as it cannot fail to be a source of satisfaction to know that while the Hospital is doing all it can for the men who have come back, the Surgical Dressing Society is sending every month about 20 Bales right out to the Firing Line, for the use of the men who come out of the trenches on the field of Battle.

List of Hospitals for October and November:

B. Ex. F. France:
No. 5, Casualty Clearing Station
No. 27, Field Ambulance – 9th Scottish Section
No. 3, Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

No. 19 General Hospital, Alexandria
No. 31, General Hospital, Port Said

These Hospitals have 4 Bales of Dressings etc. each:
No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station
No. 5 Casualty Clearing Station
No. 2/2d London Casualty Clearing Station
No. 1/1 Midland D. Casualty Clearing Station
British Exped. Force, France.

4 Bales each.

By order of the Director General. Vol. Organizations
Scotland Yard.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P145/28A/31)

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


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


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…)

A Mission of Repentance in the time of this terrible war

The Church’s response to the war, in the form of the National Mission, was attracting interest in central/east Berkshire.

The National Mission

Meetings for instruction and devotion are being arranged in various centres of the Rural Deanery. Twyford is the Centre for the parishes of Hurst, Remenham, Ruscombe, Woodley and Wargrave.

It is proposed to hold a meeting on Wednesday, September 20th, beginning in the Parish Hall, Twyford, at 3.30pm. and ending, after tea, with a service in Church. The name of the speaker, and other particulars, will be announced later.

It is hoped that a second meeting will be arranged at the same hour on Saturday, September 23rd, for Teachers and all who have the charge of children.

The Witness of the Church

When we speak of the Message of God to the Nation in the time of this terrible war and of the Mission of Repentance, we naturally think of the great responsibility of the Church of England.

The Church is the witness to Truth and we must thank God that the Church of England has been faithful in her stewardship.

When we penitently recall the sins of selfishness, the pursuit of wealth, and the heedlessness of God, which are at the root of this war, we must remember that the Church of England has all along been bearing faithful witness against them both in life and doctrine.

Hoping their son would return from the war

An elderly couple eligible for an almshouse decided against taking it up so they would be able to provide a home for their soldier son, assuming he returned safely.

14th June 1916
Barkers almshouses vacancy. The clerk reported that the vacancy had again been advertised and that the following applications had been received: vig:-

………….Eele. aged 73} Broad Commons, Hurst
Martha Eele. aged 70}
James Simpson. aged 84. Dunt Lane, Hurst.
Harriet Ann Cunnington. aged 76. Widow, Hyma Cotts, Twyford.
Fanny Hillier. aged 64. Widow, Twyford.

The clerk reported that the Eeles had withdrawn their application as they wished to keep the house together in the hope of their son returning in safety from the Great War.

Hurst Parochial Charities trustees’ minutes (D/QX30/1/4)

No power to pay for a sister’s season ticket

The Standing Joint Committee which oversaw Berkshire’s police were not very receptive to requests from two young policemen who had joined the army, but wanted the County Council to help subsidise their families, who were struggling without their contributions to family income.

8 January 1916

PC210, Arthur J. Wicks, joined the Army on 1 December, 1915, under the provisions of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915. He stated that he had been contributing 2/- per week towards the support of his parents, and also paying £1.3s.9d. per quarter for his young sister’s railway season ticket from Twyford to Reading to enable her to learn dressmaking. His father is employed on the Great Western Railway and earns 18/- per week. The Sub-committee recommend that PC Weeks [sic] be informed that the committee have no power to contribute to the cost of his sister’s season ticket; and that so far as his parents are concerned, application should be made to the Army Authorities for an allowance.

PC 190, Thomas Irving, joined the Army on 1 December 1915, under the same Act, and stated that he had been contributing £1 per month to the support of his parents. His father is temporarily employed at Windsor Post Office, and earns about 27/6 per week. The Sub-committee are of opinion that any application by PC Irving for an allowance should be made by him to the Army Authorities.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/6)

In aid of wounded soldiers

Civilians in the Wargrave area contributed generously to a collection on behalf of wounded soldiers.

“Our Day”

“Our Day” Thursday, October 21st, in aid of our Wounded Soldiers at the front, was most excellently supported in the Wokingham North Division. Madam young collected £17 at her gate, from friends in Hare Hatch and district. Mrs. Groves collected £20. 0s. 6d., which included £4. 6s. 6d. sent through Mrs. J. Bennett by the members of the Wargrave Tennis Club, as a result of their social evening. Miss Brenda Rhodes and friends collected £15 8s. 0½d. from Crazies Hill and district; while Mr. F. C. Young organized the collecting in Twyford and sent £25 3s. 2d. The return for Hurst is not yet in. Mrs. Oliver Young begs to thank one and all for their grand work and will announce in next months Magazine the total sum she is enabled to send to Headquarters.

Wargrave parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

Eggs, chocolate and cigarettes

The Wargrave churches celebrated Harvest by collecting chocolate and cigarettes to send to local men serving in the armed forces, and eggs for the wounded in Reading.

Hare Hatch Notes
October 1915

We shall begin our Thanksgiving Services with the Holy Communion at 7 a.m., the Vicar will celebrate Children’s Service in the afternoon at 3 p.m., we invite them to bring new laid eggs for the sick and wounded soldiers in the Reading Hospital, this will be an acceptable gift.

November 1915
The Harvest Festival

The little iron Church looked very pretty when the sanctuary was decorated and nearly every seat was filled both in the morning and the evening. We had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Acworth, the Vicar of Twyford, as the preacher in the morning and Mr Wrenford, the Vicar of Littlewick in the evening.

Instead of bringing fruit and flowers people made offerings of chocolates, tobacco and some eight thousand cigarettes for the Sailors and Soldiers. These have been done up into small parcels, one for every man on the sea and across the sea. Relatives are asked to out the little present into the next parcel they send out. Three pounds weight will go for a shilling, so one can often find room for a little packet.

If any parishioners who have relations who have left England in the service of the country and have not yet received a parcel, they are requested to call at the Vicarage for one.

Wargrave parish magazines, October and November 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)

An offering in which all can join

Wargrave Church decided to replace the usual Harvest Festival displays of produce with cigarettes to send to the troops.

The Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival at the Parish Church will be held on Sunday, October 10th. The Collections will be as usual divided between the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Association and the Royal Berkshire Hospital at Reading.

It would seem that in place of the offerings of fruit and flowers, for which there is no space in the iron Church, there can be a better plan than that adopted last year. Tobacco and Cigarettes for our Soldiers will be an offering in which all can join, and will be received at the Church door throughout the day.

The preacher at Mattins will be the Rev. R. W. H. Acworth, Vicar of Twyford and at Evensong the Rev. T. H. Wrenford, Vicar of Littlewick.

The decorations will be of simple character, as on other Festivals in the temporary Church. We shall be grateful if the ladies will give their kind help as usual, both in sending flowers and by coming early on Saturday morning to do all that is possible to add beauty to the Sanctuary.

Wargrave parish magaizine, October 1915 (D/P145/28A/31)