A scheme with the object of absorbing into industry disabled and discharged Ex-Service men

It was important to find work for former soldiers.

13th October 1919
Employment of Ex Service Men

Reporting the receipt of circular letters from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour calling attention to a scheme with the object of absorbing into industry disabled and discharged Ex-Service men.

Recommending that the Clerk inform the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health of the fact that the Guardians had re-instated all their Officers who had been on service.

War Pensions

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Pensions, referring to the Clerk’s letter stating that the Guardians supported the Resolution reported by the Hemsworth Board, and asking for particulars of cases which had prompted the Guardians to support the Resolution. Further reporting the receipt of a letter from Lt Col Leslie Wilson, MP, stating that he would be glad to be informed of any delay in awarding pensions to men living in Reading, and that he would have any such cases fully investigated at the Ministry of Pensions.

MReport of Finance & General Purposes Committee inminutes of Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

A fair charge upon the Army Council

Reading Workhouse Infirmary was one of the many buildings taken over as a war hospital.

11th September 1919

Claim against the War Office

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Health stating that they had received the claims made by the Guardians upon the Army Council in respect of the occupation of their premises as a War Hospital for the periods ended 31st March and 30th September, 1918, and the 31st March last, and that they had forwarded such claims to the Army Council for payment. The clerk stated that, with regard to the two first mentioned claims, the Ministry of Health considered that they were excessive, and that he had received from the Ministry of Health, copy of a letter which had been addressed to the Secretary of the War Office as follows:

“I am to add that these claims have been the subject of an interview between the Clerk to the Guardians and this Department, and that this Department are of opinion that the claims constitute a fair charge upon the Army Council.”

Discharged Soldiers & Sailors

Reporting the receipt of a letter from the Hemsworth Union asking the Guardians to support the following Resolution passed by them with regard to relief to discharged soldiers.

“That this Board of Guardians expresses its indignation and disgust in Discharged Soldiers and Sailors being compelled to apply for relief to this Board, and protests against the delay of the Ministry of Pensions in dealing with Soldiers’ and Sailors’ pensions which should be paid on production of the Local Medical Officer’s Certificate, and that a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Prime Minister and other Boards of Guardians for their support.”

Recommending that the Board support the principle of the Resolution.

Report of Finance & General Purposes Committee, Reading Board of Guardians (G/R1/59)

Reduction in old age pension owing to a pension due to the loss of a son whilst on Active Service

Tuesday, the 2nd day of September, 1919

OLD AGE PENSIONS

A Resolution from the Durham union was … read by which it was proposed that no old age pensioner should suffer any reduction in pension owing to him or her being in receipt of a pension due to the loss of a son whilst on Active Service, where the receipt of the said sum brings the total income above the maximum. It was resolved:

That, whilst in sympathy with the proposal the Board take no action in the matter.

Minutes of Wallingford Board of Guardians (G/W1/36)

Peace Decorations in the Mall

Boys from Slough witnessed an important Act of Parliament being passed.

September 2nd 1919

On Thursday August 31st the boys of the Gardening Class were taken to London. The trip included a visit to the zoo, a visit to the British Museum to see the illuminated manuscripts and historical autographs, the Peace Decorations in the Mall, and the House of Commons. One and a half hours were spent in the Gallery listening to a debate on Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Pensions. By good luck Black Rod came and called the Commons to the House of Lords for the Royal Assent to the Bill.

Stoke Road School, Slough: log book (89/SCH/28/1)

No reduction in pension

13th August, 1919
O. A. Pensions

It was proposed by Mr Cutler, and seconded by the Revd A A Bull, and resolved, that this Board support the following Resolution passed by the Guardians of the Durham Union –

“That we seek an Amendment of the Old Age Pension Act to provide that no Old Age Pensioner shall suffer any reduction in Pension owing to he or she being in receipt of a pension due to the loss of a son whilst on Active Service, where the receipt of the said Pension brings the total income above the maximum prescribed for in the Act in determining the present conditional scale of Old Age Pensions.”

Minutes of Maidenhead Board of Guardians (G/M1/38)

Relief to be stopped until the army pension is exhausted

A bereaved mother was not allowed public funds to support her as she had her son’s army pension to call on.

5th August 1919

Case of Ann Ford
The Relieving Officer for No. 1 District reported that this woman had lately received £9:5:0 arrears of Army Pension in respect of her son who was killed during the War and also £5 gratuity. As this was a non settled case it was resolved that the Clerk write to the Pontypridd Union recommending that relief be stopped until the money is exhausted.

Newbury Board of Guardians minutes (G/N1/39, p. 184)

Due to the general prevalence of illness throughout the county, people in many districts have been averse to congregating together

Applications for roadside war memorials were starting to come before Berkshire County Council.

Report of the Highways and Bridges Committee, 11 January 1919

WAR MEMORIALS

An application has been received from the Bath Road Club for sanction to erect a war memorial, in the form of a signpost, near Aldermaston lane on the Bath road.

The Committee do not recommend that consent be given.

A similar application from Cookham for permission to erect a memorial in the form of an Iona Cross is under consideration.


Report of Agricultural Instruction Committee to Education Committee, 11 January 1919

…The Committee present the following report of the Agricultural Organiser, received from the Principal and Acting Dean of University College, Reading, viz…

It should be pointed out that [during the quarter ending 31 December 1918] the work has been disorganized by the general prevalence of illness throughout the county. People in many districts have been averse to congregating together, with the result that in some places it was impossible to get audiences, whilst in others it was found necessary to postpone, or cancel, lectures which had been arranged. Moreover most, if not all members engaged on county work, have suffered illness during the quarter.

G S Bedford
Agricultural Organiser…

TRAINING OF DISCHARGED OFFICERS

The Committee have been asked to carry out a scheme for the training in agriculture of discharged officers; and a special Sub-committee has been appointed, consisting of representatives of this Committee, the Agricultural Executive Committee and the War Pensions Committee (in consultation with the Local Director of the Ministry of Labour). Under the scheme selected officers will receive an allowance of £125 per annum for 2 years, and additional allowances will be made to married officers, with children, up to £90. The administration of the scheme, and the amount of award, have been entrusted to this committee….

TRAINING OF MILKERS

Out of 29 applications, fifteen certificates have been awarded to women who (without State assistance) had been milking since the commencement of the war, and previous to 1918. Letters of appreciation have been sent to the applicants whose work was satisfactory, but whose length of service did not entitle them to certificates….

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

In reference to the handing over of the Ex-Kaiser for trial

Feeling against the enemy leadership still ran high, even as people adjusted to peace.

23rd December 1918

The following letters were read and ordered to be filed for future reference:-

1. From the Local Government Board
(1) in reference to the steps to be taken for application for the release of men from the Forces
(2) as to the amounts of War Bonuses granted to the administrative technical and clerical staffs of Local Authorities and setting out copy of such bonuses now authorised for permanent Civil Servants
(3) stating that the Board would shortly forward to the Treasurer an order for the payment of the sum of 18s/3d in respect of the cost of the funeral expenses of John Meikalik
(4) in reference to special allowances at Christmas time
(5) setting out a copy of Section 10 of the War Pensions (Administrative Provisions) Act 1918 in reference to application of any part of a pension towards the relief and maintenance of a person not being his wife or child
(6) requesting that the returns of pauperism may now be sent weekly as heretofore instead of monthly during the War. Resolved that the returns be made weekly as requested by the Board.

2. from the Clerk to the Wallingford Union in reference to the grant of war bonuses and inquiring what steps the Board had taken and requesting a reply by the 10th inst. The Clerk reported that he
Had replied giving particulars of the recent grant of war bonuses by the Board to the Officers.

3. from the Clerk to the Lewisham Union setting out copy of a resolution passed by that Board in reference to the handing over of the Ex-Kaiser for trial …

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians (G/A1/33)

Discharge papers produced by vagrants

Not all demobilised soldiers came home to the security of a job.

10th December 1918

Vagrants

Leter from secretary suggesting that when discharge papers are produced by a man asking for admission to the Institution or Casual ward, the Local War Pensions Committee should be communicated with.

The Clerk was instructed to ask the Matron to carry out this suggestion.

War Bonuses

Letter from the Medical Officers and Relieving Officers applying for a war bonus.

Letter from the Clerk of the Wallingford Guardians suggesting unanimity of action amongst neighbouring Guardians.

The Chairman & Clerk were instructed to meet the Chairmen & Clerks of the adjoining Unions if such a Meeting could be arranged to discuss the matter.

Faringdon Board of Guardians minutes (G/F1/44)

Down with Capitalism, Militarism, and War!

Advertisements for local left wing parties reveal a lesser known aspect to local life including attitudes to the war.

The Independent Labour Party
is an International Socialist Party. Down with Capitalism, Militarism, and War! Up with Socialism and the Brotherhood of all nations!

National Socialist Party, Reading branch.

All unattached SOCIALISTS are invited to join the above branch, the members of which recognise the necessity of the success of the Allied Forces in the present struggle to ensure the early realisation of Democracy and Socialism.

British Socialist Party
is opposed to Imperialism, Capitalism, and war, and is working for an immediate peoples’ peace.

The Voice of Labour Is like one crying in the wilderness. It is crying out against High Prices: it is crying out for more wages by which to pay the high prices: it is crying out against the people who are making the prices high. These people do not heed the cry, they meet the demand for more wages then just put a little more on the goods than they have paid in extra wages.

Give up crying out and do something!

The people must –

Control raw material.
Control production.
Control prices,

For the benefit of the whole community.

The only way – join the Co-Op.
The Stores that are owned and controlled by the Members, and do your duty.

The National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers
125 Friar Street

The Reading Branch, in conjunction with many others, is demanding that the Government shall increase the separation allowance to soldiers’ and sailors’ wives and their dependants owing to the increased cost of living; also that discharged men should be more fully represented on Pension Committees and other bodies dealing with such matters. Lord Rhondda on his death-bed sent this message to the Natioanl Baby Week. “The care of the children is a sacred duty.” How can the wives left at home to keep the home fires burning feed and clothe the babies on the present miserable allowance? We want all discharged men to join us to help us in this good work. Also to wake up the Pensions Ministry. A member speaking in the House of Commons said, “There are 2000 clerks at Chelsea dealing with 12000 pension cases weekly. That means one case per day for each clerk, yet it often takes twelve to fourteen months to get a man’s case settled.” Come along to help us to get a move on.

The Reading Worker: The Official Journal of Organised Labour in Reading and District, no. 21, September 1918 (D/EX1485/10/1/2)

Ordinary men and boys who have paid the extraordinary personal price

A new London hospital helped badly injured soldiers.

Wounded Soldiers

Miss Sinclair sends the following description of the Manor Orthopaedic Hospital, North End Road, Hampstead, which is the scene of her new work:-

“This Hospital is for the after treatment of discharged men from the army. Any man who has been a soldier and who in the opinion of his own doctor, would benefit by special expert treatment, can come to it, recommended by his own doctor, through the Pension Board. Everything in the Hospital is done for the patients but no one is accepted whose case is hopeless.

The Hospital is just starting and is growing at a wonderful rate, but it cannot grow quickly enough and there is a long waiting list.

These men are in their own clothes, many of them shabby and poor. But they stand for England’s Liberty, for the Liberty of the world, if they had not come out at the first call where would we be today? Where would all our homes be? They are ordinary men and boys. But they have paid the extraordinary personal price, which we have not paid, and can only pay by looking after them, and teaching the children to remember what they owe to the wounded men.

We have to thank the Surgical Dressings Society for coming quickly to our aid and for sending us promptly many beautiful gifts, to help meet the growing necessities of the Hospital wards, where we have so little, the help is enormously appreciated, and most of the articles sent are already in use.

Wargrave men can be sent here for treatment, our patients come from everywhere”.

Wargrave parish magazine, September 1918 (D/P145/28A/31)

Future shell shock cases

A precedent was set for dealing with shell shocked patients who ended up in the workhouse back home.

9 July 1918

G. J. Dubock

Mrs Hawker and Mr Alleyne, the Secretaries of the Newbury Sub Committee, Berks War Pensions &c Committee, being in attendance, were interviewed by the Board on the matter of this man and as to the procedure to be taken in any future similar case, and it was resolved on the motion of Mr Hill recorded by Rev. Kefford that the Master notify the above Committee immediately on admission to the House.

Newbury Board of Guardians minutes (G/N1/39, p. 79)

Delay dealing with shell shock case

George Dubock had been discharged by the army due to his severe shell shock.

26 June 1918

George J. Dubock

This man having been interviewed by the Board it was resolved that he be now discharged from the Institution. The Clerk was instructed to write Mrs Hawker, Secretary of the Newbury Sub Committee, Berks War Pensions &c committee, enquiring the reason of the delay in dealing with this case and on what authority he was said to be insane.

Newbury Board of Guardians minutes (G/N1/39, p. 75)

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)

The best results are obtained only by getting into touch with the men personally

Thousands of wounded or sick troops had now returned home. the nation owed them support for their service. Some needed medical help, others re-training for new occupations, or help finding jobs.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that they have been notified of approximately 2,524 disabled soldiers and sailors discharged into the county. Of the cases now entered upon the Register, which exclude those being investigated, the numbers specifying disabilities are as follows:

Amputation of leg or foot 51
Amputation of arm or hand 34
Other wounds or injuries to leg or foot 353
Other wounds or injuries to arm or hand 147
Other wounds or injuries to head 69
Other wounds or injuries 192
Blindness and other eye affections 77
Heart diseases 217
Chest complaints 93
Tuberculosis 101
Deafness and affections of the ear 72
Rheumatism 151
Epilepsy 37
Neurasthenia 47
Other mental affections 31
Other disabilities 532

Of this number all have been provided with a Medical Attendant [i.e. a doctor] under the National Health Insurance Act, and special treatment, including the supply or repair of artificial limbs and surgical appliances, has been provided in accordance with the recommendations of Military Authorities, Medical Boards or ordinary medical Attendants.

From the 1 April 1917, 280 cases have received Institutional treatment – both in and out-patient – at Military Hospitals, Civil Hospitals, Sanatoria, Cottage Hospitals or Convalescent Homes.
The total number of tuberculous soldiers and sailors to date is 101, and of these 72 have received Institutional treatment within the County under the County Scheme and three have received Institutional treatment outside the County Scheme. This treatment is provided through the County Insurance Committee.

The Committee has assisted with Buckinghamshire War Pensions Committee in the provision of a new wing for Orthopaedic Treatment at the King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor. This, which was urgently needed, and will be of the greatest benefit to men in that part of the county, will be opened in the course of two or three weeks. The Committee has also been instrumental with the Buckinghamshire Committee in obtaining the approval of the Minister of Pensions to a proposed Scheme for the provision, equipment, and establishment of a special hospital for totally disabled soldiers and sailors at Slough and an assurance from the Ministry of adequate fees for maintenance thereof. Her Royal Highness Princess Alice is forming a provisional Committee, and we have every hope that the proposed arrangements will e speedily carried into effect.
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