Peace day festivities everywhere

Our diarists enjoyed the peace festivities despite poor weather.

Florence Vansittart Neale
19 July 1919

Gloomy looking morning. Rain about 12. Peace day. Festivities all over England. Grand procession of all troops. Navy & Army, [illegible], Air & WAACs & Wrens! through London. Pagets got seats [at] Admiralty. H, Edith & I to Bisham. Dinner in schools – very pretty. E & I lunch vicarage. Games & sports in Warren. Dinner to returned soldiers (49) – tea & sports for whole village. Everyone enjoyed it. Tea in schools & dancing after till 10.30. We went home after giving prizes.

[and at back of book:]

Peace day festivities everywhere. Big procession soldiers & sailors in London. In Bisham dinner for rehomed soldiers. Tea & sports for everyone. Dancing in evening. Had some rain but not bad! Meals & dancing in schools. Pagets got seats Admiralty from Mr Baddeley.

William Hallam
19th July 1919

I suppose I was tired out this week end for I didn’t wake till 10 past 8. Up, and got breakfast: Marjorie had to take her class of school children to the Theatre to the cinema part of their treat…

This afternoon it came on to rain but we all went round the town. It was the best show of decorations I’ve ever seen but the rain spoilt so much of it. A lot of people had decorated their fronts up with Chinese Lanterns to light at night and of course these were spoilt as it turned out a very wet night.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

Advertisements

A night off

The night shift got a night off as well as the men who worked by day in order to celebrate peace.

18th July 1919

Finish up work for this week this morning at 8. Sat is Peace Celebration and a holiday. So the night men have Fri. night off. So I did not go to bed to-day. Went down and met wife and Dot at the station. The train was packed.

Diary of William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

Peace finally settled – “Thank God for that”

The news of the signing of the peace treaty was made public.

28th May 1919

To-day I paid in the Co-Op. 1S.10d in cash and our dividend 18S 2d to make up 6£ in there…. When in there heard the hooter blow that Peace had been finally settled. Thank God for that I said to myself.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

“Peace was signed to-day but this settlement has been so long about all the excitement had died out”

The war was now officially over.

24th May 1919

Peace was signed to-day but this settlement has been so long about all the excitement had died out.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

The duty of the Mother Country to the Children

Colonial soldiers were welcome in the Hallam house.

4th May 1919

We entertained those N. Zealanders to dinner tea & supper. One’s name is Alford, the other Cleanwater – first time I’ve heard of this name. They are very grateful but as I tell all these Colonial fellows they must look at it as the duty of the Mother Country to the Children.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

“They drinked and drinked till they had drinked it all up”

Now the war was over, William Hallam was hoping to retire back to his birthplace in the Vale of White Horse. On a reconnaissance trip he saw German PoWs hard at work.

22nd April 1919

Up at 7 this morning and went to Uffington by the 20 past 9 train. I walked up to Fernham. Looked over the churchyard and the church (modern) was locked. Just under churchyard a piece of ground occupied by the ruins of 2 old wattle & daub cottages which would do to build a new house on, I thought, if it could be bought cheap. Here an old man who was chopping the hedge tidy told me it was a sharp frost this morning, and if we had many more like it, it would do a lot of harm to the fruit.

I went on to Longcot and when I got there went into Pub to have a drink but the hostess said they hadn’t a drop of anything, she said you know Sir we had a wedding yesterday and they kept it up, yes, and they drinked and drinked till they had drinked it all up.”

I enquired of her where the houses were which were for sale and then went and looked at them. One was too big and another too small (one room down 2 up), another property was a block of 3 cottages – but I don’t want neighbours when I get into the country. I’ve had enough of their borrowing and gossiping ways here in Swindon. This property had high sounding names for instance the little cottage was Priory Glen, the 3 cottages Priory Place and the largest house the Priory, but all this is misnamed for I don’t believe a religious house or property ever existed there. However none of it will suit me.

I then went and looked round the Churchyard. I quizzed some of the stones – must go and copy them down. At the SW corner of the C.yard is a little house or room where they hold the Church… over the door is date 1821 & initial. Then I walked on to Shrivenham.

In a garden at Longcot I was 2 German prisoners at work planting potatoes- working very leisurely and smoking cigarettes. As I had plenty of time before getting to the station I went into Church & churchyard. Sat down in a pew and rested……..”

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

A touching ceremony

William Hallam saw a memorial unveiled.

20th April 1919

Easter Sunday. Up at ¼ to 7. A bright day but a bitter cold wind. Wife Mur. & I to St Saviour’s Church to H.C. at 8. Then I went down to St. Paul’s at XI by myself. A large number there. After the service a new stained glass window was unveiled by Capt Wright in memory of 2 brothers- Dixon- killed in the war. Capt R. Hogson in uniform carried the cross. Quite a touching ceremony. It was such a cold wind I didn’t go out again.


Diary of William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

‘I planted an apple tree to celebrate the armistice’

The fruits of peace.

30th November 1918
After dinner I cut up a week’s firewood and planted an apple tree to celebrate the armistice.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

A wonderful day – full of thankfulness

The lights came on again as the armstice was celebrated at home.

Florence Vansittart Neale
11 November 1918

Armistice signed 5 a.m. Hurrah. War 4 years, 3months & a week.
A wonderful day – full of thankfulness. Fighting stopped at 11 a.m. Peace. Peace. We heard it on the golf links. I, the girls & Boy. Shaw heard the church bells, & we the sirens & guns!! London I hear a marvellous sight – crowds & all happy & orderly. Own overseas went up.


William Hallam
11th November 1918

We heard Germany had accepted the armistice about 20 past 11. We all left off work at 12 and came home. I washed and changed and after dinner we all went round the town which was soon decorated up and everybody visiting. Heard the first fireworks for 4 years. People letting them off even down at the Tram Centre. After tea along to Bath Rd reading room. Quite a crowd there waiting for evening papers to see the terms but there were not pub liked- the terms I mean. We all went down to St Paul’s to a thanksgiving service at 8. The most noticeable thing I suppose on going out was to see the street lamps lit. At the conclusion of the service we had a solemn Te Deum with incense.

CSJB
11 November 1918

The Armistice signed at 4 a.m. ‘Te Deum’.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25); Annals of the Community of St John Baptist, Clewer (D/EX1675/1/14/5)

Excitement almost as tense as that Bank Holiday Monday 4 years ago

It was clear that the Germans were almost ready to surrender.

Florence Vansittart Neale
9 November 1918

German peace delegates arrived at Capelle. Met by Foch & Admiral Wemyss. Say the terms are hard. Excited at having butter again!!!

Pagets & Mr Davidson & dogs on river…

Charlie Tuck had flu, so Lizzie our only housemaid.

William Hallam
9th November 1918

Everyone anxiously awaiting the decision of the German gov. Excitement almost as tense as that Bank Holiday Monday 4 years ago.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

How the high wages are spent

Good news was tempered with sadness as men continued to die.

Florence Vansittart Neale
19 October 1918

Dear old Christopher died of pneumonia or flu. None of his family there. Up at the Orkneys. On hospital ship “Agadir”….

Had letters from girls. Wonderful entrance into Lille – all inhabitants kissing. Bring sugar & sweets for our soldiers.

William Hallam
19th October 1918

This afternoon I went through the town.… I could not help noticing this afternoon all the people especially women are dressed up to the nines and even then looking into the drapers windows for more clothes. This is how the high wages are spent.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

Bleeding the country

Railway worker William Hallam felt guilty at the higher pay he was getting for working on munitions.

4th October 1918

Wages 4£. 11s. 7d. after 10/6 stopped. As we have a 3/6 a week increase in wages & 9 wks back pay to come. It’s bleeding the country though.

Diary of William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

A demonstration against raising the food prices

The rising prices of food were causing discontent at home.

William Hallam
1st October 1918

A sharp frost this morning the roofs of the houses quite white when I went to work at 6. We all came out at 4 to make a demonstration against raising the food prices. I came home- didn’t go up to Town Hall.

Florence Vansittart Neale
1 October 1918

After tea to Freres & Mrs Hester. Dicky short leave (one day!).

Diaries of William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

A wild mass of soldiers

Railway workers went on strike.

Florence Vansittart Neale
24 September 1918

A & E to dine. E receiving War Badge from Sir F. Loyd. Paddington a wild mass of soldiers. Wicked strike of railway men. Government firm.

William Hallam
24th September 1918

Aeroplanes were flying over all night long last night.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

The noise of aeroplanes overhead

Pilots training disturbed the sleep of civilians at home.

20th September 1918

A great aeroplane went over this morning about 4 o’clock making such a noise it woke me up and I thought it was the 20 past 5 hooter. It then returned about 5.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)