Some disabled ex-soldiers are refusing to work

Berkshire County Council found the war coming close to home when its Deputy Clerk, who had joined the army soon after the start of the war, was reported killed. Meanwhile they had begun to tackle the problem of those men who had returned home from the front with a permanent disability as a result of wounds. How might they be retrained?

DEATH OF THE DEPUTY CLERK

Resolved on the motion of the Chairman [James Herbert Benyon]: That a vote of condolence be forwarded to the widow of Lieut-Col H U H Thorne in her bereavement, and that it be accompanied by an expression of the great loss sustained by the Council in the untimely, though gallant, death in action of their Deputy Clerk.

Report of the Berkshire War Pensions Committee

The War Pensions Committee commenced their work on the 1 October, 1916.

The County, in accordance with the Scheme arranged by the County Council, has been divided into twelve Sub-committees, being, for the main part, one Sub-committee for each petty sessional division; but there have been certain adjustments, for the convenience of working, between the divisions of Wokingham and Easthampstead, while the Lambourn division has been divided between Wantage and Newbury division, with the exception of the parish of Lambourn itself, which is being worked by a Secretary and Treasurer.

Almoners have been appointed for each parish throughout the County, and the Almoners and Sub-committees respectively have had powers given them to deal with all urgent cases of wives and dependants of soldiers and sailors requesting financial assistance, each case being reported to this Committee for approval or revision as the circumstances may require.

During the six months alterations have been made in the amount of the State Separation Allowances and valuable additional powers have been given to the Pensions Committee in the way of making additional grants to meet to some extent the increase in prices, and the work has been now thoroughly organised.

Since the 1 October, 1916, up to the 30 April, 1917, the Finance and General Purposes Sub-committee have dealt with 1326 cases of Advances, Supplementary and Temporary Allowances, Temporary and Emergency Grants, etc. The payments made up to the 30 April, in respect of these Allowances and Grants, amount to a sum of £2299 2s 11d.

In addition to this the Sub-committee have dealt with 33 cases of Supplementary Pensions, which have been recommended to the War Pensions etc Statutory Committee.

The other section of the work of the committee is the very important and constantly increasing work of dealing with discharged and disabled soldiers and sailors. The principle adopted has been that so soon as the notification of the discharge of a man into the county has been received, the particulars are sent down to the Secretary of the Sub-committee in whose district the man proposes to live; enquiries are made in the district as to the man’s physical condition with a view of ascertaining whether he needs further medical treatment or training for some form of employment other than that to which he was accustomed prior to his disablement, and further inquiries to ascertain whether he needs financial assistance of either a temporary or permanent character, other than that provided by his pension, if any.

Considerable difficulty has been found in many cases where men have refused to work for fear of endangering the continuance of their pension, or because they are satisfied to remain as they are for the time being at any rate with the pension that they hold. The new Royal Warrant, however, will considerably strengthen the hands of the committee, as the Ministry of Pensions are entitled to withhold a portion of a pension if a man refuses to undertake treatment which the Pensions Committee, acting on medical advice, consider necessary for him, and the Pensions Committee will be enabled to grant a Separation Allowance for the wife and children where the man is undertaking training, and, further, to pay the man a bonus for each week of a course of training which he has competed to their satisfaction.

The provision of training is a difficult matter, as the necessary organisations are few and far between. In Berkshire the committee have three Schemes in course of formation. (more…)

More wounded men arrive in Windsor

King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor was continuing to receive patients.

3 May 1917
Wounded soldiers

It was reported that since the last meeting, 9 soldiers had been discharged to Woolwich and on April 14th, 29 more wounded had been received from Southampton, bringing the total number in Hospital to 52.

King Edward VII Hospital Committee minutes, pp. 397-398 (DH6/2/4)

Totally blinded

The County Education Committee continued to find its work affected by the war in many ways, as teachers joined up, prices rose, and they helped people cope with shortages of staple foods.

School Management Sub-committee

SCHOLARSHIPS

Mr F Portas, who has for four years held a Supplementary University Scholarship, has now completed his medical course and passed the final examinations of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons. He is now serving in the RAMC. Mr Portas, prior to receiving a Guthrie Scholarship at Westminster Hospital, held a County Scholarship at the Windsor County Boys’ School, where he received his school education.

DOMESTIC ECONOMY

The demand for Sicknursing Classes which have been conducted by Miss Barrett since 1896, has during the last year ceased, chiefly on account of circumstances arising from the war, and the Sub-committee have received the resignation of Miss Barrett.

The Sub-committee desire to record their appreciation of Miss Barrett’s useful work. For twenty years the classes have been held in almost every town and village in the county, and have always been well attended and greatly appreciated.

Higher Education Sub-committee

TEACHERS ON MILITARY SERVICE

Under an arrangement between the Board of Education and the War Office, the following teachers in the lower medical categories have been released from the Army to resume their school work: Mr H May, Mr W Edginton, and Mr B Gibbons.

The Sub-committee record with regret that Mr F W Lupton has been killed in action, and Mr F E Parker has been totally blinded.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES

The Educational Supply Association have given one month’s notice to terminate on 11 May the present schedule of prices on which school materials are supplied; but will submit a revised schedule before that date.

The Contractors for Needlework Supplies have also notified further increases in the prices of some materials, and Messrs Charles & Son have raised their prices for paper goods to 100% above pre-war figures.

NATIONAL SERVICE

The Sub-committee have passed the following resolution:

In view of the fact that the Local Education Authority is of opinion that teachers are engaged in work of national importance, the Local Education authority will be unable to give any guarantee to any teacher called up that his or her place will be kept open.

FOOD ECONOMY CAMPAIGN

The Sub-committee have considered and approved a memorandum of the Education Secretary, referred to them by the War Savings Committee, with regard to the use of the Committee’s Cookery Centres for making known the best way of utilising as foods such substitutes for wheat as are available locally.

Reports of School Management Sub-committee and Higher Education Sub-committee to Berkshire Education Committee, 28 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Promoting the economical use of foods

The Education Committee was at the forefront of war savings schemes locally. School were also to be used to promote changes in people’s habits with regards to food and cookery given the food shortages resulting from the war.

Report of Berks War Savings Committee

The War Savings Committee submit the following report of their work since the report to the July meeting of the Education Committee:

In accordance with the powers given to them on appointment, the following additional members have been co-opted:

Mr G F Slade
Mr T Skurray

During July and August last… Local Committees for War Savings came into being at Abingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead. Since that date, as a result of public meetings addressed by Miss Fraser of the National War Savings Committee and the Education Secretary, Local Committees have been started at Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, Wallingford, Bracknell, Hungerford and Wokingham. Up to the 31 March, War Savings Associations have been established under the control of these Local Committees as follows:

Abingdon, with 6 Associations

Wallingford, 15 Associations

Pangbourne, 4 Associations

Hungerford, 7 Associations

Newbury, 15 Associations

Thatcham, 5 Associations

Wokingham, 13 Associations

Windsor

Maidenhead, 32 Associations

Bracknell, 13 Associations

As a general rule, these local committees deal only with their immediate areas, but efforts are being made by the National War Savings Committee to secure the extension of their activities to the surrounding parishes; e.g. the Associations of Marcham and Moulsford are affiliated to the Abingdon and Wallingford Local Committees respectively, and the War Savings Associations at the Cookham, Alwyn Road Council School, and Clewer S. Stephen’s School are affiliated to the Maidenhead and Windsor Local Committees respectively, whilst the Earley CE School War Savings Association is affiliated to the Reading Central Committee.

The Associations in connexion with Windsor Castle and the Broadmoor Asylum are affiliated directly with the National Committee.

The number of War Savings Associations (in addition to the above) in the Rural Parishes formed up to the 31 March, is 56; at least one half of these are in connexion with the schools….

The average amount saved by each Association during the quarter January to March, 1917, is £217. These figures do not include the grouped Associations, and relate only to the smaller Rural Associations, where the opportunities to save are less than in the larger centres of population.

The Berks Teachers’ Association officials in January consented to help in the work, and have been successful in arousing and maintaining interest in the movement. Messrs Camburn, James and Fryer, in particular, have done most valuable service.

The National War Savings Committee have been invited by the Ministry of Food to assist in the Food Economy Campaign, and the Berks War Savings Committee have had before them the Central Committee’s suggestions for Local Authorities and War Savings Committees, and in conjunction with the School Management Sub-committee, they have approved the arrangements embodied in the following memorandum:

FOOD CAMPAIGN

The Food Controller, in conjunction with the National War Savings Committee, has suggested that “Under the auspices of the Education Authorities a Conference might be called in every area with a view to enlisting the enthusiastic support and active help of teachers. In the case of ordinary schools, the children will form a means of securing the interest of the parents, and invitations to meetings and special classes can be issued through them. The Domestic Science teachers will be wanted to take charge of such classes.

After consultation with HM Inspector, the following preliminary Scheme has been drafted:

That the Instructresses be instructed to modify their syllabus with a view:

To promote the economical use of foods of which there is an available supply in the locality.

To prepare specimen menus for family use based on the above, with notes on the quantities required to give a proper diet.

To arrange to have the cooked meals on view after the lessons, so that the mothers can see them and ask questions.

To confer with the Head Teachers of the neighbouring schools as to the best way of spreading useful information among the parents of children not in attendance at the Centres, either by inviting visits which could be regarded as object lessons or by co-operating in drawing up a scheme for simple instruction in the schools.

It is to be noted that:

While it is important to keep the full record of all meals and their cost, it is not to be expected that the employment of substitutes will effect any substantial saving in cost, as the price of substitutes must rise as the standard foods become scarce.

It is most important to give guidance as to the feeding of children, as in some families there may be a tendency to reduce the food value of their meals.

Where milk is obtainable, it will be very useful to emphasise its uses in cookery.

It is hoped to hold a conference as soon as the Instructresses have drawn up their Scheme, and it is most important that the scheme should be prepared as soon as possible.

This Conference was held on the 20th April and the preliminary steps have been already taken to start work.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee

The Sub-committee have arranged with certain employees on Military Service, who were receiving allowances from the Committee, to invest on their behalf part of their allowances in War Savings Certificates.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee, 28 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Gravel seized for a PoW camp

The County Council continued to monitor the damage caused to local roads by military traffic.

ASCOT AND WINDSOR ROAD

The section of the main road from Ascot and Windsor has been badly cut up by heavy military and other motor traffic…

READING AND SWALLOWFIELD ROAD

On the break up of the frost in February the main road between Reading and Swallowfield, which had suffered severely by heavy timber and motor omnibus traffic, became dangerous to traffic. The Committee as a matter of urgency authorised immediate temporary repairs to the worst sections of the road and forwarded an estimate of the cost to the Finance Committee…

ABINGDON AND SOUTH HINKSEY ROAD

This road, which carries a continuous service of motor omnibuses as well as a considerable amount of heavy military traffic, is now in a deplorable condition and there is little likelihood that the amount appearing in the annual estimate will be sufficient to keep the road in a safe condition for traffic.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

Requisitions have been received from the Military Authorities for the supply of 170 tons of gravel for use on paths at the Prisoners of War Camp, Holyport; and for repairs to military roads at Ascot.

Report of BCC Highways and Bridges Committee, 21 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

A million sheets of notepaper

Reading St Giles Church of England Men’s Society had contributed to the well-being of soldiers at the front through the CEMS Huts.

The following letters have been received giving information concerning the Reading and Windsor C.E.M.S. Huts…

January 31st 1917

This is a large and important centre always well organized. The religious and social side of the work is everything that can be desired. We also have a tea room built in addition to the hut. This gives us more room. It is a most valuable hut being in the centre of many things: hundreds of letters are written daily, Services are not forgotten, and it is now being used by the Canadian Chaplain, the Canadian troops being quartered in that district.

Funds are now urgently required to enable the headquarters to supply the huts with the proper necessaries which is very large. The provision of stationary is a considerable matter and already the society has sent out about a million sheets of notepaper and 500,000 envelopes for the use in the forty huts in France, Flanders, Egypt, Malta, Salonika and England.

I am sure the members of S. Giles’ who contributed to the hut mentioned above will be glad to hear of its usefulness.

H.J. HINDERLEY Hon.Sec.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P96/28A/34)

“Are we down-hearted”?

A PoW writes home after two years in the hands of the enemy.

Prisoners of War.

We think it would interest our readers to see extracts from letters from one of our Prisoners of War, Private W. Simmonds, of Dedworth. Every month we send in from Clewer a small collection for the Prisoners of War Fund. This month 16/- was sent. The Boys of St. Augustine’s Home contribute largely towards it. Mrs. Buttress and Mrs. Cowie very gladly receive contributions, however small, as they all mount up. They are sent in the beginning of each month, and after reading the letter you will see how very grateful the recipients are. The parcels used to be packed weekly at the Town Hall, Windsor, but now they are sent straight from the London Depot, 4, Thurloe Place, London, S.W.

Letter from Private Simmonds, Kriegsgefangenenlager, Prisoner of War, Langensalza, Germany, Jan., 1917.

Dear Mrs. Cowie,

So pleased to have the pleasure of writing to you, to let you know that I am still in splendid health, thanks to the parcels you send me weekly, for these I think go a long way to keep our spirits up in this very trying time, but I suppose we shall have to stick to our well-known motto – “Are we down-hearted”? At present there is still the same answer amongst us, that is, “No.” But we shall be pleased when it is all finished and we can return to those who are dear to us again.

Madam, I should be very pleased if you can give any instructions as to the acknowledging of the parcels, as no name of the donor is received from the Central Prisoners of War Committee, London. It was a splendid parcel, and of course I should like for yourself to continue packing the parcel, but there we are in war time, and orders are orders, so we must abide by them for the present, but not much longer, I hope.

You say in your letter, Madam, that we must have patience, but I am afraid mine won’t last out; being here two years has tried my patience to its utmost, but still with the help of those fine parcels I have managed to pull through with flying colours. I shall certainly have to visit that War Shrine in Dedworth when I return.

And now will you kindly convey best wishes and thanks to His Worship the Mayor of Windsor, yourself, and all helpers of the Committee and all in the dear old Royal Borough and vicinity for their-never-to-be-forgotten kindness towards myself and all other unfortunate comrades of the Borough. I am sure, Madam, if you and the Mayor heard how good we all speak of you, you would be prouder than the V.C. winner. Again thanking you and all members of the Committee for their kindness,

I remain yours thankfully,

W. SIMMONDS (Private).

Clewer St Andrew parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P39/28A/9)

A place of peace in the midst of war

A grateful soldier wrote to the members of Reading and Windsor Church of England’s Men’s Society regarding the recreation huts they sponsored close behind the front line.

The following letters have been received giving information concerning the Reading and Windsor C.E.M.S. Huts.

January 16th 1917
The hut is A.1. and beautifully fitted up. The General of the division is keenly interested in it, and a lovely little flower garden has been made all around it. It is a place of peace in the midst of War. Many a man has gone out finding new strength which has enabled him to stand the strain and ghastliness of trench Warfare. I am sure your members will feel it worth making sacrifices for such a result.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, March 1917 (D/P96/28A/34)

Not many at sale for wounded Frenchmen

Sydney Spencer was ill – just in time for Christmas at home.

Sydney Spencer
December 14, 1916

I go home on 12 days sick leave.

Not every effort to raise money to support the war was well attended.

Florence Vansittart Neale
14 December 1916

Bubs & I went to Bear Place for Dottie’s sale for French wounded. Glee singers from Windsor & Eton. Not many people there.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/12); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Remember the awful and terrible side of the war, and not think only of the glory of it

Windsor women were applauded for their war work, but also challenged, by a speaker as part of the National Mission.

The National Mission

We women of Windsor have reason to be very grateful for the services and meetings arranged for us in connection with the National Mission.
On the first Monday Mrs Creighton addressed a very large gathering in the Town Hall. She spoke of the solemn time which the Mission ought to be to us all, and asked us to remember the awful and terrible side of the war, and not think only of the glory of it. She dwelt on the great and good work that women are doing in this unprecedented time, and impressed upon us the fact that the best welcome we could prepare for our soldiers and sailors, and the one most worthy of them after all their sufferings, was a home which had been kept pure and good during their absence.

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/8)

War savings – of National importance

The Anglican churches in Windsor planned to set up a war savings group.

Parochial War Savings Association

Chairman: The Vicar
Treasurer: Mr E J Arcott
Secretary: Mr C M Boorn

It is proposed to form a War Savings Association in connection with the Parish and All Saints’ Churches to collect and invest subscriptions to help in carrying on the war.

A meeting will be held shortly, of which due notice will be given, to show how all persons, rich and poor, can assist, and to which all are invited. It is hoped that all who are interested will attend, as it is of National importance.

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/8)

“What many another man would do, had he the opportunity”

The Vicar of Windsor had some Christmas thoughts for his flock, while his assistant had volunteered as an army chaplain.

Dear Friends

Before you read these words, Mr Streeten will have resigned his post on our clerical staff. He expects to take up his duties as an Army Chaplain and to go to France early in December. It is no time to speak of our regret at losing him. He has obeyed the voice of his own conscience and has done what many another man would do, had he the opportunity. I am deeply grateful to him for the work he has done at All Saints, and in our Sunday Schools. May God bless him in the new and splendid work to which he goes. He will not be forgotten by us, nor shall we fail to give him a place in our prayers…

This month brings us to Christmas. Yet another Christmas and Europe is still at war. We had hoped at one time that it would be otherwise and that at the Festival of the Prince of Peace we should have rejoiced that the war was over. But it was not to be. Yet we can come, thank God, to the Manger at Bethlehem rejoicing that there is the revelation of the Great Love that is one with us in our time of sorrow, and remembering that the Christ Child is the Lord of the World and that, in His own time, He will take His Power and reign. May His pitying love be very near to those to whom this Christmas will bring its memories of sadness. In His presence may they be very conscious of the nearness of those whom they have lost.

Your faithful friend and vicar
E M Blackie

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, December 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/8)

“The White Comrade” reminds us of self-sacrifice and intercession

The church of St John the Baptist in Windsor now had a special area dedicated to the war. It was dominated by a print of the popular painting The White Comrade, by George Hillyard Swinstead, which depicted a wounded soldier being helped by an orderly, with Jesus (clad in white) looking on. Two real wounded soldiers were the artist’s models.

War Corner

Many members of our congregation will have noticed the War Corner which has been formed in the Parish Church, but there may still be some who do not yet know of it.

At the east end of the north aisle, against a dark blue background, is placed the Cross, and below it, on each side of a wooden shield on which is the picture “The White Comrade”, are the flags of the Allied Nations, and round these are hung the lists of those who are serving or who have given their lives in the war, and for whom our prayers have been asked.

The War Corner is meant to remind us of two of the great needs of today, self-sacrifice and intercession, and it is hoped that very many – children as well as adults – will, when passing the church, spare a few minutes to come and pray for God’s protection and guidance for ourselves and our Allies during the war.

It is thought that some people, particularly those who have friends serving, may like to undertake, in turn, to supply flowers or money with which to supply flowers, for the War Corner. Will any who would like to do this, kindly communicate with the vicar or with Miss Claudine Smith, 4 Claremont Road.

Mrs Trotter is very kindly giving the flowers to the end of November.

New Windsor St John the Baptist parish magazine, November 1916 (D/P149/28A/21/5)

In honour of a teenage hero

John Travers Cornwell (1900-1916) was a teenage sailor who was the youngest winner of the Victoria Cross in World War I (two younger teenagers won the award in the 19th century.) Aged just 16, he was fatally wounded during the Battle of Jutland, but single handedly manned the guns for the last part of the battle. He was given a posthumous VC, and although he had no Berkshire connections, his youth and courage inspired the mayor of Windsor to order a half holiday for schools in the borough.

21st September 1916

Mr Packwood is absent having been called to Oxford by the military authorities for medical examination.

The school closed at noon, the mayor having given a half holiday in honour of John Travers Cornwell V.C.

Windsor Royal Free Boys’ School log book (C/EL72/3, p. 159)

“These Colours speak to us of a mighty struggle which involves sacrifice even unto death”

Windsor said a formal goodbye to the Canadians who had been stationed nearby as they headed to Kent, and then to the front.

Church and Empire

Wednesday, August 16th, was a red-letter day in the history of our Parish Church. A request had come from the Colonel of the 99th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, recruited in Windsor, Ontario, that their Colours might be deposited in our church for safe keeping during the war. It is needless to say that the request was most willingly and gladly granted, and August 16th was arranged as the day on which the ceremony should take place. Forthwith the citizens and church people of the Mother city prepared to welcome their brothers from the Overseas Daughter.

Our leading citizen [the mayor], ever ready to uphold the honour of the Royal Borough, at once declared his wish to extend his hospitality and official welcome to our guests. It was decided that as a parish we should entertain them at tea, and our churchwardens met with a ready answer to their appeal for funds and lady helpers. Permission was asked and gladly granted for them to see St George’s and the Albert Memorial Chapels, the Castle, Terraces and the Royal Stables.

The party, which included Lt Col Welch, commanding the 99th Battalion, Col Reid, Agent General for Canada, Lt-Col Casgrain, commanding the King’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Bushey Park, Mr W Blaynay, representing the Canadian Press, several officers of the Battalion, the Colour Guard, and the Band, arrived at the SWR station at 11.30, and were met by the vicar, who had come up from his holiday for the occasion, and several representatives of the church. From the station they marched, the band playing, and the Colours unfurled, to the Guildhall, which by kind permission of the Mayor was used as “Headquarters” for the day. Sightseeing followed till 1 o’clock, when the Mayor formally received his guests and entertained them in sumptuous fashion at lunch.

For an account of the speeches we must refer our readers to the Windsor and Eton Express of August 18th, in which will be found a very full and interesting report of the whole day’s proceedings.

Next came the event of the day, the ceremony of depositing the Colours in the Parish Church.

It is not likely that any one of the very large congregation which filled the church will ever forget what must have been one of the most interesting and impressive services ever held in the church.
It is probably true to say that most of us realised in a new way the meaning of our Empire, and the part the Church plays and has played in the building and cementing of that Empire’s fabric; and to that new realisation we were helped both by the ceremony itself and the most eloquent and inspiring words spoken from the pulpit by the vicar. (more…)