Carols for blind soldiers – a cause we all must have at heart

Blind Soldiers.

Sir Arthur Pearson, who has done so much for the Blind, has invited Choirs to go round singing Carols at Christmas-tide and to give any proceeds to the cause which he and all of us must have at heart. Our own Choir is proposing to take a part in this scheme and will, we feel sure, get a liberal welcome. Further details will be issued shortly.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

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16 sacks of chestnuts

More Berkshire children had been collecting horse chestnuts.

November 21st 1917

16 sacks of chestnuts have been sent to the Minister of Munitions.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 180)

The provision of light employment for discharged partially disabled men incapable of doing a full day’s work

The Disablements Sub-committee of the Berkshire War Pensions Committee reported on training programmes for disabled ex-soldiers, who faced an uncertain future.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that the two schemes for training at Basildon and Windsor have now been approved by the Pensions Minister, with the exception of boot-making at Basildon, which is only provisionally sanctioned. The gardening course at Windsor has been extended from six to twelve months for suitable cases. Both schemes are now in full operation. Since the last meeting the Royal Warrant of April 1917 for treatment and training has come into force, payments being made under it as from 23 July 1917.

A list of hospitals throughout the county where treatment can be obtained for discharged men has been sent forward for approval to the Pensions Minister, also a special application for further necessary accommodation for out-patient treatment at King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor, to enable the authorities of that hospital to provide orthopaedic treatment for discharged disabled men within a radius of ten miles of that hospital. A special request was also put forward as regards the lack of hospital facilities in parts of North Berkshire, especially in the Wallingford District. It is proposed to formulate a scheme to include all facilities and arrangements for medical treatment and submit it as a whole for the approval of the Pensions Minister.

The National Health Insurance Commissioners have made new arrangements in respect of medical benefit for all discharged soldiers and sailors invalided from the Service, and have included those whose incomes do not exceed £160 per annum. Medical Practitioners are required to report to the Insurance Committee as to any special treatment to be provided by the Disablements Committee under the arrangements above alluded to. The scheme will also provide for any treatment recommended by a medical board for a man after his discharge, or for any man for whom treatment is recommended at the time of his discharge from the service by his invaliding board.

Instructions having been received from the Pensions Minister that discharged men who are not in receipt of a pension owing to the disability for which they were discharged not being considered attributable or aggravated by war service have now been afforded facilities for appealing against this decision. Instructions have been issued to all Sub-committees that such cases should be referred to this Committee. Three cases for appeal are coming up shortly for consideration.

The provision of light employment for discharged partially disabled men who are incapable of doing a full day’s work has been considered. A joint public appeal with the County Borough of Reading Committee has been issued through the Press to employers throughout the county for help in this important matter…

During the last three months 643 cases have been entered on the Register, making a total of 1,513 cases. In addition 325 cases (approximately) are being investigated. 512 new cases have been sent out to the various Sub-committees as follows:

Abingdon 34
Easthampstead 20
Faringdon 20
Hungerford 13
Lambourn 5
Maidenhead 72
Newbury 84
Reading Rural 43
Wallingford 27
Wantage 27
Windsor 95
Wokingham 52

220 cases have been considered by the Disablements Committee, treatment in hospital has been arranged for 62 cases, Sanatorium treatment for 7 cases, special training for 23 cases, and a number of men have been placed in employment.

12 November 1917

Berkshire County Council minutes, 1917 (C/CL1/1/21)

“Our work for soldiers’ children is overwhelming”

Charities were struggling to compete with the demands of war-related appeals, even those who were helping families affected by the war.

Church of England Waifs’ and Strays’ Society.

Rev. E. de M. Rudolf, Secretary of the Society writes ‘We are still “carrying on” but the demands are always increasing, and so is the difficulty of meeting them. “Munitions” and “more and more munitions” is our cry. Do help us. Our work for soldiers’ children is overwhelming; do join us in special effort to carry it through. So many of us have cheerfully though sadly given up our nearest and dearest, that we can hardly grudge the stretching out a hand to those little ones whose own protectors are powerless to see to their welfare.

This Society is the one officially authorised by our Church to care for the little ones who are homeless and friendless, and as such is deserving of all the support which we can give it. Our offerings in Church at the Children’s Service on the third Sunday in each month and on Christmas Day are given to it. In addition £1 7s. 6d. has just been received, per Miss M. A. Monk (Aldworth), in subscriptions. Additional subscriptions are earnestly invited, and collecting boxes may be obtained from the Vicar. The value of the work which the Society is doing cannot be overestimated.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, November 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

The lessons to be learnt from Mr Vickers’ life as a teacher, and his death as a soldier

Herbert Vickers, a teacher and Special Constable, had been killed earlier in the summer. The school he had taught at paid tribute to him:

October 12th 1917

Memorial to the late Mr Vickers

An impressive ceremony was held this afternoon, when managers, parents and scholars were present to witness the unveiling of the portrait of the late Mr Vickers…

Mr Willink unveiled the portrait after delivering an address to those present, on the lessons to be learnt from Mr Vickers’ life as a teacher, and his death as a soldier.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 178)

An organist is called up

A Wokingham church had to face the prospect of singing hymns unaccompanied when their organist was conscripted.

Organist.
We want an Organist. Mr. Collins, who most kindly came to fill the gap when Mr. Baker was called up, and who has performed his duties most efficiently, is unfortunately unable to remain permanently.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

Caring for war graves in Wokingham

Some wounded soldiers succumbed to their injuries. The people of Wokingham took on the task of caring for war graves of non-locals, some of whom would have been from the British colonies.

Soldiers’ Graves.

It is hoped to arrange for the care of all the graves and more especially of those of men from Overseas, who have no friends here to do this. Several people have already undertaken this excellent work, and the Vicar would be glad if they would kindly inform him which grave they are tending, so that such a grave may not be apportioned to anyone else. He would also be glad to receive the names of any others who would like to undertake the care of a grave.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

The influence which temperance groups must exercise in preparing for after-the-war home life

Anti-alcohol campaigners wanted the wartime restrictions on pubs to act as a springboard for a new sober public life after the war.

The Church of England Temperance Society

On Thursday, June 21st, 1917, the Open-Air Meeting of the CETS was held on the Vicarage Lawn, the Vicar in the Chair. There was a fairly good attendance, about 150 adults and 70 children. The Maidenhead Band was present.

The Chairman presented the speaker, the Rev. B Long, Rector of Wokingham, whose speech was full of interest. Points to be remembered were: The importance of Temperance work in view of Government action, and possible changes in the management and sale of alcoholic drinks; the influence which CETS branches must exercise in preparing for after-the-war home life…

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

Returning to France today

Slough and Chalvey British Infants’ School
June 4th 1917
Mrs Stewart is absent today as her husband is returning to France after leave.

Wokingham Wescott Road School
June 4th 1917

A memorial service for Mr Vickers was held at All Saints Church this afternoon at 4pm. It was specially arranged for the scholars, and 230 attended.

Slough and Chalvey British Infants’ School log book (C/EL123, p. 342); Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 175)

Dismay as buildings are requisitioned

Not every organisation was patriotically delighted to give up their premises to war purposes.

The Waifs and Strays Society received with dismay, as no doubt did many other Church Organisations, the news that the Great Hall of the Church House had been requisitioned for Government purposes, and that its doors were therefore shut against all ‘May Meetings.’ It seemed to the ‘Waifs and Strays’ that a good – perhaps, a better – substitute for their great Annual Meeting would be (in addition to the early Celebration in St. Paul’s Cathedral) an afternoon Service of Thanksgiving and Supplication in a central London church which stood in no danger of being ‘commandeered.’

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

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…)

Supplying war hospitals

Wokingham ladies were continuing to provide for wounded soldiers.

The following Articles have been sent to the ‘War Hospitals Supplies Depôt’ at Reading:-

26 Mufflers.
17 Pairs of Stockings.
10 Pairs of Mittens.
26 Pairs of Shoes.
12 Bed Jackets.
24 Treasure Bags.
2 Pillows,

Together with Bandages, Handkerchiefs and Swabs.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, May 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)

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)

His old headmaster attended the funeral

22 year old Arthur Gibbs, who sadly succumbed to his wounds, was remembered by his old primary school headmaster.

April 23rd 1917

Arthur Gibbs, an old scholar, was buried in All Saints Church this afternoon. He was wounded in France and died at Leeds. The Head Master attended the Funeral.

Wokingham Wescott Road School log book (C/EL87, p. 173)

A call for waste paper

The war brought calls for recycling.

Waste Paper is one of the things which can be made use of. Please keep any you have and it will be called for.

Wokingham St Sebastian parish magazine, April 1917 (D/P154C/28A/1)