World War One Guide

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Guide to World War One Records

Introduction

The Berkshire Record Office (BRO) was established in 1948 to locate and preserve records relating to the county of Berkshire and its people, and to make them available for research to anyone who is interested in the county’s past.

This is a guide to the sources at the BRO on World War I.

If you would like to visit the office to carry out your research, please make an appointment.

Using this Guide

This guide is divided into the following sections:

Active Service overseas

Home Front

Remembrance

This guide is arranged by place for towns and villages throughout Berkshire. Records that are not place-specific are grouped under ‘General’ at the beginning of each section.

The reference that you find after each entry is the code to quote if you would like to see that record. Some references are for more than one item. Please ask staff for advice.

Who Did What?

During wartime many emergency functions were run by the Government. The two most important local councils in Berkshire at the time were Berkshire County Council and Reading Corporation, which were responsible for effecting emergency orders. These principal councils either carried out the orders themselves or delegated them to the other borough or district councils. The guide also includes records kept by other bodies and individuals.

Active Service Overseas

General

Letters of Apsley Cherry-Garrard on life as a dispatch rider, and attempts to set up units of dogs to find wounded soldiers at Front, 1914. D/EHR/Z8

Diaries and correspondence relating to the Spencer family of Cookham, including their wartime experiences, 1914-1918, the war artists scheme, a letter of complaint to Lord Kitchener, 1914, a war-theme Christmas card, 1916, and menus from brigade dinners, 1916, 1917. D/EX801

Copy of letter regarding action off Coronel, [1914]. D/EX1159/5/8

Lyrics of ‘Hymn for the War’, by P H Ditchfield, n.d., c.1914-1918. R/D134/1/5

Words and music to ‘Hymn for the War’, by P H Ditchfield, n.d., c.1914-1918. R/D134/35/1-2

‘Berkshire Men in the Battle Line’, article in the Reading Standard, 1915. D/EX1142/1

Photograph album including Royal Army Service Corps servicemen posing for pictures, 1915-1918. D/EX1926/1

Leaflet entitled Angels of Mons… the marvellous deliverance of our Troops from the Germans, c.1915-1918. D/P154/28/24

Article on life in wartime Reims, France, 1916. D/EX1557/1/22

Prayers for use on active service, 1916. D/P122/1C/1

Berkshire and the War: the Reading Standard Pictorial Record, 1916. On CD. Please ask staff for access.

Extract from letter from Captain Austin Longland, serving in Salonika, Greece, to his wife, 1916; and letter to [his wife or father], written on his way home for leave, 1917. D/EX2564/1/7-8

Letters from John Heading, serving in 142nd Labour Company, Berkshire Expeditionary Force, France, 1917. D/EX2547/2/3/11

Letters from Harold Blackall in Salonica, 1915-1918. D/EX1485/2/9

Prayer found in pocket of dead soldier, 1917. D/P162/28/79

Photographs and papers, Royal Berks Regiment at Asiago, Italy, 1918. D/EX229/1-5

Words of ‘Hymn of Thanksgiving for Peace’, by P H Ditchfield, n.d. [c.1918-1919]. R/D134/7/36

Letter to a former prisoner of war recalling captivity in Belgium, 1919. D/EX1350/4/3

Programme for lectures (including ‘Causes of the German Defeat’), German language classes, concerts, evangelistic meetings and services [for occupying troops] at the YMCA Central, Cologne [Koln], Germany, 1919. D/EX2771/3/7

Records of Berkshire War Memorial Committee, 1919-1947. R/D134/3

East Shefford

Lists of parishioners serving in the war, 1914-1918. D/P107/8/1

Faringdon area

List of servicemen, c.1916. D/EX1303/11/1

Newbury

Medal awarded to Edward Pellew Plenty, [1921]. D/EX2381

Reading

Roll of honour of staff in HM forces, Samuel Elliott and Sons (Reading) Ltd, 1914-1915. D/EX1263/12/8

Certificates of character, transfer and discharge and other papers relating to the army career of Albert Edward Adey of Reading (born 1875), 1899-1919. D/EX1348/10

Stanford-in-the-Vale

Lists of men serving in the war, c.1919. D/P118/28/11

Stubbings

Printed lists of parishioners in the armed forces, 1915 (with prayer), and1918. D/P195/28/32; D/P195/28/33

Waltham St Lawrence

List of parishioners in armed forces, 1918. D/P141/28/7


Home Front

General

References to war-related matters in general files of Berkshire County Council Clerk’s Department, 1903-1951. C/CL/G1/25/42, 43; G1/28, 39, 60, 68/4, 75, 77, 84, 86, 89, 112, 113, 116/20

Florence Vansittart Neale’s ‘odd and end book’, 1904-1923. D/EX73/3/17/12

Diary including many comments on news of the war, 1914-1918. D/EX73/3/17/8

World War I hand-made greetings cards, n.d. [1914-1918]. D/EX1030/1

Reminiscence of Zeppelin raid in London during World War I, 1982. D/EWN/F97

Agricultural Instruction Committee minutes: include references to labour shortages, training of women and disabled servicemen, use of waste land, etc, 1914-1918. C/CL/C3/7

Standing Joint Committee minutes: include references to special constables, guarding of bridges and military depots, aliens’ identity cards, insurance against air raids, etc, 1914-1918. C/CL/C2/1/5-6

Diaries and correspondence relating to wartime experiences of the Spencer family of Cookham, 1914-1918, including letter of complaint to Lord Kitchener, 1914; diary of Sydney Spencer, 1914-1918; war-theme Christmas card, 1916; menus from brigade dinners, 1916, 1917; and diary of Percy J Spencer, 1918. D/EX801/12-19, 23-25, 43, 51, 67, 78-81

Certificate of service to the War Savings Movements, 1914-1918, 1918. D/EX863/9

Flag-day sellers’ badges, 1915. D/EX863/8

Poster regarding recital in aid of Serbian Relief Fund, 1915. D/EX1734/1

Letters on experiences in war, 1915. D/EX1795/1/5

Printed notice of administration of Berkshire in the event of invasion, from J H Benyon as Lord Lieutenant; and copies of letters concerning the Berkshire Yeomanry, 1915-1921. D/EBY/O13

Report of visit to French farms run by women during war, c.1916. D/EX1738/1

War Charities Committee minutes: include names of war-related charities permitted to take up collections, 1916-1917. C/CL/C3/1/6

Berkshire War Agricultural Committee papers, collected by Albert Castle, 1916-1918. D/EX 734/28-30

Porridge figurines made by conscientious objector in prison [c.1916-1918]. D/EX1795/3/62

Photograph and autograph album of Silwood Park, used as auxiliary hospital, with photographs of northern France, 1919, and souvenirs of 1919 Henley Peace Regatta, 1916-1919. D/EX755/1

Berkshire County Forage Committee (responsible to Army Council): minutes regarding allocation of hay and straw from Berkshire farms, 1916-1920. D/EX364/1

Certificate awarded to Lady Vansittart Neale by the Grand Fleet Fund, for work with Vegetable Products Committee for Naval Supply, 1917. D/EX73/3/17/13

Press cutting about food rationing, 1917. D/H10/A6/6/1

Letter offering Miss E Holifield a post as military housemaid at Sutton Coldfield in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, 1917. D/EX323/2

Proclamation regarding reduction in grain production, 1917. D/P194/28/1

Notification by War Office to Revd Charles Boxall Longland that his son Austin had been admitted to a convalescent home, 1917. D/EX2564/1/9

Christmas card from the Bear Wood Institute to ‘the Bear Wood Boys, fighting for Blighty’, 1917. D/EX2771/1/3/3

Proclamations regarding reduction in consumption of flour, oats and grain, and the end of war, 1917 and 1919. D/P43B/1/3

Papers relating to Frederick Arthur Greet’s service in the Royal Berkshire Voluntary Regiment, 1917-1920. D/EX2229/3/3

National Registration and exemption certificates of railway clerk, 1918. D/EX1750/4

Berkshire War Agricultural Committee accounts, 1918-1920. C/TR4/2/1-2

Certificate of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St John for war services, c.1919. D/EBY/F45

Account of service of Revd William Rushby, 1920. D/EX1638/25

Printed annual statements of accounts of the Comrades of the Great War Charity, 1921-1922; and annual returns of Admiral Vansittart Trust Charity, 1913-1948 [included care of wounded sons of members]. P/CC1/120/4; P/CC1/22/2

Illustrated menu for first annual dinner of Old Comrades Association of Berkshire Yeomanry, 1928. N/D5/1

Conscientious objector’s memoir of war [c.1930s]. D/EX1795/1/51

Abingdon district

Rural district council minutes. RD/A/CA/1/3, 4

Ardington and Speen

War intercessions book, 1914-1920. D/P116/28/9

Ascot

Album containing photographs of soldiers convalescing in Ascot, c.1914-1918. D/EX2243

Basildon

Sale catalogue of Basildon Park, including hospital furniture used when building used as war hospital, 1920. D/EZ166/1

Barkham

Papers regarding loans for land settlement of ex-servicemen at Brook Farm, 1919-1926. C/CL/G1/25/43

Bisham

Award of King Albert Medal of the Kingdom of Belgium to Sir Henry Vansittart for services in the war, 1921. D/EX73/3/16/17

Bradfield district

Rural district council minutes, 1913-1919. RD/B/CA/1/8-13

Caversham

Papers relating to provision of horseshoes for cavalry. D/EX1485/1/25

Childrey

Defence of the Realm Act lighting order, 1916. D/P35/28/2

Cholsey

Fair Mile Hospital correspondence and press cuttings relating to wartime food rationing, 1917 [The hospital received patients from similar institutions converted to war hospitals.]. D/H10/A6/6/1

Clewer

Letter about assistance to Belgian refugees, 1918. D/EX1675/1/11/14

Roll of Honour, St Augustine’s Boys’ Home, 1917. D/EX1675/23/4/3

Cookham

Letter regarding Cookham Dean parish collection for sufferers from the European War, 1914; programme of National Mission of Repentance and Hope, 1916; and two proclamations, regarding reduction of grain consumption, 1917, and thanksgiving, 1919. D/P43B/1/3

Welcome home concert for soldiers and sailors from Cookham Dean and Pinkneys Green, 1919. D/P43B/28/11

Cookham district

Rural district council minutes. RD/C/CA/1/8-9

Crowthorne

Admission registers of Broadmoor Hospital showing admission of prisoners of war, including German POWs from Crowthorne War hospital, 1916-1919. D/H14/D1/1/4/1

Correspondence relating to previous item, 1916-1919. D/H14/A6/2/51

Didcot

Letter on soldier’s return, c.1918-1919. D/EX1485/1/43

Earley

Plans for rifle range for Earley Defence Force, 1914-1915. D/EWK/B2/4/21/2

Easthampstead district

Rural district council minutes. RD/E/CA/1/6-7

Faringdon district

Rural district council minutes. RD/F/CA/1/6-7

Clerk’s letter book includes letters about exemption applications at Local Tribunals, 1916-1917. RD/F/CZ1/1

Sale to raise funds for Red Cross, 1916. D/EX284/302-303

Hungerford district

Rural district council minutes. RD/H/CA/1/6

Hurst

Hurst Women’s Institute: references in Committee minutes to war-related activities including bandage-making and food economy, 1916-1918; and letter of appreciation to Queen Mary for her war work, 1918. D/EX1925/33/1/1; D/EX1925/33/5/2

Photograph of Bearwood House, taken during use as Canadian Convalescent Hospital for wounded soldiers, 1919. D/EX2122/1

Maidenhead

Assessment for payment of war damage contribution to HM Inspector of Taxes for All Saints, Boyne Hill, 1914. D/P182/8A/25

Maidenhead Congregational Church discussions on war, 1914-1915. D/N33/7/4/1

Papers regarding Belgian Refugee Home, Maidenhead, 1914-1919. D/N33/11/3

Commendations of discharged soldiers to local clergymen, Boyne Hill, 1918-1919. D/P182/28/1

Newbury

Register of military patients treated at Newbury District Hospital, 1916-1917. D/H4/10/10

Minutes of Retail Coal Prices Committee, 1917-1918. N/AC2/2/3

Sports Committee minutes relating to peace celebrations, 1919. N/D14/5

Account for erecting enclosure and sports ring for peace celebrations, 1919. N/D14/6

Article in The Record, annual school magazine produced by Newbury County Girls’ school, referencing the ‘appalling waste’ and suffering resulting from war, 1934. SCH12/14/1

Newbury district

Council minutes. RD/N/CA/1/4

Reading

Minutes of Smallholdings and Allotments Committee refer to drive for increased food production, use of uncultivated land, etc, 1914-18. R/AC1/3/18

Reading Prison: remission and discharge books refer to military prisoners sentenced by court martial, and Belgian prisoners detained there and released by Belgian Government, 1914-1915); nominal register includes alien and Irish internees, 1916-1918. P/RP1/1/9; 13/1

Minutes of Watch Committee (police) refer to formation of relief force and special constables, wartime duties, members serving at the Front, casualties, appointment of women as police officers, charity fund-raising days, and widows’ pensions, 1914-1918. R/AC1/3/12-20

Photographs, mostly of Reading, c.1914-1919. D/EX1638/65-66

Records of Soldiers’ Welfare Committee, Broad Street Congregational Church, 1914-1925. D/N11/4/2; 5/1/4

Plans for rifle range at Reading School, Reading, 1915. D/EWK/B2/4/22

Photograph of 32nd (late 41st) Divisional Signal Company, Royal Engineers, outside Wantage Hall, 1915. D/EX1840/1

Letter about insurance against air raids, Reading, 1915. D/EX1942/1/1/36

Papers re attempts to avoid enlistment of F E Butler of Reading, 1916. D/EX1557/1/24

The Ration: Magazine of Reading War Hospitals (reflecting government control of fuel supplies), 1916. D/EE/Z34

Letters about effects of war in Reading, including Pioneer Company, calling up of clerks, low rents, evacuation to Reading of people leaving air raid areas, etc; also air raids in Surrey and damage to convents in Belgium, 1916-1917. D/EX208/B2/17

Reading National Savings Committee records, 1916-1918. P/NS2

Letter about death of soldier and toll of war on ‘our men’, 1917. D/EX1942/1/1/40

Minutes of Coal Supplies Committee and Retail Coal Supplies Committee, 1916-1918. R/AC1/3/17, 19

Diary of Joan Evelyn Daniels of Reading, 1918. D/EX1341/1

Legal bill regarding application to exempt employee from military service, Reading, 1918. D/EX1942/1/1/54

Correspondence about use of premises in Reading by War Department, for troop accommodation, 1918. D/EX1942/2/3/21

Photographs of Red Cross nurse Battle Hospital), n.d. D/1750/3

Menu for a dinner for employees who had served in World War I, Samuel Elliott and Sons Reading) Ltd, 1919. D/EX1263/11/1

Minutes of Peace Celebrations Sub-committee, Reading Borough Council, 1919-1920. R/AC2/18A, 18B

Shellingford

Sale of hospital effects, 1916. D/EX284/304

Slough

Planning application for club room for discharged and disabled ex-servicemen, 1919. S/SB2/1743/1-2

Wallingford district

Rural district council minutes. RD/W/CA/1/7

Wantage district

Appeal leaflet for aeroplanes: Wantage’s special effort for the war, sponsored by Prudential Assurance, 1918. D/EX2547/4/5/7

Rural district council minutes. RD/WT/CA/1/5

Urban district council minutes include references to War Charities; war damage compensation, War Savings Association, billeting of troops and anniversary meetings of outbreaks of war, 1914-1918. UD/WT/CA1/3

West Woodhay

Record of service of parishioners, including nurses, 1919. D/P155/28/2

Windsor

Stationmaster’s memoir about the impact of war on railways etc, 1914-1918. D/EX1952

Minutes of borough watch committee refer to effect of the war on police force, including wartime duties, members serving at the Front, casualties, and widows’ pensions, 1914-1918. WI/AC2/2/2

Records regarding treatment of wounded soldiers at King Edward VII Hospital, 1917-1918. D/H6/1/7, 10; 11/15; 12/1; 22/2

King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor, and the European War, 1920 booklet about the hospital’s military work, 1914-1919. BRO Library

Windsor district

Rural district council minutes. RD/WI/CA/1/9-11

Winnersh

Papers regarding loan for purchase of property at Haines Hill for land settlement of ex-servicemen, 1919-1924. C/CL/G1/25/42

Wokingham

Wokingham police records including references to the deployment of special constables and ambulance men, posters and public notices, and correspondence, c.1914-1918. PS/FT26/1-21

Letters from the Wokingham borough surveyor acting as the local fuel overseer, 1918-1920. WO/SA4/1

Wokingham district

Rural district council minutes. RD/WO/CA/1/7-9


Remembrance

General

Plans and papers for Berkshire War Memorial, 1919-1931. D/EWK/B2/3/2/1/1-2

Plans for Nettlebed Memorial Lych Gate, Oxfordshire, 1921-1925. D/EWK/B2/3/2/2

Booklet containing list of World War I war graves in Berkshire, 1930. D/EZ110/19/1

Ascot

Roll of honour of men who died in World War I and World War II. D/P185/28/50/1-4

Brightwell

Roll of honour and list of war workers, 1917. D/P25/28/31

Caversham

Plans for Caversham War Memorial, 1921. D/EWK/B2/3/2/3

Chaddleworth

Printed account of unveiling of war memorial, 1920. D/P32/28/17

Cookham Dean and Pinkneys Green

Papers regarding war memorial, 1917-1920. D/P43B/1/3; D/P43B/28/3

Pamphlet on Cookham Dean Wesleyan Methodist war memorial, with biographical sketches, 2013. D/MS12/8/1

Research notes compiled for the pamphlet on the Wesleyan Methodist war memorial, 2013. D/MS12/8/2

Great Coxwell

‘Book of Remembrance’ relating to servicemen from the parish killed in two World Wars, c.1914-1989. D/P44/28/4

Crowthorne Parish Council

Minutes relating to war memorial, 1919-1920. CPC102B/3/2

Papers relating to war memorial, 1919-1920. CPC102B/5/2

Details of dedication of war memorial, 1920. D/P44/28/6

Easthampstead

Papers relating to war memorial cross in churchyard, 1919-c.1945. D/P49/6/4

Grazeley

Order of service and press cutting regarding war memorial, 1922. D/P124B/1B/3

Lyford

Typed transcription of inscriptions on war memorial in Lyford Church, 1915. T/T55

Newbury

Notes in admission register of St Bartholomew’s Grammar School of names of former pupils killed in the war, c.1919. SCH11/11/1

St Bartholomew’s Grammar School World Cup Record, including biographies of four old boys killed in the War. SCH11/13/2

St Bartholomew’s Grammar School printed roll of honour and list of subscribers to First World War memorial. SCH11/18/3

Article on St Bartholomew’s Grammar old boys killed in the First World War. SCH11/18/14

Printed appeal leaflet for St Bartholomew’s Grammar School War Memorial, 1948. SCH11/18/15

Committee minutes regarding memorial tablet in Newbury Congregational Sunday School to those killed, 1920. D/N32/7/1/4

Order of service for unveiling and dedication of war memorial, including Roll of Honour, 1922. N/D14/7

Padworth

Notes on men named on World War I war memorial, 1983. D/P90/8A/20

Shrivenham

War memorial voucher, 1918-1930. D/P112/6/15

List of servicemen, 1914-1916. D/P112/28/9

Stratfield Mortimer

Faculty for memorial in parish church, 1919. D/P120/6/6

Stubbings

Roll of honour, 1918; and list of names on parish war memorial, c.1920. D/P195/28/33; D/P195/28/34

Wallingford

Report on premises used by the Comrades of the Great War, including a rifle range, c.1920-1931. WA/Q/1/5/11

Programme and press cuttings relating to the unveiling of Wallingford war memorial, 1921. D/EX2055/5/3/1-3

Order of service for Armistice Day, Wallingford, c.1927-1933. PS/MN/26/1

Watchfield

Watchfield men in armed forces, 1914-1915. D/P112C/28/5

Winkfield

Plans for war memorial, c.1920. D/P151/28/55

Wokingham

Roll of honour, Wokingham parish war memorial, c.1918-1919. D/P154/28/23

Photograph of the war memorial, Wokingham town hall, c.1920. WO/D1/3/32/9

Programme for peace celebrations, 1919. WO/D1/3/32/8

West Woodhay

Faculty for war memorial tablet, 1920. D/P155/6/3/2

Woodley

Woodley Memorial Recreation Ground papers, 1919. D/EX2733/3/1

Further Information

Service Records 

For information on individuals serving in World War One:

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Tel: 020 8876 3444 www.nationalarchives.org.uk 

Records of central government operations during World War I

The National Archives: contact details as above.

Local Regiments

Information on the Royal Berkshire Regiment can be obtained at:

Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire (Salisbury) Museum

58 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2EX. Tel: 01722 419419 www.thewardrobe.org.uk 

War Memorials

The Imperial War Museum undertook a survey of war memorials in the UK, entitled the National Inventory of War Memorials. For further information, please contact:

War Memorials Archive

Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6H2. Tel: 0207 207 89863

Email: memorials@iwm.org.uk

www.ukniwm.org.uk

War Graves

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, SL6 7DX. Tel: 01628 634221 www.cwgc.org

BRO WWI blog: www.berkshirevoiceswwi.wordpress.com