Introduction

This the final posting (5/5) of my research material that I used to inform my writing and tours undertaken to mark the centenary of the start and end of the Great War. Although it’s often taken that the war ended in November 1918 this was only an armistice – an agreement to stop fighting; the war was not over until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919. Although hostilities were over a period of considerable change occurred after the war.

This blog has three sections:

1). Headlines – largely made up by me, but accurate to the report.

2). Material drawn from the various sources

3). The references.

The document can be search by words; you can scan the headlines, grouped under headings, to find reports of interest, and then search on words from the headline to take you to the referenced report.

Where a report included a name and address I have included it in my summary in the hope it may be of interest to those researching their family tree or their house.

You will come across text in green that I have inserted to provide some context. Purple text is information by readers of my book or blog.

Sources

Stories from the Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News and the Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer, were found on the microfilms held by Medway Archives Centre. Stories from the Kent Messenger were found on the KM Group digital archive. All other stories were found on the British Newspaper Archive. Information provided by ‘readers’/ correspondents since the information was first published, are shown in purple.

Acknowledgement

I’m grateful, again, to the ‘H.R.Pratt Boorman Family Foundation’ for proving the funding that enable my book to be printed, and that thereby enabled all proceeds from the sale of the book to go to the Royal British Legion.

Geoff Ettridge aka Geoff Rambler

August 2018 / May 2022.

I can be booked to give a talk (within Kent) or lead a tour of Rochester on which some of these stories will be recounted, in return for an agreed donation to charity. Visit my Facebook or blog for more information and how to contact me.

www.facebook.com/geofframbler, or www.geofframbler.blog.

 Other blogs in this series

Life in Rochester – 1914

Life in Rochester – 1915

Life in Rochester – 1916

Life in Rochester – 1917

Map of Rochester around the time of the Great War

old-rochester

+++ Headlines +++

JANUARY 1918

Military and War Reports

  • Mayor supports ‘Hut Week’ aimed at raising money to support the work of the YMCA
  • Wound stripes can only be worn by discharged soldiers who were wounded while serving

Tribunals

  • W. B. Barnard, dental mechanic, had his appeal adjourned for another two months

Reports from the Front

  • Capt. Geoffrey Lane wounded & captured in Aug. 1914, is on his way to being repatriated
  • Citation for the award of the Military Cross to Capt. H. M. Spoor from Stoke

Roll of Honour

  • Private William H. Lavender was killed on active service by a shell
  • Rifleman W. Saffery was killed by a shell in France

Health & Hospitals

  • Canada House opened to provide maternity care for the wives of naval ratings

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • The Prime Minister appealed to agricultural workers to work harder
  • We’re not facing a famine says Lord Rhonddia
  • Prompt action by the Rochester Food Control Committee averted a meat shortage
  • Rochester butchers set up their own registration scheme
  • Strood butchers plan a registration scheme and a butcher may start selling horse-flesh
  • Cattle market closed early owing to alterations in the train service
  • Police reduce margarine queues by redirecting shoppers to other stores with stock
  • With queues threatened to become unruly, 32cwt of margarine was requisitioned
  • A rationing scheme for butter, margarine and tea scheme was brought in
  • The Naval barracks in Chatham finds a substitute for margarine
  • The food ration is reduced for Strood Union inmates – master obtains corned beef
  • Price of milk is increased in Rochester to 8d / quart
  • Horace Putwain fined 40s for selling butter at a price exceeding 21/2d on the actual cost
  • William Franks was fined £8 for four counts of selling milk above the controlled price
  • Council purchases dried milk for babies
  • Fixing low prices for farmers will further limit supplies and bring about worse shortages
  • Farmers asked to reserve dates for a countywide pigeon shoot
  • Agricultural equipment available for hire from Messrs. Robin & Day

Civic Business

  • New parliamentary boundaries announced – the name of Rochester has been preserved
  • Approval given to reclaim land to extend Willis Avenue
  • The creation of deep water wharves for Medway was investigated
  • Don’t burn waster paper – recycle it
  • Ideas for creating work for demobilised soldiers were explored

Community Support

  • House-to-house collection in Rochester raised £966 for St. Bartholomew’s hospital

Home Tragedies

  • Edward Vincent died whilst “engaged in serving a crowd of excited women in Sittingbourne”

School / Education News

No Rochester reports discovered

Court Cases

  • New Magistrates have taken the oath and sighed the roll
  • Hector Buck fined £5 for taking matches into an explosives factory
  • Fraser Bloxham & Ernest Barwick stole coats from the Cathedral Choir during a concert
  • Father & son George and William receive three months’ hard-labour for stealing bread

Women’s Experiences

  • Jennie Appleyard fined for the unlawful use of palmistry

Church & Cathedral

  • No peace without Victory – urges the Bishop of Rochester in his New Year message
  • A day of pray and intercession was held in response to the King’s call
  • The Dean of Rochester has left the Cathedral City for a short break
  • Mr. Ronald Storrs (CMG) was appointed as Governor of Jerusalem
  • Sir Frederick Bridge began his career in Rochester as a chorister and asst. organ-blower

Life Goes On

  • Eight dwelling houses in Gordon Road, Strood, are to be auctioned
  • Death announced of Mrs. Johnson, daughter of the constructor of Rochester bridge
  • Alfred Blake sought a divorce – private detective finds Mrs. Blake is living with another man
  • Louis Cobb held a pre-stocktake sale

FEBRUARY 1918

Military and War Reports

  • Rochester MP concerned food is being placed at risk by being moved in coastal vessels
  • 20,000 soldiers who were skilled shipbuilders released from the Army
  • Sir Ernest Lamb votes, along with 27 others, to negotiate with Germany

Tribunals

  • Tribunals told they need to protect food distribution

Reports from the Front

  • Socialising with the German’s on Christmas Day, then back to bomb-making
  • Richard Henry Burrells, thrice reported as killed in action, is now a voluntary constable

Roll of Honour

  • Pte. Dennis Martin, first reported as missing, is now known to have been killed in action

Health & Hospitals

  • 1917 annual report for Strood VAD
  • Rochester Town Council received 33 applications for the post of Health Visitor
  • The 45th Kent VAD members did extraordinarily well in their first aid examinations
  • Venereal Disease Clinic opened at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital

Home News

  • The Bridge Wardens proposed limiting the weight of vehicles

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Owing to the very short supplies butcher shops closed for half the week
  • An extensive part of the local demand for meat arises from Government stipulations
  • The severe meat shortage in the Dockyard towns could lead to unrest
  • Farmers are not responsible for the meat shortage says Rochester NFU
  • Sizeable queues still form outside food shops in Rochester
  • The child Victor Bear from Luton was run over and killed in Luton by a motor vehicle
  • In an act of ‘queue kindness’ a woman gives up her place for a delicate man
  • The Rochester Food Control Committee issued meat tickets for 80,000 people
  • Rochester to consider setting up a Public kitchen
  • The price set for potatoes was too low for Kent and risked causing a potato shortage
  • Credit was made available to farmers to purchase seed corn
  • A rally to recruit more women farm workers was arranged for Rochester

Civic Business

  • Could a commercial cargo dock for Medway compete with the Port of London?

Community Support

  • The Dean gave a lantern lecture on ‘Japan’ to a large audience in the Kings Hall

Home Tragedies

  • Pte. John Bryan was killed after falling from a train just outside Rochester station

School / Education News

  • A Kent Education committee met with a deputation to discuss sex instruction in schools

Court Cases

  • A pair of white gloves were presented to the Rochester City Justices
  • The annual General Licensing Meeting noted a reduction in drunkenness
  • There has been a great reduction in drunkenness at Rochester
  • Charles Coppings received four months’ hard labour for incorrectly processing of Cordite

Women’s Experiences

  • The New Franchise Act will give six million women the vote
  • Jilted single girl gains maintenance after ‘her man’ married another
  • A husband & wife appointed as probation officers

Church & Cathedral

  • Memorial window to victims of HMS Vanguard is being considered for the North transept
  • Vicar of Upnor fined 10s for failing to shade or obscure lights at the Vicarage

Life Goes On

  • Use coke instead of coal says the Rochester, Chatham, and Gillingham Gas Company
  • Leonard’s sale offered considerable savings

MARCH 1918

Military and War Reports

  • Ferro-concrete ships can be built in four months

Tribunals

  • The Amalgamated Society of Engineers accused of preventing a member from enlisting
  • Mr. Carpenter from Rochester was before the Herne Bay Tribunal for not attending drill

Reports from the Front

  • Cheery Lieut. Earnest Wood is home in Kings Avenue, minus his right leg

Private F. Samson was wounded within an hour of returning to the Front

Medals were presented to NCOs and men on the Esplanade

Pte. John Goodison of the Royal West Kents received the Military Medal at Rochester

Capt. W. A. Wyatt, an old King’s boy was awarded the French Order of the Chevalier

Roll of Honour

No Rochester reports discovered

Health & Hospitals

  • There was a considerable outbreak of measles in Rochester
  • The comparative costs of hospital beds were published
  • Funds are urgently needed by Rochester Red Cross Depot due to a fall-off in donations

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • The Medway Diary Company fined £30 for selling milk containing 8.9% added water
  • Poor animal feed could be contributing to the poor quality of milk
  • War rationing introduced for meat, margarine and butter
  • More complaints about flaws in the national agricultural policy
  • “Spade v U-Boat” a weekly illustrated column was published

Civic Business

  • Foord bequeath – the Council resolves to purchase 121, 129 and 131 High Street
  • Forty allotments made available on Strood recreation ground
  • Repairs to Cliffe Road are to be part funded by Messrs. Curtis and Harvey
  • Mr. J. C. Nash, timekeeper for Rochester Town Council has left his position
  • The Towns are looking to create deep water wharves after the war
  • New parliamentary boundaries – a Labour candidate may stand in Rochester

Community Support

  • National War Bonds scheme – Business Men’s week
  • Rochester falls short of its Business Men’s Week target
  • The death of Mr. J. L. Spoor (60) was announced
  • Tank week – “The Tank is coming Monday April 15”

Home Tragedies

  • Arthur Matangle was knocked down by a light engine whilst working on Rochester Bridge
  • James Wilson was thrown from his motorcycle and died of a fractured his skull
  • Thomas Martin fell into a meal bin at Strood mill and died from suffocation
  • Ester Colyer died of pneumonia following being knocked down by a motor car
  • Skylarking led to the tragic death of Lance-Corpl. Leonard Cole

School / Education News

  • A well-attended meeting of Traders was held at the Guildhall to discuss the Education Bill

Court Cases

  • Walter Green sentenced to three months’ hard labour for tampering with a cordite machine
  • Mrs. Harriet Lane fined for using other people’s ration cards
  • Horace Knight & George West fined for not wearing special boots in an explosive works
  • George Petts was fined 40s for refusing to be searched by a patrol

Women’s Experiences

  • Women and the war – and post war opportunities for salaried positions
  • The rally at Rochester to attract more women to work on the land was successful.
  • Women protest against the Matrimonial Causes Bill

Church & Cathedral

  • Hospitality offered to clergy should not include anything that is on ration

Life Goes On

  • The Kent Messenger is seeking a “young lady” for the “congenial occupation” as a journalist
  • The proposal for a new road along the Esplanade to Maidstone was not well received
  • The museum proves popular with the troops in the area
  • Visit to Rochester leads to a divorce and damages being paid to a cuckolded husband
  • Leonards points out that economy doesn’t mean cheap
  • The newest designs of semi-trimmed Easter millinery are on show at Hinton-Terrell

APRIL 1918

Military and War Reports

  • New manpower bill details changes to the ages for conscription

Tribunals

  • A number of appeals of C2 & C3 men against call-up were before the Rochester Tribunal
  • Anonymous writer accuses the Tribunal of favouritism

Reports from the Front

  • Dr. Green of Rochester, who was badly injured in action, is back in England
  • 2nd Lieut. J. A McCudden, MC, is reported as missing

Roll of Honour

  • Fgt. Sub-Lieut. Leonard E. Oakeshott died of injuries received in an accident in France
  • Sgt. Frederick Sudds died from gunshot wounds to the head that he received in action

Health & Hospitals

  • First aid examination results – City of Rochester Division of St. Johns Ambulance Brigade
  • More beds needed urgently needed at Strood VAD

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • The Food Controller allows people to buy eggs to preserve for their own use
  • Milk regulations cannot be amended to reflect the impact of poor feed on the quality of milk
  • There is great pressure on Food Control Committees to issue supplementary ration cards
  • The Rochester branch of NFU supports the use of German PoWs on the land

Civic Business

  • Eastgate house was purchase by the Council in 1897 for £1,800
  • Three shops and premises adjoining Eastgate House Museum are to be purchased
  • Poor law discount rescinded in St. Margaret’s

Community Support

  • A Tank is to visit Chatham as part of the War Bond campaign
  • Nelson the original Trafalgar Square Tank, will support Medway’s Tank Week
  • The Medway Tank “will be ready Monday next at Chatham to receive your money”
  • The serial number of purchased Tank Week War Bonds can be entered into a ‘raffle’
  • ‘Nelson’ arrives by the backdoor!
  • ‘Nelson’ the Trafalgar Square tank arrived at Rochester Goods Station
  • Thousands of people assembled to witness the departure of ‘Nelson’ the tank
  • A total of £250,048 was raised in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, during Tank Week
  • Primroses sold by Mrs. Pritchett raised £1 15s 1d for the PoW fund

Home Tragedies

  • Arthur Mantanle killed whilst laying railway sleepers on a line near Rochester

School / Education New

  • E. Lawrence is the most brilliant scholar the head a Mathematical School has ever known

Court Cases

  • Joseph McCormack fined £5 for taking matches & cigarettes into the explosives works

Women’s Experiences

  • Ladies of Rochester are to produce information on how to preserve produce

Church & Cathedral

  • Rev. H. Hicken, Vicar of St. Peter’s, has donated his Army Chaplin pay to the parish

Life Goes On

  • Hoo Union wished to appoint a man and wife, without children, to act as porter and cook
  • Marriage between George Wood & Edith Mary Warne

MAY 1918

Military and War Reports

  • Train services are disrupted by the heavy demands placed on the railway by the Military
  • Teachers & educational officers are to be called-up forthwith
  • Method of gas manufacture to change to provide by-products needed to make explosives

Tribunals

  • Edward Reeves, three months’ exemption on condition he joins the Fire Brigade
  • Nash, exempted as the only son of a widow whose other son had been killed in the war
  • A new medical category grading system was introduced for older men

Reports from the Front

  • The clothing of men admitted to the Strood VAD directly from the Front is verminous

Roll of Honour

  • Gunner Geo. Lewis died of his wounds in Rouen Hospital
  • Gilbert Dunn Cox died aged 21 on 7 May 1918

Health & Hospitals

  • Strenuous times for the Strood VAD hospital but it’s receiving a lot of support
  • St. Bartholomew’s activity during 1917
  • Miss Tod, the new Health Visitor, is now in post and visiting children under the age of one

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Public reminded to return the ration card of a deceased person to the Food Control Office
  • The Food Control Office for Rochester has moved to 56 High Street, Rochester
  • The public is urged to continue buying frozen meat to help avert a winter meat shortage
  • A plea made for agricultural workers to have a good and sufficient supply of cheese
  • Apparatus is used at Rochester to preserve surplus vegetables
  • The hire rates for agricultural equipment is published
  • Inaugural meeting held of the Kent Division of the ‘Comrades of the Great War’

Civic Business

  • Cliffe Road in a very poor condition – a contribution to be sought from Curtis and Harvey
  • Miss Minnie Sleeford is awarded the Order of the Empire
  • The Council agrees an increase in the price paid for the cartage of the City’s night soil

Community Support

  • Thanks were recorded to Claude Rogers and Mr. Featherstone for organising Tank Week
  • Presentation of Tank Week prizes
  • The Towns did better in ‘Tank Week’ than in ‘Business Men’s Week’
  • A high-class afternoon concert was given in the Corn Exchange by the Royal Engineers

Home Tragedies

  • Young machinist dies from blood poisoning following a minor injury at work

School / Education News

  • Mr. A. Lucy is appointed as headmaster of the Maths School by the Lord Lieutenant
  • Poisoned sweets ‘dropped’ on a street near the Cathedral Schools

Court Cases

  • Samuel White is the first to be summoned for falsifying information to get more rations
  • Jasper and Sons, bakers, summoned for selling bread at a price exceeding 21/2d / loaf
  • Norman Johnson – 14 days imprisonment for carrying matches into explosive works
  • Messrs. Fletcher Ltd., and Frank Woodcock were fined for over-charging for meat

Women’s Experiences

  • Relatives of wounded soldiers make use of the YWCA’s temporary accommodation
  • The Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary called on the Women of Britain to come and cook
  • Criticism is expressed of the “pauperising” welfare milk scheme
  • A Medway Towns Child Welfare Council is established
  • The Great Sensational Propaganda film – “An Ancient Evil” – was shown locally

Church & Cathedral

  • The Dean highlighted the ‘Dragons of England’ that needed to be slain
  • The Rogation Day service was poorly supported
  • Clergy remain exempt from conscription – but not because of lobbying by the Church

Life Goes On

  • Miss G. Wyles of Chatham exhibited a picture at the Royal Academy
  • Conway-Gordon supports the “noble & humane campaign on behalf of dogs”
  • Medway Guardians offered a £1 reward for the identification of an abandoned baby
  • Water main bursts on Star Hill at the busiest time on a Saturday evening

June 1918

Military and War Reports

  • The German push at the Front placed a strain on hospitals across the country

Tribunals

  • Frank Holley had his certificate of conditional exemption withdrawn
  • Amos Wilkinson, Frederick Webb, and William Reed – cases adjourned for one month

Reports from the Front

  • Recipients of the Mons Ribbon
  • Rochester’s Recipients of Meritorious Service Medal

Roll of Honour

  • Capt. James Clifford Aveling Bell killed in an air raid on the hospital he was in
  • The headmaster of King’s School highlighted the sacrifice made by Public School boys

Health & Hospitals

  • A death from the Plague occurs at Rochester
  • The limited Stood VAD Gift Day exceeded all expectations
  • Probationer nurses at the Medway Union express gratitude for their war bonus
  • Training events organised for the Royal Army Medical Corp volunteers

Home News

  • Medals were presented to Special Constables at the Guildhall
  • A local branch of the National Union of Scientific Workers has been formed

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Farmers were asked to avoid slaughtering stock during the summer months
  • Parents find it practically impossible to get milk from traders
  • A Bakers’ Association was formed with the view to establishing cooperative working
  • Register with Lipton for tea – who can guarantee a supply

Civic Business

  • There was a severe shortage of materials to maintain roads
  • Strood’s highway workman petitioned for higher pay
  • The Spring meeting of the Fire Brigade Union took place at the Guildhall

Community Support

  • Gifts of gold & silver for the British Red Cross could be left with the Mayor of Rochester
  • Centralisation required Rochester’s Prisoner of War Committee to be wound up
  • Rochester aimed to raise £100,000 during War Weapons Week
  • Chatham, in Weapon’s Week, aims to raise sufficient funds to build 20 aeroplanes
  • Many events and investment opportunities were put in place for War Weapons’ Week
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised Rochester’s War Weapons Week was going well
  • Lady Sturdee opened her first garden fete in the Three Towns

Home Tragedies

  • Thomas Payne died of burns received whilst engaged in burning waste

School / Education News

  • Pupils of Troy Town school enliven their classrooms with flowers
  • Vines Church Sunday Schools had difficulty in recruiting & retaining teachers and scholars
  • The sacrifice made by old Kings boys was acknowledged by the headmaster
  • Day and evening classes were available in shorthand, typewriting and bookkeeping

Court Cases

  • Farmer blames the Food Controller for the low quality of milk
  • David Hadaway was fined £20 for selling milk with 32% added water
  • Edith Blades, a widow from Borstal, was fined £5 for selling milk with 21.1% added water
  • James Newlands broke into the postroom of Fort Pitt hospital and stole letters

Women’s Experiences

  • A top-up of pay was agreed for the wives of two police constables who had enlisted
  • Pressure continued for an Infants’ Welfare Centre to be opened in Rochester
  • A Baby Week between July 7 – 14

Church & Cathedral

  • Introduction to the “New Hymnal”

Life Goes On

  • An oyster measure missing for 100 years, was returned to Rochester
  • The Cathedral received a gift of a baptismal shell

JULY 1918

Military and War Reports

  • The Army’s demand for men could require less fit and older men to be called up

Tribunals

  • The Mayor noted that only worthy appeals against conscription were now being made
  • More effective use needs to be made of Grade 3 men
  • Cllr. Robert Dale appealed as a conscientious objector

Reports from the Front

  • Campaign started to relieve men who had had an overlong overseas deployment

Roll of Honour

  • Major James McCudden, VC, killed in a take-off accident
  • A memorial tree plantation was proposed for St. Margaret’s church

Health & Hospitals

  • Royal Army Medical Corp (Vols) orders of the week

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Elementary Schools closed in order that teachers could help issue new ration books

Home News

  • Meeting held to formulate a scheme to keep businesses open if a business man is called-up
  • Mayor of Tunbridge Wells rebukes his Rochester audience for their levity
  • The National Union of Scientific Workers sought new members
  • War Pensions would be better managed locally
  • Rochester firm appointed to oversee the winding up of the Queens Head Hotel in Maidstone

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Pay & conditions of farm workers were fixed
  • Horse drawn potato sprayers were available for hire from W. Crawford, Hoo, Rochester

Civic Business

  • Wage-earners appointed as magistrates
  • Mr. A. W. Ireland a Rochester carpenter made a JP
  • Col. J. T. C. Moore-Brabazon adopted as Chatham’s Unionist Candidate
  • Proposals presented to merge the three Medway boroughs into one County Borough
  • Details of the new Parliamentary Boroughs of Rochester and women voters

Community Support

  • Rochester’s War Weapons Week raised £60,142 16s – but short of its target
  • Upset that ratepayers’ money was used to fund voluntary efforts
  • Since 1914 the Strood Soldiers Institute had entertained over 55,000 service men
  • The builders and savers of the Dockyard established a successful War Savings Association

Home Tragedies

  • Private Herbert Reeves, of Eastgate, was knocked down and killed by a train near Aldershot

School / Education News

No additional Rochester reports discovered

Court Cases

  • A young couples’ intimate ‘farewell’ led to them being brought before the magistrates

Women’s Experiences

  • Women Voters
  • A baby in the UK dies every five minutes
  • Organisers of Baby Week failed to recognise Monday’s were a very busy day in the home
  • The baby of Mrs. King of Strood was declared the ‘Champion Baby’
  • Inaugural meeting of the Women’s Citizens’ Association for Rochester, Strood and District

Church & Cathedral

  • The Church needs to engage with weighty issues in order to influence reconstruction
  • HRH Duke of Connaught inspected the Scouts on the Deanery Lawn

Life Goes On

  • Shop boy injured shop owner’s daughter in a Pig-a-back accident

AUGUST 1918

Military and War Reports

  • The ceaseless throb and drum of the guns in France could be heard in Kent
  • News from the Front continued to be very satisfactory and encouraging
  • Inhabitants of the three Towns were asked to extend hospitality to American soldiers
  • The Hoo platoon of the Volunteer Training Corp enrolled more men

Tribunals

  • Alfred William Ratcliffe – exempted for three months and relieved of volunteer duties
  • William Cavill, a Grade 1, butcher, was appealed by the Food Control Committee
  • Bertram Humphrey, jam maker, given 3 months exemption with relief from volunteering
  • James Wilson’s appeal was refused as he was not in an exempted role

Reports from the Front

  • 2nd Lieut. R. Morris was wounded in the recent fighting on Marne
  • Private J. Rose, of the Machine Gun Corp, was awarded the Military Cross

Roll of Honour

  • Lieut. John Scrace was accidentally killed whilst flying an aeroplane
  • Private T. H Taylor who had been missing was found to have died in action

Health & Hospitals

  • St. Bartholomew’s hospital made an urgent appeal for money and collections to be sent on
  • St. Bartholomew’s activity in the half-year up to 30 June
  • Miss M. Breeze, sister at St. Bartholomew’s was recognised for her valuable service
  • St. Bartholomew’s became a centre for the diagnosis and treatment of VD (STI)
  • Staff shortages at Strood VAD led to an appeal for ladies who could assist

Home News

  • Gas prices increase as the price of coal is increased to improve miner’s wages
  • Objectionable fellows from London caused the early return of Maths School Scouts

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Another meeting called to consider a scheme for the co-operation of business men
  • Members of the Rochester Tribunal received a lesson in jam making
  • The Blackberries Order prohibited the use of blackberries other than as a food

Civic Business

  • Boot allowance to the Rochester Police was increased from 1d / day to 4s 4d / month
  • Proposed improvements to the tram rails in Strood abandon because of cost
  • The recycling of waste paper proved profitable
  • The dependency of the inmates of the Medway Union increased
  • A conference held to consider the merging of the three Towns
  • Ivy was removed from the castle

Community Support

  • The memory of Mr. J. L. Spoor was honoured
  • Free use of the Castle Gardens was granted for a whist drive for the Rochester PoW Fund
  • Flag day in Rochester raised £153 18s 4d for the Red Cross Depot & Hospital Munitions Centre
  • Save money by doing less laundry and invest more in war savings
  • Nurses and wounded soldiers were entertained on the Strood bowling green
  • A Ladies’ Swimming Gala was the ‘Splash of the Season’

Home Tragedies

  • A strange fatality of an RAF mechanic who was suffocated in an airship

School / Education News

  • King’s School given the use of the Borstal rifle range
  • Mathematical School War Savings Association did exceptionally well

Court Cases

  • Carry Letly given three months’ hard labour for stealing from rail passengers’ trunks
  • Peters and Tanner fined 35s each for stealing 10s worth of growing apples
  • Adolp Nicolai Nilson remanded for having six photos of Northfleet Dockyard Slipway
  • Six lads brought before justices for playing a game of chance in an open & public place

Women’s Experiences

  • Welfare of women deserves attention in the light of the service they’ve rendered the Nation
  • Will the wonderful nursing work done by the women ever be adequately recognised?
  • At a day of Remembrance held at Gravesend the silent work of women was recognised
  • Pension proposed for widowed mothers so they may care for their young children at home
  • Babies from Rochester were entered into the Borough Green baby show

Church & Cathedral

  • A war shrine was set up in the Jesus Chapel, Rochester Cathedral
  • Great Remembrance Day Services held at Rochester Cathedral and on the Esplanade
  • Cathedral congregations had seldom been as large as that for the Remembrance Service

Life Goes On

  • Marriage between Perry Fawcett & Kathleen Dibley
  • Marriage between Ronald Fowle & Winifred Brand

SEPTEMBER 1918

Military and War Reports

  • The Germans were withdrawing from strategic positions on the Western Front

Tribunals

  • John William Trice allowed three months’ exemption and relieved of volunteering
  • Sidney Ellis – six months’ exemption conditional on continuing to train discharged soldiers

Reports from the Front

Capt. Thomas Aveling was wounded in recent action in France

Gunner A. Culver was wounded in action in France

Sgt. C. Smith is reported as having been slightly injured and to be in hospital

Gift were sent to Mrs. Spoor from grateful PoWs

Roll of Honour

  • Pages of obituaries were published
  • Charles Galvin died of an abdominal wound sustained in action
  • Gunner Henry Gowers was killed in action in France on 2 September
  • Pte. Arthur Millstead was poisoned by gas and succumbed on 6 September
  • Frank Bennett died in an accident before he could take his Commission

Health & Hospitals

  • St. Bartholomew’s hospital treated over 500 patients per week in 1917
  • Savings will result from the death of a women who had been in the asylum for 40 years
  • The nursing staff of the Strood Union risk being undernourished
  • Vacancy for an infirmary nurse at the Strood Union was frozen as it’s “unnecessary”

Home News

  • American Army & British Coal are now the deciding factors in the war – treat coal like gold
  • Public urged to save water in order to save coal as the water pumps need coal
  • Coal rationing is introduced
  • The huge work load of the Rochester Employment Exchange was described
  • The Medway Towns United Temperance Committee plan a vigorous campaign
  • Shorts’ Social and Athletics Club held their first annual regatta

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Rochester NFU concerned about feed for ewes, and loss of control over markets to Americans
  • Concern that the price for milk was set too low for dairy farmers to keep their herds
  • The prices to be paid for cereal crops was published

Civic Business

  • Rochester police pay has been increased
  • Col. Harry Breton agreed to continue as Mayor of Rochester

Community Support

  • River trips for wounded soldiers were provided by the Medway Conservancy Board
  • Empire Theatre artistes entertained soldiers at the Strood VAD
  • The ladies swimming gala delightfully exemplified the natatory art
  • Vegetable show was held by the Borstal allotment holders in the White Horse, Borstal
  • A Flag Day was held in Strood for the Dover Patrol

Home Tragedies

  • George Bourne, a well-known farmer, died following a scratch from a calf’s tooth

School / Education News

  • School children across the Country supported the National Blackberry Collection
  • The academic successes of the boys & girls of Troy Town Schools were celebrated
  • Mr. L. Jeffery assistant at St. Nicholas School was discharged from the army
  • Lieut. John During was awarded a Kitchener Scholarship

Court Cases

  • Percy Grout was fined £3 for driving a motorcycle for leisure purposes
  • Charles Hubbard, a baker, was fined £5 for not keeping the required records
  • John Bate was fined £15 for selling adulterated condensed milk without a license
  • George Stockley was charged with being absent under the Military Services Act
  • Herbert Cox charged with being absent from his regiment
  • Barclay Leslie charged with unlawfully wearing the uniform of a captain
  • Bargeman was summoned for tax avoidance

Women’s Experiences

  • The work of the Assoc. for Befriending Women and Girls was praised by the Archdeacon
  • The Girl Guides Movement could develop the noble character of girls across our towns

Church & Cathedral

  • Rochester Baptists celebrated an increase in their membership

Life Goes On

  • Marriage between Leslie Fenner & Dorothy Ashton

OCTOBER 1918

Military and War Reports

  • At the end of September the government agreed an armistice with Bulgaria

Tribunals

  • Three dairymen were before the Rochester Tribunal as they were not in a certified trade

Reports from the Front

  • Lance-corp. A. Wilmots was awarded the Military Medal but had been gassed
  • Lieut. (A/Capt.) William Pinfold died from influenza and pneumonia

Roll of Honour

  • Major Arthur Bracebridge Challis was killed in action at Agincourt
  • Pte. Charles J. Foord, eldest son of the late J. J. Foord, JP, was been killed in action

Health & Hospitals

  • There were rumours that volunteers at Strood VAD maybe being paid
  • Strood VAD celebrated all who had contributed to the anticipated victory
  • Pupils & teachers from the Station Road School entertained 50 wounded soldiers
  • 55 Canadian soldiers admitted to Strood VAD
  • There were ten notifications of infectious diseases received during September
  • Strood Guardians to invest a further £1,000 in War Bonds
  • Sick reporting arrangements lessened for Dockyard workers with 2 days or less, sick leave
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Moore of Philadelphia, a regular donor to Strood VAD, has died

Home News

  • The Isle of Grain is now part of the Isle Sheppey Special Military Zone
  • Contingencies were put in place to deal with a possible winter fuel shortage
  • Light restriction times published
  • Strood Trustees complained about the poor street lighting in Rochester

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • The Frindsbury Food Production and Gardener’s Society held its first AGM
  • On 1 November, the Ministry of Food took over the management of the potato crop
  • Employees of the Rochester Laundry held the first of a series of social evenings
  • The Council accepted the offer of Mr. J. Elvy to supply horses at 20s
  • Watts Charity advised to leave appointing new trustees until after the war

Civic Business

  • Patriotic Rochester maximised on moonlight before using its street lights
  • Rochester rates needed to be increased to cover various increased costs
  • Pay and bonus increases were agreed for Corporation staff and the Police
  • The Council considered acquiring land in Longley Road from the Bridgewardens
  • Objections were raised against the development of a new slipway by Shorts Brothers
  • Merging of the Towns could bring benefits says the Archdeacon of Rochester

Community Support

  • Shorts’ Social and Athletics Club (Concert section) gave a concert in the Corn Exchange
  • War Savings Movement uses the distinctive symbol of the Swastika
  • Forget-me-knots were sold on Rochester streets to raise money to provide an ambulance
  • The Navy – the Silent Service – was subject of many encomiums (speeches of praise)

Home Tragedies

  • Baby suffocated whilst sleeping in bed with its parents

School / Education News

  • The elementary schools in Rochester were closed due to influenza

Court Cases

  • George Champion fined 30s for selling dripping at a price exceeding 1s 10d / lb
  • Alfred Hedgecock, was fined for selling corned beef above the stipulated price
  • Messrs. Jasper and sons Ltd., fined £2 for selling flour above the stipulated price
  • Kent Haulage Co., Rochester, was sued for not paying for the grazing of their horses

Women’s Experiences

  • There is a pressing need for a crèche at Rochester for munition workers
  • Strood Women Citizen’s Association noted the near vision of victory and peace
  • Woking women applaud Rochester women’s support for the Government’s peace stance
  • Gravesend women cite the Rochester women on the need to use their vote wisely
  • Several women propose to be candidates at the next General Election
  • Lady Sturdee addressed the Inaugural meeting of the Medway Girl Guide movement

Church & Cathedral

  • A special service was held at the Cathedral for teachers
  • Church service times rearranged in Rochester to save coal, coke, gas and electricity
  • Harvest and thanksgiving service held for the deliverance of the Holy Land
  • St. Nicholas was tastefully decorated with a plentiful supply of fruit, vegetables and flowers

Life Goes On

  • Druids initiate new members at Rochester
  • A skeleton of an Anglo-Saxon warrior was unearthed in Strood

NOVEMBER 1918

Military and War Reports

  • Enemies are surrendering
  • Anticipating Victory
  • An extensive club for discharged & demobilised soldiers was opened in Old Brompton
  • Rochester recognised that sons of enemy aliens had fought for Britain
  • Two new bells requested for the Cathedral to commemorate the declaration of peace
  • When Peace is declared a Thanksgiving Service should be held in Rochester Cathedral
  • Tremendous upheaval will follow the war – warns Col. H. D’Arch Breton
  • Local businesses planned to mark Peace with special sales
  • Austerity continues so – “Save coal – buy ready to eat foods – like baked beans.”
  • The Armistice is signed
  • Celebrations in Rochester were restrained compared to other towns
  • PEACE! Monday’s Magnificent News and how it was received in Kent
  • News of the Armistice reached Rochester
  • The Cathedral bells summoned thankful citizens to the sacred edifice at noon
  • Rejoicing in Port and Garrison
  • Some desire a return to the past; ‘mulled claret, churchwarden pipes and the Bull’

Tribunals

  • Seven appeals were allowed of men who were not amongst the ‘fittest’

Reports from the Front

  • King’s boys given a longer half-term break to honour decorated old boys
  • Citation for the award of the Military Cross to 2nd Lieut. W. Furminger’s MC

Roll of Honour

  • Arch Deacon Weaire died as a prisoner of war in the hands of the Turks

Health & Hospitals

  • Influenza caused upwards of 50 deaths in the Strood district
  • The influenza epidemic in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham showed no signs of abating
  • Twelve sappers helped undertakers make coffins and to bury the dead
  • It’s believed the Influenza epidemic could be abating in Rochester
  • Influenza epidemic appears to be abating in Cliffe
  • The Medway Union was still admitting patients with influenza
  • City Ambulance Corp assisted Strood VAD during the influenza epidemic
  • The shortage of Bovril during the Influenza epidemic was due to a bottle shortage
  • Strood VAD requested support continues until it closes
  • The Darnley Ward of Strood VAD closed

Home News

  • Strood recreation ground returns to the Corporation
  • The Old Corn Exchange has been vacated by the Military
  • River restrictions are being lifted
  • Approval was given for more street lighting in Rochester
  • ‘Recognition & Reconstruction Week’ was the next big fundraising effort at Rochester
  • There is unrest within the Police Force
  • Strikes are threatened in Chatham over pay
  • Medway Guardians declined to adopt for their officials the scale of war bonus
  • Bishop complained that entertainment is seen as necessary and worship as a luxury
  • The need for fuel economy continued
  • The Fuel Wood Order controlled the sale and purchase of wood

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Rationing will need to continue even if the war ends

Civic Business

  • Rochester Town Council decided to hold meetings earlier in the day to save on light
  • Dates for the General Election have been announced
  • A Labour Party meeting was held at the Corn Exchange
  • The Unionist Party held a meeting at the Victoria Hall

Community Support

  • There was an unsuccessful flag-day appeal for the British Red Cross
  • Col. H. D’Arch Breton was re-elected as Mayor
  • Canterbury and Rochester branch of C.E.T.S provided over 90 recreation rooms [C.E.T.S = Church of England Temperance Society.]

Home Tragedies

  • Considerable increase in cases of influenza

School / Education News

  • Vote of thanks to the Dean for inaugurating the special service for teachers

Court Cases

  • Six seamen were each sentenced to one months’ hard labour for stealing whiskey
  • Six butchers were in Court based on a complaint from other butchers
  • The case against Ernest Clinch for selling milk 26.7% deficient in milk fat was dismissed
  • Ernest Clinch fined £10 and £2 4s costs for failing to obey an order of the Food Controller
  • Ernest Pilcher & John Collison charged for having horses with parasitic mange
  • There was an increase in cases of bigamy brought before the Court

Women’s Experiences

  • Rochester & Strood Women’s Citizens’ Association met on Peace Day
  • Mothers take comfort from the fact your son died the death he would have wished
  • Wife sued her father-in-law for assault when he intervened in a marital dispute

Church & Cathedral

  • The Rochester & Strood Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
  • Three women filled roles in the Cathedral
  • A chorus is being assembled for the planned Peace Thanksgiving Service
  • A Thanksgiving Service planned in anticipation of a Peace being reached
  • Signing of the Armistice will be announced by the Cathedral bells
  • Dean received news of the death of a son as news of the Armistice reaches Rochester
  • The peal of the Cathedral bells summoned thankful citizens to the sacred edifice at noon
  • Armistice Day was marked with Great Services

Life Goes On

  • The death of Miss Rebecca Pearce, a retired postmistress, was announced
  • Leonards held a one-day sale at which they sold blouses at very economical prices
  • The Tea Table Café’s new Electric Coffee Mill means quicker service

DECEMBER 1918

Military and War Reports

  • The mystery ship ‘Suffolk Coast’ was anchored off Cory’s Wharf
  • Sixty-four torpedo boat destroyers anchored in the river Medway for Christmas

Reports from the Front

Pte. Cook’s experience as a Prisoner of War are outlined

Recognition and Reconstruction

  • Appreciation expressed for the care offered by a Rochester couple to a billeted soldier
  • A swimming bath would be a fitting War Memorial to Rochester’s fallen

Roll of Honour

A Roll of Honour is to be displayed at the Guildhall

Trooper William King died on 5th November of pneumonia in Italy

Flu claims Sister D. Mathew, matron of the Strood VAD, who worked unsparingly whilst ill

Portraits unveiled of E. W. Lyon & L. E. Oakshott at the Maths School

Health & Hospitals

  • During the five weeks ending 23 November there had been 77 deaths from Influenza
  • Strood VAD was to definitely close on 31 December
  • Celebrations, Recognition & Reconstruction
  • Hundreds apply to attend an evening of ‘Celebration’ in the New Corn Exchange
  • Recognition Week at Rochester proved a glorious success
  • “If it’s possible – do it!” – the motto of the third great effort in Rochester to raise War Savings

How Christmas was spent

  • Christmas in the Strood VAD
  • Christmas in St. Bartholomew’s
  • Christmas in the Strood Union Workhouse
  • Christmas in the Strood Scattered Homes

Civic Business

  • Labour Calls You! to attend a meeting at the New Corn Exchange
  • The case for voting Labour was outlined in a notice placed in the press
  • The case for voting Conservative made at a meeting held at the New Corn Exchange
  • The case for voting Liberal and Lloyd George Coalition Candidate detailed in the press
  • Council votes on a motion stating that the ex-Kaiser should put of trial
  • The City Surveyor was instructed to report on the best position for additional street lamps
  • Renumbering the High Street is proposed

Community Support

  • Reported above as part of the Recognition and Reconstruction ‘celebrations’

Home Tragedies

  • Mystery of the missing seaman

School / Education News

  • Concerns expressed about teachers leaving the profession and lack of science teachers

Court Cases

  • Joseph Harker, fined £8 with £2 2s cost for permitting a quantity of barley to be wasted
  • Butchers and a fishmonger before magistrates for overstating the number of their customers
  • Albert Charles Harding received a months’ hard-labour for stealing from his girlfriend

Women’s Experiences

  • See ‘Case for Voting Labour’ above

Church & Cathedral

  • Peace and Victory were the keynotes of the Christmas celebrations in the Medway Towns

Life Goes On

  • Some shops had an extended closure over Christmas

JANUARY 1919

Military and War Reports

  • Demobilisation trouble – unrest amongst servicemen in Chatham

Reports from the Front

  • Private John Bull was awarded the Military Medal

Recognition and Reconstruction

  • Great schemes planned at Shorts’ Rochester works
  • The Rochester Choral Society is to be revived
  • A dinner party was given for repatriated prisoners of war in the New Corn Exchange
  • Potential employers asked to recognise that ex-service men will make good employees
  • Admiral Sir Roger Keyes invited by the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men
  • Tractors can replace three or four horses
  • The Government Aircraft and Bombardment insurance scheme ended
  • Four hundred attend a dance at the Corn Exchange

Roll of Honour

  • 2nd Lieut. George Willis was killed in an accident whilst flying near Boulogne
  • King’s School lost 50 Old Boys – more than most schools in proportion to its numbers
  • Should the towns have a War Memorial?

Health & Hospitals

  • Miss Grace Farqubar assistant matron at St. Bartholomew’s is to leave

Home News

  • Seaman enjoy an Armistice Supper at the Seaman’s Institute

Food, Queues & Deceptions

  • Coupons no longer needed for Corned Beef, price fixed at 1/10d per lb

Civic Business

  • General Election results for Rochester / Chatham
  • The roads are in an atrocious condition
  • Street lighting is to be increased
  • Concern is felt about the future of Chatham Dockyard
  • Houses or allotments?

Community Support

  • A time to celebrate
  • Money is raised for St. Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors

School / Education News

  • The Education Act may end boys doing paper-rounds
  • The Education committees of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham to be amalgamated

Women’s Experiences

The Bishop asks “Can we expect women to turn back the clock by five years?”

Justices loathe to issue a separation order to a wife assaulted by her husband

Church & Cathedral

  • Justice, not vengeance urges the Bishop as reconstruction starts

Life Goes On

“Presents that your Kate would be delighted to receive” can be found at Smetham & Tutts

AND FINALLY?

January 1918

Military and War Reports

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) set up recreation huts where troops could get a cup of tea, sandwiches or other refreshments. Initially these were away from the Front but in 1915 the YMCA was given permission to establish a centre within the area of army operations.

Mayor supports ‘Hut Week’ aimed at raising money to support the work of the YMCA. The week will run from 21 – 27 January – with the hope of raising £2,000 for World Wide War Work. 2,000 centres operating throughout the Empire and every field of war, 25 million pieces of stationary distributed free to troops monthly, 2,000,000 hot drinks served weekly in huts and dug outs, thousands of relatives of serious wounded were entertained free of charge in Red Triangle Hostels, thousands of walking wounded received hospitality after every battle. ‘Help the YMCA help YOUR boy’.[1]

The Mayors of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham signed a joint letter to the inhabitants of the three towns encouraging donations to support the work of the YMCA: “During the winter of the fourth year of the war, and we face the coming critical months, we are anxious that the fighting men, defending our homes and liberties of the world should not want for anything we can provide from home. They stated that no organisation of a voluntary nature had done more than the YMCA to provide these comforts – providing 2,000 hunts in the country and other countries. They need £600 to maintain their service and an additional £1,400 capital for new buildings. The Mayors in promoting ‘Hut Week’ said that donations could be sent to them.[2]

The ‘wound-stripe’ was first authorised under Army Order 204 of 6 July 1916. Officers and men reported ‘wounded – gas,’ or ‘wounded – shock, shell,’ were also entitled to the distinction. Accidental or self-inflicted wounds or injuries did not qualify. Strips of gold Russia braid, No.1, two inches in length, were sewn perpendicularly on the left sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which the soldier was wounded. Additional strips of gold braid, marking each subsequent occasion on which wounded, were placed on either side of the original one at half-inch interval.  [3]

Wound stripes can only be worn by discharged soldiers who were wounded while serving. Those entitled to wear the gold strips will be recorded in Army Book 64 and anyone wearing or supplying the strips to someone who is not entitled to wear them will be liable for prosecution under DoRA.[4]

Tribunals

W. B. Barnard, dental mechanic, had his appeal adjourned for another two months. Barnard (23) married, general service, dental mechanic, had his appeal adjourned for another two months for substitution.[5]

Reports from the Front

Capt. Geoffrey Lane wounded & captured in Aug. 1914, is on his way to being repatriated. Lane of the Rifle Brigade, only son of the late Dean of Rochester, who was severely wounded in the knee, and taken prisoner in August 1914, arrived in Switzerland from Germany.[6]

Citation for the award of the Military Cross to Capt. H. M. Spoor from Stoke. The citation for the award to Spoor, of the RAMC, stated: “Under an intense hostile bombardment he dashed out of a cellar, where he was sheltering and ran across the open to attend to two men who had been wounded in a dug-out. After attending to them he noticed that the house that he had left had been hit, whereupon he ran back again through heavy shell fire to see if his services were required. He displayed splendid gallantry and total disregard for his own safety.”

Roll of Honour

The following account shows how correspondence courses and perhaps evening classes, were used by people to acquire an education that may have been lacking in their childhood, or to improve their career prospects. There is an organisation today called ICS Learn that provides distance learning courses – same organisation? The organisation claims to have been a pioneer of distance learning for over 128 years.[7]

 

Private William H. Lavender was killed on active service by a shell. Mrs. W. H. Lavender of 36 Queen’s Street has received the sad intimation of the death of her husband. He enlisted in April last year and after a few weeks training he proceeded to France. He became attached to the Lewis Gun section of his battalion, and went through several attacks successfully until November 30 when he met his death from a shell. Before enlisting he had worked for 12 years for Messrs. Kent, grocers of Rochester. In his spare time he studied a lot and in 1910 won the ICS diploma for bookkeeping etc. He was a very popular man in his civilian and army lives.[8]

Rifleman W. Saffery was killed by a shell in France on 1 December. Saffery was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Saffrey of 37 Montfort Road, Strood.[9]

 

Health & Hospitals

Canada House opened to provide maternity care for the wives of naval ratings. The maternity units name was the Royal Navy and Marine Maternity Home,.[10] [Barnsole Road, Gillingham, ME7 4JL.]

Canada House was initially known as the Royal Naval Depot Maternity Home but later the Royal Naval & Marine Maternity Nursing Home. It was named Canada House as the maternity home was established with a “munificent gift by the ladies of the Dominion of Canada”.

Food, Queues & Deceptions

By the end of 1917 people began to fear that the country was running out of food. Panic buying added to the shortages. In January 1918 the Ministry of Food decided to introduce rationing as a means to distribute food more equitably.

The Prime Minister appealed to agricultural workers to work harder. “I ask all workers on the land to do their very utmost to help grow more food. There is a shortage of food all over the world, and we may have to feed our Army and Navy, as well as ourselves, on what we grow at home. They cannot fight on unless they are properly fed. Every full day’s work that you do helps to shorten the war and bring peace and victory nearer. Every idle day and all loitering lengthens the war and lessens the chance of victory. Your comrades in the trenches are under fire every hour of the day and night. You will not help them to win by working an extra hour each day? This is the way in which you can beat the Germans.” D. L. Lloyd George.[11]

The food shortages experienced in Britain were nothing compared to those in Germany. Official statistics attributed nearly 763,000 wartime deaths in Germany to starvation caused by the Allied blockade.[12] The ethics of a strategy aimed at civilians is questioned by some historians; others say the famine was caused by the failure of the German authorities to effectively manage food distribution. Lord Rhondda was Britain’s Food Controller.

We’re not facing a famine says Lord Rhonddia. Trying to reassure the public that we were not facing a famine Lord Rhonddia stated that the hungry German’s would regard our position as luxurious.[13]

The following account shows that there was no food in reserve. A short-lived problem caused by the weather prevented stock reaching the market led to a meat shortage – not an immediate threat of famine but something that would have had a significant impact of public morale. The requirement to give priority to people from the working class may have reflected the fact that they were highly likely to be involved in heavy manual work.

Prompt action by the Rochester Food Control Committee averted a meat shortage. At Rochester market there were only 11 bullocks instead of the usual 60 to 70 beasts. Those on offer were allocated to butchers as ordered by the Food Control Committee. This was totally inadequate to meet the local need and there is a concern that farmers may not be bringing meat market as it is sold by weight. By holding onto stock longer they get heavier and are more valuable. Local Food Committees worked with farmers to encourage them to bring more stock to market and had some occasional successes, but not enough. The government threatened to take action to resolve this problem. The shortages were exacerbated by the weather that prevented some animals from reaching the market. Other markets have similarly been under-stocked and the public had the extraordinary experience of finding the meat shops closed. The Mayor wrote to the Director of Meat Supplies at the Ministry of Food asking if a consignment of imported beef could be sent to the towns. In reply the Director stated the shortages were national and there was no imported beef available and urged butchers to give priority to vulnerable people and the working classes.[14] It was reported a week later that market stock was back to the ‘old order of things’.[15]

Rochester butchers set up their own registration scheme to stop customers going from butcher to butcher. Mr. Topping advised the butchers that the Food Control Committee expected priority to be given to the working classes and those engaged in hard manual work. The butchers are concerned that the price they could charge for the meat and the limited amounts that was available – without a reduction in their costs – was causing problems for their businesses. The problem of queues was exacerbated by one shop not stocking all that a working woman needs – she therefore have to join a number of queues to secure her week’s groceries.[16]

It has not been discovered whether the horse-meat butcher mentioned in the following report opened.

Strood butchers plan a registration scheme and a butcher may start selling horse-flesh. There were also plans afoot to open a shop in Strood for the sale of horse-flesh. If this goes ahead the shop will have to display a 4-inch notice to the fact over the shop.[17]

Train services were frequently changed – probably to meet the needs of the military who needed to move troops and equipment. The train time tables published in the press carried the proviso that they may change owing to government requirement.

Cattle market closed early owing to alterations in the train service. The market closed at 4:15 in order to suit the convenience of visiting merchants.[18]

Police reduce margarine queues by redirecting shoppers to other stores with stock.  An effort was made in Rochester to bring an end to the margarine queues. A proportion the Maypole Dairy Company’s supply was requisitioned and placed in the shops of local grocers. When queues assembled intending purchasers were informed by the police officers on duty to which shop the margarine had been transferred. The Food Control Committee made it binding on all tradesmen that they must sell to all comers at 1s / pound. Any person refused ‘requisitioned’ margarine by a tradesman was invited to report the circumstances to the Food Controller. Similar action was taken by the Food Control Committee in Chatham.[19]

Despite the above efforts ‘queue-rage’ threatened.

With queues threatened to become unruly, 32cwt of margarine was requisitioned from the Maypole Dairy and disturbed to other shops. Queues in Rochester have become very long and on two occasions have threatened to become unruly. The Food Control committee said that it is in order for retailers to hold stock back for their regular customers when it was revealed that some of the people who queued for groceries where from the country and had to return home empty handed.[20] [1cwt (hundredweight) = 112Ibs/50.8kg.]

A rationing scheme for butter, margarine and tea scheme was brought in. The allowance was 4oz of butter / margarine / person and 1.5oz of tea person. The problem of queues was addressed by requiring everyone to register with a retailer for particular foodstuffs and they will not be allowed to purchase it from elsewhere. The shopkeeper will be required to share his allocated food equally between those who are registered with him. A Rationing Card system is to be managed by the retailer and comprised of three cards – one for the shop, one for the customer and third to be held in the event of a dispute.[21]

The Naval barracks in Chatham finds a substitute for margarine. The Admiral of the Fleet in Chatham wrote to the press stating at the RN Barracks in Chatham had successful found a substitute for margarine. It involved blending a portion of margarine with a similar proportion of finely mashed potato to which some salt is added. The mixture is then allowed to cool. The mixture will last several days if kept cool.[22]

The food ration is reduced for Strood Union inmates – master obtains corned beef. The Guardians endorsed the decision of the Master in obtaining corned beef to make up for the deficiency of meat in the house and in also reducing the quantity of mutton allowed in certain diets. Owing to the shortage of milk it was decided to give half-an-ounce of margarine and a pint of tea for supper in lieu of the milk prescribed in the dietary. The indoor officers also asked from an extra 6d / week for fish and fruit – (doubling the allowance) – this was refused in the hope that the shortages would be short lived and circumstances may soon get back to normal.[23]

Price of milk is increased in Rochester to 8d / quart – the same rate now applied in all three towns.[24]

Horace Putwain fined 40s for selling butter at a price exceeding 21/2d on the actual cost. Horace George Putwain a grocer from Borstal, was brought before the City Police Court for infringing the Food Controller Regulations. He claimed that he based the price of the butter he sold on the 2s 10d / lb that had been paid by his wife, who had run out of butter, when she bought butter from a shop on Rochester High Street. [25]  

William Franks was fined £8 for four counts of selling milk above the controlled price. Franks a dairy farmer of Middle Hill, Hoo, was fined £8 in total for four counts of selling milk for more than the controlled price of 1s 5d / gallon. He pleaded ignorance of the order – the Bench stated that the order should have been sent to all “cowkeepers”.[26]

Council purchases dried milk for babies. The Food Control Committee believed, based on information provided by the Medical Officer, that the number of babies in the city belonging to indigent [poor] mothers did not exceed 15. Based on this information the Council agreed to purchase 380lbs of full cream dried milk for £33 and to arrange for its distribution.[27]

Fixing low prices for farmers will further limit supplies and bring about worse shortages. W. Corbett Barker of the Kent War Agricultural Committee, wrote to the Kent Messenger as a means to lobby the Food Controller on the subject of the economics of profit. He pointed out that when profits are high it is possible to bring previously unprofitable supplies into use. He believed that the only possible outcome of fixing low prices is to further limit supplies and to bring about worse shortages.[28]

Part of the strategy to maximise farm yields involved reducing the amount lost to pests. This probably was what was behind this co-ordinated countywide pigeon shoot.

Farmers asked to reserve dates for a countywide pigeon shoot. Farmers were asked to book Wednesday afternoons, January 30, February 6 and 13, for a combined pigeon shoot throughout the county.[29]

Agricultural equipment available for hire from Messrs. Robin & Day. Farmers could hire agricultural implements from a number of agents – Messrs. Robin & Day, The Motor House, Rochester, may be our nearest. The daily rates are fixed – Cambridge rollers and tip-trucks 1s; Lorries 2s 6d, and Corn Drills 3s 6d.[30]

Civic Business

New parliamentary boundaries announced – the name of Rochester has been preserved. The county with a population of just under 800,000 is to have 15 MPs. Rochester will be represented by two members. The Town Council directed the Town Clerk to write to Ernest Lamb, MP for the City, to convey their appreciation of his successful efforts to preserve the name ‘Rochester’ under the Representation of the People Bill.[31]

Approval given to reclaim land to extend Willis Avenue. The Council approved the reclamation of a portion of the foreshore to extend Willis Avenue as far as the barge works at Borstal. The scheme will involve the giving up of a small strip of Church Fields recreation ground – all subject to the approval of Short Brothers. Messrs. Short Brothers were given permission to raise the footpath in the front of their works and leading along the river front to Borstal.[32]

The creation of deep water wharves for Medway was investigated. The Medway Conservancy Board and Rochester Town Council are conferring with regard to a scheme for the construction of deep water wharves near Strood Dock.[33]

Don’t burn waster paper – recycle it. Clements Bros, Printers in Meeting House Lane, Chatham, will buy waste paper for 5s / cwt for the lowest grade paper. It is not an economical fuel and 5s will buy your 2 cwt of coal. (Higher prices paid for better quality paper).[34]

The following report suggest that the end of the war was being anticipated and it was recognised that the mass demobilisation of troops at the end of a conflict could cause many problems for the men as their ‘old’ communities and society have adapted to being without them.

Ideas for creating work for demobilised soldiers were explored. The Northfleet Council considered opportunities for employment that could be created after the war to prevent unemployment for demobilised soldiers. A number of road schemes were considered including improvements to the old Watling Street between Dartford and Rochester. The Road Board of KCC however concluded that it would be unnecessary to initiate works of this character to provide labour.[35]

Community Support

House-to-house collection in Rochester raised £966 for St. Bartholomew’s hospital. This was an improvement of £100 on last year’s collection.[36]

Home Tragedies

Edward Vincent died whilst “engaged in serving a crowd of excited women in Sittingbourne” Vincent (52) a meat seller of Borstal Road, Rochester, died of a paralytic seizure. He was taken home in a motor ambulance but expired immediately after he had been placed in bed.[37]

School / Education News

No Rochester reports discovered.

Court Cases

New Magistrates have taken the oath and sighed the roll. For the Rochester Division the new magistrates were – Mr. W. Cobbett Barker, and Col. H. D’Arch Breton from Rochester, and Mr. George Gouge, Northfleet.[38]

Hector Buck fined £5 for taking matches into an explosives factory. Buck of Gas House Lane, Rochester, was “mulcted” [fined] in the sum of £5 for taking matches into an explosives factory.[39]

Fraser Bloxham & Ernest Barwick stole coats from the Cathedral Choir during a concert. Bloxham (23) Stoker, and Barwick (15), from London, were before the Quarter Sessions at Rochester accused of stealing and handling coats from the Cathedral Choir whilst a concert was in progress. When Bloxham was arrested he was found to be wearing three gold wound stripes but had nothing to show he was entitled to them. They were both found guilty – Bloxham was sentenced to nine months’ hard labour and Barwick to a reformatory until the age of 19.[40]

Father & son George and William receive three months’ hard-labour for stealing bread. Birch (53) Birch jnr (16) of 22 Five-bell lane were charged with stealing three loaves, and 12 rolls value 1s 4d from Messrs. Henry Jasper & Son, bakers and confectioners from Chatham. George Birch who was in the employ of Jasper’s admitted stealing the bread and giving it to his son. Three months hard labour.[41]

The Vagrancy Act 1824 (Section 4) made it an offence to pretend or profess to be able to tell fortunes, or using any subtle craft, means, or device, by palmistry or otherwise, to deceive any of his Majesty’s subjects.[42]

Women’s Experiences

Although the following report could have been categorised as a ‘Court Case’ the situation gives an insight into the desperate need that some women may have had for information about a loved one.

Jennie Appleyard fined for the unlawful use of palmistry. Jennie Appleyard a married woman of 17 Foord Street, Delce, was charged with that she “did unlawful use subtle craft (to wit palmistry) to deceive and impose on certain of His Majesty’s subjects, contrary to Section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824. She pleaded not guilty. The Chief Constable in evidence said that young females had been seen going to her house in good numbers, and were being told things that may upset them, particularly remembering the times. He went to the house in plain clothes and arrested her in her husband’s presence. Her husband earned good wages at Short’s and this was not a case of a poor woman doing this sort of thing for he livelihood. Elsie Putty of St. Bartholomew’s Square said she went to Mrs. Appleyard’s house for a reading. She took both her hands and said her husband was on a journey and had had an accident and was laying in a Red Cross institution. Amongst other things she was told – she would meet another man and live until she was 60. She paid 1s. The Clerk observing that she had had cheap entertainment, asked if she believed what she was told – she did not. Mrs. Eva Hope of 19 Hoopers Place gave evidence. She was told during the reading that her husband was in a dangerous situation and that in a few days she would receive a letter saying he was in an institution following an accident – but by the time she received it she would be a widow, but would have a happier life in her second marriage. She would live until she was 80. Appleyard was found guilty and fined £2 including costs.[43]

Church & Cathedral

A number of peace initiatives were explored in late 1917 and early 1918 by the Austrians – a stalemate had developed and all parties appeared to be tiring of war. British leaders were also increasingly pessimistic about their ability to win a decisive victory. The Bishop’s New Year message may well have been aimed at the government as well as the congregation.

 

No peace without Victory – urges the Bishop of Rochester in his New Year message. The Bishop encouraged resolve to persevere at all costs and win a lasting peace along the only solid path, the path of victory. Although an ‘old message’ it has a new interpretation for thousands of homes who last year had not been visited by bereavement. The voices of the heroic dead appeal to us to ensure their sacrifice was not made in vain. Food shortages are affecting all households and he encouraged all to brace themselves to exercise economy and to curb their appetites. The Bishop ended his message with the reminder that the future of the British Empire is in our hands.[44]

A day of pray and intercession was held in response to the King’s call. Special services were held in the Cathedral, churches and chapels in Rochester in response to the King’s call for a day of prayer and intercession. As expected the Mayor in addition to representatives from the police, fire and ambulance services, attended the service held the Cathedral. It was a pity it was held in the Choir rather than the Nave as it was not possible to accommodate all those who wished to attend. Miss Malvain, the recently appointed lady organist doing duty until the return of Mr. Hylton-Stewart was at the organ. The hymns included the battle hymn by Martin Shaw.[45] [Probably ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord’ that is referred to as his Battle Song.]

The Dean of Rochester has left the Cathedral City for a short break.[46]

Jerusalem was liberated on 9 December 1917. See Church &Cathedral News, December 1917.

Mr. Ronald Storrs (CMG) was appointed as Governor of Jerusalem. Storrs (36) the elder son of Dean Storrs, was appointed as Governor of Jerusalem at the temporary rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Mr. Storrs had spent 13 years with the Egyptian Civil Service (lately as Oriental Secretary at Cairo). He was one of “Kitchener’s men”.[47]

Frederick Bridge’s father was appointed as a ‘vicar-choral’ of Rochester Cathedral in 1850. Frederick was admitted to the cathedral choir as a “practising boy” (probationer). The choirboys were educated by another of the vicars-choral. As an aside, what being an ‘assistant blower’ at Rochester entailed in the mid 19th century has not been discovered, but by the start of the 20th century a hydraulic system was in place – 1901Owing to a defective pipe connected with the hydraulic engine used to blow the organ the Cathedral was partially flooded during a service. A powerful jet of water was thrown from the pipe. As no one knew how to turn it off the water ran down the steps from the choir to the chancel in a cascade, flooding the nave to a depth of several inches. At a late hour the cathedral was still inundated.”[48]

Sir Frederick Bridge began his career in Rochester as a chorister and asst. organ-blower. Bridge  [1844-1924] was a well-known organist who began his brilliant career as a choir boy at Rochester Cathedral, and assistant blower of the organ there.[49]

Life Goes On

Eight dwelling houses in Gordon Road, Strood, are to be auctioned. Nos. 30 to 44 (even numbers) producing a gross rental income of £133. 5s / annum, the landlord paying the rates.[50]

Death announced of Mrs. Johnson, daughter of the constructor of Rochester bridge. Mrs. Johnson was the daughter of the late J. H. Ball [51], the well-known engineer of Rochester and constructor of the famous bridge in that town (1857), and intimate friend of Charles Dickens. Mrs. Johnston had a fund of interesting reminiscences of Dickens, who as a young girl, she accompanied on his journeys of observation.[52]

There was a surge of divorces immediately post-war caused by mass-mobilisation – partly as a result of the long separation, rash war-marriages, war trauma, war injuries and adultery by wives.[53]

Alfred Blake sought a divorce – private detective finds Mrs. Blake is living with another man. Blake a shipwright in Chatham Dockyard and currently serving in France provided evidence by affidavit. He stated he left his wife – Jenny Blake – in Rochester at the outbreak of war and subsequently heard things that caused him to have enquiries made by a private detective. These found that she was living at 7 Hoopers Square, Rochester, and that she took men home who stayed all night. Following the hearing of other evidence a decree nisi was granted.[54]

Louis Cobb held a pre-stocktake sale. Louis Cobb, 72 High Street, Rochester, is still offering genuine bargains in all department previous to their 59th annual stock take.[55] [72 currently Demelza charity shop.]

February 1918

Military and War Reports

Germany pursued a highly effective U-boat campaign against merchant shipping. This campaign intensified over the course of the war and almost succeeded in bringing Britain to its knees in 1917.[56]

Rochester MP concerned food is being placed at risk by being moved in coastal vessels. Sir Ernest Lamb, MP for Rochester, raised in the Commons concern about home grown foodstuffs being moved in coastal vessels that could have been sunk by the enemy.[57]

The following report suggests that the government’s response was to increase shipbuilding – which would in all probably included increasing construction or repair work at Chatham Dockyard.

20,000 soldiers who were skilled shipbuilders released from the Army. A committee has been established to managed the deployment / allocation of these skilled men.[58]

During a Parliamentary debate on the progress of the war and the seeking of a peace, a vote was held as to whether we should enter into negotiations with the Germans despite them making ever increasing demands for agreeing to end hostilities – terms that would deliver a ‘German triumph’ and the ‘humiliation of the Allies’.[59] The following report places Rochester’s MP at odds with the Bishop of Rochester.

Sir Ernest Lamb votes, along with 27 others, to negotiate with Germany as proposed in the pacifist’s amendment.[60]

Tribunals

Tribunals told they need to protect food distribution. Instructions from the Ministry of National Service were read out at the West Kent Appeal Tribunal which stated that it is essential that staff employed in food distribution should not be so depleted as to cause serious inefficiency in their activities.[61]

Reports from the Front

The following is based on a letter sent home by a Sapper from Chatham. It illustrates the horrific ambivalence that soldiers could feel outside of a battle situation.

Socialising with the German’s on Christmas Day, then back to bomb-making. A letter home from a Chatham Sapper to his parents. He said that due to hard work, over long hours and scanty rest he has been much too tired to write letters. He was though appreciative of a hamper that he had been sent and two parcels that he received on Christmas Day which he spent in the trenches. In response to an earlier letter from his father he wrote that he was in charge of a bomb factory and magazine, and have staff comprised of four Sappers and six civilians (refugees) who were busy turning Tickler’s empty jam tins into bombs. He reported that while counting the reserve stock he found a bomb made out of a condensed milk tin with instructions on feeding it to infants. The tins are charged with high explosives and neatly packed in the middle with a quantity of old nails. He explained there was a type of Armistice on Christmas Day in that not a shot was fired. “We even got out of our trenches and met the Germans halfway.” He explained that the German who he spoke to had been a London taxi driver and spoke very good English. “The destruction of property here by the heathens we are fighting is simply awful. Every house, farm and shop they have passed has been looted. Just behind the firing line (500 or 600 yards from the trenches) I had some fine sport shooting our Christmas Dinner. In half an hour I bagged seven fowl, two pigeons and a large sow. The fowl here are as wild as hawks but a .303 saves any amount of running about. My little automatic came in very handy the other day. I found a cow which had been badly injured by a shell and could not walk so I dispatched it – one shot did the trick. I’m writing to you resting on 2,000 live bombs which I have stored in this magazine. I hope they do not explode, any way not until I have finished this letter; I am sure they would spoil it. I must close now as I have to run next door and see how my men are progressing.” [62]

Richard Henry Burrells, thrice reported as killed in action, is now a voluntary constable at Rochester. Burrells, an ex-sergeant, who had been in 14 hospitals and nine convalescent homes and had been thrice officially reported as killed in action, is now a voluntary constable at Rochester.[63]

Roll of Honour

Pte. Dennis Martin, first reported as missing, is now known to have been killed in action. Martin (39) was the second son of Mr. & Mrs. W. Martin of 15 Foord Street. He was first reported as wounded and missing but Mr. & Mrs. Martin have now heard he was killed in action in France on Oct. 26th. Mr. & Mrs. Martin have three other sons serving. Sgt. Alfred Martin in India and Pte. Charles Arthur Martin in France, and Herbert James Martin is a mechanic with the RNAS.[64]

Health & Hospitals

1917 annual report for Strood VAD: 70 beds, average daily occupancy 56.4. Number of patients admitted 915, average stay 21 days. Number of patients admitted since the hospital opened 3,088.[65]

The following appointment was made following the decision of the Council not to set up a maternity centre.

Rochester Town Council received 33 applications for the post of Health Visitor. Miss Helena Tod from Coventry was appointed on a salary of £150 / year rising by three annual increments to £180. She also received a uniform allowance of £5 / year.[66]

The 45th Kent VAD members did extraordinarily well in their first aid examinations. Members of the VAD were examined by Dr. Ind, Divisional Surgeon of the South Eastern Division of the Fire Brigade Union, at the Rochester City Fire Station. Dr. Ind said he was pleased to find the marked improvement of last year had been maintained. In fact, he felt they were the best he had examined for some time. He thought this reflected great credit on their lecturer, Capt. G. A. Skinner, MD, RAMC.[67]

Venereal Disease Clinic opened at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. The clinic is opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 5:30 to 7:30pm for men; and on Thursdays between 3pm and 5pm for women. All patients were treated with absolute confidence.[68]

Home News

There have been earlier reports of the damage done to road by heavy munition vehicles.

The Bridge Wardens proposed limiting the weight of vehicles permitted to pass over Rochester Bridge.[69]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Owing to the very short supplies butcher shops closed for half the week. Butchers in Rochester, Chatham, Strood and Gillingham announced they will close their establishments on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in each week, and at 1pm on Wednesdays.[70]

The meat allocation to Rochester appears not to have taken into account government stipulations on the amount of meat that should be supplied to people in particular situations – like being a patient in hospital, and migrant and manual workers. The Mayor points out that food economy was essential to winning the war and avoiding slavery.

An extensive part of the local demand for meat arises from Government stipulations. The Mayor praised the excellent behaviour of the citizens of Rochester – especially just now when they were in the grip of a shortage in all manner of food stuffs. Those seeing the cattle at the Rochester market need to be mindful that the market provides meat not just to Rochester but to Chatham, Gillingham, Gravesend and Hoo and other village – a total population of around 180,000 people. The butchers report that they can only supply 3/4 pound / head / week for adults and half that for children. There were also problems caused by people called migrants – a man would come ashore with a Board of Trade certificate for 35lbs of meat but that amount was not available. Then there was the difficulty of patients in hospital who were entitled to 41/2lbs of meat (including fish, sausages etc.) There were also the problems of soldiers on leave and men bought into the area on government contracts. For instance, there were 50 navvies excavating a hill – and they weren’t here in October so present an additional demand on the local meat allowance. The other day a gang constructing the gas main went to the food office and complained about there being no meat and only being able to get bread and jam – and a man wielding a heavy hammer all day long on bread & jam would naturally feel a bit ‘dicky’ in the evening. The Mayor said there was no alternative but for everyone to pull their belts in – and hope that the citizens would not feel inclined to give in to the Germans because they were short of meat and margarine. To lose the war would mean slavery – the only way to achieve a lasting peace is to beat the Germans.[71]

The following report suggests that the Mayor of Gillingham could have been anticipating public ‘unrest’ unless meat is supplied.

The severe meat shortage in the Dockyard towns could lead to unrest. Owing to the shortage of cattle in the Rochester market area the Ministry of Food have consented to the purchase of sheep and bullocks at the Norwich Market for the supply of Chatham and Gillingham. Cattle sent to Rochester Market are to be reserved for Rochester, Strood and the Rural districts. The Mayor of Gillingham wrote to the Food Controller protesting against supplies at Rochester Market being withheld from Gillingham butchers and declaring unless the amount of meat required is sent to the town he is not prepared to be responsible for the consequences. The Director Food instructed the Food Committees to collect up the buying certificates of the butchers and head into Norfolk to buy the required meat. [72]

Farmers are not responsible for the meat shortage says Rochester NFU. A special meeting of the Rochester Branch of the National Farmers Union was held at the King’s Head Hotel to consider the cattle trade and possible action to regulate the supply to Rochester Market in view of the current regulations. There was concern that farmers were being held responsible for the shortages when the fact was they could not keep up with the demand.[73]

Sizeable queues still form outside food shops in Rochester. A curious accident occurred in the High Street in Rochester High Street. A queue four to five deep had lined up in the entrance to the Maypole Dairy and a large crowd assembled the other side of the road. Shortly after 1pm a military motor driven by a woman came down the high street and ran into no fewer than half a dozen women knocking several to the ground. Only Mrs. Alice Clerk of Montrose, Mount Road, Borstal, sustained injury.[74]

Although the following tragic story is not about a Rochester lad it demonstrates that children were used to queue – perhaps at the expense of their schooling – and that joining a queue was no guarantee of success – or why was he so excited?

The child Victor Bear from Luton was run over and killed in Luton by a motor vehicle. Victor (9) had been sent by his mother to queue for some margarine and in is excitement at having obtained some ran into the road and was knocked over.[75]

In an act of ‘queue kindness’ a woman gives up her place for a delicate man. The Vicar of St. Nicholas, Strood, observed with pleasure seeing a woman who was very near to the door of the shop, where there was a large crowd, offering her place to a delicate man with a baby. She called, “Here – you take my place and I will go to the back of the queue.” There have also been stories in Gillingham of neighbours offering tea to those in the long queues.[76]

The following report suggests the military had a significant presence in Rochester but the Mayor’s excuse for not taking direct action to tackle food distribution and queues seems weak bearing in mind the number of community halls there were in Rochester and district.

The Rochester Food Control Committee issued meat tickets for 80,000 people. The Rochester Food Control Committee very efficiently prepared food and meat tickets for 80,000 people and addressing 10,000 envelops. In Rochester – unlike other parts of Medway – there were very few cards that had been improperly completed and this in a large part could be due to teachers instructing the children about the use of meat and food cards. During the week margarine was ‘seized’ and distributed amongst 16 shops. A successful exhibition of economical domestic cookery was held at the Rochester Technical Institute. Mrs. Ross, from the Ministry of Food gave an address, and a demonstration on the use of food substitutes was given by Miss Chappatt and a class of children. The Chief Constable of Rochester reported with satisfaction how well-behaved people in the food queues have been. The Mayor however said had the City not been occupied by the military he would have turned the Corn Exchange into a food market – then there would have been no queues.[77]

Many food kitchens were set up by charities and trade unions between 1917 and 1919. The Ministry of Food instructed that the kitchens “must not resemble a soup kitchen for the poorest section of society”. They should feel like places for “ordinary people in ordinary circumstances” and where people could sit down together at long canteen tables for a meal which, although cheap, was not free. The kitchens predated rationing and ended in 1919 when the Treasury removed funding.[78] It would appear from other news reports that Rochester was, compared to other places in Kent, coming rather late to this idea.

Rochester to consider setting up a Public kitchen. Rochester Town Council have appointed a special committee to consider the question of establishing a public kitchen in the City.[79]

The Food Controller set the price that could be charged for particular foods – however it would appear that the price set did not take into account the different soil and climatic differences that impacted on the productivity of land in different parts of the country. As reported above (January 1918) a price needed to be set that encouraged famers to bring their less productive land into cultivation.

The price set for potatoes was too low for Kent and risked causing a potato shortage. The Rochester Branch of the Weald of Kent Farmers’ Club received a motion from the Rochester Branch that stated that the governments price of £45 / acre for growing potatoes was to low and will inevitably lead to further food shortages. They believe the price is based on the cost of growing potatoes in Lincolnshire which is much less than in Kent where only five tons per acre can be expected against the eight in Lincolnshire.[80]

The following report suggests that the financial position of some farmers may be so perilous that they could not afford to purchase seed or essential equipment. A serious situation when food was in such short supply. Presumably Woodham’s, that was a brewer of Pale Ale, Stout & Porter, had expertise in purchasing large volumes of grain? A member of the Woodham family lived at Wingham Lodge, St. Margaret’s Street, near to which there was a malt-house.

Credit was made available to farmers to purchase seed corn. The Food Controller has established agents to supply seed corn; Woodham & Co., of Rochester, are on the approved list. Any farmer needing credit for the purchase of seed corn of any description, implements, manure etc., should apply directly to the Executive Committee.[81]

A rally to recruit more women farm workers was arranged for Rochester. In view of the increasing demands in West Kent for women farm workers the West Kent Women’s Agricultural Committee arranged a recruiting rally in Rochester. There will be a procession of women workers in farm kit, who will be accompanied by the band of the Royal West Kents. They will march through Strood and Rochester. The procession will conclude with a recruiting meeting that will be held in Castle Hall at 4pm, to which everyone will be welcome.[82]

Civic Business

Could a commercial cargo dock for Medway compete with the Port of London? Representatives from the corporations of Maidstone, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham met to consider the adoption of a scheme to develop trading facilities on the Medway. It was explained that with the provision of sufficient wharves it would be possible for ocean going ships of 7,000 to 8,000 tons burden, to dock at Rochester or Chatham where there was sufficient depth of water. This would benefit Kent, and port charges would be half of those charged by the Port of London.[83]

The electorate tripled from 7.7 million in 1912, to 21.4 million by the end of 1918. Women accounted for about 43% of the electorate.

Some details of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 are given under ‘Women’s Experiences’, below, “The New Franchise Act will give six million women the vote.”

Community Support

The Dean gave a lantern lecture on ‘Japan’ to a large audience in the Kings Hall. The occasion was to raise funds for the City of Rochester Association of Voluntary War Workers.[84]

Home Tragedies

Pte. John Bryan was killed after falling from a train just outside Rochester station. Bryan was returning from leave. On falling in front of an up-train, that was passing at the time, both his legs were severed below the hip joints; he was picked up dead. The inquest heard that he was sober but was suffering from a “weakness” which explained the necessity for him opening the carriage door early.[85]

School / Education News

A Kent Education committee met with a deputation to discuss sex instruction in schools. It was agreed that children should not be left to acquire knowledge on this matter from doubtful and undesirable sources. Every effort needs to be made to secure suitable instruction for children at an earlier age than 14. However, the committee felt it was a subject was unsuited for class instruction. [86]

Court Cases

There was a tradition in many courts across the country to present the head magistrate with a pair of white gloves if there were no cases to be heard. This was in recognition of what he had achieved in terms of tackling crime in their district.

A pair of white gloves were presented to the Rochester City Justices at the Guildhall. The Clerk to the Court, Mr. George Robinson, asked the Mayor to accept a pair of white gloves, there being a clean sheet that day.[87]

The annual General Licensing Meeting noted a reduction in drunkenness for the Rochester Division. The report received at the meeting stated the population per license was now 379.4, and there had been a considerable reduction in drunkenness from 401 convictions in 1913, to 105 in 1917.[88]

The decrease in drunkenness in Rochester itself was also considerable.

There has been a great reduction in drunkenness at Rochester. The Chief Constable reported to the annual licensing meeting at Rochester that there had only been eight convictions for drunkenness in the City compared with 37 last year.[89]

Charles Coppings received four months’ hard labour for incorrectly processing of Cordite. Coppings, a young man from Cliffe, pleaded guilty to omitting to do things in connection with the manufacture of war material which was likely to render it ineffective. His job as a cordite passer was to ensure all foreign materials was taken out of the cordite. In order to increase his bonus he decided to only pass it through two instead of three sieves. He was sentenced to four months hard labour.[90]

Women’s Experiences

The Representation of the People Act, 1918, extended the vote to almost all men, and women of property over the age of 30 years. This however excluded many women who had worked in the fields and in munition factories during the war. It also excluded middle class women who had left home and moved into rented accommodation to undertake war work as they no longer owned private property.

The New Franchise Act will give six million women the vote under the Representation of the People Act 1918. To be enfranchised the woman must have attained the age of 30 and be a local authority elector or the wife of a local authority elector. A women who was a graduate could vote in a University Constituency. To be qualified a man must have resided in the area for six months or occupy a business premise. Men who served in the present war will be qualified at the age of 19 [Instead of 21 for men who were not serving]. Sailors and soldiers, pilots, merchant seamen, fishermen, Red Cross workers and others involved in work of national importance, will be registered for the constituencies for which they would have qualified had they stayed at home. Proxy voting was to be allowed for those serving abroad. The receipt of Poor Law relief was not to disqualify a Parliamentary elector.[91]

Jilted single girl gains maintenance after ‘her man’ married another. Rochester Magistrates determined that George Stitchman from Wouldham was the father of the child of Ethel Brown who was also from Wouldham. Although the couple had ‘walked out together’ the defendant married another girl. He was ordered to pay 3s 6d / week.[92]

Probation Orders were introduced in 1907. The Probation of Offenders Act 1907, made it possible for Magistrates’ Courts to appoint probation officers who were paid by the local authority. It was not until 1938 that it was required that female probationers should be supervised by women probation officers.[93]

A husband & wife appointed as probation officers. The Mayor at the Police Court confirmed the reappointment of Mr. J. Bray as probation officer and also announced that they had appointed Mrs. Bray to be “woman probation officer with her husband”.[94]

Church & Cathedral

HMS Vanguard was a ‘Chatham’ ship and as a consequence would have been significantly crewed by many men from the Medway Towns. Shortly before midnight on 9 July 1917, whilst anchored at Scapa Flow, there were a series of magazine explosions. She sank almost instantly with the loss of 843 of the 845 men aboard. The site of the sinking was designated as a war grave in 1984. The bodies that could be recovered now lie in Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, Hoy, where there is a memorial.[95]

Memorial window to victims of HMS Vanguard is being considered for the North transept. Over £800 has been raised as a Memorial Fund to HMS Vanguard, a Chatham ship. Part of the money will be used to place a memorial on the graves on Orkney, where the recovered bodies were buried, and a window or tablet to be placed in the north transept of Rochester Cathedral.[96]

Vicar of Upnor fined 10s for failing to shade or obscure lights at the Vicarage. Rev. Frederick Naish was charged with the offence but Mrs. Naish attended court to say she was responsible for the oversight.[97]

Life Goes On

The processing of coal to produce gas yielded products essential to the manufacture of explosives. These would be lost if coal was burnt on domestic fires.

Use coke instead of coal says the Rochester, Chatham, and Gillingham Gas Company. Prices ranged from 9s for 5 cwt, to 36s for 1 ton. [98]

Leonard’s sale offered considerable savings on Calicoes, Longeclothes and Maddapolams.[99]

March 1918

Military and War Reports

Ferro-concrete ships where ships made of reinforced concrete. Based on a later report – see ‘Court Cases’, August 1918, ferro-concrete ships were being built at Northfleet. The concrete auxiliary coaster Violette (built 1919) is currently used as mooring craft at Hoo, Kent.

Ferro-concrete ships can be built in four months. It is hoped that these can offset the huge losses in the cargo fleet – which to date have been difficult to replace because of the shortage of steel. Wood was considered but that is also in short supply.[100]

Tribunals

The Amalgamated Society of Engineers accused of preventing a member from enlisting. A case which lately came up in a magistrates’ court throws a curious light upon the way and methods of the ASE. A young munitions worker who had been brought before the Rochester magistrates by the military authorities claimed he was exempted from military service on the grounds that his membership of the ASE protected him. On appeal by the military the decision was reversed by the High Court and the case was sent back for the case to be convicted. He was thereupon fined and handed over to an escort. In these cases the magistrates usually have the last word but on this occasion it was the boy’s mother. To her son the mother said “Jack, be a lad and work and fight for your country.” Then to the magistrates added “It’s not my boys fault. He was willing to go. It was the fault of the ASE, who took his papers.” [101]

The Herne Bay Tribunal appears extremely tolerant, compared to Rochester’s. Accounts like this – if widespread – would have added credence to the accusation that not all Tribunals were ‘equal’ and perhaps explains why the government ordered the destruction of all Tribunal papers at the end of the war.[102]

Mr. Carpenter from Rochester was before the Herne Bay Tribunal for not attending drill. Carpenter was in the employ of Mrs. Thundow, a wholesale and retail tobacconist from the town. She had previously secured a three-month exemption from military service for Carpenter on condition that he joined the volunteers. However due to pressure of work and travelling home to Rochester at weekends, he had not found the time to attend the drills. Although the tribunal recognised the problem of being employed away from home they were not going to have their conditions trifled with. They therefore adjourned the case until the next hearing saying Mrs. Thundow would need to make arrangements for her employee to attend drills, and that if he didn’t provide evidence of attending at least three drills per week he would be sent to the army. It was subsequently reported – Mr. Carpenter returned to the Tribunal to determine whether he had attended the required drills – he had not. He claimed to work for Mrs. Thundow, tobacconist, from 6am to 9pm and he had a sick wife he had to go up and see in the week as well, consequently he was unable to attend drills. The Chairman instructed Mrs. Thundow to arrange Mr. Carpenter’s work so he could attend drills 14 times / month or he would go into the army.[103]

Reports from the Front

Cheery Lieut. Earnest Wood is home in Kings Avenue, minus his right leg. Wood, son of Mr. & Mrs. E. B. Woodof Kings Avenue, who one London paper referred to as a “Cheery Hero” is home. One day at the end of November 1916, he wired his parents saying he had been wounded. “Am in hospital with a shattered thigh. Cheerio! Shall soon be home”. Since then he had been for many months on the borderline hovering ‘twixt’ life and death. This week he is home minus his right leg, and walking on crutches – but still cheery.[104]

Private F. Samson was wounded within an hour of returning to the Front. Samson, a Strood man, had just returned to the Front having been home for 14 days leave.[105]

Medals were presented to NCOs and men on the Esplanade. A number of military medals were presented to West Kent’s for gallantry and conduct by Brig-General MacEwen, at the parade of the Reserve Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, on the Esplanade on Monday morning.[106]

Pte. John Goodison of the Royal West Kents received the Military Medal at Rochester from the commanding officer. John Henry Goodison was decorated for devotion to duty on October 7 1916, when he attended to the wounded under heavy machine gun and shell fire.[107]

The French Legion of Honour is the highest order of merit in the French military. It was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction. Chevalier being the lowest, and Grand-Croix the highest.

Capt. W. A. Wyatt, an old King’s boy was awarded the French Order of the Chevalier. Wyatt, a Tank Section Commander, who was recently awarded the French Order of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, visited his old school, the King’s School at Rochester. He was accorded a hearty welcome by both the masters and pupils, and addressed the school O.T.C. [Officer Training Corp][108]

Roll of Honour

No Rochester reports discovered.

Health & Hospitals

Measles is highly infectious and isolation was the only means of control before a vaccination was developed. It is extremely debilitating and can give rise is fatal complications such as encephalitis or further infections such as pneumonia. A measles epidemic in WW1 would have had serious consequences for the civilian and military populations.

There was a considerable outbreak of measles in Rochester. The Medical Officer reported to Rochester Town Council that although there had been a considerable outbreak of measles in the district, no deaths had yet been reported.[109]

The comparative costs of hospital beds were published. The average yearly cost per bed occupied in General Hospitals of a similar size: Folkestone £63, Canterbury £66, Rochester £78, Tunbridge £92.[110]

Funds are urgently needed by Rochester Red Cross Depot due to a fall-off in donations. The Committee of the Rochester Red Cross Depot and hospital have issued a request for urgent funds as there has been a serious falling off of donations. In attracting donations the committee stressed that the depot only supports local hospitals and is entirely self-supporting in that no financial aid is received from HQ or other public sources. The news report detailed a list of 24,597 items made by the depot; these included soft goods such as clothes, dressings and bedding, and hard goods beds, aids and splints.[111]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

The milk-supply system seems to prevent diary companies from seeking alternative suppliers of milk.

The Medway Diary Company fined £30 for selling milk containing 8.9% added water. The company from Gillingham was fined by Rochester magistrates. KCC, prosecuting, stated that the firm continued to take milk, without a warranty, from a supplier who had more than one conviction for adulterating milk and was therefore acting negligently. In their defence the Medway Dairy Company claimed that the present system prevented them from acquiring their milk from any other source and this was turning dozens of innocent firms into adulterators.[112]

The question was being increasingly raised about the possibility that milk deficient in fat may not have been as a consequence of a deliberate act.

Poor animal feed could be contributing to the poor quality of milk. The Rochester Town Council have inquired of the Board of Agriculture whether any allowance should be made for milk found to be deficient in fats due to the lack of concentrated food and the presence of water due to the amount of roots now being fed to cows.[113]

War rationing introduced for meat, margarine and butter. To avoid sudden rushes the public were advised to arrange a time with their registered shop keeper for when they will call; housewives were advised to spread the shopping they do cross the week; shop keepers were not compelled to provide the full ration allocation to the first sutlers, and ration cards must be produced when dining in a restaurant. If anyone has not received their ration card an emergency ticket could be issued.[114]

More complaints about flaws in the national agricultural policy. W. Corbett Barker, Bryant House, again writes complaining about flaws in the country’s agricultural policy. He highlighted the problem of setting one price for the country based on an average which he points out disadvantages half the farmers – many of whom run small farms – and rockets the profits of other farms.[115]

“Spade v U-Boat” a weekly illustrated column was published in the South Eastern Gazette to valuable hints to food producers.[116]

Civic Business

Foord bequeath – the Council resolves to purchase 121, 129 and 131 High Street, the first house for the continuation of widening Blue Boar Lane through to the High Street, and the other premises as a prospective site for the building which is to be erected by the executors to contain the furniture and art collection bequeathed to the City by the late Thomas Hellyar Foord. The three houses, priced at £1,650 + £500 for the slaughterhouse, to be purchased out of the £2,000 legacy left to the Corporation by Mr. Foord. The City surveyor reported that 121 and the old slaughter house at the rear is urgently required for the road widening. The executors requested the urgent purchase of 129 and 131 which adjoin the garden of Eastgate House. The Council resolved to purchase 129 and 131 under the Museums and Gymnasium Act 1891, and 121 under the Public Health At 1875.[117]

Forty allotments made available on Strood recreation ground. The Corporation offered about 40 ten-rod plots on Strood Recreation ground for use as war-time allotments. Applications had to be made to the City Surveyor at the Guildhall.[118] [A 10 square rod plot = 253 sq. metres.]

Repairs to Cliffe Road are to be part funded by Messrs. Curtis and Harvey who have given £1,494 to Strood Council in recognition of the extraordinary amount of traffic using the Cliffe Road.[119]

Mr. J. C. Nash, timekeeper for Rochester Town Council has left his position having received another appointment. It was decided to advertise for a successor to Nash, at a salary of 26s 6d / week with a war bonus of 12s 6d.[120]

The Towns are looking to create deep water wharves after the war. During the war quicker methods of handing and dispatching cargoes have been developed which have highlighted the need for more deep water wharfs and created an opportunity for the western end of the Medway to share in the increased volume of the overseas traffic which will arrive in this country when the war is over. The suggested site being between Blue Boar and Ship Piers which is already served by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway.[121]

The Labour Party was created in 1900. It grew out of the trade union movement of the late 19th century. Its establishment was aided by the new Representation of the People Act 1918 which increased the number of voters from the working class.

New parliamentary boundaries – a Labour candidate may stand in Rochester. Events on the Western Front have naturally been so absorbing that arrangements for the next general election have not been covered in the press – especially from the perspective of the new parliamentary boundaries of Rochester and the Rochester Divisions of Chatham and Gillingham. Currently it appears there will be a Labour candidate standing in Rochester.[122]

Community Support

A number of War Finance Campaigns were run during 1918 – Business Men’s Week; Tanks Week; War Weapons Weeks; “Guns” Campaign.[123] An element of competition developed between the three towns.

National War Bonds scheme – Business Men’s weekMarch 4 – 9. A call went out to the Citizens of Rochester to invest more in the National War Bonds scheme – £100,000 invested in bonds will buy 40 aeroplanes “that provide ‘eyes in the sky’ for those fighting to keep the Enemy’s Knees off our Chest and his Bombs off your means of existence”.[124]

The explanation for the low levels of investment made in war savings by the coastal towns, during the recent campaign, probably related to price they had paid for the regular air-raids they had suffered.

Rochester falls short of its Business Men’s Week target. £1,070,591 was collected from Kent towns during the Business Men’s Week – about £240,000 less than the County’s quota. Although a very respectable amount, Chatham and Rochester along with some coastal towns made a poor showing – Rochester only raising £15,190 against its target of £100,000. The coastal towns have excuses that Chatham and Rochester can’t share.[125]

Mr. J. L. Spoor fulfilled many useful roles within the local community including organising the delivery of parcels for Kent men who were being held as prisoners of war. He was a magistrate and a County Councillor.

The death of Mr. J. L. Spoor (60) was announced. For a considerable period Mr. Spoor had been voluntarily undertaking work in connection with a number of war organisations. Recently, owing to a breakdown in his health, he had entered a nursing home in Chatham where he died.[126]

Tank week – “The Tank is coming Monday April 15”.[127]

Home Tragedies

Arthur Matangle was knocked down by a light engine whilst working on Rochester Bridge. Mantangle was a ganger of platelayers and t is thought that he did not hear the engine coming due to the high wind. He lays critically ill with a head injury, in St. Bartholomew’s hospital.[128]

James Wilson was thrown from his motorcycle and died of a fractured his skull. Wilson, from Burton-on-Trent, was a sergeant of the ASC [Army Service Corps].

He was thrown from his motorcycle through a collision with a munitions worker. One witness stated that Wilson was travelling at 30mph. The inquest at Rochester returned a verdict of accidental death.[129]

Thomas Martin fell into a meal bin at Strood mill and died from suffocation[130] he was a lad from Rochester.

The following report of the inquest into the death of a munition worker gives an indication of the size of the Curtis’s & Harvey’s works.

Ester Colyer died of pneumonia following being knocked down by a motor car driven by the manager of the works. Colyer (19) a single munition worker with Curtis’s & Harvey and residing at 24 Gravel walk, was knocked down by a motor car driven by the manager of the works – Mr. T. Shacklady – as she was making her way in early evening to the mess room. The inquest jury decided that Miss Colyer died of pneumonia – contributed to by the accident. Mr. Shacklady in his evidence stated that this was the first accident of this type even though 2,000 workers attend the factory every day.[131]

Skylarking led to the tragic death of Lance-Corpl. Leonard Cole (18). The inquest into the death of Cole heard evidence that he was on guard with two privates named Farley and Heath near a fort in Rochester / at a creek near Fort Slough (Allhallows). He was in charge of the guard at a creek and suddenly ran towards a sentry and seized his rifle, and in the struggle for the weapon he was shot through the chest. He died at Fort Pitt Hospital. Heath sustained injuries to the hand. All at the camp, it was agreed, were on good terms and it was suggested that the deceased was skylarking. In returning a verdict of ‘misadventure’ the jury recommended that in future the guard should be composed of fully trained men with an efficient NCO in charge.[132]

School / Education news

The war highlighted the acute educational problems faced in Britain. A new education bill proposed raising the school leaving age from 12 to 14 and introducing nurseries and centres for pupils with special needs. Most significantly it put an end to child labour.[133] H.A.L Fisher, the president of the Board of Education, who was behind the bill, was of the view that education was vital not only to the individual but also for society.[134]

A well-attended meeting of Traders was held at the Guildhall to discuss the Education Bill that is now before Parliament. The traders supported the proposals contained in the Bill.[135]

Court Cases

Walter Green sentenced to three months’ hard labour for tampering with a cordite machine. Green of Temple Street, Strood, tampered with a cordite making machine in order to increase his bonus. He has since left the firm concerned and enlisted in the Navy. The consequence of his action would have been to cause bullets to explode in the breech of a rifle. Although his action may not have aided the enemy it endangered the lives of the men who were fighting for him on the Front.[136]

Mrs. Harriet Lane fined for using other people’s ration cards. Lane of Kelly’s Cottages, Frindsbury, alias Harriet Philips, of Frindsbury was fined at the Rochester Police Court, 60s and 21s costs, for contravening the sugar rationing order. By using the cards of five neighbours she obtained the supply for five people when she was only entitled to two. It was stated that she and her husband worked at the aeroplane works and earned between them £6 / week. The sentence could have been a fine up to £100 or six months’ hard labour. [137]

The following two offenders were probably wearing boots with metal studs in the soles. Against stone these studs could have caused sparks which could have ignited the explosives. The charge against the third offender suggests that ‘stop & searches’ were undertaken across the City.

Horace Knight & George West fined for not wearing special boots in an explosive works. Knight of 39 King Street and West of 117 Rochester Avenue, were each fined 40s by Rochester magistrates for neglecting to put on special boots and shoes before entering a danger building / explosive works. [138]

George Petts was fined 40s for refusing to be searched by a patrol. Petts came from Rochester. [139]

Women’s Experiences

Women and the war – and post war opportunities for salaried positions. “We are all hoping that this year will see the close of the war, but it is not ended yet. Some of our brave Englishwomen may not yet have found their billet as war workers. Others may only be released now from family claims and feel free for the first time to offer their services to help their country.” Women who are after war work are directed to vacancies advertised in the press. The Church Army offers free training to women willing to take the place of evangelists and social workers who have gone to the Front; salaried posts being guaranteed to successful candidates after training.[140]

The website of the Women’s Land Army says this is a misleading title as the proper title of was the “National Service for young female civilian farm workers. This technically might be the case but notices placed in the press, and reports at the time, did describe this group of land girls as the “Women’s Land Army”.[141] During World War One, 23,000 women were recruited to work full-time on the land.[142]

The Rally at Rochester to attract more women to work on the land was successful / a conspicuous success. A procession was formed in Frindsbury and paraded through the main thoroughfares. It included 50 land-army girls. The women in their smart land service uniforms, many of them carrying hoes and rakes made a brave show as they marched through the High Streets of Strood and Rochester prior to their meeting. Many in mufti and wore their distinctive green brassards with the scarlet crown emblazoned, and all looked a picture of health. There were girls driving farm wagons, and other loading goats, while the whole was headed by the band of the Royal West Kent Regiment; the procession attracted a large amount of attention en route. The meeting was held in the Castle Rooms. In the addresses mention was made to our weakest defence being food shortages – and the Germans knew it and they were trying to starve us into submission. This can be resisted if the farmers had the labour to cultivate the land – and hence the call for 12,000 to join the Woman’s Land Army.[143] [Mufti is civilian clothes, especially when worn by someone who would normally have worn a uniform.]

For context of the following report on the proposed changes to the divorce laws, see the above section “Women’s Experiences” December 1917. It is unclear from the press reports as to which of the proposed changes some women objected to. Clearly bringing equality to the divorce laws would have been seen as right and proper; but perhaps the ease of obtaining a divorce purely based on the duration of separation and civil marriages were regarded as a ‘step to far’ from the traditionally held religious definition of marriage? As the Matrimonial Causes Bill 1917 was not a government bill and the strength of feeling against the proposed changes, probably enabled to government not to take the proposals into legislation. It was not until 1923 that a Private Member’s Bill led to the passing of a Matrimonial Causes Act which made adultery by either the husband or the wife, the sole ground for divorce.

Women protest against the Matrimonial Causes Bill (1917). The Bishop of Rochester is pleased that 50 meetings of women have already been held in the diocese – and more are planned to protest against the Matrimonial Causes Bill. The practically unanimous opinion, says the Bishop, is that women of the diocese do not desire a loosening of the marriage bond.[144]

Church & Cathedral

The ration allowance was per individual and therefore presented a problem when needing to feed a visitor. Interesting to note that a significant number of houses that the Bishop visited must have had maids for him to warrant mentioning them.

Hospitality offered to clergy should not include anything that is on ration. By way of setting an example the Bishop who often has to accept hospitality as he goes about his duties, asked that he should not be given anything for which there is a ration card as he would not want women, children or maids to go without as a consequence of him being fed. The Bishop asked other clergy to follow his example. [145]

Life Goes On

Seems the Kent Messenger is accepting that it is unable to retain fit young male journalists and needs to recruit women into the role to keep the paper going.

The Kent Messenger is seeking a “young lady” for the “congenial occupation” as a journalist – the position offers a “moderate salary”.[146] [See ‘Tribunals’, May 1917.]

The proposal for a new road along the Esplanade to Maidstone was not well received in the press.[147]

The museum proves popular with the troops in the area. During 1917, 30,000 persons visited the Museum. The numbers fluctuate according to the number of troops passing in and out of the district.[148]

The following report illustrates the position in respect of a women in a marriage. Wives were seen as the property of their husband. As a consequence a man could sue the man with whom his wife had committed adultery for damages to his property. Women did not have a corresponding right under the law. Damages were set based on an assessment of the financial loss of the wife, plus an amount for the injury to the husband’s honour. The right of a husband to claim damages against a co-respondent was not abolished until 1 January 1971.[149]

Visit to Rochester leads to a divorce and damages being paid to a cuckolded husband. The DoRA requirement to register hotel guests is a useful deterrent to assignations says Mr. Justice Horriage in referring to a prosecution brought under DoRA for giving false information on a hotel registration form. The incident occurred in a case where Mr. Knotley French Barford, accountant, sought dissolution of his marriage and damages because of the relations between his wife and Mr. Arnold Frank McLeod. Mr. Knotley French Barford had been invalided out of the Army in 1916. He returned home to his wife and she complained that life with him was boring so she was persuaded to go and stay with a sister. Mr. Knotley French Barford then received information that led to him travelling to Rochester and finding his wife had booked into the Gordon Hotel with Mr. McLeod. The two were prosecuted for giving false information on the hotel registration for. The jury awarded £400 damages and the Judge pronounced a decree nisi.[150]

Leonards points out that economy doesn’t mean cheap. In an advertisement inviting viewing of their new costumes for women’s clothing, Leonards reminded its customers that economy is not merely cheapness of price.[151]

The newest designs of semi-trimmed Easter millinery are on show at Hinton-Terrell, 132 High Street, Rochester. The hats are suitable for holiday wear.[152]

April 1918

Military and War Reports

Following the surrender of the Russians, the Germans were able to deploy 500,000 more troops to the Western Front. They pressed this advantage in the hope of gaining a decisive victory before the American’s could be fully deployed. On March 21, 1918, the German’s spring offence started. “In just five hours, the Germans fired one million artillery shells at the British lines held by the Fifth Army – over 3,000 shells fired every minute. The artillery bombardment was followed by an attack by elite storm troopers. These soldiers travelled lightly and were skilled in fast, hard-hitting attacks before moving on to their next target. Unlike soldiers burdened with weighty kit etc., the storm troopers carried little except weaponry (such as flame throwers) that could cause much panic.” By late April 1918, the danger of a German breakthrough had passed but between March and July 1918, the Germans lost one million men.[153]

The German offensive had been anticipated and probably unpins many of the following news reports.

New manpower bill details changes to the ages for conscription. The upper age for conscription was raised to 50 or to 56 if need arose.[154]

Tribunals

Men in Category 3 were free from serious organic diseases and determined to be fit enough to serve in a garrison at home.

A number of appeals of C2 & C3 men against call-up were before the Rochester Tribunal. All these men were often the only man of military age in the employment of their firms and were undertaking work of national importance. All were given an additional three months’ extension to their exemption.[155]

In the following report the Mayor appears to believe that if the people of Rochester had anything to grumble about it is the unfair distribution of food

Anonymous writer accuses the Tribunal of favouritism. The Mayor of Rochester was particular annoyed about an anonymous letter he had received that was just signed W.T. He said it was an excellent example of the absolute silly foolishness of forming the judgement upon insufficient grounds. The letter was about Edwin Gill, who lived in King Edward Road and had various rude and impertinent remarks about him (the mayor) and therefore the Tribunal, for exempting him from military service. The writer went on to ask how far it was due to family influence”. As a matter of fact the Mayor said, Mr. Gill went before the Medical Board in the usual way and was medically rejected. “At this crucial time it was most disappointing that there were a number of people, even in Rochester, who were always ‘on the grumble’ and if they thought anything was unfair it might be on rationing and what some were pleased to call the inequitable distribution of food”. “They need to recognise that the Food Control Committee was not in the position to get any amount of food and that the Tribunal goes about its task without showing any favouritism”. The Mayor received applause for sharing these observations.[156]

Reports from the Front

In October 1915 the first British troops landed at the Greek port of Salonika (now Thessaloniki) from Gallipoli and France.[157]

Dr. Green of Rochester, who was badly injured in action, is back in England. Green was injured at Salonika some considerable time ago while on active service with the RAMC; he is now at a convalescence home in Brighton.[158]

Although the McCudden boys were from Gillingham their heroic exploits would have been known in Rochester. Most significantly Mrs. McCudden who wrote a morale boosting letter to mothers who had lost a son in the war, was writing as a mother who had, by the time of writing her letter, lost all three of her sons; this is was not obvious in the report – See ‘Women’s Experience’, November 1918.

2nd Lieut. J. A McCudden, MC, is reported as missing. J.A. McCudden was the younger brother of Capt. J. B. McCudden VC, DSO, MC.[159]

Roll of Honour

Fgt. Sub-Lieut. Leonard E. Oakeshott died of injuries received in an accident in France. Oakeshott (18), RNAS, youngest son of Mr. A. Oakeshott of Strood, had had a brilliant scholastic career at the Maths School where he gained two medals of the Royal Drawing Society, passed the Oxford Senior Examination and Matriculated in London. For two years he was head-boy and four years held the school swimming championship.[160] He was flying in a Sopwith Camel tractor biplane scout, that flat turned into the wind and crashed.[161]

Sgt. Frederick Sudds died from gunshot wounds to the head that he received in action. Sudds (28) was the fourth son of Mr. & Mrs. C. Sudds of Cuxton. He died at the Canadian Clearing Station in France from gunshot wounds to the head that he received in action. When he enlisted he was working in Winnipeg and was a member of the Kentish Association in that city. He was serving in the Canadian army.[162],[163]

Health & Hospitals

First aid examination results – City of Rochester Division of St. Johns Ambulance Brigade. 98 people attended the classes and 83 took the exam of which 65 passed and 13 failed.[164]

An indication of the casualty rate at the Front.

More beds needed urgently needed at Strood VAD. As the hospital is full it is proposed to erect a marquee on the lawn at Claremont to take 12 more beds. On account of the pressure on staff and space the ‘Gift Day’ had to take another form this year. The public may be asked to send cash but should an outdoor event be arranged it will probably held in the charming grounds of the vicarage. As the staff of the hospital are already heavily pressed, with every prospect of the pressure continuing, it is most probable that the usual outdoor event may be abandoned.[165]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Eggs were preserved by ‘soaking’ them in, or painting them with ‘water glass’ – a solution of sodium silicate. This sealed the pores in the egg shells and stopped them from going bad.

The Food Controller allows people to buy eggs to preserve for their own use. They must though first give notice to the local food committee of the number to be preserved – and that number must not be exceeded. The local committee has the power to reduce the number if they think it too large.[166]

Seems the Board of Agriculture was not convinced that poor husbandry of cattle was impacting on the quality of the milk.

Milk regulations cannot be amended to reflect the impact of poor feed on the quality of milk. The Board of Agriculture have advised Rochester Town Council that they do not see a way to amend that sale of milk regulations in order to meet the “alleged” effect on the quality of milk caused by the shortage of concentrated feeding stuffs and the increased use of roots in feeding dairy cows.[167]

The problem of queues remains.

There is great pressure on Food Control Committees to issue supplementary ration cards. Owing to the increased work recently thrown upon the Food Control Committees the staffs of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham are being greatly pressed – particularly Gillingham and less so in Chatham, where there have been queues all week. When hearing about the ‘grumblers’ the Mayor of Rochester described them as “Journal Standard”. Supplementary ration cards were distributed from the Corn Exchange but patience is requested as the Committee has lost the excellent services of Mr. H. Goodall and one or two lady clerks are ill.[168]

The Rochester branch of NFU supports the use of German PoWs on the land. At the meeting of the Rochester Branch of the NFU it was reported that £257 2s 6d – with promises of another £33 4s – was available to sponsor a member of parliament at the next election. The branch also heartily supported the proposal made by the Strood Agricultural Committee for German PoWs to be drafted into the district for the purpose of working on the farms in the coming season.[169]

Civic Business

Eastgate house was purchase by the Council in 1897 for £1,800.

Three shops and premises adjoining Eastgate House Museum are to be purchased. The site will be used to construct a building for housing the furniture and art collection bequeathed to the city by Mr. T. H. Foord.[170] It was later reported, the Corporation of Rochester have now purchased the builder’s office and shop with a dwelling over, adjoining Eastgate Museum to meet the stipulation of the bequeath of Mr. T. H. Foord, to erect a suitable building to receive the items bequeathed to the City of Rochester.[171]  It was reported  to the Town Council that a cheque of £9,000 had been received, being £1,800 the amount of the purchase money of the Freehold of Eastgate House purchased from Messrs Jarvis and Pope in 1897, less £200 legacy duty, and £7,200 of the legacy for providing a building for the reception of the furniture bequeathed to the Corporation by Mr. Foord, less £800 legacy duty. It was agreed that the £7,200 would be invested in War Bonds until 1923 pending the erection of the required building.[172]

Poor law discount rescinded in St. Margaret’s.[173]

Community Support

After the poor showing of Rochester in the ‘Business Men’s week’ to increase the sale of War Savings Certificates and National War Bonds, there was a determination to do better in ‘Tank Week’. (See ‘Community Effort’, March 1917.)

A Tank is to visit Chatham as part of the War Bond campaign. With a view to giving Chatham an opportunity of retrieving its extremely unsatisfactory position in the War Bond campaign a “Tank” is to visit the town.[174]

In the reports about ‘Tank Week’  it appears that some firms and local authorities may have borrowed money from Banks to buy war bonds and to service the loan themselves.

Nelson the original Trafalgar Square Tank, will support Medway’s Tank Week.Tank week’ will run April 15 to 20.“Nelson” will sell War Bonds from £5 and War Savings Certificates from 15/6, outside the Town Hall in Chatham between 10am to 8pm each day. There will be frequent band performances and speeches from the tank at 4 & 7pm. Space [in the papers] for communications relating to the Tank was funded by Messrs Chatham & Butler, John Dunstall, John Elvy, Arthur Gamman Ltd., and the Mid Kent Coal Company, Ltd. Space was also purchased by Leonards of Rochester encouraging people to ‘Invest at the Tank’.[175]

The Medway Tank “will be ready Monday next at Chatham to receive your money”. Buy War Savings Certificates and National War Bonds. “Make THE MEDWAY’S TOTAL top every other in the country. Your duty is to help to pay for the War. Go to the Tank and do it”.[176]

The serial number of purchased Tank Week War Bonds can be entered into a ‘raffle’. War Bond numbers can be entered into a ‘raffle’ with a 1st prize of £10 war bond, 2nd a £5 war bond and 15 consolation prizes of a 15/6 certificate.[177]

‘Nelson’ arrives by the backdoor! Rather appropriately considering the war conditions, ‘Nelson’ arrived on a day of wretched weather. Somewhat surprisingly it crept in via the backdoor. Most people knew that the foot of Star Hill was to be the starting point, and to get there it was thought the tank would leave the goods yard by the main gate and proceed via Furrell’s wharf, therefore it was at Star-hill where the people of Rochester met, the crowd stretching from there to the Seaman’s institute. But they turned their eyes in the wrong direction for the news was that ‘Nelson’ was coming along Rochester High Street. What happened was that it scrambled off its huge double railway carriage at the Blue Boar end of the railway station and then taking advantage of fewer corners made its way to Corporation Street. Having a mind to the awkwardness of the turnings and its own 27 tons, the decision was made that Free School Lane should be its entrance to the City. Therefore, the children at St. Nicholas School had a splendid view from the upper windows, and people passing along the High Street at the end of Eastgate were not a little surprised to see the monster swing itself gaily along by the Mathematical School to meet the representatives from the three towns at the bottom of Star Hill. It then proceeded along the High Street into Chatham Intra and onto the Town Hall. ‘Nelson’ had a bodyguard of men from the Middlesex Regiment. In addition there were pipes and drums from the Royal Naval Barracks, and it was the swirl of bagpipes which brought from ‘counter and fireside’ those who were not already on the streets. To assist in the selling of bonds at the War Tank, Mr. Rowe the local postmaster, placed 13 lady clericals at the disposal of the organisers. They were accommodated at tables in the vestibules of the Town Hall. In addition, there were Bank of England representatives in the Council Committee room to collect sums of over £50. No working people showed more enthusiasm over ‘Tank Week’ than the employees of Messrs. Short Bros., scattered amongst the factories of Rochester, Strood and Chatham. At the head works in Rochester a huge clock was erected to display each day how the figures stood. Mr. Oswald Short took a keen interest in the effort and offered a number of War Bonds as prizes. The staff of Shorts Brothers issued a challenge to other factories – including the Dockyard – to raise more money per head. The Rochester Committee endorsed the challenge with the offer of a £25 War Bond to be raffled at the winning factory. ‘Nelson’ was one of the earliest Tanks and had seen action on the Western Front.[178]

Not an auspicious start in terms of the amount of money invested on day one of Nelson’s visit.

‘Nelson’ the Trafalgar Square tank arrived at Rochester Goods Station. The tank is on a visit this week to Chatham in connection with the united effort of the three towns to secure money for the War Loan scheme. It arrived at Rochester Goods Station on Monday and was received at the foot of Star Hill by representatives of the three Corporations. Probably the weather which was wet and miserable affected business in the opening days for the investments were much below the totals expected. Only £38,626 was paid in from the three towns on Monday – which included one deposit of £20,000, and £13,200 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Prudential Assurance Company paid in £15,000, and other insurance companies are investing through their offices.[179]

Thousands of people assembled to witness the departure of ‘Nelson’ the tank. The crowds assembled near the Chatham Town Hall and along Military Road on Saturday evening to witness the departure of Nelson the tank. The tank closed at 8pm and the military party in charge began their preparations and quarter of an hour later the lifeless looking object began to move amid an outburst of cheering and was soon travelling between the crowd under the guard of a few military men with fixed bayonets. However, it was mounted by several members of the organising committee and Mr. Claude Rogers, chairman of the Rochester committee, addressed the crowd saying it was his pleasant duty to close ‘Tank Week’. To applause he announced the total raised in the three towns was approximately £240,000. He also thanked the young ladies from the Post Office who have been courteous, obliging and polite throughout a very busy week. After thanking many more he called for three-cheers for the tank and one for our boys at the Front – great cheers. At a wind-up meeting each town reported on the outcome from ‘Tank Week’; Mr. Featherstone for Rochester expressed the hope that the friendly rivalry between the towns could continue. A number of ‘public bodies’ invested money in War Bonds. The Rochester Corporation invested £7,200 from the Foord legacy as did St. Bartholomew’s hospital who invested £8,000 of the bequeath they received from Foord. Rochester Police invested £408.[180]

A total of £250,048 was raised in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, during Tank Week. To this amount Rochester contributed £131,085, Chatham £93,316 and Gillingham £23,647. The amounts now subscribed in War Bonds – Rochester £256,218, Chatham £190,061, and Gillingham £143, 792. These amounts taken on the 1911 census give Rochester an average per head of population of £8 9s, Chatham £4 8s 6d and Gillingham £2 15s 3d.[181]

Primroses sold by Mrs. Pritchett raised £1 15s 1d for the PoW fund,[182] she lived at Grain Vicarage.

Home Tragedies

Arthur Mantanle killed whilst laying railway sleepers on a line near Rochester. Mantanle (59) had worked on the South Eastern Railway for 42 years.[183]

School / Education News

E. Lawrence is the most brilliant scholar the head a Mathematical School has ever known. Lawrence, of Cliffe Road, Strood, won an open mathematical scholarship of £80/year at Worcester College, Oxford. The achievement is all the more remarkable as he is only two months over 17 years. Cllr. Willis, Chairman of the Rochester Education Committee stated it was safe to say that we will get the boy there. It was agreed that congratulations were due to all those who had instructed Lawrence at Gordon Road.[184]

Court Cases

Joseph McCormack fined £5 for taking matches & cigarettes into the explosives works of Messrs. Curtis and Harvey’s. It was stated that McCormack, of St. Margaret’s, Rochester, was searched as two days previous a spent match and a burnt cigarette were found on the floor near where he worked.[185]

Women’s Experiences

The Women’s Institute movement in Britain started in 1915. Its aim was to encourage countrywomen to get involved in growing and preserving food to help to increase the supply of food. The first WI in Britain was formed under the auspices of the Agricultural Organisation Society.[186]

Ladies of Rochester are to produce information on how to preserve produce. At a meeting of the West Kent Women’s War Agricultural Committee, the ladies expressed their willingness to support the establishment of a committee to build closer links between those in the town and country interested in food production. It was agreed to produce information that could be given out by market store holders on how to preserve the produce they’re offering for sale.[187]

Church & Cathedral

Rev. H. Hicken, Vicar of St. Peter’s, has donated his Army Chaplin pay to the parish. It was mentioned that Rev. Hicken’s had contributed his Army pay to the parish during the last three years, and that has amounted to three figures.[188]

Life Goes On

Employment at the Hoo Union is restricted to those who are too old to serve or who have been discharged from the military.

Hoo Union wished to appoint a man and wife, without children, to act as porter and cook. Pay is £25 and £20 respectively, with annual increments of £1 for five years. No man of military age need apply, unless holding a Certificate of Discharge, and no children.[189]

Marriage between George Wood & Edith Mary Warne. A pretty wedding was solemnised at Borstal Church. Miss Warne was elder daughter of the late Rev. Cleve-Warne (vicar of Stoke) and Mrs. Warne of Stoke Cottages, Borstal. The groom was from Gravesend. The marriage was celebrated by Rev. Horace Sturt, the groom’s brother-in-law. The bride who was given away by her mother was charmingly dressed in a simple white Georgette over white silk with peril embroidery and an embroidered Brussels net, with a chaplet of orange blossoms.[190]

May 1918

Military and War Reports

A German offensive was underway in April with the objective of capturing key railway and supply roads and cutting off the British Second Army at Ypres. This probably accounted for the urgent need for men and more explosives, and the increased pressure on the railways to transport men and equipment to the Front.

Train services are disrupted by the heavy demands placed on the railway by the Military. A number of train alterations were announced in order to economise. However, they will impact on passenger travel which has already been significantly reduced on the Chatham and South Eastern railway in order to meet the heavy and important demands of the naval and military authorities.[191]

Although no reports have been discovered the following reports suggest that Tribunals may have ‘heard’ the request to take into account the education of children when hearing an application for ‘exemption’ from a teacher.

Teachers & educational officers are to be called-up forthwith. In view of the imperative need for further men for the Army the Ministry of National Service has decided a further call needs to be made upon the public educational services. Subject to special circumstances teachers and educational officers are to be called to the colours forthwith.[192] All single men on the Rochester Police Force have been released for the Army.[193]

Benzol is the most volatile portion of coal tar.

Method of gas manufacture to change to provide by-products needed to make explosives. Gas companies and coal suppliers are required to make changes to support the war effort to defeat the enemy. There is a great need for tar oil for naval purposes, supplies of tolnol and benzol is required for the manufacture of the high explosives required by our fighting forces, and supplies of sulphate of ammonia for fertilising the land at home. The only British sources of these materials are the gas works and coal ovens. However, the conscription of miners into the military is impacting on the supply of coal that is needed.[194]

Tribunals

A Conscientious Objector was never going to have an ‘easy ride’ before a tribunal but with the urgent need for men to halt a German offence it was likely to be harder.

Edward Reeves, three months’ exemption on condition he joins the Fire Brigade. Reeves (33) a master-builder from Cliffe was questioned by the Strood Tribunal on his principles as a conscientious objector. He was questioned as to whether he would protect his mother should the Germans land on the Isle of Grain and march to Cliffe. “What would you do —— would you run away and leave your mother behind?” No. “How would you protect your mother?” – “I would not take up arms to do so.” “How would you protect her if the Germans were marching to Cliffe?” “I would remain with her”. “That would not do much good. You would not mind what happened to her? You would not take up arms to protect her?” – and so it went on. It was finally recommended that he volunteer as a special constable but said he would not use violence to arrest a man. The Chairman said “I think a man who can’t be a volunteer and can’t be a special constable had better go in the army.” Ultimately it was agreed to a three months’ exemption on condition he joins the Fire Brigade.[195]

Emotional blackmail placed on a man who’s circumstances rightly exempted from military service.

Nash, exempted as the only son of a widow whose other son had been killed in the war. Nash (21) from Rochester, appealed against his call-up on the basis he was the only surviving son of a widow whose other son had been killed in the war. The chairman said according to the new regulations an application for exemption could be made on the grounds of serious hardship and that the man is the last surviving son of a widow of whom at least one son had died or had been wounded or contracted a sickness whilst in service – BUT if, chairman stated, should he chose to avail himself of this provision he should be mindful there are many widows who had lost a son. However, it was pointed out to the chairman that the exemption was automatic.[196]

A new medical category grading system was introduced for older men.[197]  In April 1918, when the demand for men became urgent, an allocation board was set up with the duty to examin all men of low category, and assigning them to tasks that were suitable for their capacity. This was based on a report that 34% of men had had their medical category changed.[198]

Reports from the Front

The following report of the work of Strood VAD is included here as it illustrates the hell wounded soldiers must have experienced between being wounded, ‘rescued’ and arriving at a hospital.

The clothing of men admitted to the Strood VAD directly from the Front is verminous. At the gift-day of Strood VAD special thanks was given to Mr. & Mrs. Moss the master and matron of the Strood Union. Men frequently arrive from the trenches verminous and it becomes necessary to fumigate the wards. Mr. Moss has carried out this work and baked the men’s clothing since its inception. The Guardians show every sympathy and have ever been ready to lend beds etc., to the hospital.[199]

Roll of Honour

Gunner Geo. Lewis died of his wounds in Rouen Hospital. Mr. & Mrs. V. Lewis of 1 Oast Cottages, Manor Lane, Borstal, have received news of the loss of their second son, Lewis (26). He went to France in 1915 and during the years that followed saw much heavy fighting. In March he sustained terrible injuries resulting in the loss of both his legs and left arm and his right arm being fractured. Illness supervened and he succumbed a month later in Rouen Hospital. His younger brother, Charles Lewis, is currently serving with the RAMC.[200]

Private Gilbert Dunn Cox, died 7 May 1918, aged 21. He was an employee of Leonards Dept Store. He is buried in Fort Pitt Military Cemetery. He was the son of William and Alice Jane Cox or 25 Maidstone Rd, Chatham. (Source Richard Leonard (correspondent) verified from Commonwealth war graves commission.)

Health & Hospitals

A pneumonia jacket was a flannel jacket worn by pneumonia patients. It was believed that warming the chest would aid recovery. The pressure of beds was such that the marque that was to contain 12 beds eventually, it would seem, had to shelter 14.

Strenuous times for the Strood VAD hospital but it’s receiving a lot of support. The Strood Union has lent a marquee to the Strood VAD. The Rochester Munitions Depot has provided three pneumonia jackets, 10 pairs of socks, three pyjamas and handkerchiefs.[201]  The VAD and its depleted staff are passing through a strenuous time – significant difficulties arising through rationing and the availability of food. The public are requested to continue their support of the VAD with vegetables and eggs – and through donations of money.[202] A new marquee tent was erected to provide an additional 12 beds. It is a beautiful and most useful structure, but its size makes it impossible to hold a Gift Day on the lawn of Claremont.[203] Owing to the influx of wounded men from the Western Front the lawn of the hospital is now occupied by a marquee with 14 extra beds there is no available space for the usual public reception of gifts, and at the same time the expenses of management are heavily increased owing to the high price of food, lighting etc. The hospital now has 93 beds instead of the 70 which is the normal authorised number. But although the presentation of gifts must be of a more restricted character the Countess of Darnley [Lady Darnley] agreed to attend the hospital to receive all gifts, whether previously sent by post or presented to her. It was regretted the curtailed space on the lawn rendered it necessary to limit the number of children attending but schools were invited to send deputations. Since opening in September 1914, the hospital has cared for 3,300 wounded and sick soldiers.[204]

Is it possible that the high-profile war bond events could be attracting money away from local causes?

St. Bartholomew’s activity during 1917. The Secretary of St. Bartholomew’s wrote to the editor concerned that a great number of people in the area served by St. Bartholomew’s do not realise the work done by the institution. During 1917, 1,202 civilians and 381 military patients were admitted. 6,383 attended out patients against 6,062 in 1916. The total number of OP attendances = 28,928 compared to 24,151 in 1916. 1,639 operations were performed under general anaesthetic, and 804 x-ray pictures were taken. The secretary hoped that being made aware of the work undertaken at the hospital people would continue to generously support it.[205]

Miss Tod, the new Health Visitor, is now in post and visiting children under the age of one. With the appointment of Miss Tod, Nurse Smith is to visit children up to age of 5 and will give special attention to measles.[206]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Public reminded to return the ration card of a deceased person to the Food Control Office. The public are reminded that that in the case of a death the deceased’s food cards must be returned to the Food Control Office. [207]

The Food Control Office for Rochester has moved to 56 High Street, Rochester, from the Bridge Chamber.[208][From the Bridge Wardens’ officers to a site of the Jolly Knight bar.]

The public is urged to continue buying frozen meat to help avert a winter meat shortage. Leaving cattle out to grass longer will enable they put on the extra weight which may help ensure a supply of meat during the coming autumn and winter.[209] Supplies at Rochester cattle market were allotted to Rochester and Chatham with Gillingham taking their turn with frozen meat.[210]

A plea made for agricultural workers to have a good and sufficient supply of cheese. The Rochester Branch of the National Farmers Union moved at the monthly meeting of the executive, that immediate steps should be taken to ensure all agricultural workers receive a good and sufficient supply of cheese, and that the same be guaranteed them by the grocers with whom they are registered for butter etc.; this would ensure that no valuable time is wasted in having to queue outside the shops as at present. Their Chairman advised that he had attended a meeting in Tunbridge Wells on home cheese production and that a resolution had been passed asking the Kent Education Committee to take immediate steps to set up travelling schools to train people in the home production of cheese.[211]

What the apparatus referred to in the following report has not been discovered but could have been associated with canning.

Apparatus is used at Rochester to preserve surplus vegetables. On hearing about the steps that need to be taken for the preservation of surplus vegetables it was suggested at the Herne Bay Food Control Committee that someone from the Committee should inspect the apparatus used at Rochester.[212]

The hire rates for agricultural equipment is published. Farmers wishing to hire equipment from the War Agricultural Committee could do so for the following rates: Martin’s Cultivator, 1s / day; Cambridge rollers and tip carts, 1s / day; Lorries 2s 6d/day and Corn drills at 3s 6d / day. The nearest agent to Rochester is Messrs. Robin & Day.[213]

Comrades of the Great War’, was set up in 1917 for ex-service men. It merged with other ex-service men organisations in 1921 to form the British Legion.

Inaugural meeting held of the Kent Division of the ‘Comrades of the Great War’. The Mayor of Rochester attended a meeting for the purpose of inaugurating a Kent Division of the association known as ‘Comrades of the Great War’. In discussing the need for the association which is to be a non-political / non-sectarian association, it was agreed that all at home should do their best to help the brave lads when they return to the villages of Kent, and to ensure they are supported, and to ensure pensions are adequate as well as to support the orphans and widows of the fallen. Col. Breton joined the Provincial Executive Committee.[214] Other branches slowly set up across Kent – some were known as “Lest we Forget” Clubs.[215]

Civic Business

Cliffe Road in a very poor condition – a contribution to be sought from Curtis and Harvey. The surveyor for Strood Rural Council estimates the cost of repairing this road to be £2,967 13s 4d. It was decided to ask Messrs. Curtiss and Harvey to contribute £2,100 towards the repair.[216]

Minnie Sleeford was an assistant supervisor, telephones. She was included in the 1918 New Year Honours list for displaying great courage and devotion to duty during air raids.[217]

Miss Minnie Sleeford is awarded the Order of the Empire. Sleeford of 280 High Street, Rochester, was awarded the Order at Maidstone for showing great courage and devotion to duty during air raids.[218]

Night soil is a euphemism for human faeces collected at night from buckets, cesspools and privies.

The Council agrees an increase in the price paid for the cartage of the City’s night soil. The Council agreed an increase of 4s 6d / pair horse wagon.[219]

Community Support

Thanks were recorded to Claude Rogers and Mr. Featherstone for organising Tank Week.  At a meeting of the Rochester Council – the Mayor moved a vote of thanks be recorded to Claude Rogers and Mr. J. T. Featherstone for their efforts during ‘Tank Week’, but thanks were also due to many workers that helped the three towns to reach £250,000. Special reference was made to Mr. Marshall and his partners in the Prudential Assurance Co. who “worked like” n*****s.” [220] [Asterisked by GE.]

Presentation of Tank Week prizes. The presentation of prizes to employees of Messrs. Shorts, in connection with ‘Tank Week’, took place at a concert held in the Castle Hall, Rochester. Mr. Short congratulated not just the prize winners but all who had contributed to the success of the War Loan Week. They had been asked to raise £5,500 but raised nearer to £7,500. The amount was all the more satisfactory as many employees had regularly contributed to the War Savings Association for many months past.[221]

The Towns did better in ‘Tank Week’ than in ‘Business Men’s Week’. As a result of the visit of the tank ‘Nelson’ to the district, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham raised £250,048. The three towns have thus made up for their poor showing in the recent Business Men’s Week.[222]

A high-class afternoon concert was given in the Corn Exchange by the Royal Engineers. The concert was given by the full band of the Royal Engineers. The hall was well filled predominantly with ladies. The programme comprised of a short history of the composers followed by some of their music. Altogether the audience had a musical treat of the first order, and enjoyed it to the utmost. The concert was given on behalf of the City of Rochester’s ‘Recognised Association of Voluntary workers’.[223]

Home Tragedies

The following gives an insight into a time before antibiotics and the NHS.

Young machinist dies from blood poisoning following a minor injury at work. The inquest into the death of William George Ames (17) of Windmill Street, Frindsbury, was held at the Old Mill, Bill Street Road, Frindsbury. Mr. Stigant attended on behalf of Messrs. Aveling & Porter who were the boy’s employer. Mary Ann Amos, wife of William Thomas Amos of 8 Windmill Street, confirmed that her son lived with her. In evidence she said she met her son in the High Street, Strood, on May 3 about 11am. He complained of not feeling well and his head was swimming. In the afternoon he complained of his hands and she bathed them. She noticed two abrasions on his left hand. He went to see Dr. Packman and when he returned she placed a bread poultice on his left hand. He returned to work on the 6th when his hand was feeling better. He worked until the 9th when his left hand worsened. He also said he had struck his right hand and it was festering. He was regularly seen by Dr. Packman up until his death on 15 May. Dr. Packman issued a certificate stating the boy was suffering from gastric catarrh – he made no mention of the wounds. Edward Thomas Wollacott of 2 Haywards Avenue, Strood, a foreman turner with Aveling & Porter stated he did not know why Ames left work on 3rd and made no complaint on his return. It was noted though he was working wearing a glove from which the fingers had been removed. He was described as a good lad who worked well. Other work-witness statements were taken which included evidence that William had knocked his hand against a tool. Dr. Packman who practiced in Rochester confirmed he saw Amos on May 3 and he was shown his two hands. He noted several sores on the hands near the knuckles and on one forearm there was a streak of inflammation. The deceased also complained of tenderness in the armpit. He advised the deceased to poultice the places with linseed meal. When he saw the deceased two days later the wounds appeared to be healing but he was complaining of sickness and diarrhoea. Dr. Packman diagnosed gastric catarrh. When he saw the patient on 11 May he looked very ill and he sent him home. He was called to see the patient on the 13th and found him very ill with a rapid pulse and a temperature of 105 [f] and partly delirious. The doctor visited on Tuesday and Wednesday and on the Wednesday found he was unconscious. The doctor acknowledged what he saw was blood poisoning – not gastric catarrh. The jury recorded an open verdict.[224]

School / Education News

Kent Fortress Engineers were a unit of the Territorial Force Royal Engineers. Their HQ was at the Submarine Mining School, Gillingham.

Mr. A. Lucy is appointed as headmaster of the Maths School by the Lord Lieutenant. Mr. Lucy was the officer commanding the Cadet Battalion Kent (Fortress) Royal Engineers, with the rank of Lieut. Colonel.[225]

There was a possible myth circulating at this time that German aviators were dropping poisoned sweets onto the streets where they would be found by children. No evidence was apparently found to support this claim.[226]

Poisoned sweets ‘dropped’ on a street near the Cathedral Schools The Chief Constable reported that some sweets had been found under suspicious circumstances near the Cathedral Schools, and it is thought that they had been dropped with malicious intent – the Corporation desired to point out the dangers of eating sweet which had been picked up in the street.[227]

Court Cases

Although the obtaining of extra food was fraudulent there was a view that the ration allowance – even if it could be fulfilled – was insufficient for men undertaking heavy manual labour.

Samuel White is the first to be summoned for falsifying information to get more rations. White of 150 Weston Road, Strood, was the first in the district to be summoned for making false statements in his application for food cards and for obtaining more than his proper ration of butter, sugar and meat. He filled in a form for his son saying he was a labourer when he was actually in the Navy and thereby fraudulently drew rations over five weeks in his son’s name. At the time of providing the false information Mr. White said he was unable to obtain meat and he was finding it difficult to do heavy work as a labourer without meat. He also claimed to have had an invalid wife who had since died. The fraud came to light as a consequence of a family row. Mr. White was lucky to only have been fined – with costs – £3 12s 6d when the fine might have been £300.[228]

Jasper and Sons, bakers, summoned for selling bread at a price exceeding 21/2d / loaf. Jasper & Sons were fined £5 with 30s costs at Rochester Police Court for selling 295 lbs of bread at a price exceeding 21/2d / loaf. They charged 3d for what they claimed to be ‘invalid bread’ for which they said the 3d covered delivery – but nothing had been charged for the delivery of ordinary bread.[229]

Norman Johnson – 14 days imprisonment for carrying matches into explosive works. Rochester magistrates have decided to deal more severely with people carrying matches into explosive works. As a consequence Johnson, a young married man of Railway Tavern, Higham, who pleaded guilty, was fined £5 and sentenced to 14 days imprisonment.[230]

Messrs. Fletcher Ltd., and Frank Woodcock were fined for over-charging for meat. The firm was fined £10 with £1 8s 6d costs, at Rochester, for over charging for meat at their Rochester branch. Woodcock, the manager of the branch, was also fined £10 with £1 6s 6d costs for selling topside at the sirloin price.[231]

Women’s Experiences

Relatives of wounded soldiers make use of the YWCA’s temporary accommodation. The annual meeting of the YWCA received reports on their work in Chatham and Rochester. Miss Ketchen reported that over 200 people had passed through the three local hostels during the year, a large proportion being relatives of wounded officers and men.[232]

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp was formally instituted on 7 July, 1917. In appreciation of its good services it was announced on 9 April 1918 that the WAAC was to be re-named the ‘Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps’ (QMAAC), with Her Majesty as Commander-in-Chief of the Corps.[233]

The Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary called on the Women of Britain to come and cook for the men who are defending them and their home. 7,000 cooks and waitress were required ‘now’ for Home Service only.[234]

In 1918 a Maternity and Child Welfare Act was passed. It required each local authority to set up a maternal and child welfare committee – that must include two women – and enabled, though it did not compel, local authorities to provide a full maternal and infant welfare service, including salaried midwives, health visitors, infant welfare centres, day nurseries, and the provision of milk and food for the neediest mothers and infants. The basis of Dr. Flood’s concerns were not disclosed. The legislation allowed for food to be provided for expectant and nursing mothers and for children under five, when certified as necessary by the a medical officer. Perhaps Dr. Flood’s concerns arose from the numbers in the district would needed this assistance and how they had to obtain / receive it.

Criticism is expressed of the “pauperising” welfare milk scheme. Dr. C. Flood, Medical Officer for Strood Rural described the government’s scheme for suppling milk in maternity and child welfare cases as the biggest pauperising scheme ever introduced.[235]

A Medway Towns Child Welfare Council is established. Countess Darnley [Lady Darnley] agreed to be the patron and the Bishop of Rochester one of the presidents.[236]

Where are my Children” is a silent 1916 film dealing with abortions – it can be found on YouTube.[237] The film presents an argument for birth control, but is against abortion, portraying the wealthy women as procuring abortions on a whim when pregnancy threatens to interfere with their social lives. “An Ancient Evil” is also a sex instruction film that illustrates the temptations a girl could face at this time.[238]

The Great Sensational Propaganda film – “An Ancient Evil” – was shown locally. The film was classified by the ‘National Council of Public Morals’ for adults only therefore children aged between six and 16 could not be admitted. The Council was established to combat the declining birth rate and kindred evils, also authorised the presentation of “Where are my Children”.[239] A companion film to “An Ancient Evil” dealing with the woman’s side of the social problem may have also been shown.[240]

Church & Cathedral

The Dean in his sermon points out some of the social ills that he believes need to be resolved.

The Dean highlighted the ‘Dragons of England’ that needed to be slain in his sermon at the annual Royal Engineers memorial service which was held in the Cathedral. He paid tribute to the courage of the REs who although were more concerned with work than fighting, undertook their duties under deadly and devastating fire. The Dean also made reference to the ‘Dragons of England’ that need to be slain – “the inequities of drunkenness, of gambling, of greed, for money and lust, the intolerable inequities of the rich and poor and poor housing, the relationship between labour and capital.” These and a hundred other things must be taken in hand by Englishmen and Englishwomen.[241]

The Rogation Day service was poorly supported. An old English custom that was revived by Rev. Gray (St Nicholas) at Rochester was not well supported this year. Due to inclement weather it was decided to hold the service in a church. It was attended by a few ladies but the farming fraternity were conspicuous by their absence.[242]

The Man Power Act 1918 strengthened the authority of the National Service Ministry, limited the powers of Appeal Tribunals and cancelled some exemptions. The Bill had proposed that clergy below a certain age would have been liable for non-combatant service but that did not reach the final Act. Some clergy were disappointed with this but there was nothing to preclude them from offering themselves for service.[243]

Clergy remain exempt from conscription – but not because of lobbying by the Church. Archdeacon Tait from Rochester Cathedral wanted it to be made known that the exclusion of clergy from the Man Power Bill was not as a consequence of lobbing by the church.[244]

Life Goes On

Miss G. Wyles of Chatham exhibited a picture at the Royal Academy. The picture showing the Deanery Gate at Rochester was included in an exhibition of Kentish pictures at the Royal Academy.[245]

Goings on’ in the ‘sedate Cathedral City’. A picture of a burly young man of military age snatching a kiss from a young lady working on an adjoining allotment, caused much amusement in the Grosvenor Gallery as it was titled an ‘Evening in Rochester’; this led to much speculation about the ‘goings on’ in the ‘sedate cathedral city’, until it was realised the picture had been miss-labelled.[246]

Conway-Gordon supports the “noble & humane campaign on behalf of dogs”. Vera Conway-Gordon, President of the Rochester Women’s Suffrage Society wrote a letter to the editor of the Express thanking the paper for its “noble and humane campaign on behalf of dogs.”[247] [The nature of the campaign has not been determined. It may have been about recognising the contribution that dogs made in the war, for instance some dogs were taught to seek out cover amid the carnage of No-Man’s Land, others delivered messages. Some 20,000 dogs served on the Western Front.[248]]

Medway Guardians offered a £1 reward for the identification of an abandoned baby. The female baby aged about four weeks that was abandoned in a perambulator that was left outside Woolworths in Chatham High Street. A photograph and detailed description of the pram has published.[249]

Water main bursts on Star Hill at the busiest time on a Saturday evening. A large hole was blown and a huge water spout was formed that rose far above the houses and spread wide in falling. For over an hour trams could not use the road.[250]

June 1918

Military and War Reports

The German push at the Front placed a strain on hospitals across the country. The demand placed on the VAD made it all the more important that the VAD’s Gift-Day day was a success. Mr. G. Robinson and Mr. George Gamonreceived special thanks as they had paid for daily newspapers to come to the VAD every day since the start of the war.[251]

Tribunals

Frank Holley had his certificate of conditional exemption withdrawn. Holley, assistant to Mr. F. East, draper and outfitter, Strood, had his three months certificate of conditional exemption withdrawn as he had left his employment.[252]

For some time efforts had been made to seek ways in which businesses could collaborate / share men in order that more men could be released to the military.

Amos Wilkinson, Frederick Webb, and William Reed – cases adjourned for one month. The cases of Wilkinson dairyman, Strood, and Webb and Reed employed respectively by Mr. W. Hillier and Mr. Felix Bourne. The Mayor said reorganisation in the diary trade was in progress and would take some little time. The three cases were adjourned for one month. The National Service Representative said Mr. Hillier was assisting in formulating a scheme at Maidstone and it was suggested that when he had finished there he should formulate a similar scheme at Rochester. He would impress on the dairymen that they must make some arrangement by which some of their ‘A’ men could be spared and the sooner they started to formulate a scheme the better it would be for them.[253]

Reports from the Front

The medal, the 1914 Star – unofficially referred to as the ‘Mons Star’ – was awarded for service in France or Belgium between 5th August 1914 and 22nd November 1914.

Recipients of the Mons Ribbonthe Chatham News started compiling a list of men awarded the Mons Ribbon – termed the ‘Heroes Who Were at Mons’. Amongst a long list is – J. F. Baker – still serving – 14 Church Street; G. Hodges – still serving – 6 Priory Place, Strood; A. Howard – now an instructor in the Army School of Musketry in France – 1 Cecil Road; W. Hunt – still serving – 87 Princes Street; G. King, now serving in England – 67 Catherine Street; W. Landers – still serving in France – 47 John Street; Albert Lovering – serving in France – 11 Catherine Street; F. Miles – since won the DCM – 68 Catherine Street; A. Oliver – won the Military Medal in1916 – wounded in April 1918 now lying in a London Hospital, 106 Montfort Road. Strood; F. Terry – still serving in France – 43 John Street.[254]

The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a silver medal for distinguished service or for gallantry. It was principally awarded to non-commissioned officers of all of the British Armed Forces and to members of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service.

Rochester’s Recipients of Meritorious Service Medal. The medal was awarded to, amongst others, the following men from Rochester in recognition of the valuable services they rendered with the Forces in France: Sgt. P. H. Dayand Gnr. T. V. Puxty. [255] Acting QMS T. P. Walsh and Acting Sgt. Major G. Weston.[256]

Roll of Honour

Capt. James Clifford Aveling Bell killed in an air raid on the hospital he was in. Capt. Aveling Bell (23) of theRoyal Field Artillery, and grandson of the late Stephen Aveling of Restoration House, was severely wounded in France on May 16. He was progressing favourably in hospital when he was killed in an air raid attack on 30 May. He was the precious only son of Sir James and Lady Bell, 4 Queen’s Gardens, Windsor. [257]

The headmaster of King’s School highlighted the sacrifice made by Public School boys. In his address on Commemoration Day the headmaster made reference to the Old Boys who had fallen on the field of honour. 46 Old Roffensians had given their lives for England since the war had begun – 14 in the past 12 months. Some of these were in the school four years ago, and then little recked* that they too would make the last and greatest sacrifice for God and Country. “When the historian of the future writes the record of the war, whatever else he finds in the spiritual assets of England which helped her to victory, amongst the chief will rank the sacrifice, self-forgetfulness and heroism of her Public School boys”.[258] [* Recked is an archaic word for concerned or interested.]

Health & Hospitals

A death from the Plague occurs at Rochester. Frank Thomas Burnley, forth engineer on the steamship Somali, which arrived at Gravesend from Bombay, died at Rochester from the bubonic plague. When the ship reached Gravesend three of the crew exhibited symptoms of bubonic plague and were removed to an isolation hospital – dying in Rochester. The rest of the crew were put in quarantine. The ship was to be fumigated and all rats on board destroyed. During the voyage from Bombay, rats were found dead on the ship – presumably from the bubonic plague. It was later reported Frank Thomas Burnley was buried in Strood Cemetery – his death was particularly distressing for the widow as this was her second husband to whom she had been married for only a year.[259]

The limited Stood VAD Gift Day exceeded all expectations. Although circumstances would not allow more than a formal ceremony the results exceeded all expectations with £350 subscribed in cash alone. Sitting beneath the shade of a marque used as a ward on the lawn of Claremont House, the gifts were graciously received by the Countess of Darnley accompanied by the Dean of Rochester, in the presence of the officers and nurses of the institution. Space did not allow a large assemblage of the general public as in previous years. For nearly an hour there was a stream of well-wishers bringing their gifts of largely cash, and perhaps the most interesting was the deputations from the schools. One gift from a pupil from Station Road School was labelled – “The contents of my money box with love to all the soldiers. Hope they may soon all get better.” [260]

As expected there was no large assembly of people, as in previous years, for the annual gift day. This was due to the lawn of the hospital being occupied by a marquee equipped with extra needs for the wounded. Around £300 in money and other gifts were received on behalf of the VAD by Lady Darnley and witnessed by a number of disabled soldiers. In her address Lady Darnley said the Strood VAD had cared for 3,300 sick and wounded patients since it opened in October 1914.[261] It was later confirmed that £369 14s was collected – a record for this VAD.[262]

Probationer nurses at the Medway Union express gratitude for their war bonus. The Guardians of the Medway Union received a letter from the probationer nurses in the infirmary thanking them for the Board’s generous response to their application for a war bonus.[263]

Training events organised for the Royal Army Medical Corp volunteers. A schedule of training events was received in Rochester. These included drill training in the Corn Exchange, a lecture and demonstration on camp hygiene at Acorn Wharf, and a lecture on nursing delivered at Guildhall.[264]

Home News

Medals were presented to Special Constables at the Guildhall. An interesting little gathering was held at the Guildhall at which the Mayor distributed medals to special constables. Although there were 40 medals not all were given because several of the recipients were on active service; as it was several of the specials were present in khaki.[265]

A local branch of the National Union of Scientific Workers has been formed.  The Branch was formed by the members of staff at Messrs. Curtis and Harvey, Cliffe, but it was hoped that membership would embrace a wider area and become designated “Rochester & District”. The object of the union is the professional and economic advancement of all men and women who earn their livelihood in any branch of scientific work.[266]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

The Cattle Sale Order was introduced to control the sale of fat cattle. Cattle brought to market would be handed over to the auctioneer and a committee comprised of an auctioneer, butcher and farmer graded the beast. The animal was then sold by weight at prices fixed according to the grade. The farmer received the full value of the beast without reductions for expenses or auctioneer’s fees.[267]

Facilities for implementing the Cattle and Sales Orders are now in place in Rochester. Farmers will be given every facility for seeing their stock killed, and may be present at any weighing or weightings.[268]

Rochester Marshes provided some of the earliest fat-stock in the country.

Farmers were asked to avoid slaughtering stock during the summer months. The request was made by the Ministry of Food. This reduced the availability of meat but in the summer the cattle can be fed on grass at a competitive low cost and with little labour. This will in turn increase the availability of fully fatten stock in the autumn months. In order to drastically reduce the pressure on rail transport, arrangements have been made to feed the great industrial areas with frozen meat over the coming weeks. [This will cause shortages in] Rochester and the surrounding districts that in the past have always been short of home-killed meat at this season of the year, however cattle and sheep will be coming forward for slaughter from the Rochester Marshes. These Marshes yield some of the earliest fat stock in the country and the shortage of home-killed meat in the neighbourhood will only be acute until such time as this stock is ready for slaughter.[269]

Parents find it practically impossible to get milk from traders. It was reported to the Council’s Health Committee that since the beginning of February £80 worth of Nestlé’s milk had been sold to parents as its practically impossible to get milk from traders.[270]

A Bakers’ Association was formed with the view to establishing cooperative working. On the strength of this arrangement the Malling Tribunal granted exemptions to a number of Master Bakers on the understanding they would assist other bakers. However, this arrangement was called into question as areas such as Rochester had traders that deliver bread 11 miles out into the country. Some arrangements have been made with small bakers to exchange customers in order to reduce overlapping.[271]

Register with Lipton for tea – who can guarantee a supply as they are tea planters and own thousands of acres of the finest tea plantations in Ceylon.[272]

Civic Business

There was a severe shortage of materials to maintain roads. The Road Stone Committee cut down the Rochester Corporation’s supply of road material from 2,500 to 900 tons of granite, and from 635 to 245 tons of rag-stone. Owing to the impossibility of getting wood blocks the Surveyor is having to repair the wood paving between the tramway track in the High Street with tarred macadam.[273]

Trade unions gave strong support to the war effort, cutting back on strikes and restrictive practices. However, towards the end of the war and perhaps in response to chronic economic conditions, workers began to become organised. The Labour Party conference in June 1918 voted ” the existence of the political truce should be no longer recognized.”[274]

Strood’s highway workman petitioned for higher pay. They sought a pay increase of 3s / week, making their wages 35s / week and placing them on the same footing as the workmen of KCC. The Surveyor reported that that KCC was paying 5s 10d / day for a 56.5 hour week and that three or four of his men had recently moved to KCC. The Council agreed to pay the same day rate as KCC.[275]

Permanent firemen were in a reserved occupation and consequently exempt from military service. However, volunteer firemen who undertook other community duties as well, were not.

The Spring meeting of the Fire Brigade Union took place at the Guildhall. The South-Eastern District Meeting of the National Fire Brigade Union met at the Guildhall.[276] The principal matter for discussion was the Man Power Act as affecting members of the Fire Brigade. The Mayor in addressing the assembly said it was a mystery to him why members of the public fire brigade did nothing between calls, should be protected, whereas the members of the voluntary Fire Brigades, who between calls were doing work, were not protected. The Chief Fire Officer pointed out that a number of brigades in Kent that should have 12 or 14 men, were down to two men and their chief officer. The meeting then passed a resolution that called upon the Ministry of National Service to exempt all firemen from military service in order that the public can be properly protected.[277]

Community Support

The silver anniversary referred to in the following report was that of George V and Queen Mary. Queen Mary was the commandant of the Red Cross.

Gifts of gold & silver for the British Red Cross could be left with the Mayor of Rochester. The Mayor, along with some others in Kent, agreed to receive gifts of gold and silver for the British Red Cross on the occasion of the silver wedding of their Majesties the King & Queen.[278]

Centralisation required Rochester’s Prisoner of War Committee to be wound up. The work of the local committees of the Kentish Prisoners of War have been transferred to a Central Committee. A gathering of the workers from the ‘Mayor of Rochester’s Fund’ met in the Masonic Hall. They heard a review of their work and each was presented with an interesting souvenir. The Mayor spoke of the work that was done ungrudgingly and said from the postcards he received he knew it was appreciated by our poor fellows in Germany. The fund was started in May 1915 with the Mayor as chairman and Mr. Spencer Sills as the honorary organiser. The whole of the subscription and monies received had been expended on this worthy object and there were no establishment charges. The final accounts were accepted and after votes of thanks had been given, Mr. Sills reminded the assembly that their fund-raising efforts could not be relaxed as they will need to support the work of the central committee. A presentation of medals followed and much to his Worship’s surprise two silver medals were presented to him by Mr. Sills – one for himself and the other for Miss Jackson, Mayoress, who was unable to be present; bronze medals were presented to [named] others. Mention was made that some churches had adopted particular prisoners. A musical evening followed the formalities.[279]

Rochester aimed to raise £100,000 during War Weapons Week. Weapon’s Week is to be held between June 24 – 29. Rochester is aiming to raise £100,000 during that week, an amount that could provide a battery of guns that would bear the name of “City of Rochester”.[280]  Prizes were offered to encourage giving. A Ward competition was ran to complete the following verse:  

            The Kaiser was shook by our Tanks,

            And now he’s upset by the Yanks;

            Buy Rochester guns

            To help smash the Huns

Every pound subscribed or every 15s 6d War Savings Certificate purchased, entitled a resident to an attempt. Two prizes were offered to competitors in each Ward. A parcel of cigarettes, value £5, presented by Mr. Claude Rogers, will be handed to the headmaster or mistress of the elementary school raising the largest sum per head, for presentation by the scholars of the school to the Old Boys of the school and to the wounded in the local hospitals. Robin & Day presented a full set of leather boxing gloves for “service in case of any dispute between rival competitors” – but really to be presented to the boys’ school that raises the largest sum. Tradesmen of the town were very generous in offering prices and have been asked to exhibit them in their shop windows. The Mayor wrote to factory owners suggesting they offer prizes for their employees. The selling of War Bonds and Certificates will be in post offices, the banks and the shops of various tradesmen, and arrangements are being made to open the Old Post Office as a depot. The interest of the ladies of the Recognised Association of Voluntary War Workers and of the Red Cross Depot is being elicited, and the local clergy and ministers are being invited to make special appeals from the pulpits. During the week it is hoped to have the streets decorated, a band playing in the Castle Gardens and to hold a mass meeting. The arrangements are being managed by Mr. Claude Rogers and Mr. J. T. Featherstone.[281] Plans for Weapon Week are of such a high-pitch it’s hoped that by the end of the week everyone will be talking about it. A big poster campaign is already in hand – there is a large poster promoting Rochester Weapons Week comprised of an image of a large artillery gun with the slogan “FIRE your money at the Huns”. The public were encouraged to watch out for announcements and competitions.[282]

Chatham, in Weapon’s Week, aims to raise sufficient funds to build 20 aeroplanes.[283]

Gender segregation was put in place for the viewing the gun that was displayed in the Castle Gardens.

Many events and investment opportunities were put in place for War Weapons’ Week. The week starts at 10am on Monday and for 10 hours each day a special staff of postal employees will be on duty at the Old Post Office in Northgate [possibly 70 High Street] to receive subscriptions. The paying-in centre will be known for that week as “The Central Bank of Rochester Guns”, and all bonds and certificates will bear the imprint of a special stamp. An Information Bureau will be opened in the premises of Messer, C. Leonard and Sons’ and it act as a distribution centre for literature.  Mr. Charles Leonard offered to make a special feature promoting the event in one of his windows and hopes other traders will follow his example. The exterior of the Old Post Office will be transformed with the adornment of flowers, flags and bunting, and the Guildhall facade will also assume a gay appearance. There will be two mass meetings in the Castle Gardens – the first with a grand procession of school children. Two eminent people will address the meetings – Mrs. Hudson Lyall and Mr. Hubert Snowdon, formally the Unionist candidates for Grantham. A gun captured from the Germans by the Royal West Kent Regt., will be on display in the Castle Gardens. Women will have the opportunity of seeing it before or after the meeting in the afternoon, and men before or after the evening meeting. Rochester’s target is £75,000 but as they were £25,000 short of their target for Tank Week they are aiming to raise £100,000.[284]

The following report suggests that ‘war weariness’ could have been setting in at Rochester.

Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised Rochester’s War Weapons Week was going well. A telegram was received in Rochester from the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressing pleasure at the efforts being made in Rochester. The fire brigade was out every day, with their gaily decorated motor engine, to draw attention to the event. A large pantechnicon was loaned by Messrs Curtiss & Harvey and covered with posters and had a set of tubular bells inside. Two public meetings were held – the one in the afternoon for women and children, and scholars of the elementary schools who had subscribed to the War Loan were given the privilege of attending. A table was set up by the gun from which people could buy war bonds. Mrs. Hudson Lyall made an earnest appeal to women. She said we were all tired of war, but if the men were not too tired to fight those at home should not be too tired to save to get the weapons that were necessary to save the lives of their brave men. Archdeacon Tait spoke of the patriotism of the women of Rochester and moved a vote of thanks to Mrs. Lyall.[285]

Lady Sturdee opened her first garden fete in the Three Towns when she performed the initial ceremony at Strood Vicarage.[286]

Home Tragedies

Thomas Payne died of burns received whilst engaged in burning waste at an explosive works. Payne (59) lived at 33 Prospect Avenue, Strood. It was explained the materials in question should have been burnt in the open but instead were placed in a destructor intended for another kind of waste. Rochester Coroner’s Jury returned a verdict of accidental death. [287]

School / Education News

Pupils of Troy Town school enliven their classrooms with flowers. Troy Town school is not beautiful either in site or fabric, but it has a flower show every school day of the week which shows a youthful humanity in its sombre rooms. It may be this instinct for beauty in the hopefuls of Troy Town that induced a competition that would tax the resources of the most scientific. Prizes were offered for the best collection of dried specimens of native flowers.[288]

Lack of staff and scholars threatening future of Sunday schools.

Vines Church Sunday Schools had difficulty in recruiting & retaining teachers and scholars. In the Home Schools there were 25 teachers and 224 scholars; at Upnor 14 teachers and 90 scholars; at Cuxton 13 teachers and 60 scholars. The Wainscot school was closed with the scholars moving to Upnor.[289]

The sacrifice made by old Kings boys was acknowledged by the headmaster on the School’s Commemoration Day. The headmaster in his address said Old Roffensians had given their lives for England since the war had begun – 14 in the past 12 months. He believed that “When the historian of the future writes the record of the war, whatever else he finds in the spiritual assets of England which helped her to victory, amongst the chief will rank the sacrifice, self-forgetfulness and heroism of her Public School boys.” The headmaster mentioned the difficulties of feeding the boarders. The planning of meals on a day to day basis and the evolution of meat coupons are comparable only to a jigsaw puzzle or an intricate game of chess.[290]

Day and evening classes were available in shorthand, typewriting and bookkeeping. The classes were offered at Barkham’s School for Commercial Subjects, 392, High Street, Rochester, near the Labour Exchange.[291][Currently the Medway Tattoo & Piercing Centre.]

Court Cases

If milk producers were producing milk at a loss there could have been an ‘incentive’ at the point of production, to dilute the milk. The fixing of the price of milk against a 1914 standard, the increased cost of feed, and diminished yields due poor quality feed and the loss of skilled herdsmen to the Front, would have had a detrimental impact on a farm’s profitability. Compared with other cases where dairymen were accused of selling adulterated milk the amount of ‘added water’ in the following case, appears low.

Farmer blames the Food Controller for the low quality of milk. Ernest Edward Clinch of Delce Farm, was on Saturday, at Rochester, fined £5 for selling, by his agent, Martha Hughes, new milk which contained 3.7% of added water. He claimed that the milk was sold as it come out of the cow, and that morning milk in May, when the sample was taken, it was notoriously poor owing to the Food Controller stopping the usual supply of cake or meal. The Bench expressed no opinion as to how the water got into the milk, but said they could not ignore the analysis. It was intimated there would be an appeal.[292]

David Hadaway was fined £20 for selling milk with 32% added water. Hadaway, a milk seller from Ordnance Street, Chatham, was before Rochester Magistrates. In his defence he claimed he sold the milk as he received it but agreed he had no warranty. W. Corbett Barker wrote to the editor stating that milk producers had over the past 12 months produced milk at a loss – and higher prices needed to be charged.[293]

Edith Blades, a widow from Borstal, was fined £5 for selling milk with 21.1% added water. Blade claimed it was an honest error – she had added the water to the milk to make scones but it was sold by mistake by her daughter – but there had been a similar offence only two months before.[294]

Was the following a despicable crime or one of greed or desperation? Services for discharged wounded soldiers were not in place and it’s perhaps worthy to note that the report did not include an accommodation address.

James Newlands broke into the postroom of Fort Pitt hospital and stole letters. Newlands (23) appeared before magistrates at the Guildhall. Until recently he had been a patient at Fort Pitt following being wounded on the Somme with the result that his left arm is withered. On being discharged he returned to the hospital and broke into the postroom to steal letters and what they may contain, that had been sent for the patients. He was remanded.[295]

Women’s Experiences

A top-up of pay was agreed for the wives of two police constables who had enlisted. The Watch Committee resolved in pursuance of the Police Constables’ (Naval and Military Services) Act 1917 that the wives of two constables who were released for Army duty on 19  April 1918, be paid a sum of 18s per week from that date, being the difference between their husbands’ army pay of 10s 6d plus separation allowance 12s 6d, making £1 3s, and their police pay £1 9s plus war bonus 12s making £2 1s.[296] [18s being the difference between £1 3s and £2 1s.]

Pressure continued for an Infants’ Welfare Centre to be opened in Rochester. The Kent Federation of Women’s Suffrage Societies received its 5th annual report. It was noted that there were few activities undertaken by the Suffrage Societies in 1917 owing to the continuance of the war. The Rochester Society reported that they met with the Mayor and Council to ask for the formation of an Infants’ Welfare Centre. It was decided that at present this was not practicable but the Council appointed a second fully qualified HV, so the deputation was not without good results.[297]

A Baby Week between July 7 – 14. The Medway Towns Child Welfare Council will hold another Baby Week. There will be a Grand Gala in “Honour of their Majesties the Babies” in Victoria Gardens, Chatham, and a Pram Parade. Dr. F. Truby King from New Zealand will give a talk in the Central Hall, Chatham, titled “The Empire: Its Motherhood and Childhood”. Every mother should see the Dunkley Prize Pram which will be on show in the window of Franklin Homan’s, 180-184 High Street, Rochester.[298] [Currently the location of the Sue Ryder charity shop.]

Church & Cathedral

The circumstances of Mr. Hylton Stewart’s return from military service has not been discovered. The New Hymnal included a service music collection in the back of the book, following the hymns. It was published by the Church Pension Fund in 1918.

Introduction to the “New Hymnal”. The Cathedral Organist (Mr. C. Hylton Stewart) gave a lecture on the “New Hymnal” at the King’s School. The Archdeacon who presided explained that the book was to be introduced to the Cathedral as a supplement to the Ancient & Modern Hymnal, the Dean & Chapter being desirous of getting the very best music for the worship of God. Illustrations from the new book were given by the choir.[299]

Life Goes On

An oyster measure missing for 100 years, was returned to Rochester. A silver measuring instrument – used by the water bailiff for measuring oysters – which had been missing nearly 100 years – was restored to the Rochester Corporation by a London resident who purchased it some years ago. It is seven inches long and divided into quarter inches. At the time of its use no oysters under between 3 and 31/2 inches in width, depending on the season, could be harvested. The rule was also used for measuring smelts and other fish. It was placed in the Guildhall, Rochester.[300]

The appointment of a Christian governor for Jerusalem would have been contentious. Religious tensions continue to exist within the city.

The Cathedral received a gift of a baptismal shell. Col. Robert Storrs, son of the Dean, and the 1st Christian Governor of Jerusalem for several hundred years, gave the Cathedral a magnificent baptismal shell carved in mother of pearl from Bethlehem.[301]

July 1918

Events across the world at this time were extremely dynamic. The Americans extended their intervention into Siberia, Tsar Nicholas along with his wife and children were murdered by the Bolsheviks, and the Germans followed through their Spring push with the second Battle of Marne.

Military and War Reports

One can only imagine the anguish that the following decision would have caused within families as it’s almost certain families would have already experienced a loss or knew a family who had, or witnessed the presence of wounded and disabled soldiers around the City.

The Army’s demand for men could require less fit and older men to be called up. Men placed on Grade 2 and who were under the age of 36 on 1 January 1913, will be liable to be called up after 1 August. Men in medical categories B2, B3, and C3 will be called up for medical examination and graded by the National Service Medical Board. Men who were of the age of 45 or over on 1 January 1913 will not for the present, be called to the colours, however they may be graded.[302]

Tribunals

The Mayor noted that only worthy appeals against conscription were now being made. The Mayor remarked that the Rochester Tribunal had, during the past 12 months, sent 722 to the services, and the majority of appeals were not now put in without having good grounds for doing so.[303]

Each drive to recruit more men into the forces further depleted the civilian workforce. This made it increasing difficult to keep services operational at home. In addition to the recognised essential services it was proving increasingly difficult to produce and distribute food, as well as maintaining transport routes. Grade 3 men were those on fit for sedentary work – B3, overseas, C3 at home.

More effective use needs to be made of Grade 3 men. The National Service representative advised the Rochester Tribunal that it was proposed to form branches in each of the three towns to find part-time work, more especially for Grade 3 men and men who could not be special constables or volunteers. It concerned the Mayor that the committee might override its decisions when it believed that men had been let-off for nothing by the Tribunal.[304]

The following appellant appealed as a conscientious objector and received a very ‘easy ride’ compared to the other similar appeals that have been reported. His pacifist credentials, if tested by the tribunal, were not reported. Alternative grounds for providing ‘exemption’ also seem to have been found by the Mayor.

Cllr. Robert Dale appealed as a conscientious objector. Dale, a grocer and provision merchant in the High Street appealed as a conscientious objector. The Mayor added that the applicant as a food distributor renders a valuable service to the community, and that he is a member of many public bodies. The Tribunal gave conditional exemption on the ground of conscientious objection, coupled his involvement in the essential role of food distributor. When asked Cllr. Dale said he did not have time to work as a special constable and when pressed by Mr. Stunt the Mayor pointed out that Cllr. Dale was a member of the Food Control Committee, a councillor and a member of many Corporation committees. Relief from the Volunteers and special police was granted.[305]

 

Reports from the Front

Campaign started to relieve men who had had an overlong overseas deployment. Following the publication of the list of men who served in Mons and Maine, the Comrades of the Great War’ have resolved to make representations to have the men who are still in France relieved for a period of six months to undertake home duties. They say priority should be given to relieving men who are still in France that have been wounded, have had trench fever or suffering shell-shock. More veterans should be returned before the next winter, and then men who served in South Africa between 1899 and 1903 and who have been overseas for three years should be returned and engaged in the Home defence.[306]

Roll of Honour

Major James McCudden, VC, killed in a take-off accident. McCudden from Gillingham, and one of Britain’s top fighter aces, was killed when his fighter crashes during a routine take-off.[307] [See ‘Women’s Experiences’, November 1918, for a piece written by his mother concerning loss.]

A memorial tree plantation was proposed for St. Margaret’s church. The planting of trees with appropriate and enduring labels, to commemorate those fallen in this war has much to commend it. The Rev. S. Wheatley, St. Margaret’s, who is doing much to improve the amenity of this ancient church, proposed to start a programme of planting this autumn. As St. Margaret’s churchyard forms a terrace overlooking the river and a picturesque landscape beyond, such trees will be at once an inexpensive and pleasing memorial, while giving a new charm to the landscape. It was hoped the Rochester Corporation will follow suit in Willis Park, just below St. Margaret’s.[308] [Willis Park, previously known as Backfields, is now known as Churchfield – and is treeless. Willis Gardens is some 200 metres further north along Margaret’s Street, and was donated to the Council by Ald. Willis in memory of his son who was killed in World War I.]

Health & Hospitals

Royal Army Medical Corp (Vols) orders of the week. No. 6 Field Ambulance – Sunday 28th – Rochester., lecture on camp cooking and bivouacs at 13:30am. For Nos. 2 and 3 Sections. Tuesday – Rochester, Corn Exchange, square drill, 8:15pm; Gravesend, Tivoli Hall, first aid practice, 7:30pm. Wednesday – Gillingham, Fire Station, first aid lecture, 7pm., nursing, 8pm.; Bexley, Gardenhurst, drill and first aid practice, 8:30pm. Thursday – Rochester, Guildhall, squad drill, 7:15pm. Spencer Sills, Lieut. and Acting Adjutant.[309]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Elementary Schools closed in order that teachers could help issue new ration books. Rochester’s elementary schools were closed for a week because the staffs were all engaged in issuing new ration books and the hours which they would have spent in class was spent at the Corn Exchange. “They are working well and deserve credit for their willingness to help the City out of a difficulty in this way.” Those residents entitled to and do not receive a ration book will know this is due to them failing to provide the necessary information on the application. Folk in this position can apply for a supplementary book from the Food Controller.[310]

Home News

A meeting was called in order that traders in Rochester could discuss ways in which they could collaborate to ensure businesses continued in the event of the proprietor being called up. This would not only ensure the service continued whilst they were away, but that the business would still be there on their demobilisation. The proposal does not seem to have been taken too seriously by the traders or the Mayor of Rochester. The following report contains some useful information that may explain why Rochester experienced milk shortages and why milk retailers could not seek alternative suppliers should they suspect they were being sold adulterated milk. The Mayor also appeared somewhat dismissive of the contribution women could make despite there being considerable evidence – as reported – to the contrary.

Meeting held to formulate a scheme to keep businesses open if a business man is called-up. An important meeting of traders at Rochester and Strood was held at the Guildhall to consider the formulation of a scheme for the co-operation of business men for the purpose of keeping open the businesses of trades should the proprietor be called to the Colours. The Mayor said that he had developed an interest in this matter through sitting of the Tribunal and the Food Control Committee. He said that he had approached dairymen in the district to see if they could consolidate their business and avoid the  over lapping of deliveries – the outcome was not very encouraging. Mr. Vaughan Gower, Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, described their scheme and the contribution made by wives of men called up. Humorously the Mayor observed that the ladies of Rochester were far too delicate. Mr. Vaughan said the matter was taken up in Gillingham, and the Chatham scheme was well underway and he was sure the traders of Rochester would not allow themselves in this patriotic matter to be beaten by the traders of Gillingham and Chatham – {much applause}. Mr. Hillier explained the arrangement he had set up with Maidstone and was in Seventh Heaven when he developed a scheme only for it to fall apart when one of the traders complained. He felt the geography of the Rochester district would make it harder to set up a scheme similar to that he tried in Maidstone. There was a further complication in that Maidstone was self-sufficient in milk whereas Rochester had to import 50 to 60% of the milk it requires. Another problem was the scarcity of labour. Mr. A. Hill, Draper, said the difficulty was in recruiting assistants and that young women were tempted by the higher wages offered in the government offices. He also felt that the presence of the principal was essential when it came to window dressing. Mr. Vaughan questioned the need for window dressing and caused some offence by pointing out that we were at war. Traders also pointed out they carry additional responsibilities that demand their time – volunteering and cultivating the garden. Perhaps with a sense of desperation Mr. Vaughan said he was only requesting they establish a trade committee to look at the possibilities – which was agreed.[311]

Mayor of Tunbridge Wells rebukes his Rochester audience for their levity. During the follow-on discussion there was a certain amount of merry banter and humorous conversation which caused Mr. Gower to express concern that such a serious matter was being treated with such a spirit of levity. Mr. J. T. Featherstone one of the City’s biggest tradesmen remarked to much applause that the traders of Rochester were doing all they could. At the end of the meeting the Mayor thanked Mr. Gower for his visit and speech but added that Mr. Gower was hardly aware of the local difficulties and the way in which Rochester traders had been combed out by the Tribunals. He was sure that Mr. Gower would appreciate that if a man is working as hard as possible it was perfect folly and nonsense to talk to him about co-operation reducing the need for manpower. The Mayor acknowledged things may be different in Tunbridge Wells but in a small city like Rochester with few shops and he was aware from his work with the Tribunals and the Food Control Committee the traders were already doing all they could and did not have the ability to do any more.[312] At the close of the meeting the opinion was no more could not be done than is already being done. Mr. Gower challenged this view as it is possible that if the war goes on much longer the government would require all Grade 1 and Grade 2 men to join the Colours. It was therefore decided that each trade should meet to discuss options. Mr. Gower thought that the traders – through the levity they showed – were not taking the matter as seriously as they should. The Mayor said although he agreed with Mr. Gower he felt life was too short to be taken too seriously. Mrs. Passmore of “The Tea Table” said when her husband joined the Colours two years ago, two tradesmen immediately came to her and offered assistance, and she had a similar offer from a firm in Chatham.[313]

The National Union of Scientific Workers sought new members. People interested, including chemists and Engineers (civil, mechanical and electrical), could obtain full information from the Branch Secretary, Fred Grove Palmer, Omedeto, Cliffe-at-Hoo.[314]

Local War Pensions committees helped people to find work and organised war pensions but they were not well regarded and could recommend the withdraw of a payment, such as the Separation Allowance or widow’s pension, if it was deemed the woman had misbehaved.

War Pensions would be better managed locally. Rochester and Chatham are dissatisfied with their position under the Kent War Pension Committee and are taking joint action to secure the establishment of a local Committee with full administrative powers.[315]

There was a strong anti-alien feeling in the country. Under the Trading with the Enemy Amendment Act 1916 businesses being run by aliens – particularly enemy aliens – could be wound-up and for their property to be seized.

Rochester firm appointed to oversee the winding up of the Queens Head Hotel in Maidstone. Robert Cave of 280a High Street, Rochester, was appointed under the Trading with the Enemy Amendment Act 1916, to oversee the winding up of the Queens Head Hotel, 63 High Street, Maidstone, the business of Julius Adolf Frey.[316] [280a High Street was along St. Margaret’s Banks. Modern housing is now on the site – near the Nags Head public house.]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Pay & conditions of farm workers were fixed. Notice placed in the press for farmers. The agricultural wage for Kent was fixed as 33s / week of 54 hours in the summer and 48 for the four winter months. Farmers were also advised that there were a number of War Agricultural Volunteers available at a number of Employment Exchanges – including Rochester. Many of the volunteers have considerable agricultural experience and accustomed to the work.[317]

Horse drawn potato sprayers were available for hire from W. Crawford, Hoo, Rochester. The charge is 1s for each acre sprayed once and the farmer is to provide all labour and materials, and is responsible for fetching and returning the machine.[318]

Civic Business

The start of social change? It would be another year before the first woman is appointed as a magistrate.[319]

Wage-earners appointed as magistrates. The Lord Chancellor announced new appointments to the roll of Justices of the Peace for Kent. A good proportion of the new Magistrates were representatives of the wage-earners.[320]

Mr. A. W. Ireland a Rochester carpenter made a JP. Ireland a prominent Labour representative will sit on the Bench with his former employer.[321] In reporting this event it was stated that he was merely exchanging benches.[322]

Col. J. T. C. Moore-Brabazon adopted as Chatham’s Unionist Candidate for the Chatham Division of the new Rochester Parliamentary Borough. Moore-Brabazon was an enthusiastic aviator and won the Daily Mail price of £1,000 for flying the first mile in England upon a machine made in this country. It was made to his own design by Messrs. Short Bros.[323]

Lloyd George established The Ministry of Reconstruction under the New Ministries Act 1917, to promote the restoration and improvement of normal industrial, trading and social conditions at the end of the war. The ministry was dissolved in August 1919 though it formally ceased to exist only on 31 August 1923. The following report contains the proposal to merge the three towns into one borough.

Proposals presented to merge the three Medway boroughs into one County Borough. Under the proposals of the Local Government Committee of the Ministry of Reconstruction, the Medway Union area will be abolished, the Guardians will cease to exist and a Public Assistance Committee will be appointed by the Borough of Gillingham. The rest of the area will be controlled by the County Council. The Guardians believe that consideration should be given to merging the three Boroughs into one County Borough. Chatham Town Council are to invite Rochester and Gillingham Councils to a conference on the subject.[324]

Details of the new Parliamentary Boroughs of Rochester and women voters. It is estimated that there were 55,200 voters on the new lists in the Parliamentary Boroughs of Rochester – 29,400 in the Chatham Division and 25,000 in the Gillingham Division. This is an increase of over 100% over the old electorate in Rochester and Chatham constituencies. The women votes on the new Parliamentary lists number 23,149, there being 12,306 in the Chatham Division, and 10,843 in the Gillingham Division.[325]

Community Support

Rochester’s War Weapons Week raised £60,142 16s – but short of its target. The Mayor said his own estimate was £30,000 so he was not so disappointed by the amount.[326] In expressing satisfaction with the money raised the Mayor said, “That’s what I like about Rochester, people do back each other up. You get a little grumbling but it doesn’t amount to much”.[327]

Upset that ratepayers’ money was used to fund voluntary efforts. There was dissent in the Council over the vote to award £25 towards the cost of arranging the War Weapons Week. Three councillors voted against the grant as they felt that it was neither fair or legal to use ratepayers’ money in this way for a voluntary effort.[328] The £25 though was returned to the Council by the War Weapon Campaign as the vote of the Council was not unanimous. The cheque was cancelled.[329]

Since 1914 the Strood Soldiers Institute had entertained over 55,000 service men. The institute held a very successful promenade concert on the Vicarage Lawn in Strood.[330]

The press is clearly optimistic that the war will end and there will be a government able to pay out on the bonds – they could not be so sure of this if the war continued or Britain was defeated.

The builders and savers of the Dockyard established a successful War Savings Association. The Sheerness Dockyard War Savings Association started in August 1916 – with 1,100 members invested over £10,000. The Royal Naval Ordnance Depot at Rochester with its 900 members invested £9,165 since February 1917. In five years’ time a large amount of money will return to the dockyard areas when the bonds mature.[331]

Home Tragedies

Private Herbert Reeves, of Eastgate, was knocked down and killed by a train near Aldershot. Reeves (23) who was single and the son of the late Mr. Thomas Reeves, of Lower Stone Street, Maidstone, was educated at the Mathematical School, Rochester. He came home from New Zealand when the war broke out.[332]

School / Education News

No additional Rochester reports discovered.

Court Cases

The names of the young couple charged with damaging a crop were not published.

A young couples’ intimate ‘farewell’ led to them being brought before the magistrates. A case against a young man and young women was bought before Rochester Magistrates under the Defence of the Realm regulations, for alleged damage to growing barley. Mr. Henry Baker of Kennel Farm, Maidstone-road, Rochester, asked permission to withdraw the information as the defendant was about to go abroad on service and had undertaken to give £2 to St. Bartholomew’s hospital. The Bench assented to this course on the payment of costs of 3s. The Clerk remarked that the offence carried a maximum fine of £100 or six months imprisonment.[333]

Women’s Experiences

Women Voters – see ‘The new electorate’, above under ‘Civic News’ for details of the number of women who will have the vote.

A baby in the UK dies every five minutes. In making the case for Baby Week the Medway Child Welfare Association stated that a baby in the UK dies every five minutes. 100,000 infants die in their first year and another 100,000 dies before their 15th birthday.[334]

Could the following report highlight a class disparity between those organising Baby Week and its ‘target audience’? Housewives at this time tended to follow a strict week schedule with Mondays being washday. Today we can put the washing machine on when needed but in the early 20th century a copper / boiler would have needed to lit.

Organisers of Baby Week failed to recognise Monday’s were a very busy day in the home. Child Welfare Week is to be retitled Baby Weekthe week started with a meeting in the Rochester Castle Hall presided over by Mrs. Harmer, the Bishops wife – sadly it was not well attended as the organisers had failed to recognise that Monday is a very busy day in the home.[335]

The baby of Mrs. King of Strood was declared the ‘Champion Baby’ in the Medway Towns Baby Week ‘pram’ parade. Mrs. King’s prize was handsome perambulator presented by Messrs Dunkley Ltd.[336] However not all approved of this ‘contest’. A ‘grumpy letter’ was send to the editor about Baby Week. The writer questioned the qualifications of the judges and the criterion they used in their judging. They all wanted to know how paper decorated prams contributed to baby welfare. The letter was signed M. Moons of 5 Baily Villas, Rochester.[337]

Although the Representation of the People Act, which gave the vote to some women, was not passed until November 1918, the outcome was expected. The following report suggests there may have been some dissatisfaction amongst some women about voting on party lines. The National Women Citizens Association were founded in 1917 as a non-political to enable women to become active citizens.[338]

Inaugural meeting of the Women’s Citizens’ Association for Rochester, Strood and District was held at the Guildhall Rochester. The meeting as addressed by their President, Mrs. Storrs, wife of the Dean of Rochester. She advised the women in their responsibilities as Parliamentary Voters and urged them to widen their outlook upon the questions of the day from non-party non-sectarian viewpoints. In conclusion Mrs. Storrs made two suggestions. 1). That they should not be afraid to ask questions and give opinions, and 2). that in all their discussions they might be non-party and non-sectarian, but meet as sisters bound by the love of God and the Country.[339]

Church & Cathedral

The Church started to shape a future role for itself – enabling the wage-earning classes to influence the ‘new order’ as it was believed their opinions may be sounder than those of the so-called societal classes.

The Church needs to engage with weighty issues in order to influence reconstruction. The Bishop speaking at the Rochester Diocesan Conference reminded the delegates of an extended franchise, women’s suffrage, a new educational policy, the transfer into the hands of the state of vast departments of private industry, the wholesale restriction of trade and new methods of taxation were examples of the internal revolution that was going on. The Bishop asked if the Church was to stand aside from the consideration of this mighty issues? “No.” Amongst a number of resolutions that were put forward by the Archdeacon, and that was unanimously carried, was that the conference had to do more than pass a resolution – it had to educate the so-called educated people. There the laity had a great deal to do, and his experience was that opinions amongst the wage-earning classes was very sound, far more so than in the so-called societal classes.[340]

The Duke of Connaught (Prince Arthur) was the seventh child of Queen Victoria. He was the president of the Boy Scouts Association and was a friend and admirer of Lord Baden-Powell.

HRH Duke of Connaught inspected the Scouts on the Deanery Lawn. The Duke visited Rochester to inspect the Scouts. Following a tour of the Cathedral he inspected 300 to 400 Scouts from the Towns who paraded on the Deanery Lawn. As the weather was dreadful proceedings had to be curtailed.[341]

Life Goes On

Shop boy injured shop owner’s daughter in a Pig-a-back accident. Henry Payne (15) a shop boy to Mr. J. B. Firth, Chemist of Rochester, was descending the warehouse stairs with his master’s little daughter, Barbara Firth (6), upon his back, when he stumbled and fell, with the result that he was rendered unconscious, having hurt his head, and wrist, while the little girl’s right leg was broken.[342] 

August 1918

In August 1918 the Allies began a counter-offensive with the support of one to two million fresh American troops, and using new artillery techniques and operational methods. Clearly it was thought that this was the beginning of the end as articles appeared concerning the demobilisation of troops.[343]

Military and War Reports

The following summary of a letter sent by the Mayor to the Daily Mail suggests that people in some parts of Kent could hear / experience the shock of artillery being fired in France.

The ceaseless throb and drum of the guns in France could be heard in Kent. The Mayor writes to the Daily Mail – reprinted in the local press –  expressing disgust at the industrial action being taken by munition workers in Birmingham & Coventry. He wondered if the ‘hot-heads’ know or care for the disgust they give us down here in Kent where we live in the ceaseless throb and drum of the guns in France and the eternal rattle of our windows. In another letter, a woman who signed herself has a ‘Woman Patriot from Rochester’, wrote complaining that the actions of the “unwilling workers and agitators” where putting her son who was serving her country at risk.[344]

News from the Front continued to be very satisfactory and encouraging. 73,000 prisoners have been taken and 1,700 have been guns captured.[345]

Inhabitants of the three Towns were asked to extend hospitality to American soldiers. The Corporations of the Three Towns invited residents of their respective boroughs to extend hospitality to American soldiers on leave. The idea was regarded as an excellent one and considering the debt owed to the Americans the paper hoped the response with be good.[346]

The Hoo platoon of the Volunteer Training Corp enrolled more men. A highly successful meeting was held in Hoo to enrol men into volunteers to join Lieut. Robert Cobb’s platoon at Strood. The meeting was addressed by Col. Borton, who appealed to those present to think of the men in the trenches, with no limit on hours and no half-holidays. Over 75% enrolled – several voluntarily without any Tribunal condition. Numbers are expected to increase once drills, that will be held in Hoo, start.[347]

Tribunals

Alfred William Ratcliffe – exempted for three months and relieved of volunteer duties. Ratcliffe was a manager for Messrs Fremlin Bros., Rochester. He was appealed by the firm as he was carrying a wide range of responsibilities for the firm, and as he was burning the candle at both ends – seven days / week – he had no capacity to undertake volunteering.[348]

The following account gives a good example of the pressures that were placed on sole-traders. As these men were likely to be older or less fit themselves, otherwise they would have been called up, long hours, heavy work and the requirement to undertake volunteering services would have been extremely demanding. The following account also suggests a reason why Rochester traders did not embrace the idea for establishing collaborative arrangement as presented by Mr. Vaughn above – see ‘Home News’, July 1918.

William Cavill, a Grade 1, butcher, was appealed by the Food Control Committee. Cavill was employed by Messers. Payne of Strood. Mr. Topping, from the Food Control Committee, presenting the case to the Rochester Tribunal explained it had been impossible to find a man to take Cavill’s place; the Food Control Committee were thus faced with the fact that some 1,600 customers who went to the shop would have no one to supply them with meat. Mr. Payne is himself ill. The appeal was not so much made out of concern for Mr. Payne but for the customers who would have to go down to Cliffe Road if the shop closed. Despite requests to the Committee for help none had been forthcoming. Approaches had been made to other butchers in the area who offered to release three different men but the arrangements fell through. Mr. Payne was concerned that his business would be in the hands of men who would not necessary act in the interests of his business. Mr. Payne said he had done all he could to obtain a substitute. There were no other men to do the work and heavy lifting was such that no women could be expected to do it. He himself had been driving his cattle down to the market that very day, after which he had to go and do the killing, and then go on to special constable duty having been on similar duty the night before. He had no motor driver and what needed to be done he had to do after the shop was closed. Three months exemption was given and relief from volunteering.[349]

Jam-making was a means to preserve fruit – more details provided below in ‘Home News’ 1918.

Bertram Humphrey, jam maker, given 3 months exemption with relief from volunteering. Humphrey was involved in jam making in the Delce. Humphrey whose previous exemption was for only one month was cancelled. It was stated that 54 shops in the City were dependent for the supply jam from this mill.[350] [In some reports he was named Bernard.]

James Wilson’s appeal was refused as he was not in an exempted role. Wilson (32) Grade 1 oil foreman in the employ of the Rochester Oil Cake Works had his appeal against call-up refused. He was told that if his employers wished to retain his services they must apply to the Ministry of Munitions for a certificate.[351]

Reports from the Front

2nd Lieut. R. Morris was wounded in the recent fighting on Marne. Morris was an old boy and Assistant Master of the Maths School and was currently in the War Hospital, Reading.[352]

It would appear not all letters from the War Office conveyed bad news.

Private J. Rose, of the Machine Gun Corp, was awarded the Military Cross. The news that their youngest son, J. Rose, had been award the MC was conveyed to Mr. & Mrs. Rose of 73 Bryant Road, Strood, by the War Office.[353]

Roll of Honour

Lieut. John Scrace was accidentally killed whilst flying an aeroplane. A vote of condolence for the parents of John Scrace was passed by the Medway Guardians. Lieut. Scrace (26), RAF, was the only son of John Scrace, Poor Law Relieving Officer of Beacon Lodge, Chatham. John attended Kings School and in his last term gained eight prizes at the school sports. He gained an open scholarship at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and gained high honours from Peterhouse and Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He gained a commission with the Buffs in August 1915, before transferring to the RAF.[354] His biplane crashed whilst performing looping the loop in the East Riding. Apparently one wing gave way and the machine came down from a considerable height like a wounded bird. The officer was killed instantaneously and his machine was broken to matchwood. At the inquest (without a jury) a verdict was returned of ‘accidentally killed whilst flying aeroplane’. His body was removed to Chatham the same day.[355]

Private T. H Taylor who had been missing was found to have died in action. Theophilus Richard Taylor (33) of 3 Hayward Avenue, Cliffe Road, Strood, is now known to have been killed in action on 10 October 1917. It was a sad coincidence that he fell on the date of his 10th Wedding Anniversary. He left a widow and two children – a girl of 8 and a boy of 2.[356]

Health & Hospitals

St. Bartholomew’s hospital made an urgent appeal for money and collections to be sent on. In a letter to the editor the hospital asked the paper to draw the public’s attention to the hospital’s great need for support in order to meet the heavy demands being made on the hospital – and saying it would be extremely grateful if all those churches who have not yet sent in a “Hospital Sunday” collection will come over now.[357]

St. Bartholomew’s activity in the half-year up to 30 June: 850 admissions of inpatients, 582 major operations, 232 minor operations and nine ophthalmic operations. 3,272 new out-patients, and 15,097 old and new out-patient appointments.[358]

Miss M. Breeze, sister at St. Bartholomew’s was recognised for her valuable service. Breeze was included in a list of ladies who rendered valuable nursing services in connection with the war.[359]

The public health and operational consequences for the military of VD (venereal disease) is outlined above in ‘Health & Hospitals’, July 1916. Such was the concern there was no charge made for the diagnosis or treatment of patients with VD. Sadly, it seems that medical practitioners needed to be entreated to use this ‘free’ service.

St. Bartholomew’s became a centre for the diagnosis and treatment of VD. The number of centres for the early diagnosis and treatment of VD – which was described as a ‘national peril’ – was extended and now included St. Bartholomew’s. “Any medical practitioner practicing in Kent is to seek advice from these centre without charge to them or their patients”. The medical officers were also prepared to give demonstrations to medical practitioners of the methods of taking and transmitting material for lability diagnosis and on the best-known treatments. Strict secrecy was observed at the treatment centres. “Medical practitioners generally are reminded that their hearty co-operation is essential in dealing with this most important question.”[360]

Staff shortages at Strood VAD led to an appeal for ladies who could assist.  The number of VAD nurses is now so low as to be very trying to those who had to carry extra duties. The Commandant said would be glad if any ladies would come forward to help – and call into Claremont House.[361]

Home News

The ‘Committee on Production’ may be being blamed for the increase in the price of coal that is needed for the production of gas but it reflects the drive to increase the wages of miners whose wages may have been held down as they could not leave a job of national importance without obtaining a ‘leaving certificate’. See ‘Tribunals’, January 1917.

Gas prices increase as the price of coal is increased to improve miner’s wages. Rochester gas company fears it will have to increase its prices. Although coal supplies have been difficult to get they have managed to maintain a full gas supply. The price increase being due to the Committee on Production compelling a large increase in pay and the higher price needing to be paid for coal.[362]

Objectionable fellows from London caused the early return of Maths School Scouts. A party of Boy Scouts from across the three towns – some of who were from the Maths School Troop – went down to Suffolk to render help with flax picking. They went away under the supervision of Mr. E. Reynolds one of the assistant masters of the school – however they returned early. It appears all was going well – the Scouts were happy, well fed and had decent companions; that was until a batch of fellows arrived from London – they were cadets of a most objectionable type – swearing and smoking and in some cases drinking. The atmosphere was so unpleasant that the master decided the parents of the Scouts in his charge would not wished them to stay in a camp that was no longer fit for young people and therefore decided to return home early. The paper commended the scoutmaster for the strong and definite stand he took.[363]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Another meeting called to consider a scheme for the co-operation of business men. The Mayor called another meeting of traders from Rochester and Strood saying “It was essential that we come to a decision on two points. 1). A determination of some form of agreement as regard such mutual assistance that can be given to the principles who are called to the colours, and 2). what can be done to combine deliveries? After discussion, it was decided to established sectional committees of trades to look at ways they could support each other, and a Transport Board that will look to ways to cut down to the lowest possible extent the use of both motor and horse vehicles.[364]

Based on the following appeal it seems that jam-making also assumed a role of national importance as the Food Control Committee requested the continued exemption of the appellant.

Members of the Rochester Tribunal received a lesson in jam making at a rehearing of the case for the exemption for B. Humphrey, assistant to Mr. Glover at Delce Mill. Humphrey was engaged in jam making and the Food Control Committee requested the continued exemption of Mr. Humphrey as it is endeavouring to increase the production of jam and Mr. Humphrey could be credited with making the majority of the six tons manufactured in the past few weeks. In response to a question Mr. Glover advised that some fruit jams were made but there was a short supply of fruit. At present he was using rhubarb and he was looking forward to the blackberry season. Marrows were also being used for jam. Towards the end of the year oranges and lemons may be available to make marmalade. The food committee advised they have the first call on the produce from 1,500 plants and hoped to keep Mr. Glover pretty busy for the next few months. Three months exemption was allowed.[365] [Different forenames for Mr. Humphrey were published in different papers.]

The Blackberries Order prohibited the use of blackberries other than as a food. The Blackberries Order, dated 25 August, prohibits the use of blackberries except for the purpose of food or for the manufacture of food. Maximum prices – £42 / ton to a jam manufacturer (41/2 d per lb) on sale by retail 4d / lb. The bulk of damsons are to go to jam making.[366] Picked blackberries could be sold to authorised agents. Locally these were Mr. Joseph Benjamin, Rochester Road, Burham, and Mr. J. Burke, High Street, Snodland – being the nearest agents to Rochester who were authorised to receive and pay for blackberries picked in response to the government’s appeal. The agents were empowered to pay 3d / lb for all good sound blackberries.[367]

Civic Business

Boot allowance to the Rochester Police was increased from 1d / day to 4s 4d / month.[368]

The layout of the tram rails in Strood may have been reviewed as a consequence of the inquest jury that considered the death of James Butcher, recommending a police officer should be on duty at corners such as those by the Angel.[369] See ‘Home Tragedies’, October 1916. 

 

Proposed improvements to the tram rails in Strood abandon because of cost. Rochester Town Council received a letter from the General Manager of Chatham & District Light Railways Company, with regards to the difficulties of the cross-over in Strood High Street. The only alternative he could suggest was the shifting of the crossover from the present position to round the corner past the Angel in Strood but there were great difficulties apart from the cost of £110 – it was therefore decided to abandon the alteration.[370]

The recycling of waste paper proved profitable. The collection of waste paper by Rochester Town Council is proving profitable. During 20 months ending 28 June last, 77 tons 1 cwt 1 quarter 26 lbs., an average of 3 tons 17cwt / month. It was collected at a total cost of £249 7s 11d., and was sold for £383 0s 5d., leaving a balance of £143 2s 6d.[371]

The dependency of the inmates of the Medway Union increased. The question of the large staff of 1 to 41/2 inmates at the Medway Union engaged the attentions of the Guardians of the Medway Union. This ratio represented 1 official for every 13 inmates. However, these figures were based on the 1911 numbers and the chairman had found there had been an increase in staff since this time despite the number of officials being reduced by 16 from 165, since 1914, and there being a decrease in the number of inmates.  During discussion reference was made to the fact there was probably not an able-bodied inmate in the Union whereas in the past there many abled bodied people who could undertake some work in the Union. They now need to hire staff to do the cleaning. The number of people receiving out-relief had also decreased by 40%. A committee was established to look into the staffing of the Union.[372]

A conference held to consider the merging of the three Towns. The invitation to Rochester council to nominate six members to attend a conference between the three local boroughs to discuss the question of amalgamation so as to form a county borough, was referred to a special committee of the whole Council.[373]

Ivy was removed from the castle as the Rochester Council was concerned it is doing considerable damaged to the fabric.[374]

Community Support

It is perhaps worthy to note in the following report that life in Rochester was not all doom and  gloom for everyone – in fact the war may have brought interest and purpose into the lives of many.

The memory of Mr. J. L. Spoor was honoured. At a gathering of ladies at “The Tea Table”, Rochester, Mrs. Spoor, widow of Mr. J. L. Spoor, was presented with a silver frame address from the workers at her Prisoner of War Supply Depot, as a souvenir of the happy days spent together and of her indefatigable work and splendid pluck in overcoming all obstacles.  The presentation was made by Mrs. Packman. In acknowledging the gift Mrs. Spoor read an address sent by the Kentish Prisoners of War at Ruhleben in Germany, expressing their sorrow at the death of her husband.[375]

Free use of the Castle Gardens was granted for a whist drive for the Rochester PoW Fund. The castle gardens closed on 14 August from 5:30 to 9:30.[376] This was to allow a huge fundraising whist-drive to be held between 6pm and 9:15pm in the gardens to raise money for Kent prisoners or war.[377]

Flag day in Rochester raised £153 18s 4d for the Red Cross Depot & Hospital Munitions Centre – less than last year but the weather was dreadful.[378]

In addition to set and staged campaigns there were regular notices published encouraging people to invest in War Savings Certificates.

Save money by doing less laundry and invest more in war savings. A notice in paper suggested savings could be made by changing the way laundry was done. Only send washing to the laundry when it was really dirty, buying dark clothing and not buying starch – which is a food. By soaking overnight, the washing will need less boiling, and teach children to take pride in keeping their clothes clean. The money saved could then be invested in War savings.[379]

Nurses and wounded soldiers were entertained on the Strood bowling green.  Blue was the colour on the Strood bowling green when 50 wounded and invalid soldiers from the Strood VAD were entertained by members of the Rochester & Strood Conservative Bowling Club. The Mayor distributed the prizes and in his address he mentioned that a few days before he took 27 nurses down the river in a steam launch, and he was told he was a very bold man.[380]

The women clearly knew how to raise money from men!

A Ladies’ Swimming Gala was the ‘Splash of the Season’. (Gentlemen specially invited). The event was to raise funds for Strood VAD and Kent Prisoners of War Fund. Reserved seats 2s, unreserved 1s and 6d.[381]

Home Tragedies

The RAF was formed on 1 April 1918, with the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corp and the Royal Naval Air Service. It then took its place alongside the army and the navy as a military service in its own right.

A strange fatality of an RAF mechanic who was suffocated in an airship. An inquest was held at the Royal Naval Hospital into the strange circumstances surrounding the death of George Cecil Baden Pendleton, air mechanic with the air force; he was a native of Liverpool. On the day of the accident the deceased was employed on an airship rigging a tube. This became jammed about 6ft from the bottom. The deceased volunteered to go down and release the obstruction. He was lowered down a rope by three men and he got stuck in the tube. Lieut. James Stevens of the RAF, in his evidence stated that when informed of the mishap he found that gas was escaping in a very large quantity from the airship. He immediately inserted a gas blower into the tube with the intention of keeping the deceased alive, and to allow two men to be lowered into the tube to release the deceased. Owing to the great escape of gas this was not be done, and the two men wearing lifesaving suits entered the main envelope of the airship. When the deceased was found he was quite dead. By the finding of an open clasp knife near the body it is assumed that he attempted to cut his way through out of the tube but had been overcome by hydrogen fumes. In further evidence it appears he may have lived longer had he not tried to cut his way out of the tube. A verdict of accidental death was returned having received evidence from Surgeon Godfrey Latham, RN, that death was caused by suffocation. [382]

School / Education News

King’s School given the use of the Borstal rifle range. Thanks to the kindness of the military authorities, the King’s School OTC (Officer Training Corp) has been allowed to use the Borstal range and a team has been entered into the Public Schools sniping competition.[383]

Mathematical School War Savings Association did exceptionally well. During the recent War Weapons Week in Rochester the Maths School’s association raised £1,019 9s 6d. This with the exception of £20, which was invested in War Bonds, was put into War Savings Certificates. The school carried off six of the prizes offered by the War Weapons Committee – 1st, 2nd and 3rd the highest individual subscribers, two prizes for the largest amount raised in (a) secondary schools and (b) any Association, and one for the best essay from a secondary school.[384]

Court Cases

Carry Letly given three months’ hard labour for stealing from rail passengers’ trunks. Letly was sentenced by Rochester Magistrates to three months hard labour for selling from trunks that she handled whilst employed at the Rochester Goods Station. A van load of stolen goods was found at the woman’s house. The Mayor in passing sentence said he wished to make an example of the woman because railway servants were as much servants of the public as postal officials.[385] The prisoner was spotted, by the lady owner, walking along the road in Court shoes that belonged to her.[386]

Peters and Tanner fined 35s each for stealing 10s worth of growing apples by Rochester Magistrates. The two were air mechanics. The owner of the orchard said the deprivations were appalling, and apples were carried away in bags.[387]

Adolp Nicolai Nilson remanded for having six photos of Northfleet Dockyard Slipway. Nilson, a Norwegian, appeared at Rochester Police Court for having in his possession six photographs of Northfleet Dockyard Slipway and buildings of concrete [ferrocement] ships at Northfleet. He was also charged with failing to register as an alien in a prohibited area. It was later reported that the photographs of the concrete ship buildings were calculated to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy. The pictures were taken by Wilfred Pickering, foreman of the Dockyard who had authority to take the photographs for official use. They were developed by Frank Hall who is understood to have given them by Nilson who was employed as a carpenter in the Dockyard. He was fined 10s for possession of the photographs and £5 for not registering. He was also ordered to pay £1 7s 2d costs of witnesses.[388]

The game of Nap, that brought six lads before the Court, may have been a game known as Napoleon. In the game the players bet on the number of ‘tricks’ they can win.[389]

Six lads brought before justices for playing a game of chance in an open & public place. The lads of ages ranging from 15 to 18 appeared before justices for unlawfully playing a game of chance called ‘nap’ in an open and public place, Fort Pitt fields, on 18 August [which was a Sunday]. Only one had the manliness to plead guilty without reservation, the others resorted to the ineffective defence that they were not playing for money. The Chief Constable said he was sorry to see this attitude on the part of five of them. On hearing the evidence, the justices fined the five who pleaded not guilty 7s 6d and the lad who pleaded guilty 5s.[390]

Women’s Experiences

Welfare of women deserves attention in the light of the service they’ve rendered the Nation. The assistance to the nation now being rendered by countless women war workers has assumed such great importance that any matters dealing with the welfare of these women deserve public attention.[391]

Will the wonderful nursing work done by the women ever be adequately recognised? “Will a true comprehension of the wonderful nursing work done gratuitously by the women of England ever be adequately recognised by the British public? It is very doubtful its magnitude in the aggregate being too great. Certainly, in this hospital [Strood VAD] the first VAD in England to receive a wounded man, this ‘labour of love and sacrifice’ has gone on without ceasing ever since 6 September 1914. On Thursday last, the nursing staff, the committee and the Ambulance Corp was photographed by Elliot Fry of London.[392] [This image is held in the Local collection of Medway Archives.]

At a day of Remembrance held at Gravesend the silent work of women was recognised. Making reference to an ancient piece of wood found near Rochester Bridge – so hard it would blunt a knife, women’s support was likened to this piece of wood – “Like pieces of wood under Rochester Bridge, ladies were doing their silent work and doing it well” – a metaphor that gained great applause.[393]

The State Children’s Association was set up by Henrietta Barnet and her brother-in-law Ernest Hart in 1896. The association campaigned for the separation of child care from the Poor Law workhouses.[394]

 

Pension proposed for widowed mothers so they may care for their young children at home. The Rochester Town Council considered a letter from the State Children’s Association advocating the granting of mother’s pensions which will enable necessitous widows to care for their own children in their own home. The Council resolved to request further information.[395]

Baby competitions were a way to promote good baby care and hopefully reduce infant mortality.

Babies from Rochester were entered into the Borough Green baby show held in the grounds of Basted House. Entrants were attracted from many parishes – including Rochester. The babies were judged by Dr. Greenwood, County Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Garrat and Dr. Black who were lavish with their praise of the appearance of the infants.[396] [The report was silent as to where the winners of the various categories lived.]

Church & Cathedral

A war shrine was set up in the Jesus Chapel, Rochester Cathedral.[397] [North transept.]

Great Remembrance Day Services held at Rochester Cathedral and on the Esplanade. The Cathedral’s war shrine erected in memory of the brave Rochester men who have fallen in battle, on sea or land, was decorated with flowers, flanked with the Union Jack and the flag of St. George, while in the vicinity there were several wreaths of laurel. In his sermon, the Bishop stated our duty to our soldiers and sailors – and particularly reinforced our determination not to forget the prisoner of wars. The service [described in detail] – was quite out of the ordinary and the Verger Levitt was taxed to the utmost to find seating for as many as possible. Many military bands have played in the Cathedral before, but never before had the Dean been so fortunate enough to secure the services of the Band of the Commander-in-Chief at the Nore. One hymn was particularly appealing that commenced “Let saints on earth in concert sing”. Alternate verses were sung by the choir unaccompanied, and the vast congregation kneeling.  After the hymn there was a significant pause followed – unannounced in the order of service – by the “Last Post”. Heads still bowed when in the distance of the Chapter House came the sound of the bugles of the RE sounding the last post. The great congregation rose to their feet, officers and men of the Navy and Army stood at attention. The collection amounted to 3,000 coins and the £40 that was collected will be shared equally between the Kent Prisoner of War Fund and the Municipal Working Party that provides comfort for the sick and wounded. Hundreds of people flocked to Rochester Esplanade on Sunday after Church and Chapel services. The local clergy and ministers had again arranged for a joint and combined open-air service to mark the anniversary of the declaration of war. A special service in which all shades of religious bodies could join, was arranged. During the day peals were rung on the bells of the Cathedral and St. Margaret’s Church.[398]

Peace was clearly anticipated but the Dean reiterated the view that a decisive victory was what needed to be achieved.

 

Cathedral congregations had seldom been as large as that for the Remembrance Service. The services were marked with great solemnity and seldom have the cathedral congregations been so large. The nave service in the evening beat all records, a half-hour before the service was to commence every available seat was occupied. People continued to pour in in their hundreds. The organ steps provided additional accommodation, the choir was opened and filled and many had to be content standing in the transept. Outside there was a dense crowd of people unable to gain admission – many of whom stayed close by the Cathedral during the service. The War Shrine for the brave men of Rochester who had fallen in battle on sea or land was decorated with flowers, flanked with the Union Jack and the flag of St. George, while in the vicinity were several wreaths of laurel. At the conclusion of the service the Dean said it was not only a day of remembrance but rededication to the great cause that England had undertaken. An inconclusive peace would be treachery to the dead and disaster to the living.[399] [This report contains a very extensive view of the war and lessons learnt.]

Life Goes On

Marriage between Perry Fawcett & Kathleen Dibley. Considerable interest was shown in a wedding at Strood Parish church of Miss Dibley, third surviving daughter of the late Mr. Frank Dibley of Strood and late member of the Rochester Postal staff, and Mr. Fawcett of Strood. The bride was given away by her brother. She was attired in blue crepe-de-chine and a veil of tulle and orange blossom and carried a lovely bouquet of white roses and carnations. The bridesmaids, Miss Connie Dibley and Miss A. Allen, wore grey colienne [correct transcription of letters] and buff leghorn hats with floral bands, and carried bouquets of pink carnations and white heather. The many friends who attended showered their hearty good wishes and much confetti upon the bridal couple. They honeymooned in Herne Bay and will make their home in Rosyth.[400]

Marriage between Ronald Fowle & Winifred Brand. The wedding of Miss Brand, the youngest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Brand of High Street, and Mr. Fowle youngest son of Mr. & Mrs T. Fowle of Rochester, took place in Rochester Cathedral. The officiating clergyman was Rev. Minor Canon Harrison. The bride was charming attired in a fawn coat-frock embroidered with pale blue and wore a leghorn hat to match. Sgt. J. Balwin RE, just home from the Front was the best man. It was owing to the close associations which the bride’s family had with the Cathedral – a brother killed in action had been a chorister years ago – that the ceremony was held in the Lady Chapel. The couple honeymooned in Herne Bay and are to make their home in Edinburgh.[401]

 

September 1918

Military and War Reports

The Germans were withdrawing from strategic positions on the Western Front. The British and French had suffered some 42,000 casualties but the Germans had sustained more than 100,000 losses including 30,000 prisoners.

Tribunals

There were a number of cases before the Rochester Tribunal. The bootmaker was given a significant period of exemption and required to continue to train discharged soldiers.

John William Trice allowed three months’ exemption and relieved of volunteering. Trice a chauffeur and manager to his mother, Mrs. Trice taxi proprieties, Bolney Hill, was allowed three months and relieved of volunteering.[402]  

Sidney Ellis – six months’ exemption conditional on continuing to train discharged soldiers and remaining in the Ambulance service. Ellis was a bootmaker and repairer.[403]

Reports from the Front

Capt. Thomas Aveling was wounded in recent action in France. Mr. Thomas Aveling, JP of Rochester, received information that his son Capt. T. Aveling, MC, had been wounded. This is the second time Capt. Aveling has been wounded. Mr. Aveling has another son interned in Holland.[404] Later it was reported – Capt. T. Aveling had written to his father saying he is progressing satisfactorily and giving the impression that his wound was not as serious was first feared.[405] Capt. Aveling was home in the early summer, when he was presented with the Military Cross at Buckingham Palace. He returned to France in time for the great Allied advance in July.[406]

Gunner A. Culver was wounded in action in France. Culver was the forth son of Mr. & Mrs. C. Culver of Blue Bell Hill, Burham. Previous to the war he was employed in Chatham Dockyard. Mrs. Culver has had one son gassed, another is still in France and the third is serving his 11th year in India.[407]

Sgt. C. Smith is reported as having been slightly injured and to be in hospital. Smith is the only son of Mr. F. Smith, solicitor of Rochester. [408]

Gift were sent to Mrs. Spoor from grateful PoWs. Mrs. Spoor, of Rochester, received a remarkable gift from 25 Kentish interned in Ruhleben Camp Germany – an illuminated address expressing their sorrow on learning of the death of Mr. J. L. Spoor, organiser of the Kentish Prisoners of War Funding and their gratitude for his self-sacrificing efforts. The address was encircled with a wreath of laurels intermingled with flowers, and displayed the White Horse of Kent. The funds raised by Lord Harris and Mr. Spoor for the relief of Kentish prisoners of war amounted to over £14,000.[409]

Roll of Honour

On 8 August an allied offensive known as the Battle or Amiens began. It later became known as the ‘Hundred Day Offensive’ that ultimately led to the end of the war.[410] This could account for the very large number of obituaries that were published at this time.

Pages of obituaries were published.[411]

Charles Galvin died of an abdominal wound sustained in action. Mrs. Gulvin of 36 Gordon Road, Strood, has received a letter from an Army Chaplin advising her that her husband Charles (23) died of an abdominal wound sustained in action. Despite the best efforts of the surgeons he died in the ‘57 Casualty Clearing Station’ and was interned nearby. “It may be of some comfort to his widow that the Chaplin who saw him shortly before he died was able to tell her he did not suffer much and he had been specifically asked to write to her.” Charles left a widow with an infant son. He formally worked at the Faversham Powder Works but after the great explosion [2 April 1916] he transferred to Cliffe. He later entered the works of Aveling Porter. He was called to the Colours in March and had been in France for three months.[412]

Gunner Henry Gowers was killed in action in France on 2 September. Gowers of 22 Hooper’s Place, Rochester, enlisted at the start of the war in August 1914. Under the command of Capt. T. Aveling he went France in 1915, and took part in the battles of Ypres and Albert.[413]

The following account suggests the solider suffered an attack by mustard gas. This gas caused both internal and external blisters within hours of exposure. It was extremely painful – causing damage to lungs and other internal organs. It was occasionally fatal and many who did survive were left blind.

Pte. Arthur Millstead was poisoned by gas and succumbed on 6 September. Mr. & Mrs. Millstead of the Coach & Horses Inn, Strood, have heard that their son, Arthur, serving with the American Expeditionary Force in France, was poisoned by gas and succumbed on 6 September in American Base 24. Miss Ethel Holmes, Chief Nurse at the hospital, wrote to his parents saying their son was transferred to the hospital on 5 September with a severe gas burn to his left leg. In the letter she said he had absorbed so much of the gas there was little they could do for him. He was conscious and was chatting cheerfully to the physicians only an hour before he died. His death was sudden and not expected – kidney complications were the cause. He is resting in a small new American cemetery and as the bugle sounded he was lowered into the grave under an American flag. A Church of England clergyman officiated at the funeral which was attended by the soldiers and nurses of the command.[414]

Frank Bennett died in an accident before he could take his Commission. Mr. & Mrs. Bennett, 2 Cecil Road, Rochester, received the sad news from Egypt of the death of their oldest son Frank (21). He joined Kitchener’s Army in the first year of the war and after six months training he was sent to Egypt. He then passed into the RAF school at Cairo to train as a Flight Lieutenant, however he died in an accident before he could take his commission. He was an old boy of Gordon Road school and a member of the Vines Church choir.[415]

Health & Hospitals

St. Bartholomew’s hospital treated over 500 patients per week in 1917. It was hoped that the house-to-house collection to be undertaken from 7 to 12 October will raise £1,500. Ladies and gentlemen who could assist in the collection were asked to contact the secretary at St. Bartholomew’s as early as possible.[416]

Savings will result from the death of a women who had been in the asylum for 40 years. The Strood Guardians heard of the death of a woman aged 75 from Bright’s [kidney] disease. She had been an inmate of the asylum for 40 years and had cost the Board something like £1,500.[417]

The nursing staff of the Strood Union risk being undernourished. The Strood Guardians received a report from the Union’s doctor that the present dietary of the nursing staff was unsatisfactory. It was therefore decided to increase the scale of allowance for groceries for all indoor officers from 6s 6d to 8s 6d / week and also 1lb of fish per week from store in lieu of the present arrangement by which a sum of 6d per week was allowed for fish.[418]

The following combined two reports perhaps illustrates the problems when management decisions are taken without a real understanding of the operational consequences. Working as a nurse in the Strood Union at this time was far from satisfactory – undernourished and over worked!

Vacancy for an infirmary nurse at the Strood Union was frozen as it’s “unnecessary”. Strood Guardians report that they received no applications for the advertisement for an infirmary nurse. The Chairman was of the view that in the present circumstances the staffing was adequate. He mentioned that the Isolation Hospital there was only a Matron, nurse and a ward-maid to care for scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, and “anything else that might come along”. If this number could do all that work at the hospital surely five nurses were sufficient in the infirmary where there were fewer patients than usual. It was decided to take no further steps to recruit a nurse.[419] It was later reported to the Strood Guardians that the reduction in nursing staff is making it impossible to arrange work so the nurses could have proper time off and it was recommended that an additional nurse should be recruited. This was approved as there was a risk of some nurses resigning if more were not recruited.[420]

Home News

American Army & British Coal are now the deciding factors in the war – treat coal like gold. A notice was published by the Coal Mines Dept., of the Board of Trade. It urged the public to us less coal as the American Army and British Coal are now the great deciding factors in the war. Coal was sacrificed at home to make the American offensive possible. Ships that would have bought coal brought American soldiers who now need more fuel to take them to the Front, to heat their food, to warm their hospitals and to keep the French depots and factories working.[421]

Public urged to save water in order to save coal as the water pumps need coal.[422]

Coal rationing is introduced. The last day for registering was 30 September.[423]

The following report on the activity of the Employment Exchange gives an insight into the numbers and the disruption experienced by workers coming into the area and the challenges that were being faced in finding work for those discharged from the military or who will be displaced from their employment when the war ends. This challenge is likely to be all the more extreme when the war is over. It is interesting to note the number of women seeking employment. ‘Z’ class men were effectively reserves. There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty. The British Government therefore decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. These men had returned to civilian life but were obliged to return if called upon.[424]

The huge work load of the Rochester Employment Exchange was described. The Employment Exchange was located at 386-388 High Street, Rochester. The 6th meeting of the Rochester Local Advisory Committee was held at the Employment Exchange. The committee considered amongst other matters, the cases of War Work Volunteers who for domestic reasons had made application to be transferred to other war work nearer their home, the case of a discharged solider in which difficulty had been experienced in placing him in employment, and the difficulties of finding a substitution with exactly the same qualifications of the man to be replaced. The work of the Exchange during the past weeks had been very heavy. Over 10,500 Unemployment Books had been exchanged and dispatched to the Claims and Records Office at Kew. About 1,500 railway warrants were issued to various munition workers to enable them to visit their homes during the August holiday. 58 War Work Volunteers, ordinary and ‘Z’ class men, were registered under the special arrangements with a view to claiming protection from military service. 26 withdrew their applications but the rest were placed in employment. In connection with the release of sailors from shipyard work 60 men had been enrolled and despatched to various shipyard firms. From 200 to 300 letters were sent to discharged soldiers and sailors offering them assistance in finding employment. 80 replied saying they were still quite unfit for employment. 70 discharged soldiers and sailors registered for employment and so far 30 had been placed in suitable employment. The Women’s Dept. of the Exchange had been very active during the period. About half the applicants placed in employment have taken the place of men released for the Colours in HM Dockyard. 62 women have been placed in connection with the Women’s War Service demands, 10 being placed as bakers in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, six cooks were placed in Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and 11 cooks, stewards, and general domestics with the Navy and Army Canteen Board. The number of applicants registering for employment during the previous two months = 712 men, 1470 women, 446 boys and 95 girls, a total of 1,467. The number of vacancies filled during the period, 578 men, 425 women, 238 boys, 91 girls = total 1319.[425]

 

The Medway Towns United Temperance Committee plan a vigorous campaign during the coming months. It will include lantern presentations to adults and children, and visits to service men’s clubs.[426]

Shorts’ Social and Athletics Club held their first annual regatta on the Medway from a raft off the works. A large concourse of spectators assembled by the waterside. A strong breeze turned the water choppy and on the turn of the tide the ebb was exceedingly strong which resulted in some events being delayed or cancelled. The company ashore was not only entertained by the water sports but also by music played by the club band. Tea and other refreshments were serviced from a marquee.[427]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

During the war the United States provided a considerable amount of meat and other foods to Britain. In 1917 and 1918 it supplied 80% of Britain’s meat and fats. The support in the early part of the war, when America was neutral, was more ambiguous with exports being supplied by a cartel of four large meat exporters that were known as ‘Meat Trusts’.[428] It is possible our farmers feared that after the war the American Meat Trusts could undermine their businesses.

Rochester NFU concerned about feed for ewes, and loss of control over markets to Americans. At the monthly meeting of the National Farmers’ Union the Rochester branch raised two concerns. First that unless a certain amount of cake and corn is released for feeding of lambs and ewes in Kent during the winter, mortality will be very great. The second was about the Wholesale Meat Association getting control of the English markets. The Branch’s concern is that if a market was scraped it would be very difficult to get them reopened after the war and it would put the producers entirely in the hands of Wholesale Meat Association that would pay the prices they chose.[429]  In order to combat any attempt by the American Trusts to capture the home meat market, the Executive adopted a resolution set by the Rochester branch, the NFU “strongly deprecates anything that would interfere with the cattle markets of the United Kingdom” and agreed to forward it to the Central Executive in London.[430]

Concern that the price for milk was set too low for dairy farmers to keep their herds. W. Cobbett Barker, Rochester, Member of the Kent War Agricultural Committee, is extremely concerned about the low price set for milk. He believes the shortage of feeding stuffs, cake, meals and roots which will affect yield the set price will not prevent more cowkeepers giving up or reducing their herds. He believed the current milk shortage is largely due to the past policy of the Ministry of Food. Cows have been disposed of rather than brought into milk again, and existing cows now give but two thirds of the usual quantity of milk for lack of forcing food.[431]

The prices to be paid for cereal crops was published.[432] The Corn Production Act, 1917, was passed to ensure British farmers received a good price for their cereal crops. This, it was hoped, would increase production and avoid the need import grain. The Act was drafted at the time German U-boats where sinking a large number of merchant ships.

Civic Business

Rochester police pay has been increased. The married men’s bonus going up to £1 1s / week and the war allowance for children to 2s 6d / week / child, instead of 1s. The pensionable salary of the Chief Constable was advanced from £310 to £350 / annum.[433]

Col. Harry Breton agreed to continue as Mayor of Rochester  this will be his fifth consecutive year as Mayor of Rochester.[434]

Community Support

The Medway Conservancy Board was established in 1911 to manage the River Medway.

River trips for wounded soldiers were provided by the Medway Conservancy Board. Friends and members of the Conservancy Board entertained about 900 men from Fort Pitt, Strood, Higham and Aylesford.[435]

Empire Theatre artistes entertained soldiers at the Strood VAD. In the delightful gardens of Strood VAD artistes from the Empire Theatre Chatham gave an excellent entertained to a large gathering of wounded from the Strood and Higham VADs. The entertainment ended with the artistes, the few visitors and the nursing staff giving three cheers for the wounded.[436]

Although not detailed in the following report one can suspect that the nightdress competition gladdened the hearts of many of the wound soldiers who had been invited.

The ladies swimming gala delightfully exemplified the natatory art. The gala was held at the Rochester Mathematical School’s swimming bath. Opening the gala Lady Watson Cheyne said she was pleased to observe that ladies were now taking part in a great many things. The gala took place in the company of a large number on onlookers including a party of wounded soldiers. Arranged by Miss Gladys Wright, the local lady expert in the water, a noteworthy feature was a tableau afloat an improvised raft. The ladies were attired in appropriate costumes representing the Allies. Amongst other effects was the nightdress competition.[437]

 

Vegetable show was held by the Borstal allotment holders in the White Horse, Borstal. The exhibition of potatoes, marrows and beetroot was held with view to raising funds for the Kent Prisoners of War Fund.[438]

The Dover Patrol was a cobbled together force comprised of boats, planes, balloons and submarines. Its job was to keep the Dover Straits open and to escort merchant shipping in the English Channel. Its presence acted as a deterrent to German U-boats. On 23 April 1918 the Dover Patrol attacked the German U-boat base at Zeebrugge. 1,700 men went on the raid that successfully sealed off Zeebrugge – but the cost was high. 200 men were killed and 400 wounded. There were notable acts of heroism leading to the award of 11 VCs, 21 DSOs, 29 DSCs, 16 CGMs, 143 DSMs and 283 Mentions in Dispatches. Although the raid was a great success it clearly left a significant number of unsupported women and children – hence the Mayor of Dover requesting permission to hold a flag day in Rochester.[439]

However, with so many and so frequent flag days it perhaps should come as no surprise that some of the Council were feeling that the public were tiring of them.

A Flag Day was held in Strood for the Dover Patrol. The Mayor of Dover wrote to Strood District Council asking if a flag day could be held in Strood to benefit the widows and orphans of the Dover Patrol. If it was agreed Mr. Henry Thompson of Woodstock Road, Strood, would be pleased to take it forward. The Chairman said that the last time a flag day was held the parishes in the district would not take it up; they were tired of flag days – however it was agreed.[440]

Home Tragedies

Another pre-antibiotic / NHS story. Pyaemia is a form or septicaemia caused by pus-forming organisms that have entered the blood stream. An infection of this type is often associated with multiple abscesses on the body. Izal, today, is mostly associated with medicated toilet paper but it was originally a germicide produced in the 1890s.[441]

George Bourne, a well-known farmer, died following a scratch from a calf’s tooth. An inquest was held into the death of Bourne who died at his residence, Manor Farm, Halling. In evidence his wife of 26 years, Clare Bourne, disposed that on July 16 her husband on returning from Rochester Cattle Market complained of being tired and hot. He said he had had a puncture in the tyre of his bicycle and had been obliged to pump it up six times on the journey. Next morning he had pains in the head and showed the witness the thumb on his right hand. There was a tiny mark on the outer side of the second joint, and the thumb was somewhat swollen. She bathed it with Izal lotion, and bound it up. In the evening he complained of a chill and went to bed and passed a fairly good night but in the morning complained of the heat. The next day the doctor was called. The deceased told his wife that a calf had ripped his thumb while loading it into a cart to take to market. Alfred Barnden a farm labourer gave evidence. He stated that he helped the decease load the calf that was aged about six weeks. The calf struggled as it was loaded into the cart. During the struggle the calf’s tooth caught the deceased who said “Look where the little beggar’s scratched me”. The witness said there was only a pin scratch that did not bleed much. The following day the witness said the deceased showed him a swollen hand. Dr. A. Spencer Edwards disposed that he found the deceased suffering from influenza, very feverish, complaining of pains and headache. Four days later there were signs of blood poisoning in the deceased’s left forearm in the form of an abscess. Later, two abscesses appeared on the deceased’s left leg. Signs of mortification had set in. Dr. Travers was then consulted. The abscesses were opened but the deceased continued to deteriorate. He became unconscious and died on 2 September. The doctor believed the cause of death was pyaemia probably owing to the introduction of a germ through a slight wound caused by the calf, assisted by the deceased being rundown as a consequence of an attack of influenza.[442]

School / Education News

School children across the Country supported the National Blackberry Collection. In September 1918 in view of the general failure of the fruit crop, the Ministry of Food issued a special appeal for blackberries for jam making of which at least 5,000 tons were required for the Navy and Army alone. School children participated in the National Blackberry Collection.

The academic successes of the boys & girls of Troy Town Schools were celebrated. The headmaster of Troy Town Council School Mr. H. Ayling, reported to the Education Committee that 13 boys had won Mathematical School or Day Technical School scholarships and that 19 former Troy Town boys (17 of whom were winners of Mathematical and Day Technical School Scholarships) had succeeded in passing the Dockyard apprentices’ examination. The other two relied on their training at the Troy Town School with some extra work at the Evening Technical School. The Headmistress of the Troy Town Girls School reported that 13 girls had successfully gained scholarships.[443]

Mr. L. Jeffery assistant at St. Nicholas School was discharged from the army. Jeffery was therefore been able to resumed his scholarship duties.[444]

Not quite a month after the death of Lord Kitchener a Memorial Fund was established by the Lord Mayor of London. People were so eager to pay their respects that within two years the Fund was worth a massive £500,000 (around £12,000,000 in modern terms). The fund was first used to provide relief to the casualties of war but as the government began to take on more responsibility for disabled men the fund was used to help soldiers who had had their education interrupted by the war, to resume their studies. Today it provides scholarships for the sons and daughters of men and women who have served or are serving in the armed forces.

Lieut. John During was awarded a Kitchener Scholarship. During, of the Buffs, and former chorister at Rochester Cathedral, obtained the scholarship in order to complete his studies at Cambridge with a view to becoming a clergyman.[445]

Court Cases

The Motor Spirit Restriction Order came into force on 1st November, 1917. The aim of the Order was to stop or curtail leisure use of motor vehicles. The police were given the power to stop any vehicle that they suspected was being used in contravention of the Order. The onus was placed on the driver to prove they were not out on a joy-ride.

Percy Grout was fined £3 for driving a motorcycle for leisure purposes – in contravention of the provision of the Motor Spirit Restriction Order. Grout from Chalk was stopped by PC Worrell who asked to see his petrol authority and found the holder was only entitled to use petrol on public duties.[446]

Charles Hubbard, a baker, was fined £5 for not keeping the required records. Hubbard was in contravention of the Bread Order 1918 that required an authentic record, to be kept in a required form, of the materials used and the articles manufactured or sold.[447]

The penalty in the following case appears harsh as the public knew what they were buying. The fine also seems high when compared with those imposed for larger scale, ‘undeclared’ incidents of milk being adulterated. The reason for why a licence was needed to sell diluted condensed milk has not been discovered. However condensed milk may have been needed for the Front line, because it used up precious supplies of sugar, or perhaps less likely, because condensed milk was less nutritious and could have had a detrimental effect if fed to an infant.

John Bate was fined £15 for selling adulterated condensed milk without a license from the Food Controller. Bate’s a local milk seller had mixed water with preserved unsweetened milk and supplied his customers, telling them what the milk consisted of.[448

George Stockley was charged with being absent under the Military Services Act. Stockley (18) the son of a butcher residing on Delce Road, Rochester, was charged before the Rochester City Magistrates with being absence under the Military Services Act. His excuse for not reporting was that he had not received proper notice, but it appeared that he had entered an appeal at Maidstone too late. He was a conscientious objector he told the court and handed in a written statement of his views. The Mayor observed that there were no conscientious objections in the statement – merely a personal view as to why he should not serve in the Army. The accused was fined 40s and handed over to the military authorities.[449]

The following two lads were treated very kindly by the jury who may have regarded their misdemeanours as ‘youthful high-spirits’ – but the news reports were silent on the charge of being absent without leave.

Herbert Cox charged with being absent from his regiment and

Barclay Leslie charged with unlawfully wearing the uniform of a captain. Both men appeared before Rochester Magistrates. Cox was apprehended by the Chief Constable and Leslie went to the police station to inquire what was to be done with him. It transpired that they were both privates in the Middlesex Regiment. Both men were remanded for enquiries regarding a motor car of which they had possession.[450] It was later reported – Cox and Leslie, two young privates said to be well connected, who were arrested in Strood were indicted at Rochester Quarter Session for stealing a motor value £600. Their legal representative claimed their behaviour was just ‘swank’ – hoping to impress ladies by being dressed as officers and driving a car. The jury found them not guilty but expressed the opinion that they had sailed very close to the wind.[451]

 

Bargeman was summoned for tax avoidance. A bargeman was summoned at Rochester for income tax avoidance. Last year he claimed he earned £445 10s, but the collector said he knew another bargeman with an income of £700.[452]

Women’s Experiences

See report on the work of the Employment Exchange above – ‘Home News’, September 1918.

The end of the following report gives a further indication of the perceived need for women to return to the role of motherhood.

The work of the Assoc. for Befriending Women and Girls was praised by the Archdeacon. A garden fete in aid of the Rochester & Strood Branch of the Rochester Diocesan ‘Association for Befriending Women and Girls’, was held in the garden of the Archdeaconry – the opening ceremony being performed by Lady Sturdy [Lady Sturdee]. The Ven. Donald Tait said the work of the association was “very largely about erecting a fence round a precipice rather than sending an ambulance to its foot” – and in Rochester this work was being most ably done by Miss Turner. The Dean said “in the past five years there had been a sombre shadow thrown over the path of the girl. She had had a hard strenuous and unnatural existence, and then there came the reaction at the end of the day. They could not be too often reminded that the girlhood of today was the womanhood and motherhood of tomorrow and that in her rested the hope of the world.” [453]

The Girl Guides Movement could develop the noble character of girls across our towns. To those in the know it will be of no surprise to hear that the subject of the Girl Guides is entering largely into the scheme for forward work for the future. In an interesting talk with Mrs. Harold Fairweather, who has been appointed to a leading position in the district, the aims and attractions of the Girl Guide Movement were detailed. Mrs. Fairweather said these are difficult times for girls, and there has never been a time when so much responsibility was put upon the young girl. The girl of 12 today is more grown up than the 14-year-old of pre-war days, but just because she’s capable she greatly needs wise guidance – guidance that the Girl Guide Movement can provide. It helps the girl to develop noble character, “and that is why we want the movement to become a real force in our towns.” The Girl Guide movement was not new to Chatham with a group having been set up several years ago.[454]

Church & Cathedral

Rochester Baptists celebrated an increase in their membership. The Church’s anniversary was celebrated by a special service, tea and a public meeting. As was usual the proceedings were characterised by much heartedness, as well as warm appreciation of the services which continue to be rendered by Rev. G. Anderson Miller. In the secretary’s report it was stated last year the church had 244 members and there was now a net increase of six.[455]

Life Goes On

Marriage between Leslie Fenner & Dorothy Ashton. Members of two well-known families were united in wedlock at Frindsbury. Miss Ashton, younger daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Ashton of the Gundulph Hotel, Rochester, was married to Sgt. Fenner, second son of Cllr. and Mrs. Fenner of Rochester Street, Chatham, and who saw action at Gallipoli. Sixty guests attended the reception at the Masonic Hall in Gundulph Square. They honeymooned in Torquay. The handsome wedding cake was supplied by Messrs. Buszard of Oxford Street.[456] [Messrs. Buszard’s apparently had a world-wide reputation for wedding cakes.[457]]

October 1918

Military and War Reports

At the end of September the government agreed an armistice with Bulgaria. On October 6, the German’s sought an armistice with America based on a plan put forward in January. The Germans were told there could be no negotiations until the country’s military leadership had been removed.

Tribunals

Rochester still had not found a way for milk suppliers to collaborate. The Mayor appears frustrated that the government has not recognised the problems associated with the delivery of food but is willing to exempt hairdressers from military service. However, it has not been possible to verify that hairdressing was included on any list that may impact on a hairdresser’s conscription.

Three dairymen were before the Rochester Tribunal as they were not in a certified trade. The Mayor mentioned the matter of the cooperation scheme between dairymen and Mr. Hillier said they had passed a resolution that they would do all they possibly could for each other should any man be called to the Colours. At the present time, everybody was pretty full up with work and it would be difficult to replace a good sound man. Mr. Warwick Stunt, the National Service Representative mentioned that in some towns milk is taken to one centre and the result has been a great saving of labour. The Mayor observed that the new list of certified occupations includes hairdressers but omits any reference whatever to the milk trade which is about the most important food trade there is. The Tribunal gave four months exemption in each case and relief from any conditions.[458]

 

Reports from the Front

The following report seems to indicate there may have been a shortage of ammunition.

Lance-corp. A. Wilmots was awarded the Military Medal but had been gassed. The Officers and men of the City of Rochester Fire Brigade were proud and delighted at the distinction won by one of their colleagues. Wilmots was awarded the Military Medal for duties performed at the beginning of the great British attacks this summer. Unfortunately he was currently in hospital in France suffering from gas poisoning, but happily on the high road of recovery. In a letter to the Chief Fire Officer, H. Webb, Wilmots recounts he was asked to led a daylight scouting raid on a German trench with only a rifle and bayonet and five rounds. They “went smack into a party of Fritzes. Of course there was an argument; but we managed to get clear with two prisoners, and we had no casualties. However we gained a lovely lot of information.” (The officer involved in this action was awarded the Military Cross).[459]

The following death is significant as the cause was influenza and associated complications. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than in the whole of the Great War. Most significantly the flu was deadliest for those aged between 20 and 40 years. See ‘Health & Hospitals’ below – October 1918.

Lieut. (A/Capt.) William Pinfold died from influenza and pneumonia. Pinfold, whose home was at 147 High Street, Rochester, died in the Colaba War Hospital, Bombay, from influenza and pneumonia. He joined the RAMC at the outbreak of the war and won rapid promotion to the rank of Sgt. Major after the Gallipoli campaign in which he was mentioned in dispatches. He served in Mesopotamia and was drafted to India where on 2 June 1918 he obtained a commission in the Indian Army.[460] [147 High Street is currently the site of the Golden Lion PH.]

Roll of Honour

Major Arthur Bracebridge Challis was killed in action at Agincourt. Bracebridge Challis (46), RGA., [Royal Garrison Artillery], 133rd heavy battery, of Rochester was killed in action on 21 September at Agincourt, near Cambrai. News of his death was the cause of intense regret in Rochester. He was a member of the well-known firm of solicitors Hayward, Smith and Challis. As a solicitor Bracebridge Challis acted as deputy to Mr. F. F. Smith, both as Registrar to the Rochester Bankruptcy Count, and Secretary to the Medway Conservancy Board. He never married. [461],[462]

Pte. Charles J. Foord, eldest son of the late J. J. Foord, JP, was been killed in action. Foord was serving with the Canadian Infantry on the Western Front. He had previously been wounded, but had re-joined his Battalion.[463] 

Health & Hospitals

For an organisation dependent on gifts and donations anything that suggested its administration was less than expected could have dire consequences – not just for the organisation but the men who were dependent on its services. Based on the following report, could there have been rumours that volunteers were being paid?

There were rumours that volunteers at Strood VAD maybe being paid. Strood VAD expressed gratitude for the continued support from the public; particular mention was made of the contribution of vegetables from the Gordon Road School and the Empire [Theatre] who admitted 40 men at half-price. It also pointed out in refutation of rumours to the contrary, that there are 20 VAD part-time workers whose only possible item of cost to the hospital is the occasional meal. All their valued and valuable labour is given free. It is much to be regretted and deprecated that unfounded statements to the contrary should ever be made.[464]

Strood VAD celebrated all who had contributed to the anticipated victory. Great tidings are received by our wounded through all the land. The boastful, cruel and arrogant German is now suing for that Peace he had plotted so long to destroy. Few are gifted with the imagination to realise from what the world has been delivered by the sacrifices in lifeblood and untiring vigilance by which the British Navy and Army have wrought this deliverance. Let each contributor and worker in the cause of these brave fellows take their merited satisfaction that they too have been privileged to contribute.[465]

Pupils & teachers from the Station Road School entertained 50 wounded soldiers. The wounded soldiers from Fort Pitt Hospital were entertained by the headmistress, teachers and pupils from the Station Road Council School in Strood. It proved to be a very enjoyable treat with singing in the early afternoon followed by Morris and Maypole dancing, recitations and school games. There was a veritable feast for tea and it closed with a dance.[466]

55 Canadian soldiers admitted to Strood VAD on Friday 3 September and every bed is full. The Cnadians are finding particular interest in their historic surroundings and much appreciate the comfort and attention paid to them.[467]

There were ten notifications of infectious diseases received during September. They included four scarlet fever, two of diphtheria, three of tuberculosis and one of ophthalmia neonatorum, [a form of conjunctivitis affecting new born babies].[468]

Strood Guardians to invest a further £1,000 in War Bonds.[469]

Sick reporting arrangements lessened for Dockyard workers with 2 days or less, sick leave. Men returning from sick leave that had not exceeded two working days may return to work without needing at first to report to the Dockyard medical officer.[470]

Mrs. Elizabeth Moore of Philadelphia, a regular donor to Strood VAD, has died. The Strood VAD announced with regret the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Moore of Philadelphia who in to early struggling days of the hospital was a most generous helper having sent between £70 and £80 at different times. She is understood to have been born in Strood.[471]

Home News

Sheppey was a highly fortified island in WW1. ‘Permits’ were issued to Sheppey residents to enable them to travel between the island and the mainland. It is quite probable that a similar permit book would have been issued to people needing to travel in and out of the secure area of Grain.

The Isle of Grain is now part of the Isle Sheppey Special Military Zone. Under the provisions of DoRA the area of the Isle Sheppey Special Military Zone will be extended on 23rd September to include the Isle of Grain – specifically the parish of Grain in the Rural District of Hoo. This will mean that no person whether ordinary resident of not, may enter the area without permission of the Commandant, Applications for permission must be made to the Commandant at Garrison Headquarters Chatham.[472]

Contingencies were put in place to deal with a possible winter fuel shortage. The Coal Controller decided that the village squire, vicar, doctor or other responsible person may accumulate a reserve stock of coal for emergency distribution to villagers should the ordinary coal supply fail at any time during the winter. Prompt measures are being taken to prevent people with gas and electricity at their disposal from adding to their light and heat ration by buying paraffin and candles that are required by household dependent on these articles.[473]

Restrictions on lighting is now as much above conserving fuel as not aiding the enemy to locate potential targets.

Light restriction times published when shops, dwelling houses, factories and places of worship had to be darkened.[474]

Strood Trustees complained about the poor street lighting in Rochester. Mr. W. Sawyer in raising the complaint pointed out that Chatham, Maidstone and Gravesend were brilliantly lit compared to Rochester and unless a man knew his way home he would be lost. The poor lighting was seen as a false economy because accidents were happening and if the streets were better lit more people would go out and save lightning at home. It was agreed to raise the matter with the Corporation.[475]

 

Food, Queues & Deceptions

The Frindsbury Food Production and Gardener’s Society held its first AGM.  The Society met in the Council school at Wainscott. The main work of the society has been the co-operative to purchase seeds and manure. Over 21/2 acres of potatoes on members allotments were also sprayed. The society has decided to affiliate with the RHS.[476]

On 1 November, the Ministry of Food took over the management of the potato crop. Under their scheme for distribution the whole country was divided into zones. These areas were either designated a ‘deficit’ or ‘surplus’ area in that they produce more of less of what is required by the population in that area. Kent is a surplus area. In order to economise on rail transport deficit and surplus zones were paired and distribution committees set up in the zones – Mr. J. C. Holmes from Allhallows was nominated for this area by the NFU.[477]

Employees of the Rochester Laundry held the first of a series of social evenings – a musical programme.[478]

The Council accepted the offer of Mr. J. Elvy to supply horses at 20s. Subject to the contract being for a year and in accordance with conditions prepared by the City Surveyor.[479]

Could the advice of the Charity Commissioner also have been based on the anticipation that the war may soon be concluded?

Watts Charity advised to leave appointing new trustees until after the war. The Charity Commissioners advised the council to leave the matter of appointing new trustees until the conclusion of the war when the appointments can receive more careful consideration.[480]

Civic Business

Patriotic Rochester maximised on moonlight before using its street lights. Rochester did not light its street lamps six days before and five days after a full moon, and when lamps were lit they are put out by a corporation workman between 9:30pm and 10pm.[481]

Rochester rates needed to be increased to cover various increased costs. Owing to the increased demand from Rochester Watch & Borough Accounts, the Strood Parish Trustees have found it necessary to increase the poor rate by 4d to 2s 2d for the ensuing half year. The Corporation increase is due to pay increases.[482]

Pay and bonus increases were agreed for Corporation staff and the Police. In considering an increase to be paid to the Corporation’s staff it was explained that the increase was to be a fixed-rate based on hours worked as opposed to a percentage as it was felt that the lesser paid men might be in greater need of an increase than the higher paid men. The Home Office set out recommended pay rates for the Police. Sergeants £2 13s on appointment rising with annual increments of 1s to £2 17s. Constables £2 on appointment rising with annual increments of 1s to £2 8s. After 18 years to £2 9s and after 20 years a maximum of £2 10s. War Bonus a flat rate of 12s is to be paid to all ranks, with a children’s bonus of 2s 6d per week for each dependent child of school age. The Council was concerned if these were adopted there would be an increase of £13 6s above the current allocated budget.[483]

The Council considered acquiring land in Longley Road from the Bridgewardens but first needs to agree with the Rochester Industrial Dwelling the apportionment of the site and other details.[484]

Objections were raised against the development of a new slipway by Shorts Brothers as it will obstruct a footpath.[485]

Although the Archdeacon did not ‘name and shame’ he was probably critical of Rochester Town Council for failing to develop a range of mother and child welfare services similar to those that existed in Chatham

Merging of the Towns could bring benefits says the Archdeacon of Rochester. The Archdeacon presided over a conference organised by the Medway Towns Child Welfare Committee, that was held in the YWCA Hut in Chatham. In a well thought out address he hoped that overlapping between the three towns could be avoided and bought into a closer union in this matter. He said one town – without mentioning names – seemed more up to date than the others.[486]

Community Support

Shorts’ Social and Athletics Club (Concert section) gave a concert in the Corn Exchange in aid of Funds for the Rochester Worker’s for Soldiers. Front seats 2/4d, second seats 1/3d and rear seats 8d – including tax. Tickets available from Mr. W. Oldroyd, Music Warehouse, Rochester, as well as from the King’s School House.[487]  [William Oldroyd’s piano and music warehouse, 141 High Street – currently Instone Shop, charity shop.]

The swastika was used by the National Savings Association but was replaced with an image of George slaying the Dragon before the start of WW2. Before its adoption by the Nazis the swastika was an ancient religious icon and historically a symbol of auspiciousness and good luck.

War Savings Movement uses the distinctive symbol of the Swastika to draw our attention to the War Savings Movement and the availability of War Savings certificates.[488]

 

Forget-me-knots were sold on Rochester streets to raise money to provide an ambulance for the City Ambulance Corp. In spite of the unpropitious weather a considerable sum was realised.[489]

Today the ‘Silent Service’ refers to the submarine service, in WW1 it seems to have been used to include the whole Navy.

The Navy – the Silent Service – was subject of many encomiums at the annual meeting of the Branch held at Rochester Seamen’s Institute in Rochester. It was chaired by the Bishop of Rochester. The excellent work that was being undertaken in Medway by the Seamen’s mission was also acknowledged.[490] [Encomium – a speech that enthusiastically praises something.]

Home Tragedies

The following story could be about what we know today as a ‘cot death’ or ‘Sudden Infant Death Syndrome’, which is more likely to occur when a baby sleeps with its parents; but it may also say something about the limited accommodation that the family was able to rent.

Baby suffocated whilst sleeping in bed with its parents. An inquest was held in the Bricklayers’ Arms, Hoopers Place, touching the death of Charles William Aveil, the baby boy of Mr. & Mrs. Aveil of 25 Hoopers Place. In evidence, William Henry Aveil, who was employed as a skilled labourer in Chatham Dockyard Chatham, left for work at 6:30am, and had got to the end of the street when his wife called him back and told him their baby was dead. He at once went for a doctor. The child had been in good health since his birth. Laura Martha Aveil, mother, in her evidence said the baby slept in the same bed as her and her husband. At 11:30 she gave it some Allison Food and it went to sleep. Witness did not wake again until 6:40 and when she pulled the bedclothes back, the child was dead. The clothes must have been over his face. Dr. Russel Palmerconsidered that the child had died early in the morning. Death was due to suffocation, and if the bedclothes were tucked in one side and then drawn tightly across it might cause suffocation. He did not think the weight of clothes was sufficient. The certified cause of death was suffocation while the child was in bed with its mother, there not being sufficient evidence to show how it was caused.[491]

School / Education News

The elementary schools in Rochester were closed due to influenza. On Wednesday the schools were closed until 11 November owing to the spread of influenza. 150 children are away from one department, and in a boy’s school only one lady teacher was able to attend, the whole of the other members of staff being down with the disease.[492]

Court Cases

George Champion fined 30s for selling dripping at a price exceeding 1s 10d / lb. Champion, a dairy man of 380 High Street. Rochester, was summoned for contravening the Home Melt Tallow and Grease (Maximum Price) Order 1918, by selling dripping at a price exceeding 1s 10d / lb. The Town Clerk prosecuted on behalf of the Rochester Food Control Committee.[493]

Alfred Hedgecock, was fined for selling corned beef above the stipulated price. Hedgecock a grocer of 330 High Street, The Banks, was summoned for selling corned beef without detaching and retaining the appropriate coupons from the customers, and further for selling the said corned beef at 1s 8d / 12oz tin whereas the price should not have been more than 1s 7d. The defendant claimed this was an error and he had written to the Food Control Committee hoping that as it was his first offence he would be let off with a caution, but instead he found himself in court as though he had stolen a watch and treated like a criminal. He was fined £3 – including costs – for each offence.[494]

Messrs. Jasper and sons Ltd., fined £2 for selling flour above the stipulated price. The firm of bakers of the High Street, Rochester, were fined £2 for selling flour at 1s 6d for 7lbs whereas the price should have been 1s 4d.[495]

Kent Haulage Co., Rochester, was sued for not paying for the grazing of their horses. Kent Haulage Co. found themselves before magistrates in Dorking for failing to pay for grazing of their horses. They were hauling timber in the neighbourhood and made representations to the plaintiff to turn the horses out on his land – but no charge was agreed. When the bill came in of £12 12s the Kent Haulage Co., felt that 8s / week / horse was excessive. The judge found in favour of the plaintiff.[496]

Women’s Experiences

There is a pressing need for a crèche at Rochester for munition workers. Rosa Hurst wrote to the editor reinforcing the case for a nursery in advance of meeting to be held with the Mayor of Rochester. “Surely the time has come when the care of the children’s lives, never so precious as now ….. infant lives must be guarded as the priceless asset in our Country’s future.” At the meeting it is hoped to persuade the Mayor of the need for a “Children’s Day and Night Nursery”. After the meeting the women hope to be in a position to apply for a grant which the Board of Education gives to those Munition Centres where there is a pressing need for a nursery of this kind.[497]

The women of Strood endorse the decision not to pursue peace negotiations without the unconditional surrender of Germany. They are also full of optimism for a Country in which women could make a significant contribution.

Strood Women Citizen’s Association noted the near vision of victory and peace. The Association held a crowded meeting at the Guildhall Rochester on Monday evening. A vote of confidence in the Prime Minister, President Wilson and Marshal Foch in their decision for an unconditional surrender of Germany as the preliminary to any discussion of peace, was enthusiastically endorsed. Mrs. Storrs in addressing the meeting, said that after four years of awful anxiety and sorrow they met together as happy people full of joy and gratitude to God for the near vision of victory and peace. They looked forward to the ringing of the church bells and the singing of the Te Deums but they also had a duty to make the future as bright and full as possible. “If the men could do such mighty deeds abroad, then with their new rights and their hearts full of love and pride the women of England could surely do great things for their beloved country.” Lady Balfour in her address raised the question as to what the state would expect of women after war – Cooking, Children and Church? Yes, but in the widest sense. Cooking – included supply, free trade and housing; Children – health and education; and all matters of Social Morality; Church needs involvement beyond just attendance. The woman employee to be the woman employer, the artisan woman to meet the commercial woman, the woman who works with her brains to meet the woman who works with her hands. The resultant unity would show the state that they recognised their duties and were willing to use them for the good of the Country.[498]

Woking women applaud Rochester women’s support for the Government’s peace stance. It was reported, to applause, to a meeting of the Woking Women’s Citizen’s Association who met to consider women and the vote, that a crowded meeting of women in Rochester had unanimously passed a resolution expressing the hope that the government would not consent to any peace negotiations until Germany had unconditionally surrendered.[499]

Lady Darnley stressed the urgency for reform from the old stagnant state of the country that existed before the war.

Gravesend women cite the Rochester women on the need to use their vote wisely. A very large number of women attended a political meeting in Gravesend for the first time since the franchise was given to them. The meeting was addressed by Lady Darnley who stressed the urgency for reform from the old stagnant state of the country that existed before the war and encouraged women to use their vote wisely and suggested that perhaps as happened at a large meeting held in Rochester, a prayer should be said seeking divine guidance as to how to use their vote.[500]

The fact that some women would have the vote at the next election had clearly energised women in discussing the future shape of the country.

Several women propose to be candidates at the next General Election – the House of Commons having decided to make it legal at once for women to become MPs.[501]

“The Guide Association was established in 1909 – thanks to the efforts of many intrepid girls who refused to accept that scouting was ‘just for boys’. Soon, these young women began completing badges in sailing, aviation and home electrics. Later still, Girlguiding members were making important contributions to the First World War effort – growing food, acting as messengers for government organisations and working in hospitals, factories and soup kitchens.”[502]

Lady Sturdee addressed the Inaugural meeting of the Medway Girl Guide movement. The meeting was held at the YWCA Hut, New Road, Chatham. Lady Sturdee in addressing the meeting said “she hoped that all would realise and pass on the knowledge, that they were not out to produce a mild form of boy”.[503]

Church & Cathedral

A special service was held at the Cathedral for teachers. Despite the very wet weather there was a large congregation in response to an invitation from the Dean. The Dean offered his heartiest and warmest welcome to the teachers. He said the debt which the country owed them could not be paid, but they could at least recognise the greatness of their profession. He hoped that a service for teachers could become an annual custom. The offertory was in aid of the Teachers’ Benevolent Fund.[504]

 

Church service times rearranged in Rochester to save coal, coke, gas and electricity. The cathedral set an excellent example by reducing the use of electric power for the organ.[505]

Harvest and thanksgiving service held for the deliverance of the Holy Land. Sunday’s services in the Cathedral were of a double character – thanks giving for the harvest and also for the deliverance of the Holy Land. The Dean’s son, Col. Ronald Storrs, CMG, is Governor of Jerusalem.[506]

St. Nicholas was tastefully decorated with a plentiful supply of fruit, vegetables and flowers for its Harvest Festival. Owing to a sudden illness the Rev. W. Gray was unable to take the Harvest Festival Service at St. Nicholas but Rev. Wheatley from St. Margaret’s and his curate Rev. A. Ottaway were able to step in.[507]

Life Goes On

Druids initiate new members at Rochester. The meeting of Lodge 1601, United Ancient Order of Druids, was held in the Blue Boar, Rochester.[508]

A skeleton of an Anglo-Saxon warrior was unearthed in Strood. A party of sappers excavating for a drain at a new encampment at Woodstock Road, Strood, unearthed a skeleton of an adult with what appeared to be a huge knife lying beside it. The skeleton, which laid about 2ft below the surface was in a remarkably good state of preservation. There were no signs of the skeleton having been enclosed in a coffin. Col. H. Haines reported that the right foot was crossed over the left; the boss of the shield lay on the ankles, with another small piece of iron, the spear head, at the right shoulder, and the other piece of iron behind the waist. The skull has a round hole in it, 5/8th of an inch in diameter which Col. Haines thinks may have been caused by a spear thrust. The matter was reported to the police, who consulted Mr. George Paine, curator of the Rochester Museum. Mr. Paine expressed the opinion that the remains were the remains of an Anglo-Saxon warrior of 1,300 years ago. It was the custom of the Anglo-Saxons to bury their warriors with their weapons of war beside them, and Mr. Paine decided that the supposed knife was a spearhead. A further search also resulted in the discovery of part of a shield. Mr. Paine continued his investigations at the spot as he regards the ‘find’ to be important from an archaeological point of view. Mr. C. Hercules Read, of the British Museum says it is clearly that of one of the Jutish settlers in Kent of the 5th or 6th century.[509]

November 1918

Military and War Reports

Enemies are surrendering. The Turks have surrendered and have agreed the release of all British prisoners. Austria has applied for an armistice to Italy, Germany is thus left alone.[510]

Anticipating Victory

Veteran societies started in the 1917s and demonstrated that a radical change had occurred in the expectations society owed to those who served. There were three associations in existence at this time – the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (The Association); the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers (The Federation); and the Comrades of Great War (The Comrades).[511] These later merged to become the Royal British Legion.

An extensive club for discharged & demobilised soldiers was opened in Old Brompton High Street. Its purpose was to help them in leave the service and take up employment on civil life.[512]

Antipathy continued to be shown towards any person who was an enemy alien by birth. This led to the passing of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919. This Act not only continued the war time restrictions into peace-time, but extended them. “It restricted the employment rights of aliens resident in Britain, barring them from certain jobs (in the civil service, for example), and had a particular impact on foreign seamen working on British ships. It also targeted criminals, paupers and ‘undesirables’, and made it illegal for aliens to promote industrial action. A motivation for the extension of the restrictions was the end of the wartime labour shortages and the consequential desire to safeguard jobs for indigenous Britons. The 1919 Act was renewed annually until 1971 when it was replaced by the Immigration Act.”[513]

Rochester recognised that sons of enemy aliens had fought for Britain. The Mayor had received a letter from the Mayor of Wandsworth enclosing a resolution passed by the Metropolitan Mayors expressing their unanimous opinion that no person of enemy alien birth, whether naturalised or unnaturalised, should have any right to vote. It asked that Rochester adopt a similar position. The matter was discussed with some concern about naturalised aliens being excluded. Alderman Willis in reiterating his dislike for the German nation said he could not ignore that a large number of the naturalised Germans and Austrians had sons serving in our navy and army, and many had fought and died for this Country. Amendments were lost and a resolution was passed 9 to 6.[514]

Two new bells requested for the Cathedral to commemorate the declaration of peace. The Rochester Bellringers petitioned the Dean & Chapter to sanction the addition of two new bells to the existing peal to commemorate the declaration of peace when it takes place.[515]

When Peace is declared a Thanksgiving Service should be held in Rochester Cathedral.[516]

Tremendous upheaval will follow the war – warns Col. H. D’Arch Breton on being elected Mayor for the fifth year in succession. The Mayor expressed the opinion that the difficulties of the last four years would be as peace compared with what would come after the war. The enormous difficulty of the redistribution of labour would take the effort of every man to try to arrange in a way which did not result in serious trouble.[517]

Local businesses planned to mark Peace with special sales. Chatham Furnishing Stores, 80 High St. Chatham, placed a large advertisement in the press – “With the Proclamation of Peace – prepare for the Home-Coming.” “The possibilities of which draw nearer every day will mean the returning to their homes of thousands of our brave men who have nobly borne the heat and burden of the day at various Battle Fronts …. we should make our homes as bright and comfortable as possible.[518]

Austerity continues so – “Save coal – buy ready to eat foods – like baked beans.” [519]

The Armistice is signed – stage between war and peace.

Celebrations in Rochester were restrained compared to other towns.

PEACE! Monday’s Magnificent News and how it was received in Kent. The message reached the offices of the Kent Messenger at 10:45 in the morning, 25 minutes after the Prime Minister had announced the news to a few press representatives in Downing Street. “The great relief for which the world was waiting came on Monday morning, when the Allies’ terms of armistice were signed by Germany and fighting ceased – the Kaiser having abdicated on Saturday and fled to Poland for refuge from his revolutionary subjects demonstrating under the Red Flag. The armistice was signed at 5 o’clock on Monday morning and the last shots were fired at 11 o’clock, and although technically the armistice is only a preliminary peace, and does not necessarily lead to peace, yet in this case we know that Germany has consented, by force of circumstances, to a disarmament which coupled with her internal chaos, renders her impotent to resume the fight.” “A half-holiday was given to all the Military and Naval and the Dockyard and munition workers at Chatham on Monday. There were wild scenes of joy in the street during the afternoon and evening. Immense crowds were out, and the singing and shouting, the explosion of fireworks and the duties of excited men in uniform made matters exceedingly lively. Soldiers were seen climbing on the transports, and a party of the military also commandeered a motor bus for joy rides. All trams stopped running at noon. The streets of Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester were extensively beflagged, and the bells of the Cathedral and Churches were rung for the greater part of the day. At Gillingham, the band of the Salvation Army paraded the streets, playing patriotic airs. By noon on Monday Rochester Cathedral was crowded by people who had assembled for a thanksgiving service, the Mayor and many prominent residents being included in the congregation. In spite of the sad news he had had only that morning, Dean Storrs took part in the service and addressed the congregation. On the very day, and almost at the very hour that news of the signing of the armistice reached Rochester, the Dean of Rochester and Mrs. Storrs received information of the death from influenza of their second son, Lieut. Frances Storrs (35) RNVR.[520]

News of the Armistice reached Rochester. The first indication in Rochester and Strood of the signing of the armistice, was the sounding of hooters and sirens in government establishments and on the river. Immediately there was a hum of excitement and when the news became known through official circles later, considerable enthusiasm prevailed. Constant cheering rent the air, flags were hoisted and shop fronts decorated, and the remainder of the day given over to holiday-keeping. The citizens of Rochester take things more stoically than is the custom in many towns, and although their joy was none the less sincere they did not indulge in the boisterous scenes witnessed in other parts, or attempt to rival the gaiety of the neighbouring Boroughs.[521]

News reached Rochester at about 9:30am and immediately the steam vessels on the river sounded their sirens and hooters with great vigour. These demonstrations were renewed from time to time and, for once, seemed to sound quite musical. Engines whistled from the railway and factories added to the merry din. School boys cheered to their hearts’ content, and it is said by those who ought to know that at the “Maths” School such cheers have never been known before. Mr. Headmaster Lucy made the announcement and when he at last could stop the boys from cheering he announced a half-day holiday. Flags were displayed on the high street and in the side streets. The loftiest one to be seen was the national flag affixed to a sweep of Messrs. Glover & Son’s windmill, on high ground in Delce. A good deal of bunting was in evidence on the river and as the morning advanced flags appeared on the Guildhall and Castle, and the bells of the Cathedral sent out a merry peal. The Dean was one of the first to know of the Armistice but at the same time was told of the death of his son. The Dean knew though he had a duty to perform and soon met with the Mayor and at 12 noon there was a great but simple service. At the seaplane works of Messrs Short Brothers, excitement knew no bounds. Heads of departments at once conveyed the news to their various workshops – and work was forgotten about until the next day. The din of the beaten metal, the shouts of the men and women workers will never be forgotten – it was as if Bedlam had been let loose. In the clerical department lists were scanned for the names of men who had been drawn from private business and sent by the Tribunal to undertake work of National Importance. Some of them were told that if they chose they could pack up. Those who decided to leave and lived away, made their way to the Labour Exchange to arrange for a ticket home. Similar events occurred at the works of Aveling & Porter and the Medway Steel Works. Had the joyous news not be known by other means citizens of Rochester would have heard it by the Cathedral bells, and people flocking to the midday service. There must have been a couple of thousand people in the cathedral although the service was held in the choir. On Sunday, there had been an announcement from the pulpit that should the expected news come through on Monday the Cathedral bells would ring and that at the end of half an hour a service would be held. The bells commenced ringing at 11:30 and accordingly at noon “O God, our help in ages past” sung to the never dying “St. Anne” tune, went up from hearts that were overflowing with joy and thankfulness. Despite the great blow that had befallen them concerning the death of their only sailor son, both the Dean and Mrs. Storrs were present.[522]

The Cathedral bells summoned thankful citizens to the sacred edifice at noon. Flags were waving in the streets and crowds were cheering. The peal of the cathedral bells summoned thankful citizens to the sacred edifice at noon, where a simple but inspiring service was held. There was no address but in a deeply emotional voice the Dean said: “Brethren, at this hour of every day during the past four years a small company have gathered in the Lady Chapel of this Cathedral to make intercessions to Almighty God, to pray for our sailors and soldiers for the cause for which they were fighting, and for final victory.[523]

Rejoicing in Port and Garrison. There was intense excitement in Chatham Dockyard when the Armistice became known. At Noon the men were called to the muster station and were addressed and given a half-day holiday – returning at 7am the next morning. The news came through spars [poles] that had been painted white in preparation and placed in position, up which flags were run, and the engines, cranes and sirens – soon began to proclaim the glad tidings.[524]

Some desire a return to the past; ‘mulled claret, churchwarden pipes and the Bull’.  Talking generally about the war in the House of Lords it was said – “before the war we could stop an omnibus with one finger and there was plenty of seats both inside and outside. Then the war came – petrol was short, omnibuses were in France – as were the men who could drive them.  Now the war is over – the question was raised by Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentick as to when we will get our comfort back. In describing normality it was said that the Noble Lord wished to take us back to ‘mulled claret and churchwarden pipes and the Bull at Rochester’.[525]

Tribunals

Seven appeals were allowed of men who were not amongst the ‘fittest’six were C3 men and one was a C2. All were given exemption. Some were conditional on the appellant continuing to undertake volunteering, others were relieved of conditions.[526]

Reports from the Front

King’s boys given a longer half-term break to honour decorated old boys. The half-term break has been lengthened by the addition of Friday & Monday, to honour Capt. Montague Smith being decorated with the Portuguese Order of the Aviz, and the Military Crosses won recently by Capt. Roy Winder, Lieut. E. French and Second-Lieut. W. Furminger. School will begin on Wednesday 13th with Chapel at 8:45am.[527]

Citation for the award of the Military Cross to 2nd Lieut. W. Furminger’s MC. The Military Cross was awarded for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Furminger, himself, carried out reconnaissance on two successive nights prior to a raid, and obtained most valuable information. During the raid he led his party to the enemy wire, cut through it and rushed a post. He himself killed one of the enemy and captured a prisoner, finally withdrawing his men without loss in the most skilful manner. He gave a fine example of gallant and able leadership.[528]

Roll of Honour

Arch Deacon Weaire died as a prisoner of war in the hands of the Turks. Mrs. Weaire, of Bryant Road, Strood, received through Sir H. Doveton Sturdee, Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, the Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded to her late son, Leading Seaman Weaire of HMS Samara who had been taken prisoner with General Townshend at Kut, and who died as a prisoner of war in the hands of the Turks. The decoration was offered for conspicuous bravery in the advance at Kut, when he advanced with a machine gun and firing on the Turks greatly facilitated the advance.[529] [See ‘Roll of Honour’ – November 1916, and November 1918 to see the losses of Mrs. Weaire snr., of Bryant Road, Strood.]

Health & Hospitals

Influenza caused upwards of 50 deaths in the Strood district in the last fortnight, this number being equal to the number of deaths registered in the whole of the last quarter. 90% of the deaths were due to Influenza and allied complaints. The death rate in Chatham is double that expected and all theatres, music halls and cinemas have been placed ‘out of bounds’ to service men until further notice. The whole of the schools throughout the district of Rochester, Chatham & Gillingham are closed. So many of the police at Chatham and Rochester are ‘down with the flu’ that special constables have been called upon to do regular police work.[530]

The influenza epidemic in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham showed no signs of abating and doctors are worked to death and chemists were never before so busy. Death notices in the ‘News’ are unusually heavy. A number of deaths have occurred at Fort Pitt. The whole staff of the Clerk of Strood Workhouse are away, a business in Strood and another in Rochester have temporarily closed, over 70 of the locomotive department of local railway staff in the district are laid up by the malady. Over 50 of the Rochester-Chatham Postal staff are down with the flu. In some instances clerical staff have been delivering telegrams. Over 50 deaths have been registered in the district in the last fortnight – this number being the same as those registered in the previous quarter – 90% were from influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia. Throughout the local Command troops parade each morning when all ranks are issued with a handful of solution which they inhale. This has become known as the ‘Sniffing Parade”. At the Education Committee it was decided to close the Elementary Schools as there were no fewer than 1,472 children and 28 teachers absent. While the schools were closed all the windows would be open and the floors scrubbed. There was though concern that the children who were not in school were going to the cinema so little good will come from closing the schools. It has however been heard that cinemas are excluding children under 15. The Mayor also wrote to the managers of the tram company suggesting that no standing should be allowed in the middle of the tram while influenza was prevalent, and also the door near the driver should be kept open.[531]

Twelve sappers helped undertakers make coffins and to bury the dead. Local florists as well as doctors and chemists are working all hours. The list of deaths is again heavy. Many of the houses of amusement are refusing entry to children under 15. During the past month there have been upwards of 60 internments in Fort Pitt Military Cemetery, Chatham. Over 200 deaths have been registered in the Rochester and Chatham Sub-district in the past fortnight. A local undertaker has had the assistance of twelve sappers from the Royal Engineers in making coffins and burying the dead.[532]

In the light of the pessimism contained in the two previous reports, could Rochester be ‘grasping for straws’?

It’s believed the Influenza epidemic could be abating in Rochester. There are signs of the epidemic abating although there remains a large number of people suffering in the district. During October there were 26 deaths – nine on the Rochester side and 17 on the Strood side. In the last few days the death rate has been reducing. The Medical Officer for Rochester has contacted other medical men in the town and they believe there is some abatement but recommend that the schools stay closed for another week. The Council also instructed the Town Clerk to write to the proprietors of cinemas in the City impressing upon them the importance of ventilation.[533]

Influenza epidemic appears to be abating in Cliffe. The influenza epidemic which has been very severe at Cliffe is showing signs of abating. Dr. A. Rogers and Nurse Allen have had a strenuous time.[534]

The Medway Union was still admitting patients with influenza. In the previous 14 days, 30 people from Chatham, three from Rochester and six from Gillingham had been admitted to the infirmary with pneumonia as a consequence of the flu. Thirteen of the patients had succumbed. Six nurses were down with the flu, and the doctor reports that seven of his staff were down with it. Three people had been transferred from the house to the infirmary. The list of the deaths showed that the flu posed a serious threat to the young – but there were also tragic circumstances of mothers dying leaving a large number of children, and returning wounded soldiers / Prisoner of War finding their wife had died or died soon after their return.[535]

The following account suggests Strood VAD – and probably other hospitals – were burdened with paperwork.

City Ambulance Corp assisted Strood VAD during the influenza epidemic. Grateful thanks were given by the Strood VAD to the City Ambulance Corp who offered valuable help during the illness of the Commandant, Quartermaster and other staff. A number of the ambulance men worked all night doing the needed but complicated accounts that have to be kept. It is regrettable that the Commandant is not making the satisfactory progress that the management would desire. But her long continued and arduous work has caused her system to be quite run down. A resolution was passed assuring her of the sympathy and appreciation of the Finance Committee.[536]

The shortage of Bovril during the Influenza epidemic was due to a bottle shortage. Bovril placed a notice in the paper expressing regret at the shortage of Bovril during the recent Influenza epidemic. The shortage largely coming about because of the shortage of bottles.[537]

The ending of hostilities required the winding up of hospitals whose primary purpose had been to receive wounded soldiers. They would though still have had some patients and have needed continuing support until the last patient left.

Strood VAD requested support continues until it closes. The cessation of hostilities and the coming congress of peace, foretells the closing of this hospital in the near future. The committee earnestly asks their many friends whose helpful sympathy has sustained them in the past to continue to the end. To the ladies of the nursing and housekeeping staff words but faintly convey the measure of the debt which the community owes them. The work was trying to the nerves and placed a heavy toll on the physical strength of the nursing staff.[538]

The Darnley Ward of Strood VAD closed. Any friend who loaned an article can apply for its return. The management will continue to run the two other wards for as long as the authorities hold it to be a necessity, and hope therefore friends will continue with their support.[539]

Home News

Other facilities were being ‘relinquished’ as they were no longer required for the war effort.

Strood recreation ground returns to the Corporation. The military has given notice to terminate its occupation the Strood recreation ground from November 12. [540]

The Old Corn Exchange has been vacated by the Military. The Old Corn Exchange, Rochester, was at one time a ‘Home of the Movies’ and now it has been vacated by the military has returned to being a spacious and well-ventilated hall. It will be opened on this Saturday with a full programme, a great boxing match topping the bill. Every seat is cushioned and many of them entirely new. The entire hall has been redecorated and there is a large silver screen. Mr. H. Burrells, a returned wounded warrior (of the Chatham Cinema de Lux) will host the show.[541] It resumed showings with a film of German life amongst the conquered “Little American”. It tells of the adventures of an American lady, then neutral, amongst the poor and plundered of Flanders.[542] The film was made in 1917. It was a silent romantic war drama directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and can be viewed on YouTube.[543]

River restrictions are being lifted. Many of the war-time restrictions on merchant shipping on the River Medway from Sheerness to Chatham, Rochester and the vicinity of Maidstone, were withdrawn.[544]

The following report gives an indication of the extent of control that the military had across the three towns on day to day matters.

Approval was given for more street lighting in Rochester. In response to representations made by the Rochester and Gillingham municipal authorities, the General Officer commanding the district consented to more light in the public streets at night.[545]

‘Recognition & Reconstruction Week’ was the next big fundraising effort at Rochester. The Prudential Assurance Company has already handed Mr. J. Featherstone, the organising secretary, a cheque for £5,000 with the promise of another cheque before the week is over.[546]

Industrial unrest was developing. Towards the end of the war workers began to show their dissatisfaction with the way certain industries had been run and how the requirement to obtain ‘leaving certificates’ before they could leave a protected industry, had effectively enslaved them. Wages, housing, inflation and the widely held belief that may individuals had profiteered during the war, all contributed to growing industrial unrest. The following report illustrates the suspicion that enemy aliens may be working from ‘inside’ to disrupt the country. The dispute referred to in the following report led to the passing of the Police Act which barred the police from belonging to a trade union, and the establishment of the Police Federation of England & Wales.[547]

There is unrest within the Police Force. A large branch meeting of the National Union of Police and Prison Officials – [who were on strike about pay & conditions] was held in Rochester, at which it was resolved to widely protest against an allegation of the Chief Constable of Kent, who is alleged to have stated ‘that the provincial organiser, PC T. Theil, was a German or had German blood in his veins, and that the strike was engineered by German money.[548]  This meeting was later followed by a Public Meeting – “Further criticism was passed of Colonel Warde, Chief Constable of Kent, at a public meeting under the auspices of National Union of Police and Prison Officials at the Victoria Hall, Rochester. The meeting passed a resolution recording confidence in PC. Theil, the provincial organiser as a Britisher and entirely free from any German or Bolshevik influence. The meeting also viewed with grave concern the alleged threat by Col. Warde to dismiss anyone joining the union as that was directly in contravention of the Home Secretary’s signed agreement of September 1918.[549]

Although the following report relates to Chatham the issue was probably Medway wide. The report raises the question as to who were the ‘un-abled’ bodied workers?

Strikes are threatened in Chatham over pay. With the threat of a strike by workmen in the Sanitary Department, Chatham Corporation decided to pay a bonus of 12.5% on the earnings all able-bodied labourers.[550]

Medway Guardians declined to adopt for their officials the scale of war bonus fixed by the conciliation Board.[551] The vote of was 8 to 7.

Bishop complained that entertainment is seen as necessary and worship as a luxury. The comparison the Bishop of Rochester made in respect of the church being expected to deliver energy savings whilst places of entertainment were not, continued to draw comment. The Bishop stated that as long as places of entertainment, theatres cinemas etc., are to be allowed full liberty to hold performances every evening throughout the week, whilst curtailing the privilege of religious services, is to maintain that entertainments have become a national necessity and that worship a luxury. The Bishop was of the view that churches are heated during the day and that the churches will remain warn for the rest of the day and for the evening service little in terms of extra heating was required. Bearing in mind, he said, the discomfort of the troops it seems little to ask worshipers put up with an unheated church. The Bishop also felt that the savings made on domestic heating and lighting whilst families attended church more than outweighed the cost of heating and lighting the church. [552]

The need for fuel economy continued. The Mayor writing to the Editor, wanted to draw the public’s attention to the advice of the Coal Controller on a subject that he regarded as being of pressing importance, on ways to make savings in fuel and light. However, he believed that its publication at this time as quite unnecessary as “everyone knows where their shoes are loose and where they pinch’. “It is for us to tighten the looseness and cheerfully increase the pinching.” If we fail to bring consumption below the authorised ration it looks now as if the ration may need to be reduced. The worst enemy is the kitchen fire and its care will demand constant care.[553] Advice on how to reduce the consumption of fuel included – ‘Hide the Poker’ – every time you poke the fire you poke away heat. Need evidence? Watch the next person who pokes the fire – they invariably add more fuel. “Hundreds of thousands of tons of coal per year would be saved if all the pokers in the country were put away”.[554]

The Fuel Wood Order controlled the sale and purchase of wood. The Order stated that no person shall sell FUEL WOOD by Retail without a Licence from a Local Authority. Further no person shall buy or acquire or attempt to buy of acquire, for consumption, more than two tons of FUEL WOOD without the consent, in writing, of the Local Fuel Overseer.[555]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Rationing will need to continue even if the war ends. New ration books came into use on Monday, and for the next six months will be the medium by which the available supplies of meat, fats, sugar and jam will be equitably distributed. Should the war come to an end during the period there is no likelihood that the need for rationing will cease. Retailers will not be required to divide pots of jam of less than 3lbs but cannot refuse to divide a larger container if necessary. Retailers custom to selling loose jam may continue to do so in quantities of 4oz.[556]

Civic Business

Rochester Town Council decided to hold meetings earlier in the day to save on light. Meetings of the Council and committees will now be held at 3:15 in the afternoon.[557]

Dates for the General Election have been announced. In Kent nomination to be in by 4 December 1918. Poling will take place on 14 December and the votes will be counted on December 28.[558]

A Labour Party meeting was well attended. The speaker’s view that party politics may have fuelled the class-divide was well received.

A Labour Party meeting was held at the Corn Exchange. Mr. Dan Hubbard, London Organiser of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, and the National Labour Party’s candidate for Chatham Division, held a well-attended public meeting at the Corn Exchange, Rochester, on Wednesday. Mr. L. Goldie, a former mayor of Rochester in addressing the meeting, said if there was one thing he had learnt from the war it was there was no inherent antagonism any class that speaks the English Language. Every class had stood shoulder to shoulder in fulfilling their duty and had withstood the enemy – and it was a mystery to him that before the war class was against class, and that things had not been as its now been proved it could have been. After thinking about it he had concluded that the fault rested with the party system of politics – an observation that was received with applause. Following this conclusion he had decided to leave the Unionist Party.[559]

The reference to aviation in the following report pertains to Col. Moore-Brabazon being the first Englishman to pilot a heavier-than-air machine under power in England.

The Unionist Party held a meeting at the Victoria Hall. Col. J Moore-Brabazon [MC RAF] the coalition candidate for the Chatham Division of the Parliamentary Borough of Rochester held his first meeting in connection with the forthcoming election at the Victoria Hall, Rochester. Mr. Oswald Short of Messrs. Short Bros., was one of the principal speakers. He referred to his long association with Col. Moore-Brabazon in aviation matters, and expressed the hope that after the war the government would give generous support for the development of aviation for commercial purposes.[560] [See ‘Civic Matters’, July 1918.]

Community Support

There was an unsuccessful flag-day appeal for the British Red Cross. The collection arranged by Nurse Jumpdid not meet with a very hearty response in Rochester. Owing to the great amount of illness and the by-law prohibiting children selling flags, there was difficulty in securing collectors. £20 was raised and any further subscriptions can be sent to the Mayor.[561]

Col. H. D’Arch Breton was re-elected as Mayor. On being elected for the fifth year in succession he remarked that the duty was more insistent upon him to accept because he was the only member who was not hampered by business ties. In accepting the honour he said to his mind it was far greater than “a trail of stray letters of the alphabet trailing after one’s name”. The Mayor thanked many people and organisations for their previous support. He specifically mentioned the Strood VAD and the Hospital Munitions Centre in the Technical School and many others involved in fund raising. On referring to the grumblers about food rationing and prices, he felt it was in ignorance of the severity of conditions in other countries. He finished with a request that people should continue investing in war bonds as to stop now before we have set the seal on the final victory would be to risk the loss of all we have gained.[562]

Canterbury and Rochester branch of C.E.T.S provided over 90 recreation rooms, huts and Tent Chapels in Kent, and that the work will remain urgent during the demobilisation.[563] [C.E.T.S = Church of England Temperance Society.]

Home Tragedies

Considerable increase in cases of influenza. Unfortunately many deaths have occurred as a consequence of complications. Influenza has spread considerably in Rochester and Strood and the medical officer of health for the City (Dr. S. Pritchett) issued certain instructions which the townspeople would do well to follow. In addition to the closure of Elementary Schools many Sunday schools were closed. Due to the depletion of staff and the number of scholars who are ill, the Governors decided close the Mathematical School. The Governors of the Girl’s Grammar School also decided to close the school for one week at half term instead of the usual two days. Deaths in Rochester included Mr. G. Austin (40) the licensee of the Star Inn, Star Hill, Miss Jennie Waterer (23) assistant at St. Peter’s School, New Road and niece of Mr. B. Waterer of Cecil Avenue, Strood. Undertakers with their depleted staff experienced great difficulty in coping with the extra demands being placed on them.[564]

School / Education News

Vote of thanks to the Dean for inaugurating the special service for teachers. At the general meeting of the Chatham, Rochester and District Teachers’ Association, held at the Masonic Hall, Gundulph Square, hearty vole of thanks was passed to Dean Storrs for his kindness in inaugurating the special service for teachers in the Cathedral.[565]

Court Cases

Six seamen were each sentenced to one months’ hard labour for stealing whiskey. They were charged at Rochester with tampering with the cargo of a steamer and stealing £27 of whisky.[566]

The following report gives an indication of how the distribution of meat was handled.

Six butchers were in Court based on a complaint from other butchers. Following a complaint made by the Ministry of Food that butchers in Rochester were committing breaches of the Meat Rationing Order local investigations were undertaken which resulted in six butchers from Rochester and Strood being fined. The defendants, were Richard Waller-Heath, Ernest Epps and John Terry of the High Street Strood; William Stockleyof Burritt Street, and W & R. Fletcher Ltd., High Street. Rochester, and three managers of the local branches of the British & Argentine Meat Company. All but the Bryant Road manager of the last company pleaded guilty, and in his case it was stated that he took more coupons than was necessary for the meat he had supplied. How this came about was accepted and the case against him was dismissed, the others though were each fined £10 each. The regulations required that if a butcher had more meat than they could sell it should be carried over to the next week, or if it is likely to go off it needed to be shown to the Food Controller who could authorise its sale without a coupon. In their defence, it was pointed out that the offence occurred on a Saturday in shops that had between them 10,000 registered customers. It was not until late in the day they found they had a surplus of meet and the Food Control Office was closed. The chairman of the Bench enquired why the surplus was not predicted as it was the practice for customers to tell the butcher in the week what they will be requiring on the Saturday.[567]

A High Court ruling seems to have been obtained accepting that milk produced by poorly managed cows can be deficient in fats.

The case against Ernest Clinch for selling milk 26.7% deficient in milk fat was dismissed. In line with a High Court ruling it was accepted that Ernest Clinch of Delce Farm, sold it as it came from the cow. The Court found though that the Chief Constable had been right to bring the case.[568] (See Court Cases, June 1918 when Clinch tried this defence before – however he was not out of Court for long!)

Ernest Clinch fined £10 and £2 4s costs for failing to obey an order of the Food Controller. Ernest Clinch a cowkeeper and farmer, was fined at Rochester Police Court, by the Local Food Control Committee, for failing to supply milk to families in Borstal or in bulk to a Borstal milk seller. It was stated that he had ceased to supply milk to a Mrs. Barnes in the village, because she objected to a charge made for use of the horse and cart. He claimed that he was unable to provide all the milk that was required due to the shortage of milk in the morning and a lack of labour in the afternoon. The Bench took the view that he should have acquainted the Food Control Committee of the difficulties he had.[569]

Ernest Pilcher & John Collison charged for having horses with parasitic mange and were summoned for failing to notify the police of the fact. The defending solicitor explained that Pilcher, who was a well-known jobmaster from Rochester and who for some time past had been carrying out a number of government contracts, believed the two horses were ‘off-colour’ because of the hard work they had been undertaking. He therefore let them out in Collison’s field in Barham, thinking the rest would do them good. Pilcher argued that as the horses were in Collison’s field the responsibility was his to keep an eye on the horses. The Bench decided that both parties shared responsibility and fined Pilcher £15 and Collison £2. They were further summoned by the RSPCA for omitting to give the two horses proper attention when in a suffering state. For this offence Pilcher was fined £5 and £1 1s vet fee, the summons against Collison was dismissed.[570]

The following report leaves open the question whether there was more bigamy as a consequence of the war, or more prosecutions? Certainly, a Judge at the Kent Assizes believed that the crime of bigamy was “rampant at the present time.”[571] Without a central record of marriages it may not be possible to answer this question. However, the circumstances of war could have driven people into a bigamous marriage – woman thinking her husband was missing or had left her; men thinking they might die and therefore determined to have a ‘good time’.

There was an increase in cases of bigamy brought before the Court. Kent Autumn Assizes heard 14 cases of bigamy – none appearing to be connected with Rochester people.[572]

Women’s Experiences

The following women’s meeting expressed concern that young people needed to be brought back under discipline. The reference to the hope that women would not ‘antagonise the men’ was probably referring back to the pre-war militancy of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Miss Isabel Cleghorn, who addressed the meeting, was born on 14 March 1852 at King Street, Rochester, and was the first woman president of the National Union of Teachers. During her year of office she was awarded MAs by the University of North Wales and by the University of Sheffield.

Rochester & Strood Women’s Citizens’ Association met on Peace Day. A public meeting was held in the Guildhall on the evening of Peace Day. Mrs. Storrs, the President of the association was to take the chair but was not able to do so as she was mourning the loss of her son. Miss Cleghorn, MA., who was well known in the ranks of the ranks and file of the National Union of Teachers, said she was pleased to visit Rochester it was her birthplace [Kings Street]. Miss Cleghorn said that there can be nothing more prominent or important than the education of the young as we start reconstruction. She was inclined to think that young people were getting out of hand and that she hoped for their sake and for the sake of the Country they will soon be bought back under discipline. To applause she said that in the matter of reconstruction and all the great problems which now we’re to face as a country, she hoped that women were not going to act in a way to antagonise the men. The meeting ended with the singing of God Save the King. [573]

Amongst the overall feeling of relief and perhaps optimism for the future, there would be many parents facing the future without their son or worse, sons. Mrs. McCudden, mother of James McCudden VC, wrote what she hoped would be words of comfort to other mothers who had lost a son. It was originally published in the Illustrated Sunday Herald. Her son, James McCudden, was born in Gillingham. He became an air mechanic with the Royal Engineers and served as such when sent to France in August 1914, but subsequently qualified as a pilot. McCudden received more awards for gallantry than any other British airman in the First World War. He was awarded the VC in March 1918. He died in a flying accident on July 1918. His medals are on display at the Royal Engineers Museum in Brompton. What was not made clear in the following report was that Mrs. McCudden had lost all three of her sons to the war. See ‘News from the Front’, April 1918. 

 

Mothers take comfort from the fact your son died the death he would have wished. Mrs. McCudden said mothers should take comfort from the fact their son died the death he would have wished. She repeated the words that a past teacher of her son wrote on a memorial card:

 He is not dead

                                                      Such sports never die –

They are unquenchable

                                                      He only sleeps.

And in some other sphere

                                                      He will awaken.

“Mothers of England whose boys have run their last race, remember, remember, what they did was done for you; the sacrifice that they made, with life stretching away in front of them, was made for you.

Remember this, mothers, and as you gaze on an empty chair … or passing the bedroom where he once slept and you peep in, call up the ‘carry on’ spirit. It is what he would have wished. You can almost hear him saying “Carry on mother, carry on!” You will then be able to face the world with a proud smile. It was all done for you. – He is not dead, Such spirits never die.”[574]

The following report demonstrates the recourse to arbitration or problem resolution to help resolve marital disputes is not new. It would appear the Court may have had a churchman attached to it to undertake this pastoral role.

Wife sued her father-in-law for assault when he intervened in a marital dispute. Ettie Collins or 2 St. Margaret’s Street summoned John Collins, her father in law of 28 Horsely Road for assault. She claimed she was struck by her father-in-law when he tried to push his way into their house following a disagreement between her and her husband. The case was adjourned for one month to see if Mr. Bray, the Police-Court missionary could bring the husband and wife together.[575]

Church & Cathedral

The Rochester & Strood Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society held their annual meeting at the Guildhall.[576]

Three women filled roles in the Cathedral. Rochester Cathedral now had a woman bellringer, a woman organist and a woman verger.[577]

A chorus is being assembled for the planned Peace Thanksgiving Service. C. Hylton-Stewart, Cathedral Organist, says that, with the Dean’s approval, a chorus of ladies and gentlemen is being formed to take part in a thanksgiving service in the Cathedral. All who are possessed of good voices and have the ability to read music, who would like to take part are asked to communicate with the organist. There are vacancies for sopranos, contraltos, tenors and bases.[578]

A Thanksgiving Service planned in anticipation of a Peace being reached. The Bishop of Rochester took a great interest in the preliminary organisation of a Diocesan Festival Service of Thanks Giving when peace is declared, in order that the rendering of the service should be worthy of the occasion, and a special choir is now being organised at Rochester Cathedral for the musical part of the service.[579]

Signing of the Armistice will be announced by the Cathedral bells. On Sunday, there was an announcement from the pulpit that should the expected news come through on Monday the Cathedral bells would ring and that at the end of half an hour a service would be held. The bells commenced ringing at 11:30 and accordingly at noon “O God, our help in ages past”, sung to the never dying “St. Annes” tune went up from hearts that were overflowing with joy and thankfulness. Despite the great blow that had befallen them concerning the death of their only sailor son, both the Dean and Mrs. Storrs were present.[580]

Dean received news of the death of a son as news of the Armistice reaches Rochester. Much sympathy was felt for the Dean of Rochester who received news of the death of his sailor son as he was preparing to take a service of Thanks Giving on Monday.[581]

The peal of the Cathedral bells summoned thankful citizens to the sacred edifice at noon, where a simple but inspiring service was held. There was no address but in a deeply emotional voice the Dean said: “Brethren, at this hour of every day during the past four years a small company have gathered in the Lady Chapel of this Cathedral to make intercessions to Almighty God, to pray for our sailors and soldiers for the cause for which they were fighting, and for final victory.[582]

Armistice Day was marked with Great Services. Every place of worship was packed to sing the praises of peace where “Crowns and thorns may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane.” Principal amongst the great gatherings were the Cathedral, Chatham Parish Church and the Royal Naval Barracks. A great sense of wellbeing was experienced in the Cathedral – it being a joy to sit and wait and listen to the pealing bells. Special seats had been reserved for Australian officers from Cobham Hall. “Peace time comes to many hearts that were broken by heavy sorrow.” People have come accustomed to services being packed and in order to secure a seat for the 6:30 evensong people thronged the doors of the Cathedral from around 5:30pm. The service was attended by admirals, generals, officers and men, WAAC’s and WRNS’s soldiers sailors, nurses, wounded, munition and civilian workers who all came together to give thanks for peace – and how they sang – people singing as they’ve never done before! The service was supported by a 60 strong RE band dressed in their scarlet tunics. The roll of drums, the sound of martial music, the great organ and the praises of overflowing hearts one mighty impact. By the start of the service there was not a vacant seat in the choir, nave or transepts. After the 6:30 service the Dean delivered a combined service for thanksgiving and praise in which Non-conformists ministers and their congregation from Rochester, Chatham and Strood had been invited – but only those from Rochester attended as a united service had already taken place in Chatham Town Hall. The bells of St. Margaret’s also rung out merrily and inside the choir and congregation, at each service, joined in heartedly in praise and prayers. In memory of the fallen the hymns “Forever with the Lord” and “For all the Saints” were included. Services were also held in the Rochester Baptist Church and the Vine Congregational Church offering thanksgiving for the cessation of hostilities and prayers for a permanent peace.[583]

Life Goes On

The death of Miss Rebecca Pearce, a retired postmistress, was announced. Miss Pearce (60) and living at 227 Maidstone Road, Rochester, had not been seen about for several days and the gas in her house having been seen continuously burning, the police affected entrance to her house and found her laying on the floor of her sitting-room. She had apparently had a sudden heart seizure while sewing.[584]

The emphasis in the following report, on ‘themselves’ suggests this could have been an ‘unusual’ break from the counter-service.

Leonards held a one-day sale at which they sold blouses at very economical prices – made possible by the high volume they aim to sell on that day. The sale known as a SMO [Special Merchandise Offer] required all purchases to be paid for at the time of purchase – but all will carry the Leonard’s guarantee and if not suitable the money will be refunded. “While at Leonards customers my like to visit the Christmas Showroom in their new Art & Craft shop at 144 High Street, where hundreds of gifts will be laid out for customers to choose themselves [underlining in advert].Everything fresh, dainty and moderately priced. To ensure you don’t overlook any one why not make a list of your friends when you come to choose the presents”.[585]

The Tea Table Café’s new Electric Coffee Mill means quicker service. A notice placed in the window “Home on Leave’ after another year in France” – invited old and new customers to the cafe with the promise that the new Electric Coffee Mill will mean they won’t have to wait for their coffee in the future.[586]

December 1918

Military and War Reports

The Mystery or ‘Q-ships’ referred to in the following report were disguised warships with hidden guns intended to lure U-boats in close and then sink them.

The mystery ship ‘Suffolk Coast’ was anchored off Cory’s Wharf [Blue Boar Lane] in Rochester for a few days this week and was visited by thousands of local folks. The small charge made for admission was donated to naval charities. The ‘Suffolk Coast’ had never been in action for her completion as a Mystery Ship was only effected the day after the armistice – but her crew of 47 had served on the mystery ship ‘Stock Force’ which was torpedoed off Devonport in July. The ‘Suffolk Coast’ was a collier that traded along the East coast. Her tonnage was 1,000 and she carried 4 guns, 2 twelve pounders and two 4 inch; three of these were concealed, leaving one 12 pounder exposed at the stern. This is known as a D.A.M.S [Defensively Armed Merchant Ships] gun. She also carried two sets of wireless disguised, and her two periscopes are splendidly concealed, one in the stove funnel and the other on the galley. Below, the vessel is packed with wood to keep her afloat for hours after an attack, and a tunnel has been so arranged that it is possible to walk from fore to aft without being observed.[587]

Torpedo boats were relatively small but fast ships that were armed with torpedoes.

Sixty-four torpedo boat destroyers anchored in the river Medway for Christmas. They are moored at intervals from Sheerness to Rochester – a distance of 14 miles. Bluejackets ashore have been given a hearty welcome.[588]

Reports from the Front

Pte. Cook’s experience as a Prisoner of War are outlined. The father of Cook from Rochester, wrote to the editor detailing the condition of his son who had returned from being held as a PoW. He said he was a shadow of his former self having experienced three months of starvation and cruelty. The treatment they received resulted in the deaths of many who he was required to bury in unmarked graves. He was involved in the moving of shells and the building of railways. He was required to send cards some printed as first coming from Limberg and then from Gustrow. He later learnt that he had never been at these places and had not even been in Germany. They were kept in an insanitary dungeon. They were allowed to go free soon after the Armistice and managed to creep with the help of two fellow soldiers to Namur where they were fortunately found and taken to the home of a kind and sympathetic Belgian. At that time his son was unconscious.[589]

Recognition and Reconstruction

The following report regrets the return of class bitterness – and the criticism being levelled at the aristocratic class that had contributed much to the war effort.

Appreciation expressed for the care offered by a Rochester couple to a billeted soldier. E. J. F. Garnet Man a Labour Candidate from Hythe, in a letter to the editor of the local paper expressed the view that one great loss of war was that common danger had sweetened class bitterness. In his letter, he recalled the kindness of the local constable and his wife, who lived just outside of Rochester where he was billeted in 1915; a kindness that was an object lesson in the true brotherhood of man. That lady with an angel’s face who nursed some of us suspected of having spotted fever was what some would term a bloated aristocrat. The very hospital in which we laid was the gift of another aristocrat. That delicate looking young man standing in our ranks was a man of great wealth, the son of an earl, a man who willingly gave life for those who now criticise his class.[590]

A swimming bath would be a fitting War Memorial to Rochester’s fallen. Richard Egan wrote to the editor wanting to ensure the proposal of a War Memorial is not lost. He suggested that the best way to honour the brave dead was with a swimming pool that would enable people to learn with swim.[591]

 

Roll of Honour

A Roll of Honour is to be displayed at the Guildhall. The Mayor of Rochester hopes that the Roll of Honour at the Guildhall may commemorate the names of all Rochester boys who lost their lives in the service of the country during the Great War. He therefore asked all friends and relatives to provide at an early date, the particulars of those who should appear on the roll.[592]

Trooper William King died on 5th November of pneumonia in Italy.  Mr. H. King of 75 Morden Street, was officially informed that his son William King (33) of 1st Life Guards, died on 5 November of Pneumonia in Italy. He joined the regiment in 1905 and went to Italy in June 1915 as orderly to Brig. General C. Deme-Radcliffe.[593]

Flu claims Sister D. Mathew, matron of the Strood VAD, who worked unsparingly whilst ill. The management committee of the Strood & Frindsbury VAD hospital, with great regret, announced the death of Sister Mathew. The influenza epidemic claimed a large toll of victims among the nursing staff of this VAD hospital, which particularly for one week threw a great burden of heavy and trying work and long hours upon those left available. Sister Mathew was unsparing of herself and worked on and on when undoubtedly she should have been in bed. But she knew that no other nurse of her trained professional ability was available and she continued to work until her physical powers failed and she was ultimately obliged to take to her bed. She was buried in Cobham, Surrey, but a memorial service was also held in the Choir of Rochester Cathedral.[594]

Portraits unveiled of E. W. Lyon & L. E. Oakshott at the Maths School. Miss Sturdee who attended the Math’s schools prize giving, unveiled the portraits. Both were head boys and both had lost their lives in the service of their country.[595]

Health & Hospitals

During the five weeks ending 23 November there had been 77 deaths from Influenza. A meeting of Rochester Council was advised that 46 deaths occurred in Strood and 31 on the Rochester side of the bridge.[596]

Strood VAD was to definitely close on 31 December having opened its doors on 6 September 1914.[597]

Celebrations, Recognition & Reconstruction

Although the Armistice had not been signed Peace was expected. However, the need to raise money continued in order to pay off the debt and to start reconstruction.

Hundreds apply to attend an evening of ‘Celebration’ in the New Corn Exchange. A great demonstration in the New Corn Exchange on Wednesday Evening [probably 4 December but another report suggests it was the Friday] was an unqualified success. Long before the time for opening hundreds were applying for admission. When it opened the place was packed from end to end and hundreds had to be sent away. The Mayor observed he had never seen the hall so full. It was altogether a wonderful evening. The first half hour of the programme was spent listening to a programme by the Band of the Royal Marines. A lantern lecture followed on “What the Navy had Done”. A novel feature of the week was a searchlight display in the Castle Gardens. The searchlight’s attempt to pick up the “Ghost of Rochester Castle” was watched by crowds. The ‘wheeze’ was worked by a party from Kingsnorth Air Station, and the electric current for the Castle Garden’s searchlight was by the kindness of the committee of Messrs. Shorts’ club close by. Arrangements were also made for searchlights from Chatham and Borstal to play on the castle. The ghost was found. Those wishing to inspect its dungeon, outside of which the Naval pipers played weird music, needed to make an investment in the savings scheme.[598]

Another week of activities were arranged in Rochester to encourage people to invest in the War Savings Scheme. In addition to concerts and presentations a replica of a ‘dug-out’ was constructed at the Guildhall, in which the public could make investments. There was also a very well supported Fancy Dress parade.

Recognition Week at Rochester proved a glorious success. Practically double the quota of £100,000 was subscribed equalling £6 / head of population. £163,000 had been subscribed up to Thursday night and Friday proved another good day. On Saturday morning a black cat etched itself on the top of the dug-out and to the minds of some this was an omen of a successful day. Not that we would suggest anyone was superstitious but no one would drive the animal away. Whether the black cat bought luck on or not, the day proved very successful. In the afternoon queues lined up waiting to subscribe and in order to ensure no one was disappointed the dug-out was kept open until 9 o’clock. Saturday’s takings at the dug-out alone was £4,630. The searchlight display on the previous Thursday evening aroused considerable interest. It is estimated that a full 25,000 people were attracted to the Castle Gardens. That evening £1,799 was invested in the dug-out and the Castle that evening. The dug-out was officially closed at 3 o’clock on Monday and during the week the military were involved in removing the gun and clearing away the sandbags. The total amount subscribed was £194,300 the sum including 17,000 savings certificates. A very large audience attended the Corn Exchange on Friday evening when the lecture “What the Navy had done” was read by Rev. G. Anderson Miller. The lecture was illustrated with an excellent series of lantern views.  Some thousands of people witnessed the fancy dress parade of the Rochester boy and girl investors on Saturday afternoon. Assembling in the Vines and headed by the Band of the Royal Engineers. they formed a procession and marched via East Row, Victoria Street, and High Street to the Esplanade where judging took place. Mr. C. Leonard and Mr. J. Featherstoneacted as marshals and the judging was carefully carried out by Mrs. Storrs, the Mayoress – Miss Jackson, Mrs. Wheatley and Mrs. H. Featherstone. The Mayor and Dean were interested onlookers and cheers were accorded to both the Mayor and Mayoress. Costumes included those making reference to the war savings scheme as well as the national costumes of the Allies; others were garbed as fairies. Special mention needs to be made of Kathleen Townwhose dress and hat were made of every description of waste paper, and bore a card on which were printed the words “Turn you waste paper into money to buy War Bonds and Certificates.[599] [Names of prize winners and costumes were detailed in the report – page 3].

 

“If it’s possible – do it!” – the motto of the third great effort in Rochester to raise War Savings. The event was judged a great success. The first was ‘Tank Week’ in the spring, then ‘War Weapons Week’ and now ‘Recognition & Reconstruction Week’. The target was to raise £100,000 and that has been exceeded. The attraction from a spectacular point was the dug-out at the Guildhall. This was not so much a dug-out as a build-up. At any rate, it was very realistic and on ground which has come to looked upon almost as sacred. There was deposited 79 tons soil, a 6 inch howitzer, sandbags, props, beams and all the rest of it. Involved in its construction where soldiers who had served over seas and who were able impart realistic touches such as naming one parts “Hell-fire corner” and “Whizz-bang corner”.[600]

How Christmas was spent

Christmas in the Strood VAD. Staff and workers of Strood VAD hospital spared themselves in no way to give the soldiers under their charge a really good Christmas. Frindsbury Ward in the Co-operative Hall was tastfully decorated by the men and Sisters, and at the end stood a gigantic Christmas tree donated by Lady Darnley and which had been gratuitously fitted up with electric lights by the Kent Electric Power Company. The wards in Claremont House were also embellished and what patients were able to be removed went to the Frindsbury ward for the Christmas Tree entertainment on Christmas evening. Special fare included nuts, oranges and sweet provided through the generosity of friends. The festivities were continued on Boxing Day and Friday.

Christmas in St. Bartholomew’s – the hospital was particularly full. So far as the pain and suffering would allow the patients had a very happy Christmas. The inmates it may be mentioned were few in the military wards, but on the civil side every bed was occupied and several emergencies were admitted during the day. The decorations were far more extensive than in previous years and in this respect Florence and Constance Wards call for special mention. In Florence, the male surgical ward, the nursing staff and patients had constructed a number of miniature aeroplanes and these with festive balloons formed the main feature in the centre of the ward. Over each bed was hung a tiny aeroplane and parachute, and when the whole were electrically illuminated in the evening the effect was an extremely pleasing one. The larger aeroplanes were not introduced into Constance ward, but the whole arrangement was an exceedingly delightful one. Christmas Day opened with carols by the staff who between 5am and 6am went from ward to ward singing. There were presents for all. There were many visitors throughout the day. Miss Pote Hunt, the matron doesn’t remember such a day for visitors. According to a custom that she had initiated when she first came to the hospital, each patient was allowed a visitor to attend at his or her bedside. As usual the wards were well decorated but this year they were highly effective. In two of the wards the scheme of decoration embraced a number of model aeroplanes which illuminated after dark. Each electric shade over the bed had been given the appearance of parachutes. The nursing staff with one or two patients did extremely well. The day came to an appropriate conclusion at 7pm by the singing of the Doxology.[601], [602]

Christmas in the Strood Union Workhouse – with the depressing shadow of war gone Christmas assumed its old time brightness at the Strood Poor Law Institution. Although there were problems with the supply of Christmas fare that was nothing compared with the joy of knowing that peace again reigned on earth. There were 160 inmates, 53 of whom were invalids and old people in the infirmary, and seven children chargeable to the Guardians who had been placed in ‘Scattered Homes’ or boarded out with kind hearted relatives or friends in the union district. The large dining hall, where the majority of the inmates assemble for their meals, and also the infirmary wards were very tastily decorated with evergreen provided by the Earl of Darnley. There were respectable visitors during the day. After the usual breakfast it was followed by a dinner of roast beef, legs and shoulders of mutton (officers also had poultry), baked potatoes, parsnips and plum pudding, and with minerals and sparking ale gifted by Messrs. Budden and Biggs. Rich cake was added to the ordinary fare for tea, and biscuits and confectionary were handed around in the evening when all were assembled again in the dining hall for a concert. All those contributing were members of the household. The Guardians granted an extra allowance of tobacco for the men and snuff for the women. Amongst the gifts were 60 three-penny pieces from Mrs. Tingey for the old women. [603],[604]

Christmas in the Strood Scattered Homes – the children in the Strood Scattered Homes under the capable direction of Miss Campbell had a thoroughly happy Christmas. The inmates numbered about 45. At Highamette, the girls’ home, the young people found their stockings packed with biscuits, sweetmeats and unusual articles. The proceedings at Lorne Villa, the boys and infants’ home, was similar. The older children attended the morning service at the Parish Church. The gifts of money will enable Miss Campbell to take the children to the pantomime on New Year’s Day. Threepenny pieces for all the children were sent by Mr. and Miss Ellen Campbell.[605] [Lorne Villa – see ‘Home News’, August 1917.]

Civic Business

After Parliamentary nominations closed on 4 December, electioneering started in earnest. The reports on the party’s manifestos, with the exception of the Conservatives, show they were clearly aiming to gain the vote of women.

Labour Calls You! to attend a meeting at the New Corn Exchange. Dan Hubbard, candidate, listed 15 things that he stands for including “A People’s say in a People’s Peace”, “A Levy on Wealth and a Bonus on Brains”, better pay, shorter hours, work and justice for ex-service men, freedom for Ireland and India … “less worry for women”. At the close of the meeting a vote of confidence in the candidate was enthusiastically adopted.[606]

The case for voting Labour was outlined in a notice placed in the press. The Labour candidate for Chatham placed a large notice in the paper making the case for people to vote for him. Appealing to all women to register to vote he urged them to support him in developing Maternity and Child Care Centres throughout the country, waiting homes for expectant mothers, maternity homes, allowances for mothers whose circumstances or surroundings make it desirable for them to continue living at home, residential accommodation with day nurseries attached for mothers with babies who wish to live with their babies and go out to work, foster homes or adopting parents for babies of those cannot keep their children with them, special homes for mothers suffering from such defects or disease as should preclude their keeping their children with them. For unmarried mothers – the state should take proceedings against the putative father – proceeding that should be taken at an early stage before birth. This order should include maintenance and the expenses of confinement. The limit of 5s should be abolished and an order made as may be equitable having regard to the financial position of both parents; the proceedings should not take place in a public court. He pressed for these arrangements as a means of tackling the scandal of 10% of legitimate births dying in the first week of their lives. More generally he was campaigning for women to have Equality before the law; equality of opportunity and equal pay with men for equal work.[607]

The case for voting Conservative made at a meeting held at the New Corn Exchange. A large and enthusiastic meeting in support of the candidature of Col. J. Moore-Brabazon – who described himself as an ‘advanced conservative’ being in favour of such things as coal and electricity being controlled by the government. On the subject of tariffs, he said he wanted ‘fair-trade’ not ‘free-trade’. [608]

The case for voting Liberal and Lloyd George Coalition Candidate detailed in the press. A full page political advert was placed, promoting a vote for their candidate H. Woodcock. It was particularly welcoming of women forming an association independent of the political parties and undertaking to vote for the best man, they have it within their power, properly used, to purify public life.[609]

Council votes on a motion stating that the ex-Kaiser should put of trial. Some members were concerned that this was not a matter which should have be bought to the Corporation – it represented an interference in Imperial affairs and smacked of revenge. Despite these concerns the motion was carried.[610]

The City Surveyor was instructed to report on the best position for additional street lamps that may be lit under the limits of the restrictions in the use of gas.[611]

Renumbering the High Street is proposed. A decision to renumber the High Street so as to avoid the confusion of having duplicate numbers on each side of the street was deferred for six months.[612]

Community Support

Reported above as part of the Recognition and Reconstruction ‘celebrations’.

Home Tragedies

Mystery of the missing seaman. The captain of the ‘SS Tynesider’, lying in the Medway, has reported to the police the loss of a fireman, a member of his crew named Thomas Robson (23) is presumed drowned. At about 10pm on Friday night, Robson is said to have been making his way to his ship from Blue Boar Pier, when a splash was heard. What happened in the darkness is not quite clear, but Robson’s coat and waistcoat were subsequently found on the pier. Nothing has been heard of him since.[613]

School / Education News

Concerns expressed about teachers leaving the profession and lack of science teachers. Miss. E. Conway, President of the NUT, addressed a meeting of teachers at the Masonic Hall, Manor Road, Chatham. In her address she expressed concerns about teachers leaving the profession and the fact there is a serious deficiency of science teachers. She believed the pre-war views on education were very unsatisfactory. They were apt to be based on the view that heredity only conferred the possibilities of advancement. It was now time to recognise that genius can override heredity, and that brain capacity exists in all classes. In summary, she welcomed the Fisher Act which made education compulsory for all.[614] [Essie Ruth Conway was recognised as a very persuasive and effective speaker and assumed the presidency of the NUT after Isobel Cleghorn.[615]]

 Court Cases

Joseph Harker, fined £8 with £2 2s cost for permitting a quantity of barley to be wasted. Harker a general dealer of 7 Dongela Road, Strood, was before magistrates for permitting a quantity of barley to be wasted. The field was harvested late in the season by Robins & Day but he had allowed it to remain unprotected in the field as he was unable to secure straw to protect it. He was allowed a month to pay with the alternative of one-months’ imprisonment.[616]

Butchers and a fishmonger before magistrates for overstating the number of their customers. Butchers, William Longley of the High Street, and William Boucher were before magistrates following a complaint from other butchers concerning a misrepresentation of the number of registered customers that had. The evidence was that Mr. Longley had, on 7 October, 3,871 adults and 522 children registered, on 19 October his return showed 3,352 adults and 529 children. This was initially assumed to be a clerical error but as the Food Controller had received a complaint the counterfoils were counted. This found Longley had 2,118 adults and 224 children registered and was therefore drawing more meat – amounting to 1,400 lbs. than he was entitled to do. In the case of Boucher he claimed to have 2,780 adults and 340 children registered whereas the figures should have been 2,409 adults and 278 children. Miss Ada Boucher who was responsible for the books said the counterfoils were counted six months ago and the difference was due to removals and deaths that had not been accounted for. Boucher was fined 40s but Longley was fined £10 as the difference was so great that he should have realised how much meat he had left over. Eliza Hawkinsfishmonger of 12 High Street, Strood, was fined by the Rochester City Police Court a total of 50s for selling a bloater at a price exceeding the maximum set and for failing to exhibit a schedule of prices as required by the Fish Price Order. The complaint had been raised by Winifred Newman of 56 High Street, Rochester.[617]

Albert Charles Harding received a months’ hard-labour for stealing from his girlfriend. Harding (17) a boy mechanic in the Royal Airforce stationed at Kingsnorth, was sentenced to 1 months’ hard labour for stealing the purse of Ethel Mount a munitions worker with whom he was ‘walking out’. He gave her a book of songs that she placed in her pocket. Harding then went into her pocket to retrieve the song book – but didn’t take the book but after he left she found her purse containing 10s Treasury and 4s 6d in silver was missing.[618]

Women’s Experiences

See ‘Case for Voting Labour’ above. All the political parties made a pitch for the vote of women. It was the offer of the Labour Party that seemed to gain the most coverage – see above in Civic Business. The local ‘manifesto’ seems to cover all the issues that have come up, in all the above chapters, as having relevance for women.

Church & Cathedral

Peace and Victory were the keynotes of the Christmas celebrations in the Medway Towns. At Rochester Christmas Day was heralded with a peal of the Cathedral Bells that started at 6:15am and continued for three quarters of an hour until the commencement of the 7 o’clock service. Mr. Osbourne and Mr. Haig and their comrades of the belfry made the welkin ring right and merrily This was the earliest for some years that the Cathedral Belfry had been so occupied. There was not a large attendance at the Cathedral services but the music was hearty and appropriate. On Sunday, the service was more of a more memorial character.

Rev. H. Hicken of St. Peters, together with 30 members of the choir perambulated the parish singing on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. As in former years the Vicar and a few members of the choir attended St. Bartholomew’s hospital on Christmas afternoon and sang two carols in each ward.[619]

Life Goes On

Some shops had an extended closure over Christmas. Louis Cobb and Charles Leonard & Sons – along with other firms of Drapers & Ladies Outfitters in Chatham – will close on Christmas Eve and reopen on Monday December 30.[620]

January 1919

Military and War Reports

The government was probably aware of the burden placed on communities when there had been the mass-demobilisation of men following a war and were probably trying to manage the process. However, the wider good of society probably had little meaning for individual men desperate to return home and to pick up on their lives. Bad feelings amongst men awaiting their discharge seems to have been fuelled by poor communication.

Demobilisation trouble – unrest amongst servicemen in Chatham. Locally unrest hasn’t been as prominent as elsewhere but there has been a great many expressions of opinion and collective action taken with the Army Service Corps as well as the infantry regiments.  On Tuesday about 500 Army Pay Corps men gathered outside the central mess in Chatham to petition the Corp in respect of demobilisation. In Chatham, temporary and reserve men were discharged as rapidly as possible in order to accommodate the men coming in from the ships.[621]

Reports from the Front

Private John Bull was awarded the Military Medal. Bull of 35 Montfort-road, Strood, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct during operations at Moriancourt, August last, and for gallantry and devotion to duty in the field. He was an old boy of St. Mary’s School, Strood, and previous to joining the Colours at 18, he was employed in the stores department at Messrs. Short Brothers works, Rochester. He served nearly three years in France and was badly wounded, and twice gassed.[622]

Recognition and Reconstruction

Great schemes planned at Shorts’ Rochester works. In an interview with Oswald Short he gave a peep into the future when he expressed the opinion that he saw a future for aeroplanes providing for short journeys of up to 800 miles. A team of Japanese engineers who visited Rochester were alive to the possibilities of air travel.[623]

The Rochester Choral Society is to be revived. At an enthusiastic meeting at the Guildhall it was agreed to restart the Rochester Choral Society and already there is promise of a great future. Despite the wretched weather there was a good attendance, particularly of ladies. The option of starting a new society was discounted in preference to restarting the old society which had been in existence – on and off – for over hundred years. It would therefore be a “thousand pities” if after the war it could not start again. It was also agreed as was the tradition started many years ago, for the conductor to be the organist of the Cathedral. It was hoped that as this was a ‘revival’ old members would consider themselves members. The first practice was fixed for Tuesday 21 January.[624]

A dinner party was given for repatriated prisoners of war in the New Corn Exchange. There was an exceedingly happy party in the New Corn Exchange on Thursday when the Dean of Rochester gave a dinner party for 50 to 60 repatriated prisoners of war whose homes were in the City. Notwithstanding their treatment and in some cases the wounds they had received, the men on the whole enjoyed the occasion exceedingly well. The menu was an elaborate one prepared by the Deanery staff on the premises. The VAD ambulance men and the ladies who helped pack the parcels sent to the PoWs assisted in serving the dinner.[625] [The names and addresses of the men who attended were listed.]

Potential employers asked to recognise that ex-service men will make good employees. Notice published showing the badge of an ex-service man and stating that potential employers should take that to mean the man is hardworking and disciplined.[626]

Admiral Sir Roger Keyes was responsible for planning the raid on the German base at Zeebrugge. See ‘Community Support’, September 1918.]

Admiral Sir Roger Keyes invited by the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men. The Rochester branch of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men received a promise from Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, their Vice President, to visit Rochester next month as their guest.[627]

Tractors can replace three or four horses. Robin Day of Rochester advertised the coming availability of Fordson Farm tractors. A Fordson tractor can displace three or four horses from a farm and is capable of ploughing an acre an hour. Price £250.[628]

The Government Aircraft and Bombardment insurance scheme ended. No new insurances will be granted under the government aircraft and bombardment insurance scheme after 31 January. The polices still in force offered cover for the risk of mines which drift upon the coast. As there had been no air raids for several months only claims already submitted will be considered. Risks hitherto that have been covered by the government policies are now left to the open market.[629]

Four hundred attend a dance at the Corn Exchange. Mr. & Mrs. Worrall’s dance at the Corn Exchange was a great success there being 400 dancers in attendance. The powerful orchestra provided some excellent music. With pantomimes occupying the boards of practically all suburban theatres good fortune befalls the residents of Rochester and Chatham in that they can renew their acquaintance with opera. For six nights, the “J. W. Turner English Opera Company will be at the Corn Exchange on a specially fitted stage”.[630]

Roll of Honour

2nd Lieut. George Willis was killed in an accident whilst flying near Boulogne. Willis (19) of the RAF, was killed in an accident whilst flying near Boulogne. Two mechanics who were with him also lost their lives. He was the son of Alderman Charles Willis, formally Mayor of Rochester.[631]

King’s School lost 50 Old Boys – more than most schools in proportion to its numbers.[632

Should the towns have a War Memorial?  J. Brand of the High Street, wrote to the press questioning whether it was time we to progress the establishment of a war memorial for the Towns, although he was aware that the Dean hoped to have a handsome cross erected near to the Cathedral. Mr. Brand suggested that a really fine swimming bath should be built.[633] (See ‘Recognition and Reconstruction’, December 1918.)

Health & Hospitals

Miss Grace Farqubar assistant matron at St. Bartholomew’s is to leave. Miss Farqubar, who for the previous seven years had held the post of Assistant matron at St. Bartholomew’s, Rochester, where there were two hundred beds, had secured the position of Matron at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital.[634]

Home News

The Seaman’s Mission was based at 209 High Street, Rochester – the old Robins & Day’s showroom. It appears there was a church upstairs. A ‘Watchnight Service’ is held late on New Year’s Eve, and ends after midnight.

Seaman enjoy an Armistice Supper at the Seaman’s Institute. Workers and friends of the Seaman’s Institute spent an enjoyable time on New Year’s Eve. There was first what was referred to as an Armistice Supper – the assembly being told that an Armistice being something midway between war and victory. The meal was mainly ham and tongue and alike, and Christmas Pudding that had been sent by well-wishers. A capital concert followed by the Neptune Orchestra that was composed chiefly of dockyard workers. At 11:15pm there was a ‘Watchnight Service’ in the little church upstairs.[635]

Food, Queues & Deceptions

Coupons no longer needed for Corned Beef, price fixed at 1/10d per lb.[636]

 

Civic Business

General Election results for Rochester / ChathamCol. T. Brabazon (Unionist) 11,454; D. Hubbard (Labour) 4,134; H. Woodcock (Liberal) 2,779. Unionist Majority = 7,320.[637]

The roads are in an atrocious condition. The Strood District Council heard that its roads were in an atrocious condition owing to them not having been tarred for three to four years. £8,000 was requested for materials stressing that no allowance had been made for improvements by way of widening road or the rounding corners. Messrs. Curtiss & Harvey was to contribute £2,000 towards the repair of the Strood to Cliffe Road.[638]

Street lighting is to be increased. The Council accepted the City Surveyor’s recommendation to light 320 street lanterns – about half the normal number. Horse drawn tar-spraying machine is to be purchased by the Councilfrom Messrs Weeks & Co., at a cost of £180. Joint Board for Education to be establishedthe whole council resolved to join the scheme to establish a Joint Board for the purpose of co-ordinating all forms of education in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.[639]

Concern is felt about the future of Chatham Dockyard. Great concerns is being felt in the municipalities of Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham about the future of Chatham Dockyard. During the war the dockyard was full of workman, with the result that the housing in the district was severely taxed. Schemes that were in hand to build more dwelling house on the outskirts of the towns were put into abeyance until assurances were received from the Admiralty that the dockyard will not be seriously affected by the end of the war. Delegates were identified to join those from Chatham and Gillingham to wait on First Lord of the Admiralty. [640]

Houses or allotments? Arising out of the demand for houses, the Rochester Corporation appear to have caused a little uneasiness amongst the allotment holders near the tramway terminus at Frindsbury. It appears that this site and another at the Delce, was earmarked for housing.[641]

Community Support

A time to celebrate. There were many reports of celebrations. The Mayor and Mayoress entertained 170 guests at an ‘at home’ held in the Guildhall. The historic hall was delightfully arranged with curtains, settees, ferns and flowers to create a drawing room appearance. Cllr. Charles Willis reinstated the Christmas treat for the senior pupils of the Elementary Schools. “Seldom have such crowds of joyous children filled the New Corn Exchange” to receive the annual treat generously given by Cllr. Willis – an event that had not been held for four years – so many who attended only knew of the event from their parents. The girls had their show in the afternoon and the boys in the evening. The children on each occasion numbered 800 and assembled at their schools before marching in procession to the Corn Exchange.[642]

In 1915 Percy White wrote to St. Dunstan’s Care Committee suggesting that a National Carol League be formed “of persons of at least fair voices … in each town and village throughout the country. The proposals was to raise funds by singing carols at Christmas.[643]

 

Money is raised for St. Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors. The Hon. Sec. (LH, 14 King’s Ave) of the Rochester Branch of the National Carol League wrote to advise that the group had raised £35 for the St. Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors.[644]

School / Education News

The 1918 Education Act placed restrictions on the employment of children.

The Education Act may end boys doing paper-rounds. Medway newsagents met at the Temperance Cafe, High Street, Rochester, on Monday evening and decided that Rochester should unite with Chatham and Gillingham under the heading of Chatham and District Retail Newsagents and Book Sellers. The meeting then considered the new Education Act and how it could impact on the employment of boys to deliver newspapers. The general feeling of the meeting was that boys should be allowed to be employed an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening to deliver newspapers. It was agreed representations needed to be made. It was also agreed to fix the delivery charge at 1d / week.[645]

The Education committees of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham to be amalgamated.[646]

Women’s Experiences

A Maternity and child welfare centre was demanded for Rochester. The Local Government Board wrote to Rochester Council stating it had received a memorial signed by a large number of women living in Rochester concerning the urgent need for a maternity and child welfare centre, and asking the Council whether it had decided to establish a centre at an early date, and whether a child welfare committee had been formed under the Maternity and Child Welfare Act 1918. The Health Committee deferred consideration of the matter to their next meeting and resolved to seek more information about the memorial from the Local Government Board.[647]

The Bishop asks “Can we expect women to turn back the clock by five years? The Bishop of Rochester made an important appeal to women in his New Year Message. Although the coming year was one of hope and promise he pointed out that it will also be a time of significant political and social reconstruction. It will also be a time to many, of transitions in their occupations. It will mean the release of multitudes from duties taken up at home for the common good. On this subject he asked about the thousands of VAD nurses who nobly devoted themselves to the alleviation of human pain – will they be content to return to the life of five years back? The Bishop hoped that they will be able to offer their experiences in fields that have opened up in the past five years – such as child welfare, district nursing, sanitary inspectorships and the combating of disease with new methods. The Bishop also saw roles for women in the church. The bishop in conclusion saw many benefits coming from the call to have a better educated England which in turn would equip women to take up positions as teachers or other roles which will be congenial to many in whose hearts the love of children is instinctive.[648]

Justices loathe to issue a separation order to a wife assaulted by her husband. Domestic differences between a husband and wife occupied Rochester City Justices. The defendant was George Harmsworth, a private in the Royal Marines, who was summoned for assaulting his wife Lilian Harmsworth at Strood on 28 December. On the basis of this assault Mrs. Harmsworth was seeking a separation order. They had married in 1912 at St. Mary’s Strood. For the last two years she had been living at her sister’s house, The Fountain Inn, Strood. Details of the assault which was precipitated by Mrs. Harmsworth asking her drunken husband where he had been, were detailed. Hearing details of their difficult living circumstances the bench adjourned the case for two weeks hoping the couple could come together. If this were not possible the chairman said he would grant a separation order though he was loathe to do so.[649]

Church & Cathedral

How much Germany should pay in reparations became highly contentious. In December the Allies claimed the war had cost £24,000 million, about six times the provisional estimate calculated by John Maynard Keynes. Keynes was concerned that requiring Germany to pay this inflated amount would severally hurt – starve – the German civilian population.[650]

Justice, not vengeance urges the Bishop as reconstruction starts. The Bishop of Rochester in his New Year’s message recognised the Nation’s Joy and the importance of enjoying the release from 41/2 years of stress, but went on to stress the importance of restoration, paying the debt owed to service men – particularly those carrying the marks of their suffering. Although he felt Charity begins at home he encouraged us not to forget about the suffering of people who were in countries not so well protected as ours and who had been under the foot of the invaders. Wrongs needed to be righted but he was clear – justice needed to be sternly applied but it had to be justice – not vengeance.[651]

Life Goes On

“Presents that your Kate would be delighted to receive” can be found at Smetham & Tutts 177-9 High Street, Rochester, and 97-9 High Street, Strood. Advert under the heading of “Romance Many things are needed to make a HAPPY HOME”  first the wedding ring. Our wedding rings bring good luck, made to measure suits and all kinds of presents that your Kate would be delighted to receive, and many things for the house.[652] [177, was Capon’s the Butcher but is currently  cake decoration shop. 179+ was removed with the changes made to the junction at the bottom of Star Hill.]

And finally?

This is as good place as any to end. From here on a Peace Treaty was signed and life continued as a series of ‘Continuations’ and ‘Beginnings’. Great change took place following the war but it’s also surprising how many of the ‘dragons’ that the Dean of Rochester and politicians identified during their 1918 electioneering, that still ‘survive’ to today. The following list includes post-war ‘challenges’ identified in the above press reports – a list that I suspect the ‘modern’ reader could be forgiven for not realising it is over 100 years old.

  • Women should have equality before the law; equality of opportunity and equal pay with men for equal work.
  • Free trade agreements – Import tariffs – ‘fair-trade’ or ‘free-trade’.
  • Inflation and adulteration of food still requires government invention.
  • Prices still need to regulated and cannot be left to the market as unregulated prices disproportionately hit the poor.
  • Government needs to intervene to manage fuel cost.
  • There remains a shortage of affordable accommodation.
  • Problems persist with the quality of private rented accommodation.
  • Benefits are still regarded as providing a disincentive to work.
  • Previous ‘administrations’ blamed for the accumulation of debt.
  • Party politics can still impede debate on many big issues.
  • The need / lack of child care centres remains contentious.
  • Teachers are still leaving the profession – with a particular lack of science teachers
  • Integration of ex-service men remains problematic.
  • Suicide / attempted suicide is no longer a crime but remains significant social problem.
  • The police still need to take people into protective custody because of a lack of alternative provision.
  • Health facilities still face a mismatch between funding and expectations.
  • There was and remains a wide gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.
  • Contracts & recharges seen as a modern solution were not seen as ideal a century ago.
  • The need to purify politics.

+++ Sources +++

[1] 5 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[2] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[3] www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/tips-for-interpreting-photographs-of-men-in-uniform/whats-that-on-his-sleeve-a-wound-stripe. Accessed 9 August 2017.

[4] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[5] 19 January 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[6] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[7] www.icslearn.co.uk/business. Accessed 3 October 2017.

[8] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[9] 5 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer. (Photo).

[10] 12 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer, and Kent Messenger.

[11] 22 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[12] www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/spotlights/blockade.htm. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[13] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[14] 5 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[15] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[16] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[17] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[18] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[19] 5 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[20] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[21] 5 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[22] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[23] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[24] 5 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[25] 5 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[26] 5 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[27] 12 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[28] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[29] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[30] 19 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[31] 5 & 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[32] 12 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[33] 15 January 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[34] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[35] 5 January 1918, Kent Messenger & Gravesend Messenger

[36] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[37] 26 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[38] 5 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[39] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger and Gravesend Messenger.

[40] 12 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[41] 19 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[42] www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo4/5/83/section/4. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[43] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[44] 5 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[45] 12 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[46] 26 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[47] 16 January, The Bystander, 19 January 1918, Herne Bay Press.

[48] 20 July 1901, Whitstable Times & Herne Bay Herald.

[49] 5 January 1918, Framlingham Weekly News.

[50] 26 January 1918, Kent Messenger.

[51] www.shorneparishchurch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SHORNE-SECTION-E-NOTES.pdf. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[52] 3 January 1918, Birmingham Mail.

[53] www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/information_and_explanation/world/history_uk.htm. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[54] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer / News.

[55] 26 January 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[56] www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-u-boat-campaign-that-almost-broke-britain. Accessed 8 November 2017.

[57] 16 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[58] 16 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[59] 14 February 1918, Western Daily Press.

[60] 16 February 1918, Aberdeen Press and Journal.

[61] 19 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[62] 13 February 1915, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[63] 9 February 1918, Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald.

[64] 2 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[65] 2 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[66] 19 February 1918, South Easter Gazette.

[67] 16 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[68] 2 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[69] 23 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[70] 2 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[71] 9 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[72] 9 & 16 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[73] 5 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[74] 2 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[75] 16 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[76] 9 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[77] 16 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[78] www.centenarynews.com/article/historian-writes-for-centenary-news-about-his-research-on-first-world-war-national-kitchens. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[79] 16 February 1918, Kent Messenger and Maidstone Telegraph.

[80] 5 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[81] 16 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[82] 23 February, Kent Messenger; 26 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[83] 9 February 1918, Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald

[84] 9 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[85] 9 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[86] 9 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[87] 9 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[88] 19 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[89] 12 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[90] 12 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[91] 16 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[92] 2 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[93] www.insidetime.org/a-short-history-of-the-probation-service. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[94] 2 February 1918, Kent Messenger.

[95] www.scapaflowwrecks.com/wrecks/vanguard/history.php. Accessed 23 September 2017.

[96] 8 February 1918, Leamington Spa Courier.

[97] 26 February 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[98] 9 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[99] 9 February 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[100] 30 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[101] 2 March 1918, Army and Navy Gazette.

[102] www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/conscription-appeals/. Accessed 17 Feb. 2017.

[103] 30 March and 27 April 1918, Herne Bay Press.

[104] 23 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[105] 30 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[106] 9 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[107] 9 March 1918, Rochdale Observer.

[108] 9 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[109] 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[110] 30 March 1918, Cheltenham Looker-On.

[111] 30 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[112] 5 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[113] 16 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[114] 2 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[115] 23 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[116] 12 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[117] 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[118] 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[119] 9 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[120] 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[121] 23 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[122] 30 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[123] http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1710859.  Accessed 8 November 2017.

[124] 2 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[125] 19 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[126] 9 March 1918, Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald.

[127] 30 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[128] 5 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[129] 13 March 1918, Birmingham Mail.

[130] 13 March 1918, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

[131] 9 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[132] 27 March, Dundee Evening Telegraph; 30 March, Kent Messenger; 6 April 1918, Kent Messenger and Maidstone Telegraph.

[133] www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/11005281/The-Great-War-and-education.html. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[134] http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/livinglearning/school/overview/1914-39. Accessed 10 August 2017.

[135] 30 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[136] 2 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[137] 2 March, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer; 5 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[138] 2 March 1918, Kent Messenger and Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[139] 2 March 1918, Kent Messenger and Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[140] 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[141] Women on the Land. Carol Twitch. 1990. E.g. p17.

[142] www.womenslandarmy.co.uk/world-war-one. Accessed 11 August 2017.

[143] 2 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[144] 15 March 1918, Kent & Sussex Courier.

[145] 19 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[146] 2 March 1918, Kent Messenger.

[147] 5 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette,

[148] 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[149] The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire’s Annual Law Lecture. www.supremecourt.uk/docs/speech-121009.pdf. Accessed 4 October 2017.

[150] 23 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[151] 2 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[152] 23 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[153] www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/battles-of-world-war-one/the-german-spring-offensive-of-1918. Accessed 9 August 1917.

[154] 13 April, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News; 20 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[155] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[156] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[157] https://salonikacampaignsociety.org.uk. Accessed 4 October 2017.

[158] 6 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[159] 6 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[160] 6 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[161] Royal Navy Roll of Honour, 2009. Don Kindell, p481.

[162] 20 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[163] Possible link – http://canadaatwar.ca/memorial/world-war-i/103549/private-frederick-stanley-sudds. Accessed 13 August 2017.

[164] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News. [Names of those who passed are listed.]

[165] 27 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[166] 13 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[167] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[168] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[169] 30 April 1918, South Eastern Gazette

[170] 19 March 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[171] 9 April 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[172] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[173] 2 April 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[174] 2 April 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[175] 13 April 1918, Kent Messenger; Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[176] 13 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[177] 20 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[178] 20 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News. [Lot more detail given in this report.]

[179] 20 April 1918, Kent Messenger and Maidstone Telegraph.

[180] 27 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[181] 27 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[182] 27 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[183] 12 April 1918, Diss Express.

[184] 6 April, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News. 16 March 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[185] 6 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[186] www.thewi.org.uk/about-the-wi/history-of-the-wi/the-origins. Accessed 23 September 2017.

[187] 2 April 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[188] 6 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[189] 13 April 1918, Kent Messenger.

[190] 27 April 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[191] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[192] 18 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[193] 11 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[194] 18 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[195] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[196] 18 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[197] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[198] http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1918/jun/20/military-service-medical-grading. Accessed 8 November 2017.

[199] 25 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[200] 18 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[201] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[202] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[203] 18 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[204] 25 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[205] 25 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[206] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[207] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[208] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[209] 18 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[210] 25 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[211] 7 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[212] 18 May 1918, Herne Bay Press.

[213] 7 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[214] 24 May 1918, Kent & Sussex Courier.

[215] 22 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[216] 4 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[217] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_New_Year_Honours. Accessed 30 August 2017.

[218] 18 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[219] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[220] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[221] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[222] 10 May 1918, Dover Express.

[223] 25 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[224] 25 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingam News.

[225] 25 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[226] http://blog.museumoflondon.org.uk/sweets-london-wwi. Accessed 30 August 2017.

[227] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[228] 11 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[229] 18 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[230] 18 May 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[231] 25 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[232] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[233] http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C15099. Accessed 14 August 2017.

[234] 21 May 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[235] 4 May 1918, Kent Messenger.

[236] 25 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[237] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwrkAyH0-8A.  Accessed 4 November 2017.

[238] 2 October 1917, Pall Mall Gazette.

[239] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[240] 9 April 1918, Liverpool Echo.

[241] 4 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[242] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[243] 26 April 1918, Western Gazette.

[244] 11 May 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[245] 7 May 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[246] 14 May 1918, Daily Express.

[247] 9 May 1918, Daily Express.

[248] www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/11195378/Dogs-of-war-the-unsung-heroes-of-the-trenches.html. Accessed 5 October 2017.

[249] 11 May 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[250] 11 May 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[251] 1 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[252] 1 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[253] 8 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[254] 8 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[255] 22 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[256] 29 June 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[257] 8 June 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph and British Journal of Nursing.

[258] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[259] 4 June, Daily Express, Kent and Messenger, Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, and Daily Mirror; 8 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[260] 8 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer. On 15 June all the gifts were listed.

[261] 11 June 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[262] 25 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[263] 22 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[264] 15 June 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[265] 22 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[266] 15 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[267] 1 January 1918, Rugby Advertiser.

[268] 1 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[269] 8 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[270] 15 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[271] 25 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[272] 8 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[273] 15 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[274] http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/29th-june-1918/3/the-labour-party-conference-in-london-on-wednesday. Accessed 15 August 1917.

[275] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[276] 22 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[277] 29 June 1918, Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald.

[278] 22 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[279] 8 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[280] 11 June 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[281] 15 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[282] 22 June, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News; 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[283] 13 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[284] 22 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[285] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[286] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[287] 25 June 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[288] 1 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer. Details on p6.

[289] 1 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[290] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[291] 1 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[292] 29 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[293] 4 June 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[294] 18 June 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[295] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[296] 15 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[297] 21 June 1918, Kent & Sussex Courier.

[298] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[299] 29 June 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[300] 8 June 1918, Kent Messenger.

[301] 14 June 1918, Diss Express.

[302] 27 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[303] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[304] 13 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[305] 13 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[306] 13 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[307] 11 July 1918, Daily Mirror.

[308] 30 July 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[309] 30 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[310] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[311] 27 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[312] 26 July 1918, Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, and Kent & Sussex Courier.

[313] 27 July 1918, Kent Messenger and Maidstone Telegraph.

[314] 6 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[315] 16 July 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[316] 20 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[317] 23 July 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[318] 30 July 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[319] www.magistrates-association.org.uk/about-magistrates/history-magistrates. Accessed 15 August 2017.

[320] 6 July 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph

[321] 6 July 1918, Hull Daily Mail.

[322] 6 July 1918, Sheffield Evening Telegraph.

[323] 6 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[324] 13 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[325] 27 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[326] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[327] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[328] 23 July 1918, South Eastern Gazette.

[329] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[330] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[331] 26 July 1918, Biggleswade Chronicle.

[332] 13 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[333] 20 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[334] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[335] 13 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[336] 20 July 1918, Kent Messenger.

[337] 20 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[338] www.aim25.com/cats/65/10571.htm. Accessed 15 August 2017.

[339] 6 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[340] 5 July 1918, Kent & Sussex Courier.

[341] 20 July 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[342] 27 August 1918, Kent Messenger.

[343] 27 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[344] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[345] 17 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[346] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[347] 17 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[348] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[349] 10 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[350] 10 August 1918, Kent Messenger.

[351] 17 August 1918, Kent Messenger & Maidstone Telegraph.

[352] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

[353] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[354] 31 August, Kent Messenger. 3 September 1918, Cambridge Daily News.

[355] 29 August 1918, Hull Daily Mail.

[356] 24 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News. Photo.

[357] 3 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[358] 17 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.

[359] 17 August 1918, Kent Messenger.

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[361] 24 August 1918, Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham Observer.

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