Harold Wild’s Diary – 1918

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January 1918

To-day I wrote & posted a reply to my notice for re-exam on MNSF 3579. Area no.72355 “No in AB 414”..1204, Class no 2, saying I wd probably present myself for re-exam, but would not become a soldier etc.
Arrived at Hulme Town Hall for a re-exam about 9 o’clock.
After waiting till 12 noon I with others was told to come again at 2.0pm. This I did. I was taken eventually by Capt. Parsons to a doctor & then returned to the Captains’ Room, where I refused to sign or receive money. For full a/c see letter to DBW [?].
Received a form from Room 12, Albert Hall, stating that if I called there any time within certain fixed hours, they would complete my National Service Rejection Certificate.
After work went straight to the Albert Hall, but found that this section had been transferred to the Whitworth Hall (or Institute)
Mr Bunce, who after a year or so’s imprisonment has now been rejected because of his bad physical condition & released from prison & the Army, spoke from the platform at the NCFmtg for a few minutes. he was one of those who came very near to the death penalty. He had been taken to France in handcuffs.
This morning I paid a visit to the Whalley Range Friends mtg, chiefly to see Mrs Brayshaw.
Went (my third visit) to the Trades Council as M/c Central- AUCE [Amalgamated Union Clerical Employees (??)] delegate.
A mtg. of the Central Office staffs of the AUCE was held at 1.30 when it was decided to form an association of the TU & Insurance staffs to be called.
Nominations for position of shop steward for each dept were made, with two members in addition from each dept. to act as C’tee members. A vote was taken by ballot on these names & the Shop Steward elected by the State Insu. dept was W. Schofield & the two ctee members: Miss Hughes & myself.
A committee mtg. as above was held in the TU. It was agreed to recommend the staff to take no action on Saturday re. the food queue protest demonstration.
To-day by post I received a birthday present – in the shape of a farthing from my sister Miriam.
To-day I mangaged to ride home on my bicycle without having to light up.

February 1918

My wage was raised from 47/6 to 49/6 by reason of 1 year’s service after reaching 21 years.
This morning, by Registered post, I received my total rejection certificate, which I acknowledged on the typed slip included.
At the NCF mtg, Mrs Fern of L’pool gave a fine addreess on ‘self expression’.
Went to Milton Hall to a debate by the M/c Welsh Nat. Socy. on ‘Home rule for Wales’. RJ Davies spoke for, & Prof. Boyd Dawkins replied.
At the Friends Inst. Mr Carl Heath opened the first of a series of 3 lectures on International Relations. The title of the first lecture was “The Ethics of International Relations” After tea he gave the second lecture, under the same title. I was unable to attend the third lecture “National States & the Christian Kingdom”.
Sunday 17
At 2.45 the huge Union Chapel was packed to hear Mr Walter Butterworth speak on “three and a half years as a prisonar of war in Germany.”
At night I heard Carl Heath at the Meeting House on “The Christian International”.
Thursday 21
Went to special mtg of Mcr & Salford Labour Party called to consider draft constitution of new Labour Party. There was not a large attendance of delegates present.
A social gathering of the NCF.
[There is an interesting account of party games, paying of forfeits, coffee & biscuits, & dancing & games, including “Family Coach.”]
I spoke at West Gorton Methodist on “Moulding the Future”. Also spoke in the meeting house at night [evening]. Then at the NCF mtg. I spoke for about 40 minutes on “The Relation of the Colonisation of Africa to the idea of a League of Nations”.
Went to the adjourned meeting of the Trades Council. Fine speech by Priestly.

March 1918

At the Milton Hall Mr HN Brailsford gave the fourth lecture of a series of lectures on Problems of War & Reconstruction. Mr Brailsford gave the first part of his statement on “Rationality & the Class Struggle”.
Went to my first mtg of the E.C. [?] of Gorton Adult School.
Took mother to Reception to RC Wallhead organised by the ILP Federation. RJ Davies was in the chair. RCW was chief speaker. Other speakers were Mrs Bruce Glasier, Clem. Bundock & JW Graham. There were also recitations, songs, refreshments & dancing.
Went to Gaity Theatre to see Edward Sheldon’s fine play “Romance”.
Willie Weir having expressed a desire to meet me at Mrs Watts, while here on leave after 20 months’ experience of War Victims work in France, I had tea with him & Mr & Mrs Watts.
Attended the monthly mtg of the Trades Council.
The Assoc. of AUCE Clerical Staffs disbands owing to lack of harmony between the 2 depts.
I received 8d [sic] from the treasurer, being amount due to each after deducting expenses.
In response to the application of the AUCE office staffs, the CB after postponing the matter, agreed on Sunday last to offer an advance of 8 shillings for adults and 5 shillings for juniors, as from 22.2.18. This offer was accepted and to-day I drew £4 9sh 8d. My future wage will be £2 17sh 8d. Of this I am giving 27sh to mother.
‘Summer Time’ again came into operation.
Had tea & a pleasant social evening at Mrs Watts. The group of 12 or 15 was largely composed of Young Friends.
After my Spanish lesson I came to a mtg of the Exec. Ctee of WGAS [?] held at Dr Brown’s.
Good Friday. I had intended a cycling holiday but bad weather caused me to spend most of my time indoors.

April 1918

Called at Platt Hall to see McMurdo [one of the Macs Ramblers] but he was out. This was my first visit to Platt Hall while it has been used as a Work Centre.
Tonight I went with mother to the closing social of the Rusholme Wesleyan Guild.
At 5.00 I ceased work; from 5.15 to 6.15 I was at the AUCE M/c Central Branch mtg. From 6.30 to 7.30 I was at College House, Brunswick St at a mtg of the M/c Adult School Union. I then walked with Mr Dale & Mrs Tippitt to the NCF mtg, where addresses were given by Mr Kinlock & Mr E.R.M.To. [?]
Tuesday 16
[Following enquiries he arranged to stay B&B for four weeks at an address in Romily, Cheshire. He set off, by train, on Sat. April 20. He gives details of the costs he incurred and has given an account elsewhere of at least one ramble he did. He returned home at least twice during this period, and attended the first mtg of the newly formed committee of the “Macs Ramblers”. By May 9th he had some sickness so he settled up with his landlady, returned home and had two days in bed. However, he returned to work on Saturday 11 May, though still feeling unwell. He still went back to the B&B in Romily several times until 18th May. I cannot believe that he had four weeks holiday due, so I think he must have commuted to work, probably by train.]
Saturday 18
Went by train to Romily, took my things & said goodbye to my landlady. Went back home for lunch, then hurried to Rusholme Wesleyan Chapel for the wedding of my sister Lily (19 years) to Sam Beck.
[Afterwards he was put out that he and his brother Bertie appeared to have been intentionally missed off the family photos, taken in the schoolyard.]
22, 23, 25, 28
[All entries at this time are concerned with the blossoming Macs. Ramblers group.]
Signed a membership form of the Rusholme Labour Party.

June 1918 – no entries
July 1918

Had part of my summer holiday.
Tuesday 30
Went to noon address at Friends Mtg. House where Dr Brown spoke on “The War & the Bible”. Last of the series, the Mtg House was well filled.

August 1918

Wednesday 7
My first visit as a definite delegate to the M/c & Salford Central Labour Party Meeting.
Prior to going on my holidays, I had had a week or two of vegetarian diet… I have had my food tickets altered, & as a vegetarian I am entitled to 12.5 oz butter in place of meat, lard & bacon.
Sat 10
Very pleasant & successful NCF Garden prty at Dalton Hall.
Wed 14
Visited the swimming baths with [brother] Bertie.
Tonight I decided… to discontinue making a collection of newspaper cuttings as extensively as I have done until recently. I will just retain the cuttings which are of special interest.
At 7.0pm I appeared at the Upper Lloyd St. School to have my claim for a vote heard. My name had been left off the Register as being a CO. My claim, after a fairly tolerant hearing, was allowed.

September 1918

I was present at the Labour Party Mtg.
Tonight for the first time I saw & heard Dr. Rendall Harris. He opened this year’s series of JRLo [?] lectures with one on “The Earliest Christian Hymn Book”.
Addressed Longsight NCF Group on Prison Reform etc in relation to the work of the NCF.

October 1918

Went to Labour party mtg.
At Insurance Staff mtg we agreed unanimously to suggest a 100{2acb8624ea5a14ef5276bf22674b24b87c0f06d71d866807aac399f83f27dc17} [rise?] on pre-war rates minumum wage.
[During October he gives details of visits to the D’Oyly Carte Opera Co., in Manchester, to an amateur dramatic production in Burnage Garden Village Hall, and to a Prom concert, with Hamilton Harty conducting.]

November 1918

Went to Rusholme Wesley Guild and gave an address or paper on “After the War”. It seemed to be generally appreciated. Mr Richardson was bent on smelling a rat [!]. He could not grasp anything evil, however, in my paper, but found it in one of my hymns – “These things shall be”.

[The hymn is by John Addington Symonds, 1840 – 93. The first three verses must have been the ones that caused ‘offence’ to Mr Richardson:-

These things shall be! a loftier race
Than e’er the world hath known shall rise
With flame of freedom in their souls
And light of knowledge in their eyes.

They shall be gentle, brave , and strong,
To spill no drop of blood, but dare
All that may plant man’s lordship firm
On earth and fire and sea and air.

Nation with nation, land with land,
Inarmed shall live as comrades free;
In every heart and brain shall throb
The pulse of one fraternity.]

Writing envelopes to assist R J Davis’ candidature in West Salford.
Had a Macs Ramblers Committee mtg at our house.
[I find it absolutely extraordinary that my father never mentioned the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918!]
[Details of a meeting of the M/c Central Branch of the AUCE.] I was elected as chairman.
An AUCE social and dance. Over 100 present.
Went to a public mtg of the U D Council in Milton Hall.

December 1918


Called in at NCF mtg, then went to Labour party mtg.

[Over this period there are various details of his help with the election campaign, and of his work with the AUCE Branch.]
8 (Sunday)
The Free Trade Hall was crowded at 2.30 for a big Labour demonstration.
Went to an election meeting of RB Stoher, the Tory candidate. He was subjected to considerable heckling in which I took part… He made a fearful show of incompetence. [!]
For the first time in my life I to-day registered my vote as a Parliamentary voter.
At a branch mtg. I became financial secretary of M/c Central AUCB branch.
Went to Lily’s [sister] in Moss Side to a Xmas party.
The M/c NCF had a large re-union in Milton Hall. Many of the old faces were to be seen.

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