20-26 April 1915: Wandsworth Council and the Forces

Wandsworth Borough Council held their regular meeting on 21 April, which included considering a list provided by the Officers and Servants Committee on employees of the council who were serving with the Forces or who had transferred to work in the arsenals or some other war-based work.  The difference between Council “officers” and Council “servants” seems to have been largely down to the type of role they held and how senior it was.  Clerks seem to have counted as “officers” and road-sweepers as “servants”, although other references to staff make a distinction between permanent and temporary staff.  The actual list is not included with the Council minutes or the minutes of the Committee, although the Council would have had to have kept careful records of staff who had joined up as they had promised to keep their jobs for them and to pay them the difference in their salary  (for example, the salary books for Putney Library show them doing just that for William Mills) and when the Wandsworth Battalion was formed later in the year the file shows that the council produced a list of men who were eligible for military service but had not joined up.  The Committee was concerned over being able to continue the full work of the Council, given that many staff were now serving, and proposed to the rest of the Council that a list of staff who were considered essential should be created.

The Council also decided that a section of the Wandsworth Cemetery should be set aside for members of the Forces who died in the 3rd London General Hospital or any of the other hospitals in Wandsworth.  The War Office was to contribute to the cost of each interment.  Wandsworth Cemetery is officially recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a war cemetery, there are five war plots from the First World War, with 477 graves Commonwealth War Graves across them and other parts of the cemetery.  A further 115 war graves were added during the Second World War.  There is more information and full details of all graves on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.

Wandsworth Council minutes, ref: MBW/1/15

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