An awful, awful tragedy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to Ralph again to let him know how her Red Cross and other war work was going.

Jan 18th [1916]…

We heard of the great doings at the G[reat] E[astern] Rest Room. Over 100 men there last night – 40 sailors, 60 men & then more, and an efficient staff of helpers. All night. Then in afternoon I … called on Recruiting Officer’s wife…

From 6 to 9 (with break for dinner) the Knights Chamber Private Registered Red X Work Party. 32 workers all in caps & white aprons and sleeves, and it is really a joy to see that Room full – all happy, and the long tables covered with clean oil baize, and your old nursery cupboard moved there to hold the material. I hear there is a tremendous “muddle” at Northampton, & as these inanities here appealed to Lord Spencer they have dragged him into their mesh of muddle, and I have written no word & keep silence, but events move, and things must take their course. Sir George Pragnell looks like a bulldog that will not easily let go, and the evidence he took from me was quite sufficient to show misapplication of money, and a vast trickery of the public they feared my action would bring to light. They would have done better to leave me alone!…

I read the papers and wish I knew what to think! Montenegro and its heights to add to the pecuniary burdens of ruined nations, but in the meantime how far adding to their resources?…

My whole love always
Own Mur

Ralph’s sister Meg also wrote to him, with thoughts on politics, and more on the Campbell family’s loss with the death of their cousin Ivar.

23 Wilton Place
Jan 18th [1916]
My darling Ralph

Fortnum & Mason & Hatchards have been told not to send any more eatables or books, papers, etc. You wired to the parents about 14th or 15th & asked them to tell me you wanted more Batemans. On receipt of your message I rang them up & they despatched another box of cigarettes to you that very day to the same address. I think they had sent you their last consignment Jan 4th, so praps [sic] you’ve got both by now…

I have not seen Joan or Aunt Sybil yet… I have not gone near them since I heard the news of Ivar’s death. Of course I wrote at once, & got a heartbroken note from poor Aunt Syb. It is such a shattering blow for them, & she said in a few days she could face seeing people, but I can’t bear to push myself there until they want one. Joan Lascelles came in here to see me on Saturday evening last. She had seen Aunt Syb & said she was too wonderful for words. But poor Joanie looked altered. Who can wonder – one’s heart simply aches for them all. Ivar has been so splendid & done so well in this war. It had made a man of him, & he had such a delightful nature under the different disguises he assumed. Isn’t it an awful, awful tragedy.

I have paid £1.0.0. to Mr A J Eagleton of the Home Office for the warrant of your Russian and Serbian orders. When I get hold of the warrants shall I keep them, or forward them to you?…

It must have been thrilling seeing that Fritz on your way from Mudros to Alexandria! How gallantly the French TBD behaved! But it really is a scandal, & I hear that although we now wish to take over the Mediterranean the French say “No thanks, we’d rather do it ourselves”, & that now Malta is as French as Boulogne is English!
The evacuation was certainly wonderfully carried out at Gallipoli, & I wonder if you have heard that London is ringing with the idea that the British paid the Turks for the safe evacuation. We surely haven’t sunk as low as that, but the excuse for the rumour is that the Turks are heartily sick of the Germans & infinitely prefer us to them. I saw a rather sad letter from Captain MacClintock yesterday in which he says that there is no doubt we have turned our backs on the enemy & he can’t stand the thought of that. There is nothing but abuse of Sir Ian Hamilton from everyone in London & no one has a good word for him. It seems hard that he should come in for such punishment on account principally of that ass Stopford’s blunders & idiocy.

Captain Jerry Wells lunched here yesterday. He’s just home for 2 months leave after 2 years on the Greek Navy. He told me that in Greece & elsewhere the feeling of bitterness for Ian Hamilton is intense. He had been jumped on for daring to say he was sorry for Hamilton.

I wonder if you have come across Colonel Duncombe in Cairo? He’s doing Red X work there. I dined with his wife – Adie – last night. She was, you know, the widow of a Walrond who was a Glyn cousin…

Jim is very well, but exasperated at the constant gales they have had up there since before Xmas, wind going 80 miles an hour! He’s very busy & his flotilla is forming well.

Maysie will tell you the news about John being Military Cross now, isn’t it splendid?

Your own loving
Meg

Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

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