The Americans have saved the situation

Some resented the Americans’ domination of peace negotiations.

St Mary’s Bramber
Oct 16 1918

My own darling

The news in the evening paper is all good and I wonder what you think of Wilson? It satisfies me as quite adequate, but Dad is full of resentments! I do not think there is anything to be wondered at that he puts his own country first? They have saved the situation & in order to save it he had to become the spokesman for his very mixed country, & make clear to them why & for what they had come in. Having done this, he was then responsible for his 14 points which were not those of the Allies, and it was up to him to interpret them in the light of this present, a present he had more than any man alive brought to pass. But it does not bind us or even control any action in the field – how could it?

It cannot be altogether a matter of congratulation that the Hun thought he could make of Wilson another Lenin or Trotsky, and Wilson’s utter repudiation is a glorious vindication of the sovereign people’s right to speak. If the Hun wishes to ignore the crowned sovereign representatives in the Alliance he has found the thing itself there in that utterance & he is up against a Majesty he has failed to recognise, and which may teach the Hun People a new lesson, – illuminated him within that word now. It must be so wonderful to be with those armies as you are, to have to do with the men who are to represent this revolution when the Armistice can be signed – with the insignia the President cannot have – the crown of personal sacrifice, the anointing of the oil of a gladness only they can know who have learned what it is “to be joyful as those that march to music, sober as those who must company with Christ”. And if this is so the Coronation service is no dead letter even if it is a people being so crowned – King, Priest and Prophet, and I believe that office left out in our Kingmaking service is to be restored when a true democracy recognises the Theocracy.

Wilson’s answer comes very near to it – it is a great solemn warning – “the power not ourselves that makes for righteousness” is surely in it? Do tell me all you think. It has set me thinking, and I have to write it out to you…

I am not happy about Willie Percy. Mar: says he is so poorly the Doctor says he must come away from Jerusalem to another climate….

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

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Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war

THE COAL CRISIS

In view of the serious coal shortage, Sir Guy Calthrop, the Coal Controller, makes the following urgent appeal:

“The country is faced with a serious shortage, and I appeal to clergymen of all denominations to do their utmost to bring the facts to the notice of their parishioners and congregations, with the view to enlisting the services of every man, woman and child in this country in one united effort to save coal.

Coal is the key industry of Great Britain and the Allies, and the outlook today is very much more serious than is generally realised. The causes of the shortage are:

1. The call to the Colours of 75,000 miners to meet the peril of the German offensive in March; and
2. The almost complete stoppage of the mines in Northern France as a result of the German advance in the West.

Coal is the source of power; it makes gas, electricity and steam. It drives the ships and it drives the trains.

The coal of England must be shared with our Allies – France, Italy and America. It helps to carry the American Army to France. It helps them to move their army while in France, and it keeps their soldiers warm.

It is sold to neutrals to buy shipping to bring American troops over and is exchanged for food which would otherwise go to Germany.

Coal is the source of power wanted to end the war. Coal burned in a house in excess of absolute need is power wasted. It is, therefore, the duty of every one to save coal, because to save coal is to save lives.”


Remenham parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

It is wonderful to be alive, to be all together to see this breaking of a great day of God all over the torn mangled world

Lady Mary Glyn was excited by the approach of victory.

Oct 13 1918
St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex

My own darling

…I am still without a maid and a kitchenmaid. And what does anything matter now with all the wonderful news from the front, & the Sunday papers “Germany throws up the sponge”. What bathos of language for such an event! But I am thankful Foch is to have his say, and the Allies have not yet only subscribed to Wilson’s 14 points. The news is so bewildering in its greatness, and one wishes to remain with old Bunyan in the Interpreter’s House, and to try to see these new wonders in proportion…

This Irish mail boat horror together with an American transport transport tragedies are a nightmare of sea loss & misery. Will it bring Ireland in as the Lusitania brought in America?…

Darling own Ralph, how I do long to know there can be a real lasting peace, and you once more set free. It is wonderful to be alive, to be all together to see this breaking of a great day of God all over the torn mangled world.

Own Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

The Americans “have indeed done splendidly – & better than one had dared to hope & expect, & our own men have shewn another example of what the British soldier is”

Retired bishop E C Glyn was impressed by our American friends.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex
Oct 10 [1918]
Darling Ralph

You must have had a very interesting & exciting time in your visit to the front – & I expect you had a warm welcome & encouragement to go on with your good work with the American Expeditionary Force. They have indeed done splendidly – & better than one had dared to hope & expect, & our own men have shewn another example of what the British soldier is.

I only wish that our brutes at home, e.g. [illegible] & Co, could play the game in answer to the army. The country seems divided in opinion about the election but I suppose it will come to pass as LG requires it….

Letter from the Revd E C Glyn to Ralph Glyn

To save coal is to save lives

The patriotic were urged to make every effort to save fuel.

THE COAL CRISIS.

At the request of the Controller of Coal Mines we bring the following facts to the notice of our readers in the confidence that we shall all do our best to help our country in this particular need:-

Coal is the very key industry of Great Britain and the Allies, and the outlook to-day is very much more serious than is generally realised. The causes of the shortage are:-

1. The call to the Colours of 75,000 miners to meet the peril of the German offensive in March; and
2. The almost complete stoppage of the mines in Northern France as a direct result of the German advance in the West.

Coal is the source of power; it makes gas, electricity and steam. It drives the ships and it drives the trains.

The coal of England must be shared with our Allies – France, Italy, and America. It helps them to move their army while in France and it keeps their soldiers warm.

It is sold to neutrals to buy shipping to bring American troops over and is exchanged for food which would otherwise go to Germany.

Coal is the source of power wanted to end of the war. Coal burned in a house in excess of absolute need is power wasted. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone to save coal, because to save coal is to save lives.

HOW TO SAVE COAL.

Mix coke with it; a third of coke will have no bad effect upon the fire.

Use fire bricks to reduce the size of the grate, or have a false bottom fitted.

Put the poker out of the way. Never let a fire burn fiercely. Use the small coal to damp down the large.

Keep your pans and kettles clean outside as well as inside. Dirt and soot absorb and waste heat.

Never use gas for cooking when the kitchen fire is alight. Do not light the kitchen fire for cooking when you can use gas instead.

Take out the electric light bulbs that are only a temptation. Put in smaller bulbs and smaller gas burners where less light will serve.

Never mend a fire late at night Take the coal off when you go to bed. Save the cinders.

Burn all your rubbish. Remember the dustbin often contains a supply of fuel of sorts. The kitchen fire will burn all sorts of fuel.

CARE AND COMFORTS WORKING PARTY

Donations received: Miss Bowyer 10/-, Miss Gilmore 3/6, Miss Bradley 2/6.

Things made: 4 white shirts, 12 pairs pants, 11 cushion covers, 14 treasure bags, 11 face cloths, 1 muffler, 1 pair gloves.

Reading St. John parish magazine, October 1918 (D/P172/28A/24)

Victory over our brutal enemy is within sight

October

We purpose [sic] holding our Harvest Thanksgiving Services on the first Sunday in October [6 October]. Owing to War conditions we shall not be able to make our decorations as elaborate as in normal years; but if we do what we can in the right spirit to the glory of God, our efforts will be acceptable in His sight. This year we have especial reason to acknowledge His mercies, for we have practically passed out of the peril of a food crisis, although it is still incumbent upon us to be as careful and provident as possible. And while we thank Him for the Harvest we shall also be thanking Him with fervent hearts for the successes He has vouchsafed us and our Allies on the Western and Eastern Fronts. …

November

Our Harvest Thanksgiving on October 6 was a very happy festival …

This year our thanksgiving for the harvest was deepened by the thankfulness for the many and great successes recently vouchsafed to our forces and those of our Allies in the different theatres of war. At length it would certainly seem that we are getting to the end of the long lane, and that victory over our brutal enemy is within sight; we have no wish to be vindictive in the punishment of Germany, but we and the Allies must see to it that her punishment shall be adequate to her guilt. An American statesman put the case very well the other day when he said that, while justice without mercy is unChristian, so is mercy that forgets justice also unChristian….

The decoration of the church was less elaborate this year than on former occasions, but in the opinion of everyone it was very beautiful… For the general decoration of the church our Squire, Mr Heatley Noble, granted us the help of that estimable ex-soldier Mr William Charlton, and it is enough for us to say that his injuries received in war in no way hindered him from carrying the whole work through with real skill and taste.

Remenham parish magazine, October and November 1918 (D/P99/28A/4)

“All news from Russia is horrible, and it is like seeing a criminal lunatic asylum self governed”

Lady Mary Glyn was struggling to cope with the wartime shortage of domestic servants.

30 Half Moon Street
Oct 4 1918

My own darling

I have stayed in bed till luncheon time trying to understand all the dazzling news of these victories, but the fighting is dreadful, and the struggle far from over. How glad you will be to have Armentieres in our hands again.

I am still without a maid. The really good ones can get enormous wages & I must try to get a more settled establishment before I can make anyone comfortable. It is so absurd when everything of domestic bliss hangs upon a nonexistent kitchen girl.

Ressington in today’s Morning Post is good – I hope you see it? – on the American army & methods. All news from Russia is horrible, and it is like seeing a criminal lunatic asylum self governed….

Very own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“His services to the wounded in this respect during this and previous years have been simply priceless”

Wounded soldiers in Reading were treated to a lovely day out.

River Trip for Wounded Soldiers

On Friday afternoon, September 13th, our own particular River Outing for wounded soldiers, under the auspices of the Care and Comforts Committee, took place under perfectly ideal conditions. After several days of somewhat broken weather, we struck the one bright sunny afternoon when the river was at its best. The arrangements on the steamer had been made as usual, by Mr. Awmack, whose services to the wounded in this respect during this and previous years have been simply priceless.

The “Merry Mascots” Concert party provided just the right sort of musical entertainment, with the songs that our soldiers delight in, accompanied by piano, harp and violin. The tea would have been very good in ordinary times – under present conditions it was marvellous. And the abundant supply of cigarettes handed round by Mrs. A.T. Watkins and Miss Shorter was evidently appreciated to the full.

The goal of our journey was Park Place, the residence of Colonel Noble, and it was good to see the enjoyment of our guests as they made their way up the green slope and through the famous tunnel to the fine historic mansion, with its glorious views, and enchanting grotto, and gardens.

Our party include men from many distant parts of the Empire as well as from the Old Country – from Australia and South Africa, and the Rocky Mountains. By their words and their looks, they left us in no doubt that the object we all had in view was fully attained, and the expedition will long live in their memory, as in ours who were privileged to go with them.

Trinity Congregational Magazine, October 1918 (D/EX1237/1)

“The wretched German private soldier had no idea that the Americans had landed in France”

Newbury people were optimistic that the tide had finally turned, thanks to our allies.

THE WAR

The latest German offensive has been seriously interfered with by a magnificent counter-attack by the French, who are reported (July 19th) to have taken prisoners 18,000 of the enemy and to have captured 100 guns.

The Americans also have had their part in this victory, and it appears that the wretched German private soldier had no idea that the Americans had landed in France, at all events in any considerable numbers, until they found them upon them.

This victory is most welcome and hopeful, and we trust that the tide is now turning.

There are still several of our young men who are missing, and of whom their friends have had no tidings. They ought, both soldiers and friends, to have our sympathy and prayers.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Sergt Stanley Nelson Gordon Giddings, Royal Berks Regt, died of wounds April 7th, 1918, aged 23.

Pte Ernest Frances [sic] Rivers, 2nd Batt. Royal Berks Regt, killed in action in France March 31st, 1918 (Easter Day).

RIP.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, August 1918(D/P89/28A/13)

“If only Fritz would drop a bomb on it, it would save further argument”

Percy Spencer wrote to his sister Florence to let her know how he was getting on. The following day he was to be wounded.

Aug 6, 1918
My dear WF

Almost I’ve forgotten how to write a letter. Lately I have been so busy picking up the threads and so on that I haven’t had time to write a line since July 14, I think it was – not even to write and wish you many happy returns of the 4th. However I’ll put the clock back a couple of days and do it now.

My diary has gone during the last few weeks and I’m racking my brain for news.

To go back, I finished my course on the 17th. My section, 4/7 of which was my Division, won the School cup. The runners up were also 4/7 my Division. So we set our caps at the Canadians, Australians & our friends from USA and swanked. Also individually my section scored highest marks in the examination. My own report read –
Qualifications Very good
Power of command Ditto
Keen

So there was much rejoicing and our [HLI?] instructor got very tipsy at our expense and insisted on singing all the Scotch songs ever written, and some which I believe had before scarcely escaped the boundaries of his “wee bit hoos ben” or some such foreign place.

After that I returned “here” – that’s interesting. From here I went up the line once or twice, and then went “there” and billeted the Battalion. With the aid of 200 men, made the area reasonably clean, and HQ habitable. There was even a piano and one evening we had our string trio over to play to us at mess, and afterwards the doctor (from USA) with a fine voice, sang to us and made us all homesick. And the adjutant begged for Raff’s [Cantina?] and got it, and wondered how I knew when I turned to him during the piece and said, “Your wife plays this”.

And then I came here again & the adjutant being inoculated & sick, I had to ride up the line and take over. And now I am here again (and it’s pouring with rain) in an abandoned cottage with an earth floor and leaky roof and really very comfortable. To a newcomer it would be startling to go round a battalion’s “billets” and hear our boys tell the visiting officer that they were quite comfortable in a tumbledown outhouse or barn. Someday again I expect we shall get luxurious again.

Had one very bad night here during an event I expect you are now reading about. Fritz bombed all night and generally played the devil. A few days before a billet of ours was gutted by fire due to another unit’s fault. Luckily overnight I had organised our people for such an event, and in 25 minutes we had it out and a large farm saved. The other unit having at last accepted liability, rebuilt the place. I remarked that if only Fritz would drop a bomb on it, it would save further argument. He did, but not till it had been rebuilt & occupied and the farmer was gloating over new buildings for old.

The CO has just turned up so I’ll close while I have the opportunity.
With my dear love to you both

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/58-60)

Distressing news

A German-American family whose son was serving with the Allies faced the tragic loss of a daughter.

23 July 1918

About 11, as I was about to descend to the library with Johanna to play to her, came two postcards from Robert, dated June 16th & 17th. They were written from Brooklyn….

The card also contained the distressing news that Frau Dressler, whose only son is with the American Army in France, had lost their only daughter (whom we met with them in Zurich) & their son-in-law, the German doctor whom she married & with whom she was living in Stuttgart, both of them having been killed by a bomb thrown from an aeroplane. Their little two-year-old child was apparently spared.

Diary of Will Spencer, Switzerland (D/EX801/28)

Good news from France

Florence Vansittart Neale was cheered by the latest war news.

19 July 1918

Read Times.

Good news from France – by counter attack French & Americans retook 8 miles & 5000 prisoners.

Bread to be white soon. No more land to be ploughed up at present.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

The Germans make some progress in parts

Florence Vansittart Neale anxiously monitored the war news.

14 July 1918

Germans begun their offensive – some progress in parts. Aim for Epernay & Reims – but not at all wholly successful. Americans helping French.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

“It’s wonderful how B. Company is scattered, and sad how many of them have gone under”

Percy Spencer was enjoying a reprieve from the fighting, and looking forward to our American allies making an impact.

July 8, 1918
My dear WF

I expect you are wondering why I haven’t written for so long. Lately I have been working moving, & so often cut off from communication, you must forgive me.

Now I am at a course near the base. It’s such a rest to have definite working hours & playing hours. We work jolly hard but after work I can take a rod & fish or swim, or walk to a fairly civilized town. Last night I fished & all but landed the largest roach I have ever hooked.

My duties with the battalion have involved riding. I had the other day to ride about 20 miles to prosecute in a CM case. As the horse’s name was “Satan” & I hadn’t been on a horse for 3 years you may imagine my feelings. However we went very well together. 2 days later, I had to do a staff ride with Gen. Kennedy as he’s something of a horseman, again I wasn’t very happy. However I didn’t fall off & coming home even ventured upon a few gallops.
I’m sorry about Sydney. I expect it’s the “Flu” or “PVO”. We’ve had an awful lot of it, but I’m glad to say I have practically escaped.

Please keep me posted with news of Stan & Gil. Isn’t it funny how we all focus on you. I hope you realise how flattering it is.
While you have been having November weather, we have been sweltering & wishing for a cool breeze now & then.

I like this part of France – it is so rich in wild flowers, woods, streams, birds and dragon flies. Did I tell you of the beautiful golden birds which used to haunt my bivouac? I have long since found out that they are the famous French Oriel. The dragon flies are marvellous. Never have I seen such numbers or variety.

Do you remember my church door Christmas card? If so you will know about where I am when I tell you I’m just going to have a look at it again.

There are no end of Americans here. All well built fellows and very keen. It’ll be a bad day for the Hun that they take the field in earnest. How many there are I don’t know, but enough to make the necessary weight till our turn comes round again.

We have an American doctor from Philadelphia – a fine big fellow….

Yesterday I met a nice boy from No. 5 platoon who remembered me though I couldn’t place him. It’s wonderful how B. Company is scattered, and sad how many of them have gone under. I was lucky to miss the grand “withdrawal”.

Yours ever
Percy

Letter from Percy Spencer to Florence Image (D/EZ177/7/7/50-52)

A million Americans – good fighters

America’s Independence Day was marked by a baseball match between teams from their Navy and Army at Chelsea football ground.

Sydney Spencer
Thursday 4 July 1918

Train supposed to start at 8.30. Started at about 10.30. Arrived Domleger 11.30. Marched through Gramont to Domqueur. I found that all the Norfolk Details were gone up the line. In fact I saw Shute & Knights & Sergeant Major Fuller & others, who got into the train which I left! So I am OC Norfolk details – only 11 of us & have before me the prospect of a few days of the most charming place.

To bed at 9. Lt Pratley of 7th Norfolks my bed companion.

Florence Vansittart Neale
4 July 1918

1,000,000 Americans in France – good fighters. Baseball match.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer (D/EZ177/8/15); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)