Peace day festivities everywhere

Our diarists enjoyed the peace festivities despite poor weather.

Florence Vansittart Neale
19 July 1919

Gloomy looking morning. Rain about 12. Peace day. Festivities all over England. Grand procession of all troops. Navy & Army, [illegible], Air & WAACs & Wrens! through London. Pagets got seats [at] Admiralty. H, Edith & I to Bisham. Dinner in schools – very pretty. E & I lunch vicarage. Games & sports in Warren. Dinner to returned soldiers (49) – tea & sports for whole village. Everyone enjoyed it. Tea in schools & dancing after till 10.30. We went home after giving prizes.

[and at back of book:]

Peace day festivities everywhere. Big procession soldiers & sailors in London. In Bisham dinner for rehomed soldiers. Tea & sports for everyone. Dancing in evening. Had some rain but not bad! Meals & dancing in schools. Pagets got seats Admiralty from Mr Baddeley.

William Hallam
19th July 1919

I suppose I was tired out this week end for I didn’t wake till 10 past 8. Up, and got breakfast: Marjorie had to take her class of school children to the Theatre to the cinema part of their treat…

This afternoon it came on to rain but we all went round the town. It was the best show of decorations I’ve ever seen but the rain spoilt so much of it. A lot of people had decorated their fronts up with Chinese Lanterns to light at night and of course these were spoilt as it turned out a very wet night.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9); and William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)

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“Lottie’s husband turned up from Germany, & she had to leave the kitchen!!”

Presumably Lottie was the cook at Bisham Abbey.

6 June 1919

I went up early for memorial service for Dick at St Martin’s. Very lovely service…

Heard Lottie’s husband turned up from Germany, & she had to leave the kitchen!!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

VADs to Reading for a meeting

26 April 1919

Took my VADs to Reading for meeting – Mary, Phyllis, Lottie, Mrs Mead & Katie Paine. Had tea at Heelas.

Found 3 Canadians arrived on our return! 2 brothers Erb & one Williams.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Stricken with Bolshevism

Hungary, which had been part of the defeated Austro-Hungarian Enmmpire, was in a highly unstable state.

26 March 1919

Johnson’s wedding day. Now Mrs Smith! Our Mr S. & Lottie went.

H & I to tea with Belgians, as farewell…

Hungary stricken with Bolshevism. Budapest isolated.

Council of 10 at Peace Conference reduced to Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Orlando & Wilson.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

An exhausting day at Bisham Abbey

One of the staff of Bisham Abbey left as a war bride.

24 March 1919

Soldiers came in afternoon from 2.40 till 7 o’clock!! Rather exhausting. Only 12 came. All Canadians but two. H & I took them over house, & they played whist & billiards after. One man out so had to be talked to!

Johnson left us after nearly 17 years!!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Hopes of a settlement with strikers

22 March 1919

Johnson to Reading buying trousseau. Leaving us Monday. Married next week! & off to Canada!!…

Strike postponed till Wednesday. Hopes of a settlement.

March past of Guards in London. Old Sir George went up.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

All uncertain & unrestful!

There were mixed emotions at Bisham Abbey.

21 March 1919

Miners’ meeting today – all uncertain & unrestful!

Farewell visit of Belgians. Mme Maester, De Witte & Bernard Van de Werve. They go home April 16th… Baby [grandson Berkeley Paget] very sweet to Belgians…

Johnson to be married!

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Engaged to a Canadian

The war brought romance to many due to the mass movement of young men of marriagable age. One of the longstanding maids at Bisham Abbey found love with one of the Canadian soldiers staioned nearby.

19 March 1919
Quite upset at Johnson’s departure. Engaged to a Canadian who wants her to marry & go out at once.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Shrapnel pulled out without anaesthetic

A former PoW visited Bisham Abbey to report on his experiences.

1 March 1919

Alfred Plumridge came after being prisoner 13 months at Magdeburg. Showed shrapnel in his body. Pulled out without anaesthetic.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Anarchy at the peace conference

Emile (not Joseph!) Cottin attacked the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, who was chairing the Versailles Peace Conference.

20 February 1919

Brown got “flu”…

Clemenceau shot at by anarchist Joseph Cottin. He nearly lynched.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

11 weeks illness

Phyllis Vansittart Neale, who had had a severe attack of influenza, was well enough to come home.

15 February 1919

Phyllis came home from Hospital. 11 weeks illness!

Foggy morning, so felt anxious for Phyllis but Shaw brought her back all right with Newton & Sister Simpson about 4 o’clock. Bore journey very well. Looks pale & thin. Had tea & bed early.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Inciting to Bolshevism

Eduard Soermus was an Estonian musician and revolutionary who had been living in Wales.

8 February 1919

Dottie says German prisoners are no longer to be used but make way for our own men. Tuck came back demobilized!…

Strikes still continuing. No undergrounds or tubes running,. Many people taken to work in Army lorries. Conferences going on. A Russian violinist “Soermus” taken up – inciting to Bolshevism. He in Brixton, is to be deported.

Phyllis changed room – by herself to escape flu patients.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Great decorations and interest in American President

President Woodrow Wilson’s visit to France and London was the first official trip to Europe by a US President.

26 December 1918

Temperature still keeping down. Breathing bad. Saw her very little that day. So exhausted.

Took Henry to Paddington to spend night at Bisham. Went 11.20, then saw A & E & back for lunch.

President Wilson arriving – great decorations & interest. Well received. K & Q there too.

Only saw her one moment. Ag here to dine & keep me company.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

A talky set of soldiers

Now the crisis was over, Florence Vansittart Neale welcomed soldiers back to Bisham Abbey.

16 December 1918

Heard good account of P[hyllis].

Soldiers came late but stayed till 7.30. Very talky set.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Soldiers from Cliveden as usual

Florence Vansittart Neale’s daughter was the latest flu victim.

2 December 1918

Had party of soldiers from Cliveden as usual….

Heard P. had flue – high temp. I telephoned – heard “easier”.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)