Bright and well

Both her parents visited the recovering Phyllis Vansittart Neale.

17 December 1918

Henry & I went up to London by 9.45 to see Phyllis. He quite pleased she seemed bright & well. He left soon to home later. I stayed on most of the day. She tired I thought. I slept at E[dith]’s flat.

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

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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)

Election day

It was the first chance many people had to vote – women and poorer men.

14 December 1918

Election day. 1st time all on same day. Not known result till 28th.

Packed up bag & took champagne to Hospital. P[hyllis] decidedly more cheerful. Felt better. Tells me the crisis is past! Difficulty opening champagne. Oor Sister had regular volts. I came home 2.5.

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

No champagne in the shops

Things were improving, so Florence Vansittart Neale made a short detour.

13 December 1918

Heard fair night. Cough bad. Went by way of Stone’s for champagne – could get none, then to A&N – none there. On to Hospital via Westminster. Saw submarines.

Found her rather drowsy – slept a good deal all day, but Dr [March?] more satisfied. We again alone most of afternoon & had tea. I left after 5.

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

Holding her own

12 December 1918

Went up to London 9.5. Arranged to sleep at flat & on to Hospital. Found P[hyllis] fairly bright. Spent day with her. Red aloud a bit. She & I alone all afternoon & had tea together. Dr said she very ill but holding her own.

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

Very sad at leaving my Pussycat

Phyllis Vansittart Neale was still suffering.

10 December 1918

Up to London 9.45. Straight to Hospital. Saw P[hyllis] was feverish. Has pleuro patch in middle of lung. Cough bad but coughs up something now. Read to her in afternoon & left at 4 when motor came. Down with it. Felt very sad at leaving my Pussycat.

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

A sandwich lunch

With her daughter on the mend, Florence Vansittart neale headed home.

7 December 1918

Went straight to Hospital from O. St and much relieved to find Phyllis really seemed better. No headache & temp. had touched normal after a week’s fever. Stayed with her till nearly 1. Then took bus to Paddington & caught 2.5 train, having sandwich lunch in waiting room.

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

No improvement

Florence Vansittart Neale rushed to London to see her daughter, very ill with the dreaded influenza.

3 December 1918

Both telephones out of order so wired hospital. Reply paid. Answer “No improvement” so settled to go up. 1.45 from Maidenhead. Went straight to hospital in taxi. Found her very poorly in room with 4 others. Rather longed for her to have quiet home nursing…

To Aunt E’s about 6. Found all ill with flu (maids) so I went to Ally’s – she putting me up. Edith at flat.

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

German submarines fine ships but so badly kept, and crews like dirty pirates

29 November 1918

German submarines fine ships but so badly kept. Crews like dirty pirates.

Heard from Bubs. No flu at present….

Hear Belgian women most kind to all Allied prisoners. Taken risks to help them.

Heard Francis de Greef killed Oct. 14th. Modeste & Emil & Jean de Block back with their people.

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

People in London rather wild

It was understandable after four and a half years of war that some of those celebrating its end behaved badly.

19 November 1918

People in London rather wild. Burnt some of the German guns in bonfire.

Stayed in bed for Dr Moore. Said I could get up. Take it easy. Not go out yet.

Lt Knapman & Hay came about 11. on leave from France. Going to Cologne – army of occupation. They on river in canoe…

Henry to London. Saw guns in St James’ Park.

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

German fleet begin surrender

Some severely wounded soldiers came to visit Bisham Abbey.

18 November 1918

Fleet begin surrender. Hope submarines going to Harwich.

Fine day. Henry & 2 officers motored to Oxford for the day….

Phyllis’s hospital party came. 3 men & a sister. Great success. They took them everywhere in bath chairs. Left about 4, after tea…

Many prisoners came back.

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

Hope for coalition government

Influenza meant some missed the peace celebrations.

17 November 1918

General election Dec 14th. Hope for coalition government.

Our thanksgiving services today. Johnson & I spent it in bed [with flu]. Most vexing. Dr M. [Moore] came, said I might come down tomorrow… Dorothy bad with flue.

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

Laurel wreaths round Roll of Honour

Laurel leaves were a symbol of victory from the Classical world.

16 November 1918

I still in bed. Johnson too. Dorothy now bad.

Phyllis & Mary decorating church with flags & laurel wreaths round Roll of Honour.

Believe “little Willie” escaped to Holland also.

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

A touch of flu

Florence Vansittart Neale caught the flu.

15 November 1918

Took to my bed & had Dr Moore. Said touch of flue to chest & right side touched. Bubbles left 9.45 so went in her room as warmer – bed very hard! Johnson also in bed. Same thing.

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

What a feeling to wake up to the weight lifted

Henry and Florence Vansittart Neale were honoured by the Belgian government for having opened up Bisham Abbey as a hospital for Belgian soldiers earlier in the war.

12 November 1918

What a feeling to wake up to the weight lifted. Germany in revolt all over. Rumour Crown Prince shot. Ex Kaiser escaped to Holland. Armistice 6 weeks. meanwhile we must feed Germany. I went to Reading for Red X meeting. Hear King Albert giving us medal! for taking Belgian wounded.

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