Is God really sitting on the fence?

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her son Ralph. The Bishop was planning to retire in the near future, as he felt out of pace in the changing Church of England. The increased numbers of men being called up had led to a shortage of people willing to work in domestic service.

Sunday evening, March 5th 1916
My own darling blessing and own son and Scrappits

The Mission will bring the Bishop of London here on April 4th. He is made in his own words “Chief of Staff” and more & more I feel how trying these modern methods are for men of Dad’s age and experience – and “Chelmsford” has actually talked of “God, if I may say it with reverence(!) is sitting on the fence! – isn’t it inconceivable that a man can say such a thing as this with regard to the Almighty, & the victors in this war! If that is to be the tone of our leaders, Dad will be quite out of it!…

We have kept on Tuke, the chauffeur, after a month’s trial & have had to allow him to have wife (& 2 children) at the Lodge. She is very young & had a Zepp scare, & could not bear to be alone in London. We are not doing up the house, & she is only there till Easter; we find the furniture from here. she will then probably move into rooms – but as the married groups are being called up, it is most probable so young a man will have to go & we do not want to be involved in his family here. The whole question of servants will be very difficult, and we must do with as few as possible, and they must be able-bodied and “willing” to work, not watertight compartments refusing “menial” work one for another. A soldier man and his wife are my idea, but we must try to run at first with those who will stick to us….

I hear Aunt Syb has heard from the captain and chaplain [about her late son Ivar] as I think I told you, but I did not see her this time in London & get most of my news from Aunt Eve. Aunt Far tells me Frank sent for his sword which she mercifully insured before sending it in the Maloja….

Oswald is on some General’s Staff at Alexandria, but Meg does not know whose staff it is, & you must by this time know. Aunt Alice was full of talk about [illegible] and his work, of Harry busy in Soudan [sic] getting together 25,000 camels and provisioning Salonika from the Soudan, and she thinks Gordon must be singing Te Deums in Heaven over it. She was also full of information as to the gear of Belgians being bought and open to bribery by the Huns & need for much taking over.

And by the time you get this Verdun will be decided and how much else. It is wonderful to know France has won her soul and is able for such a crisis in calm fortitude to bear this tremendous shock and to await events with confidence. And I think the rumours everywhere of naval “liveliness” are reflected in Meg, as I think she is tremendously anxious & prepared to hear of some engagement.

Mr James said London was full of rumours yesterday & stories of prisoners brought to Leith, and they had anxious days with no letters last week and it was such a relief when one did come on Friday 3rd… Your dear letter of the 24th reached me in the morning and was under my pillow that night… I know you must have many blue moments in the strange sad searching of that desert world of departed aeons and of sunshine that is all too brazen! But yet I am thankful after Gallipoli you have this climate, and conditions in which “recuperation” after that time is made possible, but I do long for you unbearably…

France is a nightmare just now, & news has come to us through Maysie of Desmond FitzGerald’s death, an accident with a bomb which he was showing to the Colonel. One has to believe it was somehow to be, and he is saved from a suffering in some way by this tragic way of dying.

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

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Every young man should know his duty

The Winkfield parish magazine was proud that many of its young men had joined up (and one female nurse), but urged others to follow them. They also shared a poem more notable for its keen patriotism than its literary merits.

Our Choir has been denuded of about half its senior members, five of them having volunteered for Foreign Services in answer to their country’s call.

We may perhaps feel rather proud of the number of men from this parish who are now serving their Country in this great National crisis, but it may well be that there are still some holding back who ought to come forward in response to the stirring appeal “Your King and Country need you.” As the Bishop of Chelmsford has truly said, “In this war or right against wrong every young man should seek to know his duty, and when he knows it face it even unto death.”

Besides a large number who have enrolled themselves as Special Constables, 45 young men of the parish are now either serving at the Front or undergoing training to take their part in this great war. We print a copy of the list posted on the Church door, and hope that more names will soon be added to this list of honour which perhaps at the end of the war may take more permanent form of a board or tablet so as to hand down to future generations the names of those who fought in the brave days of old.

NOW AT THE FRONT

Blunden, Horace Frank Ottaway, Ernest (Navy)
Brant, George Ottaway, Harry
Carter, Albert Reed, Charles
Harris, Herbert Rixon, Fred
Hayes-Sadler, Cecil Simmonds, John S. (Navy)
Lunn, Charles Streamer, Charles
Mitchell, George (Navy) Taylor, William (Navy)
Mitchell, Henry Thurmer, Ernest
Ottaway, Albert Woodage, Walter

Sister Constance Druce.

UNDERGOING TRAINING

Banstead, George Hoptroff, Henry
Berney, Thomas Reedham Jenden, Cecil
Chaney, George Kimble, Archibald
Chaney, John Maynard, Forster H.M.
Diaper, Arthur Nickless, Reginald
Fisher, William Nickless, Wallace
Gray, Edwin Parrott, William
Greatham, Charles Reed, Walter
Harris, Ernest Rixon, Henry
Hayes-Sadler, Ralph Spears, William
Hipple, George Thurmer, William
Holloway, William Thurmer, Robert
Holmes, Arthur Webb, Albert
Holmes, Fred

(more…)