“Moderate” peace terms would allow an unweakened Germany “to begin afresh the utter destruction of England”

John Maxwell Image continued his letter from yesterday with more details of the war’s impact in Cambridge. he was unimpressed by pacifists’ suggestions of a generous peace treaty.

Thursday [18 March 1915], 11.30 am

Yesterday I sauntered as far as 2nd stone on the Barton Road – troops of cavalry or infantry on every road now! …

We are in the military gripe altogether. Officers are billeted in your College and in others. Whewells Courts hold privates by the hundreds: who believe the building to be a Board School! Their officers are in Caius new Court lining Rose Crescent – and the General in Caius proper (I haven’t set eyes on him).

King’s entertains the female Nurses. I see them … “swanking” down King’s Avenue and opening the garden Gate to pass to their labours in “the 1st Eastern Hospital”.

At the last Union debate — moved that “this House would welcome an offer by the Allies of moderate Terms of Peace”. He was good enough to explain these. “Moderate Terms exclude the hanging, shooting, or deportation of the German Emperor, the dismemberment of Germany and the interference from outside with the internal German Constitution. The handing over of the German fleet and the payment of an indemnity to the allies except Belgium, and the retention of the German colonies conquered by England would be excluded.” He wishes her to be left, practically unweakened, and with yet more unvenomed hatred, to begin afresh the utter destruction of England, having chosen a time when she is bereft of allies.

Is he merely a “superior person”?

And “the House adjourned without a division”!!

The Fellows of Trinity, who are of military age, nearly all are wearing khaki – Capstick, Cornford, Lucas, Stuart, Tatham, Littlewood, Holland, Robertson, Taylor, Hill, Woolf, Nicholas, Butler, Bragg, etc, etc.

I see the armed sentry at Whewell’s gate standing statuesque, growing gradually whitened with falling snow….

“Numbers only can annihilate”. That Nelsonian maxim is steadily carried out by Fisher, and, as the Dresden, the Falkland Isles, the Bluecher and her gang evince, it means an almost bloodless success to the crushers. What on earth did they risk the flimsy Amethyst in the narrows for?

There is a white cat overhead which has taken a huge fancy to me. It is mutual. Tell the Missis that she presented the staircase with two absolute little snowy angels two days ago. I was taken to admire them just 3 hours after their first appearance. Anything so tiny I should not have deemed possible. A rat’s litter must be bigger. Mary Ann was very affectionate – insisted on licking my hands and purring loudly as I hauled up the prodigies for inspection. She herself (they tell me) was scarcely bigger than her offspring last September. The owner, a young 2nd Lieut. Of Engineers, brought the basket down to my rooms for goodbye that evening: and yesterday at 8 am they all left for Devonshire.

Did you see that Keith Caldwell is wounded? I wrote to poor Mrs Hutchinson, but have received no reply. I hope this doesn’t imply a serious hurt.

Love to both.

Affettuosamenta

Bild [nickname]

Always keep me posted as to any Censorial interference.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/1)

A prisoner of war escapes by bicycle after a visit to the dentist

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey, wife of an Admiralty official, had plenty of war news for her diary today: a neighbour’s son taken prisoner, the brief but thrilling story of an escape, and news of the men in the hospital at Bisham Abbey.

North Sea battle. Enemy scuttled off. We presumed sank “Blucher” & injured 2 others. Sir David Beatty admiral, Com. Tyrwitt, “The Lion”, etc.

Rejoiced at Naval news…

Henry & I up to tea with Wethereds. Colonel Menzies there. Ronald prisoner. Vandeleur escaped from there – went to dentist, got change [of] suit & bike, frontier 15 miles off. Etienne Boileau managed four frost-bitten toes.

William Hallam, meanwhile, observed neighbours’ delight in the British victory at the Battle of Dogger Bank

25th January 1915
Great rejoicings at the Naval Victory in this morning’s papers. I went along to the Reading Room last thing to-night to see if any fresh news, but there wasn’t.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale, 25 January 1915 (D/EX73/3/17/8); Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/23)

A good naval victory

Florence Vansittart Neale rejoiced in some good news from the seas. The Blucher was a German ship sunk in the Battle of Dogger Bank in the North Sea.

24 January 1915

Good naval victory. Blucher sunk & 2 cruisers much damaged.

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