Whom could England put in place of Lloyd George at this juncture?

The upcoming General Election was a historic one – the first in which all men over 21, and at least some women (married women over 30), could vote. The new Labour Party appealed to the working class new voters.

6 Dec. ‘18
My very dear old man

The Poll (but possibly you already know this) will be taken on MTWOF (16th to 20th)…

As for the election – I’m not “enthusing”. I only seem to fear it is Eclipse and the rest nowhere. Whom could England put in place of Lloyd George at this juncture?

We shan’t make Germany cash up, but under any other leader we should secure less than under him.

Beattie and Foch have ‘guts’ and are not timorous of Ultimatums – but these civilian tin-gods! I really half think that one of the Labour men would be more solid and less certain to be weakened than the creatures we are sending. The Hun will play upon Wilson’s vanity for bossing, and England, as usual, will cringe. Carson wouldn’t! O that he could have gone.

Ever affec.
Bild.

Her wounded brother, after whom you kindly ask, is still in St Thomas’s Hospital. It will, I fear, be a very long time with his left wrist – but I can see the great progress in it already.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

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Beer and bottled water to be in short supply

Sydney Spencer underwent training in gas exposure, while Florence Vansittart Neale was shocked by the amount of items to be restricted.

Sydney Spencer of Cookham
Feb 22

I go through chlorine gas for first time (in a P.H. helmet).

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey
22 February 1917

Large contingent of nurses & MOs from Cliveden. Saw everything & had tea in hall. Came at 3, left 5.30….

Good speech by E. Carson on submarine menace – very serious, but hope it will get [illegible].

Importations of timber, apples, tomatoes, raw fruits, tea, restricted, meat, paper, wines, silks, only 10,000,000 barrels of beer – spirits also restricted, aerated water and table water.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer of Cookham (D/EX801/12); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

We must expect more food restrictions

Florence Vansittart Neale heard some news about upcoming food shortages.

14 February 1917
Henry Nichols & nurse came to lunch – Sir E. Carson says we are getting submarines but must expect to be much more restricted as to food.

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

Let’s hope the Germans are very hungry!

Food was an increasingly important issue as the war continued. It was true that the Germans were even more hard pressed than the British.

1 January 1917

Special standard bread to be used.

Hear through Miss McCullock’s friend who heard through S. Cadogan who was staying with Lord Derby that he said the Germans were very hungry! Also Lloyd George said it to someone else & Carson too. Let us hope it is true. Maisie tells me this.

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

“Sickened by this uncalled for impertinence of President Wilson”

Percy Spencer spent part of his leave with his parents in Cookham, then headed for his sister’s house in Cambridge. Brother in law John Maxwell Image had some more to say about the political scene – he was very unimpressed by US President Wilson!

24 Dec. [1916]

Florence specially bids me join her good wishes with mine to Mrs Smith and you, we can’t at this juncture say for a Merry Xmas, but our heartfelt good wishes that you may have a Good and Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

She got back here on Thursday [from Cookham]: and is at this moment in bed with a rancorous cold which she brought back from her voyaging, together with her brother. Poor fellow, he had to leave the very next morning (and is back at the Front by now): but he longed to see me, just once again. He is one of those fine fellows whom you feel you can trust through thick and thin. Florence showed me a thing he values far above medals – an autograph appraisement of him by the General. It is scribbled in pencil, but I never read stronger and I may say more affectionate words of the way he is looked up to and regarded by the entire Staff of the Brigade; and (it would have been tame without that) of his coolness under fire and his courage. Prizing it as he did, he would not take it back, but left it for safety – not with his parents, but with Florence. It is touching to note how the brothers, one and all, turn to her for everything.

I have never felt more bewildered – more sickened – than by this uncalled for impertinence of President Wilson. Does he dare to pretend that, in his view, the desire of each side is “virtually the same”, to secure the “rights and privileges of weak peoples and small states”?!!!

To quote the Observer, he would “present Germany with a gratuitous certificate of moral equality. Take the Hun out of quarantine and provide him with a clean bill of health”.

The Right Answer is the answer of Jehu.

Let Mr Wilson ponder what will be the lot of America, should Germany establish the world-empire she is striving for.

Nevertheless, ever since Agadir in 1911, I have placed full trust in Lloyd George as a fighting chief – once he could shake clear from “Wait and See”. He has done that now. He is practically a Dictator. It may not be pleasant for the home-folk, but it is the winning card. Once more is true the claim, “I know I can save this people, and that nobody else can”. It is Lloyd George or nothing.

Carson, no doubt, might: but he is older: and would he have received such unanimous acceptance?

How will the worn out Balfour manage at the FO? He was so singularly gauche in his announcements from the Admiralty that I am of those who see, in his appointment and that of Lord Robert Cecil, a sop to the Salisbury influence. He resembles Grey in being a gentleman. In other things I hope he will be clearer and keensighted.

The Hall was full on Wednesday – 199 Cadets and 37 Dons and Officers. Government limitation of 3 courses. I had 1. Hare Soup. 2. Wing Fowl. 3. Mincepie – and felt far more comfortable than after the gorges of old time. Wines were Fizz and Port, only. The former foamed forth during the soup. The Master and VM were unable to come, and I was in the Chair: and let in for some of the oratory. It was a joyous party. The boys (nearly all of whom had served at the Front already, and had wounds and medals to shew) were so sweet and friendly. They buzzed round, begging your signature on their menus. They set such store by this, and send the cards home to the ends of the earth. I signed my name well over 100 times. Fortunately I had the Colonel on my right, so I got him to stand up and send them to their places; else we should have got no forrader, at one time. At 10 he and I eloped: but the fun went on – and what most relieved me was that I escaped the sickening song Auld Lang Syne…

Your most affectionate
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

The war will bring about theocracy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote a long letter to Ralph. She had strong, if eccentric, views about politics, and was almost as shocked by Australian soldiers’ democratic nature as she was by the Easter Rising.

April 26 1916
Peter[borough]

My darling own blessed Scraps

Easter Day makes me long for you, but all days make me long for you….

I distinguished myself at Windsor by getting bad with indigestion, but it was good to be with John & Maysie, & see them so happy in another Windsor spell of work, and yet being together. He heard when we were there that another operation will not be necessary, but as his Medical Board gave him 3 months they have taken a very good house, “Essex Lodge”, the present house being required by the owner, and this is a much better one with a garden & tennis ground. John is of course very busy, and up early, & at work till late. He looks well, and is in good spirits, evidently liking his work. We saw Cecily Hardy & her Giant, and Tony & Sylvia, & a new Coldstream acquisition – a very Highland McGregor who till lately was engineering in India – quite a new type in the Brigade!

The Political Crisis made those days full of excitement, but none of these soldier people seemed to care, or to look at the papers, and were sure the King would come whatever happened. And he did, but the Crisis was supposed to be over, and the Cabinet once more firmly (?) in the saddle of Compromise. Now the Secret Session, and the result whatever it may be of that settlement is to be made known to so many talkers & plotters and schemers that it will be impossible for all the cats to be in the bag long. Meantime there is a shaken confidence, a longing for a leader other than we have, for this strange growth of freedom to know its limitation, and to recognise its own dependence on laws not made by man, but inflexible because “just and true”, and belonging to the Kingdom that will endure throughout all ages. When we really will, that will come, and its obedience, and we shall learn what freedom is. It does not lie with Democracy, or in Kaiser rule, or in a Republic, but it does in a Theocracy – and my belief is that it is to be restored through this War and “tumult of the nations”….

France is surely ahead of us in the spirit of a new vision, & Russia is invincible because of that vision long accepted – and we wait for it, and you all are bringing it nearer.

(more…)

Lord Harmsworth “stirring up trouble and strife wherever he can with his infamous little rags of newspapers”

A female friend wrote to Ralph with her views on the domestic political position and the trashier end of the press. Their mutual acquaintance Major General Sir Cecil Bingham (1861-1934) had commanded the Cavalry Corps in France until it was dismantled in March 1916 and he was brought back to England.

26 St James’ Place
SW
28th March 1916

Dearest Ralph

I love getting your letters, and in imagination have written to you every week at least! But I admit my imagination occasionally is like the Yellow Man’s, so perhaps you have not received them quite regularly!! I miss you very much. I wish you were still on your old jobs in France, and popping home occasionally so that I could see you. Is there no chance of your getting home soon?

There is really very little news from home. We have passed a most uneventful spring, if the villainously cold weather of the last two months can be called spring!…

I think the Government is very rocky, and I should not be surprised if there is a split any day now over this Compulsion business. Squith [sic] has carted Eddie Derby, as he has carted everybody else. No truthful straightforward man is a match for that wily old fox. I am very glad that Carson has come back to the House during the last two days. I am sure he is the only man to form a Government if Squith does have to go. I expect they will be obliged to bring in a Compulsion Bill all round, in which case McKenna and Runciman for sure, and various others probably, will go. It is a pity you are not home, you would revel in it all.

Harmsworth has behaved quite abominably, stirring up trouble and strife wherever he can with his infamous little rags of newspapers, and at the same time trying to humbug in a dignified manner with the “Times”. It really makes one quite sick.

Military matters have been very quiet and I have heard of no rows or rumpuses. Georgie writes quite happily from billets. They had a bad time in the trenches about a month ago, but he fortunately came through it quite all right. I think what he has felt most has been the cold. He is delighted to think that the worst of this is over now.

It was bad luck for Cis Bingham losing his command, wasn’t it? He says he would not have minded so much if he could have only had one slap at the Boches with his mounted Army, but it was not to be, and now they are all split up and he is sadly at home doing nothing…

I have seen nothing of Meg for some time. I think she has been paying a prolonged visit to your parents at Peter. She will have to break out badly when she returns to London as a reaction!

I tried to let your flat for you to a lady, but she did not think it would quite meet all the necessities of her wardrobe, a nail behind the door being all that I could suggest to hang up her numerous garments. But surely now everything in Egypt has quietened down you will agitate to come home? I can’t imagine your restless spirit being content to slumber away the hours with the old Mummies and Rameseses.

The Boches are getting unpleasantly active in sinking our merchant ships, and I can’t help thinking the Authorities are getting anxious about it. If only America could be gingered up to seize all the German ships in their ports, it would help us quite enormously, as tonnage is getting very short, and daily now the Government are prohibiting fresh imports. There is no doubt about it that very soon we shall be distinctly uncomfortable, which will be a horrid crow for the old Boches.

I heard rather a nice story – which you mustn’t tell at Peter. A man appeared before a Tribunal for Exemption from Service saying “I am a soldier of the Lord!. “You are a hell of a long long way from your Barracks then” – said a voice in the background.

Goodbye dear Ralph. I wish you weren’t so far away. Take great care of yourself & come home soon.

Best love from
Edith

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/19)

“It is terrible trying to carry on war under such conditions”

General Callwell shared some secrets with former assistant Ralph Glyn, now at the Dardanelles.

26, Campden House Chambers
Campden Hill, W

13th December 1915

My dear Ralph

I am taking time by the forelock to drop you a line as the Bag does not go for a couple of days, but there is such a rush these times that it dies not do to leave anything to the end.

I am afraid the retirement from Suvla and Anzac will prove a costly business and it is deplorable that there was so much delay in deciding after Monro reported at the end of October. As a matter of fact the War Council decided on evacuation on the 23rd ult – while K was out in those parts – and Squiff sent me over to Paris to tell Gallieni and old man Joffre; but the Cabinet overrode the War Council and the decision was not finally taken by the Cabinet till the 7th. It is terrible trying to carry on war under such conditions.

The French have been very troublesome over Salonika. We and even our Government have been opposed to that affair all along, but the French managed to drag us into it by threatening to regard our refusal as a blow to the entente. Murray and I, backed up by Robertson, went to Chantilly to see old Joffre, but could not get him to change his mind, and then Squiff [Asquith] and three others of the same sort went over and saw the French Government, but it was no good. I went with Squiff and we had quite a gentlemanly trip in specials and Destroyers, but poor old AJB was a terrible wreck after a Destroyer trip. Then, although Gallieni lied to me gallantly about it, the French never sent that infernal fellow Sarrail orders to retire till his position was extremely awkward and in consequence our 10th Division had a very bad time; but they seem to have done well.

All kind of changes are in the air. Johnny French is to be degomme’ at once, Haig taking his place; and there is a good deal of talk about Robertson becoming CIGS – he caries heavier ordnance than Murray. Henry Wilson is very unhappy at Johnny French’s departure and I am not sure what will become of HW. I doubt whether Haig will have him in his present job and he has come to be looked upon as what the soldier detests – a political general.

The Government is rocky and Bonar Law told me the other day that he thought Gallipoli would finish them. He (BL) should have resigned when Carson did. When K was away in the east they all declared that they would not have him back, but he is back and does not look like going although he is much tamer than he was. He said to me plaintively the other day that the Cabinet would not believe anything he told them and now always insisted on a printed paper from the General Staff. It was rather amusing at a War Council the other day while he was out your way. They were squabbling away about everything after the usual fashion when a box was brought in to Squiff and he read out a wire from K, ending up with an announcement that he was coming home. With one voice the whole gang said he must go to Egypt to report and a wire to that effect was drafted on the spot – however he took no notice and came home in spite of them.

I hope that you are fixed up and getting on well with your RNAS affairs. As Helles is not to be evacuated I suppose that the bulk of Sykes’ commando will remain where it is although there will be plenty of work for airmen in Egypt shortly. I am writing to Bell before the Bag goes and also to Birdwood.

Yours ever
Chas E Callwell

Letter from General Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

The War Office is “bearing up” in the absence of Kitchener

General Callwell shared the latest top secret information with Ralph Glyn. Lord Kitchener had been unconvinced by the report in favour of withdrawal from the Dardanelles, and was set to inspect the front for himself. A junior War Office official friend also wrote to Ralph.

War Office
6th November 1915

My dear Ralph

Many thanks for your long letter of the 28th. Things have changed a good deal and you will have your friend K out with you long before you get this.

He is all for hanging on or doing something at Gallipoli. The Government and War Council are all for accepting Monro’s recommendation and clearing out while there is yet time. I do not know how things will pan out when K gets out and he has been blarneying the French while in Paris, but I doubt if he has got much change out of the really. We are bearing up under his departure. He will not come back here. I expect that Carson, Lloyd George or Austin will be War Minister – the first I hope. Henry Wilson is over here on leave and in his element intriguing with all these politicians.

Mind you get Birdwood to send on an application of yours to get back from the Reserve. I wrote to Bell about this but as he is off to Salonika that will not work. Applications must come from FM Ex Force or from COG Medforce.

Yrs
Chas E Callwell

War Office
Whitehall
SW
6th Nov 1915
My dear Glyn

Great excitement yesterday about Lord K’s rumoured resignation. It was actually in our edition of the evening paper, and then contradicted. He has now disappeared for 3 weeks and Asquith has reappeared in the War Office.

I hope you are well and have a fairly comfortable dug-out, if you are still in Gallipoli.

Yrs
R A Ingram


Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

A tangle and muddle

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her son Ralph with some sharp criticism of the Prime Minister.

And here I am on Nov. 3 10.30 pm, in bed….
Asquith’s great speech is over and it reads well – but it is always like a polished pebble. Nothing to take hold of and however he comes out of it & shoulders the blame, others have to bear the intolerable burden. He made out a “good case”? He always does.

I have a wonderful story from Gwendolen Bute about Ninian and the story of a Mass at which he served, finding an [affable?] soldier who asked him to assist was a Priest. I think it was on the day he died the priest had found him praying in a little ruined chapel.

Dad is looking forward to Fortnum & Mason researches for you. My darling, how I long to be sending you something every day. I wonder if your next letter will tell me what you want most. Do, darling, tell me and let me send you things. It would help me so much to be able to do something.

We are working up a big meeting for Missions to Seamen in Corn Exchange on the 11th, so my hands are at present very full. Tomorrow I hope to see soldiers’ and sailors’ wives… And I go to tea with the lady Doctor Mary Weston who is quite an interesting innovation here.
Mrs Halstead brought some delightful Coldstream wounded men here. One was a Russian Jew – Linovski – who had served seven years with John in the 1st & was devoted to him….

Own Mur
[PS]
The Queen answers Dad by a new secretary. She says the King is severely bruised in his stomach, but going on well.

Her husband also wrote to their son: (more…)

The Government has no policy

An estate employee at Bisham Abbey was set to join the army. Florence Vansittart Neale was also concerned about the international situation with more countries coming in on the enemy side, and she thought the British Government was foundering around.

2 November 1915

Tuck joining Bucks Hussars…

Turkey declares war. Sent troops to Egypt. Turkish Ambassador much
distressed.

Asquith speech. Plausible. Carson after – strong. Government no policy….

Demonstrations in Roumania for war party.

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

Everyone is loud in criticising the Government

Meg Meade and her husband were blissfully happy while he was home on leave. She wrote to her brother to tell him about the national mood – one of anti-Government – and chaos with shipbuilders having to be unrecruited from the armed forces.

30th Oct
23 Wilton Place

My darling Ralph

Since last writing to you I haven’t written any letters. You know what it is with at home. We are out all day & if we are at home alone together, Jim reads to me. There’s a picture of domestic bliss!…

Will you thank Willie so very much for his letter. I am sending 100 cigarettes & some tobacco under cover to you. The cigarettes are his, & could you have the tobacco? As Maysie who I asked to settle up with Major Wigram about sending these things in the bag says that they make a great favour of sending anything in the bag, which is annoying, & Maysie fiercely refuses to allow me to send more this time. I am sending the rest of Willie’s order by post immediately….

Jim goes tomorrow (Sunday) night or Monday.

I did give Sir Ed. Carson your letter. Everyone is loud in criticizing the Government, but that don’t seem to move them. We lunched with Edith yesterday & met Lord Derby there. He said he had just received a letter signed by 6 men saying they would rejoin their regiments & enlist the moment that F E Smith was sent back to rejoin his regiment instead of sitting at home on a salary of £20,000, or whatever he gets! Lord Derby had some very amusing stories of Mrs Asquith. Sir John French went to see her, & she threw her arms around his neck & said, “Oh John, John, how splendid you are, but what a lot of worry you give Henry!” She also wrote to Lord Derby & asked him to spare “Henry”’s chauffeur, valet & footmen, as he being Prime Minister, his comfort was essential, so she asked Lord Derby to see they were not recruited. Lord Derby said that he expected we’d have conscription in 6 weeks time, but that’s too good to be true. He said that when he came to work his job, he found the most awful chaos, all the men who had been “starred” on the pink papers ought not to have been, & the ones unstarred ought to have been starred. By some oversight none of the shipbuilders in Cammell Laird’s yards were starred, so they could have been enlisting as hard as they could, & in consequence a certain new light cruiser called the Constance which Jim thought he’d a chance of getting has been tremendously delayed, & they are having to bring the men back to the yards again. Another employer wrote to say “all his men were starred, but they ought to be unstarred”. The WO left the “starring” business to the local recruiting people, who seem to have starred anyone who gave them half a crown.

I wonder if you have heard that Jim is to be a Captain D1! & have 20 of the newest & latest destroyers under him. Captain D of 12th Flotilla he will be, & he keeps the Royalist according to present arrangements. Isn’t it splendid. Royalist will have to be fitted out as a D’s ship, so I hope it won’t be 7 months before I see him again. He will take the new destroyers as they are turned out.

…Maysie & John are still at Bruton Street. He’s alright practically again except for his face. The abcess in the jaw. They are going to cut out the bit of dead bone on Monday, & he has been given 2 months to recover in, so that’s good….

We live in fogs now. No Zepps have penetrated to London lately although they visited Chatham I hear in the night before last….

Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

Knocked down and out in the trenches

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn about the arrival in England of her wounded husband John.

Oct 23/15
11, Bruton Street, W

My darlingest R.

This has been a week of great & lovely happenings for me & Meg. I think you heard John was wounded the 9th. The following Sat after having given up all hopes of seeing him at all, I git a wire to say he was coming. The same day Meg had a wire from Jim that he was coming so it was a wonderful day. Jim arrived 6.30 Sat last 16th, looking so well, & in great form. He has arranged very well as he has brought another ship to refit so one hopes he’ll get his Royalist refit too! Also there seems good reason to hope that Royalist & Rupert’s ship will really shortly change places – I do hope so for Meg’s sake. I had got hold of Sybbie Samuelson as soon as possible & she agitated to get John to her hospital & joyful to say succeeded. I was woken at 8.30 to be told John had arrived at her hospital 4 am that morning, 17th. I saw him at noon, & he was down (in pyjamas of course) & we had a lovely day in Sybbie’s room, & oh, it was interesting & thrilling to hear all about everything too.

He was hit on Saturday afternoon leaving the trenches by an aerial torpedo they say. It made 3 small holes in him, the largest is now about the size of 2/6 bit on the shoulder blade. It knocked him down & out of course & some of the trench fell in on him making him very bruised & stiff & he’s also rather deaf – & was a bit concussed, but the most painful thing has been an awful abcess that started in his face. It gave him gyp & his face swelled up miles. It burst the day he got to London – & all the poison in him apparently came away. A good thing I expect, as his wounds had been rather dirty. Now the great jaw expert Farmer who has been attending him in hospital finds he has a bit of dead bone in his jaw – which is at the bottom of the abcess. How or why is a mystery but they think in any case this would have come, but the wounds & shock & poison hurried it up. So now he has to be treated for this – they hope to wriggle the dead bit out & not operate, for this purpose they dig about & stuff acids in etc – not at all nice. But his face is no longer tied up & has gone verynearly down. He had a Board two days ago & got 2 months. The lot will have to be spent in being treated up here I suppose. He left the hospital yesterday – but goes in every morning to be “dressed”. I do feel I am too lucky for words. It’s rather nice, Feilding the Brigadier sent a message to Mrs WF to say John had done particularly well this last show. Ever since the 9th the Div has been more or less at it, having the h— of a time from all accounts, I’m afraid without much result….

The Zep agitations continue. We did hit one last time they came anyhow, but not very hard I fear.

I would like to know what you feel about Carson. He’s the only honest man in the country, one feels anyhow…

The Zeps last week had a go at Uncle Henry’s powder factory at Chilworth, mercifully they missed….

Your own loving Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

“Blow the Turks to blazes – then give it them again”

General Callwell wrote to Ralph Glyn to inform him about the appointment of Sir Charles Monro to review the Dardanelles campaign with a view to possible withdrawal. Callwell had some ideas of his own about booby trapping the deserted trenches.

War Office

23rd October 1915

My dear Ralph

Your new Chief and his CGS, Belinda, went off yesterday and will have reached the Dardanelles some days before this does. I did not see them at the end before they went, which I am sorry for as there were several things to tell them. I meant to have spoken to Bell about you among other things and about George Lloyd, but have written to him by this bag on these and other subjects.

It will be most interesting to hear their verdict. Sir Ian [Hamilton] and Braithwaite arrived last night but I have not seen them yet. Monro clearly did not like the job as he saw it on paper, but he may like it better on the spot. It will be up to him to decide whether to go ahead, to hang on, or to clear out, and if he decides on the latter he will have to make preparations at once.
I am not a scientific body, but if I was going to retreat from such a position I should insist upon having the stuff for mines – the explosives and the wire and the batteries – on a Homeric scale. And I would blow the Turks to blazes if they tried to come into my trenches when I left them – a mine to every 10 yards and power to touch them off alternately. It would be no good to fire all your mines and have them coming on in a quarter of an hour and manning the craters. You want to be able to give it them again.

Also if I was going to quit at night I should expect the warships to stop the enemy firing by giving searchlight to any extent. At a place like Anzac the enemy on the top of the bluff could be absolutely blinded and the lights that were doing this would at the same time be affording, below their direct rays, just enough light to the troops embarking for them to see what they were doing. However Monro may decide to go on with the business.

Political affairs here are very unsettled. I think about the only thing the Cabinet are agreed in is their desire to unship K. Carson is a great loss and it will be very difficult for them to hang together much longer. I do not think that you will have lost much by not going to Salonika; the Serbs are sure to be mopped up before the French and we can do anything that is any use in that quarter. The French have indeed rushed into the business very much against the wishes even of the War Council, which is capable of almost any folly.
Although things look bad there is every symptom now of the Boshes [sic] becoming discouraged. The Russians terrify them in spite of their superior armament, and they have been losing very heavily in the west.

Take care of yourself and believe me
Ever yours

Chas E Callwell

Letter from General Callwell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C24)

“German liners? There ain’t one on the seas”

Ralph Glyn’s sister Meg Meade was thrilled when her sailor husband came home on leave.

23 Wilton Place
SW
Oct. 22nd

My own darling Ralph

Imagine my feelings when last Saturday afternoon I got a wire from Jim saying “Meet me Kings X 6.15 tonight”! I ran from top to bottom of the house with one scream of joy. A little later I tried with my latchley to let myself into No 22 Wilton Place, & did other little inconsequent things like that till I met him at the station! And only 2 days before I had had a letter from him saying he couldn’t possibly get any leave! He managed very very cleverly. Such a thing I hear has never been done in the Navy before. But his Commodore, Le Mesurier came on board Royalist & said “My ship Calliope wants refitting so I propose to hoist my pennant in Royalist pro tem”. “Certainly”, says Jim, “but as there’s not room here for both of us, hadn’t I better take Calliope to Newcastle for you, as you don’t want to leave the squadron”. “Well & nobly thought out” says the Commodore, & so he has come, looking better than I’ve ever seen him look before, & he has been away for 7 months, all but one week! And you see Royalist must get leave for a refit some time soon, so he ought to get another go of leave soon!

Last Sunday we took Anne [their little daughter] & Harold Russell & 2 Colvins to the Zoo, which was great fun, & we met Mat Ridley there. He is looking much better & has been passed for home service at last. We fixed up about coming to Blaydon while Calliope is finishing, & Jim reckons we shall go north about 28th, but meantime every minute of each day is heavenly as you can imagine….

Wasn’t it a funny coincidence that John arrived at Sybbie [Samuelson]’s hospital at 4 a.m. the day after Jim arrived. The wounds in John’s back which had practically healed had to be opened again for fear of any poison, but he has got his poor head all bound up in a way that looks really interesting on account of an awful abscess he has got in his mouth.. They thought it came from the poison of his wounds, but now they think the abcess would have come on anyhow. There’s a large bit of dead bone inside it, but Maysie, who dined here last night, is beside herself with joy, as John has got to have 2 months leave to get well in! So as soon as he has finished his hospital treatment, which will take some time, they will go to Voelas.

The parents are coming up here on Saturday to lunch & meet John & Maysie here…

Sir Edward Carson’s resignation has not caused the stir I expected it would do. But it remains to be seen what happens next. The House of Commons seem principally concerned that Asquith is ill. I hear that you have been stopped at Greece…

Maysie & others rail at the Staff. Jim stops the flood of her disgust by a torrent of admiration which he feels for the Staff & soldiers fighting alike! What he says is so true, that if 2 years ago we had been told that our Staff would be called upon to handle our present army, & if we had been told that our army would perform the prodigies that it has done, it would have been hard for anyone to believe it, & as he says, “even the great Germans have made mistakes enough, or indeed they’d be in Paris & Petersburg now & have broken 10 times through our armies.” We laughed at last to find that Jim & I were defending the British Army in our discussion while Maysie was so pessimistic.

Jim & I went to Hallgrove on Monday for 2 nights, & had great fun playing golf both mornings & we had some tennis too.
Jim has just got so indignant over some Professor’s remarks in the Times about “sinking German liners” when “There ain’t one on the seas”! that I must take him out….

Meg

Letter from Meg M<eade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)