French holding fairly, lost in some parts, but fighting very hard

It was the last day of Sydney Spencer’s gas training course.

Sydney Spencer
Monday 10 June 1918

Got up at 7.15. After breakfast, I wrote up some of my notes. Then to lecture given by chemical adviser Major Edwardes-Ker, on Responsibilities of Officers.

Then the usual last day of course lectures by students. Very droll, some of them, too. Major Knights was asked about Green X shells & spoke lengthily about what his CO had said concerning yellow X shells. Jones the Welsh man had a fit of spoonerisms, talking of ‘belastic lands’ for elastic bands! Poor Bin – he was dumb! Hardwick knew nothing but was so droll as to pass it all off. Graham was very good indeed. I had to speak on ‘Reliefs’ & gassed areas, etc. Major Ker promised to send my notes down to Broadbent in England. Wore SBB for an hour. After lunch a short lecture by Ash. Then break up of school.

After tea to Hesdin shopping & a bath at common dark place. Dinner, a short walk with Major Knights and then the completion of note writing up to 12.30 am. Wrote letter to Major Ker, reference notes & to bed & read Tartarin de Tarascon.

Florence Vansittart Neale
10 June 1918

Canadians left 9.45…

Disturbed siesta. Soldiers came early – nice set of men. Boats, bowls, croquet & tennis. Left 6.30.

French holding fairly. Lost in some parts, but fighting very hard.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer in France (D/EZ177/8/15); and Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8)

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Submarine menace annoying

Florence Vansittart Neale was anxious about the Western Front, but more optimistic about the Navy.

27 May 1918

Lovely day. We had 24! wounded by launch. All out in boats. Bowls & croquet.

German offensive begun. Fear French & us falling back.

Submarine menace annoying, but we have or can getting it under.

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

A lovely afternoon

It was non-stop action at Bisham Abbey, as one party of guests left just as a group of wounded officers arrived for the afternoon. Meanwhile an attempted coup in revolutionary Russia by the head of the armed forces was making the international headlines.

10 September 1917

Canadians left quite early, 7.55…

Played croquet till lunch. Rested after till the 16 wounded arrived.

Lovely afternoon – played bowls. Others went on river. Went about 7.

Kerensky orders Korniloff to give up being C. in C.

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

A lovely day at Bisham

More recuperating wounded soldiers had a lovely day out at Bisham Abbey.

14 May 1917
Soldiers here (16) – played croquet, bowls & boated. Mr Noble brought officers. Very lovely day.

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

A sumptuous tea and games for wounded soldiers

Wounded soldiers in Reading were treated to a summer afternoon’s entertainment.

HELP-ONE-ANOTHER SOCIETY

The tea for 54 wounded soldiers from various hospitals given by the members of the H.O.A.S. on July 11th on St John’s Lawn was a very great success. The weather, though threatening, was kind, and not being too hot made it all the more enjoyable. 170 in all sat down to a sumptuous tea, after which the soldiers thoroughly entered into all the various amusements arranged for them, viz, croquet, tennis, clock golf, sports and competitions. Prizes were awarded to the winners. The Committee wish to thank all the kind friends and members who contributed to generously to the tea, etc.

A letter has been received from Mrs Field, in which she wishes to convey her grateful thanks to all the workers of the above Society who sent so many articles to the depot. She says that everything was most acceptable, and more especially just now when there is an extra demand on them in consequence of so many wounded coming to the town.

Reading St. John parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)