A real work of loving service for our brave soldiers and sailors

Newbury women were hard at work sewing for various deserving war causes, while even the mayor (a local solicitor) had joined up.

The members of the Red Cross Work Party continue their labours with undiminished energy. They have up till now held 40 meetings, and have sent work to the British Red Cross Society, the French Red Cross, the Belgian, Italian and Serbian ditto, the Russian Prisoners of War Fund, the Navy League, HMS Conquest (Lieut. Gordon Burgess’s ship), the mine-sweeper Newbury, the War Depot at Wickham House, the Newbury Hospital, Park House Hospital, the Ripon War Hospital, and Hospitals in France and Malta. The Work Party may well be proud of such a record, but we know that it is with all the members a real work of loving service for our brave soldiers and sailors…

We were pleased the other day to see the late Mayor of Newbury, Councillor Bazett, back in the town, looking particularly well. We wish him all success in the Army, and hope that he will come back safe and sound.

Newbury St Nicholas parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P89/28A/13)


Fighting all along the line

Florence Vansittart Neale was still absorbed in the war news.

24 February 1916
Fighting still going on all along line. Crown P. Army to get to Paris!!

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

Over from Highclere

The latest from Florence Vansittart Neale includes a visit from a wounded friend who was being nursed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire (the inspiration for TV’s Downton Abbey).

18 July 1915
Heard from Sep. He back at Dardanelles on 7th….

No fresh news in Observer. Strike continuing.

Lionel Gibbs came over from Highclere. Badly wounded left arm….

Read “The Real Crown Prince”.

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

“Miners horrid!”

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey continued to be angered by the miners’ strike.

15 July 1915

Crown Prince intends to get to Paris! So far not quite successful. We fighting in Ypres & Gallipoli.

Miners horrid!!

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

Good news – Kaiser rumoured to be ill

Florence Vansittart Neale was pleased to hear a rumour that the Kaiser, regarded as the enemies’ leader, was seriously ill.

9 December 1914
Saw patients. Cheered Francois Degreef… A & E came in. Told them all about hospital – arrival of patients etc…

Rumoured Kaiser very ill – pneumonia! We progressing in Belgium. Devastation after Crown Prince’s army!!

Vermalles taken by French!

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

German atrocities confirmed

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey and her fanily continued to be active in local war work.

16 September 1914

I to Maidenhead about Queen’s Women’s Employment Society…
Bubs came back from Windsor Hospital. Seems very well.

German atrocities in Belgium confirmed. Too awful. Not much further news. Crown Prince in a difficulty.

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

Russians in England: officially denied, but…

As usual, Florence Vansittart Neale’s diary combines national and war news (and her opinions), with news of Bisham Abbey. Her war news was not entirely accurate: not only did she fervently believe the rumours of a secret Russian army training in England, but she also believed the German General Alexander von Kluck had surrendered, which was not the case.

15 September 1914
Maud Richardson, Sir George Young & a girl, Mrs Kersey, & Mrs Lawrence all to tea to see hospital…

Still pursuing & report tonight General Kluck’s army capitulated 14000! Press Bureau deny Russians ever been in England, but believe it still! Crown Prince in a fix. Passing Home Rule & Welsh Church bills!!!

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