Future plans for wounded soldiers

Bisham Abbey was being used as a war hospital. Chatelaine Florence Vansittart Neale was also interested in local Belgian refugees.

29 April 1915

Dr Downs came. Discussed men’s future plans. Mary & I to Modeste….

French cruiser sunk. All officers drowned.

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

Bisham Abbey demobilised

Bisham Abbey was no longer required as a hospital.

22 March 1915

Heard fall of Bremeyl. Russians getting on – taken Memel. Heard from Ag we had 12,000 casualties in 8 days!

Arranged with Dr Downs & CD we would demobilize any day – Demobilized from March 23rd.

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

Submarine prevents rescue of sailors from torpedoed ship

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey notes the latest war news, as well as what was going in Berkshire. One of her friends was, she thought, rather too optimistic about the war.

13 March 1915
Felt annoyed with Maud Richardson, she so positive. Dr Downs came. Jules came down! He to go back Tuesday….

One of our auxiliary steamers torpedoed. 200 lost. Harris the harness maker’s only child among the number. G[erman] submarine prevented others being fished up.

Rupert left midnight, unknown destination.

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

Prayers in Flemish with the refugees

Florence Vansittart Neale reported on life at Bisham Abbey, where some of the Belgian soldiers had recovered.

Dr Downs came. Settled 6 men could go. 2 to Folkestone on Saturday: 2 to rejoin, 2 to Cottage, 2 to Eastbourne, leaving 4 or 5. I to see Horace Howard, he to go to Reading Hospital. Henry & I to see Belgians in cottage….

Said prayers in Flemish.

Hear difficulty in getting coal as all goods trains hung up – moving of troops. Idea Dan & 4 senior officers of each battalion : W.O. for week to France to see the sort of work.

William Hallam reported on measures against air raids:

26th January 1915
A notice has been posted that hearing 6 blows on the hooter, signifies hostile aircraft, and all lights are to be extinguished and refuge taken; not to get in crowds out in the streets.

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