To Paris for Peace Conference

British politicians headed to France to sort out peace terms.

11 January 1919

Lloyd George & Bonar Law went to Paris today for Peace Conference.

H & I round by J & B Farrer to fetch a pheasant they were giving to Phyllis. She had a bad night. Much pain with tube. Surgeon put in a smaller one. Very good sleep after lunch but still tired.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Flu at Oxford

The epidemic had now struck the University of Oxford.

20 October 1918
Heard Jack Farrer ill with “flu” at Oxford.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Wounded soldiers enjoy themselves

It was a busy afternoon at Bisham Abbey.

19 February 1917
Went with Henry to Maidenhead while he had massage…
Meanwhile 15 wounded arrived before 3, till past 7. Quite enjoyed themselves. E Farrer & Polly & May came too. Very exhausting.

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

“This neighbourhood is becoming unhealthy for Zepps”

Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Berkshire and Hertfordshire landowner and former Antarctic explorer, witnessed an air raid at close quarters.

Lamer, Oct 2, [1916]
Dear Farrer

I confess my heart stood still for about ½ minute last night as a Zepp passed over the top of the house fairly low. She dropped some 30-40 bombs later & I got a good view of her coming down in flames – so vivid that I fancied I could feel the heat coming from her. This neighbourhood is becoming unhealthy for Zepps; from the course this one took I should say that it intended to avenge the one that was brought down at Cuffley – when we had 3 of them here. …

Yours very sincerely

Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Letter from Apsley Cherry-Garrard (D/EHR/Z9/74)

“Since the war began I have altogether knocked off shooting”

Lawyer Arthur Farrer wrote to his client Apsley Cherry-Garrard (invalided home) in response to an invitation to go shooting.

18th September 1916

Dear Cherry-Garrard

It is awfully good of you to ask me to come down and shoot, but since the war began I have altogether knocked off shooting; people here have been so kind in the past asking me to shoot and knowing, as I did, that I ought not to spare the time to go about, I came to a very reluctant decision to give up shooting, at all events for the period of the war. The pressure here increases rather than diminishes, and though the decision was a disagreeable one to take, I am sure it was wise.

We too now are suffering specially by the death of the one young partner we had left here, a son of my senior partner who lost another son at Loos, so I must ask you to forgive me if, as I do, I say ‘no’ to come down and shoot…

Always yours sincerely

Arthur M Farrer

Letter from Arthur Farrer (D/EHR/Z9/72)

One of Scott’s best men killed

Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a veteran of Scott’s Antarctic expedition, was now definitely declared unfit for further service. One of his companions in the Antarctic was naval officer Harry Pennell, a casualty of the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.

June 12, 1916

Lamer Park

Dear Farrer

I saw a specialist on Wed. He says he feels sure there is no alteration now inside me – but inflammation etc etc & that this will go on a very long time.

I am very gradually to get on my legs a bit & under a year I ought to be able to lead a fairly normal life, but the process will cause an increase of pain & sickness. That the Admiralty will not, & should not vex me again.

One of Scott’s best men, Pennell, went down with the Queen Mary.

Yours ever

Letter from Apsley Cherry-Garrard (D/EHR/Z9/61)

Getting ID papers

Phyllis Vansittart Neale of Bisham prepared to go abroad to nurse the troops.

9 June 1916

Phyllis & I by 9.45 to London. She to Pall Mall for identification papers. Interviewed by Frank Farrer….

Phyllis & I went shopping – Harrods….

Quiet evening. P to Devonshire House – saw other nurses. Has to leave London 3.30 next day.

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

Overstimulated for three years

Apsley Cherry-Garrard had been forced by illness to return home to England from the front. He was now exercised by the financial effects of the war on his income.

May 24 1916
Lamer Park

Dear Farrer

I make out that I am paying taxes on something like £2240 supposed income direct from agricultural land & the buildings here, while I am lucky if two or three hundred (after paying garden wages) sees Hoare’s Bank!

I see that the Times Leader this morning proposes that all men used on such gardens etc should be placed on the land. How about the capital loss to the long suffering estate owner?

I’ve had a lot more sickness etc etc … I had a long talk with the doctor yesterday. He says he does not think there is very much wrong with the actual wall of the intestine now, but that the strain through which it has gone has so overstimulated everything for some 3 years that it will take a long time perhaps to get right….

Yours very sincerely
Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Letter from Apsley Cherry-Garrard (D/EHR/Z9/55)

“In the event of an invasion”

We last heard from Apsley Cherry-Garrard in 1914. Now in 1916 he was back home at Lamer again, unwell, his health having broken down under the stress of the war. He wrote to his lawyer on 28 April on financial matter, including a reference to a friend’s role in home defences.

Lamer Park Wheathampstead

Dear Farrer

R Smith has just finished drilling at Arundel & has been told off to 3rd line trenches in the event of invasion.

Yours very sincerely
Apsley Cherry-Garrard

April 28 [1916]

Letters from Apsley Cherry-Garrard (D/EHR/Z9/47)

Arrested as deserter – might be shot!

Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey was shocked when one of her favourite Belgians was arrested as an army deserter.

16 March 1915
Edie, I, Dominique & Modeste to Oxford. Went to Ruskin College to see about Louis to go Oxford. Objectionable female refused to take him as Mr Pusey would not have him near Sylvia his fiancée….

Heard poor old Jules walked off by gendarme – a deserter! Might be shot!! Pray not.

Hear now nearer 1800 prisoners taken. 30 officers. Retaken St Eloi. Gemrans beaten also by Russians. Heard Jack Farrer must lie flat for long time.

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

Flashlights at the Admiralty

Florence Vansittart Neale had heard various stories of spy scares, plus possibly more reliable, stories of naval actions.

18 February 1915

Heard better news of Jack Farrer…

Percival’s arm very badly fractured. D.D. not hopeful about patients!

Phyllis tells me she heard Mrs Parkes (Lord K’s sister)saw a flash light opposite her lodgings – she watched (it came each night) & found he worked at the Admiralty. She reported it to the police but they said it was a photographer & no harm, but on her saying unless it was looked into at once she would go instantly to the W.O. to her brother to report, they took it up, & the man was sent to Parkstone ever soon after & shot.

Christine Carpendale met the Captain of the Tiger’s wife. She said he was dead beat after the engagement. Their funnel was very nearly taken off – several of the German shells did not explode at all.

The Captain of the Blucker was caught & hemmed in by a shell knocking something on top of him but their final shell removed the obstacle. So he was saved & taken prisoner but has died since.

Also Gladys tells me there are 8 flashlights of the Admiralty’s, & they suspected a 9th unaccounted for, so the order one night was all to stop 5 min: earlier. All did but one. They hunted it down & found where it was & took the man.

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

Winston Churchill is admired in Bisham

Florence Vansittart Neale gets a souvenir and considers the war news. She was an early fan of Winston Churchill, then First lord of the Admiralty. Here is the Hansard report of the speech which impressed Florence.

Had piece of shrapnel & explosion from Harry Paine. Very good speech of W. Churchill about Navy….

See about Albert Paine, he to Southampton tomorrow! Also our farm boy (now in house) going off tomorrow!…

Heard Jack Farrer badly wounded.

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

Awful journey to see frostbitten husband

The Christmas celebrations at Bisham Abbey were over quickly. Florence Vansittart Neale was struck by a woman’s desperate journey to reach her wounded husband. (Despite his French name, Etienne Boileau was British born.)

26 December 1914

Farrers came, took down Xmas tree….

Etienne Boileau wounded. Frostbitten feet. His wife awful journey to Boulogne in search of him. In London after all.

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

A Christmas tree for the soldiers

Bisham Abbey prepares for a wartime Christmas.

24 December 1914

Xmas tree brought here & Farrers came to decorate it. Had it in hall for soldiers.

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