An awful, awful tragedy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to Ralph again to let him know how her Red Cross and other war work was going.

Jan 18th [1916]…

We heard of the great doings at the G[reat] E[astern] Rest Room. Over 100 men there last night – 40 sailors, 60 men & then more, and an efficient staff of helpers. All night. Then in afternoon I … called on Recruiting Officer’s wife…

From 6 to 9 (with break for dinner) the Knights Chamber Private Registered Red X Work Party. 32 workers all in caps & white aprons and sleeves, and it is really a joy to see that Room full – all happy, and the long tables covered with clean oil baize, and your old nursery cupboard moved there to hold the material. I hear there is a tremendous “muddle” at Northampton, & as these inanities here appealed to Lord Spencer they have dragged him into their mesh of muddle, and I have written no word & keep silence, but events move, and things must take their course. Sir George Pragnell looks like a bulldog that will not easily let go, and the evidence he took from me was quite sufficient to show misapplication of money, and a vast trickery of the public they feared my action would bring to light. They would have done better to leave me alone!…

I read the papers and wish I knew what to think! Montenegro and its heights to add to the pecuniary burdens of ruined nations, but in the meantime how far adding to their resources?…

My whole love always
Own Mur

Ralph’s sister Meg also wrote to him, with thoughts on politics, and more on the Campbell family’s loss with the death of their cousin Ivar. (more…)

The press is evil and needs to be slayed like a dragon

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her soldier son Ralph Glyn with news of a contretemps over Red Cross work in their home town. She was also scathing about the press, particularly the empire of press baron Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, which included the Times, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

Peter[borough]
Dec 2, 1915
My own darling Scrappits

Like Jim [her son in law, naval officer Jim Meade] I can scarcely bear to read the papers, and I read the Harmondsworth [sic] Press, & believe they are part of the Evil Thing which we have to slay like the Dragon. One has to think of that patron saint St George very often, for we are now to fight in the country of the dragon, and we have a host of St Georges and if only we women could be worthier, and help to keep England what it may be, waiting and ready for the regeneration that must surely come for your reward, when you all come back! But there is something strange the matter as one reads society paper paragraphs, even in the good old Observer, and find the same “vanity” and the same obsession of dress and extravagance, even when they talk Economy and Thrift, and “Mince” like women of old. Punch is good this week. I want to send Punch out to you…

Long ago we sent the things from Fortnum & Mason, trusting more to Expert Packers, but I long to send you a home packed, and now Jim is going away – going to sea again today, and I shall get Meg to make enquiries for me….

Lady Exeter writes “that they are within sound of the guns”. I think this was meant to tell her that the Battery is being moved up….
A real burlesque is going on over the registration of this “Red Cross” business here, and at last the town knows, and the town talks, and the remarks to me are amusing! They, however (the Committee) have no idea of climbing down, and I have got Sir Edward Ward to register them as they are, & they are to have two committees, but have not even yet decided if they will have a “Hospital Depot”, so I am moving at once, & so has Lilah Buller, and so has Miss Cartwright, & so has Lady Knightley, & when we are in full swing they will not be able to avoid our getting grants of money from them, or direct from Headquarters. And it is the finance part that has kept me waiting. Northampton refuses to help Miss Cartwright, though there at Brackley she is the only Depot for sick & wounded at the front, & Lilah Buller says they “approve” her but I gather she too can get no funds. This is all so monstrous. And when the truth is known support will come. We are not yet in possession of a house – I wish we were – but it will come at the right moment, & in the right way. The great thing is done and it is all miracle of mercy, for Dad is looking forward now too…

Today is so lovely. I have to run round soldiers & sailors’ wives & mothers, and shall have the lift of the motor today….

I long to know more of what you are going through. All accounts differ in the papers of the climate. Poor Meg. I am glad Jim goes in fair weather. Maysie hopes that at Captain “D” there may be more chances of their meeting,, but the goodbye must be hard, hard work….

Own own own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/2)

The best news since war began

Various letters from family members to Ralph Glyn discuss war news and life on the Home Front. Ralph’s sister Meg told him about her naval husband’s latest visit home. He was not terribly impressed by his father in law the bishop’s involvement with Missions to Seamen.

23 Wilton Place Nov. 12th
My darling Ralph

To my great joy Jim came home for breakfast again yesterday, having brought Royalist in to Newcastle to be made into a Capt D’s ship. Yesterday morning he went to the Admiralty & found that they are agitating there to give him the Constance still, so things are rather hung up at present.

Yesterday evening the parents & Maysie & John came to dinner, & we had quite an amusing evening. The parents… had just had a meeting in Peterborough for the Missions to Seamen & collected £100.

“A What?” said Jim.
“A missionary meeting” says Mammie.
“What for?” said Jim.
“To convert seamen”, says Dad.
“What into?” said Jim, & then asked if he couldn’t convert the £100 into his pocket.

Maysie ordered your cigarettes, & I went to Fortnum, & in future they are going to send you small consignments of picked things in plain boxes so I hope they’ll turn up alright, & I have countermanded that large order of mess things. Mother has asked me to get you some magazines which I am going to do today, & I’ll also send you a couple of 1/- or 7d books.

I lunched with Aunt Syb one day. The butler has enlisted, & Ivar has gone with his Division to Mesopotamia, but he couldn’t get any leave to come home first which was hard luck….

Today Asquith has promised we shall have Compulsory Service by Nov. 30th if more men don’t come forward. That’s the best news I’ve heard since war began, it would really almost be patriotic to stop men enlisting for the next fortnight if one could!…

Your very loving Meg

Ralph and Meg’s mother Lady Mary wrote:

The Palace
Peterborough

Nov. 12 1915

My own darling…
Ivar [Campbell, Lady Mary’s nephew] gone to Mesopotamia & no leave before he went but I hear he went in good spirits & preferring it to Flanders swamps….

Anne [Meg’s little girl] loved getting a letter from you. Did you hear of her reproof when Nannie told her not to waste food in wartime?
“It is not wartime, it is teatime.” …
(more…)

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…)