Whole Navy delighted at Winston Churchill’s demotion

Florence Vansittart Neale, holidaying on the Isle of Wight, kept abreast of war news and rumours, from German prisoners escaping to Naval men’s pleasure at seeing the back of Winston Churchill, who was regarded as a disaster as First Lord of the Admiralty after leading Britain into the Dardanelles.

20 June 1915

Hear from Mr Watson that Lloyd George says they have plenty of high explosives now but want shells & fuses.

Heard a Miss Goetz who had been at Ryde came across her cousin, a German officer dressed in khaki. He escaped in a taxi. She told WO. They said there were plenty of those.

Heard through Katie that the papers wrote to order. 1st to be cheerful – now pessimistic to encourage recruiting & to bring in conscription.

Hear we have dummy fleet – even our ships taken in by it.

Hear 2 submarines caught in Portsmouth Harbour.

Hear lighthouse man on Clyde found providing oil for submarines – wathed & caught & hope shot.

The fleet in the Dardanelles is called “the wastepaper basket of the North Sea”.

Captain Carpendale says whole Navy delighted at W. Churchill gone from Admiralty.

Hear regiments sent to trenches to face Germans then come back!

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

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We are nothing better than worms – but mustn’t grumble!

Sunday 4 April 1915 was Easter Day. The parishioners of Reading St John (now the Polish Catholic Church) had sent Easter greetings to their young men at the Front. It resulted in a number of letters from the recipients describing their experiences.

Letters from the Front: replies to our Easter letters and cards.

Cards similar to those recently seen on the Church notice boards were sent with covering letters for Easter to some fifty men at the front at the request of their relatives. The following are extracts from some of the replies received by the Vicar:-

A Terrible War.
Here is a much-needed reminder of the seriousness of our task:
‘Two of my men I laid to rest yesterday, just put their heads too far over the parapet; of course killed instantly. It is a terrible business and we are nothing better than worms, dug in and stop there, but hope that happier times are in store and very soon. We all hope and pray for it every day. I don’t think the people at home quite realise what a gigantic task we have; but we mustn’t grumble, but do it.’- GILES AYRES.

Valued Cards.
‘I wish to thank you very much for the good thoughts and wishes of yourself and everyone who remembered us on Easter Day. Thank you very much for the card. I am sending it home to-day so that I shall not lose it.’- A. L. BLAKE.

‘The card you sent me I have hung on to the wall and it shall go where I go. I shall always remember Good Friday, the day I received it.’- D. CAMPBELL.

Neuve Chapelle.
Speaking of the welcome letter just received, the writer adds: ‘Just lately we have been engaged in a big battle at Neuve Chapelle, and it was something awful and also a terrible loss on the German side.’- L.H. CROOK. (more…)