“Germans let prisoners loose, gave no food”

The British took charge of the entire German Navy. Every single ship was taken to Scotland, while the submarines were handed over at Harwich.

21 November 1918

German fleet in Scotland. 150 submarines to be given up. Sir R. Tyrwhitt receives them at Harwich. King up to Scotland to see Fleet.

Hear awful account of prisoners. Germans let them loose, gave no food. Many died on the road.

Canadians to play golf. Shaw caddied.

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

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A child is killed

William Hallam was shocked by rising prices, while Florence Vansittart Neale was distressed by the latest air raid.

William Hallam
16th February

Paid 5/ for my boots being soled and heeled – could have bought nearly a new pair for this before the war.

Florence Vansittart Neale
16 February 1918

Gave up golf…
Dover bombarded! 1 child killed. 2 women injured.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

Wounded warriors

Soldiers recuperating in the Katesgrove area of Reading had a pleasant summer afternoon courtesy of worshippers at Christ Church.

Entertainment of wounded soldiers

On July 15th our branch of the CEMS had the great pleasure of entertaining some of the wounded soldiers from our Reading hospitals. Thanks to the kindness of the Vicar the event took place in the Vicarage garden, now looking at its best, and St Swithun proving kind, a most enjoyable time was spent by all concerned.

Thirty wounded warriors, convoyed by Messrs Bell & Eldridge from No 5 (Katesgrove) War Hospital, arrived with military punctuality at 2.30 and were soon enjoying themselves in various ways on the larger lawn. Some played bowls with the ladies and members, others competed in clock golf and lawn quoits, whilst those who did not feel equal to much exertion reclined in deck chairs and listened to the pleasant strains of a gramophone. Meanwhile the ladies’ committee prepared tea on the smaller lawn to which the men were summoned at 3.45. After tea a short whist drive, arranged by Mr J Risdale, was carried through and prizes given to the winning soldiers. Cigars, the gift of Mr W R Howell, were then handed round and we said good-bye to our guests.

Our thanks are due to Mrs Morris, Miss Breedon and Mr Pole Routh for the loan of games; to Mr Cripps for the loan of crockery; to the many ladies who so kindly gave cakes and lastly to Mrs W J Brown who so kindly and efficiently managed the tea.

Christ Church parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P170/28A/24)

A sumptuous tea and games for wounded soldiers

Wounded soldiers in Reading were treated to a summer afternoon’s entertainment.

HELP-ONE-ANOTHER SOCIETY

The tea for 54 wounded soldiers from various hospitals given by the members of the H.O.A.S. on July 11th on St John’s Lawn was a very great success. The weather, though threatening, was kind, and not being too hot made it all the more enjoyable. 170 in all sat down to a sumptuous tea, after which the soldiers thoroughly entered into all the various amusements arranged for them, viz, croquet, tennis, clock golf, sports and competitions. Prizes were awarded to the winners. The Committee wish to thank all the kind friends and members who contributed to generously to the tea, etc.

A letter has been received from Mrs Field, in which she wishes to convey her grateful thanks to all the workers of the above Society who sent so many articles to the depot. She says that everything was most acceptable, and more especially just now when there is an extra demand on them in consequence of so many wounded coming to the town.

Reading St. John parish magazine, August 1916 (D/P172/28A/24)

“Most all my friends have been killed in this ghastly war” – and the peace will be worse

A lady acquaintance of Ralph Glyn was deeply depressed by the losses of the war and the prospects for the future. Ralph was not to marry until some years after the war (1921), when he married a war widow, Sibell Long, nee Van den Bempde-Johnson, whose husband was killed in January 1917.

Hotel Brighton
218, rue du Rivoli – Paris

Your two notes were muchly enjoyed, dear old fellow, even if I have been so silent.

At the above address I have been with my offspring and her governess since the end of November. Why? I came over to join my family at The Riviera, got this far and decided my mood required work rather than idleness, so have been here ever since and shall remain here in all probability until about end of May before crossing over to England again – so, if you receive this before seeing the “[illegible] poplars” try to stop off here a few days and tell me the exciting news in detail about your contemplation of matrimony: who is she, etc. You don’t sound terribly elated over this idea; the reason being dislike of work-house! Better keep it a secret from [Mor?]; the idea would not flatter her conceit much. Are you in earnest, or has the war & heat gone to the canny Scotchman’s head?

Of news, doubtless I must leave lots for the days fly by and I manage to accomplish nothing or at least very little that I intend, which annoys me intensely – but really they all seem alike, remarkably monotonous – life is an existence one must “carry on” and it is a borne – you see I, too, am depressed – for like you, most all my friends have been killed in this ghastly war. And one’s friends gone, of what good is it all, even when peace does come – in fact, I think it will almost be worse – re-construction is always the hardest period.

Your brothers-in-law, they are safe I hope! Remember me to your [illegible – little?] sisters when you write. I like specially Mrs Meade. She has an unusual amount of charm. “Sister Maude” is playing golf daily at Monte Carlo, etc. It sounds so nice & peaceful I wish I could do it, but it only makes me more restless and gives me furiously to think.

I have been offered a job on a sanitary train (ambulance), French, to be an auxiliarer [sic]. It goes up to the front & brings the men back to the different bases. That means working on it one month & resting one month & so on. But it also means binding myself to remain here for a definite number of months – so I must give it thought on account of my daughter, who, by the way, goes to school each morning as well as having a governess, and just think, she will be seven next week, the 15th. How aged I must be, also to return to the topic of my work, I don’t think my nursing abilities are very strong – do you? I can see you now giving way to shrieks of merriment over my entering Charing X Hospital. How long ago that seems!

Have you read the First Hundred Thousand by Ian Hay? It is about IE’s (1) and very amusing as well as interesting. Cyprian Bridge sent it over to me with a couple of others – get it, if you can.

Now good-night, it’s nearly eleven & I have a strong inclination to snuggle down in the cushions & go to dreamland – for I must confess to scribbling this in bed.

Write me soon again.

Good-luck!

Ethel [Furtlingham?]
10 March 1916

PS You ask me for future plans. I confess to none, I live for the day – maybe one day, tomorrow will look less grey – in the meantime I still laugh, because I was so made – at my christening the fairly godmother gave me two invaluable possessions, a sense of humour and a “joie de vivre” – and even with most of my friends dead I still have those traits – tho’ they are a bit dim at times. Sorry to have written you such a cheerless letter – promise not to again! And now, really, “au revoir” until I get your next letter.

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/16)