A big problem at the present time

A teenage boy’s parents needed help getting him training funded, as the rising prices meant salaries no longer stretched as far as they had done before the war.

11th October 1917

Apprenticeship. D. D. Harrison’s charity.

The clerk read the following letter in respect to an application for the apprenticeship premium under Dame Dorothy Harrison’s Charity:-

Boys’ School House, Hurst
26-Sep-1917.

Dear Sir,

I wish to make an application to the trustees of Harrison’s Charity, Hurst, for assistance in apprenticing my boy Leonard Percival Darlington. The lad has just finished his school life & is at present
undergoing preliminary trial at the Pulsometer Works, Reading, with the idea of being indentured in November next. The expenses of educating the lad have been heavy & the premium of £25 required by the Reading firm is a big problem at the present time when prices are so great and the salary of an elementary schoolmaster is not excessive.

I should be much obliged if you would bring my application before the Trustees at their next meeting.

I am, Sirs, yours faithfully,

Leonard A. Darlington.

Mr Darlington attended before the Trustees in support of the above application, his son being unable to leave his employment.

It was resolved on the motion of the Rev’d E. Broome seconded by Mr. H. W. Verey: that the application be acceded to and that Leonard Percival Darlington be awarded an apprenticeship premium of £14 subject to the usual Indenture of Apprenticeship being entered into.

Mr Darlington was informed thereof and undertook to forward the clerk the necessary details for the Indenture when he had finally completed his arrangements with the Pulsometer Company.

The clerk was directed to insert an addition clause in the Indenture providing that in the event of Darlington being called upon to join the army, a proportionate part of the premium be returned to the Trustees.

Hurst Parochial Charities trustees’ minutes (D/QX30/1/4)

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A badge for those who sign a paper undertaking to continue their work until the end of the war

Winkfield women were recognised fror their hard work.

On Friday, 31st August, Lady Haversham motored over from South Hill Park and very kindly presented a badge to each of the members of Mrs. Harrison’s working party at Newington House. There were 20 claimants for the badge which is given by the War Office to those who have worked continuously for 3 months or more and who sign a paper undertaking to continue their work til the end of the war.
The number of garments made and sent to the depot at South Hill Park since April, when Mrs. Harrison undertook the working party is upwards of 260, and includes socks (80 pairs), shirts and bed jackets, &c.

It will be remembered that at the sale held at Newington House in June the sum of £46 was realised, all of which is being spent on buying materials that go to make up the garments. The working party is affiliated to the Berkshire Association Voluntary Organisation of Workers.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/10)

A most successful Red Cross Sale

Newington House is a grand house still standing in Winkfield, and with a lovely garden. It made a delightful spot for a sale to raise funds for the Red Cross.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION

On June 27th a most successful Red Cross Sale, organised by Mrs. Harrison was held in the grounds of Newington House. There were four stalls, the stall-holders being Mesdames Empson, Clark, A. Elliott, Druce, Hayes-Saddler, Miller, Simpson-Baikie, and Wilder. Other helpers were Miss Duchesne, Miss Aris, Miss Wells, Mr. Harris, Mr. Wainwright, and Lord George Pratt, who raffled a number of things with great success. Goods were kindly given by Messrs. Langley, Lawrence Stores, Sandwith and Wainwright. It was a perfect afternoon, and about 200 people attended, the sale resulting in the raising of a very satisfactory £46.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, August 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/8)

The gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller

Various kinds of savings were pursued in Winkfield – but there were concerns as to how poorer people would cope.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

The Committee organised a Public Meeting in the Parish Room on Friday, March 30th , when there was a large attendance.

Mrs. Boyce gave an excellent address on the Food question, pointing out clearly the gravity of the situation and the imperative need for all to carry out the instructions of the Food Controller, especially as regards to bread; and the point was emphasized that although the labouring man who could not afford so much meat might legitimately take a larger allowance of bread, yet he is now bound to reduce his usual amount by at least one pound a week.

Mr. Creasy also spoke on the importance of War Savings, and proposed the following resolution which was seconded by Mr. Harrison and carried “that all present pledge themselves to co-operate in carrying out the regulations of Lord Devonport and the Authorities on the question of rations to households generally, and to support the War Savings Association to the best of their ability”.

The Committee learning that many Cottagers and Allotment holders found great difficulty in obtaining seed potatoes arranged to buy a ton of seed at once, and Mr. Asher kindly advanced the money to secure them. Most of these potatoes have now been applied for, but a few pecks are still available, and any wishing to buy them should apply to Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row.

Arrangements have been made for the saving of waste paper; sacks have been taken by Mr G. Brown, Maiden’s Green, Mr. Eales, Winkfield Street, Mr. C. Osman, Winkfield Row, Mr. Langley, Brock Hill, Mr. Osman, Gorse Place, and also at the Schools, and it is hoped that many will send contributions of waste paper (old letters, circulars, newspapers, but not brown paper) to help fill these sacks which will then be collected and forwarded.

Winkfeld section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/5)

All patriotic people recognise that they should spend as little as possible on themselves at the present time

Winkfield people were encouraged to join a new war savings movement.

WAR SAVINGS.

It is hoped that we may be able to form in this parish a War Savings Association, and so a meeting to discuss a scheme and, if possible, start a local Association, will be held on Friday, March 16th, at 7 p.m. in the Men’s Club Room, Winkfield Row.

All patriotic people recognise that they should spend as little as possible on themselves at the present time, so as to be able to lend what they can save to the Nation to help to pay for the war, and a War Savings Association enables members to purchase the 15/6 War Savings Certificates on better terms than they could do as individual investors.

WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION

A meeting to discuss the formation of a War Savings Association and a Parish War Society was held at the men’s Club Room on Friday, March 16th, when there was a good attendance.

The Vicar put forward some suggestions for rules to form the basis of a Parish War Society, the objects of which should be to promote the production of more food, to encourage thrift and saving and the loyal carrying out of the Food Controller’s requirements. Mr Burridge, who kindly came from Bracknell explained the working of a War Savings Association, and a motion by Mr. Asher was carried that a Committee consisting of Messrs. G. Brown, H. Harrison, C. Osman, J. Street, and the Vicar, should be appointed to go into these matters and take the necessary steps for the formation of a War Savings Association.

The Committee met the next day and decided to apply at once for affiliation to the National War Savings Committee for a Winkfield War Savings Association, with the Chairman the Vicar, Treasurer Mr. C. Osman, Secretary Mr. Tipper.

Arrangements have been made to receive payments on Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Club Room, Winkfield Row, by Mr. Tipper; on Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Parish Room by Mr. King; or parents with children at the Schools can send their money to be received by Miss Harris.

The Secretary will be glad to furnish full information to any applicants.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, March and April 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/3-4)

The finest, cosiest, and prettiest place in the whole Second Army Area

A Reading church sponsored a place of recreation for soldiers at the front.

“Words Fail Us.”

Such are the words used on a Christmas card by the Y.M.C.A. to convey their deep gratitude to all who have helped in the erection of Huts in France and elsewhere. The words may be even more fittingly used to emphasise the desperate need for these buildings, and we rejoice in having been privileged to take part in this good work. It will be remembered that soon after our pastor’s return from France in March of last year, he announced his wish to erect a Y.M.C.A. hut, and was met by so gratifying a response from his many friends in Trinity and elsewhere that, by the end of August it was being used by our fighting men on the Western “Front.” This month, by the help of the above-mentioned Christmas card, we are able to show our readers a picture of our own hut.

It is situated La Clytte, about 4.5 miles south-west of Ypres and within three miles of the front firing-line very, very near danger. It is by the side of a road, along which is passing a continual stream of men to and from the trenches. Near by is a rest camp, into which the men are drafted after having served a certain time actually in the line. Hence our Hut, capable of accommodating from two hundred to three hundred men, meets the very real need of a large number of men actually in “the thick of it.”

The picture represents its actual appearance from outside, which resembles many other Y.M. Huts, but the interior is most beautifully and artistically decorated with about 250 coloured pictures, with the result that Mr. Holmes (Sec. Y.M.C.A. 2nd Army) pronounces it to be the finest, cosiest, and prettiest place in the whole Second Army Area. For this proud distinction we must thank its present leader, Mr Cecil Dunford, who is an artist, and so in touch with colour-printing firms. To him, too, we are indebted to him for our picture. His helpers are the Rev. Eric Farrar, son of Dean Farrar a most interesting fact and the Rev. Herbert Brown, Chaplain to the Embassy at Madrid.

At Christmas-time, our thoughts flew naturally to the men in our Hut, and Mr Harrison, anticipating our wishes, telegraphed that a sum of £20 was to be spent on festivities. It will interest all to hear what was done.

On Christmas Eve a Carol service took place, assisted by a regimental band, followed by a distribution of free gifts and cake. On Christmas Day the Hut was crowded for service at 10 a.m., and 45 men present at Holy Communion. From 12-1 a free distribution of cakes and tea was enjoyed. An afternoon concert was held, after which the men were again supplied with tea and cakes. At 6.30 p.m. a very informal concert was held, interspersed with games and amusing competitions ducking for apples bobbing in a pail of water, drawing in to the mouth a piece of toffee tied to a long string held between the teeth, pinning blindfold a moustache to the Kaiser’s portrait, etc. Free drinks and tobacco were again distributed, and after three hearty cheers for the people of Reading, the National Anthem brought a memorable day to a close.

To the men this day was a bright spot in their cheerless, dangerous life, and their enjoyment is depicted by Mr Dunford in some clever sketches one of a man straight from the line, in a tin helmet and with pack on his back, beaming happily at a steaming mug of cocoa, and murmuring “Good ‘ealth to the Y.M.”; another man, whose swelled cheek testifies to the huge mouthful of sandwich (evidently “tres bon!” in quality and quantity), wittily designated “an attach in force on the salient.” To the helpers the Christmas festivities evidently proved exhausting as shown by two laughable sketches of utter collapse, one worker clinging feebly to a post, the other being dragged along the floor to a place of rest. Yet we venture to think that even they, with us, rejoice to do something to brighten the lot of our brave boys in khaki.


Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: magazine, February 1917 (D/EX1237/1)

“It is appalling these awful losses, goodness knows where we find all the officers”

Two of Ralph Glyn’s fellow officers wrote to him with their opinions on the war.

June 20th [1916]
Dear Glyn

Very many thanks for your letter. I was very pleased to hear from you. Georgevitch has evidently done something to get himself into very hot water, I believe the question of decorations has something to do with it, anyhow he is absolutely shelved. You will have heard that a Colonel Nikolauivitch has been appointed Military Attache in London; it is just as well no one proposed Georgevitch for there, as he would have been refused. When they were discussing the question of who to send, they privately asked me & I suggested G, but was at once told that his name would not be entertained for a moment. I fear that there is nothing more that can be done for him. He got into trouble once before I understand over his treatment of his soldiers, & was for this reason only not with a battery in the Field Army.

It is appalling these awful losses, goodness knows where we find all the officers. Still one hopes on the whole the thing is going well though slowly.

I am glad to say I am better, though I have had a bit of [fun?] lately, everyone is having it too. [Hemlis?] & his division have left as you will have heard, most of them I believe going to help at Malta & elsewhere. The country is [illegible] fun from Typhus now, & there is a general air of cleanliness & sanitation about. All his troops practically are inoculated against Cholera.

My wife has been in the North all this time working up relief funds for Serbia, & has collected quite a lot of money; so anyhow you would not have had a chance of meeting her, thanks very much all the same. Things are very quiet here, but I am busy enough with wires & things the WO want. We were visited by 3 Austro-German aeroplanes the other day who dropped some bombs & made a lot of noise, but did not do much damage. We bagged one on its way back.
Wishing you the best of luck.

Yrs sincerely
Arthur Harrison

(more…)

A room full of weary, war-stained men, straight from the trenches

The minister at Trinity Congregational Church reports on his work at a YMCA hut at the Front, serving men getting a temporary respite from trench warfare.

Again we are indebted to Mrs Harrison, who has very kindly furnished us with further details concerning the work of our beloved pastor.

YMCA Hut
Jan. 24th-Feb 16th

We are now really at the Front, and have to be more careful to say nothing except generalities, and those very brief. We are perfectly well and happy, and like the new lot of helpers very much indeed. This hut is always open, so we take it in turns to do night duty. Things are rougher here in many ways than at the base, but the food is excellent, and the work is exactly what we came out to do. I wish it were permitted to tell you more details, but I don’t suppose it will matter your knowing that we are about six miles from the first line of trenches. Yesterday we went for a most interesting walk to within three miles of a famous town, the name of which begins with Y. We stopped by a fine old church whichn was completely wrecked some six weeks ago. Last night I trudged through heavy rain and pitch-dark cobbled streets to address a crowded meeting of men in a Y.M. hut about a mile from here.

They gave me a most attentive and quiet hearing, – it was a great opportunity, I could not have wished for a better. To-night I am going there again to help at a sort of “sing-song” they are having, – as a waiter, not a performer!

We get many chances of talks with the men in the rest-room, and also over the counter while serving them with coffee, etc. It is pathetic to see the big room full of weary, war-stained men, half of them asleep, and the rest half asleep. They come straight in to us from the front trenches, having had nothing to eat all day, but their good temper and quiet kindness to each other and to us, and their evident appreciation of what is done for them, are things to see and remember. We need all the health and strength, and all the other help we can get, for things are decidedly grim just now. We are sleeping in the cellar, and at the first warning of the danger we make tracks for our refuge like rabbits. There is a lot of amusement to be got out of it, and no one could call life out here dull, but what is far more important, is that officers and men speak in a way that would do you good to hear. There is not the slightest doubt about the need for what we are able to do, and of the way in which it is appreciated.

There is no denying that we are in the midst of danger, but it is right that we should face it, and we shall be kept safe. Think of us as utterly content with life, and do not have any thoughts of worry or anxiety on our behalf.

Trinity Congregational Church, Reading: church magazine, March 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

“I am increasingly glad to be out here”

The minister of Trinity Congregational Church was volunteering with the YMCA in France, helping provide home comforts for thr troops, and reported to his flock at home. The Taube to which he refers was a kind of aeroplane.

News from France

Through the kindness of Mrs Harrison, we are able to print some extracts from letters telling of our Pastor’s doings. We shall all rejoice to know he is well and enjoying his novel experiences.

YMCA Hut
Near Calais
Jan. 1st-18th, 1916

Here we are, safe and sound, and already hard at work.
There are five of us helpers in this hut, – all good, good sorts!
We spend hours and hours each day serving out tea, coffee, cocoa, cigarettes, matches, chocolate, Nugget polish, boot laces, etc., to the soldiers.

By great fortune I have come across Hamilton Moss, who seems in excellent health and spirits. We were just going to have a smoke together, when I was called away to my duties, – we hope for better luck next time.

For the last two days I have been in charge of a motor transport tent, but am back again now.

This morning I have scrubbed our three cubicles, – a thing never done before at one co,- and gained great glory thereby.

It is now my afternoon out.

There are two great boilers in this hut, from which tea, coffee and cocoa are made, and all water for household purposes drawn. It is my present duty to light the kitchen fires, and keep these pots full and boiling. Scrubbing out cubicles is by no means the heaviest job nowadays. Cleaning up the back yard and the stables, and unloading big cases of provisions from the vans, is a usual morning’s work, while washing up stacks of dirty mugs is becoming second nature.

We have just had our first sight of a Taube. It came almost over our heads, and we watched the shrapnel bursting round it. It got away without doing any damage, but I am told that they brought it down further on.

It is pitch dark here at night, and getting about is a weird business. Flash-lights are indispensable. The weather is not as bad as it might be, and we have some jolly walks along the sands.
Now I am off to get hold of a stove for the rest room. I am able to get some good talks with the men in there, but the room is too bleak for words, so I must make things more comfortable if possible.

This morning, along with other sundry duties already mentioned, I had to peel the potatoes for dinner, and boil them! They were quite well done.

Our chief told us yesterday that we should most likely be sent to the Front this week. We don’t know where, as there are some thirty places under this Calais centre alone. We shall be right in things then, and have less freedom and more work. Some huts are just dug-outs within three quarters of a mile of the trenches.

I am thoroughly enjoying the work, and keeping in the best of health. I am increasingly glad to be out here.

Trinity Congregational church magazine, January 1916 (D/EX1237/1/11)

“Our fear of the Censor forbids us saying what he has done”

There was good news about some of the Newbury men in the armed forces.

A new departure has been made at the close of the Sunday evening service, in reading out the names of those who are entered on the Intercession List in the Church. Owing to the number of names, the list is being divided into about four parts, and thus should be completed during the month. May we once more remind the parishioners that we have prayers for the war twice daily, and sometimes more, and also that the Great Service where they can specially find Help for themselves in trouble or anxiety, and where they can best pray for their absent friends, is the Service of the Holy Communion.

Another room is being opened, this time in St John’s Parish, as a recreation room for wounded soldiers at the Hospital, an institution which was much needed. The old Boys’ British School has been lent by the Local Education Authority, and the Hon. Secretary, Mr Harrison, writes to appeal for donations, writing materials, books, magazines, papers, tables, sofas, easy chairs, screens, cards and games.

Major B J Majendie, KRRC, has been promoted to the rank of temporary Lieut-Colonel, and given command of the 12th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.

Lance-Corporal Charles Crossman is a prisoner of war in the hands of the Germans. We are sorry for him in his incarceration, but we should have been still more sorry if he had been killed, as there was some fear of for some days. Mr Crossman has been a steadfast member of the CEMS and a most useful Sunday School teacher, and we should have missed him very much in either capacity.

One of our old choir boys, Gordon Burgess, formerly in the Merchant Service, and now in the Royal Navy, has been distinguishing himself. Our fear of the Censor forbids us saying what he has done, but a large German Flag and a message of congratulation from the Admiral, which Mrs Burgess now possesses, go to prove that he has been making himself very useful to his country on the sea.

The Rev. F Streatfeild has been home on leave from the Front, and, we are glad to know, is in good health.

Newbury parish magazine, November 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

A privilege much appreciated at the Front

Frank Streatfeild, an Anglican clergyman who had been living in Newbury, became an army chaplain in 1914. He was with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in France.

The Rev. Frank Streatfeild has courageously gone to the Front as Chaplain to the Forces, and we hope his friends in Newbury will remember him in his new and responsible work. The Rector received an interesting letter from him, describing among other things an open-air Communion service, where all the Communicants were men, and it is evident that the privilege is much appreciated at the Front. It will be remembered that a former Newbury curate, the Rev. F A Hill, is also out with the men.

The energetic ladies have opened St George’s Mission Room on week-day evenings as a Club for Soldiers. A considerable number have made use of the Room and have found there games, writing paper, music and refreshments. One evening a Whist Drive was held which the men – and the ladies – much enjoyed. Some male help would be appreciated with the Club.

In answer to an appeal for the wounded from the Dardanelles in the Hospitals at Malta, where Dr Heywood is working, the following generous response was made:

Given by members of the Newbury Parish and Donnington Square Red Cros Work Parties and by Anon: Miss A Boyce, Mr Bragg, Miss Cotton, Mr H Davis, Miss Davis, Miss Etty, Rev. W S and Mrs Edgell, Mr and Mrs J Morgan Ellis, Mr Harrison, Mrs J H Hopson, Misses Harrison, Miss A Hoad, Mrs Howard, Mr Josselyn, Rev. and Mrs L R Majendie, Mrs Milward, Mrs Pettican, Mrs Plows, Mrs B Pinniger, Rev. H G Rogers, Misses Sperring, Miss Watts, Mrs Wellock.

3 pairs sheets, 13 pillowcases, 21 Towels, 16 table napkins, 6 pairs pyjamas, 11 cotton shirts, 14 pairs socks, 4 handkerchiefs, 20 holland bags, 12 jig-saw puzzles, 1 book, 2 boxes cigarettes, 2 india-rubber hot water bottles, 3 hot water bottle covers, 11 pieces toilet soap, 2 Price’s service boxes, 2 yards macintosh sheeting, 2 yards jaconet, 4 lbs cotton wool, 6 lbs lint, 1 lb boracic lint, 5 dozen bandages, 4 boxes rubber plaster.


Newbury parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P89/28A/13)

A time to turn to God with fresh earnestness, after a year of war

As the anniversary of the start of the war approached, two Berkshire churches had special services on 1 August.

Reading St John

My Dear Friends,

We are approaching the Anniversary of the Declaration of War which is to be kept on Wednesday, August 4th, with all solemnity. You will be naturally interested to hear that what part we propose to take as a parish in this great event of our national life.

We are aiming at two things. First, we want to do something to help in preparing the mind of the town to enter worthily upon the observance of the day. In no spirit of self sufficiency or idle boasting but in sincere and humble dependence upon God we want to renew our vows to adhere to the high ideals with which we entered upon the war. If we are able to do this some thought and waiting upon God should precede the keeping of the day. With this in view a great Open Air Service is to be held on ‘S. John’s Lawn,’ 1, Victoria Square, on Sunday, August 1st, at 3 p.m.

The Mayor of Reading will preside, and addresses will be given by the Rev. Percy N. Harrison and myself. A large platform will be erected and the Mayor will be supported by many leading citizens who are deeply concerned in the religious life of the town. The Meeting will be widely advertised and will be open to people of all denominations or of no denomination. Seats will be provided for about 500, but practically any number can be accommodated standing or sitting. Service papers will be provided and the singing will be led by massed choirs and accompanied by a band. The main entrance will be from Victoria Square, but the ground may also be entered from Orts Road. If wet, the Service, which is to last one hour, will be held in S. John’s Hall. I would earnestly ask your prayers that God may direct the carrying out of these arrangements and give His own message to the speakers.

Theale

INTERCESSIONS IN WAR-TIME

As the Rector reminded the congregations on the last Sunday in July, we are close to the first anniversary of the great War. All Christian people must feel that this is a time to turn to God with fresh earnestness. In the words of the Bishop of London, it calls upon us ‘to pray,’ ‘to repent,’ ‘to serve’ and ‘to save.’ It is a great opportunity to pray for Victory, and that we may be such as to deserve victory. Special Prayers and Intercessions will therefore be held in the Parish Church at the close of the Evening Service on Sunday, August 1st, to which the parishioners are earnestly invited. The Service will conclude with the singing of ‘God, Save the King.’

Reading St John parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P172/28A/24); Theale parish magazine, August 1915 (D/P132B/28A/4)

Dreadful conditions in Serbia

One little known aspect of the First World War is the terrible epidemic of typhus which devastated our ally Serbia. William Hunter (1861-1937), the British doctor and fever specialist who was in charge of tackling the disease, was an family friend of the Glyns, and was surprised to run into Ralph in Serbia.

15 March 1915

My dear Ralph

I did not know the last time I saw you in Harley St that our next meeting or greeting would be – of all places – in this Heaven-forsaken and distressed land.

I am asking Colonel Harrison – our Secretary Attache here – to carry to you the letters contained herein – viz to Captain Fitzwilliams – RAMC Influenza officer at [Straela?].

I am out here as Colonel AMS in Comand of some 30 officers of the RAMC as a great Sanitary Corps sent out by the War Office to deal with the frightful problems presented in this country.

We arrived in Nish on Thursday the 4th inst, stayed there till Monday the 8th inst, interviewing all the Government Officials – from the Prime Minister downwards. Came on here to Hdquarters with my Major a week ago – brought up the other officers here last Thursday; and have during this past week been fearfully busy, amid all kinds of uncomfortable conditions, preparing our plans of operations for the whole Serbian Armies, to which we are attached.

Our stores arrive in a day or two, but already we have been able to decide – & our recommendations have enabled the Serbian Authorities to decide on the plan of operations to deal with the frightful epidemic now prevailing.

Will you tell my dear wife how things are in this country?

Will you also try to se Captain Fitzwilliams at Malta, & ask him to see that the ‘food stores’ we have ordered are sent out at once. We want them very badly.

During the last 10 days we have indeed “gelebt und gelutten”. But things are straitening [sic] out, as the result of continuous pressure.

My Headquarters will be here – with my stores & laboratories, while the larger part of the Corps of officers are going forward, elsewhere.

It’s a great fight we have to put up – against dreadful conditions of disease – & we can only aim to do our duty: against all odds, whatever they may be. No such problem of infection has ever been presented to any body of men in modern history.

I asked Mrs Hunter specially to write to Lady Mary, telling her of my mission – on which I was despatched with some 3 days’ notice, and I little knew that you had gone before.

I hope you are very well – and that you will call on my dear wife & tell her that, in spite of all difficulties, things are moving.

With all good wishes.

Yours ever sincerely
Wm Hunter

Letter from William Hunter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/4)

“It is rather absurd the way we are expected to produce every darned thing for for other countries”

Ralph Glyn’s mission to Serbia had gone well, as we can see from this letter from a colleague in the War Office, who shares the latest information and his candid views on some of our allies. The port of Cattaro (now Kotor and in Montenegro) was one of the main bases of the Austrian Navy. MO4 was the topographical section of British Intelligence. Colonel George Fraser Phillips (1863-1921) was a former Governor of Scutari.

March 6 [1915]

War Office
Whitehall
SW

My dear Glyn

Your letters have been most interesting. The last one received was from Petrograd dated 18th February. I gave WGO a copy. I daresay I shall get another from you in a few days. The plan of Cattaro has been copied by MO4 and given to the Admiralty. The original is being taken back to Nisch by Phillips who takes this letter. Phillips you know was in Albania – commandant at Scutari – & was rather a big bug there. Lord K wished him to go out in some capacity to the Balkans so he has been fixed up as MA [Military Attache] – Serbia & Montenegro. He is going to make his HQ at Cettinje [Cetinje]. We have made it quite clear to Harrison that Phillips in no way supersedes him. Harrison will still remain as Attache with Serbian Forces in the field. We had to give in to K in the matter as we particularly wanted C B Thomson to go to Bucharest & Tom Cunninghame to Athens. The latter got to work very quick and the Greeks seem to be scratching their heads a bit as to what they are going to do. I wish they were not in such a funk of the Bulgars. None of the Balkans except perhaps Serbia quite like the idea of a Russian occupation of Constantinople.

You will be interested to hear that Deedes has gone off to be on the spot in case we meet with success in the Dardanelles. He left Toulon for Malta on the 27th February & was hoping to get a ship from there on to what we call “Lundy” Island. He says that if ever he sets foot in Constantinople he will make a “B” line for his old hotel in the hopes of finding all his kit. When you come back, I suppose about 30th March, you are to take over Deedes’ job in MO etc. You will find Ingram a most excellent assistant. He has quite got hold of the “ins & outs” of the German corps &c & has everything at his finger ends. Thank you for your postcard from Bucharest which fetched up all right. Serbia are now “asking” us for anti-aircraft guns. We couldn’t supply them with oats and horses as our own imported supply is only enough to meet our own requirements and in these days of submarines with long sea capacity one never knows when we may run short. Russia surely ought to be able to supply forage & horses to Serbia. It is rather absurd the way we are expected to produce every darned thing for for other countries – but it always was so in the old days of European wars.

I am very sorry to lose Deedes – but I am glad for his sake that he has got his nose turned towards the Turks once more. Fitzmaurice you will find in Sofia I suppose. You will have a rather “delicate” time I expect in the land of the Bulgars, but it will be a smack in the eye for the French if the King receives Paget after refusing to see General Pau. I hope the fact of delaying you a few days to wait for Phillips will not be very inconvenient to you. The other alternative was to send out another mission with fresh trinkets – & this would have cost a great deal. So they are going to wire to you today to stop you leaving the Balkans till you can dole out a few more trinkets or rather hand them to old man Peter for distribution. This general strewing of orders is absolutely against our British ideas & we want to nip it in the bud or it will become intolerable. I hear Russia has sent a box of 850 “orders” as a first instalment!

I lost my sister very sadly last week after a few days’ illness. She was nursing in the Red Cross Hosp. at Winchester… She caught cerebro-spinal fever & died after being unconscious 36 hours….

Yrs sincerely
B E Bulkley

Letter from B Bulkley to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/3)