Now they know what war means

Meg Meade wrote to her brother Ralph in Egypt. She was staying with their parents in Peterborough, and had heard from her naval husband.

Peterborough
Jan 26th [1916]
My darling Ralph

I hear that the beautiful Lady Loughborough was an Australian called Miss Chisholm & she married out in Egypt the other day.

I sent the Gallipoli bomb to Miss Jackson at that Irish address. I have not yet heard if it’s arrived alright.

I sent £1 to the Home Office for permission for you to wear those foreign orders, & they have acknowledged the money without saying where the warrants have been sent to…

How I envy you in beloved Egypt, & near the Nile!

Jim writes very well, but they have no news. His destroyers are joining up every day, & the gales never stop blowing for an hour…. Jim sent me really a heavenly rhyme about Royalist & her officers which I am copying out for you. Isn’t it priceless.
Maysie will tell you all her news. Poor John has got to have his jaw cut again before it can heal.

The parents seem very well, & Mamma has a thousand irons in the fire as usual, & sometimes get her fingers burnt, but she always retaliates! She’s started a first class Red X workroom in the Knights Chamber which of course infuriates the other Cross Red women who aren’t Red X here!

There is no chauffeur & no gardeners. We live in the hall & dining room & Dad’s study. Mr Green & the housemaids are supposed to run the garden!! So Dad & I had a morning’s weeding today, one had almost to push one’s way along the Monastery Garden through the weeds. But the War has reduced all gardens to that. Dad busy with the hoe, poking, pushing & destroying, muttered pathetically, “Poor dears” & I found he was addressing the weeds!

PS I went to see Aunt Syb who is wonderful, & Joanie, who is the same, but she seemed to me so altered in the face. Something has happened to her eyes, & they seem shattered by the sorrow and shock, & who can wonder. It is so awful.

[On a separate sheet is the poem:]

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“We will grip munitions yet”

John MacLeod (1857-1934) was a wealthy stockbroker who was about to be elected Unionist MP for Glasgow Central. His son George (1895-1991) was serving in the army (and later founded the Iona Community). He wrote to Ralph Glyn with some thoughts on the war.

149 West George Street
Glasgow
18th June 1915

My dear Ralph Glyn

Greetings and hearty ones to you. Is it true that you are going on a mission to Iceland, & taking St Kilda on the way home, as these are the only spots where your influence has not been felt.

Private: I understand Central may be offered to me. If it is done with unanimity, under present conditions I’ll take it. My presence won’t be required in London much except on special occasions for me. It will be the climax of my life, & I never dreamt of such a thing occurring. But it may not come off…

I think things are going all right. We will grip munitions yet. These glorious Russians. Italy is very good. What are the London odds for Roumania, Bulgaria & Greece.

Heartiest wishes

Yours as ever
John M MacLeod

Letter from John MacLeod to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/7)