A dramatic scene in Parliament

Irish Secretary Augustine Birrell resigned for his mishandling of Irish nationalism and the Easter Rising.

32 Addison Road
Kensington, W
May 4/16

My dear M

I have been harried from pillar to post since my return on the 29th. Heavy foreign mails in & out, the excitements of the House, & the sitting of our Synod in London. This last is rather absurd as half our small body are away as chaplains or combatants, but it has involved services which must be attended by the elect few…

On the 2nd I went to the Palace, & found the attention was appreciated. Together we went to the Intercession service at noon, & Kensington Church seemed more than ever alive with the history of your family…

Today Joan was to have gone to Woking with Louise, but her Captain is home (today), & I replace her, a poor substitute in L’s eyes! I was only engaged to lunch with the Asquiths & of course could put it off. I saw the dramatic scene in the House yesterday. The 2nd Irish Secretary I have seen resign! It was a fine manly speech & received as such by the House. I don’t know who is to go in his stead. No one well known, I think….

Tell Meg, A J says one submarine a week since Jan: 1 (at least). An interesting account of the action off Lowestoft, but with borrowed caution I had better wait to see her…

Ever
[illegible signature – Sybil Campbell?]

Letter to Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/4)

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“England is worth dying for” – and Winston Churchill is the devil on earth

Meg Meade let her brother Ralph know the details of the last moments of their cousin Ivar Campbell, together with news of various friends and relations – plus her very unflattering views of Winston Churchill. Ralph had political ambitions, and subsequently became a Conservative MP. The controversial Noel Pemberton Billing, mentioned here, had just won a by-election standing as an Independent, but his political career (perhaps fortunately) lasted only a few years.

March 16th [1916]
Peter[borough]

My darling Ralph

I hear Wisp is coming to London as he has six weeks leave, lucky thing, but the reason is he has had such a bad dose of flu he has lost a stone! Jim says lots of them have had it in the north. If it produced leave on that scale, & Jim doesn’t catch it, I shall have to send him a bottled germ of it!

I posted my last letter to you from London when I went up to see Arthur. He was looking very well indeed, he says the English soldiers have invented a sort of pidgeon French which is now used by the French soldiers to make themselves understood by the English & vice versa, & it’s frightfully difficult to understand. One day Arthur came out & found his servant looking up into his horse’s face & saying “Comprennie? Comprennie?” He said Frenchwomen always come to him about every conceivable thing, even to if they are going to have a baby, & one had highstrikes [sic] in his office the other day.

I hear that Bertie is convalescent on crutches now & they are trying to prevent his being sent home to England on account of his health.

Poor old Mrs Hopkinson came in here today, broken hearted; for Pen’s husband, Colonel Graeme, was killed in France last Friday behind the lines by a stray shell. Killed outright mercifully. But oh dear, how sad one is at these ceaseless sorrows, and all the broken hearted people all round one. “But England is worth dying for” as Noel Skelton wrote to Aunt Syb about Ivar. I dined with Aunt Syb the night I was in London. She is so wonderful, so is Joan, but it has told hard on both of them. Aunt S has aged & Joan carries the mark in her face too…

(more…)

“Awful bad luck”

Two of Ralph Glyn’s friends wrote to him.

HMS Caroline
C/o GPO
London

27th Feb 1916

My dear Ralph

Being a d-d nuisance Sir told Drummond to send you out some papers to sign, sorry to worry you with them, but it’s in a good cause, as they are all about the transference of Foreign Bonds (mostly Americans) to War Loan, and every little helps. We are all very cheery just at present, as we’ve just had 5 days leave, the first we’ve had for 8 months, and it’s made a lot of difference and bucked us up no-end. Evelyn is most flourishing, & so are the children, though the latter I’ve not seen for some time, as went to London for my leave. I hear you are very busy, didn’t see any of your relations, but Lady George [Sybil] & Joan, & they told us about you. It was sad for her Ivar having been killed, awful bad luck. This is written under difficulties, as we are rowing about, & have had to wedge myself in, but I’ve so little time just at present for writing; after leave & a refit there is always a lot to do.

Good luck to you.

Yours ever
Rupert Drummond

Did you hear the Germans published that they had sunk us by Zeps: can’t imagine why we were selected.

18, Queen’s Gate Place
SW

Feb. 27, 1916

My dear Glyn

Very many thanks for your kind congratulations.

I see that you are on the GHQ of the Mediterranean Force, & perhaps we shall see you at Ismailia when we pass through. Our plans are to go to Cairo from Port Said, then by special train to Ismailia, & so by motor boat to rejoin our ship at Suez.

It will be a fleeting visit – but sometimes one is able to have a view of friends when they know one is coming. Do look out for us.

Sincerely yours
Chelmsford

Letters to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/12-13)

“The war is doing us a lot of good”

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn in Egypt with the news that she and her wounded husband were going to be based in Windsor until he was well enough to return to the Front. Their aunt Sybil was still receiving letters from her son Ivar, written before his recent death in action.

Feb 11/16
11 Bruton St W
Darlingest R.

I had a mysterious message from Meg’s house today saying Colonel Sykes had called leaving a small parcel from you, & saying he was just home from the Dardenelles [sic]. I had the said parcel brought here, & it is a couple of torch refills apparently unused from Stephenson. I must get hold of Colonel Sykes for an explanation.

Our plans are now fixed up to a point. The doctor, [dear?] man, said John was not to return to France for 3 months, this being so the regimental powers that be used much pressure to get him to reconsider his refusal of the 5th Battalion Adjutancy, & so after being told they won’t try & keep him after he’s fit for France, he has said yes. There is no doubt it’s good useful work for home service, if it has to be, & I am glad for him, though I suppose I shall now see little or nothing of him at all. He begins on Monday. He went house hunting on Tuesday – a depressing job, as there are hardly any houses to be had, & those one more beastly than the other! However – nothing matters – it’s just wonderful to be there at all. We shall take what we can & when we can – that’s all. The house we long for, but it’s not yet even furnished, is one, & a charming old house done up & owned by that old bore Arthur Leveson Gower, you remember the man, we met at the Hague, years ago. Tony has been ill again with Flu, the 2nd time this year…

We’ve just had tea with Aunt Syb. She got another letter from Ivar written Jan 1, last Friday. It’s awful for her, & yet I think there is most joy, rather than pain, the hopeless silence is for a moment filled, though but as it were by an echo. Joan looks pale & oh so sad. She’s wonderfully brave & unselfish to Aunt Syb. Poor little Joanie…

I hear Pelly’s opinion is that Kut must fall. London was filled with rumours of a naval engagement on Monday & Tues, but as far as I can make out without foundation.

I met Ad[miral] Mark Ker[r] in the street the other day, & we had a long talk. I fear he’s not improved – & I think very bitter at being out of it all. He was interesting over Greece etc, but there is so much “I” in all he says, one cannot help distrusting a great deal. He’s very upset as he was starting to return to Greece a week ago & at the very last moment was stopped, & now he’s simply kicking his heels, not knowing what’s going to happen next. “Tino” now is of course his idol & here – I feel a pig saying all this, as I do feel sorry for him, & he was most kind. Yesterday he asked us to lunch to meet Gwladys [sic] Cooper, Mrs Buckmaster, how lovely she is, & seems nice, almost dull John thought! We then went on to the matinee of her new play. Most amusing, she is delightful, & Hawtrey just himself…

As you can imagine air-defence & the want of it is now all the talk. One of our airships has taken to sailing over this house from west to east every morning at 8.30 am. I hear we broke up 6 aeroplanes & killed 3 men the night of the last raid. All leave is now stopped from France. We’ve just lunched with Laggs Gibbs, who came over a day before the order came out. He says it’s said to be because of some new training scheme we have & not because of any offensive either way.

John had a Med Board today, & narrowly escaped being given another 3 months sick leave apparently. They implored him to go to Brighton & said he was very below parr [sic] etc, however he bounced them into giving him home duty, & they’ve made it 3 months, & “no marching”, etc, tc, etc. Of course as Adjutant he wouldn’t have that anyhow.

We think we have got a house, but can’t get in for a fortnight.

Bless you darling
Your ever loving Maysie (more…)

“Life is over for me”

Bereaved mother Sybil Campbell was grateful for a letter of sympathy from her late husband Lord George Campbell’s nephew Ralph Glyn.

Feb 5 [1916]
2 Bryanston Square

Dearest Ralph

I loved your letter. I knew how sorry you would be. I have today had two long letters from him – the last dated Jan 1st – he was so wonderful in his love & care for me – he wrote nearly every day ever since he went to France last May. It seems so cruel that he should have been six months in those awful trenches unhurt – & then killed the first month he landed in Mesopotamia.

Oh! Ralph – it’s hard to lose him – my only one – nothing left of Uncle George’s name to carry on – so darling – so clever. Thank God when the war broke out he saw the path of duty & never rested till his feet were on it. He did his duty well & simply & I know he did it well & was a good officer – still praise of him is sweet & it was like your dear self to say you always heard how well he did – please tell me anything you hear – I have had no details yet – these details I long, yet dread to hear – but I can’t hear yet; the battalion suffered so awfully. I feel I may never hear all I want.

Life is over for me – that sounds ungrateful – when dear Joan is all in all to me & so miserable – but some day, like Enid, she will marry & be absorbed in another family. Ivar was just mine – always – even had he married – & oh! how I long for him – the desolation is too awful.

Your very affectionate

Sybill Campbell

Letter from Sybil Campbell to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C17)

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…)

Highland bonnets on their way to the Tree of Life

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her son Ralph with details of the family’s response to the death of his cousin Ivar Campbell, alongside her squabbles with a rival group of Red Cross workers.

Peter[borough] Jan. 14th

My own darling darling own son

I know how you will grieve for Aunt Syb and for the torture of that faraway uncertainty even in the certainty – 6th or 8th as date, and not having been able to see him before he left – and his not being with the Argyll & Sutherland Aunt Em thinks has added to the sore trouble, “the sore blow” as Aunt Syb calls it. She sees Aunt Far, and all his special friends – and I am sure Eustace Percy will be a comfort to her now.

I saw Aunt Syb & Joan the week before. She had been made so glad by letters on Xmas Day amd New Year’s Day. Aunt Far wrote to Aunt Eve that Mrs McDiarmuid (Tiree) had written to her, “I am thinking of the Highland bonnets on their way to where the Tree of Life grew”.

The Rest Room at the G.E. is a great success, and I have troops of helpers…. The Red X Room (Arthur Knight’s Chamber) has been most shamefully attacked by the Winfrey lot who appealed to Lord Spencer – and he has been ass enough to go in with them, and so the matter referred to Headquarters – and I keep silence knowing they are cutting their own throats.

I have had a letter from beloved old Jack asking me not to go on with the “crusade”! “That he and Lord Spencer are there.” I tell him I have made no crusade, but that registration now enforced has shown up these people as I knew it would, and their attack on me – & it must take its own course.

The answer from Headquarters is to wipe out all Peterborough organization & say only Lord Spencer & his representative can be corresponded with. So much for Winfrey & his tools – and they are in a very bad position. So I have been to see Sir George Pragnell, Chairman of Work Room Section, & told him I will do what he advises. Meantime we have a delightful brigade at work in the Knights Chamber on Tuesday evenings, registered in the name of a very clever lady doctor, and they are all splendidly keen. I knew if I did anything it would at once produce a cost, but I never dreamed that Lady Exeter would go in with Winfrey, or that committee against me! I am afraid she is quite without brains, & is making a great hash of everything she has to do with.

I keep quite cool and go quietly on, & make no reply to their attacks, and ask the workers also to keep quiet – & as many as can are encouraged to go to the Rooms they have now at last registered as a rival to mine. Supported with any amount of LSD collected in the name of the “Red X”… It is all a most disgraceful story & one day when they have me to fight no longer they will all be ashamed of themselves….

Letter from Lady Mary to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

Rumour we paid for safe evacuation of Gallipoli

Lady Mary Glyn informed her son Ralph of the death of his cousin Ivar Campbell.

The Palace
Peterborough

My own darling Ralph

Jan 12. The news has come of Ivar. “Died of wounds” and I know how much you will feel it, and how grieved you will be for Aunt Syb, Joan and Enid – & regret my regret, which I have ever had for “words spoken in haste”, but I love to know it was all made up outside the old Inverary Church the day after his father’s funeral – and it was the old Ivar we will one day meet again, that gave me that kiss & the old radiant smile – for we used to be such friends when he was a little boy, and now he will teach me to be more gentle and to say less, however strongly moved!

I saw Aunt Syb [Ivar’s bereaved mother] on Thursday in last week. She is always brave, and had been cheered by letters from him on Christmas Day & on New Years Day….

I go to bed too tired to write, but first go to sleep. It will get better as I have now got through the worst, & the next Rest Room at the Great Eastern, and the Red Cross Work Room are started & working well & delightful helpers all rallying round me, and I have been happy in it all….

We have lost Swayne. He went yesterday & is a dreadful loss. If he passes the medical, he will be attached to Flying Transport Corps….

Your very own
Mur
Jan 12 1916

Lady Mary’s daughter Meg Meade wrote to Ralph the same day with the latest rumours about Gallipoli:

12th [January 1916]
23 Wilton Place, SW

My own darling Ralph

…Now that you are among the fleshpots your no longer flagging spirits are not dependent on witty letters from your devoted family.

There is a rumour going all round London that we “paid” for the evacuation of Gallipoli in safety. It only goes to show how far people will go in the gossip without foundation…

Your ever very loving Meg

Letters from Lady Mary Glyn and Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGLC2/3)