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)