Today the Peace Terms are to be handed to the Germans

It was an important day.

7th May 1919

Reminded boys that today the Peace Terms are to be handed to the Germans and that it is also the fourth anniversary of the sinking of The Lusitania with 1,198 souls.

Newbury St Nicolas CE (Boys) School log book (90/SCH/5/3, p. 51)

It is wonderful to be alive, to be all together to see this breaking of a great day of God all over the torn mangled world

Lady Mary Glyn was excited by the approach of victory.

Oct 13 1918
St Mary’s

My own darling

…I am still without a maid and a kitchenmaid. And what does anything matter now with all the wonderful news from the front, & the Sunday papers “Germany throws up the sponge”. What bathos of language for such an event! But I am thankful Foch is to have his say, and the Allies have not yet only subscribed to Wilson’s 14 points. The news is so bewildering in its greatness, and one wishes to remain with old Bunyan in the Interpreter’s House, and to try to see these new wonders in proportion…

This Irish mail boat horror together with an American transport transport tragedies are a nightmare of sea loss & misery. Will it bring Ireland in as the Lusitania brought in America?…

Darling own Ralph, how I do long to know there can be a real lasting peace, and you once more set free. It is wonderful to be alive, to be all together to see this breaking of a great day of God all over the torn mangled world.

Own Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“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…)

Germany guilty of murder over the Lusitania

Lord Mersey (1840-1925) had presided over the official inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic a few years before the war. He was appointed to look at the German torpedoing of the Lusitania, concluding that the enemy was solely to blame, completely absolving the captain, the Navy and Cunard.

17 July 1915

Strike all over South Wales – still continuing.

Judgment on Lusitania by Lord Mersey – case of murder! v Germany.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)

Lost on the “Lusitania”

The sinking of the Lusitania on 7 May 1915 is often regarded as one of the first war crimes. One of the victims lived in Berkshire, and the Clewer St Andrew parish magazine reported:

The terrible War has deprived us of one of the most well-known and respected of our residents, in the person of Mr. Edgar Gorer, of Sutherland Grange, who was one of the drowned in the sinking of the “Lusitania” by a German torpedo which involved the loss of 1200 lives of innocent people who, beyond their nationality and the fact that they were passengers on an English ship, had no connection whatever with the War. The loss of Mr. Gorer, though he had only lately become a resident among us, will be deeply felt by the poor. He was always most ready to help in any cases of distress and charity, and though of the Jewish religion, was a subscriber to our Parochial Funds. Since the beginning of the War, in order to enable married men to join the expeditionary forces, he generously provided for the payment of their rents. We desire to express on behalf of all our readers our deep and respectful sympathy for Mrs. Gorer in her terrible loss.

Clewer parish magazine, June 1915 (D/P39/28A/9)

More cursing and swearing about the Germans than ever before

The sinking of the Lusitania continued to outrage people.

Florence Vansittart Neale
Lusitania sunk off Irish coast. 2 submarines. 1300 drowned.

William Hallam
In the work shops to-day more cursing and swearing about the Germans than ever I’ve heard. This afternoon wife & I went up to Draycott Camp. Quite a town of huts there. 11,700 Scotch regiment there. Had a talk to one, a Cameron man, who told me there were 350 university men in the ranks of their Battalion. Although it was a very hot afternoon, it was quite cold this evening coming back.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8) and William Hallam (D/EX1415/23)

Standing in the streets discussing the sinking of the Lusitania

The sinking of the American liner Lusitania, laden with over a thousand civilians, many from neutral nations, was one of the factors which ultimately led to the United States of America joining the Allies. The Germans deliberately targetted all shipping indiscriminately in what would today be regarded as a war crime. The Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist in Clewer thought the incident worthy of note in their records, as did William Hallam of Swindon.

William Hallam
Down town early after tea and paid mine & Bryant’s Building Society [subscription]. While in there heard of the Lusitania being torpedoed. Everyone horrified. This job caused more consternation than anything which has yet happened during the war. It is the first time I saw groups of people standing about in the streets discussing an event of the war.

The Germans blew up the “Lusitania” full of passengers – as she neared England – a death roll of about 1500.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/23); Annals of Community of St John Baptist (D/EX1675/1/14/5)