“When Palestine is handed over to them the liberal Jew will have as little place there as they had under the Wall of wailing”

Claude Montefiore (1858-1938) was an Anglo-Jewish preacher, writer and thinker who founded Liberal Judaism and was an open opponent of Zionism.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Oct 6 1918
My own darling

I have had a good long read of the Observer & the Sunday Times, & hope you will read Marsh Sykes on Damascus. Spenser Wilkinson makes one understand all that must be between us & peace unless the Hun gets broken inside, which after Austria collapses may well come about.

Also I have been reading Claude Montefiore’s Liberal Judaism & Hellenism with ever more intense interest. A wonderful book, and makes one understand how in some ways they are further removed from us than the orthodox Jew, and when Palestine is handed over to them the liberal Jew will have as little place there as they had under the Wall of wailing….

Very own Mur

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

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American president makes a speech

The United States of America declared war on Germany on 6 April.

8 April 1917
Observer full of “President Wilson”’s speech.

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

“Sickened by this uncalled for impertinence of President Wilson”

Percy Spencer spent part of his leave with his parents in Cookham, then headed for his sister’s house in Cambridge. Brother in law John Maxwell Image had some more to say about the political scene – he was very unimpressed by US President Wilson!

24 Dec. [1916]

Florence specially bids me join her good wishes with mine to Mrs Smith and you, we can’t at this juncture say for a Merry Xmas, but our heartfelt good wishes that you may have a Good and Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

She got back here on Thursday [from Cookham]: and is at this moment in bed with a rancorous cold which she brought back from her voyaging, together with her brother. Poor fellow, he had to leave the very next morning (and is back at the Front by now): but he longed to see me, just once again. He is one of those fine fellows whom you feel you can trust through thick and thin. Florence showed me a thing he values far above medals – an autograph appraisement of him by the General. It is scribbled in pencil, but I never read stronger and I may say more affectionate words of the way he is looked up to and regarded by the entire Staff of the Brigade; and (it would have been tame without that) of his coolness under fire and his courage. Prizing it as he did, he would not take it back, but left it for safety – not with his parents, but with Florence. It is touching to note how the brothers, one and all, turn to her for everything.

I have never felt more bewildered – more sickened – than by this uncalled for impertinence of President Wilson. Does he dare to pretend that, in his view, the desire of each side is “virtually the same”, to secure the “rights and privileges of weak peoples and small states”?!!!

To quote the Observer, he would “present Germany with a gratuitous certificate of moral equality. Take the Hun out of quarantine and provide him with a clean bill of health”.

The Right Answer is the answer of Jehu.

Let Mr Wilson ponder what will be the lot of America, should Germany establish the world-empire she is striving for.

Nevertheless, ever since Agadir in 1911, I have placed full trust in Lloyd George as a fighting chief – once he could shake clear from “Wait and See”. He has done that now. He is practically a Dictator. It may not be pleasant for the home-folk, but it is the winning card. Once more is true the claim, “I know I can save this people, and that nobody else can”. It is Lloyd George or nothing.

Carson, no doubt, might: but he is older: and would he have received such unanimous acceptance?

How will the worn out Balfour manage at the FO? He was so singularly gauche in his announcements from the Admiralty that I am of those who see, in his appointment and that of Lord Robert Cecil, a sop to the Salisbury influence. He resembles Grey in being a gentleman. In other things I hope he will be clearer and keensighted.

The Hall was full on Wednesday – 199 Cadets and 37 Dons and Officers. Government limitation of 3 courses. I had 1. Hare Soup. 2. Wing Fowl. 3. Mincepie – and felt far more comfortable than after the gorges of old time. Wines were Fizz and Port, only. The former foamed forth during the soup. The Master and VM were unable to come, and I was in the Chair: and let in for some of the oratory. It was a joyous party. The boys (nearly all of whom had served at the Front already, and had wounds and medals to shew) were so sweet and friendly. They buzzed round, begging your signature on their menus. They set such store by this, and send the cards home to the ends of the earth. I signed my name well over 100 times. Fortunately I had the Colonel on my right, so I got him to stand up and send them to their places; else we should have got no forrader, at one time. At 10 he and I eloped: but the fun went on – and what most relieved me was that I escaped the sickening song Auld Lang Syne…

Your most affectionate
Bild

Letter from John Maxwell Image to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

The press is evil and needs to be slayed like a dragon

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her soldier son Ralph Glyn with news of a contretemps over Red Cross work in their home town. She was also scathing about the press, particularly the empire of press baron Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, which included the Times, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

Peter[borough]
Dec 2, 1915
My own darling Scrappits

Like Jim [her son in law, naval officer Jim Meade] I can scarcely bear to read the papers, and I read the Harmondsworth [sic] Press, & believe they are part of the Evil Thing which we have to slay like the Dragon. One has to think of that patron saint St George very often, for we are now to fight in the country of the dragon, and we have a host of St Georges and if only we women could be worthier, and help to keep England what it may be, waiting and ready for the regeneration that must surely come for your reward, when you all come back! But there is something strange the matter as one reads society paper paragraphs, even in the good old Observer, and find the same “vanity” and the same obsession of dress and extravagance, even when they talk Economy and Thrift, and “Mince” like women of old. Punch is good this week. I want to send Punch out to you…

Long ago we sent the things from Fortnum & Mason, trusting more to Expert Packers, but I long to send you a home packed, and now Jim is going away – going to sea again today, and I shall get Meg to make enquiries for me….

Lady Exeter writes “that they are within sound of the guns”. I think this was meant to tell her that the Battery is being moved up….
A real burlesque is going on over the registration of this “Red Cross” business here, and at last the town knows, and the town talks, and the remarks to me are amusing! They, however (the Committee) have no idea of climbing down, and I have got Sir Edward Ward to register them as they are, & they are to have two committees, but have not even yet decided if they will have a “Hospital Depot”, so I am moving at once, & so has Lilah Buller, and so has Miss Cartwright, & so has Lady Knightley, & when we are in full swing they will not be able to avoid our getting grants of money from them, or direct from Headquarters. And it is the finance part that has kept me waiting. Northampton refuses to help Miss Cartwright, though there at Brackley she is the only Depot for sick & wounded at the front, & Lilah Buller says they “approve” her but I gather she too can get no funds. This is all so monstrous. And when the truth is known support will come. We are not yet in possession of a house – I wish we were – but it will come at the right moment, & in the right way. The great thing is done and it is all miracle of mercy, for Dad is looking forward now too…

Today is so lovely. I have to run round soldiers & sailors’ wives & mothers, and shall have the lift of the motor today….

I long to know more of what you are going through. All accounts differ in the papers of the climate. Poor Meg. I am glad Jim goes in fair weather. Maysie hopes that at Captain “D” there may be more chances of their meeting,, but the goodbye must be hard, hard work….

Own own own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/2)

Welsh strike on again – thousands out!

Florence Vansittart Neale reports the latest news. Mass industrial action was a relatively new phenomenon, and the upper classes saw it as unpatriotic in wartime. Dennis Theodore Smith was the teenage officer son of friends from Maidenhead.

30 August 1915

Welsh strike on again! 1000s out! (coal)

Still persistent rumours. Observer rather pessimistic – must have big armies. Germans at Boulogne.

Dennis Theodore Smith killed.

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

Over from Highclere

The latest from Florence Vansittart Neale includes a visit from a wounded friend who was being nursed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire (the inspiration for TV’s Downton Abbey).

18 July 1915
Heard from Sep. He back at Dardanelles on 7th….

No fresh news in Observer. Strike continuing.

Lionel Gibbs came over from Highclere. Badly wounded left arm….

Read “The Real Crown Prince”.

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

Belgian wants are so great, no one can give too much

The people of Theale were keen to support Belgian refugees elsewhere in the country as well as those they had taken special responsibility for. The November parish magazine announced:

BELGIAN RELIEF FUND.

On Sunday, November 1st, the Offertory at the midday Celebrations, and collections at the Children’s Service and at Evensong, will be given to this fund, and will be sent to the Belgian Minister, 15, West Halkin St., London, S.W. These church offerings are in addition to the provision of a home for Belgian refugees which we hope to make, but the wants of poor Belgium are so many and so great that none can give too much.

The results of the collections were reported in the next issue of the magazine:

THE BELGIANS.

On Sunday, November 1st, collections were made at all the Services for the Belgian Relief Fund, and, with the addition of 12/-, kindly collected by Mrs. Charles While, amounted to £7 4s 6d. A receipt for this sum has been received from the Belgian Minister, and exhibited in the Church porch.

Theale parish magazines, November and December 1914 (D/P132B/28A/4)

Florence Vansittart Neale. meanwhile, hosted refugees for tea at Bisham Abbey, while paying attention to the war news.

1 November 1914

Observer fairly cheering, but hear lost another cruiser by Strait of Dover – “Helena”. Submarine.

Belgians came at 3, till 5. Some only talk Flemish!!…

Good sermon in Church Times – ‘”Satan Loosed”.
Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8)