“A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed”

Ralph Glyn’s sister and mother wrote to him. Meg’s circle of acquaintances in London included many army officers, and she reported some disappointment that talks of peace had not yet come to anything. Lady Mary was engaging in a private battle with the vicar of Bamber, where she and the Bishop were living, who thought the National Anthem inappropriately jingoistic for church.

Hardwicke House
Ham Common
Richmond
Surrey

27.10.18

My darling Ralph

Thank you so much for you letter & I am so sorry to hear you have got this beastly flu, it is sickening for you but by the time this letter reaches you I hope you will be quite fit again. No – flying doesn’t sound the best cure certainly, but I suppose you had to do it.

I was much interested to see the photographs you enclosed. They are copies of negatives taken by Addie of Royalist up with the Grand Fleet. If you have got the negatives it would be good of you to send them here to me, tho I cannot imagine how they got among your negatives, as I keep those ship photographs most carefully. But do send me all 3 negatives if you have them.

Jim & I stayed last night at Belgrave Square & dined with the Connaughts, a small dinner which was great fun. The Arthur Connaughts were there, she is a stick; Mr Spring Rice who was in Washington with Eustace & Ivar, & Mrs Ward who was Muriel Wilson. An A1 dinner too! The old Duke was in great form & full of funny stories of soldiers’ remarks in Palestine:

One soldier asked another, “Which is the way to the Mount of Olives?” & the other replied, “If that’s a public house I’ve never heard of it.” An Arab writing to the Governor concluded his letter with, “I write in the name of J. Christ, esq, who is well known to you & who your Excellency so much resembles”. An Australian wantonly killed a Jew & was remonstrated with, “Why did you do it?” “Well”, he said, “they are the people who killed Christ”. “Yes, but a long time ago”. “Well”, said the Australian, “I only heard of it yesterday”….

John went off to GHQ on Wednesday, & on Friday Maysie & I went over 2 houses she had the offer of in London. The larger one (both being tiny) was in Regents Park, & had lovely Chinese furniture, & nicely done up, the second in Hill Street, Knightsbridge, & very nicely done, but tiny. I strongly advised her to plump on the 2nd & she’s got it for 6 months, & I think it will do for her very wel indeed. Billy is home on leave & I saw him yesterday too. He looks v. fit, a Majr, & 2nd in command of his battalion!

A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed, but everyone feels thankful & the end must be in sight. But there’s some sickness with the Americans not getting on, it would have been splendid to cut the Huns off in that retreat, but you always said they have no staff to handle the men, and it does seem 10,000 pities that thro sheer silly pride they won’t brigade their men with ours & the French, doesn’t it….

Meg

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‘My eye, they do seem bitter about Gallipoli’

Lady Mary Glyn and her daughter Meg Meade both wrote to Meg’s brother Ralph. Lady Mary was staying with her other daughter Maysie Wynne-Finch in Windsor, while Meg was in Portsmouth caring for a sick friend’s children, and mixing with senior naval figures.

Elgin Lodge
Windsor
April 19 1916

The Cabinet Crisis is a real one & may bring about great events, but Asquith … seems to be able to keep together the Coalition at all hazards.

Trebizond is the good news of today’s paper. Well, the French are teaching is what it is to “hold”, and it is my belief we are to hold for the Kingdom that will surely come and we are all to think of the Christ as St John saw him… and He will make no mistake and order no sacrifice that is unavailing – the only leaders now are those who are “joyful as those that march to music, sober as those that must company with Christ” and we see them at all the fronts, but not yet among those who have made of statecraft a craft for self and for selfish ends. It is lamentable how few there are who are trusted & who can “hold” now for the Kingdom of that Lord & His Christ you soldiers know and obey. And yet I cannot believe that a country is ready to win the war so long as there is no real love and faith in God or man as a nation through its representatives. And our power will crumble if we give way to a carping spirit of criticism, and sometimes in perfect despair I find myself trying to believe in AJB and Walter Long, Bonar Law & those in whom the “Party” have consented before the Coalition. But as you know I have never had much belief in AJB’s power to impart a conviction which is founded on the rubble of the failure to find an absolute conviction….

Your own Mur
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“Sun punishment” for prisoners of war

Meg Meade, visiting her sister and brother-in-law in Windsor, met a former prisoner of war with harrowing reports of German treatment.

March 23rd
Elgin Lodge
Windsor
My darling Ralph

Have you heard that Asquith came home sober the other night, so his dog never recognised him & bit him!! And another evening after he’d had a good dinner he played bridge with some friends. He seemed alright except he would go on trying to cut the matchbox!

It is not yet settled whether Jim keeps the flotilla or goes to LCS, in any case he keeps Royalist. He writes as if the last alternative is the decisive one, but it’s contrary to various [illegible] I’ve heard in London. However everyone agrees he is right to stick to Royalist…

I came down here on Thursday to stay with Maysie & John, & this is a nice little house with a hideous outside… John looks well, but his jaw is still oozing, I believe… This evening a Coldstream soldier is coming up here to see them, as he’s been a prisoner in Germany since Sept. 1914, & has weird tales of the punishments the Germans dish out, but of course it must be a grand occasion for a yarn. No one here can contradict him when he says he has twice been put in prison 3 days on end in darkness & then one day in daylight to make him blind, & he says they use “sun punishment”, making the prisoner remain in the sun without a hat & facing the sun all day…

There are many stories about “Moesa” getting out & getting home. All or more may be true, but one thing’s certain, & that is 2 ships without lights may pass each other on a dark night without knowing the other’s there, even though they be only a few 1000 yds apart, & the sea is quite a big place you know. Lack of coaling facilities will & has prevented them sending many Moeses out, & they are so very liable to meet a nasty sticky end.

And I was very impressed about your remarks of the Navy in the East. I’m afraid the Army won’t come out well in comparison of wasting material with the Navy. It seems a too difficult job for both services. They are burning military saddles here when they don’t know what to do with them, & there are too many tales of Staff officers’ expensive motors to quote, but they’d put into shade your grouse about an Admiral using motor boats as despatch carriers. As for the Navy’s job as Transporters in general, they don’t seem to have done so very badly when you come to think of the millions of men they have been carrying up and down the world to every military expedition which the WO has thought good to attempt. If there’s one thing quite certain it is that the Army can’t move hand or foot without them, & are entirely dependant on the Navy in whatever part of the world they’re fighting in.

Do tell me some more Naval items from the Desert, darling. Anyway you’ll approve of the way that Arthur Balfour & Hedworth Meux smashed up that mad viper Winston. I never heard such tales as Jim Graham told me of Winston’s organization of the Naval Brigades in the beginning of the war. However as some sailor said, “Thank God Winston was got busy with his Naval Division & Flying Brigade, & the Navy was saved owing to the fact he was too busy to interfere with it!”!…

Your ever very loving
Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

“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…

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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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German villagers detest the war

Meg Meade, whose husband had just returned to his ship, wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn with an example of War Office inefficiency, but was optimistic that the war must be halfway through by now. She had also had a chance to talk to Lord de Ramsey, the blind elderly peer who had been trapped in Germany at the start of the war, and had finally been repatriated. He revealed that the ordinary Germans were not the evil creatures of patriotic propaganda.

Dec 3rd [1915]
23 Wilton Place

My darling Ralph

I was so glad to get your letter as I was wondering where you were. It’s most unfortunate Fritz is so active just where you want to go, but these little things will happen in war time, I suppose. I saw Captain Taylor at Addie’s today. D’you remember he was Cecil’s flag captain in Collingwood, & he has been very ill, & had bad operations. He’s Flag Captain at Chatham now, but hopes to get a ship in February. I asked him why the Frogs couldn’t deal better with Fritz in the Mediterranean, & he only shook his head. Apparently we agreed long ago that they should take that job on, but I suppose it will end in our having to take that on as well as everything else.

I met Lord Camden lunching with the de Ramseys today. You know his wife was very ill, & he was to be sent for by the War Office from the Dardanelles where he was with his regiment. Well, the bright War Office succeeded in recalling Lord Hampden who was also in the Dardanelles, telling him his wife was very ill, so the poor man came tearing home in a great state to find his wife quite well & very surprised to see him. Then Lord Camden was eventually got hold of, & as you can imagine he had an anxious time coming home as he only knew that his wife had been ill enough for him to be sent for 3 weeks before! But when he got home he mercifully found she had recovered. Lord de Ramsey’s accounts of his 18 months in Germany are most amusing. He declares that the peasants & villagers of the part he was in were always nice & civil, & there was no hatred, & he says that they all unanimously detest the war. Jim went back to Royalist yesterday afternoon & I am consequently feeling very low & depressed, but the war must be halfway over surely. I heard today that Kitchener’s secretary FitzGerald who has returned to London with K. says “The end is not even in sight yet”. The Huns certainly get what they want whichever side of Europe they attack. Oh if only we had a great man to deal with the swine.
I went to a Gymnasium again yesterday & beat my section at jumping which was satisfactory. I find it a splendid way of getting exercise in London, & the only way…

Maysie writes that John’s back isn’t healed yet. They return to London on 21st for 2 Boards, but personally I don’t see how John will be passed till Jan or Feb for – as Maysie neatly puts it, “John must have teeth pulled out & put in!”…

Your own loving
Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

The best news since war began

Various letters from family members to Ralph Glyn discuss war news and life on the Home Front. Ralph’s sister Meg told him about her naval husband’s latest visit home. He was not terribly impressed by his father in law the bishop’s involvement with Missions to Seamen.

23 Wilton Place Nov. 12th
My darling Ralph

To my great joy Jim came home for breakfast again yesterday, having brought Royalist in to Newcastle to be made into a Capt D’s ship. Yesterday morning he went to the Admiralty & found that they are agitating there to give him the Constance still, so things are rather hung up at present.

Yesterday evening the parents & Maysie & John came to dinner, & we had quite an amusing evening. The parents… had just had a meeting in Peterborough for the Missions to Seamen & collected £100.

“A What?” said Jim.
“A missionary meeting” says Mammie.
“What for?” said Jim.
“To convert seamen”, says Dad.
“What into?” said Jim, & then asked if he couldn’t convert the £100 into his pocket.

Maysie ordered your cigarettes, & I went to Fortnum, & in future they are going to send you small consignments of picked things in plain boxes so I hope they’ll turn up alright, & I have countermanded that large order of mess things. Mother has asked me to get you some magazines which I am going to do today, & I’ll also send you a couple of 1/- or 7d books.

I lunched with Aunt Syb one day. The butler has enlisted, & Ivar has gone with his Division to Mesopotamia, but he couldn’t get any leave to come home first which was hard luck….

Today Asquith has promised we shall have Compulsory Service by Nov. 30th if more men don’t come forward. That’s the best news I’ve heard since war began, it would really almost be patriotic to stop men enlisting for the next fortnight if one could!…

Your very loving Meg

Ralph and Meg’s mother Lady Mary wrote:

The Palace
Peterborough

Nov. 12 1915

My own darling…
Ivar [Campbell, Lady Mary’s nephew] gone to Mesopotamia & no leave before he went but I hear he went in good spirits & preferring it to Flanders swamps….

Anne [Meg’s little girl] loved getting a letter from you. Did you hear of her reproof when Nannie told her not to waste food in wartime?
“It is not wartime, it is teatime.” …
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“The Germans are devils”

Meg Meade was busy trying to arrange reading material for her brother Ralph in the Dardanelles. She even tried to get library books sent out to him, but unsurprisingly the libraries were unenthusiastic about this plan. Libraries at the time of the First World War were more often private ones where you paid a subscription, with only a few municipal libraries in big cities. She also had news about the ordeal of the blind elderly Lord de Ramsey, who had been interned in Germany at the start of the war, together with his son Reggie Fellowes.

November 5th [1915]

23 Wilton Place
My darling Ralph

Bolton’s Library in Knightsbridge is going to send you out Life & Punch by post, as they say they can’t put more in the Bag than you get already… I went to both Days Library & the Times Book Club, but it seems impossible to make any satisfactory arrangement about sending you library books. First the Post Office won’t insure books for the Dardanelles, & they are generally lost in transit, so each library makes you pay a deposit of £1 or 30/- over & above your library subscriptions to cover the loss of books, but of course if no books are lost this is made good to you in the end. Neither library would agree to send you a book a week indefinitely, because if you subscribe for 1 book a week only, they could never send you another until you had returned the first one sent. Therefore it seems no good thinking of subscribing for anything less than 4 books. These could be sent out to you, 1 a week for 4 weeks. At the end of that time you may with luck have read the first book they sent out, & then there would be a gap until the library had received back again the 1st book sent, when they could immediately post you another. You might get a still more regular service if you subscribed for 6 books, as you’d get one a week for 6 weeks, but then it’s an expensive game, & counting the risks, I don’t like to settle a subscription for you until I hear from you what you want done. I am sending you 2 novels this week which I have bought, & I will continue to send you 2 books which I will buy each week until I hear if that plan suits you. Of course you don’t get the latest books that way, as they are too expensive to buy, but in any case I doubt the libraries sending you any new publications because they seem to regard any book that goes to the Dardanelles as gone for ever….
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Everyone is loud in criticising the Government

Meg Meade and her husband were blissfully happy while he was home on leave. She wrote to her brother to tell him about the national mood – one of anti-Government – and chaos with shipbuilders having to be unrecruited from the armed forces.

30th Oct
23 Wilton Place

My darling Ralph

Since last writing to you I haven’t written any letters. You know what it is with at home. We are out all day & if we are at home alone together, Jim reads to me. There’s a picture of domestic bliss!…

Will you thank Willie so very much for his letter. I am sending 100 cigarettes & some tobacco under cover to you. The cigarettes are his, & could you have the tobacco? As Maysie who I asked to settle up with Major Wigram about sending these things in the bag says that they make a great favour of sending anything in the bag, which is annoying, & Maysie fiercely refuses to allow me to send more this time. I am sending the rest of Willie’s order by post immediately….

Jim goes tomorrow (Sunday) night or Monday.

I did give Sir Ed. Carson your letter. Everyone is loud in criticizing the Government, but that don’t seem to move them. We lunched with Edith yesterday & met Lord Derby there. He said he had just received a letter signed by 6 men saying they would rejoin their regiments & enlist the moment that F E Smith was sent back to rejoin his regiment instead of sitting at home on a salary of £20,000, or whatever he gets! Lord Derby had some very amusing stories of Mrs Asquith. Sir John French went to see her, & she threw her arms around his neck & said, “Oh John, John, how splendid you are, but what a lot of worry you give Henry!” She also wrote to Lord Derby & asked him to spare “Henry”’s chauffeur, valet & footmen, as he being Prime Minister, his comfort was essential, so she asked Lord Derby to see they were not recruited. Lord Derby said that he expected we’d have conscription in 6 weeks time, but that’s too good to be true. He said that when he came to work his job, he found the most awful chaos, all the men who had been “starred” on the pink papers ought not to have been, & the ones unstarred ought to have been starred. By some oversight none of the shipbuilders in Cammell Laird’s yards were starred, so they could have been enlisting as hard as they could, & in consequence a certain new light cruiser called the Constance which Jim thought he’d a chance of getting has been tremendously delayed, & they are having to bring the men back to the yards again. Another employer wrote to say “all his men were starred, but they ought to be unstarred”. The WO left the “starring” business to the local recruiting people, who seem to have starred anyone who gave them half a crown.

I wonder if you have heard that Jim is to be a Captain D1! & have 20 of the newest & latest destroyers under him. Captain D of 12th Flotilla he will be, & he keeps the Royalist according to present arrangements. Isn’t it splendid. Royalist will have to be fitted out as a D’s ship, so I hope it won’t be 7 months before I see him again. He will take the new destroyers as they are turned out.

…Maysie & John are still at Bruton Street. He’s alright practically again except for his face. The abcess in the jaw. They are going to cut out the bit of dead bone on Monday, & he has been given 2 months to recover in, so that’s good….

We live in fogs now. No Zepps have penetrated to London lately although they visited Chatham I hear in the night before last….

Meg

Letter from Meg Meade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

Knocked down and out in the trenches

Maysie Wynne-Finch wrote to her brother Ralph Glyn about the arrival in England of her wounded husband John.

Oct 23/15
11, Bruton Street, W

My darlingest R.

This has been a week of great & lovely happenings for me & Meg. I think you heard John was wounded the 9th. The following Sat after having given up all hopes of seeing him at all, I git a wire to say he was coming. The same day Meg had a wire from Jim that he was coming so it was a wonderful day. Jim arrived 6.30 Sat last 16th, looking so well, & in great form. He has arranged very well as he has brought another ship to refit so one hopes he’ll get his Royalist refit too! Also there seems good reason to hope that Royalist & Rupert’s ship will really shortly change places – I do hope so for Meg’s sake. I had got hold of Sybbie Samuelson as soon as possible & she agitated to get John to her hospital & joyful to say succeeded. I was woken at 8.30 to be told John had arrived at her hospital 4 am that morning, 17th. I saw him at noon, & he was down (in pyjamas of course) & we had a lovely day in Sybbie’s room, & oh, it was interesting & thrilling to hear all about everything too.

He was hit on Saturday afternoon leaving the trenches by an aerial torpedo they say. It made 3 small holes in him, the largest is now about the size of 2/6 bit on the shoulder blade. It knocked him down & out of course & some of the trench fell in on him making him very bruised & stiff & he’s also rather deaf – & was a bit concussed, but the most painful thing has been an awful abcess that started in his face. It gave him gyp & his face swelled up miles. It burst the day he got to London – & all the poison in him apparently came away. A good thing I expect, as his wounds had been rather dirty. Now the great jaw expert Farmer who has been attending him in hospital finds he has a bit of dead bone in his jaw – which is at the bottom of the abcess. How or why is a mystery but they think in any case this would have come, but the wounds & shock & poison hurried it up. So now he has to be treated for this – they hope to wriggle the dead bit out & not operate, for this purpose they dig about & stuff acids in etc – not at all nice. But his face is no longer tied up & has gone verynearly down. He had a Board two days ago & got 2 months. The lot will have to be spent in being treated up here I suppose. He left the hospital yesterday – but goes in every morning to be “dressed”. I do feel I am too lucky for words. It’s rather nice, Feilding the Brigadier sent a message to Mrs WF to say John had done particularly well this last show. Ever since the 9th the Div has been more or less at it, having the h— of a time from all accounts, I’m afraid without much result….

The Zep agitations continue. We did hit one last time they came anyhow, but not very hard I fear.

I would like to know what you feel about Carson. He’s the only honest man in the country, one feels anyhow…

The Zeps last week had a go at Uncle Henry’s powder factory at Chilworth, mercifully they missed….

Your own loving Maysie

Letter from Maysie Wynne-Finch to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

“German liners? There ain’t one on the seas”

Ralph Glyn’s sister Meg Meade was thrilled when her sailor husband came home on leave.

23 Wilton Place
SW
Oct. 22nd

My own darling Ralph

Imagine my feelings when last Saturday afternoon I got a wire from Jim saying “Meet me Kings X 6.15 tonight”! I ran from top to bottom of the house with one scream of joy. A little later I tried with my latchley to let myself into No 22 Wilton Place, & did other little inconsequent things like that till I met him at the station! And only 2 days before I had had a letter from him saying he couldn’t possibly get any leave! He managed very very cleverly. Such a thing I hear has never been done in the Navy before. But his Commodore, Le Mesurier came on board Royalist & said “My ship Calliope wants refitting so I propose to hoist my pennant in Royalist pro tem”. “Certainly”, says Jim, “but as there’s not room here for both of us, hadn’t I better take Calliope to Newcastle for you, as you don’t want to leave the squadron”. “Well & nobly thought out” says the Commodore, & so he has come, looking better than I’ve ever seen him look before, & he has been away for 7 months, all but one week! And you see Royalist must get leave for a refit some time soon, so he ought to get another go of leave soon!

Last Sunday we took Anne [their little daughter] & Harold Russell & 2 Colvins to the Zoo, which was great fun, & we met Mat Ridley there. He is looking much better & has been passed for home service at last. We fixed up about coming to Blaydon while Calliope is finishing, & Jim reckons we shall go north about 28th, but meantime every minute of each day is heavenly as you can imagine….

Wasn’t it a funny coincidence that John arrived at Sybbie [Samuelson]’s hospital at 4 a.m. the day after Jim arrived. The wounds in John’s back which had practically healed had to be opened again for fear of any poison, but he has got his poor head all bound up in a way that looks really interesting on account of an awful abscess he has got in his mouth.. They thought it came from the poison of his wounds, but now they think the abcess would have come on anyhow. There’s a large bit of dead bone inside it, but Maysie, who dined here last night, is beside herself with joy, as John has got to have 2 months leave to get well in! So as soon as he has finished his hospital treatment, which will take some time, they will go to Voelas.

The parents are coming up here on Saturday to lunch & meet John & Maysie here…

Sir Edward Carson’s resignation has not caused the stir I expected it would do. But it remains to be seen what happens next. The House of Commons seem principally concerned that Asquith is ill. I hear that you have been stopped at Greece…

Maysie & others rail at the Staff. Jim stops the flood of her disgust by a torrent of admiration which he feels for the Staff & soldiers fighting alike! What he says is so true, that if 2 years ago we had been told that our Staff would be called upon to handle our present army, & if we had been told that our army would perform the prodigies that it has done, it would have been hard for anyone to believe it, & as he says, “even the great Germans have made mistakes enough, or indeed they’d be in Paris & Petersburg now & have broken 10 times through our armies.” We laughed at last to find that Jim & I were defending the British Army in our discussion while Maysie was so pessimistic.

Jim & I went to Hallgrove on Monday for 2 nights, & had great fun playing golf both mornings & we had some tennis too.
Jim has just got so indignant over some Professor’s remarks in the Times about “sinking German liners” when “There ain’t one on the seas”! that I must take him out….

Meg

Letter from Meg M<eade to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

Nobody trusts the British

Naval officer Herbert “Jim” Meade was married to Ralph Glyn’s sister Meg. He wrote to Ralph with a seaman’s comments on the rival service – not to mention the country’s diplomatic efforts.

HMS Royalist
9/10/15

My dear Ralph

Thank you so much for those maps, they are just what I wanted. I can’t find out how the British part lies from N. to S. but I suppose we aren’t expected to hear that. From a mere outsider’s point of view, I think the last effort of the British Army & its results very good. Of course we haven’t got as much as we wanted, but nobody ever gets that.

What worries me is, to the outsider again, the entire lack of any principle in this war, we shift about all over the place (I’m talking about the talking part of the business) with the result that nobody trusts us. France, Italy, Russia & of course the Balkans all have a fear that our policy may change at any moment, the Germans work this for all they are worth with tremendous advantage to themselves & this Balkan fiasco is a very good instance, unless the FO is much deeper than we have given them credit for. I can’t help thinking that Greece must come in if Bulgaria invades her, but Germany may be able to walk through Servia [sic] without Bulgaria’s assistance & then of course Greece wouldn’t come in. It all depends upon numbers & if we make the Western front the decisive front & not allow anything else to frustrate that we ought to have finished the war off inside three years from the time it started. I think we are well up to time myself. It is a good sign Germany coming to terms with America, they want ammunition & they get a good deal.

Life in this hole is monotonous to the extreme, we do all sorts of stunts & whenever we see smoke on the horizon we wonder if the Naval Armageddon is to take place. It is doubtful if the Germans come out till their submarines are ready, which will not be this winter. What are they doing with their fleet, the re-arming business I don’t believe is possible, but they are up to something. I’ve always been frightened of the Dardanelles touch, whether we could have forced the straits is a matter of opinion, but like most British enterprises, when governed from home we did not go through with it. I believe we would have got at least 4 battleships through if we had gone for it, whether [illegible] would have capitulated on the appearance of these ships is another matter…
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