A fraud and a swindle

Ralph Glyn’s mother, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her son Ralph to tell him of the impact of the execution of Nurse Edith Cavell for helping British soldiers to escape in occupied Belgium had had on recruitment in their area. It probably had a similar effect here in Berkshire. A public school had also set the pupils to making munitions.

Peter[borough]
Nov. 2, 1915

My own darling

I weary to get news of you, to know how I can get news to you, and parcels to you. For we are arranging how to send you your Christmas things, and I shall send something every week if only you will tell me how it can be done better if the wrong things come along!…
The accounts all point now to pressure tightening at the centre, and the conditions becoming intolerable? And the power weakening on which ultimately the central powers must draw? These are dark days – and the shifting of the struggle where you were prepared to find it shifts, will bring to bear on the final problem, the best united effort. And at least the attention of the best brains will be focussed on the East and its redeeming. The King’s accident, & news of Servia [sic], have filled this week.

Recruiting has been good, and in Leicester very good, and much use has been made of the Cavell tragedy, and yet it seems to me that until we leave it with the men to go as the first armies went, from simple devotion to the service of their country, we shall miss the only lasting and outlasting motive force. Appeals to sentiment and emotion have inevitable reaction, and there is only one hope that the dulled imagination and encrusted selfishness may be stabbed awake by the knowledge of all you are bearing “for England’s sake!! at those fronts” as we call them – covering so much!…

John today has had the operation which had to be for the removal of a bit of diseased bone, & removal too of an old stump of a tooth, so he has gone back to Mrs Samuelson’s hospital, & I have no news as Maysie said she would not telegraph….

I am trying to get together a Workroom for Hospital Comforts, but these idiots have now to climb down and “register”, and are now found out as having no Red Cross work to register, so Northampton shows one large blank in the official book, and I am trying to find out if I can get them to support with funds my effort after they have been joined up. They won’t own they have been irregular and my work meantime hangs fire…

We … called on Head Master of Oundle and find the boys there doing splendid munition work, using all their engineering plant…

And this odious Red X trouble worrying me all the time. Constance Butler suggests my asking for an “Enquiry”, as they have now brought out a Report which makes the matter one for public enquiry, but I think with Dad inclined to be worried it ought to be pressed for by someone else. Much as I long to have the thing put right – it is difficult for me to show up what I consider a fraud and a swindle, & the people here would not care so long as they get credit and come before the public. I hear Lilah Butler and someone else are just taking the matter into their own hands, and are starting workrooms to help, & are registered.

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)

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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)

Slightly wounded

Lady Mary Glyn had more news for her son Ralph about the wound suffered by Ralph’s brother in law, and sad news about their local regiment.

Oct 17, 1915
Sunday
The Palace
Peterborough

My own darling

I do miss you, so hungry I get for news and yet I know you will be kept safe under the “cov’ring wing”.

But it would have been so perfect if only you had been near, for yesterday I heard John was to come across – “slightly wounded” as you know, and I was so afraid he would be kept at the Base Hospital & not sent back, & Maysie was getting desperate. He was wounded on the 9th as he was leaving the trenches (after the hard fight on the 8th), and John’s Major wrote to Maysie a letter about John’s doings. Well, this was good news…

My pen gave out: and now on the 18th … John is safely landed in Mrs Samuelson’s Hospital! And Maysie saw him for an hour all to herself in Sibbie’s sitting room, and John had got round the nurses somehow. He had a dreadful abcess in his face, & his back & arms still sore, but the wounds were healing. Maysie’s faith & confidence had got almost to breaking point, and I cannot be too thankful that she has relief from the strain….

Oct 21st…
And now the news of the almost annihilation of the 4th Leicesters at the Hohenzollern Redoubt (which they took?) has flung the whole town of Leicester into mourning, and we know so many who have been killed – and one of the clergy wrote to be excused coming as he was all day with those who had lost their belongings.

John is likely to be some long time under medical treatment, there is some trouble of poison in the jaw, & one of the wounds had to be opened again….

St[aurn?] is to go to Egypt for OTC training work at Cairo, and goes tomorrow, 22nd. Isie is supposed to follow him later, and even dear old Russell.

Arthur Glyn was to go yesterday as 2nd in command of 2nd Grenadiers. Poor Amy. I do so feel for her and it will be hard to be left with the uneasy responsibility of Sidney, and his affairs, which have now all passed into Arthur’s hands for some time…

Your own Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/2)