Where are they?

Holidaying on the Isle of Wight, Florence Vansittart Neale’s attention turned to the plight of prisoners of war, and the fear of submariners landing secretly.

31 March 1917

Ventnor. A wife of a Turkish prisoner taken at Kut is here. They are so far treated well, but the poor Tommies, they are afraid of them – to fear out of the 6000 taken whether any will return. It is supposed that the Turks do not ill treat them themselves but give them over to the Arabs & Kurds.

I hear that a captain of a German submarine was taken & a bill for dinner was found in his pocket a few days old from an hotel at Bournemouth.

A submarine was found caught in the boom outside Cowes, but no crew. Where are they?

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

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An unusual wartime wedding

Newly-wed John Maxwell Image reports on his wartime wedding to Florence Spencer, sister of Percy and Sydney.

29 Barton Road
7 Nov ‘15

MDOM [My dear old man]

I was turned off, as you saw by my wedding cards, on Tuesday 12th, at St George’s, Bloomsbury… Mr Spencer gave away his daughter: my brother and sister supported me – one or two cousins, a brother of Florence in khaki [Sydney], and some of her girl friends. Then, after lunch at the Victoria Station Restaurant with Selwyn and his wife and my sister, we got into the train and steamed away for Ventnor – having (luckier than you) a carriage to ourselves all the way. Professor Selwyn had the consummate impudence to tip the very civil guard and bid him “look after the young people”. So I was told – and he did that so effectively that he got another tip from me at Portsmouth…

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

Germans in England claim to be Swiss

Florence Vansittart Neale and her Admiralty official husband Henry, owner of Bisham Abbey, were holidaying on the Isle of Wight, but kept in touch with war news.

28 February 1915

To Trinity – saw telegram of Dardanelles outer fort destroyed. “Queen Elizabeth” there. Heard from [illegible] officer there last Friday. Went to tea with Venables. Watched “Mine destroyers”, also ship at night – queer lights.

Heard new ship “Queen Eliz:” at Dardanelles. Three times put back – spies on board – narrow risk of explosion – changed suddenly whole of crew.

German here (Ventnor) Freemasons tavern always a German before the war, now says Swiss & put up sign “Hier spricht man Suisse”. V’s tell me a German tailor opposite called Fess – also man “Spenser” with motor boats & pilot boats for hire in secret service here. Rumoured also in German Secret Service. Had German uniform & refuses to let any of his sons fight for England. (Wrote Sir G. Greene March 21st.)

Heard from Mrs Sholto Douglas at that air raid in Essex, bombs fell only 200 yards from barracks (artillery) – full of terriers.

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