Spring Term 1915
There is so much interesting news from you all at this time it is hard to know where to begin, and there must, alas, be very many of you doing hard work who are too busy to write, but you shall have just as much space in the Magazine this time as we can possibly manage.
Theophila Yeatman has joined Alice Workman in running a Soldiers’ Club in Rouen. The address is Soldiers’ Club, 2, Base Post Office, Rouen, British Expeditionary Force. Postage 1d. She badly wants illustrated papers, lots of them, and begs for good English nibs and good English blotting paper; also for “a little money”, if anyone can spare it, to buy flowers for the rooms. She says the English Tommies love the Club, they say it is like being at home, and I think it must be with Alice and Theophila to welcome them.
Barbara Thatcher, writing from Clocolan, says: “We still have no means of transport, and all through the rebellion our horses were safely lodged in Basutoland, like most other folks’ from in-country.” Her brother, Harold Stokes, an old K.G. Godolphinite, is with the Natal Carbineers in G.S.W. at Ludentzbukh. May Wheeler’s brother is there too.
Gwen Mullings writes from her School at Rustenburg, Rondebosch, that they have all been knitting hard since the war broke out, and have collected well over £100 in the School. They were busy making Christmas puddings for the soldiers.
Bea Barron (Foster Pegg) writes from India that now her husband was fighting she and her baby would be coming home to England.
Kitty Bennett (Huyshe), also in India, hoped to be coming, as her husband’s Regiment had been ordered to the Plains, but she could not get transport.
Marjorie Wolley Dod has come back from Canada with her married sister, who wants to be near her husband whilst he is training.
Maisrie Drummond’s brother, Peter in in Egypt with the 1st Australian Contingent.
Marjory Winter Crowfoot writes a most interesting account of war work at Lincoln. She says: “In the foundries where we live they are working day and night on Government contracts – mines, aeroplanes, shells, &c. The 4th General Hospital of 1000 beds is on the new Grammar School grounds and buildings; my husband is very busy there most days. We have a big Red Cross Hospital as well, run by St. John Ambulance Volunteer nurses. The gun which our Regiment captured from the Germans was processed round the town, chiefly in hopes of attracting recruits.”
Vwera and May Douie write from Oxford. Their brother was wounded early in the war, but hopes to get back to the Front. He gained a Military Cross.
Margery Bush (Scott) and her husband have fitted their home as a hospital to be used under the War Office; it has 100 beds, 75 of which were in use before Christmas. Their brother, Frank, has joined the R.A.M.C., and the younger one has a commission in the Royal Munsters, and is in training in Ireland.
Miss Powles’ husband, Mr. Allen, has enlisted in the R.A.M.C., so Mrs. Allen and the baby are in Cambridge.
Lillian Southwood is nursing in the Red Cross Hospital in Exeter.
Vera Baker is working at “the Queen’s Work for Women.” She says it really is interesting being at one of the big funds, though the work is chiefly typing receipts for donations or writing letters to people who forgot to sign their cheques or even to enclose them. She was busy over the 1s. appeal, and the response was splendid.
Mary Huyshe had a most successful entertainment. Her infants recited and sang and played the “Pied Piper”. The Mission Room was so full that many could not get in at all. The proceeds went to the Belgian Fund.
Prissie Cory (Bannatyne) has taken a house in South Wales to be near husband who is in training.
Ursula Barrow nurses on two or three days a week in a Red Cross Hospital near Bexhill.
Kitty Kenyon has been helping to run a Club for soldiers at Farnborough, and also looking after soldiers’ wives and visiting wounded soldiers.
Winifred is head cook (chef coq as the Belgians call her) at a V.A.D. Hospital in Tonbridge, and has 15 kitchenmaids under her; happily they only come in relays. Peggie has helped to nurse a lot of wounded soldiers at Baschurch Surgical Home. She is still there, and is busy with crippled children pending another installment of wounded.
Winifred Blackett is working as a kitchenmaid at Guildford Red Cross Hospital.
Mollie Edmondson has been staying at Oakhurst. She hopes to be employed at the Upton Red Cross Convalescent Hospital when it is opened.
Vera Morrison (Sawyer) is back in England. Her husband was recalled from Gibraltar, and has gone to the Front. He is on the Headquarter Staff, so Vera hopes not actually in the firing line.
Rosalind Bowker is nursing in the Red Cross 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester.
Ruth Strange is theatre staff nurse at Sturminister, Wimborne, Red Cross Hospital. Her brother Louis, of the Royal Flying Corps, has been mentioned in General French’s dispatch.
Majory and Nora Gabain’s brother, who is a dispatch rider, and has been out since the beginning of the war, was mentioned in General French’s dispatch.
Madge Carden writes a very interesting account of the rebellion from Port Elizabeth. She says, “The rebellion in a way seems worse to us than the great war, for all English people feel so ashamed to think that this is the one Colony which has not quite come up to the scratch. We had a great scare the other night, as we heard that there was a native uprising in Pondoland; the Transkei men were sent away from here at once, but all seem quiet again now.”
Iris Lang is still busy with recreation rooms for the soldiers at Church Crockham, and she says that her mother started the fashion of offering baths to the men, and since then everybody in the place has followed suit. One of her uncles is head of the Ordnance of the Expeditionary Force. He got a C.M.G. in the South African War and now has his C.B.
Philippa Kitchener tells us that her brother, Hal, is a R.E. stationed at Chatham, and is trying for the Flying Corps. He hopes to get to the Front about May.
Mawer is pantrymaid at a Red Cross Hospital. Her father has been guarding German prisoners.
Essex has been doing Red Cross work.
Bucham Brown’s brother is Gunnery-Lieutenant on the battle cruiser H.M.S. “Indefatigable.”
Maton was teaching bandaging in the village.
Wright, writing from Heilbron, O.F.S., sends a very graphic and interesting account of the rebellion. She says, “Heilbron was the first town to face the rebels, and a rough time we had of it. They pulled down and trampled on the Union Jack and took over all our horses, arms and ammunition. However, we were well off compared to other places, where they simply looted everything, and did the most wanton destruction. They even thrashed some of the loyalists, and kicked and struck the Mayor of Winbury. Heilbron has been relieved now, and hundreds of troops are patrolling the district, and have had skirmishes with the rebels and taken a good many prisoners. For a month we were absolutely cut off from outside; trains stopped, telephone and telegraph wires cut. We were practically in a state of siege, and only heard vague rumours of what was happening outside.”
In Salisbury many Old Girls and Mistresses have been helping with the Red Cross under Lady Pembroke, Lady Radnor, Miss Stephenson and the other members of the Red Cross Committee. Patients have been nursed by Red Cross probationers at the Salisbury Infirmary, the Red Cross Hospital, and the Isolation Hospital. Some of the patients have been wounded, but the greater number have been cases from the Camps round Salisbury, including some of the Canadians.
Part of Longford Castle has been converted into a Hospital for wounded Belgian Officers, who are nursed by the Red Cross probationers.
Miss Wyld is Commandant of VIII. V.A.D., Wilts. Susie Wordsworth has charge of the pack store, and has had a very busy time ever since the war broke out.
Miss Pinckney has organized the transport, which takes the nurses and a large part of the food out to the Red Cross Hospital.
Miss Fairclough and Miss Ashford have been head cooks.
Mrs. Pope has had charge of the house-keeping accounts, which has been a very big job.
The Misses Mixer have given invaluable help by offering free hospitality whenever required by the Red Cross, and the entire use of their telephone for Red Cross work.
The Mistresses and Old Girls who have acted as Red Cross probationers have been the following: Miss Fussell, Miss Ashford, Ethel and Beatrice Wilson, Lexie Hammick, Kittie Prothero, Ella Burden, Frances Clark, Kathleen Hulbert, Irene Wordsworth, Mary Weigall, Rosa Pepper, and Esther and Janet Morrice.
The cooks and kitchenmaids have been Dolly Prothero, Jessie Arnold, May Abbott, Gwen and Barbara Pinniger, Beatrix and Maud Gummer, Joan Fison, Dorothy Traske, Jessie Pearce, Winifred Holland Young, Madge Jackson, Esther Brown, Kathleen Humphrys, Joan Aldworth, Ruth Strange, Ena de Jersey, Dorothy and Muriel Vicary, Emma Burt, Bice Moggridge, Agatha Lumby, Mary Buchanan Smith, Marjorie Hardy, Violet Parson, Miss Westlake, Miss Powell, and Miss Mixer.
The charwomen have been Miss Hill, Miss Powell, Miss Derriman, Miss Winn, and Clara Ashford.
Miss Nelly Harding and her Orchestra gave a Christmas Concert at the Red Cross Hospital.
The cooks in the various School Houses made all the Christmas puddings for the Red Cross Hospital, and most of those for the Salisbury Infirmary.
Last term some of the V.A.D. gave bandaging lessons to a few of the senior girls.
Some of the laundry work, such as washing of towels and dishcloths, has been done by the girls under the superintendence of Miss Furneaux, and after she went to India Miss Fairclough took her place.
Mildred Parnell (Bevir) is in her old home at Hendon whilst her husband is patrolling part of coast of Scotland with his eight destroyers. Her brother, Reymond, has got his commission in his own Battalion, 10th Royal Fusiliers. She thinks he was rather loth to leave the ranks. Oliver, her sailor brother, is still in the Defence; he has had the bad luck to missed three engagements by just a few days.
Juliet and Cecily Parnell’s brother has come over from India with his Regiment, and has been in the trenches at La Bassée twice.
Phyllis Steedman tells us that her brother, John, is in command of the Osprey, T.B.D., and is stationed up at the North of Scotland.
Olivia Wyndham says: “My half-brother, Geoffrey Brooke, is with the 16th Lancers, and has been in the trenches, but is home again with frost-bite. Walter Brooke is on General Keir’s Staff and in the K.O.Y.L.I. John Fowler, a brother-in-law, is head of the Signaling Department and in the R.E.’s. My brother, George Wyndham has gone out with the Devons.”
Ella Jefferson says: “I have got one brother abroad; he is a temporary Major and Commandant of the Intelligence Corps. My other brother Wilfred, is going out any time now; most of his lot who were at Falmouth have left already.”
Dorothy Smith says: “Tom is still serving in the St. Vincent as a Sub-Lieutenant; they have not ‘come to grips’ with the Germans yet; he has had no leave for a long time. My Uncle, who is in the R.E., was mentioned in dispatches, and nearly all my first cousins are in training.”
Gertrude and Conny Boyle have both been very busy nursing in their Red Cross Hospital at Reading.
Rita and Kathleen Douglas are both nursing, one as a probationer in the big Stoke Infirmary and the other in a red Cross Hospital.
Muriel Jairett (Powell Jones) says that her brother had a good deal of fighting in South Africa during the rebellion, and had a wonderful escape, as a bullet went through his left sleeve, just grazing his arm; his horse also was hit. She writes from Fifeshire, where she is staying, to be near her husband, who is doing coast defence. She says they are all very tired of the work, and longing to be off to the Front. Their men, 5th Highland Light Infantry, are in splendid form and ready for anything; they do 20 to 30 miles’ march and come back as fresh as possible and singing lustily. They are excellently fed and looked after. She says: “This is a very interesting place to be in, because the war vessels pass constantly. One day we had a great excitement; one of our destroyers came right into the bay and circled round, firing 40 shots at something! We heard afterwards they were ‘firing at Fritz’, the Navy’s pet name for a German submarine which haunts these waters, but we never heard the result.”
Horne writes to tell us about her three brothers. One is with the Foreign Service Battalion in France in the transport section and drives the wagon, another is in the Artists’ Rifles with the Home Battalion, and the third is going to try for Woolwich in June, and hopes to get out to the Front before the war ends.
Mary Campbell Allen (Fuller) tells us that her husband is a Lieutenant on H.M.S. “London.” She is staying Weymouth.
Majorie Banks’ father is helping as a doctor to bring relief to the Serbian soldiers under the greatest difficulties. Her brother is a middy on the “Agamemnon” in the Dardanelles. So will have a very interesting time. She also has a brother who is a surgeon to the British Red Cross in Serbia.
Katherine Garnons-Williams is a probationer in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Barbara Ganons-Williams sends us a list of her relations at the Front – Captain Pearce, K.R.R. Coprs; Major Bircham, K.R.R. Corps; Private Aylmer Garnons-Williams and Private Thomas Garnons-Williams, both Canadians; an uncle, Staff-Surgeon Garnons-Williams, H.M.S. “Amphitrite”; cousins Sub-Lieutenant A. Garnons-Williams, H.M.S. “Vanguard”; and Sub-Lieutenant L. Ricardo, H.M.S. “Lapwing.”
Ruth Tufnell says that her brother is in the Essex Yeomanry, and that they are at the Front now. They were in the trenches; that the 10th Lancers were in just before it was mined, and luckily were out just in time. She also has an uncle and several cousins at the Front.
Maud Forsdyke says that both her father and her uncle, Colonel and Mayor Forsdyke, are one war service.
Ming Glanville writes that they have a Work Party which is known as “Mrs. Glanville’s Flannel Fund.” They try to send off two or three 11-lb. parcels every week, and Ming herself is responsible for packing and sending the things off, and Mrs. Glanville says that she and Marjory are a great help to those Work Parties, and that all the people who come are so keen an get through so much work.
Catherine Capel’s brother, Jack, is in the Somerset Light Infantry, and Observer to the Royal Flying Corps.
Louie Delacombe tells us of her relations at ten Front – Harry Delacombe, R.N., Flight-Lieutenant, Colonel E, Evelegh, R.M. Light Infantry, and Second-Lieutenant Darell Evelegh, R.F.A.
Amy Pothecary (Aylward) says that her husband is a Corporal in the London Rifle Brigade, and has been in Flanders since November 20th in and out of the trenches. Her eldest brother, Dick, is with the Lahore Division, 21st Company of Sappers and Miners. He came with the first Indian Expeditionary Force from Bombay to Marseilles; he is a Corporal. Her younger brother, Jack, is a Second-Lieutenant in the 19th Yorks Regiment at Rawal Rindi.
Marion King’s only brother is in the A.S.C., and has come home on leave.
Rutledge writes to tell us about her brother, Geoffrey. She says: “He is a Captain in the 2nd Battalion Connaught Rangers, and about a year ago passed some examination, which has given him a good Staff appointment. He is Assistant Provost Marshal, and went out at the beginning of the war.” She also has a cousin who is a Lieutenant on the “Goliath” and another cousin who is in the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Ruby Donnelly (Davis) tells us that her husband has been out at the Front since September; he is in the Garrison Artillery to a Divisional Ammunition Column, and got his Captaincy in November, and is now with the 8th Siege Battery. He has been mostly at Bethune and near La Bassée.
Alice Aylen has a brother in the R.N. and also three cousins.
Jeanie Raven (Robertson) has a young brother-in-law Assistant-Surgeon in H.M.S. “Birmingham,” and was in the Naval engagement, but as he also acts as Censor on his ship they get no startling details from him.
Violet Webb tells us that her brother, Allen, went out to France with his Regiment in August, and after doing various jobs, such as guarding railways, convoying rifles, &c., they were sent in October to the trenches. Since then he has been invalided home with arthritis and frost-bite. Her brother, Rupert, has joined the Artists’ Rifles, and is at present stationed at Roehampton.
Joan Elwes says that her cousin, Captain Somerville, of the Rifle Brigade, has come home wounded, but hopes to get out again later. Two other cousins, Captain Elwes, on General La Mothe’s Staff, and Private Elwes, in the Guards, are hoping to be at the Front soon.
Helen Blamey says that they are still busy at the U.G.S.S. with soldiers’ and sailors’ aid, &c.
Eileen Cole-Baker’s brother is still a prisoner at Magdeburg. She says they hear fairly regularly from him, and are thankful to know he is well. They are allowed to play chess and read a few English books which they send him, and he keeps cheerful, though smoking has been stopped.
Ruth Petro tells us that they have lost two cousins at the Front, and of their remaining twelve first cousins on her father’s side, three are at the Front, one a Sub-Lieutenant in the North Sea, one with the R.A.M.C., and all the rest, except a boy still at school, are at Sandhurst or in Egypt or at the Front. A girl cousin is running a Red Cross restaurant at Boulogne, and an uncle has just come back from the Front, where he has had the temporary rank of Captain with the A.S.C. Two other cousins on her mother’s side are in the Army, and will probably go to the Front this week. Another cousin is a lady doctor, and is out still, and was all through the siege of Antwerp. Her brother, Francis, is second-in-command of a submarine, and Raymond (being too young to do more) is in the O.T.C.
Mary Partridge paid a flying visit to St. Margaret’s to catch a sight of a brother from Canada before he left for France. He had been out in Canada for three years, and it seemed very sad that he had no time to go to his home in Norfolk to see his father and mother.
Jessie Lynn’s brother, Captain G. R. Lynn, I.M.S., 130th Indian Field Ambulance, Meerut Division, is serving in France.
Ruth Squire has two brothers at the Front – David, who is Second-Lieutenant, 6th Leicesters, and Charles, Lieutenant, Rifle Brigade. Her sister, Edith, is a nurse at the Front.
Gibbs says: “My brother, C. B. Gibbs, is Second Lieutenant in the 6th Wilts, and expects to go to the Front soon. He is an old Kindergarten boy.”
Mary Carver (née Malden) is Secretary to the Indian Convalescent Hospital at Ramleh, Alexandria.
Jean Alexander’s brother-in-law, Mr. Lister, has joined the A.M.S, and is Ophthalmic Surgeon to the Forces with the rank of Colonel. Their little Hospital at Aubrey House for wounded Belgians still goes on, and is wonderfully ideal opening out into the big garden.
Stephanie and Ruth Strange are very busy with their Hospital at Blandford. They are nursing a third batch of wounded, and some of the first men they had have already rejoined their Regiments at the Front. Their brother was mentioned in Sir John French’s dispatch, and has justly been promoted from Lieutenant to Flight-Commander and temporary Captain. Their other brother is on H.M.S. “Ocean” now in the Dardanelles.
Dorothy Tull says: “Alas, I am not at the Front! I only wish I were, and would give a great deal to be there if I could reconcile myself to leaving my father and mother alone. I am on the Committee of the Soldiers’ Recreation Room here, and spend most of my spare evenings down there trying to make things as pleaseant and amusing as possible for the Tommies before they go out to risk their live for us. We had 5000 troops in Woking on Thursday night on their way through Folkestone. My brother is in the Royal Fusiliers (Public School Brigade), but does not know when he will go out. I have cousin in the Canadian Contingent, who has just gone to France from Salisbury Plain; he is doing signaling and outpost duty, but hopes to be in the firing line soon.”
Clare Walker says: “I’m in the grand stand on Epson Downs, and have a ward of fifteen wounded soldiers; it is good to be able to do a little.”
Miss May Wlyd offered her services to the Aldwych Belgian Refugee Headquarters, and worked for them from September to December, as she heard that a lady who could bring and drive a car was badly wanted. For two weeks she literally drove for them from 9.00am to 10pm., or even up 12pm., her work consisting of meeting Belgian wounded soldiers and refugees and taking them to Hospitals and Depots. Her services were so much appreciated that she was asked to join the Transport Committee, consisting of 25 business men, all working at top speed every day in the week. They had to arrange to meet all the thousands of refugees we read about in the papers. One night at 11pm., just when she and the last men were packing up to go, a telephone message came saying 1700 refugees must be met at 3am that morning – they were the poor things from the wrecked Ganteame. They were met and dispatched to Alexandra Palace by early morning by means of motor bus and special trains, all of which had to be arranged for that night. The next week they sent for and brought back to England a seven weeks’ old baby and brought it safely to its mother at Hull. Nothing is too small for this Department to undertake, and they were as proud of this feat as of anything they carried through.
Lieutenant-Commander H. Wyld says he would like to write something about his work for the School Magazine, but as he is convoying troops across he dare not say anything, especially as the submarine danger has increased the difficulty and need for care.
Miss Fairclough has had a letter from her brother, in which he says: “The night before last I went to see the men in the trenches. It was very weird going out and hearing the bullets zipping all round you before you get to the trenches. The mud, of course, is almost predominant, but not quite so. The trenches in one place are only 40 yards apart, so that it does not take long for a bullet to travel a short distance… While I was there the Germans shelled the village, and it is aa awe-inspiring sight to see a house suddenly jump outwards all round, and the roof smash up, and the lot crumple to a pile of timber and bricks and a column of dust. Some shells fall in fields, make a hole 20ft. diameter, round in shape, and about 10ft, deep.”
Norah Chapman sends us the following extracts from the letters of a young officer on the Cape Station, which are very interesting as showing the work the squadron are doing:-
“We first heard rumours of war at Mauritius, and pushed on to Madagascar and then Zanzibar. On July 30th – a day out of Madagascar – I was peacefully keeping watch when the Engineer-Lieutenant told me war was imminent. We prepared for war and got everything ready for action; the ship was hurriedly smeared over with grey. The next day we had one thrill, probably our one and only, and I really thought the balloon was going up at last; the “Konigsberg,” the only German ship out here, and whom we were on the look out for, is much the same type as this ship, only faster. At 8pm. They suddenly sounded ‘action,’ and increased to full speed. The ‘Konigsberg’ had just hove in sight in the dusk. We got all our guns turned towards her ready to fire; we were neither of us showing any lights, and passed at about 3000 or 4000 yards. The slightest thing would have started an action then, as neither ship knew definitely that the other had heard that war had started, and were afraid of being surprised. It was about as near being at war as one could be, and was our one change. I am afraid we shan’t see her again, and shall have to confine our attentions to merchantmen.”
The block of the “Konigsberg” in German East Africa is described as follows: –
“The ships who were on the spot sent a boat expedition up the river to block the passage out, and had quite an exciting time, being fired at by quick-firers from the banks, where the Germans had landed and entrenched themselves. The expedition lost two killed and eleven wounded, but have bottled up the “Konigsberg” all right. She is fixed six miles up the river, and left to herself. Most of the crew doubtless die of fever, and she can’t get any stores. Our men were bitterly disappointed when they first heard of it; they were so keen ‘to give her one for the Peggy’ (‘Pegasus’) as they put it.”
“The interval following the declaration of the war was employed by most of the junior officers in getting married. These events caused much amusement in the ship, and anyone going ashore in a new monkey jacket was regarded with grave suspicion. I was closely questioned after a short foray into Simonstown – to buy a toothbrush and some safety blades – but was able to prove an alibi.”
“September 1st. We have steamed 8000 or 9000 miles since the war started. From Zanzibar we proceeded to Cape Town to pick up a convoy we are now bring home. The ‘Asteral’ is also in company, and we are in charge of six Castle liners, with the whole of the South African garrison on board. The convoy looks very stately and imposing steaming majestically along. We go on indefinitely until we are relived, and then for our sins return to the Cape… On our way back we put in at Cape Verde Islands, where there were eight or nine German merchantmen taking cover in a neutral port. Most of them are in a very bad way; no credit or money to coal to go to sea, get food, or even pay their harbor dues.”
“December 19th. We have been collecting a squadron here since November 20th with a view to laying low the German squadron which is now decorating the ocean bed somewhere near the Falkland Islands. The last ship arrived at the end of the month, and after that we were all ready to leave at a moment’s notice. The squadron consisted of six ships of various sorts and descriptions. Each of the new ships had done something, and it was very interesting getting news from literally all over the world, whence they had been gathered in. The Admiral hoisted his flag, and we sailed on December 7th. He had news from the authorities that the Germans were leaving the Pacific for German South-West Africa, and we set off to wait for them at their port, arriving on the 10th. Another of our largest cruisers joined us en route. The very day we arrived we got the news of our success in the Pacific. Everyone was bitterly disappointed in a way, but we were very glad it was us and the Japanese that sunk them. We are now back at Simonstown. Our work consists in keeping the trade routes open, and we vary our beat from time to time, speaking to various ships almost every day without discovering any of the enemy’s vessels.”