Pageant of Empire – Christmas 1916

A Pageant at the Godolphin! That was, indeed, a new idea to most of us, and it was with feelings of eager expectancy that we thronged into the Hall on that memorable evening. Here we found many changes, for the windows were covered by three great Union Jacks, and the platform was decorated with flags of every variety, making it very gay and festive. Many hands had been at work, and before we left the Hall we realised that much thought and much energy had combined to make an impression which should not quickly fade. We felt that this could not have been brought about without the infinite pains bestowed by Miss Prosser on the designing and grouping, by Miss Atkinson and Miss Lavender on the music, by Miss Eastgate, Miss Lucy, Miss Westlake, and Miss Bagnall on the training and coaching of the girls who took part.
At the opening of the Pageant we sang “0 God, our help in ages past,” immediately followed by the National Anthem. A passage had been made down the centre of the Hall, and up this a procession now slowly made its way, and thence on to the platform.
It was Britannia who passed us first, in white robe, and mantle of imperial purple, her helmet glittering as she passed into the brilliant light. As she seated herself in the midst, the rest of the procession grouped themselves near by. England and Scotland were on the one side of her throne, Wales and Ireland on the other, whilst their respective standard-bearers took up their positions immediately behind. The Chorus, in long flowing robes of deep blue or violet over brilliant rose, formed a striking background of vivid colour.
And now came the Colonies, one by one, with appropriate and sug­gestive music, to greet Britannia and to declare their loyalty, and as each made an end of speaking one of the Chorus came forward and answered with a poem of greeting. Each Colony was followed by four little attendants bearing gifts, beautiful little figures forming a very attractive part of the Pageant.
We saw Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, in white robes and golden coronets, India and the Malay States in native dress, and South Africa, land of brilliant sunshine, in the brightness of her golden robe. . . . And so we watched them pass, imperial and stately until, last of all, came the West Indies, completing the world-wide embrace of Motherland and Colonies.
Up to this time the atmosphere had been one of peace and prosperity, with only a vague threatening of future trouble. But now we heard the Serbian National Anthem, and in a moment we were caught up into the tumult of war. Out of the gloom carne the sad figure of Serbia, who, advancing slowly, knelt before Britannia with bowed head and unsheathed sword.
Then followed broken-hearted Belgium, shrouded completely in black-fit emblem of a mourning nation. Kneeling before us, she made an impassioned appeal for help. “I cry for succor! Will you heed it not?” Then, rising, she flung back her gloomy cloak, and the red and yellow of the Belgian colours flashed suddenly upon us in all the brilliance of their glowing contrast.
Suddenly we heard the familiar battle-cry, “Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!” Whose voice could it be but that of France, echoing to-day the three-fold watchword of the First Republic?
Whilst the choir sang the most beautiful of all National Anthems, came stately Russia, full of courage. and hope. Then Italy and Japan brought up the rear, and completed the dazzling scene. It was a harmonious blending of vivid colour, pink and gold, green and purple, crimson and black, with a, background In which were mingled red and white and blue.
And while our eyes were enchanted our hearts were thrilled by words of dignity and impressive stateliness. The speeches did much to create the atmosphere of solemnity and true patriotism which characterised the Pageant throughout, and we were all very grateful to Miss Eastgate, who wrote them.
But now the Pageant was drawing to a close. We rose to sing Kipling’s Recessional, after which a procession was formed once more. Slowly, slowly, it passed down the brilliantly lighted Hall, a blaze of colour, fading gradually into the sombre shadows, and thence moved into the sunset light of the garden, where another Pageant unfolded itself, making a very beautiful and impressive ending.



National Anthem

PROLOGUE: “Pro Patria” Owen Seaman.

POEM “A Song of Canada” Robert Reid

POEM “Advance Australia” Andrew Lang

POEM Indian poem written two centuries ago Fakiri

POEM (S.A.) “South Africa” Kipling
POEM (N.Z.) “Battle of the Free” Bowen
POEM (M.S.)The Children’s Gift ” Noyes

POEM “The Flag of England” Kipling

RECITATION “Kossovo Day” (taken from the Serbian Liturgy)








British Soldiers Buffet France – Christmas 1915

November 24th.

I am writing a short account of the Buffet work at Etaples as you asked me to.

When I first arrived at Etaples station there seemed to be nothing but sand and soldiers and tents, and I began to wonder if our lodgings would be in a “dug-out” or a tent, and was considerably relieved when Jessica Cazalet arrived on the scene and told me to come with her to their “diggings” in the village, which proved to be a charming studio overlooking the river-which she had turned into a delightful bed-sitting room.

Our work commenced at 8 o’clock a.m., which meant arising at 6.45, as the camp was a mile from our lodgings. On arriving at the Buffet the bar people cleaned and arranged everything behind their counter, and the cooks prepared the cocoa, tea, jellies, &c., and when everything was in readiness to “open” at 9 o’clock we had our breakfast on the verandah. This was generally a very hasty meal, as ne always opened the Buffet doors at 9 o’clock sharp, when the men streamed in to purchase steaming bowls of cocoa or tea (we didn’t have cups), and the stodgy buns which always seem so dear to the heart of the British Tommy.

I, personally, was a cook, and although always very busy, I don’t think it was quite as hard work as serving in the bar, where two un-fortunate damsels were left to struggle with the wants of sometimes 30 or 40 hungry men all asking simultaneously for different things to the accompaniment a “Wee Jock and Doris,” if a Scottie was performing, or “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” &c., on the loudest piano I have ever heard. I am quite convinced it is an art by itself to be a successful “bar girl” in a Tommies’ Buffet. I only helped with the refreshments when I could be spared out of the kitchen, so really haven’t got half as many funny and interesting anecdotes as some of the other people have. One of the most amusing things that happened fairly frequently was that new arrivals in the camp thought we must be French, not having realised that English girls were allowed over there. One day I tried for nearly five minutes to hear what a tall Scotch boy wanted, and began to think he was talking Gaelic, when he burst out in perfect English to the man next him, “Here, old man, you know French; tell the lady I want a pennoth of chocolate.”

It really takes quite a long time to learn all the various dialects of the British Army, and is certainly most interesting. I shan’t ever forget hearing one of our workers who prided herself on her fluent Scotch, greeting a tall and apparently very Scotch Seaforth Highlander, in what she imagined his native tongue. The poor man looked very worried at first, and then said, with great pride: “No comprey Frances.” It turned out he had never been further north than Birmingham, and understood even less Scotch than French.

We worked from 8 to 9 hours a day in 4½ hour shifts, as a rule, and the Buffet was open from 9 a.m., to 9 p.m., but being very shorthanded we very often worked longer; but it was so interesting and the men appreciated anything done for them so heartily, no one minded working overtime.

Besides our Buffet there were five or six other refreshment and recreation huts, run by different societies in this one camp, and I believe they were just as busy as ours, so it only shows how much the soldiers enjoy having a place where they can go and get food, and write their letters home in comfort, besides playing games, &c. I was only too sorry at having to leave the work, owing to being ill; but I hope to go back in spring, if not to Etaples “somewhere else in France.”

Yours affectionately,