Old Girls’ News – Christmas 1916

U. Barrow is living at home, and working half time as a V.A.D. nurse at the Cooden Camp Hospital, about two miles from Bexhill.

Ella Burden writes from No. 1, B.R.C. Hospital, A.P.O. 811, B.E.F., France: “I thought I would like to send you a line to tell you how very happy I am out here, and thoroughly enjoying my work. I am very fortunate in being in such a lovely hospital, and in such a nice little sea-side town, in the midst of pine-woods. We are now very busy, but so far I have been able to stand it quite all right. It is quite likely I may meet some old Godolphin girl out here, though I have not been lucky enough to do so yet. The nurses all live in a big hotel close by, and also any relations whose people are on the danger list. The hotel life reminds me of school, everyone is very kind and we are able to spend our off-duty time together.”

Doreen Caton is collecting for the War Savings Association at Beckenham in two long roads, and likes the work. She is also teaching at the House of Compassion, where all the teaching is voluntary,

Violet Christie passed the examination for the Sanitary Inspector’s Certificate in January, and the examination for the Public Health Diploma in May, and has been elected an Associate of the Royal Sanitary Institute. She has been working under the Lady Almoner at the Brompton Hospital. She journeys about all London and the suburbs and finds her work very interesting.

Constance Keane writes: “I have been working on the land from 6.30 a.m. till 7.30 p.m, every day. The work has been really rather interesting, since I was the only woman there, and the only person of a non-labouring class, so I got a good insight into farm life. Feeding fowls, pigs, and calves, milking cows, tending sheep, cleaning stables, driving and harnessing horses, threshing and harvesting, fell to my lot, so I now feel quite an expert at farming ! It was very strenuous work, and as a result I am very strong and muscular.”

Dorothy Kent tells us of her brother’s wonderful experiences in the battle of Bernafay Wood, and also in the battle in Delville Wood. She writes from Durban and says:- “A fortnight ago we had such interesting letters from my brother. He gave us very full descriptions of both fights. He really had the most marvelous escapes. In Bernafay Wood they had a very bad time, and were without food or water for several hours. When the rations came up a high explosive set them on fire, and so they got nothing. A shell fell just on the parapet of their trench but fortunately didn’t explode. In Delville Wood a shell shot away the bottom of my brother’s pocket book and split his tunic across the chest. Another shot off his gas-helmet, and finally at 8 o’clock in the evening a huge shell burst beside him and blew him several yards. It quite stunned him, and he lost control of his limbs, so he was sent to Rouen Hospital. He is still there, but I don’t think it will be long before he is back with the Regiment. Every single friend we knew in the Regiment has either been killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. The South Africans have done splendidly, but they have suffered very heavily.”

Lilian. King has got a very interesting job at the War Hospital Supply Depot in Hove : clerical work connected with the Prisoners of War Relief Fund. They are sending cases and parcels of invalid comforts to 124 Prison Camps in Germany. Turkey, and Bulgaria, as well as to numbers of individual men. She says the majority of the parcels are acknowledged by the men, which is satisfactory. “The letters are intensely interesting; we had one from Wittenburg the other day, enclosing photographs of the monument erected to the British and French who died there, and the grave-yard with all the little wooden crosses. The photos are so clear that one can read all the names on the monument. Last week we had the first letters from Bulgaria-from Philippopolis and Sofia they seem to be quite happy there. Some of the letters from Germany are cruelly censored. One man wrote: ‘We should be very grateful for–‘ and the rest was crossed out. Another said: `I regret to tell you that since you last wrote orders have been issued that-‘ and then all was scratched out.”

Dorothy Lowe is working at the War Hospital at Clopton, near Stratford-on-Avon. She tells us that her brother has come home from Australia to enlist, and has joined the London Electrical Engineers.

Margaret Fawcett says:- “I am at present in Russia, working under the Scottish Women’s Hospital, and altogether having quite a good time. The unit is divided into two parts, the hospital staff and the motor transport. Edith Faithful is in the latter. It was so nice to find that she was coming out with us when I met her in Liverpool before we started. I am in the hospital part, and my duties are many and varied, chiefly to do with the mess. I had no idea that Natasha lived at Odessa, so was pleasantly surprised when she came to the Sanatorium the first morning we were there with several other English girls to take us about. They were perfectly splendid. I’m sure it must be a very tiring job to interpret for several eager people who want to know everything, but they never seemed to get tired. Altogether we spent the most enjoyable four days of our journey at Odessa. Natasha was very keen to come with us, but of course she can’t leave her father and mother. Mrs. Harris was extremely kind, she said that if any of us get ill we are to go back to Odessa, and she will take care of us. At present we are under canvas in a very nice little camp, but have no patients in the hospital. We only arrived from our base hospital on the 11th, and the 1st Serbian Army Corps, to which we are attached, has gone into reserve, so that for the present we shall have nothing to do unless we nurse Russians. We had one fearful night at the base. About 89 wounded arrived before we were properly ready. There were one or two bad cases, and three or four died, but the majority were only slight cases and were evacuated within three or four days. Our little hospital, with its staff of 12, has left the base to be nearer the Front, and now that we are here the Serbs are not fighting, so we do not know at present what we shall be doing. The weather is excellent, and camping out is most enjoyable.”

E. Villars writes: “I have changed my address and mode of life since you heard from me last. I am a general farm labourer on this farm, and have been here for nearly a month, after training for a month at the Seale Hayne College, Newton Abbot. I work from 6 to 6, milking about six cows and doing various odd jobs, such as apple picking, mangold loading, cleaning stalls, and just occasionally driving cattle about. I like it very much, though there are minor drawbacks. I had a very good time at Newton Abbot. The College is new, and is not properly fitted up-only the servants’ quarters are opened to take 14 girls. We had very good instruction and got quite into the way of farm work there. Mr. Crumpler, my present employer, wrote to the Principal to ask for a girl, and I applied as I have some friends living about eight miles from here.”

Miss Newbold has been in France just a month and has signed on for another six months. She helps in a hut with one other nurse, as the whole of the hospital is under canvas.

Kathleen Newbold is nursing in one of the V.A.D. hospitals at Tunbridge Wells, and Dulcie Chancey is in the same hospital.

Marjorie Newbold helps a good deal in the different Canteens in the town. One of their gallant brothers has been killed, and their four other brothers are all fighting.

Iolanthe Wilson has just passed her test successfully in the Admiralty (Intelligence Department).

Muriel Dibben, in writing to us in the summer from South Australia, tells us that one of her brothers was one of the ten men picked out of his Regiment to stay to the end in Gallipoli. She says: “He never thought he would get out alive; it was marvelous how they managed to bluff the Turks.” Her other brother also enlisted.

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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.

P. GEORGE.

PROGRAMME

HYMN
National Anthem

Enter
BRITANNIA AND PROCESSION
PROLOGUE: “Pro Patria” Owen Seaman.

Enter CANADA.
POEM “A Song of Canada” Robert Reid

Enter AUSTRALIA
POEM “Advance Australia” Andrew Lang

Enter INDIA
POEM Indian poem written two centuries ago Fakiri

Enter SOUTH AFRICA
Enter NEW ZEALAND AND MALAY STATES
POEM (S.A.) “South Africa” Kipling
POEM (N.Z.) “Battle of the Free” Bowen
POEM (M.S.)The Children’s Gift ” Noyes

Enter WEST INDIES
POEM “The Flag of England” Kipling
BRITANNIA

SERBIAN ANTHEM Enter SERBIA
RECITATION “Kossovo Day” (taken from the Serbian Liturgy)

BELGIAN ANTHEM Enter BELGIUM

MARSEILLAISE Enter FRANCE

RUSSIAN ANTHEM Enter Russia

Enter ITALY and JAPAN

BRITANNIA

RECESSIONAL Kipling

PROCESSION

School News – Summer 1916

Thursday, May 4th, School re-opened. After greetings Miss Douglas, gave out that next holidays will begin on July 27th, mark reading being on July 26th, and that half-term would begin on June 16th. She also said that nice subscriptions had been brought back towards the Star and Garter Home for totally disabled soldiers. Three hundred Schools have now joined the Patriotic Union, and between us we hope to raise £2000.

At the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, held at Wilton, Muriel Box won the cup for the doll which she had dressed. She was at the head of the Junior Section. As the cup can only be held in Wiltshire, it is to be kept at Fawcett House, although Muriel has left.
As we met together this year directly after Easter, Miss Douglas gave us an Easter motto for the term: “Therefore let us keep the Feast.”
Friday, May 6th, The School went to see a most interesting cinematograph, showing splendid pictures of the Navy and of the “New Army” in training.
Thursday, May 10th, A new plan has been arranged for Thursday afternoons. Preparation is from 2 to 4, and after that we are free to go for house, form or natural history expeditions.
Wednesday, May 17th Canon Sowter came to say goodbye to us before going to Ireland. He took our Intercession Service and then spoke a few words.
Wednesday, May 24th, Empire Day. (See special notice.)
May 29th, Lady Hulse spent the day at the School, and in the afternoon saw some of the Boarding Houses and the games.
Thursday, May 25th, Miss Eastgate, helped by some of the Music Mistresses, planned a “Shakespeare Afternoon.” and arranged the following delightful programme for it:

PROGRAMME.
Overture “Coriolanus” Beethoven.
Reading “Coriolanus”
“Julius Caesar.”
Song “Who is Sylvia?” Shubert.
”Two Gentlemen of Verona.”
Song “O Willow Willow” Music of Shakespeare’s time.
“Othello.”
Reading “Richard II.”
Song “Sigh no more, ladies ” Stevens.
“ Love’s Labour’s Lost.”
Song “It was a lover and his lass” Thomas Morley.
”As You Like It.”
Reading “Merchant of Venice ”
Song “Orpheus with his Lute” Sullivan.
Henry VIII.
Reading “Macbeth”
Song “Where the bee sucks” Arne
”The Tempest.”
Reading “Midsummer Nights Dream”
Overture “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Mendelssohn.

Wednesday, May 31st, Stephen Graham came to tell us about Russia.
Thursday. June 1st, Ascension Day. We went as usual to the 8 o’clock Celebration at St. Martin’s. The younger ones had their Ascension Day Service with Miss Lucy at 10 o’clock. We went to Wishford by the 12.45 train. We had a perfectly lovely afternoon at Grovely, and though the weather was rather unsettled, we had hardly any rain until we were on our way home. We ended the day with a little service at School, at which we sang our hymn for Spring.
Monday, June 5th, We rejoiced that the big Naval battle was so great a victory, though it has cost so many their lives.
Tuesday, June 6th, We heard the terrible news that H.M.S, “Hampshire” had been sunk, and that Lord Kitchener and his Staff, who were on their way to Russia, had gone down with her.
Wednesday. June 7th, Miss Douglas said that we would sing the Ascension Day hymn, and she read the Ascension Day collect, which was particularly appropriate at the moment, when the Strengthening comfort of the Holy Spirit was so greatly needed. In speaking of the death of Lord Kitchener, she said:
“We meet to pay a tribute to a very great Englishman, a tribute of grief, and a tribute of pride, to his life and Work, a tribute, too, of sympathy with our King and with very single soldier in the Regular Army and in Kitchener’s own Army. Whether we think of Kitchener as the one who vindicated in Egypt the work of the soldier saint, or as Chief of the Staff of the Forces in South Africa, or as Commander-in-Chief in India, we recognise the greatness of a life wholly given to the service of his, country in the performance of duty”.
Special prayers were then said in commemoration of Kitchener and of the valiant men who had fought and died in the Battle of Jutland.
Thursday, June 8th, Miss Douglas said that although we had not sent any representatives to the United Girls’ Schools’ Service in Southwark, we must remember it, and we had special prayers, thinking particularly of the Mission.
Whit-Sunday, June 11th, We went In the Memorial Service to Lord Kitchener hold at the Cathedral.
Friday, June 16th, Half-Tem holiday, made longer this Year by Friday morning being given in honour of Vera Joscelyne having won a scholarship to Oxford.
All those who did not go away went to Nelson House, where Miss Powell very kindly came to help Miss Edith. Needless to say, they had a most splendid time, and, of course, enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

Mr. Stephen Graham – Summer 1916

On Ascension Eve we had the very great privilege of a visit from Mr. Stephen Graham. His lecture set the seal on the very real affection that some of us have been growing for the Russian people since we began to know something about them. Mr. Graham has got ‘nearer to the heart of Russia, and especially of the Russian peasant, than perhaps any other Englishman. Upon him, therefore, is laid the mission of explaining the two peoples to one another. So far we have known little of each other, and that chiefly through German spectacles. We are very different, and yet each of us needs just what the other can give.

Mr. Graham calls Russia the Church of the World. Certainly lie made us feel that we must go to her to learn to worship more un-selfishly, and to have more charity, humility and patience. We hope Mr. Graham was able to understand from our farewell to him what a great thing he did for us.

G. STEER.

Mr. Hilaire Belloc’s Lecture on the War

Spring Term 1915

On March 11th Mr. Belloc was good enough to come to the School and to give us a most interesting lecture on the war. He spent some time describing what he called the “preliminaries,” that we might have a clear understanding how the war arose.

First, the war broke out at the will of the Government at Berlin, which chose its own hour for it and its own way of making it. It is the North German States, especially Prussia, that dominate Germany, and the North German has learnt to organize his life more thoroughly than anyone else in the world; above all things, he declares a well organized State, and by such a State we understand one that eliminates all things that are not calculable, and makes certitude the basis of value. It does not want creative power, genius, but rather strict order and discipline. For example, German architecture is atrocious, but the houses are warm; meals punctual, but the cooking bad.

We must try to realize this German love of order and fear of the creative spirit in order to grasp one of the motives that induced Germany to make war – terror of Russia. Russia stands for all those things which are disliked by the North German – there is no order, but great creativity, passionate religious zeal, and among the Russian soldiers a devoted but ill-calculated courage. Russia is increasing rapidly in population and wealth, and the German holds Russia in mingled fear and contempt; he looks on Russia as something half-barbaric, and dreads being overwhelmed by her. Now the Balkan States are the battlefield of German and Russian. To understand this we should turn to Ireland, where the Ulsterman says to the Irish; “It is true that you are of a different race and religion from me, but everything will go to pieces unless we manage.” This is, in effect, what the German feels about the Slavs in the Balkan States. The Slavs are spiritually apart of the Russian Empire, and the Germans feel that they are, therefore, in great peril from Russia in the Balkans, and must resist Russian influence there to the utmost. This, then, is one of the motives that led Germany to make war – terror of Russia.

We find a second cause in their misapprehension of the French spirit. They thought the French were decadent, and they had gained this idea from books. The Germans are apt to get their ideas largely from books, and so are unable to give due weight to what their own experience might teach them. Now when the moment for fighting Russia came, Germany had to count with France as well, because of an old alliance between the two countries dating some twenty years back.

France had entered into this alliance in the hope that some day it might help her win back Alsace-Lorraine. After the Franco-Prussian War Germany had annexed these two provinces; they were German-speaking districts, with the exception of Metz and a strip of land round it their villages were arranged on the German system, and Germany ought to have been able to absorb them into herself. Unfortunately the German pays for this gift of organization by a lack of sympathy; he cannot govern others, and so Alsace-Lorraine have not been absorbed by Germany. In spite of this, if Metz had not been taken from France, it is probable that in time the French would have learnt to acquiesce in the loss of these two provinces; but the German possession of Metz must remain an open sore that the French could not forget. For the sake of Alsace-Lorraine the French entered into their alliance with Russia; the Germans could have kept them out of their quarrel with the Russians if they had made various concessions to Alsace-Lorraine; they had an opportunity for reconciliation in the Dreyfus case ten years ago, but they did not take it. They thought France was decadent, that in case of war she would collapse after a brief struggle, and they did not trouble to try to keep her out of the war.

When in July, 1914, Austria, as the price of the murder of her Crown Prince by men of Serbian blood, demanded what was practically a surrender of Serbian independence, Russia was bound to interfere on Serbia’s behalf.

When in July, 1940, Austria, as the price of the murder of her Crown Prince by men of Serbian blood, demanding what was practically the surrender of Serbian independence, Russia was bound to interfere on Serbia’s behalf. Serbia it is more close ally to Russia than any of our Colonies are to us. On July 30, Thursday, Austria realised Russia meant war if she continued as she had been doing, and sent a note that she was willing to reopen negotiations. The government of Berlin heard of that note the same evening, next day, Friday, Berlin not Vienna sent an ultimatum to Russia; and not content with that sent another one to Paris. Even at this last hour Germany might have kept France out of the war, though it would have been difficult, but, conceiving that she was decadent, she wantonly drew her into the quarrel.

At this stage England was not coming into the war. France urged that if England would make a definite pronouncement on her side, Germany would be afraid, and peace might yet be maintained. England refused.

Then on August 4th Sir Edward Grey announced that if Belgian neutrality were violated, England would fight. What was the reason for the sudden change of attitude? England, whether she will or not, must keep her Naval supremacy in order that she may not be starved out by a rival Power. It is not to her advantage that the Channel coast is dominated by one great power; she cannot allow the North Sea to be dominated by another as would be the case if Germany ruled unchecked in Belgium. Germany proceeded to invade France through Belgium in the proportion 16 -10 and England sent her ultimatum to Germany.

Thus we entered the war. At first only a very small force could be sent across to France, but this force was one of professional soldiers, while the French army was one of conscripts, many of them on the reserve and drawn from civilian life. The army was, therefore, of value out of proportion to it’s size, and was placed in the position of the greatest strain. The method of meeting the first German invasion was this: one quarter of the whole Allied Force was to stand against the whole assault of the German attack, and then to retreat as rapidly as possible, drawing the enemy after it; the remaining three quarters would then come in to play and will endeavour to pin the enemy down. Seven and a-half Army Corps were stationed between the Sambre and the Meuse, therefore, to bear the brunt of attack; one and a-half of these are British, and they were placed on the left, General Smith-Dorrien being in command of the extreme left. This was where the greatest strain would be, as a German mode of attack has always been to try to envelope the opposing force – it was the British force that was to prevent this. These Army Corps stood against the German attack and then retreated rapidly for 10 days; the object of the retreat was to reach the line of the Marne, and this they effected with the loss of some 12 per cent of men, guns, and so forth. The whole Allied line had turned on pivot as it where, and it stretched from Paris to Verdun; those in front of Verdun had not retreated at all; those on the extreme left had fallen back some 120 miles.

Meanwhile the reserves had been coming up from all quarters; the battles of the Marne and the Aisne ensued, and the Germans were forced back. The importance of this was that the 10 men have been able to hold the 16.

From October to March there has been little change in the lines; the Germans have extended their position till it touch Switzerland on the one side and the sea on the other. The position is that one may see in wrestling – A lighter wrestler, by some trick, has thrown a heavier man, but now the struggle is to keep him down. The 10 men must keep the 16 pinned; in doing so they have three facts to encourage them:

  1. The 10 men will be reinforced; already more contingents have been sent from Great Britain, and the Expeditionary Force now numbers a quarter of a million.
  2. The Russians will increase their strength on their frontier, and when they do that the Germans must withdraw troops to meet the danger there. At Present the Russians have put less than three million men in the field they are backward in equipment, and until either Vladivostock is free from ice or the Dardanelles open she cannot arm more.
  3. The wastage of the Germans and here we must remember that all through history the Germans have not been able to face odds. At the beginning of the war Germany had some nine million men fit for active service; five million placed in the field at once, and of these the wastage has already been at least 2 1/2 million; two million are required at home to carry on the work of transport, manufacture, and so forth. This only leaves two million in reserve, the greater part of these are already in the field. It is estimated that at the most Germany cannot put more than one more million in the field.

Thus while 10 men are increased to 11, 12, and even 13, the 16 will decrease, and the day will come when the opposing forces may be equal.

Now as to subsequent events since the Allies first pinned the Germans their line of trenches.

  1. There were six weeks in which the 16 men trying to break out, between La Bassee and the sea; the first attempt was made at Dixmunde; the second we call the battle of Ypres. This phase lasted till November 15th, the Germans lost very heavily.
  2. On the Russian front, since November 15th, the Germans have made a desperate effort to arrive at a decision in order to free their troops there and bring them back to the western field. In order to do this Warsaw must be taken, because it is the centre of the railway system of that district.

 This attempt has also had two phases from November 15th to February 8th, when a direct attack was made in Warsaw we call this the “Second Battle of Warsaw” second, from February 8th to the present, when an attempt has been made to surround Warsaw from the North, cutting the Warsaw-Petrograd Railway. This railway is screen by the line of the Niemen and Narew; the three main there this line was attacked are Grodno, Osowiec, and Przenysz; the Germans had been partially successful at the first two places, but defeated at the last.

And now the time they have to take Warsaw is growing short. By the end of May that your Vladivostock will be free from ice, and we hope that our new armies will be in the field; the Dardanelles, too, maybe open; the snow will have gone from the roads over the Carpathians and the Hungarian plain will again be menaced. The Germans, therefore, have only eight weeks left in which to achieve a decision in the East; if they can bring matters to a victorious conclusion there before the end of May, they will probably succeed for good. They will be able to bring back troops to reinforce the men in the West. These next eight weeks then are of the most critical importance; if the German defeat begins it will probably be rapid. The question is, shall we be able to get a numerical superiority in time in order to ensure this defeat?